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The Power of Names: Your Given Name assignment

Supports the Univ 1301 section "The Power of Names"


This is an individual assignment. Answer all the questions. Type your answers on a correctly formatted Word document. It may be submitted on Blackboard, emailed to me, or handed in in class.

My Name assignment

What's your given name? (first and middle names, not your family name)

Ask your parents why they selected those names for you (more than one reason may be chosen)

  1. To honor God, a saint, or a holy person
  2. To honor a parent, grandparent, or other relative
  3. To honor a friend, a hero, or other non-relative
  4. The meaning of the name is significant
  5. The sound of the name is pleasing
  6. The name is fairly common: it's good to have a standard name
  7. The name is uncommon or unique: it's good to have an unusual name
  8. They got the name from popular culture: a song, movie, TV, or book character, or from an actor, musician, athlete, or other celebrity
  9. Other; explain.

Look at the website Baby Name Wizard at   Look up your name(s). Also look up other spellings if appropriate; for example, if your name is Bryan, also look up Brian.

What is the derivation of each name (the language and word it comes from)?

What is the meaning given?

What is the history of the popularity of your name? Is it rising or falling in popularity, or staying about the same over time?

Look at the website of the Social Security Administration and find the baby names page.

In what year were you born?

Go to the section Popular Names by Birth Year.   What is the popularity rank of your name in your birth year?  What is its popularity rank this year?

What were the five most popular names for boys and girls in your birth year?



Go back to the main page and look under Baby Name Data.  Look under Change in popularity of baby names by State. Look up the popularity of names in Texas in the year of your birth. What is the popularity rank of your name in that year in Texas?   What is its popularity this year?

What were the five most popular names for boys and girls in Texas in your birth year?



After doing this exercise, what comments or questions do you have about the naming of children or about the gathering of statistics on names?

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