...By Any Other Name

I received an e-mail forward from a friend, with what seemed like an innocuous link. Find out how popular your first name is, it said.

I examined the URL (http://www.birthdayalarm.com/name) and noticed it was from Birthday Alarm, a service I use to keep updated via e-mail whenever friends and family's birthdays and anniversaries are popping up soon.

Well, they're right. Just as the wording on the page said, this is addicting!

My results showed that, in the US according to the Social Security administration records, there has been a remarkable increase in girls being named Jessica since the 1960s. At that time, the name went from a low likelihood (at #234), to the 1980s when the ranking went all the way up to #1 most popular, to the 1990s when the name became #2 (down a notch). I wonder what it's like in the 2000s! No such data is available yet, however.

So then I started thinking...what could make a name become so popular from the 60s onward? I figured it might have been because of a character in a popular movie or television series. According to IMDb, there are 82 entries for the name Jessica as a character. Some of the ones that stick out the most in my mind are:
  • Jessica Brennan, from the soap One Life To Live (1969)
  • Jessica Van Helsing, from The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
  • Jessica 6, from Logan's Run (1976)
  • Jessica Marbles, from Murder by Death (1976)
  • Jessica Tate, from Soap (1977)
  • Lady Jessica Atreides, from Dune (1984)
  • Jessica Fletcher, from Murder She Wrote (1984)
  • Jessica, from The Bold and the Beautiful (1987)

I'm not sure what it could have been...maybe there was a famous person w the name and everyone wanted to use it for their baby girls. Who knows.

My mom was actually going to name me Samantha, but another baby born about a week before me w that name died shortly after being born. Therefore, due to some very non-characteristic superstitiousness, voilá, I was forever monickered this way.