What's in a name?

Any genealogist will tell you a person's name says a lot about his or her character and heritage. For instance, if you met an Ian, Allistar or Duncan, you'd be safe guessing he has Scottish parents or ancestry. A Hector, Raul or Jose are most likely of Spanish-speaking ancestry. Akira, Junko and Shoji will probably have Japanese parents.I've always had a fascination with names. One of my duties at the Deseret News Utah County Bureau is to type in the birth announcements. Each week our office receives lists of new parents from area hospitals. We list these names in the vital-statistics section just before the classified advertising section of the paper.

During the years I've worked with these lists, I have noticed numerous couples that have partners with the same name, like Kelly and Kelli, or Lynn and Lyn, and Marty and Marti.

Other similarities have appeared, like Smiths and Jones-es marrying one another. But most common are couples whose names begin with the same letter or sound.

For instance, in the last batch of names from Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, American Fork Hospital and Mountain View Hospital, the following are just a few of the new parents:

Christopher and Carrie, Mark and Marilyn, Michael and Marisol, Douglas and Debra, Jerry and Janet, Ralph and Rebecca, Troy and Terry, Aaron and Audry, Todd and Tiffini, Mitchell and Michelle, Christopher and Cynthia, Shandon and Suzanne, Matthew and Margaret, Branden and Brandi, and last but not least, Duane and Dana.

It would be interesting to find out what these couples end up naming their babies. Just imagine the fun these people must have had with their wedding announcements and engraved paper napkins.

But these names only scratch the surface. Occasionally we have notorious couples like Clyde and Bonnie or royals like Charles and Diana. Television and movie notables appear like Michael and Gloria; Brad and Janet; Christopher and Robin.

Once in a while we'll get really interesting combinations like Chamberlain and Royal; Joan and Laura; or Deeray and Sharee.

Working with the parent lists has been enlightening, and if nothing else it has given me the opportunity to make a list of names for my future children. On a recent list I found the perfect name for one of my offspring - Media.

(Genelle Larsen, Orem, is editorial assistant in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)