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Where Have All the Shaunnas Gone?

My name is Shaunna, and there are a few variations on it like Shauna and Shawna. Where have all of the Shaunnas gone? I went to school with at least 3 others. I can't even find my name spelt differently anymore. --Shaunna

In the Case of the Missing Shaunnas, I'll give you a clue: follow Kerri. And along the trail, keep an eye out for Trisha, Brandi, Geoffrey and Brent. I suspect you'll find them all together, doing something that was unimaginable back when you were a girl in school. They're being adults.

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Moms vs. Kate Middleton

There's no bigger celebrity stage than a royal wedding. Catherine "Kate" Middleton's special day made her a global sensation, with round-the-clock coverage of her every move and every outfit. But how much does Kate the Celebrity rub off on Kate the Baby Name?

Skittish parents, I have good news for you. The golden rule of celebrity baby naming is in your corner: it's not about the fame, it's about the name.

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I am NOT Trendy!

How do traditional names suddenly become "trendy"? I'm pregnant with my fifth child, and my favorite names for this baby are Eleanor and Leo. I started researching them online only to find, to my great disappointment, that many sites are describing them as "trendy" names!!! They have been around for so long, and I have no intention of tinkering with the spelling or anything. I love them in part for their history. To me, "trendy" applies to names like Jayden & MacKenzie, not Leo & Eleanor! Why have my favorite names been saddled with "trendiness"? - Old-fashioned Mom

How can "old" names be "trendy"? Because of people like you, of course.

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Is This Name Over the Hill?

My husband and I are expecting our first child, and he really loves the name Jason. I don't mind it, but we were both born in the '70s -- back when Jason was at its peak -- so I went to school with tons of them. While the name is still popular, it's nowhere near what it was. My concern is that it's a "fading star" name, one associated with the previous generation. I'm worried it seem like an "old" name when my son is in school, the way I always regarded those rogue kids named Bob or Eugene. Is there a stigma attached to names that have peaked and fallen? - SummerMom

A stigma? I wouldn't go that far, although it's true that most people sense when a name has fallen out of favor. The effect ranges from the fairly innocuous "dad name" (Greg) to the fusty (Donald) to the genuinely tone-deaf (Buford). Your image of a "fading star" is fitting. The brighter the star once shone, the more obvious the fade. In extreme cases, you even find falling stars. Parents feel the name's momentum turning, and they rush to abandon it like a sinking ship.

But not all "faded" names are created equal.

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Help! My Favorite Baby Name is Getting Popular!

My husband and I have been holding onto the name Archer for a few years now, so no discussion was needed when we found out we were having a boy -- we could use our favorite name. However, on the NameVoyager and elsewhere, it seems like Archer is surging in popularity. We want to avoid bestowing a trendy name, so now we are rethinking our #2 choice, Adlai. We love the name and it will never be trendy, but, everyone we've mentioned it to thinks it's a girl name! What do you think? - A's Mom

I can imagine your feelings watching your favorite name rise up the popularity charts. Archer's uniqueness was part of what drew you to it. Now you feel a loss, as if your special name has been robbed of its specialness. That's a natural emotional reaction, but don't let it become an over-reaction. If you confuse a run up the charts with true popularity, you might just talk yourself out of the perfect name.

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The Hottest Baby Names of 2010?

With half of the year behind us, it's time to check in with our friends at BabyNameWizard.com for a baby name trend report. We know that Jacob and Isabella are the reigning king and queen of American baby names. But what's coming up next?

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The Most Popular Baby Names of 2009: The Triumph of Isabella

The U.S. government has announced the nation's most popular baby names. America, here's your Top 10:

1. Jacob
2. Ethan
3. Michael
4. Alexander
5. William
6. Joshua
7. Daniel
8. Jayden
9. Noah
10 Anthony

1. Isabella
2. Emma
3. Olivia
4. Sophia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Madison
8. Abigail
9. Chloe
10. Mia

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The Case of the Phantom Classic Baby Name

What do you think of naming our baby boy Hans? We like the classic feel of it and it reflects our heritage, but we're wondering why it is pretty much never used anymore. Unlike other old traditional names, Hans hasn't seemed to make its way back to popularity. While this is something we like (a unique name), we can't help but wonder..."why?" - Wondering Woman

With so many old-fashioned names making a comeback today, style can seem mysteriously choosy. Why has Emma risen from the ashes but Ida stayed idle? Why hasn't an old favorite like Hans come roaring back to the top the way other old-time names like Caleb and Lucas have?

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How Can I Avoid Giving My Baby the Next Big Trendy Name?

Dear Name Lady: We have a very common last name, so we don't want to choose a name for our baby girl that is too common. We've ruled out the current top 25 names. But there are a lot of names that we like (e.g., Annabelle and Eva) that are in the top 100s now and seem to be rising in popularity. Do you have any suggestions -- either of specific names or general trends to look out for -- on how to avoid choosing a name that will top of the charts in a few years? - Jane

A lot of parents today suffer from "name acrophobia" -- the fear that their favorite baby name will climb to the dizzying top of the popularity charts. Is there any surefire way to avoid picking the next Jacob or Emma?