Ancestry.com recently published a map of the most popular surnames in the United States, based on their data. Despite the diversity of culture in the US, a few names dominate, for example, Johnson and Smith.
This week is your last chance to submit an abstract for the ANS 2017 Conference in Austin, TX. Abstracts are due on Thursday, June 30th. For additional information, refer to the Call for Papers.
Why do we forget names? Forgetting names is one of our memory’s most common failures – but there are ways to make them stick. Our brains don’t have a simple filing system, with separate folders for each kind of information and a folder labelled “Names”. Rather, our minds are associative. They are built out of patterns of interconnected information. When you meet someone for the first time, you learn their name. For your memory, however, it is probably an arbitrary piece of information unconnected to anything else you know and unconnected to all the other things you later learn about them.
Earlier this month, New York temporarily renamed 33rd Street to honor the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali. The new street sign was added to below “33rd Street” near Madison Square Garden.
In a landmark decision this spring, Brazilian authorities ruled that transgender and transsexual civil servants are allowed to use their newly chosen names at work. Although conservatives have complained about the decision, for now, Brazilian LGBT human rights activists are savoring their victory. This decision was passed just weeks before another historic onomastic ruling in which Bolivian officials also acknowledged the rights of adult transsexuals to legally change their names.
In January 2016, the scholars of the American Name Society selected “Caitlyn Jenner” as the official Name of the Year for 2015. One of the main reasons for this decision was the socio-historical significance that this name had in highlighting the importance of transgenderism across the United States and the around the world. The process of selecting a new name to mark one’s declaration of self is a common and often highly emotional experience for people within the transgender community. In her TIME article, Katy Steinmetz discusses how some prominent transgender people went about this process.
One of the interesting questions that new same-sex parents often face is what names their children should use to distinguish between them. In a family with two differently gendered parents, this issue is often fairly straight-forward (e.g. Mom and Dad; Ma and Pa). But in families with two moms or two dads, creativity is often called for. In a great video by Brandy and Susan of The Next Family, the two moms discuss how they dealt with finding names within their own family.