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Sibling names
December 12, 2012
12:08 pm
Alice
Glasgow, Scotland
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I've spent a fun morning playing around with this website: http://www.babynamewizard.com/ It's got a really interesting feature where, if you search for a name, it tells you the most likely names of siblings for someone with that name (calculated through user submissions). For the searches I've done, it seemed fairly accurate: for Alice, for example, it gave around 15 names including James, Lucy, Elizabeth, and William. My own siblings are James (middle name William) and Lucy (middle name Elizabeth). I also ran some searches on some friends' names, and the results were usually accurate. A lot of it is fairly common sense (I would think it's unusual to find siblings named Tyler and Felicity, or Chantelle and Edmund), but it's still fascinating to see what crops up.
It's an American site so some Scottish names, for example, are under-represented in the sibling names, but overall it's an entertaining and interesting website. I'd be curious to know how accurate/inaccurate the results are for anyone else!

December 16, 2012
1:44 pm
Shem
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November 9, 2012
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Ah alas my results were inaccurate! This does not surprise me though as I have a Scottish name (Rhona), my brother's is Irish (Liam) and my sister's is French (Avril).

The site did cast up some Scottish suggestions for my siblings names such as Angus and Catriona. Rhona and Catriona sound awful together (depending on how one pronounces Catriona) but I Iike Angus and Rhona :)

I know three sets of all girl siblings named Fiona and Jennifer so out of interest I looked them up but again found the results to be inaccurate.

It is indeed fun website!

December 17, 2012
3:00 pm
Alice
Glasgow, Scotland
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Thanks for trying it out! :) It's interesting how some sets of names are entirely or mostly accurate while others are completely wrong. I also tested it with my cousins (Kimberley, Rebecca, and Kyle; Amelia and Alexander) and a few friends: for the most part, the results were totally or mostly accurate (i.e. it might list two of the three siblings correctly). It would be interesting to know whether the results which aren't accurate are due to the website being American or due to those parents deviating from the norm.

I do wonder how exactly they're working out these results… For example, one of my sets of cousins are Kimberly, Rebecca, and Kyle. If you look up Kimberley, both Rebecca and Kyle are listed as likely siblings. However, if you look up either Rebecca or Kyle, neither Kimberley nor Kyle/Rebecca are listed, which seems a little strange!

March 12, 2013
1:51 pm
kb
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March 12, 2013
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From "calculated through user submissions", I presume this is a modern snapshot, so interesting, but not very useful. Sibling naming, notably unusuals and patterns, offers an occaisionally critical tool in genealogy research, plus a correction for the preceding and an interesting social window in historic context. Does anyone know of relevant studies?

kb

March 12, 2013
3:20 pm
Alice
Glasgow, Scotland
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Of course – this is more of an entertaining and interesting tool than a useful one!

I can't think of any studies into sibling naming specifically; hopefully someone else has some suggestions. My own research may actually be of interest to you; although I'm not looking at sibling groups in particular, I'm examining Early Modern naming patterns, particularly in 18th-century Scotland, and am investigating children being named for others (parents, other family members, influential members of society). Part of my pilot study is in the latest issue of the Journal of Scottish Name Studies: http://www.clanntuirc.co.uk/JS…..JSNS6.html. If this type of study would interest you, I'd also highly recommend 'Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538-1700' by Scott Smith-Bannister, if you haven't yet come across it.

March 13, 2013
3:33 am
kb
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March 12, 2013
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Thanks for the response and the very interesting paper, which I've copied on to someone who will also appreciate it. Similar pattern naming is claimed for German immigrants to USA and seems to apply for about 2-3 generations for the Palatinate ones, perhaps quenched by pressure to anglicize. One has to remember the language situation here too. It was approaching 1800 before the first English language newspaper in a northern Maryland town on the primary immigration route – all German before that and primarily German speaking enclaves persisted for another half century.

Genealogy research is difficult and a Bayesian approach often offers strategy guidance in iffy fields. Your paper makes me wonder whether a tool could be devised to assess probabilities of connections using name patterning. In both my parent's lines, I bridged gaps by a broadside surname search, assessing frequencies for the given names of the known starting families, identifying most probable target families, and re-assessing using probabilities conditioned on dead child replacement, aunt/uncle collaterals etc. Naming patterns as in the Scottish and German would be a factor for a tool, as would socially driven fashion from historic and locale context.

Thanks again.

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