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Yearbook baby names 2014: Weird but true

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Written by Mary Fetzer   

What's up with kids' names these days? Are their parents really bad spellers?  Do they not care that their children will be saddled with a confusing name for life?  As I scrolled through the 2013-14 elementary and high school yearbooks for our tiny rural community, I was struck by the insane number of spelling variations of names, the is-that-kid-a-boy-or-a-girl frequency of unisex names and the liberties many parents took in simply creating a name that we'd spend the next 12 years trying to pronounce. Take a look for yourself:

The ABCs of spelling variations

Teachers must be climbing the walls with the sheer number of spelling options for their students' names. In our yearbook (with a mere 60 or so kids per grade), I found nine different spellings of Caitlin, Caitlynn, Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Katelenn, Katelyn, Katelynn, KateLynn and Katlin, seven variations of Carleigh, Carley, Carlie, Carly, Karlee, Karleigh and Karly, and five versions of Kaeli, Kaleigh, Kaley, Kalie and Kaylee.  (I actually resorted to Excel to keep track of them!)

Other multiple spellings appeared for these names as well:

  • Abbagail, Abigail, Abigale
  • Alison, Allison, Allyson, Alyson
  • Austin, Austyn
  • Braden, Braeden, Brayden
  • Branden, Brandin, Brandon
  • Breanna, BreAnna, Brianna
  • Caden, Cayden, Kaden, Kadin
  • Cameron, Cameryn, Kameron
  • Carson, Karsen
  • Chance, Chantz
  • Chantel, Chantelle
  • Chloe, Cloey
  • Christal, Crystal
  • Ciara, Sierra
  • Coby, Kobie
  • Corinne, Korinn
  • Courtney, Kortney
  • Deakon, Dekan
  • Desirae, Desiree
  • Deven, Devin, Devon
  • Dillon, Dylan
  • Emily, Emilee
  • Hailey, Haley, Haylee
  • Jacob, Jakeb
  • Jade, Jayde
  • Jared, Jarod, Jarred
  • Justice, Justise
  • Lacee, Lacey, Lacie
  • Lilly, Lily
  • Lindsay, Lindsey, Lynnsae
  • Makaila, Michaela, Mikayla
  • Melena, Melina
  • Raeann, RaeAnne
  • Reece, Reese
  • Reilly, Riley, Rylee
  • Rian, Ryan
  • Savana, Savanna, Savannah
  • Shane, Shayne
  • Sheanna, Shianna
  • Skylar, Skyler
  • Zachary, Zackary, Zackerry

Keep in mind that the name on your child's birth certificate is the legal name he or she will use on tax returns, passports and more, so it's important that the name always be spelled correctly. When we create this many variations of one name, we set kids up for a lifetime of confusion, misspelled mail and even mistaken identities.

Made-up names

In an effort to keep their child from being lumped in with the other Cadens or Kaylies, parents may opt to give their kid a name that is unique enough not to be copied. And while creativity can be a wonderful thing, it can also be torturous for teachers and others who just want to be able to correctly pronounce these never-before-seen monikers.

Again, looking through the most current yearbooks from our area school district, I uncovered a great many names that I never knew existed (perhaps because they didn't?). I tried to apply basic rules of grammar to determine the pronunciations, but that didn't always help. What do you think of these standout names and their unusual spellings?

  • Alura
  • Angeleena
  • Arionna
  • Ashlynn
  • Brentan
  • Bricen
  • Brita
  • Brystol
  • Camie
  • Carissa
  • Cheisianne
  • Danissa
  • Darian
  • Davien
  • Donivan
  • Dracy
  • Dreyden
  • Duston
  • Gavyn
  • Jacey
  • Janaye
  • Jaron
  • Jayce
  • Jayley
  • Jayna
  • Jeaneicia
  • Jensen
  • Jerin
  • Jhett
  • Journee
  • Kensley
  • Kindra
  • McKinnion
  • Mikalyn
  • Mykenza
  • Nova
  • Orion
  • Paisleigh
  • Raiden
  • Randee
  • Rilyn
  • Secora
  • Shaelyn
  • Tameeka
  • Thor
  • Trace
  • Trinity
  • Yeggar
  • Zriyah

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