UTAH – The population of the state of Utah is estimated at between 62 and 68 percent LDS, and blogger Hildie Westenhaver pointed out something unusual about the names Mormons choose to give their children.
“Maybe it’s because we’re kind of different to begin with that Mormons love oddball baby names,” Westenhaver wrote in her blog, Nameberry. “I have met children named Wrangler, Smokey, Mersadie, Corporate (for a girl), Maverix, Jenedy, Silver, Xacian, Versailles, Rafter, and–I kid you not–R2.”
Westenhaver said some names may sound normal when spoken, but just to be different, Mormons get creative with the spelling.
Payzlee (Paisley), Djaryd (Jared), Jaymz (James), Myrical (Miracle), and Jrake (Drake) were among her examples.
The blogger observed that boys’ names tend to lean toward having two syllables with an -er, -en, or -ton ending, while preserving uniqueness: Truxton, Decken, Nyler, Kyson, Teyton, Zyker, and Trusen.
Girls’ names, Westenhaver wrote, almost always contain the letter y: Kyzlee, Oaklyn, Tynslee, McCartlyn, Skylynne, and Chandley.
Then the blogger gets to the ‘why’ of the matter.
“Why on earth would somebody name a baby Serandipidee?” she wrote. “Tradition is the obvious answer. These oddly-named babies are the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of DaLynns, Cloydeans, and LaVerls.”
She cited the age of the parents as another possible reason.
“To Mormons, nothing is more important than having a family and we tend to get married and have kids earlier than our non-Mormon counterparts. Imagine the baby names you liked when you were fifteen . . . The name Eleanor might sound old and fusty to a young person but Zaylie sounds fresh and fun,” Westenhaver said.
Whether you enjoy oddball names or find them preposterous, according to Westenhaver, they’re a part of Mormon culture.
“As I said before, we Mormons are used to being a little bit different, and it’s been this way for a long time,” she said.