Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ancestry's "Bad Baby Names" book Census Collection Fuels Tongue-in-Cheek Look At 'Bad Baby Names' Parents Have Given Their Children

By Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback Published by Ancestry Publishing

PROVO, Utah, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Not happy with your name? Think again, it could be worse, a lot worse. From memorable to downright embarrassing -- "BAD BABY NAMES" (Ancestry Publishing, $9.95) -- examines the evolution of names by culling through more than 540 million names in census collections housed on, the world's largest online family history resource.

Bad names have been the brunt of many slapstick jokes and even the crux of famous songs, including Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue." The hilarious compendium, "BAD BABY NAMES" draws from census records available on to create a fun read of the worst and funniest names people have bestowed upon their children. For instance, the book explains how names that were not funny at the time have become comical now. The name "Fanny" was perfectly acceptable in the earlier half of last century, but few would expect a girl today with a name like Fanny Large or Fanny Pack to last through middle school.

"BAD BABY NAMES" is more than just a long list of names. It's a romp through history and psychology through the eyes (or at least the names) of the people who lived it, complete with fun photos, crazy illustrations, and images of the names themselves from real census documents.

Here are some of our favorite names from the book: A Few Really BAD BABY NAMES

-- Meat the Parents. According to, 104 people recorded "Meat" as part of their first or middle name, here are a few more to cut into: Sweet Meat Moore, Chicken Lamb, Big Meat Neal, and Meat Bloodsaw.

-- Ima What? These names are just wrong: Ima Mann, Ima Pigg, Ima Hogg, Ima Hooker and Ima Butt.

-- Athletic Names. Thinking about naming your baby Kobe, Shaq or Tiger? Here are a few others you might want to consider -- Race Swift, Hurdle Champion, Winner High, or Jump Jump?

-- Hey Baby, What's Your Sign? A few of favorite zodiac names: Virgo Cloud, Leo Lion, Capricorn Cutlet and Gemini Branch.

How They Did It
Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback authors of "BAD BABY NAMES" organically created the book after researchers began discovering and sharing census images that had odd and interesting names. "What started as occasional e-mails passed around on quiet afternoons turned into us scouring records for names that stood out for, well, their unique stopping power," according to author Michael Sherrod. "Trust me, when you come across Wild Looney or Cash Favors, you pause and tell your nearest co-worker."

Almost every name in the book "BAD BABY NAMES" came from the United States federal censuses, all housed on Starting in 1790, the U.S. government began gathering statistical information about the American people every 10 years. Because of privacy laws, the general public has access only to census information that is older than 72 years, so the names in "BAD BABY NAMES" come from the 1790-1930 censuses. The few names that did not come from the U.S. federal censuses came from state or British censuses, and in a few cases, other historical documents found at --
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With 25,000 searchable databases and titles and nearly 3 million active users, is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world's largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including,, and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive nearly 8.5 million unique visitors worldwide and more than 400 million page views a month ((C) comScore Media Metrix, January 2008).


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