Tuesday, November 05, 2013


This is why divorce won't lead me back to my spinster name: "REGINA MARIA RODRíGUEZ:"

This graphic is from Slate's article Why Aren't There More John Smiths in the U.S? Do you see that name that's sixth from the top, "Maria Rodriguez?" Two thirds of my given name is among the most common in the United States. I can't stand it (but at least "Regina" doesn't show up in these statistics). Changing my last name was one reason I was glad to marry Bob Martin in 2008.

Later the article lists the 20 most frequent American surnames: "Rodriguez" is in there at #11. And "Martin" is #15. The commonness of my husband's last name is why I didn't change to "Regina Martin." I didn't think that would solve the problem of having a name that can be confused with thousands. But if you google "Regina Rodriguez-Martin," hardly anyone comes up besides me. That's better.

The rest of the Slate article does a bunch of number crunching and analysis to figure out why the name "John Smith" is far less common that it used to be. I'm not sure what that hand-wringing is about, but it makes me hopeful that maybe one day "Maria Rodriguez" will decline in popularity, if Mexican Catholics can get more imaginative in their baby-naming.


Mick said...

Smith is basically a old English name which means "one who works with metal", basically Blcksmiths were calledd Smith.

Its the most common surname in England, America & Australia. Also very common in Canada & Ireland.

Its common because of three reasons, historically many gypsies adopted the name (in particular John Smith).

People who wanted to hide their identity adopted it.

Many African/American slaves adopted the name.

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Thank you, Mick. Why is "John" such a darned popular name? That one never seems to die. There are several in my workplace.

Mick said...

Well it is my middle name. When i grew up the most common boys name at school was david but both John & Michael were in the top ten.