Imagine a group of people called Ethel, Sidney and Doris - how old do you picture them to be? What about Karen, Tracey and Ian? Now what about Ashley, Jayden and Lexi? The last three are all amongst this year's most popular baby names, but will they hold up in in 30 years? It's an unfortunate fact that, while some names remain consistently popular (Jack, William or Emily, for example), others fall out of favour and leave their bearers firmly associated with their decade.
Statistician Chris Franck has come up with a novel way to help you avoid saddling your offspring with a name which will become dated as they grow older (or seeing if you may have been lumbered with one yourself).
Franck developed this nifty tool which creates a chart for any given name, plotting its popularity from the 1800s to the present day, with a predicted pattern for the future.
More than one name can be entered into the chart, allowing for comparison between name ideas (could be a useful tiebreaker if you're torn between two names).
Predicting the future of names is obviously difficult, and no method can be foolproof as outside events and cultural shifts can have a drastic effect on popularity. For instance, Adele has been enjoying a revival in recent years after decades of dormancy - presumably thanks to the singer of the same name.
On the flipside, the distinctly un-German name Kevin underwent a surge of popularity in Germany in the 1980s and early 90s due to the influence of American culture (particularly Home Alone and Dances with Wolves), but is now looked on as a 'chavvy' name. Be warned!