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Kelli Brady is the analytical blogger at NameFreak!, which is a true name nerd’s blog – and of course I mean that in the most complimentary sense possible! There is tons of analysis of American name trends on the blog; I can tell Kelli loves sleuthing through the US data, and is a dedicated list-maker. Kelli has had several name polls on her blog, and for the past couple of years has run Name Madness play offs, where she chooses a wide variety of names on a particular theme, and gets the public to choose their favourite by vote. If you are fascinated by names, but also like to have fun with them, you will love NameFreak!

What is your name?

Kelli Joyce Brady (Brady is a pen name).

How did you become interested in names?

It started when I was maybe seven or eight years old. I remember being obsessed with the names of my friends and my Cabbage Patch Kids, as well as constantly making name lists. The name Samantha was a favourite of mine when I was young because I thought Samantha Joyce (Sammy Jo) would make an awesome name for my future daughter. It’s so fun to know that while her first name changed many times over the years, my daughter’s middle name was never under debate.

What inspired you to begin a name blog?

I started NameFreak! back in 2008 when I was pregnant with my son. I wanted a way to express my passion for names without the limitations of short Facebook status messages. I really only shared the blog with my immediate friends, so it stayed small, and once my son was born, the blog unfortunately fell by the wayside. After I moved to Thailand in 2012, I found myself with a lot of free time. The calling to blog again hit me strongly and I’m so glad it did! I discovered the name blogging community and am now able to share my name passion with a lot more readers!

Do you have a favourite post on NameFreak!?

I love to combine my passions. Being a baseball fan, I love my baseball-inspired name posts. Another passion of mine is Jane Austen, and so the analyses of her novels’ heroes and heroines names are also a favourite. Most of my posts require quite a bit of research, which is another love of mine. My favourite research-oriented post is the study I did on the names of Little Women.

Are there are any other ways to follow you online? 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I do not post on Instagram very often, but I love that the naming community has joined the picture universe. I see so much potential there.

What are some of your favourite names?

I love the classics and am so excited when I hear of a baby Edith or George. I drool over the baby name announcements from Britain. I love biblical names as well. I think it’s safe to I say have favourites in almost every category.

What names do you dislike?

I’m not a huge fan of alternative spellings. There are exceptions however … I mean, my name is Kelli and I think it fits me a lot better than Kelly.

Are there any names you love, but could never use?

My guilty pleasure names come from my love of books/movies/baseball. Eowyn is one of my all time favourites. I also love Esme, but would probably avoid it due to the Twilight craze. And how cute would a little girl named Austen be? For boys, I am smitten with Catcher and Brooks.

What are your favourite names in the US Top 100?

Girls: Anna (#35) and Molly (#90)

Boys: Sebastian (#64) and Oliver (#73)

What are your favourite names in the rest of the US Top 1000?

Girls: Paige (#105) and Jane (#340)

Boys: Simon (#255) and Asa (#562)

What are your favourite names that have never charted in the US?

Tamsin (never charted), Elinor (hasn’t charted since 1953), and Linus (hasn’t charted since 1940).

What are your children’s names?

Rachel Joyce and Simon Brent. I explain how we chose their names here.

If you found out you were pregnant right now, what names might you be considering?

I would fight for Tamsin, but would probably lose. I have brought up Jane early on with both of my pregnancies, but have been shot down by my husband each time. Other names would be Josephine, Paige and Anna for girls, and Linus, Asa, James, and Oliver for boys.

What is something we don’t know about you? 

I have not been able to blog as much lately because I am working on a book! It’s basically my biggest research project ever and taking a lot of time to finish, but I hope to have it out as an e-book this summer. Here is something not name-related as well … After growing up without a desire to ever leave the United States, my current count of countries visited is 26. I’ve definitely caught the travel bug!

What advice would you give someone who was choosing a baby name? 

My naming philosophy is simple. Go with what you love, no matter what other people think. Your child will “make” the name. But there definitely needs to be some regard on the part of the parent. Consider this … after the gift of life, your child’s name is the first gift you give them, and one that they carry forever. What a huge, but fun, responsibility! Embrace it!