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Historical naming: determination of name availability

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  • Historical naming: determination of name availability

    Does anyone know what resources there were for determining name availability in the past?

    Today there is the online names book, and in the 70s there was a book called "Names Currently Not Available in The American Stud Book," but what about before then?

    I apologise if this is not the right place to post this. I don't know anything about horses or naming, I'm just curious about the naming process.


    Last edited by Mick J; May. 19, 2020, 05:27 PM.

  • #2
    Most likely they submitted several names that they wanted and hoped that one was available. However long ago that was, it must have been easier to get approval.


    • #3
      Originally posted by LaurieB View Post
      Most likely they submitted several names that they wanted and hoped that one was available. However long ago that was, it must have been easier to get approval.
      This was the process around 1991. An owner I knew then sent in a list of possible names in order of preference for a filly and all were rejected until she finally hit on one that wasn’t taken. She tried two or three times before she was successful.

      Edited to add- It seems like the book was at least available as early as 1974-

      There was an article from 1974 in the New York Times on Calvin S Rainey and the “Names Not Available” book but it’s in a paid archive that I can’t access.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Cammie View Post

        This was the process around 1991. An owner I knew then sent in a list of possible names in order of preference for a filly and all were rejected until she finally hit on one that wasn’t taken. She tried two or three times before she was successful.
        The Jockey Club still lets you submit as many as six names at a time. But since their names in use book is now online, it's easy to look up what's already taken (which isn't to say you might not be turned down for another reason.)


        • Original Poster

          Ok thanks guys.

          I did a bit more digging and found a couple of nytimes articles (including the one Cammie referenced above, thanks), and another from a Tribune in PA. The first year for the book was '70 or '71 and was originally called “Names Not Available for Thoroughbreds" according to the nytimes. "It is to save owners the trouble of submitting names that won't pass that The Jockey Club decided to put out the volume." The first 10,000 copies were free, and later they charged $1. Later the book was called "names not currently available in the American stud book." The latest reference I can find is a 1979 nytimes article, so they probably stopped printing it not long after then.


          • #6
            Originally posted by LaurieB View Post

            The Jockey Club still lets you submit as many as six names at a time. But since their names in use book is now online, it's easy to look up what's already taken (which isn't to say you might not be turned down for another reason.)
            This is a great tool, and I love looking up names after thinking of them! I even reserved a name recently (another nice tool that's available), just in case I am lucky enough to keep the colt my mare had this year.

            An interesting aside: One of the reasons that we have seen for rejections is the "sounds like" problem. It can be hard to determine if you're going to run up against this issue because of spelling and pronunciation vagaries. For instance, if you submitted the name Fashionable, but there was already a horse named Phashionable, you would get a rejection because the two names sound alike. This is frustrating, and it can be tough to discover if you're going to have this problem.