I know that you probably don't care... but I have been bothered by something on your Naming website. When you refer to the SS stats, you don't consider all spellings of a name! Take the name Madeline. Yes, it doesn't seem as popular when you look at Madeline. Now consider [the number each of babies named Madeline, Madelyn, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madeleine, Madalyn, Madalynn, Madilynn]. It is almost three times as popular when you count all the spellings! It's a Top 20 name when you adjust for multiple spellings. And names like these also add difficulty for the child in having to spell his/her name constantly. I know why the SSA does it the way they do ... it's very subjective when you start getting into pronunciations. Is "Miah" pronounced like "Mya" or like "Mia"? Who knows?
I take the Top 1000 Names and give it my best shot, though. Because I really don't want to choose one of those names that escapes notice due to a million spellings. The Top 1000 actually boils down to 649 names when you lump them together. I haven't done Boys yet for 2007. But I thought I'd share my girl list... The column on the far left sums the amounts next to the spellings.
[Here Swistle removed an ENORMOUS CHART.]
"Don't care"? Is there such a thing as "don't care" when it comes to baby names?
I know what you mean, and I do think it's a good idea for parents to take multiple spellings into account, especially if the popularity of a name is a big consideration. But I think it's too subjective to decide what's "a different spelling" and what's "a different name." Looking down your list, I disagree with many of your combinations: I think, for example, that Madelyn and Madeline are different names, and that Emily and Emmalee are different names, and that Sierra and Ciara are different names. And other people would go the opposite direction and say you should have combined more, and that Isabelle and Isabella are the same name. None of us are "right" or "wrong," we just have different opinions about what makes names "different."
Because it's so subjective, the only method that makes sense is to list every spelling separately but make the data available (it's available at the Social Security baby names site) so parents can add spellings up the way that makes sense to them---which is exactly what you did. I rarely do so on this blog, though, because in most cases the adding up makes only a fraction of a percentage point of a difference in the popularity of the name. For example, the spelling Khloe adds only .0209 percentage points to the .5085 percent Chloe population, bringing their combined total to .5294% of the baby girls born in 2007 (source: Social Security). And I'll bet if we took a vote, we wouldn't get a consensus on whether they were "the same name" or "different names."