When my husband (Joel) and I were naming kids, we wanted names sort of like our own--regular, normal names that you didn't run into on every street corner. However, we seem to have tapped into the great collective unconscious by selecting Sarah Elizabeth and Daniel. Sarah was named for two aunts on her father's side and my grandmother and great-grandmother. It turns out that Sarah was the fourth most popular name for girls the year she was born, and she was in a playgroup with Sarah Elizabeth, Sarah Rachel, and Rachel Elizabeth. Daniel (also fourth most popular) was named for a friend named Don (Jewish custom-select name with same first letter). We also wanted to name him after my father, but his name was Ralph and we didn't like it, and couldn't agree on another "R" name. So Daniel has only the middle initial "R" instead of a whole middle name. This is also sort of a family custom, since no one in my father's family has a middle name, and neither do I.
At one local hospital, they have a "Name Board" in the maternity wing, with the names of every kid born there since the 1950's.You can see the fashions changing over the years--lots of Susies and Marys and Tommys and Billys in the 50's, fading into Brians and Jamies and Kathleens in the 60's, then a spate of stuff like Willow and Moonflower in the 70's, closely followed by Jamal, Kwame and Malcolm, then Kelly and Caitlin (yes, American pronunciation Kate Lynn)and Sean, then back to Rose and Sarah and Edward.