Top 10 Baby Names of Various English-Speaking Countries (2016)

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Today the Office of National Statistics released the most popular baby names of England and Wales in 2016!  Here’s the combined top 10 for girls:

  1. Olivia (+1 rank change); replaced Amelia as #1
  2. Amelia (-1 rank change)
  3. Emily (0 rank change)
  4. Isla (0)
  5. Ava (0)
  6. Isabella (+2)
  7. Lily (new; +6).  Lily expelled Poppy from the top 10…who knew Highlander jokes could apply to flower names?
  8. Jessica (-1)
  9. Ella (-3)
  10. Mia (-1).

And the combined top 10 for boys:

  1. Oliver (0)
  2. Harry (+1)
  3. George (+1)
  4. Jack (-2)
  5. Jacob (0)
  6. Noah (+1)
  7. Charlie (-1)
  8. Muhammad (+4; new).  Replaces William
  9. Thomas (0)
  10. Oscar (0)

The ONS also releases separate English and Welsh top 100 lists.  

Here’s the top 10 for England:


  1. Olivia (+1)
  2. Amelia (-1)
  3. Emily (0)
  4. Isla (0)
  5. Ava (0)
  6. Jessica (0)
  7. Isabella (+1)
  8. Lily (+5; new); replaces Poppy
  9. Ella (-2)
  10. Mia (0)


  1. Oliver (0)
  2. George (+2)
  3. Harry (+1)
  4. Jack (-2)
  5. Jacob (+1)
  6. Noah (+2)
  7. Charlie (-2)
  8. Muhammad (+4; new); replaces William
  9. Thomas (-2)
  10. Oscar (0)

And for Wales:


  1. Olivia (+1)
  2. Amelia (-1)
  3. Ella (+3)
  4. Ava (-1)
  5. Isla (-1)
  6. Emily (-1)
  7. Evie (+4)
  8. Mia (-1)
  9. Lily (0)
  10. Isabelle (+8); replaces Isabella.  An equal number of girls were named Sophia and Isabelle in 2016, but Isabelle lands herself in the top 10 through alphabetic seniority.


  1. Oliver (0)
  2. Jacob (0)
  3. Noah (+2)
  4. Jack (0)
  5. Oscar (+2)
  6. Harry (+3)
  7. Charlie (-4)
  8. Alfie (-2)
  9. George (0)
  10. William (-2)

Scotland and Northern Ireland release their own lists at different points in the year despite belonging to the United Kingdom.

Scotland’s Top 10:


  1. Olivia (+2)
  2. Emily (-1)
  3. Sophie (-1)
  4. Isla (0)
  5. Ava (+1)
  6. Amelia (+1)
  7. Jessica (-2)
  8. Ella (0)
  9. Lucy (0)
  10. Charlotte (+11; new); replaces Lily


  1. Jack (0)
  2. James (+1)
  3. Oliver (-1)
  4. Lewis (0)
  5. Noah (+10; new)
  6. Logan (+2)
  7. Harry (+9; new)
  8. Alexander (-3)
  9. Leo (+4; new)
  10. Charlie (-4)

Noah, Harry, and Leo replaced Lucas, Harris, and Daniel.

Northern Ireland’s Top 10:

  1. Emily (0)
  2. Grace (+1)
  3. Olivia (+2)
  4. Anna (+2)
  5. Sophie (-1)
  6. Lily (+9; new)
  7. Amelia (0)
  8. Ella (-6)
  9. Ava (+1)
  10. Sophia (+2; new); replaces Aoife


  1. James (+1)
  2. Jack (-1)
  3. Oliver (+3)
  4. Charlie (-1)
  5. Noah (-2)
  6. Harry (+2)
  7. Jacob (+5; new)
  8. Daniel (-3)
  9. Matthew (-2)
  10. Alfie (+3; new).

Jacob and Alfie replaced Thomas and Jake

Now let’s step outside the U.K. and look at the Republic of Ireland’s Top 10 Baby Names for 2016. 


  1. Emily (0)
  2. Grace (+6)
  3. Ava (0)
  4. Lucy (+4)
  5. Sophie (-1)
  6. Amelia (0)
  7. Emma (-5)
  8. Mia (+2)
  9. Hannah (+3; new)
  10. Lily (+1; new)

Hannah and Lily replaced Chloe and Ella.


  1. James (+1)
  2. Jack (-1)
  3. Conor (+1)
  4. Daniel (0)
  5. Sean (0)
  6. Noah (+1)
  7. Adam (-1)
  8. Oisin (+4; new); replaces Charlie
  9. Michael (-1)
  10. Luke (0)

New Zealand also has a list.


  1. Olivia (0)
  2. Charlotte (0)
  3. Isla (+4)
  4. Harper (+1)
  5. Ella (+1)
  6. Amelia (+3)
  7. Emily (-2)
  8. Mia (0)
  9. Sophie (-5)
  10. Ava (+5; new); replaces Isabella


  1. Oliver (0)
  2. Jack (0)
  3. William (0)
  4. Mason (+2)
  5. James (-1)
  6. Hunter (+1)
  7. Noah (+4; new)
  8. Lucas (+6; new)
  9. Leo (+15; new)
  10. Max (+3; new)

Noah, Lucas, Leo, and Max replaced Jacob, Liam, Charlie, and Benjamin

Unfortunately, neither Canada nor Australia have official national lists.  Individual provinces produce their data every year, but I don’t think they all do.  That said, we can always make comparisons with the U.S. list! 

U.S. Top 10:


  1. Emma (0)
  2. Olivia (0)
  3. Ava (+1)
  4. Sophia (-1)
  5. Isabella (0)
  6. Mia (0)
  7. Charlotte (+2)
  8. Abigail (-1)
  9. Emily (-1)
  10. Harper (0)


  1. Noah (0)
  2. Liam (0)
  3. William (+2)
  4. Mason (-1)
  5. James (+2)
  6. Benjamin (+4)
  7. Jacob (-3)
  8. Michael (+1)
  9. Elijah (+2; new); replaces Alexander
  10. Ethan (-4)

Thoughts?  It’s always interesting to see which names are especially popular in some places compared to others. 

Sources / Where you can find the data:




Rare ‘C’ Names for Boys

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Here are some rare ‘C’ names for boys used in 2016!  I posted the girls’ list a few days ago…and although there were more girls’ names for me to sort through, the boys’ names were harder to narrow down.  To keep these lists at a reasonable length, I try to select only the most interesting rare names for you to think about.  My problem is that they’re all interesting! 

All the names below belong to baby boys born in the U.S. last year.  The blue-coded names were used overwhelmingly for boys, while the purple-coded names are unisex (within my parameters; 90% usage or less for one gender and 10% or more for the other).

  • 150-201 boys named: Chevy, Colson, Cillian, Cormac, Cortez, Caspian, Cian, Caius
  • 100-149: Cristobal, Coy, Carver, Cashton, Canyon, Carmine, Calder, Coby, CallahanCourtney, Constantine, Cecil
  • 50-99: Chancellor, Clifton, Canon, Clive, Casper, Caesar, Chester, Conley, Carmello, Chayton, Conan, Carsten, Ciaran, Croix, Charleston, Conway, Colston, Clarke, Crawford, Claude, Clement
  • 25-49: Charbel, Christos, Collier, Creighton, Cavan, Crimson, Cove, Conall, Corwin, Carlin, Carlisle, Cassiel, Champ, Cage, Carlito, Coda, Copeland, Courtland, Cutler, Cary, Chauncey, Christ, Cutter, Claudio, Captain, Chosen, Cloud, Curren, Caedmon, Copper, Cashmere, Casimir, Castor, Chapman, Chidubem, Colm, Creek, Cross, Can, Canton, Champion, Caliber, Calix, Chesky, Cache, Celso, Cheskel, Corinthian
  • 15-24: Caelum, Coulter, Cuyler, Cleveland, Cecilio, Calloway, Cheikh, Conlan, Cosmo, Cayman, Creedence, Carlson, Caspar, Cassian, Cliff, Crixus, Cruzito, Carder, Chukwuemeka, Coltrane, Colvin, Cotton, Cato, Chief, Cinch, Camillo, Celestino, Chip, Calogero, Castle, Che, Chevelle, Clancy, Corbett, Courage, Crispin, Cuauhtemoc
  • 10-14: Calixto, Cartel, Charlton, Coal, Cyprian, Chan, Cobain, Curry, Cesare, Chatham, Cisco, Cordarius, Cruise, Caio, Cambridge, Candido, Chadrick, Chavez, Cordero, Crockett, Czar, Camp, Carroll, Chetan, Cope, Cyprus
  • 8-9: Candelario, Carmichael, Cephas, Chamberlain, Corion, Coyote, Crowley, Cung, Calcifer, Calhoun, Catcher, Cheveyo, Chigozie, Claiborne, Clovis, Constantinos
  • 7: Cabot, Caillou, Cameo, Cavalli, Chiedozie, Chipper, Chiron, Cipriano, Columbus, Corrado, Corvus, Craven
  • 6: Calvary, Calvert, Cavanaugh, Charming, Church, Cletus, Clever, Compton, Connolly, Cosimo, Crown, Cypher
  • 5: Caffrey, Caldwell, Caliph, Calixtro, Calyx, Camper, Candler, Carbon, Chanson, Chaplin, Chenyu, Chimaobim, Chirag, Chisum, Choice, Chrisander, Coast, Colburn, Corny, Cosmas, Coven, Crusoe


  • Carroll only appears as a boys’ name in last year’s data.
  • Although the word “chipper” can mean “cheerful,” as a name Chipper just makes me think of that scene in Fargo.  Yikes!  
  • Chanson means “song” in French.  A little surprising that it appears as a boys’ name, but the primary association is possibly La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland).
  • Cavalli means “horses” in Italian.  Not “horse,” but “horses.”  Should make travel quite interesting.
  • Craven is another word for “cowardly.”  It’s an odd, unusable name even by my standards.

What do you think?  Do you have any favorites?  Least-favorites?  Let me know in the comments! 

Rare ‘C’ Names for Girls

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Here is an eclectic list of rare girls’ names used in 2016 that begin with the letter C!  Unfortunately I can’t include *every* single rare ‘C’ name (that would be an extremely long list), but I’ve tried to spotlight the most interesting ones.  These names can be found in publicly-available Social Security Administration birth data; the numbers you see below indicate how many baby girls received these names last year.

  • 150-257: Cordelia, Cambria, Campbell, Coral, Charity, Cecily, Christiana, Clover, Coralie, Chevelle, Calla, Charleston, Cielo, Constance
  • 100-149: Carmella, Cleo, Carrie, Capri, Chiara, Carol, Claira, Carissa, Cosette, Citlali, Chava, Caliyah, Colleen, Candace
  • 50-99: Chesney, Camellia, Caia, Connie, Cheryl, Charis, Christa, Crimson, Chase, Callista, Cassia, Carys, Christy, Coco, Carrington, Charisma, Caliana, Cathy, Cing
  • 25-49: Candy, Cherokee, Constanza, Cypress, Cedar, Cherry, Corinna, Caeli, Carrigan, Cate, Clarity, Cornelia, Cyra, Cosima, Chimamanda, Clarabelle, China, Chrisette, Cree, Chizaram, Celestine, Clio, Cady, Chantal, Chrislynn, Courtlyn, Camry, Charm, Chiamaka, Christabel, Clarisse, Cleopatra, Cyan, Camber, Cecile, Chastity, Copeland
  • 15-24: Celestia, Carlin, Chidera, Celestina, Chioma, Christabella, Calypso, Carmelina, Chapel, Chenoa, Caprice, Cabella, Cana, Carlotta, Carmina, Cicely, Cirilla, Contessa, Cortana
  • 10-14: Carlisle, Catriona, Chante, Charmaine, Consuelo, Candelaria, Cece, Chaney, Connelly, Corabelle, California, Czarina, Caisley, Charla, Cherie, Claudette, Creedence, Caoimhe, Carmelita, Carole, Chidinma, Chikamso, Chrysanthemum, Clary, Clea, Clementina, Copper, Cricket, Caledonia, Chiziterem, Cressida, Cybil
  • 7-9: Callisto, Carrera, Cashmere, Celestial, Chi, Chrisley, Clemence, Coda, Copelynn, Calirose, Carmel, Cartier, Cayenne, Chaise, Caasi, Carolanne, Cassiopeia, Catori, Celie, Chaithra, Channel, Chatham, Christiane, Clarita, Claudine, Coralei, Coretta
  • 6: Calandra, Calirae, Calvary, Cambridge, Caoilinn, Capriana, Carey, Caridad, Cedella, Chaarvi, Chinyere, Chizitere, Chosen, Christabelle, Clarabella, Cniyah, Comfort, Corazon, Crosley
  • 5: Caci, Calais, Caldonia, Caliber, Calixta, Calyx, Cambriella, Cameo, Caoilainn, Carabella, Caragh, Carmilla, Ceridwen, Cerise, Cevilla, Chaela, Chenxi, Cherith, Chiamanda, Chierika, Chimamaka, Chinenye, Chisimdi, Chumy, Cicilia, Cindel, Cipriana, Claiborne, Clodagh, Cloris, Corinthia, Coumba, Curie, Cymphony, Cyrene

Thoughts, comments?  Stay tuned for the boys’ list!

Collegiate Baby Names

September has long been associated with a return to school.  For children, it signifies a return to homework, friends, and more homework.  It’s also college application season for the older students.  As for me: I’ve already graduated from university, and I miss it.

Feeling some very seasonal nostalgia, here’s a list of baby names that are also universities!  For the most part, I’m omitting those that contain common people’s names (sorry William & Mary) and states’ names (i.e. Kansas) included in university titles.  That said – though I exclude the name California, I include Berkeley.

  • Auburn – 34 girls, 6 boys.  Auburn is a university in Alabama, and notorious rival to the University of Alabama.  Auburn is also a shade of red; meanwhile, Crimson (as in Crimson Tide) is both the color associated with U. Alabama and a baby name (given to 69 girls and 44 boys last year).  Indeed, about 26% (18 out of 69) girls and 16% (7 out of 44) of boys named Crimson last year were born in Alabama.  Additionally, around 31% (5 out of 16) of American girls named Krimson last year were also born there. Under 5 boys and girls in the state were named Auburn in 2016, but I’m sure there were a couple.  Football reigns supreme.
  • Baylor 339 boys (#715), 209 girls.  Baylor University is a private Christian university located in Texas.  As a name, it’s rising so fast that I’m asking myself if Baylor is the next Taylor; what do you think?  And similarly to Alabama with Crimson / Krimson, more children were named Baylor in Texas than anywhere else last year (though Tennessee and Louisiana also had a lot of them).
  • Berkeley – 116 girls, 16 boys.  This name can also honor the surname or an early Virginia governor.  Approximately 16% of girls named Berkeley in 2016 were born in California.  “Burke-lee” is the common pronunciation (especially when referring to the school), but you can also say “Bark-lee.”
  • Cambridge – 11 boys, 6 girls.  When Cambridge first entered Social Security birth data in 1992, it did so as a girls’ name.  Since then, it’s mostly flipped back and forth between the genders.  In 2016, more babies were named Cambridge than ever before (that we know of).  The famed university is in England, but I wonder if anybody with this name was named after Cambridge, Massachusetts (home of Harvard and MIT)
  • Columbia – Doesn’t appear in 2016, but 10 were born in 2015.  Columbia is the female personification of America; the university is in New York City.


    Columbia, personified

  • Drexel – 7 boys, after the private Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Children named Drexel might also be named after St. Katharine Drexel, who was related to the university’s founder.
  • Duke – 513 boys (#557).  This academic baby name might be rising for any number of reasons, from the trendiness of royal-title names to the popularity of Western/Cowboy names.  The university is in North Carolina.
  • Durham – 9 boys in 2016.  Speaking of Duke, we also find its hometown in the data!  As a scholastic baby name, Durham also refers to the University of Durham (England).
  • Emory – 447 girls (#654) and 268 boys (#838).  Emory University is in Georgia.
  • Fordham – 6 boys.  Fordham is a Jesuit-associated university in New York.
  • Hampton – 57 boys and 10 girls.  Hampton University is an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in Virginia.
  • Harvard – 5 boys in 2016.  As a first name, this first appeared in SSA birth data in 1912 and enjoyed fairly steady if sparse usage through the 1950s.  There’s been a very slight revival in the 21st century, though Harvard remains an extremely unusual baby name.
  • Howard – 239 boys (#900); reentered top 1000 in 2016.  Howard University is a prestigious HBCU in Washington D.C.
  • Liberty – 571 girls (#541).  Enormous Christian university in Virginia.  As far as the SSA data shows, the name Liberty has become popular thrice since 1880.  The first time was 1918 (end of World War I).  Second, the bicentennial in 1976.  Thirdly and finally, Liberty became popular in 2001 (and stayed popular) after 9/11.
  • Marshall – 999 boys (#345) and 5 girls.  Marshall University is a West Virginia school that’s probably best known from the movie We Are Marshall.  The name can also honor 5-star General George Marshall (as in the Marshall Plan), the surname, or even the ancient Roman poet Martial.
  • Oxford – 7 boys.  Can refer to the English university or the town that houses the University of Mississippi “Ole Miss.”
  • Princeton – 769 boys (#413).  This name first appeared in SSA birth data in 1950, but didn’t take off for several more decades.  Top 1000 entry came in 2011, and reached the top 500 in six years.  Still, I think Princeton’s trajectory is starting to slow. 

Nassau Hall, Princeton (1903)

  • Stanford – 12 boys.  When I was maybe 13 or 14, I read a novel about a boy named Stanford who isn’t the greatest student; it’s called “Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time.”  He ends up being tutored by Millicent Min, who got her own book…and don’t they both have fantastic names?
  • Temple – 11 girls, 5 boys.  Temple University is in Philadelphia, PA.  Temple Grandin is probably a more obvious namesake.
  • Trinity – 2215 girls (#137) and 18 boys.  Can refer to any number of schools, including Trinity College, Dublin.
  • Wellesley – 6 girls in 2015, unknown number (under 5) in 2016.  Prestigious women-only college in Massachusetts.
  • Yale – 5 boys.  Yale is also a mythical/heraldic creature.

Do you have a favorite collegiate baby name?  Would you add any to this list?  Let me know in the comments!

August Name Sightings!

These are all of the rare names I’ve “collected” during the month of August.  Amazingly, only one was a men’s name and only three even charted in the SSA extended data for 2016.  Remember, these are real people!

From Facebook:

  • Neileen – I wonder how it’s pronounced.  Nayleen?  Nyleen?
  • Mainie – German.  

I met:

  • Iryna – I mostly found this interesting because she transliterates it into English with a “y” instead of an “i.”  Iryna has never charted, but Irina is increasingly popular here (possibly due to Twilight).  In 2016, 96 girls were named Irina in the U.S.  Maybe we’ll start to see Iryna too?
  • Pia – in her 20s or 30s.  105 girls were named Pia in 2016, which is coincidentally the most Pia‘s born in the U.S. in a single year.  Feminine form of Pius
  • Titania – named after the fairy queen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!  2010 was the last year Titania appeared in the extended data, but several girls were given this name every year between 1967 and 2002.  I reckon this one was born in the 80s. 
  • Coffee – Late 30s or early 40s.  Hilariously, she worked in hospitality!  Indeed, Coffee was the name on her name tag.  Whether or not it’s her real name is another story; this spelling’s never charted (though Coffy appeared in the 70s).  Anyways, now I need to update my “coffee-inspired baby names” post!
  • Halesha – 30s. 
  • Cheyney – female, mid-twenties.  For girls, the name Cheyney both debuted and peaked in 1989.

Seen in newspapers or advertisements:

  • Pepsi – yup, there are people named Pepsi.  In the U.S., it sporadically charted as a women’s name between 1970 and 1989.
  • Juvenal – 9 boys were named Juvenal in 2016.

Thoughts?  I can’t get over how apt Coffee’s name was…and if there’s a Pepsi out there, I really want to meet someone named Royal Crown.  Have you met or encountered anyone with a very unusual name this month?

Previous rare name round-ups:

  1. Name Spotting! (March/April 2017)
  2. Rare Name Round-Up! (May-July 2017)

Interesting Names from Bruton Parish


The belltower/entrance to Bruton Parish Church.  A few decades younger than the rest of the building, but still constructed in the 1700s

I’ve just returned from a short vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia.  While there, I went name-hunting at the Episcopal church!  Bruton Parish Church was built in 1715, replacing an even earlier church (only visible at the foundations) that existed just feet away.  The cemetery has been around since the late 1600s, making it perfect for anyone looking for historical (or unusual) names!

Unfortunately, the graves aren’t all still legible.  Weather, age, and other factors have worn down or broken many of the oldest stones.  The church understandably prioritizes preservation and has cordoned off large sections of the graveyard; you need to ask a guide for permission to enter those parts.  In more public areas close to the church doors (it’s still an active congregation; they hold services daily!), they’ve juxtaposed wooden benches around fragile upright stones to keep them from falling over.  Occasionally they also bring the most ancient markers (think 1690s) inside for even better protection.


The wall surrounding (and protecting) the church and graveyard

Despite these challenges, I still managed to record a lot of names!  Some I found walking through more open areas, others through a book called A Guide to the Memorials of Bruton Parish Church.  Unfortunately it’s out of print, but the lovely ladies in the parish shop (thank you!) let me use their store copy to record the strangest names I could find!  One day, I hope to acquire my own copy so I can conduct a more thorough analysis. 

The names that seemed to appear the most (i.e., the most popular, if you will) were Henry, John, Frances, etc.  I saw surprisingly few Mary‘s, but that might be because those graves have faded or broken…that, and I was short on time.

One last note before I continue on to the names – I don’t think everyone mentioned in the cemetery or church is actually buried there; sometimes the markers serve as memorials or genealogical references.  Regardless, name-spotting is name-spotting.  If I see it, and it’s interesting, I list it!


  • Reuben – Early 19th century.
  • St. George – Yes, that’s really his name.  I wonder if how it was pronounced, since the name St. John is said like “Sinjin.”  “Sin-George,” maybe?
  • Nathaniel BeverleyBeverley is his middle name.
  • Lauretta Anne – married to a Thomas Lyttleton
  • Thomas Lyttleton (2x; father and son) –  Lyttleton is their middle name.
  • Letitia (2x; daughter and mother) – Bonus points: Letitiathe-Younger was the daughter of U.S. President John Tyler! As of 2016/7, the name Letitia no longer appears in extended SSA birth data.  However, 148 girls were named Leticia last year.
  • Archer – I think he was born in the 1600s.  Definitely one of the earlier mentions
  • Sydney (male)
  • Delia Adalaide* (early-to-mid 1800s)
  • Josiah Nelson* (born and died 1836)
  • Richard Maning*
  • Horatio Nelson* (born 1840s, died 1850s) – Josiah Nelson and Richard Maning were his older brothers; Delia Adalaide was their mother.  All three boys died as children.
  • Goodrich
  • Altazera – Goodrich’s daughter.  Google turns up just a few other people with the name, and sometimes it’s rendered Alta Zera.  Another version, Altazerah, appears once in the Social Security Death Index; SSDI also turns up quite a few women named Alta Z. or Zera A, along with an Aldesira (is that even related?)  Finally, I found mention of an English Rhoda Altazera born in 1864, via the amazing British Baby Names!
  • Annabelle
  • Coleman Charles
  • Truxtun or Truxton – born in the 1850s, died in the 1930s.  I think I saw both spellings for the same person.  This name occasionally pops up today – 6 boys were named Truxton last year, and apparently there were a few in the 1910s (possibly) due to a book.  Just accounting for first names, SSDI also counts 5 Truxtuns and over 80 Truxtons, mostly born in the early 20th century (but some older).  Others bore Truxtun/Truxton as a middle.
  • Mordecai Talbot
  • Singleton Peabody
  • Dabney – 6 girls in 2016.  This Dabney was probably male, though. 
  • Archibald
  • Dudley
  • Gideon
  • Horace John
  • Anne Contesse – sister of President John Tyler.  I’ve heard of women named Contessa, but never Contesse.  Hmm…
  • Louisianna 
  • Blair
  • Christo – 7 boys in 2016
  • Susan Comfort – Can’t tell if Comfort is her maiden or middle name
  • Blumfield
  • Norborne – as in, Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt (18th century)
  • Ellsworth
  • Rowland
  • Orlando – the grandfather of Martha Washington
  • Beverley Dandridge – Might be the son of the Nathaniel Beverley listed above.  Remember: Beverly used to be a boys’ name!  To be fair, I think Beverley was a family surname.
  • Lion Tyler – fought in WWII.  Considering that John Tyler had both a son *and* grandson named Lyon Gardiner Tyler, I’m inclined to believe this Lion Tyler is somehow related.  Otherwise, I can see how Lion might be a nickname for Lionel.
  • Byam Kerby
  • Ebenezer – Byam’s grandfather
  • Cotesworth (late 19th century?)
  • Jacquelin – What makes this interesting is that unless the church had a female rector before 1900 (unlikely), this Jacquelin was a man!
  • Armistead

Thoughts?  Do you like these names?  Do you ever ponder about the names in cemeteries, or names from earlier centuries?  Personally, I can’t wait to embark on my next name safari!  

P.S. Does anyone else know anything about the name Altazera


Godson, Susan H., ed.  A Guide to the Memorials of Bruton Parish Church. Williamsburg: Bruton Parish Church, 2006. 

Rare ‘B’ Names for Boys

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.05.58 PMHere is my list of interesting rare ‘B’ names for boys!  You can read the girls’ list here.  All these were real baby names in the U.S. last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration.  Remember, just because a name isn’t popular doesn’t mean nobody’s using it! 

When I say a name is ‘interesting,’ I don’t mean that it’s good or bad; merely, that it caught my eye.  I’m far more likely to endorse a name than denounce it, but there are a few names in this list that I think are rather heinous.  If you read all the way to the bottom of the list, you’ll find my commentary.

  • 150-202 usage range: Bishop, Bastian, Bear, Barry, Beck, Bilal, Brenton, Bernard, Boaz, Baker, Broderick, Benedict, Bjorn
  • 100-149: Brogan, Baron, Bowie, Banks, Bronx, Benaiah, Brighton, Brigham, Bailey, Britton
  • 50-99: Boyd, Barron, Braulio, Brant, Benito, Branch, Bane, Bram, Bradford, Basil, Baxter, Booker, Burke, Bradlee, Braven
  • 25-49: Boris, Banner, Baruch, Bauer, Bowman, Beauregard, Brenner, Boe, Bill, Buck, Brando, Bladen, Breccan, Bowden, Bashir, Braddock, Brewer, Britain, Blade, Brave, Bladimir, Buddy, Boubacar, Bakari, Becker, Bruin, Burton
  • 15-24: Bosco, Blessing, Blue, Bogdan, Banyan, Brazos, Berl, Bernie, Bray, Barack, Boy, Bao, Bravery, Buckley, Bartholomew, Barton, Bless, Bora, Brockton, Bannon, Baraka, Barrington, Bohannon, Bryn, Benuel
  • 10-14: Baden, Bader, Bentzion, Bert, Boss, Baldemar, Balian, Barnabas, Bingham, Bob, Boyce, Bran, Breyer, Brick, Buster, Baylon, Bento, Biruk, Bolton, Bond, Boomer, Bow, Battal, Behruz, Benigno, Bertrand, Birch, Blessed, Bowe, Breaker, Brigg, Balthazar, Baxley, Beaumont, Bernabe, Berry, Betzalel, Bexton, Bijan, Bretton, Brighten, Briton, Bud, Burhan
  • 5-9: Basel, Bhargav, Bhavik, Borja, Boyan, Bryshere, Bach, Bates, Bay, Benoit, Benz, Beowulf, Bhuvan, Bonham, Brazen, Breeze, Brink, Babyboy, Balin, Bankston, Barney, Barren, Basilio, Bautista, Benning, Beorn, Bolin, Bonifacio, Boyer, Bright, Baldwin, Balraj, Barnaby, Bartolo, Bashar, Bela, Benno, Bertram, Biagio, Biel, Bocephus, Brahms, Breton, Browning, Burns, Baby, Badi, Baird, Barclay, Barnes, Bart, Bb, Beasley, Bernardino, Bezaleel, Bhavesh, Blanton, Bomani, Brace, Brand, Bravo, Brockman, Brolin, Bromley, Buchanan, Buford, Burley, Burnell, Butch


  • I would like to point out the terrible irony of naming a baby “Barren.”
  • Who else saw a horror flick called The Boy last year?  6 boys were named Brahms in 2016, probably because of that movie.  In The Boy, an American woman moves to England to be the nanny/governess for a boy named Brahms, whom she discovers is actually a very creepy doll.  Another possibility is that the rise of a similar rare name, Brahm, gave Brahms a boost.*
  • Speaking of composers, Bach returned to the data in 2016.  Composers!
  • I wonder if any of the boys named Bond have James for a middle name.  Somehow, “Bond – Bond James” doesn’t sound as effective as “Bond – James Bond.”
  • As a name writer, two things I try to avoid are politics (not that kind of blog) and name-bashing.  That said; parents, stop naming your kids Bannon!  I shouldn’t even have to explain that racists are terrible namesakes.
  • Also avoid using Benito and Bashar since they’re the first names of dictators.

What do you think?  Do you have any other strong associations with some of these names?  Let me know in the comments!  

*For the record, I don’t think Brahms, Brahm, Bach, and Bond are necessarily bad baby names like the others I commented on, but they evoked strong mental images.  Brahms is probably an obscure reference, anyway.

Rare ‘B’ Names For Girls

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In the U.S., there were close to 3,000 rare ‘A’ names for girls in 2016.  ‘B’ boasts only around 600.  This time, it means I can fit all the interesting ones into just one post of reasonable length!  Still, I couldn’t get the list as short as I’d have liked.  With fewer unusual names to comb through, everything is that much more interesting!  Or, maybe ‘B’ is better because every other name doesn’t feel like a variation of Adelyn…I digress.

Here is my selection of rare ‘B’ names for girls!  They are listed from most common to least common (in 2016) according to data from the Social Security Administration.  

  • 150-250 usage range: Bellamy, Baylor, Beatrix, Blessing, Belinda, Betty, Blythe, Beverly
  • 50-149: Bernadette, Blanca, Berkeley, Betsy, Brighton, Billie, Brigitte, Berenice, Brissa, Birdie, Brandy, Bethel, Batsheva, Berlin, Bowie, Brie, Bracha, Briseida, Becca, Briseis, Beautiful, Blima, Bernice, Bronwyn
  • 25-49: Bea, Bexlee, Becky, Bayan, Britta, Bliss, Blossom, Beth, Brayla, Bradleigh, Bushra, Basya, Brenna, Bertha, Bay, Bobbie, Betsabe, Betsaida, Blimy, Brienne, Blessyn, Barbie, Basma, Bintou, Bo, Briasia, Bahar, Brianda, Bindi, Brexley, Britain
  • 15-24: Bellatrix,* Breeze, Brecklynn, Basil, Belladonna, Brazil, Beretta, Blen, Brocha, Baker, Baya, Betania, Bonita, Bruchy, Bralyn, Breindy, Briarrose, Bhavya, Bibi, Bluma, Berit, Bethania, Bless, Blue, Brinsley, Beulah, Bina, Bora, Bowen, British
  • 10-14: Bana, Bassy, Benita, Bette, Breezy, Beauty, Bettina, Blaze, Blessed, Bruna, Bemnet, Benelli, Bennie, Bergen, Betselot, Blessings, Baani, Bethlehem, Bijou, Briona, Bellina, Betul, Bronte
  • 9: Baby,** Baxley, Beata, Beautifull, Belia, Believe, Beryl, Bhavika, Bianey, Blanche, Bray, Breslin, Brita, Bronwen
  • 8: Beckley, Belem, Benedicta, Bessie, Bethsaida, Briseidy, Brissia
  • 7: Babygirl,** Bali, BehatiBelize, Bellaluna, Bettie, Beverley, Bexli, Biak, Breck, Breindel, Brice, Brindley, Bronx
  • 6: Bareera, Bawi, Bess, Bethsy, Betzabeth, Beyonce, Bijoux, Biviana, Blessy, Bravery, Breeland, Brilliance, Brindle, Briony, Brynja, Bryony, Byrdie
  • 5: Bahja, Baisley, Bakhita, Bambi, Banner, Basha, Bathsheba, Bayoleth, Bernadine, Berta, Bhakti, Bilan, Bisharo, Bithiah, Blessence, Bleu, Bralee, Braniya, Brees, Bridie, Brightly, Briyith, Burkleigh

*Bellatrix rose from 5 uses in 2015 to 24 uses in 2016.  I assume Cursed Child takes part of the credit, but even within the play, Bellatrix Lestrange had long since died, serving as a mention or genealogical footnote.  If any of you have other ideas why the name Bellatrix jumped last year, please let me know. 

**Baby and Babygirl might not be their actual names so much as birth certificate placeholders for otherwise nameless infants.  That said – if they’re listed with the other names, and SSA doesn’t go out of its way to explain their purpose, I’ll continue noting them as ‘official’ names.  (To be fair, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually is named Baby

What do you think of these names?  Any you love, hate, or feel like roasting?  Let me know in the comments!  And stay tuned for the boys’ names!   

Rare ‘A’ Names For Boys

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And finally, a list of rare ‘A’ names for boys used in 2016!  This follows up on Parts 1 and 2 of “Rare ‘A’ Names for Girls.”  Next up – ‘B’ names!

If you haven’t already read the girls’ lists or want a refresher: this post is part of a series where I select especially interesting rare names used in 2016 that begin with a particular letter and compile them into a list organized by raw usage!  The data comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes America’s most popular baby names every year (and then some).  Enjoy!

  • 150-202 usage range: Abner, Antoine, Aarush, Alaric, Aksel, Aries, Adler, Adiel, Andreas, Aedan, Aston, Ansel, Aditya, Abdulrahman, Addison, Ander
  • 100-150: Alton, Atreyu, Aven, Ash, Avraham, Adolfo, Archie, Axle, Arham, Aubrey, Advik, Atharv, Arrow, Amias, Aurelio, Azrael, Azael, Antony, Auden, Alexavier
  • 75-99: Alister, Abdullahi, Arnold, Ambrose, Alexandre, Aspen, Aziel, Akiva, Avian, Ames, Alessio, Aris, Amin, Arvin, Azaiah, Aharon, Angus
  • 50-74: Abelardo, Alder, Ashwin, Adnan, Amadeus, Abiel, Ammon, Asaiah, Abe, Alpha, Alston, Aramis, Avett, Adonai, Abbott, Atom, Augustin, Alain, Aceson, Archibald
  • 25-49: Akhil, Alastair, Aslan, Abdias, Arius, Aurelius, Aviel, Akshay, Alphonse, Anwar, Abimael, Amaziah, Anibal, Armand, Ayrton, Arnulfo, Ayce, Able, Asael, Abir, Amadou, Ananias, Abriel, Ascher, Avyukth, Aayansh, Adil, Alexei, Ashley, Adair, Adham, Ajani, Ajax, Amadeo, Amaury, Amor, Adael, Aking, Alphonso, Aquiles, Aristotle, Ashby, Abisai, Aero, Audric, Aviv, Alias, Amaru, Azazel, Arath, Artemis, Azarias, Aldon, Alfie, Amador, Avenir, Alanzo, Alexandros
  • 15-24: Ahnaf, Aleister, Amory, Antonino, Artemio, Athanasios, Adalberto, Alasdair, Amogh, Antwone, Alp, Arun, Amore, Adams, Aengus, Arsalan, Arush, Asaph, Ashe, Atley, Auguste, Avigdor, Abijah, Aboubacar, Aleck, Anchor, Art, Asiah, Axtyn, Azim, Aeon, Afton, Alastor, Alhassan, Almir, Anias, Apollos, Argenis, Ashdon, Aws, Afnan, Aldrin, Aloysius, Anastasios, Athanasius, Avner, Azure
  • 10-14: Arsenio, Arslan, Asser, Avon, Azaria, Azul, Abenezer, Addis, Adonias, Aemon, Aizik, Akoni, Aldous, Aldrich, Alric, Amelio, Andriel, Anselmo, Ansen, Aodhan, Arlington, Aseel, Ashraf, Auggie, Aureliano, Adonijah, Altair, Alucard, Alvis, Amun, Anselm, Antonius, Arafat, Archimedes, Archivaldo, Aristides, Artez, Axiel, Akbar, Alazar, Aniket, Arbor, Archit, Arnaldo, Artyom, Augie, Avante, Axeton, Ayomikun, Acheron, Adal, Agasthya, Alvino, Andrej, Aoi, Aquila, Arcangel, Arinze, Arno, Arrington, Arson, Arwin, Ashford, Augusten
  • 9: Adlai, Adorian, Aladdin, Alban, Albeiro, Albin, Aldahir, Aldric, Alva, Alwin, Amando, Americo, Anduin, Antonios, Arlie, Arlis, Attila, Augustino, Avelino, Avis, Ayodeji, Ayotunde
  • 8: Abdulkhaliq, Abimelec, Adebayo, Adedayo, Ademola, Adewale, Adrick, Agrim, Alano, Albion, Albus, Alcides, Alma, Amante, Andrzej, Angelus, Anthem, Aristotelis, Arran, Artist, Arvid, Aulden, Avetis, Avishai, Awesome
  • 7: Abie, Abshir, Acelin, Acie, Ackley, Adefolarin, Adeyemi, Adolph, Adolphus, Aeneas, Akhilles, Alameen, Alby, Alejo, Alioune, Alisher, Amaro, Amirali, Amitai, Amius, Angelino, Antonin, Arinzechukwu, Arne, Arnie, Aroyal, Asadbek, Astor, Athens, Augusta, Autry, Avelardo, Axis, Ayo, Azrael
  • 6: Abednego, Adaiah, Adetokunbo, Adilson, Adoniyah, Adore, Aesop, Agamveer, Agostino, Ahmednur, Akhilleus, Akiem, Albino, Aleph, Alexanderjames, Alexus, Alireza, Alphonzo, Amish, Ammiel, Amour, Amyas, Anagh, Anant, Anatole, Antares, Ante,* Antron, Aqeel, Aristeo, Armstrong, Arseny, Artavious, Artemiy, Ase, Astro, Aten, Auburn, Avander, Ayinde, Ayombami, Ayotomi, Azarel
  • 5: Aabid, Abba, Abbot, Aceion, Aceton, Achyuth, Adagio, Adedoyin, Adelino, Adeoluwa, Adoniah, Agapito, Akachi, Akachukwu, Akito, Aland, Alante, Albaro, Alborz, Alduin, Aldwin, Alegend, Alexie, Alexius, Algernon, Alikhan, Amarious, Amedeo, Amichai, Amillion, Ananda, Anfernee,** Aniceto, Antonello, Aquarius, Aragorn, Arcadio, Arlando, Arly, Armor, Asahel, Ashland, Aster, Astraeus, Attilio, Atul, Aubin, Audi, Aurick, Averett, Avighna, Avinoam, Avriel, Axon, Aztlan

*I wonder how many “Up the Ante” jokes they’ll encounter

**Anfernee, a rather distinctive variant of Anthony, was briefly popular in the mid-1990s.  Nowadays, it mostly reminds people of a certain line from Mean Girls (2004).

What do you think?  Do you have any favorites?  Least-favorites?  General thoughts?  Let me know in the comments, and keep an eye out for the ‘B’ names!



With the increasing popularity of Otto in the U.S. (currently ranked #527), will some parents start choosing Odo for their baby’s name?  The two names are related (deriving from a Germanic word meaning “wealth” or “fortune,” though Odo is pronounced more like Oh-doe than Ought-o or Odd-o.  A relative’s Star Trek binge-watching planted this obscure name in my mind.  To me, Odo evokes images of handsome medieval knights and polite, stern space aliens.

Odo has never appeared in the Social Security Administration‘s extended name data.  In order for that to happen, a name has to be given to at least five same-gendered babies in a year.  Thankfully, the SSA’s “Popular Baby Names” isn’t the only database available to search for baby name histories.  You can also glance at the Social Security Death Index* for clues.  The SSDI is especially useful for researching names in the late 19th century and early 20th century, because it doesn’t seem to have minimal popularity restrictions (which are in place for the birth data to protect the privacy of presumably living citizens).  Also, sometimes if you see a “popular” 19th century name in the birth data, you’ll find a higher number of them in the death data.  No idea why *that* is, but it is another reason why the SSDI is such a valuable tool.  Finally, you can sometimes see the names of people born before 1880 in the death index; the birth index starts at 1880.

While I never found Odo in the birth data, I did find over sixty Odo‘s in the death index.  The earliest two were born in 1874 (in Wisconsin and Texas), and the last in 1946 (South Carolina).  The youngest was probably the son of another Odo who was born in 1915 in the same SC town; overall, the last Odo born before the youngest (that has died, anyway) was born in 1938.  According to the death index, no more than three Odo‘s were born each year nationally.  While there might be a handful still living, this paucity suggests the possibility that Odo never reached SSA’s minimal popularity threshold of 5 uses even accounting for incomplete/inaccurate name info before 1937.  The other possibility is that even if five Odo‘s were born in a single year after 1879, at least two weren’t recorded because they died early or worked in the wrong employment sector.

Despite Odo‘s status as an extremely rare name in 21st century America, it isn’t exactly obscure.  Nowadays, Odo mostly appears in pop culture and video games.  The book Fellowship of the Ring mentions a minor character named Odo Proudfoot, who is a cousin to Bilbo Baggins.  An Odo is also referenced in Harry Potter through song.  Star Trek’s Odo is probably better known than the examples above, though.  In Deep Space Nine, Odo is the station’s shape-shifting, Quark-hating security guard.  That Odo is a major character, and I’m honestly surprised the name didn’t breach the extended data at least once during the show’s run in the 1990s.  Odo isn’t exactly a sci-fi creation; it’s a historical name!


From left: Bishop Odo, King William, and their brother Robert

Did I mention history?  Famous early bearers include King Odo of France (also known as Eudes) and Saint Odo of Cluny.  William the Conqueror also had a maternal half-brother named Odo who was Earl of Kent and Bishop of Bayeux.  If you’ve ever played “Crusader Kings II” as I have, you may have interacted with this character (whose surname is “de Conteville”).  In real life, he wasn’t the only Odo in England.  The 1086 Domesday Book records several individuals named Odo and even one Odolina.

What do you think of Odo?  Is it too weird or pretentious for modern usage, or is it like a book just waiting to be dusted off and read?  Would *you* use it?  Let me know in the comments! 

*If you’d like to access the SSDI and don’t have a subscription to, you can do as I did and go on Family Search, which offers it for free.