Wise William

William is one of the most popular names around!  In America, it ranks #5 nationally, but ranks #1 in D.C., Utah, Montana, and every Southern state except Florida.  Interestingly Liam, an Irish nickname for William, ranks even higher on the national level.  Liam comes in at #2, and ranks #1 in more states than the overall #1, Noah (which is probably only first because of California and Texas).  William also ranks highly in other English-speaking countries, and is currently the most popular boys’ name in all of Scandinavia.  That tidbit is especially curious when you consider that Scandinavian languages share their own form of the name (Vilhelm), yet speakers apparently prefer the English cognate! 


William the Conqueror at center

Besides near-universal popularity, the name William also boasts longevity.  The Normans brought it from France to England in 1066, when William the Conqueror invaded and became king.  However, the name predates even that date.  One earlier William that comes to mind is William of Septimania, born in 826 AD.  He’s not particularly important on his own, but his mother Dhuoda addressed a book to him (incidentally, she’s the only female writer of the Carolingian era whose work survives!).  Nor was he the first William in his family.  Ultimately, this name has existed for at least 1200 years!

Those 1200 years of Williams are continuous and plentiful.  The name belongs to four U.S. Presidents, four (eventually five) English kings and more PMs, Shakespeare, saints, writers, actors, athletes, etc.  You will encounter Williams in every profession.  In America at least, William is popular in every age group too; it’s never been outside the top 20. 


Why use a name that’s popular in every age group?  William certainly is ubiquitous and wizened.  But, parents, let me say this: William is timeless; tried-and-true.  He never sounds too old-fashioned or too new.  The only thing that really changes with age is the freshness of the nicknames that accompany William.  Few children will answer to Bill or Willie, I think.  The young Williams I know are mostly called William or LiamMaybe Will or Billy

What do you think of the name William



Below the Top 1000, Part 20 (Boys)

Happy Friday!  Announcement: my article about names in Netflix’s Stranger Things is being featured on Nameberry today!  Go check it out if you haven’t already read it. 🙂  

Anyway, it’s time for my weekly post of rare names!  The following names were bestowed upon 27-29 American baby boys in 2015, according to data from the Social Security Administration.  This post is a selection; meaning that not all the names in the data have been included here; consider this a sampler.  

Since there are more names concentrated towards the bottom of the pot, I will post relatively small ranges of names from here on out.  Eventually, I plan to post lists of names used only 5 or only 6 times, for example. 

  • 29: Adalberto, Aidric, Alias, Amon, Audie, Augusto, Burhanuddin, Cage, Cincere, Cord, Darron, Demoni, Dierks, Egypt, Findley, Gaspar, Hadrian, Homer, Jr, Karder, Keshaun, Kyrell, Lander, Latham, Mackenzie, Nam, Phinehas, Ripley, Rohen, Shlome, Torrey, Uri, Wilbur, Zadok
  • 28: Adi, Aleister, Amador, Amarius, Balian, Bentzion, Bless, Bogdan, Caelum, Carnell, Chapman, Coda, Crispin, Denali, Donato, Errol, Haydn, Indy, Josemaria, JozefKhi, Maximino, Nachman, Norberto, Padraig, Race, Servando, Tennessee, Tiger, Trapper, Whit, Zealand
  • 27: Ananias, Antwone, Audric, Beauregard, Benuel, Blessing, Buck, Buddy, Castle, Cristo, Dartagnan, Dietrich, Dre, Emeric, Gaston, Gianfranco, Gohan, Herschel, Jebediah, Joachim, Judge, Kofi, Mars, Matthieu, Md, Omri, Pascual, Praise, Quaid, Quest, Renly, Rigel, Savior, Ward

Thoughts, anyone?  

Some of the previous posts in this series:


What rare names come to mind first? (Boys)

I suddenly had the idea of a mental exercise in which I’d make a list of the first rare name that comes to mind per letter of the alphabet.  My parameters were that it has to rank below the U.S. top 1000 (currently, anyway) and it can’t strictly be a surname.  It also couldn’t be a combination of names or intentionally misspelled…otherwise, I would have put down Xenophilus when I was thinking of both Xenophon and Xenophilius (and probably Theophilus too), and Eustace would have become Youstace. 

I will think of some girls’ names later and post those.  I usually start with girls’ names on this blog, so why not start with the boys’ names this time?

Alaric – 181 uses in 2015.  One of the more popular names on this list; may soon enter the top 1000.  I’ve written more about Alaric in an earlier post, which you can read here.

Bertram – 13 uses.  Means “bright raven.”

Cadwalader Probably not in any modern usage.  Cadwalader is one of those rare old Welsh names you’re only likely to encounter in a name dictionary or a directory of saints.

Dionysus – Under 5 uses in 2015, if any.  Dionysus is the Ancient Greek god of wine.

Eleazar127 boys.  The first Biblical name I thought of in this set.

Florian17 boys.  If you spell it with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘i,’ then you might just be reminded of Florean Fortescue, who ran an ice cream parlor in the Harry Potter books.  Fortescue was actually the first ‘f’ name I thought of, but it’s mainly a surname.

Gerhard – unknown usage.  This is the German form – French Gerard was given to 179 boys, and Spanish Gerardo is the name of 742 boys born last year.

Hadrian – 29 uses.  Roman emperor time!  Here’s a link to the profile I’ve written on this name.

IsadoreInterestingly, this is currently unisex.  In 2015, 10 boys and 6 girls were named Isadore.  Feminine form Isadora belongs to 169 baby girls born last year. 

Joah – 58 boys.  Another rare Biblical name. 

Kel – 5 boys.  ‘K’ was a hard letter to find a rare name for, and Kel was the result of my mind wandering to Kenan and Kel.  I’ve never seen the show…only heard of it.

Ludovic – 7 boys.  There are a lot of guys running around with the name Louis, but this is an old form (they, along with Ludwig, are all related to the same ancient name – Chlodovech).  Ludovic itself seems like a hipster choice. 

Meriadoc – Unknown usage, probably no modern.  Meriadoc is a fun old Celtic name with ties to Tolkien! 

Norris – 20 boys.  I hope I haven’t just summoned Mr. Filch.  

Osric – 10 boys.  The name itself is Anglo-Saxon, but apparently there’s a Chinese-Canadian actor who goes by Osric!  How cool is that? 😀

Peregrine15 boys, 8 girls.  Peregrine is an adjective that means “foreign” or “wandering.”

Quirinus – Unknown usage.  Most of us know this name through Harry Potter (Professor Quirinus Quirrell), but it also comes from Roman Mythology. 

Rupert – 22 boys.  I do recall seeing Rupert on the top 1000 for England and Wales, but for some reason it hasn’t taken off here.  Why? 

Sampson – 56 boys.  Another version of Samson, which was given to 428 boys last year. 

Torsten – 31 boys.  Ooh, a Scandinavian name!  Related to Norse Myth…the ‘tor’ syllable means “Thor.”

Ursus – Unknown usage.  ‘U’ was an even more difficult letter than ‘K’ to find a name for. 

Valerian – Unknown usage.  Valeria and Valerie are both popular girls’ names…and with the influx of ancient appellations the last few years, I’m somewhat surprised we aren’t seeing any Valerian‘s.  Hmm…maybe it’s too feminine-sounding? 

Wiktor – Unknown usage, though I used to know one.  Polish form of Victor or Viktor

XenophonUnknown usage.  Hardcore Greek ‘X’ name…the next masculine ‘X’ name I thought of was Persian Xerxes (14 boys).  Now there’s a clash if I ever saw one. 

Yorick – 6 boys.  I had thought this might be rare enough not to appear in the SSA data, but it seems a certain line of Shakespeare may have preserved this name for us. 🙂

Zephaniah – 117 boys and 16 girls.  There are some really awesome ‘Z’ names from the Bible, and this is one of them.  Some others that come to mind are Zebulon, Zadkiel, and Zadok

Any thoughts on these names?  If you conducted this exercise, what would your alphabetical names be?  They can even be popular.  To the writers that read my blog, I especially recommend this kind of creative maneuver. 



Depiction of St. Perpetua’s Martyrdom

Some names are so beautiful that their rareness escapes all logic.  Perpetua, I perceive, falls in this category.  This name derives from Latin and means “continual” or “everlasting.”  Pronunciation-wise, the last two syllables ‘tua’ can be said like “chew-uh” or “tyoo-uh.”  Possible nicknames for Perpetua include Perri, Pet, Petra, and Petal

In 2015, only 13 baby girls were named Perpetua in the U.S.  That’s still comparatively high when you realize that it’s only appeared in the SSA birth data in the past 10 years.  Peak usage was in 2013 with 17 girls.

Perhaps strangely, Perpetua doesn’t even appear in the latest England/Wales data.  Why do I say ‘strangely?’  Well, I was under the impression that Perpetua was something of a British-ism.  Off the top of my head, I immediately think of the Bridget Jones character Perpetua (who admittedly was snobbish, though she’s somewhat redeemed by her approval of Bridget’s telling off Daniel) and the Harry Potter Chocolate Frog Card figure Perpetua Fancourt…both obviously British, or at least not American.   

That aside, I do believe most modern usage is religious in nature.  Perpetua semi-frequently appears on Sancta Nomina, which is a Catholic baby naming site (do check that out, even if you’re not Catholic.  Lovely naming styles!).  Indeed, Perpetua is the name of a famous early saint who was martyred at Carthage in the early 200s, during the reign of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus.  St. Perpetua is also believed to be one of the earliest female Christian writers; she wrote a prison diary, which you can read here.

What do you think of the name Perpetua


U.S. vs. England and Wales, Full List (Girls)

As promised in my analysis, here is the full list of girls’ names that were in the top 1000 only in the U.S. or only in the combined England/Wales top 1000!  Unlike with my other posts, I won’t color-code this one; I don’t think anyone can stand reading long lists written in magenta.  Either way, this is more of a reference post than anything else.



  • A: Abril, Adaline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilyn, Addilynn, Addisyn, Addyson, Adelyn, Adelynn, Adilynn, Adley, Adrianna, Adrienne, Aileen, Ainsley, Aislinn, Aitana, Aiyana, Alaia, Alaina, Alani, Aleah, Alejandra, Alena, Alessandra, Alexandria, Aliana, Alianna, Alison, Alisson, Allie, Allison, Ally, Allyson, Alondra, Alyson, Amari, Amaris, America, Amia, Amiya, Amya, Anahi, Analia, Andi, Angeline, Angelique, Angie, Ann, Annalee, Anne, Annika, Ansley, Aranza, Arden, Arely, Ariadne, Ariah, Ariel, Ariyah, Armani, Aryana, Aryanna, Ashlyn, Ashlynn, Aspen, Aubrianna, Aubrie, Aubriella, Aubrielle, Audrina, Avah, Avalyn, Avalynn, Averi, Averie, Aviana, Avianna, Ayleen, Aylin, Azaria, Azariah, Azalea
  • B: Bailee, Barbara, Baylee, Belen, Blair, Blake, Blakely, Braelyn, Braelynn, Braylee, Breanna, Brenda, Brenna, Bria, Briana, Briar, Briella, Brielle, Briley, Brinley, Bristol, Brittany, Brooklynn, Bryanna, Brylee, Bryleigh, Brynlee, Brynn
  • C: Cadence, Cameron, Camila, Camryn, Carlee, Carolyn, Carter, Cataleya, Catalina, Caylee, Cecelia, Chana, Charlee, Charleigh, Charli, Charlize, Cherish, Cheyenne, Clare, Clarissa, Colette, Collins, Coraline, Corinne, Cynthia
  • D: Dahlia, Dalary, Daleyza, Dallas, Danica, Danna, Dayana, Delaney, Denise, Desiree, Dulce, Dylan
  • E: Eileen, Elaine, Elianna, Elliana, Elliot, Elliott, Ellis, Ellison, Elyse, Ember, Emely, Emerie, Emerson, Emersyn, Emery, Emmalee, Emmaline, Emmalyn, Emmalynn, Emory, Esmeralda, Esperanza, Estrella, Evelynn, Everleigh
  • F: Fernanda, Finley
  • G: Galilea, Genesis, Giana, Gianna, Giavanna, Giovanna, Giselle, Giuliana, Gracelyn, Gracelynn, Guadalupe, Gwendolyn
  • H: Hadassah, Hadlee, Hadleigh, Hadley, Hailee, Hailey, Haley, Harlee, Harmoni, Haven, Hayden, Haylee, Heaven, Heavenly, Henley, Holland, Hunter
  • I: Iliana, Ingrid, Ireland, Irene, Isabela, Itzel, Ivanna, Ivory
  • J: Jacqueline, Jada, Jaelyn, Jaelynn, Jaida, Jaliyah, Jamie, Jane, Janelle, Janessa, Janiya, Janiyah, Jaycee, Jayda, Jayde, Jayden, Jayla, Jaylah, Jaylee, Jayleen, Jaylene, Jaylin, Jaylynn, Jazlyn, Jazlynn, Jemma, Jenny, Jessa, Jewel, Jillian, Jimena, Jocelynn, Johanna, Jolene, Jolie, Jordan, Jordyn, Jordynn, Joselyn, Joslyn, Journee, Journey, Joyce, Judith, Juliana, Julianna, Julianne, Julie, Julieta, Julissa, June, Juniper, Justice
  • K: Kadence, Kaelyn, Kaelynn, Kai, Kailani, Kailee, Kailey, Kailyn, Kairi, Kaitlynn, Kaiya, Kalani, Kali, Kaliyah, Kallie, Kamryn, Karen, Karla, Karlee, Karlie, Karsyn, Karter, Kassandra, Kassidy, Katalina, Katelynn, Kayden, Kaydence, Kaylee, Kaylie, Kaylin, Kaylynn, Kelly, Kenley, Kenia, Kenna, Kennedi, Kennedy, Kensington, Kensley, Kenya, Kenzie, Keyla, Kiley, Kimber, Kimora, Kinley, Kinslee, Kinsley, Kora, Kori, Kristen, Kylee, Kyleigh, Kylie, Kyndall, Kynlee
  • L: Lailah, Lainey, Landry, Laney, Laurel, Lauryn, Laylah, Leanna, Leighton, Leilani, Lennon, Lennox, Leslie, Lillianna, Lilyana, Lilyanna, Linda, Lindsay, Lindsey, Liv, Lizbeth, Logan, London, Londyn, Lorelai, Lucille, Luz, Lylah, Lyric
  • M: Mackenzie, Madalyn, Madalynn, Madelyn, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn, Madisyn, Madyson, Magnolia, Makayla, Makenna, Makenzie, Malaya, Malaysia, Maleah, Malia, Maliah, Maliyah, Mallory, Mariah, Marianna, Marilyn, Marisol, Marissa, Marjorie, Marlee, Marleigh, Mckenzie, Mckinley, Meilani, Melany, Melina, Micah, Mikaela, Mikayla, Milan, Milani, Milania, Miracle, Miranda, Monroe, Moserat, Montserrat, Moriah
  • N: Natalee, Nataly, Nathalia, Nathalie, Nathaly, Naya, Nayeli, Noelle, Noemi
  • O: Oakley
  • P: Paislee, Paityn, Paola, Parker, Perla, Presley, Priscilla
  • R: Raegan, Raelyn, Raelynn, Raina, Raquel, Rayna, Reagan, Reese, Regina, Reina, Remington, Remy, Renata, Reyna, Rivka, Romina, Rory, Roselyn, Royal, Ryan, Ryann, Rylan, Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie
  • S: Sage, Saige, Saniyah, Sariah, Sariyah, Sarahi, Sarai, Sawyer, Saylor, Scarlette, Selah, Sharon, Shiloh, Sidney, Sierra, Simone, Sloan, Sloane, Susan, Sutton
  • T: Taliyah, Tatiana, Tatum, Tatumn, Tenley, Teresa, Tinley, Tori
  • V: Valeria, Valerie, Veda, Vera, Virginia, Viviana
  • W: Wendy, Whitney, Willa, Wynter
  • X: Ximena
  • Y: Yamileth, Yareli, Yaretzi, Yaritza
  • Z: Zaniyah, Zaria, Zariah, Zariyah, Zaylee, Zelda, Zendaya, Zion, Zoie, Zuri


  • A: Aairah, Aamina, Aaminah, Aanya, Aarya, Aasiyah, Abbie, Agatha, Agnes, Aida, Aila, Aishah, Aiyla, Aiza, Aizah, Akira, Alara, Alaya, Alayah, Alba, Aleeza, Aleksandra, Alesha, Alessia, Alisa, Alissia, Allegra, Alyssia, Amal, Amalie, Amanah, Amayah, Amber-Rose, Ameera, Ameerah, Amelia-Grace, Amelia-Lily, Amelia-Rose, Amna, Anais, Anaiya, Ananya, Anayah, Andreea, Aniela, Anisa, Annabell, Antonia, Antonina, Anwen, Aoife, Aqsa, Arisha, Arissa, Arla, Aroush, Arwa, Arwen, Asha, Ashleigh, Asiya, Asma, Ava-Grace, Ava-Mae, Ava-Rose, Avani, Avneet, Ayaana, Ayah, Ayana, Ayat, Ayda, Ayesha, Ayra, Aysha, Ayva
  • B: Beatrix, Beau, Bella-Rose, Belle, Beth, Bethan, Betsy, Betty, Bianka, Billie, Blessing, Blossom, Bobbi, Bobbie, Bronte
  • C: Cadi, Caoimhe, Carys, Cassie, Cecily, Cerys, Chiara, Cleo, Coco, Connie, Constance
  • DDaisie, Daisy-Mae, Daisy-May, Darcey, Darci, Darcie, Darcie-May, Darcy, Daria, Darla, Demi-Leigh, Dina, Diya, Dolcie, Dolly, Dottie, Dua, Dulcie
  • E: Eadie, Ebony, Edie, Efa, Effie, Eira, Ela, Eleni, Eleri, Elia, Elif, Elina, Elinor, Elisha, Elissa, Ella-Grace, Ella-Louise, Ella-Mae, Ella-May, Ella-Rose, Ellena, Ellie-Mae, Ellie-Mai, Ellie-May, Ellie-Rose, Elodie, Elouise, Elsie-May, Elsie-Rose, Elspeth, Ema, Emaan, Emilija, Emily-Rose, Emmanuella, Emme, Emmie, Enid, Enya, Eryn, Esha, Eshaal, Eshal, Esmae, Esmai, Esmay, Esmee, Etta, Eva-Rose, Evelina, Evie-Grace, Evie-Mae, Evie-May, Evie-Rose, Ezmae
  • F: Farah, Fatimah, Fearne, Fern, Ffion, Fleur, Flora, Florence, Florrie, Freyja
  • G: Georgie, Georgiana, Georgina, Giulia, Gracie-Mae, Gracie-Mai, Gracie-May
  • H: Hadiya, Hafsa, Hafsah, Hajra, Haleema, Halima, Haniya, Hareem, Harleen, Harper-Rose, Harriet, Harriett, Hawa, Hawwa, Haya, Henrietta, Hermione, Hettie, Hetty, Hiba, Hibba, Hollie, Honey, Honor, Huda, Humaira, Husna
  • I: Ida, Iga, Imaan, Iman, Imogen, Inaaya, Inaayah, Inara, Inaya, Inayah, Indi, India, Indiana, Indie, Indigo, Ines, Iona, Iqra, Isabella-Rose, Isha, Isla-Grace, Isla-Mae, Isla-Rose, Isobel, Isobella, Isobelle, Isra, Ivie, Ivy-Rose, Iyla, Izabela, Izzy
  • J: Jana, Jannah, Jannat, Jasleen, Jaya, Jemima, Jia, Jiya, Jorgie, Juno
  • K: Kacey, Kacie, Kaira, Kaitlin, Kaja, Karolina, Katrina, Katy, Keeley, Keeva, Kelsie, Keziah, Khadeejah, Khadija, Khadijah, Kimberley, Kitty, Klara, Klaudia, Kornelia, Kourtney, Krystal
  • L: Lacey-Mae, Lacie, Laiba, Lavinia, Layla-Mae, Layla-Rose, Leela, Leena, Leja, Leonie, Lexi-Mae, Lili, Lillia, Lillie-Mae, Lillie-Rose, Lilly-Mae, Lilly-Mai, Lilly-May, Lilly-Rose, Lily-Mae, Lily-Mai, Lily-Rose, Liya, Liyana, Lois, Lola-Rose, Lorena, Lorna, Lottie, Louise, Lowri, Lucie, Luisa, Lula
  • M: Macey, Maddie, Madiha, Mahi, Mahnoor, Maira, Maisey, Maisy, Maiya, Maizie, Maja, Malaika, Mali, Maliha, Manahil, Manha, Marcie, Mariella, Mariya, Marlie, Marni, Marnie, Marta, Martina, Martyna, Marwa, Marwah, Mathilda, Matylda, May, Meghan, Melisa, Menaal, Merryn, Mia-Rose, Miley, Millicent, Millie-Rose, Milly, Minahil, Minnie, Miyah, Mollie
  • N: Nahla, Nancie, Neave, Nel, Nela, Nell, Nellie, Nelly, Neve, Niamh, Nicola, Nieve, Nikita, Nikola, Nuala, Nusaybah, Nyah
  • O: Ocean, Octavia, Olivia-Grace, Olivia-Rose, Oliwia, Orla, Orlaith, Ottilie
  • P: Peggy, Persephone, Philippa, Pippa, Pixie, Pola, Polly, Poppie, Poppy, Poppy-Mae, Precious, Primrose, Priya
  • R: Rae, Rahma, Rania, Raya, Rebeca, Reeva, Renae, Renee, Ria, Rita, Riya, Robin, Robyn, Roisin, Romilly, Romy, Ronnie, Rosalind, Rosanna, Roxanne, Roxy, Roza, Rubie, Ruby-Mae, Ruby-Rose, Rumaisa, Ruqayyah
  • S: Saara, Saarah, Safa, Safaa, Safia, Safiya, Safiyyah, Saffron, Saira, Samira, Saoirse, Sana, Sapphire, Saskia, Scarlett-Rose, Selina, Seren, Shanaya, Shania, Shannon, Shreya, Sia, Sienna-Rose, Simran, Sinead, Skylah, Sofie, Sofija, Sonia, Sophia-Rose, Soraya, Star, Sukhmani, Sumaya, Sumayya, Sumayyah, Summer-Rose, Sylvie, Syeda
  • T: Tahlia, Tallulah, Tamara, Tanisha, Tayla, Teigan, Tess, Theia, Theodora, Tia, Tianna, Tillie, Tilly
  • U: Una
  • V: Verity, Viktoria
  • W: Weronika, Wiktoria, Winifred, Winnie
  • X: Xanthe
  • Y: Yara, Yasmine, Yusra
  • Z: Zaara, Zahara, Zaina, Zarah, Zaynab, Zaynah, Zofia, Zoha, Zoya, Zunairah, Zusanna

Only one ‘Q’ name appears on either list; Quinn ranks #97 in the U.S. and #422 in England and Wales.  There’s also only one ‘U’ name, which appears on the E/W list but not the American.

Thoughts, anyone?  Do you prefer the styles of the strictly English/Welsh names or the strictly American names?  What conclusions might *you* draw from these sets? 

Data sources:

Below the Top 1000, Part 19 (Girls)

Wow, it’s been 6 months exactly since I started this blog.  Thank you everyone for reading and encouraging me to continue writing about this rather unusual hobby. 🙂  Now let’s look at some names together!

This week’s post includes some of the many names to 30, 31, 32, 33, or 34 girls in the U.S. last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration.  Writers, if you’re looking for a really unusual character name, this list has plenty of monikers that fit the description!   

  • 34: Adelise, Annamaria, Berkleigh, Caprice, Dayelin, Envy, Henna, Ilene, Isamar, Junia, Lareen, Leilana, Lynley, Nohemi, Phoenyx, Sakina, Sheridan, Soren, Vanya
  • 33: Avalina, Akemi, Blessyn, Britain, China, Dolores, Eleonora, Husna, IlseImogene, Jacinta, Jolina, Khushi, Koraline, Meela, Nandini, Oluwadarasimi, Ora, Quetzalli, Rogue, Saori, Stormi, Topanga, Yessica
  • 32: Amayrani, Ameenah, Anabia, Annasophia, Barbie, Daisha, Emelina, Essie, Gweneth, Jania, Karaline, Leliana, Mariafernanda, Meklit, Minna, Nicoletta, Oumou, Rosaline, Rosslyn, Seneca, Unknown, Vega, Windsor
  • 31: Ahtziri, Anastazia, Annalicia, Antonina, Bradleigh, Bryndle, Calissa, Dynasty, Ezrah, Irena, Jatziry, Jemimah, Katelin, Letti, Locklyn, Mirella, Nashley, Odyssey, Parisa, Praise, Shifra, Solara, Theadora, Yajaira, Yazleemar
  • 30: Amarachi, Anh, Atarah, Atlas, Berlyn, Bertha, Betsabe, Blimy, Chastity, Clarabelle, Cortana, Dolly, Elma, Emonie, Eveline, Favour, Forever, Gloriana, Janis, Katniss, Lakshmi, Lujain, Mariska, Naydelin, Orla, Priyanka, Queena, Scotland, Spirit, Stephania, Vita

What do you think?  I’m curious about the fact that there are almost as many girls named Jemimah (31) as Jemima (35).  That, and Unknown.  How does someone born in 2015 still end up with Unknown, assuming that’s a designation and not an actual name? 

Previous posts in this series:


U.S. vs. England/Wales (Girls’ Names)


Two weeks ago, the 2015 name stats for England and Wales were released.  As an American, I don’t know much about British naming trends.  They’re fun to observe and learn about, but it’s not an area that I feel too comfortable expounding on beyond some minor comparison.

There are, however, people who do.  You all should seriously check out the site British Baby Names, run by Eleanor Nickerson.  It’s a wondrous blog that includes the data and analysis of Britain’s naming trends, along with historical names, recent birth announcements, and in-depth name profiles. 

Anyways, BBN provides a top 1000 list for England and Wales (their data is released together; Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate lists).  I was curious how it compared to the American top 1000.  So, with the help of spreadsheets, I’ve been sorting out the names that were only in the top 1000 of either the U.S. or England/Wales.  Here are my observations on women’s names:

Surnames and Men’s Names on Women

Something interesting I’ve seen is that unisex names are only unisex or gender-bending in the U.S.  While some will appear in both (Addison, Ashley), most do not.  A female Mackenzie is going to be American…it’s a men’s name in the Isles.  Same with Cameron.

The big exception I can think of for the U.K. is Darcy and its many forms.  Darcy ranks #88 as a girls’ name on the English/Welsh list; stateside, Darcy is fairly outdated.  It hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the early 1990s.  No, Pride and Prejudice didn’t cause its dropping out, even if the miniseries came out the first year it wasn’t in the charts.  

Classic Names

The style of classic name that’s only popular in the U.S. differs from the style of classic name exclusive to the other side of the pond.  A lot of ours were staples of the 1930s and 40s and are barely hanging on to the top 1000 (Joyce, Barbara, etc.).  Strangely, only the American list contains Anne and Jane both names of English queens regnant.  To be fair, Lady Jane Grey was only queen for nine days…still, how is Anne not a top 1000 name over there?

Strictly British classics include choices that may once have been wildly popular in the U.S…in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Florence and Agnes especially come to mind.  Seriously, we should be making better efforts to resurrect lovelies like Harriet and Theodora

Ancient, Classical, and Mythological

This needed a header separate from the classics.  It’s hard to call Juliana (U.S. only) or Hermione (E/W only) classics by modern standards, despite their long histories.  On the other hand, Virginia (U.S. only) and Flora (E/W only) do count as classics. 

A few of the other names in this section are spelling variants for more common shared spellings.  Freyja only appears on the English/Welsh list, though Freya is popular both there and here.  Kassandra only appears on the American list, but Cassandra shows up on both lists. 

Interestingly, Hermione, Persephone, and Juno appear on the E/W set, but Ariadne is American.  Still no Calliope on either top 1000. 😦


The given-diminutives that only appear in the E/W list are very old-fashioned…the American nicknames, not so much.  Selections from their list: Effie, Lula, Minnie, Florrie, Edie.  On our list: Charleigh, Liv, Jessa.  Americans also have Zelda, though I think we’ve become iffy on whether it’s actually a nickname.  Technically Charlotte is a nickname, though we all regard her as formal.

The Adelines

OK, so Adeline appears on both lists, but most other spellings (Adalynn, Adelyn, etc.) only appear in the U.S.  More on that below in The Emmas and The Lynns.

The Emmas

While Emma is popular pretty much everywhere, like Adeline only the the top form really curries favor in England and Wales.  Emmalyn, Emmaline, etc. are only in the American top 1000.  The exception is Emmeline, which appears on both lists.

The Lynns

Names ending in -Lynn are pretty strictly American.  If I find one they like in the U.K., I’ll let you know.

Alison and Co.

Alison, Allison, Allyson, etc. are all American.

Irish Names/Spellings

People on both sides of the Atlantic have difficulty pronouncing and spelling Celtic names…especially the Irish ones. 

That said, a number of Irish names appear on the E/W list only and in their original spellings.  Aoife, Caoimhe, and Saoirse especially come to mind.  However, there are also the Anglicized spellings – Keeva, anyone?

Welsh Names

Of course, it wouldn’t be the English and Welsh top 1000 without some Welsh names!  Bethan, Cerys, Eleri, and Anwen are all choices you won’t find in the American top 1000.  That’s not to say there aren’t Welsh names on the American charts…Megan‘s still pretty popular.

Names from Spanish, French, and Amerindian Languages (and etc.)

These are more strictly American.  If you meet an Aranza, Belen, Itzel, or Noelle, she’s American.  Italian girls’ names seem to go either way though…Chiara is English, but Giuliana is American.

Arabic and Muslim Names:

These are fairly common to both lists, though the E/W seems to hold more exclusively.  On their list (but not ours) are names like Khadija and Nusaybah

Polish Names

Peculiar to the English/Welsh list, unless you want to attribute Izabella on the American list to a Polish-speaking population (I think it’s just because Isabella is so fashionable).  The E/W set includes Kornelia, Matylda, and Weronika.  (Side note – does anyone else think it’s strange that Kornelia is top 1000 but Cornelia isn’t?)

Double-Barrel Names

Strictly British.  The Social Security Administration doesn’t account for these in their data, so even if someone names their child AvaLynn, it will appear as Avalynn (#884 in U.S.).  That said, double-barrels are pretty common across the pond.  AmeliaRose ranks #210 there, and there are quite a few others, including EvieMay, DemiLeigh, and PoppyMae. Also RubyRose, which reminds me of the 5th Element.

Place Names

You won’t find the American names London and Bristol on English children.  There is an American city called Bristol (Virginia/Tennessee border) known for NASCAR – whether this city or Bristol Palin is the namesake is up to the parents.  I do wonder if anyone born in or near Bristol actually has the name.  New York is the only state where Brooklyn wasn’t in the top 100 last year.  Funnily enough, Brooklyn is unisex on the English/Welsh charts, though I suspect the reason for *that* is David Beckham’s son.


  • Brits *love* Poppy.  It’s the highest ranking girls’ name in England and Wales that isn’t even top 1000 stateside.  That hopefully will change soon…last year it was pretty close to cracking it! 
  • Girls’ names beginning with the letter ‘I’ disproportionately appear on the English/Welsh lists, while J names are disproportionately American.
  • American babies are being named after Kensington Palace (!).  Kensington ranked #969 last year. 

Concluding Remarks

Thoughts?  I’ll post the full list of what’s exclusively English/Welsh or American later, and then my observations on the boys’ names. 



King Jotham

I recently learned Jotham might be a family name!  Jotham is a surprisingly unusual Bible name.  In 2015, only 26 boys were given this name, which means “Yahweh is upright.”    

One of the Jothams listed in the Bible was a king of Judah.  The relevant passage (2 Chronicles 27) is fairly short but portrays a pious man who focused on infrastructure.  The other Biblical Jotham was a son of GideonGideon apparently had 71 sons, and one of them, Abimelech, tried to kill the other seventy to become king.  Jotham was the sole survivor of this assassination attempt (Judges 9). 

There are more ‘recent’ instances of the name Jotham Jotham Post, Jr. served as a U.S. Congressman (from New York) between 1813 and 1815, and a Jotham Johnson served as an archaeologist in the mid 20th century.

All in all, Jotham isn’t someone you’re likely to meet in the 21st century.  This is a name ripe for the picking – especially as a radical alternative to Gotham (which was given to 46 boys last year…na-na-na-na BATMAN!) or more radically to classic Jonathan (given to over 7,500 boys last year).  And because it belonged to a Biblical king, it’s an unusual royal name too.  With all the babies named Henry and William running around, equally handsome Jotham would stand out in the crowd! 

What do you think of the name Jotham?  Bonus points – King Jotham’s parents were named Uzziah and Jerusha…respectively bestowed on 49 boys and 9 girls in 2015!  

Below the Top 1000, Part 18 (Boys)

Happy Friday!  Sorry for the lull in posting lately.  I promise I’m not slacking off!  It’s been a very busy last couple of weeks. 😛

It’s week 18 of my 2015 rare American name series.  Below are the names you’ll find in the range of 30-34 uses, according to Social Security data.

  • 34: Aero, Akira, Amaury, Bauer, Burton, Dior, Eduard, Gautham, Jayshawn, Jory, Kush, Llewyn, Lysander, Merlin, Pavel, Rain, Rainier, Slate, Theophilus, Zylan
  • 33: Ayomide, Brannon, Canton, Casimir, Fitz, Henderson, Henson, Joab, Kohl, Majesty, Omega, Pascal, Rhythm, Rosendo, Steel, Zabdiel
  • 32: Benyamin, Caedmon, Carlin, Cary, Davidson, Donatello, Eero, Elder, Emerick, Jaasiel, Jehu, Kaimana, Linken, Lux, Malique, Marciano, Rommel, Shelby, Siddartha, Zekiel
  • 31: Amaris, Barret, Blue, Brewer, Conlan, Cotton, Dodge, Enos, Fabricio, Homero, Jaeger, Konstantinos, Mecca, Octavian, Pinchas, Raider, Rigby, Saw, Shaw, Thang, Torsten, Valentine, Weldon, Whitman, Zarek
  • 30: Abisai, Branton, Britain, Calix, Cosmo, Eh, Emre, Fionn, Galileo, Hutton, Jaxtin, Kacper, Khiry, Martell, Mosiah, Munir, Neko, Nicodemus, Osbaldo, Ragnar, Rock, Royalty, Terran, Wilbert, Zedekiah

Thoughts, anyone? 

Previous posts in this series:


The Hunger Names


Sorry it’s a little lopsided…

I finally read the Hunger Games!  Never seen the movie, so besides what I’ve gleaned from the media and friends, I had a chance to look at the series with fresh eyes.  I wasn’t really interested in it before (though Hunger Games Minecraft servers were always fun!), but happened upon a free copy and decided to read it for the names.  All in all, the book was enjoyable, though I would have liked more background info about Panem…maybe that will happen in later books.  I’m glad I didn’t read it when it was first popular because frankly, I absolutely hated The Giver as a teenager.  Appreciation of the dystopian genre didn’t manifest until a couple years ago, when I finally read Orwell.  Now I love the stuff!  Hmm…maybe I should afford The Giver another chance.

Anyway, it’s not my intention to write a book review.  Instead, how about a commentary on the names? 

Plant Names:

Katniss “Catnip” – According to the character Katniss, the katniss is a type of flower with an edible root.  Indeed, it’s a real plant, also called Sagittaria or (fittingly) Arrowhead.   Last year, 30 girls were named Katniss in the U.S.




Primrose “Prim”- A sweet floral name for a sweet disposition.  50 American girls were named Primrose last year, but it’s more distinctly British.  According the newly-released English and Welsh data, she ranks #259 there.

Buttercup – OK, I know this was the cat’s name, but…”as you wish?”

Rue: “Small yellow flower” (p. 99). 

Clove – You probably won’t find this as anyone’s name, though I wonder if anyone’s tried it as a nickname for Clover


Effie – Another adorable, mostly British name.  53 girls were named Effie in the U.S. last year, and she ranks #343 in the U.K.  In case you’re wondering, this is traditionally short for Euphemia.

Madge – Traditionally a nickname for Margaret, but could also work as a nickname for Talmadge.  Adorable, but I’m unsure if this will ever catch on again.  The last time this was in the top 1000 was in the 1950s.

Ancient Roman/Latin Names: (Wow, there are a lot of these!)

Venia – Possible nickname for Venetia

Flavius – Would love to see Flavius gain traction! 

Octavia – 173 girls.  Rare and beautiful. 

Cinna – I thought maybe this was a nickname for Cinnamon, but it looks like it may date to Rome (and Shakespeare). 

Portia – 42 girls.  Add stylist to the list of associations besides Porsche and Portia di Rossi!

Caesar – 91 boys.  I bet we could turn Peeta into croutons for the salad. 

Titus – The only men’s name on this list that’s popular in the U.S.  Rank: #281. 

Claudius – Surprisingly none of these in the data. 

Cato – 23 boys.  I wonder how many of these are named after the Cato Institute? 


Gale (m) – Huh.  I was seriously expecting to find this as a women’s name in the 2015 data, but the only known Gales are indeed male.  Must be the series’ influence…anyway, 8 boys were named Gale last year. 

Haymitch – Sounds like a lot like Hamish. 

Peeta – Can I get some hummus with that? 

Johanna – Current rank: #541

Delly Sandwich shop!  Or nickname for Cordelia

Atala – Atari?

Thresh – Funny, he’s from the agriculture district and threshing is an agricultural practice. 

Glimmer – “Ugh, the names people in District 1 give their children are so ridiculous.”  (-Katniss, page 182).  I’m not one to call names ridiculous, but you have to admit the quote is hilarious!

Rooba – Reminds me of Roombas

Greasy Sae – I wouldn’t ever want to be called Greasy, though Sae can make a cute nickname for Sarah or Sadie 8 girls were named Sae in the U.S. last year.

And, that’s a wrap of my Hunger Names commentary (at least, until I read the next two books!).  Encountering all those Roman names is absolutely fantastic, and I always love flower names. 

Thoughts, anyone?