February Name Sightings

Since February ends on the 28th this year, it’s time for me to post the most interesting names I’ve spotted on people this month!  You can read my January round-up here.

I saw:

  • Lucky – Male.  Lucky is far more common as a men’s name than a women’s name, but it registered for both at last count.  In 2016, 56 boys and 7 girls were named Lucky.
  • Anahata – There’s no data on Anahata, though the similar name Anahita has enjoyed fairly steady (if rare) usage among girls since the late 70s.
  • Catina was popular in the 70s due to the name Katina‘s appearance in a soap opera.  The last SSA appearance for this spelling was in 2011.

In Newspapers:

  • TakichaTakisha was briefly popular in the late 1970s, though the spelling Takicha never hit the minimum 5 uses to appear in the extended data.
  • Luerline (deceased) – another spelling of Lurline, which peaked shortly after World War I.
  • Ivey – Male, deceased.  Though overwhelmingly feminine now (and growing because of Ivy), Ivey was more popular for boys through much of the early 20th century.  141 girls were named Ivey in 2016; Ivey last appeared in SSA data for boys in 2015, when it was given to 7 boys.
  • Ashby – 31 boys and 16 girls in 2016.
  • Sabine – 75 girls in 2016.  The Sabines were an ancient people whose women were kidnapped by Roman men, who themselves were looking for wives to populate their city.  The incident is known as the “Rape of the Sabine Women.”  I can’t help but think that that wording makes Sabine a really odd choice for a baby name.  If you like the name’s sound, maybe go with Sabrina instead?
  • Saiyana – no data.
  • Avayah – 69 girls in 2016.  Almost looks like a cross between Ava, Nevaeh, and maybe VadaAvayah first entered SSA data in 2005, five years after more popular Avaya (85 girls in 2016) entered.  Modern and stylish!
  • Daryl – Female, deceased.  Daryl is usually thought of as a men’s name, though a famous woman Daryl is actress Daryl Hannah.  As a girls’ name, it last appeared in 2015; 141 boys were named Daryl in 2016.
  • Graylin – 5 girls in 2016.  This particular Graylin is probably an adult man, though…and as it turns out, Graylin has traditionally been a men’s name, according to SSA numbers.  Graylin only debuted for girls in 2013, but it debuted for men in 1949 (and peaked in the 50s).  Last appearance on the boys’ side: 2015.

Thoughts?  Have you spotted any interesting names lately?  Let me know!

Girls’ Names Popular in Every Year Since 1880

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What defines a timeless name?  Is it a name that never seems to age?  Or is it a name that stays popular throughout the centuries?

In the U.S., a name is considered popular if it falls within the top 1000, as tallied by the Social Security Administration.  Every year, the SSA publishes baby name data going all the way back to 1880.  Amazingly, hundreds of names have managed to remain popular every single year since then!  If that’s not the definition of a timeless name, then I don’t know what is. 

I will post all of these classic names, though today I’m starting with the girls’ list. The names are listed below with their ranks in 2016; whether they rose, fell, or remained stable from 2015 to 2016; and by how many places in the rankings that they rose or fell.  Any rank change over ±30 receives the “quickly” modifier, while changes up to ±3 are described with “slightly.”  At the bottom of this list, I’ll summarize and relist the names that rose and fell the most between 2015 and 2016.

  1. Alice – #76; rising (+10)
  2. Alma – #723; falling (-36)
  3. Amanda – #329; falling (-13)
  4. Amelia – #11; rising slightly (+1)
  5. Amy – #176; falling (-18)
  6. Angela – #214; rising (+6)
  7. Angelina – #175; falling (-11)
  8. Angie – #619; falling quickly (-30)
  9. Ann – #992; falling quickly (-95), critically endangered.  Unless Ann pulls a Judith* in 2017, this name is almost guaranteed to exit this list in May.
  10. Anna – #51; falling (-7)
  11. Anne – #554; rising (+12)
  12. Annie – #287; rising quickly (+36)
  13. Audrey – #39; falling slightly (-2)
  14. Barbara – #856; rising (+9)
  15. Bridget – #594; falling quickly (-61)
  16. Camille – #243; rising slightly (+3)
  17. Caroline – #56; rising (+6)
  18. Carolyn – #810; falling quickly (-58); endangered.
  19. Catherine – #195; falling (-18)
  20. Cecilia – #179; rising slightly (+2)
  21. Celeste – #495; rising slightly (+2)
  22. Celia – #837; rising (+18)
  23. Charlotte – #7; rising slightly (+2)
  24. Christina – #390; falling quickly (-57)
  25. Christine – #729; rising quickly (+61).  No guarantee that gains continue in 2017; sometimes dying names will zig-zag up and down for a few years before completely falling out of popularity.  Indeed, Christine was never outside the top 200 until 1999, and has mostly continued downwards since then.  Hopefully, the large rise between 2015 and 2016 will continue in 2017.
  26. Claire – #40; rising (+9)
  27. Clara – #99; falling slightly (-1)
  28. Claudia – #761; falling (-19)
  29. Cora – #87; rising slightly (+1)
  30. Corinne – #796; falling quickly (-64); endangered, but don’t expect a 2017 exit.
  31. Cynthia – #561; falling (-21)
  32. Daisy – #190; falling (-7)
  33. Deborah – #815; falling (-8)
  34. Edith – #488; rising quickly (+36)
  35. Eleanor – #41; rising (+19).  +19 is a huge jump within the top 100, so this was one of the trendier names of 2016.
  36. Elisabeth – #684; rising (+31)
  37. Elise – #166; rising (+8)
  38. Ellen – #655; rising quickly (+51)
  39. Elsa – #622; falling quickly (-136) and possibly endangered.  Elsa spiked up to #286 in 2014 because of Frozen; either its correcting back to pre-movie levels or will drop out of the top 1000 in a couple years.
  40. Emily – #9; falling slightly (-1)
  41. Emma – #1; stable (0)
  42. Elizabeth – #13; stable (0)
  43. Esther – #183; rising (+20)
  44. Eva – #73; rising slightly (+2)
  45. Evelyn – #12; rising slightly (+3)
  46. Frances – #446; rising quickly (+69)
  47. Genevieve – #188; falling (-6)
  48. Georgia – #227; rising slightly (+3)
  49. Grace – #19; stable (0)
  50. Hannah – #33; falling (-5)
  51. Helen – #408; rising (+12)
  52. Helena – #518; rising (+16)
  53. Irene – #656; falling (-26)
  54. Iris – #186; rising (+31)
  55. Isabel – #145; rising (+4)
  56. Jane – #279; rising (+9)
  57. Jessie – #642; falling (-27)
  58. Joanna – #248; rising quickly (+57)
  59. Johanna – #555; falling (-14)
  60. Josephine – #114; rising quickly (+17)
  61. Josie – #237; rising quickly (+13)
  62. Judith – #889; rising (+38).  Rebounding?  *Judith ranked as low as #992 in 2013; incidentally, that’s Ann‘s exact ranking for 2016.
  63. Julia – #88; rising slightly (+1)
  64. Julie – #482; falling (-27)
  65. Kate – #231; falling (-9)
  66. Katherine – #90; falling (-6)
  67. Kathleen – #841; falling (-12)
  68. Kathryn – #398; falling quickly (-79)
  69. Katie – #364; falling quickly (-54)
  70. Laura – #346; falling quickly (-24)
  71. Lea – #690; rising quickly (+48)
  72. Leah – #37; falling slightly (-1)
  73. Lena – #276; falling (-4)
  74. Leslie – #413; falling quickly (-42)
  75. Lillian – #28; falling slightly (-2)
  76. Linda – #669; stable (0)
  77. Lucia – #213; rising quickly (+13)
  78. Lucy – #55; stable (0)
  79. Lydia – #80; stable (0)
  80. Madeline – #91; falling slightly (-1)
  81. Maggie – #242; stable (0)
  82. Margaret – #139; rising (+15)
  83. Maria – #113; falling (-4)
  84. Marie – #583; falling (-21)
  85. Martha – #727; rising quickly (+62).  Martha is in a similar position as Christine.  I hope that Martha continues to trend upwards, but usage has been erratic this decade.
  86. Mary – #127; falling (-4)
  87. Miriam – #293; rising slightly (+1)
  88. Molly – #157; falling (-14)
  89. Nancy – #900; falling quickly (-78); critically endangered.  After Ann, this is probably the next most likely to fall out of the top 1000 in 2017.
  90. Naomi – #74; rising slightly (+2)
  91. Natalie – #31; falling (-4)
  92. Nina – #309; falling (-10)
  93. Nora – #36; rising (+5)
  94. Olivia – #2; stable (0)
  95. Paula – #824; rising quickly (+64)
  96. Priscilla – #474; rising (+28)
  97. Rachel – #173; falling (-6)
  98. Rebecca – #207; falling (-19)
  99. Regina – #437; rising quickly (+80)
  100. Rosa – #639; falling (-10)
  101. Rose – #154; rising (+12)
  102. Ruby – #71; rising (+12)
  103. Ruth – #299; falling (-7)
  104. Sara – #152; rising (+10)
  105. Sarah – #57; rising slightly (+1)
  106. Sophia – #4; falling slightly (-1)
  107. Susan – #922; rising (+6)
  108. Sylvia – #505; falling (-21).  On the other hand, the French form Sylvie was new to the top 1000 in 2016.
  109. Teresa – #667; rising slightly (+1)
  110. Veronica – #414; falling quickly (-46)
  111. Victoria – #21; falling slightly (-1)
  112. Virginia – #517; rising (+6)
  113. Vivian – #95; stable (0).

Biggest gains?  Regina (+80), Frances (+69), Paula (+64), Martha (+62), Christine (+61), Joanna (+57), Ellen (+51), Lea (+48), Judith (+38), Annie (+36), Edith (+36), Elisabeth (+31), Iris (+31)

Biggest losses?  Elsa (-136), Ann (-95), Kathryn (-79), Nancy (-78), Corinne (-64), Bridget (-61), Carolyn (-58), Christina (-57), Katie (-54), Veronica (-45), Leslie (-42), Alma (-36), Angie (-30)

I think it can be said that all 113 names on this list are classic, though not necessarily ageless or even timeless.  Names like Barbara and Paula certainly have a dated “grandma” quality to them, and yet they’ve remained popular choices for parents across three centuries at least!  Truly, one of the best reasons to use a classic baby name is that it’s time-tested.

And what about the names that might leave the top 1000 (and this list) in 2017, like Ann and Nancy?  We can hope for a revival, and comfortably rest in the knowledge that leaving the top 1000 does not mean name-extinction.  The sad part is that the number of names that have been perennially popular since 1880 will continue to dwindle.  Names that were trendy in the mid-to-late 20th century are in danger of obscurity as many of their bearers become parents and (especially) grandparents.  In 2016, once-classic Jenny fell victim to Jennifer‘s ongoing decline.  Many of today’s most popular names were also popular so long ago that most of their bearers have died off, leaving today’s parents with few previous impression of older generations.  This is probably part of the reason why names like Edith and Eleanor are trendy, and why names like Matilda and Adeline have returned to the top 1000 after decades of obscurity.

Thoughts, anyone?  I’m going to post the boys’ names later, so watch out for those. 


Rare ‘J’ Names for Girls

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The last few letters I’ve written rare-name posts about have been relatively unusual initials for baby names; F, G, H, and I all had few enough names that the girls’ and boys’ names could be combined into a single post for each letter.  J, on the other hand, needs separate posts.  It’s still nowhere near as common as A, but with that said…over 2,600 J names appeared in the SSA’s 2016 data-set!

  • 150-256 girls named: Jurnee, Jenny,* Jubilee, Jakayla, Jovie, Jacey, Jazelle, Janice, Janet, Janie, Jazzlyn
  • 100-149: Jaclyn, Jael, Judy, Jaslyn, Jersey, Julietta, Juana, Jamila, Jiya, Josephina, Joan, Jaya, Jaylani, Jalayah, Janyla, Justine, Jessalyn
  • 50-99: Juno, Joanne, Jesslyn, Jackie, Jamia, Jia, Jacelyn, Jalynn, Josefina, Jahzara, Jamaya, Jazzlynn, Janeth, Jannat, Jayleigh, Jupiter, Janelly, Jeanette, Joella, Jean, Juanita, Joann, Jariyah, Jordana, James, Jhene, Justina, Joni, Jadelyn, Jalissa, Jaslene, Jelena, Janney, Josette, Jaleesa, Jadore, Jayline, Jenessa, Jentry, Joie, Jaziyah
  • 25-49: Jayana, Jessenia, Jennie, Jensyn, Jessalynn, Jireh, Jakiyah, Jodie, Jadelynn, Jalia, Jemima, Jeimy, Jizelle, Jalyssa, Jermani, Jovanna, Janine, Jailene, Jalani, Jewels, Jayliana, Jodi, Johnnie, Jamileth, Jeanne, Janay, Jaelle, Jena, Jo, Joshlynn, Jourdyn, Jeannette, Jewelz, Jakira, Jakyla, Jill, Jori, Jeannie, Jesslynn, Jlynn, Joely, Jadalynn, Jolina, Javeah, Jetta, Julieanna, Junia, Jadzia, Jalaysia, Jerrica, Johnna, Juna, Jarely, Jaxyn, Jezebel, Jumana, Jala, Joplin, Joycelyn, Julienne
  • 10-24: Janella, Janiece, Joya, Jacinta, Janis, Jaretzy, Jeanna, Jabria, Jazara, Jeily, July, Jaionna, Jamiracle, Jatziry, Jennica, Joyanna, January, Jolena, Jasmina, Jeanelle, Jream, Jazz, Junie, Jaaliyah, Jameela, Jamielynn, Jessabelle, Joanie, Jojo, Juvia, Jadeyn, Jasani, Jonae, Julianny, Jalexa, Jamani, Janani, Jerusalem, Jolin, Jaanvi, Jannatul, Jaritza, Jennings, Jimma, Jaimarie, Janielys, Jazmarie, Jenavie, Jerri, Jocabed, Johnae, Jahnavi, Jamelia, Janina, Jaylina, Jiaqi, Jiayi, Jadaya, Jadie, Jaxie, Jeanie, Jenova, Jessamine, Jihan, Jilliana, Joceline, Jaalah, Jadalee, Jaidence, Jalei, Jeamileth, Jennalyn, Jerusha, Jetzabel, Jochebed, Josefa, Joylynn, Judea, Juneau
  • 9: Jahdai, Jakhia, Jamesha, Janasia, Janeliz, Janelys, Jaonna, Japneet, Jasnoor, Jasreet, Javeria, Jaylianie, Jeannine, Jennessy, Jhoselyn, Jhournee, Jina, Josiana, Joules, Joyelle, Juli, Jyanna
  • 8: Jaasritha, Janaki, Janalyn, Janila, Jarianna, Jayceona, Jenesys, Jerilyn, Jerzy, Jeweliana, Jhade, Jinan, Joeliz, Joellen, Joelynn
  • 7: Jakailyn, Jakaylee, Jalana, Jaleh, Jalise, Jalyric, Jamaica, Janitza, Japji, Japleen, Jasmeen, Javayah, Jayra, Jazzy, Jehieli, Jeilany, Jenalise, Jeralynn, Jermia, Jershia, Jessalee, Jinger, Jingyi, Jleigh, Jonier, Jordanne, Josceline, Jovial
  • 6: Jaasia, Jacia, Jadesola, Jadora, Jaelys, Jakelin, Jakeria, Jalyla, Jamariona, Jamora, Janiecia, Janielle, Janique, Janita, Janora, Jarielys, Jarissa, Jashley, Jasmeh, Jasneet, Jennabelle, Jennavecia, Jessamae, Jette, Jettie, Jewelia, Jirah, Jiwoo, Jmiyah, Jniyah, Joanny, Jonique, Jovia, Jovita, Juwairiyah, Jwan
  • 5: Jacara, Jadarose, Jadence, Jahara, Jaimelynn, Jaisley, Jakylee, Jalaina, Jamina, Jan, Janaii, Janavia, Janetzy, Jaskirat, Jaspreet, Jaxlyn, Jayciana, Jaylarose, Jazbel, Jazeera, Jazuri, Jazzabella, Jeannelle, Jehilyn, Jermanii, Jessabella, Jevaeh, Jiamei, Jing, Jinx, Jiraiya, Jolaoluwa, Joliet, Jonie, Joplyn, Josepha, Josmary, Joyanne, Joyful, Juhi, Julep

*2016 was the first time that Jenny hasn’t been in the top 1000.  The number of perennially popular baby names dwindles every year…

Thoughts on these rare ‘J’ names for girls?  Do you have a favorite?

Name Frequency of U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents

Monday was Presidents’ Day, and today (February 22) is George Washington’s birthday.  This has me pondering – what are the most common presidential names? 


George Washington

Here is a list of U.S. presidents’ and vice presidents’ names by frequency!  I’ve organized them into two categories: official and birth names.  The ‘official’ list tallies the names we know them by; for example, Bill Clinton is officially counted as Bill.  On the other hand, Clinton is tallied as William under the list of birth names.

Official names:

  • James (x5)
  • John (x4)
  • George (x3)
  • William (x3)
  • Andrew (x2)
  • Franklin (x2)
  • Abraham
  • Barack
  • Benjamin
  • Bill
  • Calvin
  • Chester
  • Donald
  • Dwight
  • Gerald
  • Grover
  • Harry
  • Herbert
  • Jimmy
  • Lyndon
  • Martin
  • Millard
  • Richard
  • Ronald
  • Rutherford
  • Theodore
  • Thomas
  • Ulysses
  • Warren
  • Woodrow
  • Zachary

If we switch to birth names, the presidential list looks like:

  • James (x6) – including Jimmy Carter
  • John (x5) – including John Calvin Coolidge
  • William (x4) – including Bill Clinton
  • George (x3)
  • Andrew (x2)
  • Franklin (x2)
  • Thomas (x2) – including Thomas Woodrow Wilson
  • Abraham
  • Barack
  • Benjamin
  • Chester
  • Donald
  • Dwight
  • Harry
  • Herbert
  • Hiram – Hiram Ulysses Grant
  • Leslie – birth name of Gerald Ford, who was originally named after his biological father.  Gerald Ford was his stepfather’s name.
  • Lyndon
  • Maarten – Martin Van Buren’s first language was Dutch
  • Millard
  • Richard
  • Ronald
  • Rutherford
  • Stephen – Stephen Grover Cleveland
  • Theodore
  • Warren
  • Zachary

Now here are the Vice-Presidents’ official names:

  • John (x5)
  • Charles (x3)
  • George (x3)
  • Thomas (x3)
  • Henry (x2)
  • Richard (x2)
  • William (x2)
  • Aaron
  • Adlai
  • Al
  • Alben
  • Andrew
  • Calvin
  • Chester
  • Dan
  • Daniel
  • Dick
  • Elbridge
  • Garret
  • Gerald
  • Hannibal
  • Harry
  • Hubert
  • James
  • Joe
  • Levi
  • Lyndon
  • Martin
  • Mike
  • Millard
  • Nelson
  • Schuyler
  • Spiro
  • Theodore
  • Walter

And their birth names:

  • John (x6) – including Calvin Coolidge
  • Charles (x3)
  • George (x3)
  • Richard (x3) – including Dick Cheney
  • Thomas (x3)
  • James (x2) – including James Danforth “Dan” Quayle
  • William (x2)
  • Aaron
  • Adlai
  • Alben
  • Albert – Al Gore
  • Andrew
  • Chester
  • Daniel
  • Elbridge
  • Garret
  • Hannibal
  • Harry
  • Henry
  • Hubert
  • Jeremiah – Jeremiah Jones Colbath changed his name to Henry Wilson.
  • Joseph – Joe Biden
  • Leslie
  • Levi
  • Lyndon
  • Maarten
  • Michael – Mike Pence
  • Millard
  • Nelson
  • Schuyler
  • Spiro
  • Theodore
  • Walter

Thoughts?  I’m honestly a little surprised that there’s been more than one president named Franklin.  That, and I think Hannibal Hamlin wins “coolest name.”

The Most Interesting Compound Boys’ Names in the U.S.

You’ve read the list of compound girls’ names.  Now here’s the boys’ list!

  • Alanmichael: Apparently, this is from an 80s soap opera.  First appearance 1988, last appearance 2001.
  • Angeldejesus: Literally, “Angel of Jesus” in Spanish.  Similar to the women’s name Mariadejesus, or “Mary of Jesus.”  Angeldejesus last appeared in 2015 with 6 boys.
  • Angelgabriel: The angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she was pregnant with Jesus.  12 boys were named Angelgabriel in 2016.
  • Brandonlee: Brandon Lee (1965-1993) was the son of Bruce Lee, and an actor in his own right.  He died while filming The Crow (1994).  The name peaked in the SSA list the year he died.
  • Brucelee: 5 boys in 1989.  I’m curious why Brucelee debuted so long after Bruce Lee (1940-1973) died.
  • Christopherlee: Christopher Lee (1922-2015) most famously played Count Dooku in Star Wars and Saruman in Lord of the Rings.  The name Christopherlee shows up in SSA data from 1985 to 1991.
  • Crissangel: 5 boys in 2007.  Criss Angel is a magician.
  • Donjuan: The term “Don Juan” can refer to a womanizer.  It comes from a medieval Spanish legend, first written down in the 1600s.  Famous later works about the character include an opera by Mozart and a poem by Byron.  The name Donjuan last appeared in 2014 with 5 boys, possibly because of the 2013 movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
  • Dylanthomas: Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) was a 20th-century poet.  This combo only appeared in 1998.
  • Georgemichael: Considering this name only appeared between 1989 and 1997, most Georgemichaels were probably named after the singer (1963-2016).  There’s also the Arrested Development character George Michael Bluth.
  • Jamesdean: Actor James Dean (1931-1955) was best known for the movie Rebel Without a CauseJamesdean first appeared in 1994, and lastly in 2014.
  • Jamespaul: Paul McCartney’s first name is really James.  This combo was given to 5 boys in 2016.
  • Jaydenjames: Britney Spears named one of her sons Jayden James, though this combo didn’t hit the lists for another two years.  Jaydenjames has appeared only once, in 2008.
  • Jeanclaude: The most famous bearer is Jean-Claude van Damme, known for his violent movies.  This combo last appeared in 2013.
  • Jeanluc: Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek: Next Generation.  The show inspired the first crop of Jeanlucs in the 80s, but the name  never faded back into obscurity and is a perennial (though rare) choice for baby boys.  24 boys were named Jeanluc in 2016.
  • Jessejames: 16 boys in 2016.  The most famous Jesse James was the 19th-century outlaw…the second *mildly* famous Jesse James is Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband.
  • Johnbenedict: 14 boys in 2005, presumably named after the new pope that year – Benedict XVI.
  • Johnoliver: 6 boys in 2016.  I wonder how many were named after comedian John Oliver and how many are a result of the name Oliver‘s growing popularity?
  • Johnross: 1980s TV character and the name of a 19th-century Cherokee chief.  Last appeared in 2015 with 9 boys.
  • Johnthomas: If you’ve ever watched Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, you’ll know why this combo is funny.  7 boys were named Johnthomas in 2016.
  • Johntyler: U.S. president John Tyler (1790-1862), who is probably most famous for having living grandchildren in the 21st century despite having been born in the 18th century!  The combo Johntyler has appeared twice, in 2003 and 2005.
  • Johnnyangel: Song from the 1950s, though the name didn’t appear until the 1990s.
  • Juandedios: Translation from Spanish – “John of God.”  5 boys in 2016.
  • Juliocesar: Spanish version of “Julius Caesar.”  8 boys in 2016.
  • Kuntakinte: Kunta Kinte was a major character in Roots, a novel written by author Alex Haley about his ancestry.  The combo Kuntakinte was given to 6 boys in 1977 and never appeared in SSA data again, but Kunta alone was far more popular and did reappear.
  • Malcolmjamal: In the 80s, a few boys were named after Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who acted in The Cosby Show.
  • Marcopolo: Marco Polo (1254-1324) wrote a detailed travelogue of his voyages through China.  5 boys in 2003.


    Marco Polo is a surprising source for a compound name!

  • Muhammadali: 24 boys were named Muhammadali in 2016, which is a lot more than ever before.  The reason was the passing of boxer Muhammad Ali (1943-2016).
  • Princewilliam: Princewill also shows up in the data.  5 boys were named Princewilliam in 2011, the same year the Queen’s grandson married Kate Middleton.
  • Robroy: Rob Roy is the name of an 1817 Walter Scott book, though the name Rob Roy itself refers to a guy called Rob Roy MacGregor.  The name Robroy occasionally appeared in SSA data between 1958 and 1968.
  • Victorhugo: Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Last appearance: 2014.


  • I’ve noticed some compound names that contain “Jr,” including Anthonyjr, Carlosjr, Jesusjr, and etc.  Usually Jr. (abbreviation for Junior) is a suffix placed after the surname.  Assuming most of these kids are indeed named after their fathers, I’d be curious to know if Jr. appears twice on official documents (for example: Anthonyjr Smith, Jr.).  Or, are they negated as juniors because the first name doesn’t exactly copy that of the father’s? 
  • There are some combos that contain names from different languages, including…
    • Iancarlo (Scottish and Italian)
    • Kevinkhang (Irish and Vietnamese) – I really want to know this story behind this one!
    • Jeancarlos (French and Spanish)
    • Jeanmichael (French and English)
  • The “Sir” combos are interesting.  Here are the ones from the 2016 dataset:
    • Siranthony
    • Sirking
    • Sircharles
    • Sirwilliam
  • Combinations that surprisingly don’t appear in SSA data: Ethanallen, Jackryan, and Martinluther. 

What do you think of these compound boys’ names?  Are there any you’ve heard that you would add to this list?  Let me know!

Rare ‘I’ Names

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‘I’ is an unusual initial for names.  Once you eliminate most of the spelling variants for Isabella, Isaac, and Isaiah, there aren’t many remaining names that start with this letter!  That said, here are some rare ‘I’ names from 2016, according to Social Security Administration data.


  • 150-262 girls named: India, Ireland, Indie, Ida, Imogen
  • 100-149: Isadora, Isha, Isobel, Iva, Inaaya, Ivanka, Iman, Inara
  • 50-99: Irina, Italia, Italy, Ilana, Isela, Ines, Irma, Iqra, Isra, Indira, Iona, Isis, Ishani
  • 25-49: Imogene, Ishanvi, Ishika, Idalia, Ilona, Imari, Imelda, Island, Indica, Infinity
  • 10-24: Ilse, Itzamara, Ixhel, Inari, Ione, Isamar, Irlanda, Isidora, Ikhlas, Inga, Inna, Isabeau, Isolde, Ibtisam, Io, Ivelisse, Ishita, Islay, Iselis, Irais, Iridessa, Isaura, Ita, Ismahan, Ismerai, Icelynn, Ilithyia, Ivalee, Idella, Ilsa, Iola, Irish
  • 7-9: Innocence, Israella, Ifunanya, Inanna, Insiya, Ilma, Iolani, Irani, Itzuri, Iymona
  • 6: Ileigh, Ilinca, Independence, Infiniti, Intisar, Isatou, Itati, Izetta, Izora
  • 5: Ibtihaj, Ibukunoluwa, Idalis, Ifechukwu, Ijeoma, Inayat, Ineza, Ioni, Ipek, Isabelly, Iselys, Iseult, Ishwaq


  • 100-194 boys named: Imran, Idris, Irving, Ishmael, Ishan, Irvin
  • 25-99: Ilyas, Indiana, Isidro, Iverson, Ignatius, Ike, Iver, Iain, Ikaika, Indy
  • 10-24: Iam, Itai, Isley, Icarus, Ikenna, Itamar, Igor, Irwin, Irfan, Ireoluwa, Islam, Ivar, Isadore, Ikechukwu, Iran, Inigo, Isidore, Ivo, Izen, Ibn, Ikaia, Inioluwa, Iremide, Iroh, Issachar
  • 8-9: Inaki, Inman, Italo, Ichiro, Ifeoluwa, Indio, Isaiha
  • 7: Ifeanyichukwu, Imanol, Infant, Ingram, Ion, Isco, Ishaaq, Iskander, Itzhak
  • 6: Iason, Ignazio, Imere, Inoke, Ioan, Isahi, Ivor
  • 5: Ifenna, Ijah, Ikram, Iniko, Isao, Isauro, Ishmeet, Isileli, Ithiel, Itsuki, Ives

Do you have a favorite ‘I’ name?  Let me know!

Love from Latin: Verb Conjugations of Amare as Baby Names

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 6.17.13 PMHey everyone, Happy Valentine’s Day!  Time for some lovely names?

I took Latin while at university, and at some point I realized that some of the many conjugations or forms of the verb amare (“to love”) have become baby names.  No, I’m not going to make you learn all the ways to say love in Latin – I don’t even think I learned every tense myself since I only had three semesters of the stuff, and I’m a bit rusty to boot.  I *am* going to list the derivative names I can find in my old textbook.  Enjoy!

  • Ama – 2nd singular Present Imperative Active, which basically means it’s the command “Love!” directed at one person.  16 girls were named Ama in 2016.
  • Amanda – Feminine future passive participle / gerundive.  Means “to be loved.”  Amanda is one of the few girls’ names to be in the top 1000 since 1880!  This timeless choice was given to 992 girls in 2016, and ranked #329.
  • Amandus – Masculine version of Amanda.  It appeared a few times in the data between 1917 and 1935.
  • Amare – Infinitive active verb meaning “to love.”  19 girls and 207 boys (#979) were named Amare in 2016.
  • Amari – Present passive infinitive, means “to be loved.”  In modern times, Amari is also plural for amaro, which is a type of Italian digestif (alcoholic beverage consumed to help digest a meal).  1351 boys (#269) and 695 girls (#459) were named Amari in 2016.
  • Amaris – 2nd. singular present passive indicative, means “you are loved.”  376 girls (#751) and 28 boys received this name in 2016.
  • Amata – Feminine perfect passive participle, means “having been loved.”  6 girls in 2016.  I also really like the masculine form “Amatus,” but it doesn’t appear in the SSA data.
  • Amer – 1st singular subjunctive passive…I think it means “I may/should/would be loved?”  28 boys in 2016.
  • Ames – 2nd singular present active subjective.  I can’t be 100% on the correct translation, but I think it’s something like “you may/should/would love.” 86 boys and 5 girls in 2016.  This name is rising very quickly!
  • Ameris – 2nd singular present subjunctive passive; if Ames is active, I think this is probably “you may/should/would be loved.”  12 girls in 2016.
  • Amo – 1st person singular present active indicative, means “I love.”  Appeared in the data for both genders immediately after World War I.
  • Amor – 1st singular Present Passive Indicative, means “I am loved.”  This is also the noun for “love.”  In 2016, 96 girls and 33 boys were named Amor.

    • Amore isn’t a verb, but another (locative, dative, and/or ablative) form of the noun Amor *and* the name of 44 girls and 19 boys born two years ago.
    • Amos is also an old (nominative and vocative) form of the noun Amor.  It ranked #678 in 2016, having been given to 373 boys.

It would be cool to see the forms Amaturus and Amatura as names, but I realized they can sound a lot like “amateur” outside of classical pronunciation. 

What do you think?  Do you like any of these?  And to my readers who know Latin – if I’ve missed any verb conjugations that are names or gotten any translations wrong, please let met know.  Truly, participles and subjunctives are curses upon us all.


The Most Interesting Compound Girls’ Names in the U.S.

A compound name is one name that includes at least two names.  There are a few common types of compound names:

  1. Double-barrel, or when two names are connected by a hyphen.  Example: Lily Rose -> LilyRose.
  2. Double name, or when someone goes by two names separated by a space.  This can either be a result of having two first names or using both a first and middle together.  Example: Billy Bob.
  3. Combination, or as I sometimes like to call it, the “stream of consciousness.”  Example: Mary + Elizabeth = Maryelizabeth.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. there’s no official data distinguishing between different compound types.  There’s no way to tell whether there’s a dash, space, extra capital, apostrophe, or any other marks you can imagine because the SSA doesn’t acknowledge them!  Officially, MaryAnne exists as Maryanne, and will find herself in a list with women who actually are named Maryanne...which is why I’m not writing a list of double-barrel names right now.  The United Kingdom does recognize hyphenated names, and indeed, they’re much more popular there than here.  If you’re interested in reading more on the British double-barrel phenomenon, check out two posts about that country’s hyphenated girls’ and boys’ names by a fantastic new name blog called Onomastica!

Here are some of the most interesting compound names for girls from the U.S., all found scattered through the Social Security Administration‘s baby name data.  There are so many fascinating and distinctive compound names (mostly related to pop culture) that I will publish the boys’ names in a separate post.

  • Avemaria: Literally meaning “Hail Mary,” this is a prayer that has been transformed into several famous pieces of music.  According to the Social Security Administration, 5 girls were named Avemaria in 2016.
  • Barbaraann: Barbara Ann is a song immortalized by the Beach Boys, though the original version was recorded under the title “Barbara-Ann.”  Barbara was an extremely popular name between the 30s and 50s; indeed, the name Barbaraann precedes the song, and appears in the birth data as early as 1934.  Her last appearance was in 1996 with 5 girls.
  • Billiejean: Although perpetually rare, this name received a mild boost twice; first in 1973, after tennis player Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes” match; and secondly, after the 1983 Michael Jackson song.
  • Briarrose: In the 1959 Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora was renamed Briar Rose when she went to live with the fairies.  18 girls were named Briarrose in 2016.
  • Caramia: The most famous version of the song “Cara Mia” was recorded by Jay and the Americans in 1965.  The name first appeared in 1966 with 6 girls, peaked in 2006 with 20 girls, and last appeared in 2015 with 8 girls.  “Cara Mia” means “my dear” or “my beloved” in Italian.
  • Chakakhan: Chaka Khan is a funk musician from the 70s and 80s.  The name itself only charted in 1975 and 1976.
  • Cindylou: From The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the character Cindy Lou Who.  This combo appeared in the late 50s (around the time the book was written).
  • Dannielynn: After the daughter of Anna Nicole Smith (1967-2007), who was born in 2006.  5 girls were named Dannielynn in 2016.
  • Dellareese: Della Reese (1931-2017) was a singer in the 50s – that’s when her name debuted – and later, an actress.  Interestingly, the resulting compound name Dellareese is very close to her birth name, Delloreese.
  • Harleyquinn: After the DC comics villain.  20 girls were named Harleyquinn in 2016.
  • Heavenlyjoy: 11 girls received this religious name in 2016.
  • Jeannedarc: Appeared in the early 1920s after the canonization of St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431), or Jeanne d’Arc in French.


    St. Joan of Arc inspired the compound name Jeannedarc after her 1920 canonization.

  • Lauraashley: While the names Laura and Ashley were both pretty trendy in the mid-to-late 80s, Laura Ashley was a fashion designer who died in 1985.  The name appeared in 1987.
  • Marajade: Fairly obscure Star Wars reference.  Mara Jade was a character in the extended universe before Disney bought the rights and made Force Awakens.  According to the SSA, 6 girls were named Marajade in 2016.
  • Maryjane: “Mary Jane” can refer to a few things – 1) a street name for marijuana, 2) a shoe style, or 3) a type of penny candy.  A shocking 216 girls were named Maryjane (or some variation thereof) in 2016!  It’s even been in the top 1000 within the last decade.
  • Marysue: A “Mary Sue” is a type of Original Character in fan fiction stories who exhibits self-inserted qualities of the fan fiction writer.  5 girls received this compound name in 2016, which is the first year since the early 1970s that it’s appeared in the data!
  • Ninasimone: Nina Simone (1933-2003) was a famous African-American musician.  This combo appears in the data twice, in 2000 and 2015.  Two documentaries about her came out in ’15, which may explain the name’s appearance in the data that year.
  • Normajean: From the Elton John song “Candle in the Wind,” which is about Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962); her birth name was Norma Jeane.  7 girls were named Normajean in 2016, which is impressive considering that only 86 girls were named Norma.
  • Peggysue: From two Buddy Holly songs, “Peggy Sue” and “Peggy Sue Got Married.”  The latter is also the name of a cute 1980s movie.  Any uses of the double-barrel name probably come from the first Peggy Sue song, which came out in 1957.  Nancy (of Nancy’s Baby Names) has written more extensively on the name Peggysue.
  • Ravensymone: After the actress and commentator on The View, Raven-Symoné.  Ravensimone also appears in the data.  Her name first appeared in SSA data in 1990, while she was on The Cosby Show.
  • Pennylane: From the Beatles song “Penny Lane.”  Though the song came out in the 1960s, the name didn’t appear in SSA data until 2008!  5 girls received this name in 2016.

What do you think of these compound names?  Do you have a favorite, perhaps one that isn’t listed here?  What’s your favorite type of compound?  Let me know, and stay tuned for the boys’ names!

Rare ‘H’ Names

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 6.52.04 PM

Some of my all-time favorite names start with the letter ‘H!’  I even love modern ‘H’ names, and my name preferences are usually very ancient or traditional.  To be fair, Hadley and Harper do have literary precedents…

The names below are rare ‘H’ names that were used in the U.S. in 2016, the latest year for which national baby name data has been released.  They are sorted by popularity – the most common names will appear first, and the least common will be at the bottom of the list.  They’re also color-coded; pink indicates that the name was mostly (≥90%) given to girls, blue to (≥90%) boys, and purple to both (>10% and <90% boys and girls).


  • 150-212 girls named: Honesty, Halo, Harriet, Hillary, Hensley
  • 100-149: Haddie, Hartley, Hollis, Hafsa, Honor, Haisley
  • 50-99: Hawa, Haya, Hosanna, Hermione, Halima, Hanan, Harbor, Henrietta, Huda, Hala, Havana, Hiba, Hoorain, Honey
  • 25-49: Haneen, Hennessy, Husna, Hilda, Hera, Heiress, Hayat, Huntley, Harini, Henny, Henna, Habiba
  • 10-24: Hadiya, Hadeel, Halina, Hargun, Harvest, Havilah, Hiyab, Hasset, Honour, Heavenleigh, Harleyquinn, Harnoor, Hebe, Holiday, Haasini, Hedy, Hikari, Honora, Hanley, Henchy, Humaira, Hajra, Heer, Herlinda, Hartlynn, Hser, Halsey, Hathaway, Hermela, Hind, Halona, Hamda, Harshitha, Heavenlyjoy, Hadar, Haruka, Hatley, Havisha, Heloise, Hephzibah, Heylin, Hildegard, Hoda
  • 8-9: Hanifa, Happiness, Hessa, Hibo, Hidaya, Hikma, Hilde, Holy, Honest, Hypatia, Halimatou, Hanalei, Harland, Hortencia
  • 7: Haddison, Hannie, Hava, Henriette, Hetvi, Hewan, Hildy, Hiya, Horizon
  • 6: Haidee, Hallelujah, Hannahgrace, Hansini, Harlequin, Harliv, Harumi, Hasanat, Hawraa, Healani, Helia, Herminia, Hestia, Holliday, Hridya, Hrisha, Hyacinth
  • 5: Hadasha, Hanvika, Haram, Harseerat, Hasnaa, Hassanatou, Haunani, Haynes, Hemen, Hendel, Hettie, Hinako, Hinami, Honoka, Honore, Honoria, Husaina


  • 100-183 boys named: Harlem, Hans, Hagen, Hoyt
  • 50-99: Hamilton, Hiram, Hawkins, Heriberto, Herbert, Hiro, Hernan, Heston, Hansel, Holt, Hampton, Hosea, Haddon, Hawk, Haziel
  • 25-49: Hero, Hardy, Huxton, Hanson, Hisham, Hubert, Halen, Hawthorne, Humza, Hatcher, Hadrian, Haakon, Hari, Haydn, Henderson, Hillel, Hogan, Haniel, Harbor, Harmon, Herschel, Huckleberry, Hilario, Homero
  • 10-24: Heber, Hilton, Homer, Hutch, Halston, Hazael, Horace, Helios, Huzaifa, Hale, Haroun, Han, Hercules, Hunner, Haruki, Hewitt, Hyatt, Hannibal, Helix, Horatio, Haruto, Huston, Haneef, Haru, Hiroki, Hurley, Hazaiah, Hriday, Hridaan, Hyde, Hades, Helio, Hutchinson, Hykeem, Hafiz, Hamish, Havoc, Haziq, Hiroshi, Hobson, Howie, Huntingdon, Haines, Hartaj, Hayato, Haywood, Hendry, Hobie
  • 8-9: Henok, Hermes, Hipolito, Haggai, Haku, Hammond, Handsome, Hanzalah, Hardin, Harjot, Harrington, Hatch, Haxton, Helaman, Hemi, Heron, Holder, Hughes
  • 7: Hadriel, Hananiah, Haoxuan, Harsh, Havok, Heaton, Hebron, Hemingway, Hobbes, Hollister, Htoo, Hunt
  • 6: Hamdi, Hansley, Happy, Harald, Harbour, Harding, Hastings, Hebert, Hinton, Hiroto, Hooper, Horus, Hovhannes, Hung
  • 5: Haig, Hall, Hamdaan, Handy, Hanz, Hap, Harfateh, Hariharan, Hartford, Harvard, Hasten, Hawkeye, Heathcliff, Hikaru, Hill, Hilo, Hoke, Hopper, Hyland

My three very favorite names (overall, not just among ‘H’ names) are mentioned within the post.  Bonus points to anyone who can correctly guess them!

Do you have a favorite ‘H’ name?  Let me know in the comments!