Popular Boys’ Names in 1917 *and* 2017

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Do you want to give your baby a name from 100 years ago that’s still usable today?  Here is a list of all the boys’ names that were popular (i.e. in the U.S. top 1000) in both 2017 and 1917!  You can also read my list of popular girls’ names from both years.

A: Aaron, Abel, Abraham, Abram, Adam, Adrian, Alan, Albert, Alberto, Alden, Aldo, Alec*, Alex, Alexander, Alfonso, Alfred, Alfredo, Allan, Allen, Alonzo, Alvin, Amos, Anderson, Andres, Andrew, Andy, Angel, Angelo, Anthony, Anton, Antonio, Arlo, Armando, Aron, Arthur, Arturo*, Asa, August, Augustine, Augustus, Austin, Avery

B: Ben, Benjamin, Bennett, Benson, Benton, Billy, Blaine, Bobby, Bradley, Brady, Brooks, Bruce, Bruno, Bryan, Bryant, Byron

C: Caleb*, Calvin, Carl, Carlos, Carmelo, Carson, Carter, Charles, Charlie, Chris, Christian, Christopher, Clark, Clay, Clayton, Clyde, Coleman, Conrad, Craig, Curtis, Cyrus

D: Dallas, Dalton, Daniel, Danny, Dante, Darrell, Darwin, David, Davis, Dayton, Dean, Dennis, Denver, Dexter, Dominic, Dominick, Donald, Douglas, Duncan

E: Eddie, Edgar, Edison, Edward, Edwin, Eli, Elias, Elijah, Elisha, Elliot, Elliott, Ellis, Emanuel, Emerson, Emery, Emilio, Emmet, Emmett, Emmitt, Emory, Enoch, Enrique, Eric, Ernest, Ernesto, Eugene, Evan, Everett, Ezekiel, Ezra

F: Felipe, Felix, Fernando, Finley*, Fletcher, Ford, Forrest, Foster, Francis, Francisco, Frank, Frankie*, Franklin, Frederick

G: Gabriel, Garrett, Gary, George, Gerald, Gordon, Grady, Graham, Grant, Gregory

H: Harlan, Harley, Harold, Harrison, Harry, Harvey, Hayden, Hayes*, Hector, Henry, Hezekiah*, Houston, Howard, Hudson, Hugh, Hugo, Hunter

I: Ignacio*, Ira, Isaac, Isaiah, Israel, Ivan

J: Jack, Jackson, Jacob, Jake, James, Jason, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jeremiah, Jerome, Jerry, Jesse, Jessie, Jesus, Jimmy, Joe, Joel, John, Johnny, Jonas, Jonathan, Jordan*, Jose, Joseph, Joshua, Juan, Judson, Julian, Julio, Julius, Junior, Justin

K: Keith, Kendall, Kenneth, King, Kyle

L: Lamar, Larry, Lawrence, Lawson, Lee, Leland, Leo, Leon, Leonard, Leroy, Levi, Lewis, Lincoln, Lionel, Logan, Lorenzo, Louie, Louis, Lucian, Luis, Luke, Lyle

M: Mack, Major, Malcolm, Manuel, Marcel, Marcus, Mario, Mark, Marshall, Martin, Marvin, Mason, Mathew, Matt, Matthew, Maurice, Max, Maxwell, Melvin, Michael, Micheal, Miguel, Mike*, Milan, Miles, Miller, Milo, Mitchell, Morgan, Moses, Myles

N: Nathan, Nathaniel, Neil, Nelson, Nicholas, Nickolas, Nicolas*, Noah, Noel, Nolan

O: Oakley*, Oliver, Omar, Orlando, Oscar, Otis, Otto, Owen

P: Pablo, Parker, Patrick, Paul, Pedro, Peter, Philip, Phillip, Pierce, Porter, Preston, Prince

Q: Quentin, Quincy

R: Rafael, Ramon, Randall*, Raphael, Raul, Ray, Raymond, Reed, Reese, Reginald, Reid*, Rene, Reuben, Rex, Ricardo*, Richard, Riley, Robert, Roberto, Rodney, Roger, Rocco, Roland, Roman, Romeo, Ronald, Roy, Royal, Royce, Ruben, Rudy, Russell

S: Salvador, Salvatore, Sam, Samuel, Santiago, Santos, Saul, Scott, Sebastian, Seth, Silas, Simon, Solomon, Spencer, Stanley, Stephen, Sterling, Steven

T: Taylor, Terry, Thaddeus, Theo, Theodore, Thomas, Timothy, Tomas, Tommy, Tony, Travis, Troy

V: Van, Vance, Vaughn, Victor, Vincent, Vincenzo*

W: Wade, Walker, Walter, Warren, Wayne, Wesley, Weston, Will, William, Willie, Wilson, Winston, Wyatt

Notes:

  • *Alec, Arturo, Caleb, Finley, Hayes, Hezekiah, Ignacio, Jordan, Nicolas, Oakley, Quincy, Reid, Ricardo, and Vincenzo were new and/or returning in 1917.  Frankie, Mike, and Randall returned to the top 1000 in 2017.
  • 379 (37.9%) of the 1000 most popular boys’ names in 2017 were also popular in 1917.
  • The initials with the greatest percentage of shared boys’ names between 1917 and 2017:
    1. O: 72.72%
    2. P: 70.59%
    3. W: 68.42%
    4. H: 65.38%
    5. E: 65.22%
  • And the initials with the smallest percentage of boys’ names shared between the 1917 and 2017 lists:
    1. U/X/Y/Z: 0%; no shared names between 1917 and 2017
    2. K: 6.94%
    3. B: 25%
    4. C: 26.92%
    5. D: 30.65%

Thoughts?  Are you surprised by any of these?  For me, it’s interesting to see how archaic many of these so-called modern baby names (especially the surnames) actually are.

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Severus

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Let’s talk about the name Severus.  It’s an Ancient Roman name that’s belonged to several emperors and early saints, and yet was exceedingly rare until very recently.  The Harry Potter series brought Severus into everyday usage in the 21st century, and even then, it took 10 years since the first movie (and 14 since the first book) for it to appear in American (SSA) baby name data.  Severus debuted with 5 boys in 2011, the same year that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 came to theaters.  Since many viewers don’t read the books, that would have been the year that many fans learned (spoiler alert!) of Professor Snape’s vindication and redemption.

Once people started naming their sons Severus, it seemed like it was going to be a rarity only a few hardcore fans would be brave enough to use.  Despite Roman names having been trendy in recent years, prospective parents are probably deterred by the “sever” part (or even by Snape’s less savory aspects).  So, from 2011 to 2015, only 5-7 babies received the name every year.  2016 is when it gets strange.

Just 7 boys were named Severus in 2015, but 32 got the name in 2016!  5 alone (15.625%) were born in Texas, though without other state data it’s impossible to make a geographically-based assessment.  Regardless, going from 7 to 32 boys?  That’s a ginormous jump for an extremely rare name.  What’s the influence?

A couple of things happened in 2016 that might have influenced the spike:

  • The actor who played Severus Snape – Alan Rickman – died on January 14.
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hit the stage on July 30.  Snape appears in the play, and one of the main characters is named Albus Severus Potter.  Although the production didn’t come to the U.S. that year, many American fans would have read the script.

Curiously, another name associated with Death Eaters – Bellatrix – jumped from 5 girls to 24 girls in 2016.  Bellatrix didn’t physically appear in Cursed Child, but she was discussed in it.  Additionally (and proving this isn’t just an infatuation with the magical dark side), Albus debuted in SSA data in 2016 with 8 boys.  Dumbledore himself couldn’t make the name appear!  Harry, Ronald, and Hermione all rose in 2016 too.  Weirdly enough, the nuclear Malfoy family (Draco, Scorpius, and Astoria) didn’t experience spikes in their names.  Lucius rose, but that used to be a popular name and so something else could be happening there.

If Alan Rickman hadn’t died, then we could to point to Cursed Child as the singular reason why usage of the name Severus more than quadrupled between 2015 and 2016.  But he did die, so we can’t.  After all, why name the baby Alan (which could refer to *any* Alan) when you can name him after the character you fell in love with?  I think it will be very interesting to see whether the name Severus maintains its surge in 2017.

What do you think of the name Severus?  Do you think there could be another reason why it spiked in 2016?  Let me know what you think.

 

 

Louie

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Happy International Louie Louie Day!  “Louie Louie” is a famous rock song that was written in 1955 by Richard Berry (1935-1997), whose birthday was today, April 11th.  The Kingsmen recorded the best-known version of the song in 1963.  The FBI actually investigated their cover because people thought it had dirty lyrics, but the singing is so hard to understand that nothing ever came of that.  It did become a pop culture standard, though; it’s appeared in many movies, including Animal House (1978).

The name Louie is primarily a nickname for Louis, though it can also serve as a phonetic spelling for parents who prefer the French pronunciation over the English.  Louie returned to the American top 1000 in 2015 after an absence of over 20 years; his current/2016 rank is #916, representing 233 boys.  7 girls were also named Louie, which can reflect both its rising popularity among boys and the recent returns of Louise and Louisa to the top 1000.  Louis is slowly rising again, too.

What do you think of the name Louie?  Do you prefer it as a nickname, or do you like it by itself?  And how do you like the song?

Boys’ Names Popular in Every Year since 1880

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Last week, I wrote a post about girls’ names that have been popular every year since 1880, which is as far back as the Social Security Administration maintains birth data for the United States.  The counterpart list of boys’ names is substantially longer than the list of girls’ names; parents have traditionally tended to be more conservative with their sons’ names than their daughters’ names.

  1. Aaron – #49; rising slightly (+3)
  2. Abraham – #158; rising (+12)
  3. Adam – #75; falling slightly (-2)
  4. Adrian – #60; falling slightly (-2)
  5. Albert – #474; falling quickly (-33)
  6. Alex – #147; falling (-14)
  7. Alexander – #11; falling slightly (-3)
  8. Alfred – #844; rising quickly (+75), though still potentially endangered.
  9. Allan – #736; falling quickly (-79)
  10. Allen – #370; falling (-20)
  11. Alonzo – #565; falling quickly (-38)
  12. Alvin – #588; rising (+16)
  13. Andrew – #34; falling (-4)
  14. Andy – #326; falling slightly (-3)
  15. Anthony – #30; falling (-5)
  16. Antonio – #159; falling (-7)
  17. Arthur – #273; rising (+19)
  18. August – #193; rising slightly (+2)
  19. Austin – #73; falling (-4)
  20. Avery – #191; falling (-3)
  21. Ben – #704; rising quickly (+33)
  22. Benjamin – #6; rising (+4).  Within the top 10, a +4 gain is significant.
  23. Bruce – #437; falling quickly (-31)
  24. Bryant – #587; rising quickly (+38)
  25. Byron – #669; falling quickly (-72)
  26. Calvin – #148; rising (+23)
  27. Carl – #604; falling slightly (-3)
  28. Carlos – #130; falling (-13)
  29. Charles – #51; falling slightly (-1)
  30. Charlie – #227; rising slightly (+3)
  31. Chris – #559; falling quickly (-52)
  32. Christian – #46; falling slightly (-3)
  33. Christopher – #36; falling (-4)
  34. Clark – #377; falling (-5)
  35. Clay – #731; falling (-11)
  36. Clayton – #266; falling (-18)
  37. Conrad – #591; rising quickly (+32)
  38. Curtis – #563; falling quickly (-35)
  39. Cyrus – #427; rising quickly (+43)
  40. Dallas – #295; falling quickly (-40)
  41. Daniel – #13; falling slightly (-1)
  42. David – #19; falling slightly (-1)
  43. Davis – #490; falling (-16)
  44. Dean – #205; falling slightly (-1)
  45. Dennis – #511; falling (-16)
  46. Donald – #488; falling quickly (-45).  Yes, the name Donald really did fall as many places as that president’s numerical order in the year he was elected (at least according to SSA; it was -48 on Behind the Name).
  47. Douglas – #601; rising (+19)
  48. Eddie – #654; rising (+15)
  49. Edgar – #342; falling (-25)
  50. Edward – #163; falling (-4)
  51. Edwin – #318; falling (-7)
  52. Eli – #52; rising slightly (+1)
  53. Elias – #93; rising (+7)
  54. Elijah – #9; rising slightly (+2)
  55. Elliott – #192; rising (+20)
  56. Ellis – #346; rising quickly (+74)
  57. Emanuel – #364; falling (-17)
  58. Emmett – #136; rising slightly (+3)
  59. Eric – #142; falling (-4)
  60. Ernest – #976; falling (-22), critically endangered.
  61. Eugene – #788; rising quickly (+37)
  62. Evan – #69; falling slightly (-2)
  63. Everett – #114; rising (+21)
  64. Felix – #247; rising (+16)
  65. Francis – #480; rising slightly (+2)
  66. Francisco – #251; falling (-4)
  67. Frank – #353; rising slightly (+2)
  68. Franklin – #423; rising (+21)
  69. Frederick – #514; rising slightly (+2)
  70. Gabriel – #25; falling slightly (-3)
  71. Garrett – #308; falling quickly (-39)
  72. George – #125; rising (+11)
  73. Gerald – #812; falling quickly (-49)
  74. Gilbert – #960; rising (+22).  Despite the decent gains between 2015 and 2016, I still feel like I should classify Gilbert as endangered.  He’s simply too close to the bottom of the top 1000.
  75. Grant – #171; rising (+6)
  76. Harley – #676; falling (-14)
  77. Harold – #803; rising (+6)
  78. Harrison – #107; rising (+12)
  79. Harry – #679; rising quickly (+101)
  80. Henry – #22; rising (+7)
  81. Isaac – #31; stable (0)
  82. Israel – #232; rising (+8)
  83. Ivan – #131; rising (+6)
  84. Jack – #38; rising slightly (+2)
  85. Jackson – #17; stable (0)
  86. Jacob – #7; falling slightly (-3)
  87. Jake – #242; falling quickly (-35)
  88. James – #5; rising slightly (+2)
  89. Jasper – #209; rising (+6)
  90. Jay – #359; falling slightly (-1)
  91. Jefferson – #621; rising quickly (+50), but it’s a volatile name, so a large jump up doesn’t mean much.
  92. Jeremiah – #58; falling (-4)
  93. Jerome – #839; falling (-4)
  94. Jerry – #506; falling (-15)
  95. Jesse – #174; rising (+4)
  96. Jessie – #888; rising quickly (+30), but might still be endangered.
  97. Joe – #618; falling (-22)
  98. Joel – #166; falling (-8)
  99. John – #28; falling slightly (-2)
  100. Johnny – #335; falling (-25)
  101. Jonathan – #56; falling (-8)
  102. Jose – #77; rising slightly (+3)
  103. Joseph – #20; rising slightly (+1)
  104. Joshua – #35; falling slightly (-2)
  105. Juan – #122; falling (-8)
  106. Julian – #39; rising (+6)
  107. Julius – #340; falling (-27)
  108. Kenneth – #208; falling (-8)
  109. Larry – #606; falling quickly (-49)
  110. Lawrence – #493; rising (+6)
  111. Lee – #668; rising (+11)
  112. Leo – #74; rising (+17)
  113. Leon – #276; rising quickly (+38)
  114. Leonard – #600; rising quickly (+52)
  115. Levi – #42; stable (0)
  116. Lewis – #510; rising quickly (+62)
  117. Lorenzo – #210; rising (+6)
  118. Louis – #289; rising (+9)
  119. Luis – #112; falling (-5)
  120. Luke – #29; falling slightly (-1)
  121. Malcolm – #410; rising (+8)
  122. Manuel – #280; rising slightly (+3)
  123. Marcus – #183; falling (-15)
  124. Mark – #195; rising slightly (+1)
  125. Marshall – #345; falling (-26)
  126. Martin – #257; rising (+17)
  127. Marvin – #544; rising (+4)
  128. Mason – #4; falling slightly (-1)
  129. Mathew – #525; falling quickly (-47)
  130. Matthew – #15; stable (0)
  131. Maurice – #647; falling (-29)
  132. Max – #118; stable (0)
  133. Melvin – #738; falling quickly (-42)
  134. Michael – #8; rising quickly (+1)
  135. Micheal – #897; falling quickly (-54)
  136. Miles – #105; rising slightly (+3)
  137. Mitchell – #592; falling (-7)
  138. Morgan – #643; rising (+29)
  139. Moses – #462; rising (+6)
  140. Nathan – #43; falling (-5)
  141. Nathaniel – #103; falling (-6)
  142. Neil – #629; rising (+10)
  143. Nelson – #625; rising (+5)
  144. Nicholas – #63; falling slightly (-1)
  145. Noah – #1; stable (0)
  146. Oliver – #12; rising (+7)
  147. Oscar – #176; rising (+5)
  148. Owen – #23; rising (+12)
  149. Patrick – #170; falling (-6)
  150. Paul – #206; falling (-7)
  151. Pedro – #374; falling (-7)
  152. Peter – #207; falling slightly (-2)
  153. Philip – #434; falling slightly (-1)
  154. Preston – #172; falling slightly (-3)
  155. Ramon – #608; rising (+28)
  156. Ray – #748; falling quickly (-33)
  157. Raymond – #284; falling (-25)
  158. Reginald – #821; rising (+61)
  159. Richard – #155; falling (-5)
  160. Riley – #225; falling quickly (-31)
  161. Robert – #62; rising slightly (+1)
  162. Rodney – #719; falling slightly (-1)
  163. Roger – #644; falling quickly (-64)
  164. Roland – #561; rising (+27)
  165. Roy – #539; falling (-4)
  166. Ruben – #396; falling (-24)
  167. Russell – #407; falling (-4)
  168. Sam – #581; falling quickly (-32)
  169. Samuel – #21; rising slightly (+2)
  170. Scott – #465; falling (-6)
  171. Seth – #307; falling quickly (-32)
  172. Simon – #243; falling (-9)
  173. Solomon – #369; rising slightly (+1)
  174. Spencer – #268; falling (-16)
  175. Stanley – #682; rising (+8).
  176. Stephen – #265; falling (-19)
  177. Sterling – #458; rising quickly (+35)
  178. Steve – #988; falling quickly (-50), critically endangered.
  179. Steven – #167; falling (-13)
  180. Taylor – #476; falling (-14)
  181. Theodore – #83; rising (+16)
  182. Thomas – #48; rising slightly (+3)
  183. Timothy – #153; falling (-6)
  184. Tony – #522; falling (-18)
  185. Troy – #316; falling (-15)
  186. Victor – #164; falling slightly (-3)
  187. Vincent – #104; rising (+5)
  188. Wade – #406; rising quickly (+115)
  189. Walter – #302; rising (+7)
  190. Warren – #385; rising (+15)
  191. Wayne – #743; rising (+6)
  192. Wesley – #117; rising (+9)
  193. Will – #827; rising (+10)
  194. William – #3; rising slightly (+2)
  195. Willie – #799; falling (-24)
  196. Wilson – #611; rising (+6)

Biggest gains: Wade (+115), Harry (+101), Alfred (+75), Ellis (+74), Lewis (+62), Reginald (+61), Leonard (+52), Jefferson (+50), Cyrus (+43), Bryant (+38), Leon (+38), Eugene (+37) Sterling (+35), Ben (+33), Conrad (+32), Jessie (+30)

Biggest losses: Allan (-79), Byron (-72), Roger (-62), Micheal (-54), Chris (-52), Steve (-50), Gerald (-49), Larry (-49), Mathew (-47), Donald (-45), Melvin (-42), Dallas (-40), Garrett (-39), Alonzo (-38), Curtis (-35), Jake (-35), Albert (-33), Ray (-33), Sam (-32), Seth (-32), Bruce (-31), Riley (-31)

Notes:

  • Something interesting I noticed – Reuben ranked #1001 in the Social Security Administration list for 2010, though still manages to rank in the Behind the Name list.  In terms of raw usage, Reuben was popular enough to stay in the top 1000, but was kicked out because of alphabetical order (Bailey, Destin, Eliezer, Enoch, Joziah, and Keshawn technically ranked higher that year even though they were given to just as many baby boys).  Notably, Bailey is missing from the BtN list for that year, which tells me there was probably an edit on the national level.  SSA makes slight changes to their data sets every year, which is annoying for any name enthusiasts who’ve noticed this.  They could at least tell us why.  The point – if it weren’t for alphabetical preference in ranking and the edit, then Reuben would have been one of the names popular in every year since 1880.  Seems unfair, doesn’t it?
  • Wade was very trendy in 2016 because of the movie Deadpool, which came out in February of that year.  I’m curious whether the upward trend continues in 2017, and especially in 2018 (Deadpool 2 is due to release two months from now).

Thoughts?  Are you surprised by any of these names?  Personally, I’m wondering why Harry jumped so high! 

Sources:

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. 

Sources:

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? 

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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.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve written a Puritan name acrostic for you all!  An acrostic is a poem in which a letter from each line (especially the first letter) spells something out.

Happy…

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I doubt we’re having turkey…more likely, we’re having lasagna.  Does anybody else eat unconventional Thanksgiving foods?

Temperance – 232 girls in 2016.  It was a top 1000 name between 2011 and 2014.

Hope – 1324 girls (#240) and 7 boys.

Amity – 42 girls.  Amity means “friendship.”

Noble – 140 boys and 15 girls.

Knowledge – 112 boys and 8 girls.

Sincere – 405 boys (#628) and 39 girls.  The other option was Silence.

Grace – 7531 girls (#19) and 15 boys.

Increase – Famously borne by Increase Mather (1639-1723).  I’m a little surprised this one isn’t anywhere in the SSA data.

Victory – 47 girls and 16 boys.

Independence – 6 girls.

Nazareth – 64 girls and 47 boys.  ‘N’ is one of the less common letters for Puritan names; Noble is the only ‘N’ virtue name I could find.  My other choice for this slot was the very random word-name “Notwithstanding,” which was mentioned in Albion’s Seed.*  Yes, someone really named their kid Notwithstanding.

Godswill – 6 boys.  This might be a modern creation, but it’s up there with Obedience.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

(As usual, the data came from the Social Security Administration.  The book I mention, Albion’s Seed, is by David Hackett Fischer and contains some information on colonial naming practices)

Lyman

Many of the most popular ‘L’ names for boys are surnames – Landon, Lincoln, Logan, etc.  Noticeably, they also end in the letter ‘n.’  So how about Lyman?

Lyman is an unusual baby name from early America.  Despite lukewarm popularity, this name managed to stay in the top 1000 until the 1960s.  It was never trendy, but steady.  Just 16 boys were named Lyman in 2016, though that’s more than double the number of Lyman‘s born even five years ago!

Wizard_title_page

L. Frank Baum’s first name was Lyman

The most famous namesakes:

  • Lyman Hall (1724-1790): signer of Declaration of Independence
  • Lyman Beecher (1775-1863): minister, American Temperance Union co-founder, and father of many famous children including Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Lyman was his mother’s maiden name.
  • Lyman Trumbull (1813-1896); co-wrote the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery
  • Lyman Gage (1836-1927): United States Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt
  • Lyman Frank Baum (1856-1919): author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Josh Lyman: character on The West Wing.

Lyman is clearly a name with precedent.  So where is he now?

The lack of modern trendiness might be attributed to an association with another name.  Nameberry’s description says Lyman is “almost as passé as Hyman.”  Hmm…I’m not sure I agree with that statement.  We usually don’t discourage people from calling their sons Nick just because it rhymes with Dick, an old-fashioned name that – like Hyman – has taken on a sexual, usually negative connotation and headed for extinction.  Yes, Lyman happens to rhyme with “hymen,” but you’re probably only realizing that now that I’ve pointed it out.  Personally, I never made the connection until I saw Nameberry’s bit.  More interestingly, they don’t say anything about the name Wyman, which is also in use (though still rarer than Lyman).

Does Lyman sound too much like the word “hymen?”  Is Lyman still usable, and could he make a comeback?  I personally think Lyman is fine, but I’d like to hear y’all’s opinions.

Favorite ‘O’ Names

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 10.39.35 PMAlthough I don’t have an Instagram, I’m going to try and participate in the October Name Challenge (created by fellow name enthusiast Alexia Mae) via Twitter!  Some days I’ll write entire blog posts surrounding the challenges, and other days I may simply tweet relevant thoughts!

The October 1st challenge is “Favorite ‘O’ Names!”  I rarely discuss my actual favorite names on this site, so this is a good starting point.  My tastes vary, but my very favorite names can often be described as ancient, old-fashioned, and/or elegant.  Harry Potter and Jane Austen have been massive influences on my naming preferences, along with Greek and Roman Myth.

Boys:

  • Otto – #527
  • Odo – doesn’t chart.  You can read more about this name here.
  • Octavius – 51 boys in 2016
  • Orson – 90 boys.  Can’t help but think of Orson Welles!
  • Orlando – #620

I also appreciate names like Oliver, Octavian, Odysseus, Odoacer, Odalric, and Obadiah.

Girls:

  • Ottoline – doesn’t chart, though she really should!  Very distinguished, and she’d fit in with popular -line names like Adeline and Emmeline!
  • Octavia – 255 girls in 2016.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Octavia reaches the top 1000 in 2017!
  • Oona – 109 girls.  I think of Oona Chaplin. 
  • Ophelia – #580
  • Oenone – doesn’t chart.  Oenone is an Ancient Greek name that derives from the word for “wine.”  The thing is: I don’t actually know how to pronounce this.  It takes 3 syllables, but does one say ee-no-nee or oh-no-nee?

Other feminine ‘O’ names I really like are Ottilie, Olivia, Olive, Opal, and Octaviana.

What are your favorite ‘O’ names?

Interesting Names from Bruton Parish

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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.

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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!

Names:

  • 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

Source:

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