We hear about common and popular names often. The social security administration's yearly baby name list came out a couple weeks ago for the US in the year 2015. Everybody loves to focus on the #1 names and the top 10. Quickly rising names are noted as ones to watch and quickly falling names get even more parents jumping overboard.
What about all of the names that float under the radar? There are still plenty of great names beyond the Top 1000 list. These would be excellent choices for parents who want something more unique rather than something popular. The ones that I've handpicked from 2015's data are all very usable for a modern boy despite being uncommon at the moment.
Welcome to my new series that features ten barely used names per month. We'll explore our way down the list and cover more and more uncommon names as we go. In the parenthesis, the number of births for 2015 is listed, followed by the rank. First up:
Harris (202 births - #1002) Harris comes from a surname that's derived from Harry, which of course is a diminutive of Henry. Harris has been in use in the US since 1880 on record. It fell off the Top 1000 chart in the 1970s, but it's currently just outside of it and could rejoin again in the next year or five. Which do you like more, Harris, Harrison or Harry?
Jericho (198 births - #1014) Jericho is the name of a biblical city in Israel, mentioned in the Old Testament. It isn't clear what the name truly means, but it is associated with the Hebrew word yareach which means "moon", or it could possibly be related to the Hebrew word reyach meaning "fragrant". The name has only been in use in the US since 1970 but it's always been outside the Top 1000 except for twice in 2013 and 2014.
Teagan (198 births - #1016) Teagan comes from an Irish surname. It is the anglicized form of Ó Tadhgáin which indicates a "descendant of Tadhgán." Tadhgán itself comes from the name Tadhg, pronounced TIEG, which means "poet" in Irish. Teagan is used much more often for girls. It ranked at #228 in 2015 on the female side, but for boys it slipped out of the Top 1000 for the first time since 2003. In all, it has only been in American use since 1986.
Bridger (197 births - #1019) Just as the name suggests, Bridger comes from an English surname which refers to a person who lived near or worked on a bridge. Americans have used this name occasionally since 1974. The few times it has ranked within the Top 1000, it was never higher up than #907 which was its peak in 2013. Will it become the next big occupational surname name for boys? Will it ever rise higher than the bottom of the charts?
Keanu (197 births - #1020) This handsome Hawaiian name means "the cool breeze" from the elements ke and anu. It is indeed a cool name, but does its Hollywood star-power make it unusable or does Mr. Reeves give it the right amount of familiarity? It may indeed be because of him that the name has received usage at all because it's only been around on record in the US since 1990, coinciding with the actor's popularity. It ranked in the Top 1000 from 1994-2005, could it rejoin again soon?
Foster (195 births - #1030) Foster is an English surname that has several different possible origins. First, it could be a contraction of Forester, referring to a keeper of the forest. Second, Foster may come from an Old French occupational name, forcetier, which is a scissor maker; or perhaps fustrier which is a woodworker. Lastly, it may be derived from the word foster which means to encourage or promote development, and would refer to those who care for children who are not their own. Foster has been in use in the US since 1880, ranking until the early 1960s. It was in the Top 1000 again in 2013-2014 but fell as of 2015. Could it make its way up the chart? Randall (193 births - #1035) It comes from Randel which is a diminutive of Randolf and other similar names that start with rand- which is a Germanic element meaning "rim (of a shield)".This name is admittedly much more dated than the rest. It ranked very well from the early 1950s to the early 1960s, hitting as high as #53 in 1955. It may feel more like a dad/grandpa name right now, but it has always been in use and could work on modern boys still today. However, data indicates it is on its way down since it dropped out of the Top 1000 in 2015 for the first time since 1905. Is it time for this name to fade or does it deserve to stick around? Howard (192 births - #1037) The surname Howard comes from either the German given name Hughard or the Ancient Scandinavian name Haward /Hávarðr. The first is composed of the Germanic elements hug meaning "heart, mind" and hard meaning "brave, hardy". The second has Old Norse elements há meaning "high" and varðr meaning "guardian, defender". So which is it? Well, Howard may also be derived from ewehirde which is a Middle English term for a ewe herder. I'll let you choose your favorite. This name has always been in use but it peaked in 1921 and again in 1947. It has always ranked within the Top 1000 except for the years 2013 and 2015. Do you think it will continue to fall?
Garrison (191 births - #1042) Garrison is a word that refers to a body of troops stationed within a fortified stronghold in order to protect it. It also refers simply to the city, fortress or ship used by the military base. Garrison comes from the French word garnison, from the verb garnir meaning "to equip". It is also an English surname meaning "son of Garrett". Garrison has been used as a given name in the US since 1912. It didn't rank in the Top 1000 until 1986. The highest it has ranked is #566 in 1999. As of 2015, it's dipped back below the Top 1000. Merrick (190 births - #1046) Merrick comes from an English surname which was originally derived from Meurig, the Welsh form of the name Maurice. Now, Maurice comes from the Roman name Mauritius or Maurus which is Latin for "dark skinned". The name Merrick dates back to 1905 in the US for boys. It does have occasional usage for girls since 1981, but it has never ranked within the Top 1000 for either gender. As of 2014 for boys, it was as close as it has ever been with a rank of #1036, but it dropped a bit by 2015. Will it ever crack the list?
Which of these ten names do you like most? Which do you think could be the first of them to rank on the Top 1000 chart in the coming years? Which names will only decline more?
From our new series, Darby is today's featured "-by" name.
Darby is both a masculine and a feminine name. It originally comes from the name Derby which is an Old Norse name meaning "deer town". Derby is the name of a town in England which lent itself to becoming an English surname as well. That's where Darby comes from.
There is an interesting proverbial phrase used by the British called "Darby and Joan" which refers to a married couple who are celebrated for their mutual devotion to one another. It is used to describe a couple that are content to share a quiet life together.
This saying was first mentioned in print as a poem by Henry Woodfall in 1735 which featured John Darby and his wife Joan as the main characters. Another poet named St. John Honeywood wrote something similar as well shortly after. These two poems aren't the only mentions for Darby and Joan since it is a common phrase.
As a name, Darby was first used in the US on males in 1913. Female usage began in 1936. Overtime, the number of births per year remained steady for males, but increased for females. Darby joined the Top 1000 chart on the girls' side from 1994 to 2002. It ranked as high as #499 in 1995. As of 2014, female Darbys rank down at #1891 with only 105 births. Male Darbys rank even lower with only 28 births for 2014.
So what do you think of this name? Would you use it for a boy or for a girl? Since we're highlighting it as a girl's name today, we'll also explore some middle name ideas for her, along with ideas for names that would work for a sibling of a Darby:
We previously featured names that end with the letters -ay. Now we'll continue on to -by names in this new mini-series that dives into name endings.
There is something so adorable about these names that end with the letters "-by". Many of these are unusual which is perfect for those seeking something special for their child. Take a look and see if you don't agree with me about their adorability factor:
There could be a number of reasons why parents would opt for a hyphenated name. Maybe they have 3 or 4 favorites that they just cannot narrow down. Maybe they'd like to honor two people in one name. Maybe they just like how it sounds. Whatever their reasons, hyphenated names do get used quite often, even here in the US, it's just that none of them have managed to get enough births per year to rank all that high.
I tried to avoid smoosh names, like -leighs and -annas and -lynnes, and only pull out the ones that are plausibly hyphenated. However, it is hard to tell since the SSA's data doesn't account for any hyphens and writes it all as one name. Perhaps the name could have been intended to be written as one, but most of these are most likely hyphenated, especially the longer ones.
There could be some that were written with spaces. For example, I doubt that Mariadejesus is one word or hyphenated, but that's how it came up in the data. Perhaps they put Maria de Jesus in the "first name box" and then something else as a middle name in addition to it. Again, the data makes it a bit difficult to know. Many of the more Spanish names on this list may not actually be hyphenated. Another is Mariadelcarmen or Maria del Carmen. Both of these names, and others like them, are probably spaced as two+ first names, but since I can't prove otherwise, I decided to include them.
I may have missed some names, but let me tell you, there ended up being way more names on this list than I anticipated:
Maria-Jose (119 births in 2014)
Ava-Marie (84 births)
Have you ever met someone with a double-barreled first name? Two first names strung together by a hyphen? It happens often enough to be a thing, but yet it is still somewhat rare depending on where you live.
There could be a number of reasons why parents would opt for a hyphenated name. Perhaps they couldn't narrow down their favorites and decided to use them all. Perhaps they'd like to honor two people in one name. Or maybe they just like how the two names sound together. Hyphenated names do get used often, even here in the US, however none of them have managed to get enough births per year to rank all that high. The majority of the names on this list have less than 20 births per year.
Since the SSA's data doesn't account for any hyphens and writes it all as one name, it is impossible to know how these names are truly intended to be written. Perhaps the name was meant to be written as one, or maybe the child received two first names rather than a first and a middle.
There could be some that were written with spaces. For example, it is unlikely that Juandedios or Angeldejesus are one word or hyphenated, but that's how it came up in the data. These are probably listed as Juan de Dios and Angel de Jesus in the "first name box".
Again, the data isn't clear. These could be one name. These could be hyphenated. Or these could be spaced as two+ first-names. Also, I probably missed quite a few of the more foreign ones, but I included a few of them below that seemed most intuitive. Here is what I compiled:
John-Paul (164 births)
Abdul-Aziz (97 births)
John-Luke (46 births)
John-Michael (35 births)
Abdul-Malik (31 births)
John-David (27 births)
King-James (20 births)
Jesse-James (19 births)
Muhammad-Ali (16 births)
John-Thomas (15 births)
Abdul-Kareem (14 births)
John-Anthony (13 births)
John-Henry (13 births)
John-Patrick (13 births)
King-David (13 births)
John-Carlo (12 births)
John-Carlos (12 births)
Jon-Paul (12 births)
Marc-Anthony (12 births)
Mark-Anthony (11 births)
Michael-Anthony (10 births)
Abdul-Karim (9 births)
Ethan-James (9 births)
Jay-Mason (9 births)
John-Mark (9 births)
John-Robert (9 births)
Jon-Luke (9 births)
Sir-Charles (9 births)
Jay-Anthony (8 births)
John-Daniel (8 births)
John-William (8 births)
Jon-Carlo (8 births)
Jon-Carlos (8 births)
Sean-Patrick (8 births)
Aiden-James (8 births)
James-Michael (7 births)
Joe-Anthony (7 births)
John-Ryan (7 births)
Jon-Michael (7 births)
Joshua-James (7 births)
King-Michael (7 births)
King-Solomon (7 births)
Liam-Gabriel (7 births)
Liam-James (7 births)
Liam-Matthew (7 births)
Liam-Michael (7 births)
Chris-Angel (6 births)
Elijah-James (6 births)
James-Ryan (6 births)
John-Joseph (6 births)
King-Charles (6 births)
King-Elijah (6 births)
Michael-Gabriel (6 births)
Sean-Michael (6 births)
Tyler-James (6 births)
Andrew-James (5 births)
Billy-Joe (5 births)
Carter-James (5 births)
Christian-James (5 births)
Christopher-John (5 births)
David-James (5 births)
Jacob-Anthony (5 births)
James-Dean (5 births)
James-Patrick (5 births)
John-Gabriel (5 births)
John-Wesley (5 births)
Jon-David (5 births)
King-Anthony (5 births)
King-Joseph (5 births)
Lee-Andrew (5 births)
Liam-Alexander (5 births)
Matthew-James (5 births)
Noah-Gabriel (5 births)
Paul-Anthony (5 births)
Prince-Charles (5 births)
Ryan-Paul (5 births)
Sir-William (5 births) Latin Combination names (Spanish, Italian, even French):
These could be one name. These could be hyphenated. Or these could be spaced as two first names. It is hard to tell from the data. How do you imagine the following names would be written?
I suspect that many of these are double first names rather than actually hyphenated, but since we can't know for sure, they have been included here. Which do you like? Are there any that you think do not flow well together?
Stay tuned for the list of potentially hyphenated girls' names. It is SO much longer than this list!
If you had a baby in the year 2015, you essentially cast your vote for the most popular names in the country. And since another year has come and gone, we now get to dive into the latest baby name data!
As you may know, the Social Security Administration rounds up the applications submitted for the year and they tally up how many names received how many births. It may not always be completely accurate, but it is very telling. It allows us to analyze which names are trending throughout the country.
This is important for many parents who do not want their kids to be one of five Liams in a classroom. Some people try their best to avoid any name ranking within the Top 10, or Top 100 or even the Top 1000. Statistics are important, people.
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge's first birthday is today, May 2, 2016. To celebrate, let's take a look at the names of female rulers of England and other Royal Princesses.
While there have been many rulers of England in history, the vast majority of them have been male. However, some of the most influential rulers were the Queens, especially Queen Victoria and our current, long-reigning Queen Elizabeth II.
Last week we took a look at the names of male rulers and their meanings and popularity over time. Now it is time to look at the women.
Names of Queens of England:
Mary comes from the Greek Mariam and Maria which were derived from the Hebrew Miryam. It's no secret that Mary (and Maria and Marie, etc) is by far the #1 name for women around the world. It ranked at either #1 or #2 in the US from 1880-1965. It wasn't until 2009 that it dropped out of the Top 100. As of 2014, Mary ranked at #120. It has been so well used that its starting to be a bit less favorable but it will most likely always be in decent use.
1553-1558Mary IHouse of Tudor
1689-1694William III of Orange and Mary II (jointly)House of Orange
Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew name Elisheva meaning "God is an oath" or "pledged to God". This name has been used well by Christians in Europe and in medieval England, especially after the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Elizabeth ranked in the Top 10 from 1880-1923, and again from the 1980s to now. The name has always been within the Top 30 though. It is also extremely popular as a middle name. In 2014, it ranked at #14.
1952-Elizabeth II (Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Head of the Commonwealth of Nations)
Anne is the French form of Anna which, along with Hannah, comes from the Hebrew name Channah meaning "grace". Anne and Ann were introduced to England in the 13th century and was commonly used since then. Anne has always ranked within the Top 700, typically within the Top 200. As of 2014, it ranked at #553.
1702-1714Anne House of Stuart
Victoria means "victory" in Latin, in line with the Roman goddess of victory. It is the feminine form of the male Victorius. Believe it or not, Victoria was a rare name until Queen Victoria came around in the 19th century. Victoria has always ranked within the Top 300. It ranked the best within the 1990s. As of 2014, it was #19.
1837-1901Victoria (Empress of India 1876-1901)House of Hanover
Short-reigning female rulers who were snubbed of their right to rule:
Matilda comes from the Germanic name Mahthildis meaning "strength in battle", from the elements maht "might, strength" and hild "battle". This was the name of a woman who was very nearly a ruler of England. It has also been the name of some wives of kings. The name was popular in England after being introduced by the Normans. Matilda ranked well in the US around 1915. It ranked within the Top 1000 from 1880 to the early 1960s, fell off the chart, and is now back on it as of 2008. The name is slowly climbing the charts, ranking at #583 in 2014.
Empress Matilda (7 April 1141 – 1 November 1141 - daughter of Henry I)
Jane is the female form of John which comes from Jehanne, Iohannes and ultimately the Hebrew name Yochanan meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". Jane ranked in the Top 100 from 1911 to 1965. It has now dropped down to #322 in 2014.
Lady Jane (10 July 1553 – 19 July 155)
Other Royal Names for Females:
The following list is compiled from the firsts and middle names of Royal Princesses by blood, as well as some of the names of the wives of kings. I recommend that you take a look at this page that lists out the first/middle name combinations. These are so beautiful and worth a browse.
There are probably some names that were missed or deemed a bit too unusual to include. Of the names above that made the list, which do you like most? What would you name a future sister to George and Charlotte of Cambridge?