Thursday, November 28, 2013

Remy

The four-letter name of the week is one that is being revived for both boys and girls. It has a modern feel to it and is certainly attractive on both genders, however I prefer it for a boy.

Rémy is a French name that comes from the Latin name Remigius which was derived from the Latin remigis meaning "oarsman".  It was also the name of a fifth century saint.


This name, when said in its French form, is pronounced ray-MEE. However you can get by with just REM-ee in the US, especially without the accent mark over the e. Another variant is Rémi or Remi. The Italians, Portuguese and Spanish prefer the name Remigio.

The name appears on French alcoholic beverages: Rémy Cointreau is the company and they have a brandy called Rémy Martin.

In pop culture, there is a band called Remy Zero; and the main character in the film Ratatouille is named Remy. There are also a few geographical locations with this name. As for famous namesakes who have Remy as a first name or a surname, the list is far too long for this blog. Take a look here if you want to view it.

Statistically, the name breaks down like this for the year 2012:
Remy (Boy): #891 with 233 births
Remy (Girl): #1237 with 195 births
Remi (Boy): #2074 with 66 births
Remi (Girl): #1036 with 242 births

So according to this data, it is fair to say that the Remy spelling is more commonly used for boys, while Remi is a bit more feminine. However, it is clearly very unisex overall.

Boy Remy and Boy Remi were used in the US well before either girl spelling.  Remy was first used on 6 boys in 1914 and Remi followed the next year with 8 births. Females began receiving these names much later. Remi appeared on the record for girls in 1963 with 5 births and Remy followed the next year, also with 5 births. At least these names seem to travel together!

It wasn't until the late 70s and early 80s that these 4 names were regularly used every year, and it is only in the past decade that they've gained a boost in usage. Despite this, none of the spellings have ever been in the Top 1000 except for Boy Remy who cracked the barrier in 2009. Girl Remi may be next!

I favor Remy for a boy over all of these. While I love the French spelling and pronunciation, I can't help but like the Americanized REM-ee a little bit more.  However, for Francophones, I definitely recommend Rémy paired with a French middle name.  Which spelling do you prefer for which gender and which pronunciation do you like best?


Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Amelie, Benoite, Claire, Eloise, Helene, Jovie, Lydia, Nadine, Odette, Sophie, Vivienne
Brothers: Armand, Bastien, Dashiell, Eben, Finn, Jasper, Lucien, Pascal, Rupert, Soren, Thierry

Middle Name Ideas (Boy):
Remy Alexandre
Remy Benoit
Remy Gervais
Remy Laurent
Remy Olivier
Remy Sebastien

Middle Name Ideas (Girl):
Remy Alaina
Remy Beatrice
Remy Diane
Remy Isabelle
Remy Nicolette
Remy Simone

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Very Best Four-Letter Boy's Names


Four-letter boy names are in a class of their own! They have to be strong, bold and handsome all within a very short amount of space.


It is important that these names pack a punch! Here are 460 of the very best four-letter names for boys! Which is your favorite?

Abel        
Adam
Adan  
Adin
Ajax  
Alai
Alan
Aldo
Alec
Alek
Alex  
Ames
Amir  
Amos
Andy
Aram
Arch
Ardo
Ares
Aric
Arik
Aris
Arlo
Arne
Aron
Arvo      
Aviv
Axel  
Aziz

Bard
Bart
Bear
Beau
Beck
Bert
Biel
Bill
Bing  
Birk
Blue
Boaz
Bode
Bolt
Bond
Boyd
Brad
Bram
Bran
Bret
Brit  
Bryn
Buck
Burn
Burt
 
Cade
Cael
Cage
Cain
Caio
Cale
Cane
Carl
Cary
Case
Cash
Cato
Celt
Chad
Chaz
Chet
Chip
Cian
Ciel
Clay  
Cobb
Coby
Cody
Coen
Cole
Colt
Cory
Crew
Cris
Cruz
Curt
Cyan
   
Dale
Daly
Dana
Dane
Dash  
Dave
Davy  
Dean  
Dell
Deon  
Dion
Dior
Dirk
Doak      
Doug
Drew
Duke

Earl
Eben
Eddy
Eden
Edge
Edin
Eion
Elam
Elan
Elio
Elis
Eliu
Elmo  
Eloy  
Emet
Emil
Emir  
Emry
Enos
Enzo
Eoin  
Eric
Erik
Eron
Eros
Esau
Euan
Evan  
Ewan
Ewen
Ezio
Ezra
 
Fife
Finn
Ford
Fran
Fred
Frey
Fynn

Gabe
Gael
Gage
Gale  
Gary
Gene
Gian
Gibb
Gino
Glen
Gray
Greg
Grey  
Hale        
Hank
Hans  
Hawk
Herb
Hiro
Holt
Hoyt
Huck
Huey
Hugh
Hugo
Hume
Hunt
Hyde  

Iago
Idan  
Iggy
Igor
Iker
Ilan
Iman
Ingo
Iolo        
Ivan
Iven
Iver
Ives
Ivey
Ivor
Iwan
Izzy

Jace
Jack
Jaco
Jago
Jair
Jake
Jame
Jase
Jeff
Jehu
Jens
Jere
Jess
Jett    
Joab
João  
Joby  
Joel
Joey
John
Jory
José
Josh
Joss
Jove
Jovi
Juan
Judd
Jude  

Kace
Kade  
Kael  
Kage
Kale
Kane
Karl  
Kash
Kato  
Kean
Keir  
Kent  
Kerr
Khai
Khan
Kian
Kiel
Kiev  
King
Kirk
Kirt
Knox
Knut
Kobe
Koby
Koda
Kody
Koen
Kole  
Kory
Kris
Kurt  
Kyle

Ladd
Lael
Lake
Lane
Lann
Lars    
Leif
Leon
Leto
Levi
Liam
Liev
Link  
Loïc  
Loki
Lowe
Luca
Ludo
Luis
Luiz
Luka
Luke
Lyle
Lynn
Lyon
Lyre

Mace
Mack
Maël
Maik
Mako
Måns
Marc
Mark  
Mars
Máté
Matt
Mick  
Mike  
Milo
Mitt
Mose
Moss
Myer

Nash
Nate
Neal
Neil
Neon
Nero
Nick
Nico
Niko
Nils
Nino
Noah
Noam
Noel
Nyle
Obed
Odin
Odis
Olaf
Olan
Olav
Oleg
Olen
Olin  
Olmo
Omar  
Omni
Omri  
Onyx
Opus  
Orin
Oris    
Otis  
Otto
Owen

Paco  
Paul
Penn  
Pete
Petr
Phil
Piet
Pike
Pius
Polk  

Qais
Quin

Rael
Rafe  
Ralf  
Raul  
Reed
Reef  
Reid  
Rémi
Rémy
Rene
Reno  
Rhys  
Rich
Rick
Rico
Roan
Robb
Roby
Rock
Roel
Roen
Rohn
Rolf  
Rome
Rook
Rory
Ross
Roux
Rudy    
Russ
Ryan  

Saul
Scot
Sean
Seth
Shad
Shai
Shaw
Shay
Shea
Shia
Shon  
Sian  
Skip  
Stan  
Sven  

Tadj
Taft
Tahj
Taig
Taio
Tait
Tate    
Teal
Thad  
Theo
Thor
Tino
Tito
Toby
Todd
Tony  
Tory
Tosh
Tove  
Trey
Troy
Tuck  

Umar
Unai
Utah  

Vash    
Vern
Vian
Vine
Vinh
Vito

Wade
Wael  
Walt
Ward  
Webb
West
Will
Witt  
Wolf    
Wynn

Xabi
Xyan

Yael  
Yale
Yann
York  
Yule
Yuri
Yvan
Yves
Yvon

Zach
Zack
Zaid
Zain
Zale
Zane
Zayd
Zayn
Zeal  
Zeke  
Zeno  
Zeus
Ziad
Zion
Zuma    
If you're looking for short boy names in particular, you might also like this post about One-Syllable Boy Names.  Don't forget to check out the list of 4-letter Girl Names too!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Freya

The Girl's Name of the Week also comes from my Australian research. The name is currently ranked at #130 in Australia and gaining popularity! The lovely name is Freya.


Freya is a Nordic name meaning "a noble woman". The Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility was named Freya.  However, this is not the usual spelling in Sweden and Denmark. In those countries, it is spelled Freja and in Norway it is Frøja, but Freya is the common spelling of the goddess's name in English.

This moniker has been rather popular in the UK for quite a while! It ranks at #16 in Scotland, #19 in England and Wales, #53 in Northern Ireland and #61 in the Republic of Ireland. In Victoria, Australia, Freya is currently ranked at #130.

As for the United States, this name was first seen in 1931 on 5 baby girls.  It wasn't until 1939 that it saw more regular usage, however many years had single digit births or none at all. Finally in 2007 the name hit the triple digit mark with 109 babies born. Freya's high-peak was 205 births in 2011 for a ranking of #1175. Last year, the name declined slightly with 180 births and a ranking of #1301.



Clearly the States have not caught on to the beauty of this name like the UK and Australia have. While I would like to see it gain a bit more popularity, I do like to keep some names obscure as well. I feel like this name is in the sweet-spot between obscurity and familiarity.

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Astrid, Carys, Dagny, Elsa, Imogen, Ingrid, Jeneve, Kirsi, Maren, Sigrid, Thora
Brothers: Axel, Connor, Eric, Gunnar, Harry, Jacob, Knute, Leif, Ragnar, Soren, Thurston

Middle Name Ideas:
Freya Josephine
Freya Elise
Freya Scarlett
Freya Brigit
Freya Dagmar
Freya Elin
Freya Hanne
Freya Maren

As a Middle Name:
Halle Freya
Kiersten Freya
Signe Freya
Catherine Freya
Annabelle Freya
Natalie Freya

What do you think of this lovely name and what would you pair with it? Let me know!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

World-Wide Wednesday: Australian Names

Featured Australian Names:
Rafferty &  Freya
For this month's World-Wide Wednesday, I thought I'd explore a land that is more similar to the US than the previously featured countries. I'm talking about "the land down under."

In my research, I couldn't find any information about specific baby naming customs or traditions, but the continent definitely has some regulations in place.  Obviously, like most places, obscene or offensive names or words cannot be used. A name may not be exceedingly long to where it becomes impractical, nor can it contain special characters or punctuation.

Any name that resembles an official rank or title like Lord, Lady, Princess, Queen, Father, Sir, Admiral or Doctor are not allowed, but one that slipped through the cracks is Duke. Click here for a bit more information on other naming laws and regulations throughout Australia.

Like the US and other English-speaking countries, Aussie children traditionally are given their father's last name, however some parents opt for a hyphenated combination of both their last names.  If the parents are not married, the child will be given the mother's surname unless both parents agree to using the father's. Occasionally, the mother's maiden name will become the middle name.

What makes some Australian given names unique is their own distinctive blend of cultures, including some influence from indigenous languages. The native Australian Aborigines are said to have as many as 27 language families within Australia and a few nearby islands that  offer some rare phonetic sounds. These names not only sound unique to the American ear, but they also have specific meanings that have more of a nature feel to them than we're use to seeing.

A few examples include:
Arika - G - "A Waterlily"
Burnum - B - "A great warrior"
Camira - G - "Of the wind"
Dheran - B - "A gully"
Elouera - G - "From the pleasant place"
Gelar - B - " A brother"
Habya - G - "A stone"
Jerara - B - "Falling water"
Kirra - G - "A leaf"
Lowan - B - "A mallee fowl"
Mayrah - G - "Spring, or the wind"
Nambur - B - A tea-tree"
Orana - G - "The moon"
Pindan - B - "A desert"
Tarana - G - "A large waterhole"
Warrun - B - "The sky"
Yara - G - "A seagull"

Click here for a large list of Aboriginal baby names. 

As for non-Aboriginal names, there are many Aussie favorites that are also popular in the US and the UK. This is what Australia's Top 20 looked like in 2012 when all of the various spellings were combined:
1. Charlotte
2. Ruby
3. Lily/Lilly
4. Olivia
5. Chloe
6. Sophie
7. Emily
8. Mia
9. Amelia
10. Ava
11. Isabella
12. Sophia/Sofia
13. Ella
14. Grace
15. Sienna
16. Maddison/Madison
17. Zoe
18. Matilda
19. Emma
20. Isla

1. Jack
2. William
3. Noah
4. Ethan
5. Oliver
6. Thomas
7. Lucas
8. James
9. Cooper
10. Jackson/Jaxon
11. Lachlan
12. Liam
13. Joshua
14. Jacob
15. Samuel
16. Alexander
17. Mason
18. Max
19. Benjamin
20. Charlie
Check out Waltzing More Than Matilda's excellent comparison of popular Australian names and how they rank in the US.  Here is a snippet from that article that highlights names that are rarely used in the US but are popular in Australia!:

#AustraliaRank  NAME -  US DATA

#97 Ebony – 93 births (last charted 2005)
#45 Imogen – 111 births (never charted)
#64 Indiana – 33 births (last charted in 1893)
?     Milla – 135 births (never charted)
#57 Poppy – 171 births (never charted)
#77 Tahlia – 108 births (never charted)

#57 Angus – 83 births (last charted 1948)
#46 Archie – 93 births (last charted 1988)
#75 Bailey – 121 births (last charted 2009, Top 100 for girls)
#85 Darcy – 9 births (last charted for boys 1970, more common for girls)
#72 Hamish – 15 births (never charted)
#10 Lachlan – 183 births (never charted)
#56 Nate – 101 births (never charted)
#90 Zac – 73 births (never charted)

The owner of the blog "Waltzing More Than Matilda," Anna Otto, shared with me some names that stood out to her:  "Tahlia is popular here, and Banjo, Allira and Tasman are rising and fashionable." She mentions even more names in this article that include Allegra, Bridie, Freya, Kirrily and Zali for girls; as well as Bede, Digby, Fergus, Quade and Rafferty for boys.

It goes to show that the two countries share a liking for many of the same names but there are also some vast differences when it comes to popularity.  From Aboriginal names to rare-in-the-US choices like Imogen and Lachlan, Australia has some great baby names!

I don't know about you, but I'm always fascinated by other countries. Which of the above names would you like to see gain some popularity in the States?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rafferty

Today I'm featuring my favorite boy name that I took from my upcoming World-Wide Wednesday post that features names from Australia!  This name is also used in other English-speaking nations but it is extremely rare in the US! The name is Rafferty.


I can't help but love it. I think it is adorable, and yet, it really doesn't have your typical "American" feel. I love that Australians like it though! Over there, it is ranked at #292 with a total of 17 births for the year in Victoria. It is actually an Irish surname that originates from Ó Raifeartaigh which came from  O’Raithbheartaigh. It means "Abundance" or "Prosperity Wielder".

It is still very much used as a surname today. Thanks to the rough sound of Rafferty, it works better on a boy than on a girl as a first name. Some surnames could go either way, but this one has a boyish vibe to it. In fact, the term "Raffish" means "unconventional and slightly disreputable, especially in an attractive manner."  It makes me think of a badboy with shades and motorcycle that all the girls are crazy about; or a rough-and-tumble toddler playing in the mud. It has a certain charm to it as well.

However, despite the meaning of raffish and the fact that it might make you think of riff raff, Rafferty does have a great meaning. I would say it is rather upbeat and edgy, a cool option for a boy. However, most of America has not fallen in love with this name yet. Jude Law's son was born in 1996 which gives this name a bit of star power, but (assuming he was born in the US, which I'm not totally sure about) he was one of a kind for his year since there are no boys on record with the name Rafferty in 1996. (The official records require at least 5 babies to be born for the year before it is recorded.) Perhaps he was the only one! Perhaps there were 4 total. We don't know.


The name first appeared on records in 1989, 1990 and 1992. Not again until 1998 and then 2002, all with 5 births per year. By 2004, the name gained some regular usage. There was a record-high of 13 births in 2005, 2006 and 2008.  Last year, there were only 6 boys named Rafferty. I think this is a name that deserves much more usage than just 6 per year, don't you think?

So that's it! A total of 114 Raffertys in recorded American baby-name history. However we know of at least one more born in '96. :)  Do you know any little Raffertys?

There were 2 born in Scotland in 2012, ranking it at #1106.  There were 106 born in England and Wales in 2011, ranking it at #378. I could not find any information in Ireland. If you know how often Rafferty is used as a first name in Ireland, please let me know. I'd like to know if it is seen as a surname only or if it is actually used as a given name.

 In Australia, I already mentioned that the name is ranked at #292 but I'm told by Australian Baby-Name Expert, Anna Otto, that names starting with Raf- are "currently quite big" in Australia. Rafferty in particular  honors iconic Australian screen legend “Chips” Rafferty. Because of his fame, the name Rafferty has become a favorite celebrity baby name.

I think something short and sweet would be great in the middle name spot, especially if it also has an Irish background. Raff or Rafe are both great nicknames, or even RJ if you used a J middle name!  What would you pair it with? What do you think of it?  Let me know!

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Ashling, Bridgit, Ciara, Freya, Genevieve, Iris, Keeva, Maeve, Saoirse, Willow
Brothers: Atticus, Cashel, Digby, Emory, Flynn, Gilroy, Jarvis, Ossian, Pruitt, Sebastien

Middle Name Ideas:
Rafferty Aden
Rafferty Cormac
Rafferty Herne
Rafferty Malone
Rafferty Quade
Rafferty Sullivan

As a Middle Name:
Brennan Rafferty
Donnel Rafferty
Keegan Rafferty
Logan Rafferty
Tavis Rafferty
Seamus Rafferty

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Amandine

This week's name theme is food-inspired. I have previously featured two of the names that are on the list: Basil and Clementine. I thought I would choose one that is less obviously food-related and more wearable as a name: Amandine.

Did you know that Amandine is a culinary term that refers to almonds that are used as garnish? It is sometimes misspelled as almondine in cookbooks in the US.  Did you also know that Amandine is the French form of the feminine name Amanda? Makes sense, right?


This lovely French diminutive means "much-loved" and is a wonderfully unique twist on the previously-popular and somewhat-dated name Amanda. On that note, it would also do well to honor a relative named Amanda but still give the child a modern and unique choice.

The French word for almond is amande. If you pronounce Amandine the way the French do, it would be a-mawn-DEEN. This name recently ranked at #87 in France and is occasionally used in Belgium. However, it is exceedingly rare in the US.

Actor John Malkovich named his daughter Amandine in 1990 which may have caused the very first record of the name being used in the US: there were 6 births in 1991. After that, there were 6 girls born with the name in 1996, 5 in 1999, 34 between 2002 and 2008. There were 5 born in 2013 with this name for a ranking of #16,594. (Of course the records require at least 5 births for the year so there could have been a few more Amandines born in between then that were not recorded.)

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Alessia, Beatrice, Camille, Eugenie, Juliette, Melisande, Nicolette, Rafaella, Vivienne
Brothers: Alexandre, Basil, Bastien, Florian, Jourdain, Lawrence, Mathieu, Olivier, Percival

Middle Name Ideas:
Amandine Belle
Amandine Colette
Amandine Elise
Amandine Faye
Amandine Giselle
Amandine Matilde
Amandine Noelle

Middle Name to Avoid:
Amandine Joie (essentially Almond Joy, a candy bar.)

As a Middle Name:
Claire Amandine
Isabelle Amandine
Natalie Amandine
Sophie Amandine

What middle name would you pair with Amandine? Do you have any more suggestions for a good sibling name? Let me know in the comment section!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fruit and Spice and Everything Nice!: Food-Inspired Baby Names

When Gwyneth Paltrow named her baby girl Apple in 2004, many people had an opinion about it. To this day it is used as an example of "weird" and "awful" celebrity baby names.  But she isn't the only one who has used food names for their children. Just last year alone Hollywood has had at least 3 foody additions to the list: Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman named their daughter Olive,  Barry Watson named a daughter Clover Clementyne, and Jason Bateman named his little girl Maple.

Why is it that Apple is mocked but Olive and Clementine and Maple are not? Is Apple really that strange? I think I was one of the minority that secretly thought Apple was freakin' adorable! And Gwyneth gets to say she is the apple of her eye. Win!

If you're among those who are fond of food names, here is a list of the most wearable options.  Which of these might you actually consider adding to your short list? Which do you think should never be used?

Almond
Amandine
Anise
Apple
Banana
Barley
Basil
Berry
Cayenne
Cerise
Chai
Cherry
Cinnamon
Citron
Clementine
Clove
Coriander
Crispin
Fennel
Ginger
Honey
Huckleberry
Kale
Lemon
Maize
Maple
Mango
Mirabelle
Olive
Peaches
Pepper
Plum
Quince
Rosemary
Saffron
Sage
Yarrow

If you do have a craving for any of these names, what would you pair with it? Are you bold enough to use one of these in the first name spot or would you safely tuck it away in the middle?  Post your pairings in the comment section!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cordovan

After compiling a list of color names that could potentially be used as baby names, the color Cordovan caught my eye. After searching in various baby name databases, I've found that this has never been used as a name in the U.S. I was struck by Cordovan because of its similarities to names like Sullivan and Donovan and Cor- names like Cordell, Corbeau, Cormac or Corbett. Cordovan sounds like it should be a trendy, modern name.


Cordovan is a Spanish name meaning "native of Cordova" which refers to a city in Spain called Cordoba. It was there that seventh century Visigoths began production of "shell cordovan leather." In this case, cordovan describes the color of the leather. It was first used as the name of a color in 1925 in English.  As a color, Cordovan is a rich burgundy color, or a dark shade of wine. If you'd like to see what color it is, the Hex number is #893F45.

As for popularity, it has never been used on a child in the US since it began keeping record in 1880. I managed to find Cordovan used as a surname in many death indexes and marriage records after a simple search. I also found one woman named Cordovan Denise R. from North Carolina. I wasn't able to track down any birth records in other countries.

Since Cordovan has a strong association with leather, it has a masculine image behind it. Cute nicknames could include Cory, Cord, Cordy, Cordo or Van. What would you pair with this fantastic color name? What do you think of it?

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Brielle, Capri, Claret, Esme, Finlay, Hazel, Olive, Raven, Saffron, Scarlett, Wisteria
Brothers: Adler, Beckett, Cashel, Fletcher, Griffin, Jasper, MacAllister, Roan, Sterling, Zaffre

Middle Name Ideas:
Cordovan Blake
Cordovan James
Cordovan Lee
Cordovan Tate

As a Middle Name:
Andrew Cordovan
David Cordovan
James Cordovan
Parker Cordovan

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Color Me Named: 106 Baby Names from Colors

Source

You've heard of color names like gray and scarlet, sure, but have you heard of options like these?

Which color name is your favorite for a potential baby name? Let me know if I missed any! 

Also, feel free to combine your favorite from the list below and post it as a first and middle name combination in the comments! I'd love to know what sort of names you'd pair with these colors! :)
  • Amaranth
  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Aqua
  • Ash
  • Auburn
  • Aureolin
  • Azure
  • Beige
  • Blue
  • Brick
  • Brown
  • Burgundy
  • Cadet
  • Capri
  • Carmine
  • Celeste
  • Cerise
  • Cerulean
  • Chamois
  • Cherry
  • Citrine
  • Citron
  • Claret
  • Cobalt
  • Cocoa
  • Copper
  • Coral
  • Cordovan
  • Crimson
  • Cyan
  • Dove
  • Ebony
  • Ecru
  • Emerald
  • Fawn
  • Fuchsia
  • Ginger
  • Granite
  • Gray
  • Green
  • Greige
  • Hazel
  • Henna
  • Hyacinth
  • Indigo
  • Iris
  • Isabelline
  • Ivory
  • Jade
  • Jasmine
  • Jasper
  • Jet
  • Lavender
  • Lilac
  • Magenta
  • Magnolia
  • Mahogany
  • Maize
  • Marigold
  • Mauve
  • Moss
  • Olive
  • Orchid
  • Peach
  • Pearl
  • Peridot
  • Plum
  • Poppy
  • Rackley
  • Rajah
  • Raven
  • Red
  • Regalia
  • Roan
  • Rose
  • Ruby
  • Rufous
  • Russet
  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Sapphire
  • Scarlet
  • Sepia
  • Sienna
  • Silver
  • Slate
  • Steel
  • Sterling
  • Tangerine
  • Tawny
  • Teal
  • Thistle
  • Topaz
  • Tulip
  • Turquoise
  • Tuscan
  • Tuscany
  • Umber
  • Vermilion
  • Veronica
  • Violet
  • Viridian
  • Wisteria
  • Xanthene
  • Zaffre
  • Zinc
I like Kate Amaranth, Tawny Josephine, James Cobalt, and Sterling Alexander.  What about you?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Years At A Time: Analyzing Top Baby Names

Just like fashion is constantly changing, so too are names! Occasionally, very old names will even become new and fresh again many years later!

I thought it would be interesting to see just how names have changed over the years. The data that I used comes in 30-year intervals, starting in 1892 and ending last year in 2012.

1892: Boys
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. George
5. Charles
6. Frank
7. Joseph
8. Robert
9. Harry
10. Henry
11. Edward
12. Thomas
13. Walter
14. Arthur
15. Fred
16. Albert
17. Clarence
18. Roy
19. Willie
20. Samuel
1892: Girls
1. Mary
2. Anna
3. Elizabeth
4. Margaret
5. Ruth
6. Florence
7. Emma
8. Ethel
9. Helen
10. Clara
11. Bertha
12. Minnie
13. Bessie
14. Alice
15. Annie
16. Grace
17. Ida
18. Edna
19. Mabel
20. Lillian

Much like present-day England and Wales, the 1880s in America saw the use of "nickname names" or diminutives of proper names that are used as given names. Examples above include Harry and Willie for boys, Minnie, Bessie and Annie for girls.

The majority of the male names are considered classic or traditional and still see plenty of usage, with the exception of Clarence and Fred which are not currently in the top 1000 anymore.  The female names have some classic choices, some vintage chic choices and some choices that might never come back in style.  Florence, Ethel, Bertha, Minnie, Bessie, Ida and Edna are nowhere near the top 1000 and of those, I cannot see Bertha ever being fashionable again, and I'd be surprised to see Bessie making waves. The others have a shot to rejoin the top 1000 but not all at once.
1922: Boys
1. John
2. Robert
3. William
4. James
5. Charles
6. George
7. Joseph
8. Edward
9. Richard
10. Frank
11. Thomas
12. Donald
13. Harold
14. Paul
15. Walter
16. Raymond
17. Henry
18. Jack
19. Arthur
20. Albert
1922: Girls
1. Mary
2. Dorothy
3. Helen
4. Margaret
5. Ruth
6. Betty
7. Virginia
8. Mildred
9. Elizabeth
10. Frances
11. Doris
12. Anna
13. Evelyn
14. Marie
15. Alice
16. Marjorie
17. Irene
18. Florence
19. Lillian
20. Jean
John and Mary continue to reign while Dorothy suddenly appears at #2. Many of the boys names are similar but the chart has an overall new crop of names on it compared to 1892.  The boy's list is pretty solid and full of classic names that don't waver much; in fact, all of these top 20 boy names are still on the present-day top 1000.

The girl's list feels like the wildcard here. Names like Betty, Mildred, Doris, Marjorie and Jean are new to the list but are not names we hear often in present day. Other choices like Margaret, Ruth, Elizabeth, Anna, Evelyn, Marie, Alice and Lillian are still rather popular today!
1952: Boys
1. James
2. Robert
3. John
4. Michael
5. David
6. William
7. Richard
8. Thomas
9. Charles
10. Gary
11. Steven
12. Joseph
13. Donald
14. Larry
15. Ronald
16. Kenneth
17. Mark
18. Dennis
19. Paul
20. Daniel
1952: Girls
1. Linda
2. Mary
3. Patricia
4. Deborah
5. Susan
6. Barbara
7. Nancy
8. Karen
9. Debra
10. Sandra
11. Kathleen
12. Carol
13. Donna
14. Sharon
15. Brenda
16. Diane
17. Pamela
18. Cynthia
19. Janet
20. Christine
Now things start to really change! 30 years can make such a difference. Mary and John are dethroned, replaced by James and Linda. Dorothy is nowhere to be seen and has been taken over by fresh choices like Patricia and Deborah. Actually, Mary is the only female name to last from 1922 to 1952, even Elizabeth fell.

So many of the boys names seem unshakable but we do see new options like David, Gary, Steven, Larry, Ronald, Kenneth, Mark, Dennis and Daniel.  Interesting to think about how this batch of baby names now belongs on grandparents.
1982: Boys
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Matthew
4. Jason
5. David
6. James
7. Joshua
8. John
9. Robert
10. Daniel
11. Joseph
12. Justin
13. Ryan
14. Brian
15. William
16. Jonathan
17. Andrew
18. Brandon
19. Adam
20. Eric  
1982: Girls
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Amanda
4. Sarah
5. Melissa
6. Nicole
7. Stephanie
8. Elizabeth
9. Crystal
10. Amy
11. Michelle
12. Heather
13. Tiffany
14. Kimberly
15. Rebecca
16. Angela
17. Ashley
18. Amber
19. Christina
20. Erin
The 80's bring about an entirely different set of names.  There are a few boy's names that remain from 30 years earlier like Michael, David, James, John, Daniel, Joseph, and William, but there are no survivors on the girl's side from 1952 to 1982.

Many of you probably have these types of names as the current generation of parents, whether you are brand-new or a bit experienced. I grew up with plenty of classmates with these names. The boy's names feel so traditional to me that I don't have much to say about them and the girls names feel rather dated to this time period, even if a few are classic like Elizabeth and Sarah.
2012: Boys
1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. William
6. Liam
7. Jayden
8. Michael
9. Alexander
10. Aiden
11. Daniel
12. Matthew
13. Elijah
14. James
15. Anthony
16. Benjamin
17. Joshua
18. Andrew
19. David
20. Joseph  
2012: Girls
1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Isabella
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Mia
9. Madison
10. Elizabeth
11. Chloe
12. Ella
13. Avery
14. Addison
15. Aubrey
16. Lily
17. Natalie
18. Sofia
19. Charlotte
20. Zoey
These are the names that the 80s kids are now giving to their children. They are much different than the names we were familiar with on our friends as we grew up, and they're not the names of our parents either. There are a few exceptions like Emma, Abigail and Elizabeth for the girls that may have been the names of our grandmothers or even great-grandmothers.

The boys see a few "modern" choices sneak in among the traditional choices. There's Liam, Jayden and Aiden that seem different to me than all the others that are either biblical or very, very old. I am aware that Liam comes from William, but in this case, it's its own name.

In a way, these lists have changed dramatically, and yet, we see some of the same favorites repeat year-after-year. The only two boys names that have lasted the test of time are James and William.  None of the girls names last throughout all 5 lists. Elizabeth is on four of them, and would have been on all five had she not fallen to #22 in 1952. Elizabeth is the only female name to perpetually be in the top 30 since records began in 1880.

While I prefer older names to the modern and trendy choices of today, I think I would choose a name off of the 2012 list before any of the others, except for the oldest one 1892.  Which list is your favorite?


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