Friday, September 27, 2013

O Names: Then and Now

Not including U, O is the least likely vowel to be used at the beginning of names. In fact, there have been zero U names in the Top 100 since 1880. I have already looked at I names, and putting together posts on A names and E names are a daunting task at this point, so, without further ado, the O names!

In 1880, there were three O boy names in the Top 100: Oliver, Oscar and Otto. While Otto fell out after 1898 and Oliver became sporadic from 1897 until it fell out after 1903, Oscar stayed on top through 1925. Otis also made some appearances in 1899, 1905 and 1909, but from 1926 through 2001 there were no O boy names in the Top 100. In 2002, Owen appeared and remains so currently. Oliver returned to the Top 100 in 2009 and also remains.

As for the girls, in 1880 there was only one O name in the Top 100: Olive. Ollie showed up in 1885, 1887 and 1888, but did not stick around longer than that. Olive fell out in 1904, to be replaced by Opal in the same year. Opal lasted until 1920, and from 1920 until 1990 there were no girl O names in the Top 100. Olivia then jumped in and is now, still, the only O girl name on top.

So, from 1926 until 1990... for 64 years... there were no O names in the Top 100 at all!

If we analyze the beginning sounds of the O names, there is an obvious change in preference from the "ah" pronunciation to the "oh" pronunciation. The early names were Oliver, Oscar, Otto, Olive and Ollie. Otis made some brief appearances and then Opal showed up in 1904 when only Oscar was still up there for the boys. Currently, not including Oliver's reappearance, the top O names are Owen and Olivia. I know the preference is not exclusive, but the tide is still interesting to note.

Other O names currently in the Top 1000: Oscar, Omar, Olive, Orion, Orlando, Odin, Omari, Osvaldo, Otto, and Oakley (all boys except Olive).

What is your favorite O name? Can you see Oscar, Otto, Otis, Olive, Ollie and Opal returning to the Top 100 like Oliver did?


Monday, September 23, 2013

The Fitzes

I am currently catching up on the show Scandal, which takes place in the US Capital and involves the highest political figures of the land. The fictitious president has one of the best character names I've ever heard: Fitzgerald Thomas Grant. He is called Fitz by those close to him, and I can't help but be drawn to it, especially since there are so many names that could lead to the nickname. Let's take a look at the Fitzes!

Image is the coat of arms of the Fitzgeralds of Kildare via Wikipedia

Fitz is the Anglo-Norman version of -son and means "son of." It eventually was used by the British family as a surname of the illegitimate children of kings and princes. Fitz is also a standalone surname of German origin.

There are a few Fitz names that are or have been used in the United States. In 2012, only Fitzgerald (12) and Fitzpatrick (7) were given to boys. Since 1880, the only other Fitz names given to 5 or more boys in any given year in the United States were Fitzhugh and Fitzroy. Fitz itself also has a history of use.

Fitzgerald first showed up on the SSA database in 1919, but was only used sporadically in the years after. It's popularity jumped in 1961 (from 5 boys in 1955 to a sudden 24 boys in 1961) and a steady stream of boys have been given the name each year ever since, never going below 7. We can definitely credit this respectful consideration to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who took over the US presidency in 1961. Fitzgerald as a given name reached its peak in 1964, the year after Kennedy was assassinated. 125 boys were given the name in that year, after 52 were given the name in 1963 and before 58 were given the name in 1965. Thanks to JFK, whose middle name was his mother's maiden name, Fitzgerald is definitely the most popular Fitz name ever given in the United States.

Fitzhugh is next popular historically, with a peak year of 1898 when 28 boys were given the name. It also had a pretty steady time of use (given to 10 or more boys) from 1917 to 1932. After being given to 7 boys in 1967, it has no recorded use until 2002 when it was given to 5 boys and hasn't been recorded since.

Fitzroy was first recorded in 1964 with 5 boys given the name in that year. It peaked in 1989 with 15.

Fitzpatrick has only been given to around 31 boys all together since it's first recorded use in 1970.

And Fitz on its own has been given to 5 or more boys in a year only occasionally from 1914 through 2011, reaching its peak in 1923 when 8 boys were given the name.

Unlike its -son cousins, there have been no Fitz names given to girls. It is decidedly masculine.

The name I am shocked has not been recorded in the SSA database is Fitzwilliam. Every Jane Austen fan knows and loves the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy, but I guess parents are more apt to honor the character by using Darcy or shortening the first name to William. I wonder about its popularity in the UK though.

Other Fitzes I have come across in my research:

Do you have a favorite Fitz name? Would you consider using any of them, or just Fitz?

Thanks to Nancy's Baby Names for numbers help.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Emmy Nominations - BEST NAME RESULTS

A big Thank You to those who participated in the Emmy Nomination name survey! There were 45 responses and we ended up with great results! Some winners won convincingly, while other races were very close. Take a look...

Hugh 29 64%
Bryan 0 0%
Jeff 1 2%
Jon 5 11%
Damian 6 13%
Kevin 4 9%
Connie 2 4%
Claire 17 38%
Michelle 1 2%
Vera 9 20%
Elisabeth 13 29%
Kerry 0 0%
Robin 3 7%
Jason 7 16%
Louis 10 22%
Don 0 0%
Matt 5 11%
Jim 2 4%
Alec 21 47%
Lena 13 29%
Laura 2 4%
Tina 0 0%
Amy 6 13%
Julia 14 31%
Edie 10 22%
Bobby 1 2%
Jonathan 16 36%
Aaron 8 18%
Jim 3 7%
Peter 15 33%
Mandy 2 4%
Anna 12 27%
Maggie 12 27%
Emilia 14 31%
Christine 1 2%
Morena 4 9%
Christina 2 4%
Adam 23 51%
Jesse 12 27%
Ed 4 9%
Ty 6 13%
Bill 0 0%
Tony 0 0%
Mayim 7 16%
Jane (2x) 9 20%
Sofia 8 18%
Julie 0 0%
Merritt 8 18%
Anna 13 29%
Michael 6 13%
Matt 6 13%
Toby 10 22%
Benedict 21 47%
Al 2 4%
Jessica 4 9%
Laura 3 7%
Helen 14 31%
Sigourney 8 18%
Elisabeth 16 36%
Ryan 8 18%
Betty 7 16%
Tom 2 4%
Heidi 17 38%
Cat 7 16%
Anthony 4 9%
Margo 18 40%
Diana 4 9%
Carrie 4 9%
Linda 1 2%
Jane 16 36%
Joan 2 4%
Nathan 12 27%
Michael 4 9%
Rupert 15 33%
Robert 5 11%
Harry 5 11%
Dan 4 9%
Bob 0 0%
Nathan 7 16%
Bobby 1 2%
Louis 13 29%
Justin 7 16%
Will 17 38%
Molly 25 56%
Dot-Marie 2 4%
Melissa (2x) 3 7%
Kristen 6 13%
Elaine 9 20%
James 16 36%
Zachary 17 38%
Scott 2 4%
John 4 9%
Peter 6 13%
Sarah 8 18%
Imelda 9 20%
Charlotte 28 62%
Alfre 0 0%

Did your favorites win? It will be interesting to see if the actors/actresses with the winning names actually win an Emmy!


Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Emmy Nominations - Vote!

Image via Wikipedia

The Emmy awards are Sunday night and I thought it would be fun to do our own version! Just vote for the best name in each category. You have until Thursday to vote and the winners will be announced here on Friday. Then we will see if our winners match the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' picks.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

2014 Miss America

Image via Miss America website

Tonight is the Miss America pageant! Here are the contestants:

Chandler - Alabama
Michelle - Alaska
Jennifer - Arizona
Amy - Arkansas
Crystal - California
Meg - Colorado
Kaitlyn - Connecticut
Rebecca - Delaware
Bindhu - DC
Myrrhanda - Florida
Carly - Georgia
Crystal - Hawaii
Sarah - Idaho
Brittany - Illinois
Terrin - Indiana
Nicole - Iowa
Theresa - Kansas
Jenna - Kentucky
Jaden - Louisiana
Kristin - Maine
Christina - Maryland
Amanda - Massachusetts
Haley - Michigan
Rebecca - Minnesota
Chelsea - Mississippi
Shelby - Missouri
Sheridan - Montana
JaCee - Nebraska
Diana - Nevada
Samantha - New Hampshire
Cara - New Jersey
Alexis - New Mexico
Nina - New York
Johna - North Carolina
Laura - North Dakota
Heather - Ohio
Kelsey - Oklahoma
Allison - Oregon
Annie - Pennsylvania
Shenti - Puerto Rico
Jessica - Rhode Island
Brooke - South Carolina
Tessa - South Dakota
Shelby - Tennessee
Ivana - Texas
Ciera - Utah
Jeanelle - Vermont
Desiree - Virginia
Ashley - Virgin Islands
Reina - Washington
Miranda - West Virginia
Paula - Wisconsin
Rebecca - Wyoming

Standouts include Myrrhanda (alternate spelling for Miranda?), Shenti (Egyptian name usually given to boys), and Bindhu (Indian name sometimes spelled Bindu). I am pleased to see Nina, Annie and Reina. Chandler and Sheridan are also happy surprises!

What do you think?


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Set, Hike!: Football-Inspired Names

Image via Wikipedia

The National Football League season has begun! To get things officially started, I thought I would gather up some names pulled from football for those who love the pigskin.

Player Names (this is just a small selection):

Bradshaw - As quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 14 years, Terry Paxton Bradshaw won four Super Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

Brady - As quarterback for the New England Patriots over the past 11 years, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady has won three Super Bowls and has won both the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards multiple times.

Manning - Peyton Williams Manning is currently in his second year as quarterback for the Denver Broncos, but previousy played 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts where he won a Super Bowl and was named MVP.

Marino - Playing 17 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Daniel Constantine "Dan" Marino, Jr. has held almost every passing record in the NFL. Even though he never won a Super Bowl, he is still considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Montana - Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana, Jr. won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, where he played for 14 seasons. He was well known for his come-from-behind victories, especially being the one who threw "The Catch" in Super Bowl XXIII.

Namath - Known affectionately as "Broadway Joe", Joseph William "Joe" Namath played for the New York Jets for 12 years, where he won a Super Bowl.

Olsen - Merlin Jay Olsen played defense for 15 years with the Los Angeles Rams before becoming an actor.

Payton - As a player for the Chicago Bears for 13 years, Walter Jerry Payton won a Super Bowl and several MVP awards. He is remembered as one of the most prolific running backs in NFL history.

Sanders - Both Barry and Deion Luwynn Sanders are memorable players, the former for his exceptional skills at running back with the Detriot Lions and the latter for his dual-sport ability, playing both baseball and football professionally.

Sayers - Gale Eugene Sayers had a highly successful career at running back with the Chicago Bears, but is also well-known as one half of the friendship with Brian Piccolo, which was portrayed in the movie Brian's Song.

Starr - As quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Bryan Bartlett "Bart" Starr won the NFL championship (precursor to the Super Bowl) three times and the Super Bowl two times in the 1960s.

Thorpe - James Francis "Jim" Thorpe was one of the best all-around athletes in American history, competing in professional football, baseball, and basketball, as well as in the 1912 Olympics where he won two golds in the decathlon and pentathlon. Football is known to be his favorite sport, playing professionally between 1915 and 1928, for both the American Professional Football Association and its successor, the NFL.

Warner - Kurtis Eugene "Kurt" Warner played arena football before leading the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl win in his first year as starting quarterback in the NFL. He is considered to be the best undrafted player of all time.

Winslow - While playing nine seasons for the San Diego Chargers, Kellen Boswell Winslow expanded the tight end position to more of a pass-catcher and less of a blocker. He played in five Pro Bowls in the 1980s.

Stadium or Team Names

Bear - Chicago Bears

Bill - Buffalo Bills

Bronco - Denver Broncos

Chief - Kansas City Chiefs

Colt - Indianapolis Colts

Cowboy - Dallas Cowboys

Falcon - Atlanta Falcons

Jaguar - Jacksonville Jaguars

Jet - New York Jets

Lambeau - Home field for the Green Bay Packers, named after the founder of the team, Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau.

Raider - Oakland Raiders

Raven - Baltimore Ravens

Soldier - Home field for the Chicago Bears, serving as a memorial to American soldiers who have died in wars.

Steeler - Pittsburgh Steelers

Texan - Houston Texans

Titan - Tennessee Titans

Football Terms, Positions, or Related Items:

Blitz - When the defense charges into the offense's backfield.

Gunner - The player who lines up closest to the sideline during a punt and rushes down the field in an attempt to tackle the receiver of the punt, often one of the fastest players on the team.

Rudy - Rudy is considered one of the best football, and sports, movies of all time.

Pat - The abbreviation for Point After Touchdown, or the extra point.

Punter - One of the kickers on the team, who concentrates on punting.

Rush - Either running with the ball on offense or putting pressure on the quarterback on defense.

Spike - The quarterback may spike the ball after the snap in order to stop the clock, but also loses a down.

TD - The abbreviation for touchdown. Maybe it wouldn't be used as an actual name, but as a child's initials it could be a compromise between a non-sports-loving parent and a sports-loving parent.

Tuck - A player tucks the ball in as he carries it.

Vince - The winner of the Super Bowl receives the Lombardi Trophy, named after head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi. He led the team to win the first two Super Bowls in the 1960s.

Would you consider using a football-inspired name for your baby?

Check out my similar posts for baseball-inspired and hockey-inspired names.

Some of the above information was gathered from Wikipedia.

Monday, September 9, 2013

G Names: Then and Now

Over history, have American parents favored the soft or hard G sound for their children? I have put together the G names that have been in the Top 100 since 1880, and created a chart showing which names have been on top in each decade. And as an attempt to show things visually, I have also highlighted the names that begin with the hard G sound...

1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Garfield George George George Gene Gary Gary Gary Gary Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel
George Grover Gerald Gerald George Gene Gene George George Gary Gary Garrett Garrett Gavin
Grover Guy Glenn Gilbert Gerald George George Gerald Gerald George George George Gavin Grayson
Guy   Guy Glenn Gilbert Gerald Gerald Glenn Glenn Gerald Gregory Gregory    
      Gordon Glenn Gilbert Glenn Greg Greg Gregory        
        Gordon Glenn Gordon Gregory Gregory          
          Gordon Gregory              
Georgia Georgia Genevieve Genevieve Genevieve Gail Gail Gail Gail Gina Gina Gabrielle Gabriella Gabriella
Gertrude Gertrude Georgia Georgia Geraldine Geraldine Geraldine Glenda Gina     Grace Gabrielle Gabrielle
Gladys Gladys Gertrude Geraldine Gertrude Gertrude Glenda Gloria Gloria       Genesis Genesis
Grace Grace Gladys Gertrude Gladys Gladys Gloria           Gianna Gianna
    Grace Gladys Gloria Gloria             Grace Grace
      Grace Grace Grace             Gracie  

Glancing at the chart, it seems as though the hard G outnumbers the soft G. After actually counting, 13 of the 16 boy names and 9 of the 15 girl names that appear in the Top 100 begin with a hard G. There doesn't seem to be any pattern in the preference over time, other than the disappearance of the soft G in the top boy names in recent years. Looking at the chart in its entirety though, you can see a definite bell curve for both genders. There has been a gradual increase and decrease in popularity of G names over time, with one sharp jump for girls from the 1990s to the 2000s.

Additional observations:

The appearance of Gina in the 1980s column should have an asterisk next to it, as it only appeared in 1980. From 1981 through 1989, there were no girl names that started with G in the Top 100. Also, from 1964 until 1980, Gina was the only girl G name in the Top 100.

With the staying power of George, there has never been a time when the Top 100 was without a boy G name. George fell out of the top after 1992 and was also the last soft G boy name on the list.

Garfield is a one-hit-wonder. It appeared in the Top 100 in 1881, the year after James Garfield became President and the year of his death (he was in office for only 200 days before being assassinated). Grover's popularity between 1884 and 1893 is probably due to another president, Grover Cleveland, who was in office from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897 (I guess the thrill of the name died down during his second term).

Grace fell out of the Top 100 after 1938 only to reappear in 1995 after a 56-year absence.

There are a few boy/girl correlations for G names in the Top 100: Gabriel/Gabriella and Gabrielle, George/Georgia, and Gerald/Geraldine.

Other G names that haven't already been mentioned and appear in the current Top 500 are: Giovanni, Gael, Grant, Gage, Greyson, Giselle, Gabriela, Graham, Griffin, Gunner, Giuliana, Gemma, Grady, Gia, Gerardo, Gideon, Guadalupe, Gustavo, Gianni, and Gunnar.

What is your favorite G name? Do you see any of these Top 500 rising to the Top 100 soon? Do you see any of the older names coming back?


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NameFreak! is ONE!

I am thrilled to celebrate NameFreak!'s first anniversary! This past year has been such an awesome and rewarding experience for me. My articles have been published on Nameberry and in Matilda Magazine, NameFreak! was included in the list of Best Blogs for Baby Name Inspiration on Disney Baby, I have received a ton of hits via links from several sources including Appellation Mountain and Name News, my Facebook page has grown to 229 followers, and several readers have contacted me for name advice. The support and encouragement in the name blogging community has been tremendous. Thank you all so much for reading and I hope you will continue to do so for years to come!

No one can say I'm not nostalgic... after going through my posts from the past year, I have collected a list of my favorites. All of my articles are a blast to research and write, but these are a few that really make me smile.

Downton Abbey - A Name Study

Wentworth: From Rare Inspiration

Romancing Miss Brontë

British Royal Name History

Some Very F"ine" Names

Little Women - A Sibling Study

R Names - 1950s vs 2000s

Play Ball!: Baseball-Inspired Names

From Feminine to Unisex

Inspiration from Place Names

Where Are They Now?: An Update

In closing, I wonder what you, my readers, have enjoyed the most from NameFreak!?


Monday, September 2, 2013


Summer is officially over in the Northern Hemisphere and it is Labor Day in the United States. Are you due on this momentous day and need some name inspiration? I did this for Halloween and Valentine's Day... now let's try finding a name in the letters of LABOR DAY!



Can you find any more?