Friday, December 26, 2014

Name Madness 2014 - FINAL ROUND


Can you believe it's time for the final? Just in time for the last week of the year. We started out with 64 names and now we are down the final 4 (2 boy names and 2 girl names). What are the final matchups? Let's take a look at the results from Round 4...

Vivien 70%
Dorothy 30%

June 53%
Greta 47%

Rhys 53%
Quinn 47%

Dean 42%
Harrison 59%

Vivien seems to be unstoppable, as she has defeated her opponents quite convincingly each week. Does June have a chance against her?

And while Harrison won with a higher percentage in Round 4, Rhys has been mightier in the previous rounds. It seems to be anyone's game.

Did you have any idea these names would be in the final? If you did, you surely had a leg up on me!

Let's get to it! You have until Thursday, January 1, 2015 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Name Madness 2014 should be published on Friday, January 2, 2015. Have fun!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Name Madness 2014 - Round 4


Thank you to the 63 people who voted in Round 3! We are getting closer and closer to the final, so let's waste no more time and get to the results...

Vivien 68%
Viola 32%

Bette 49%
Dorothy 51%

Marlene 21%
June 79%

Greta 60%
Ingrid 40%

Alec 30%
Rhys 70%

Quinn 62%
Colin 38%

Dean 63%
Laurence 37%

Gable 48%
Harrison 52%

While some were quite convincing wins, check out Bette/Dorothy and Gable/Harrison! Those two matches were close the entire time the polls were open. In other news, Vivien continues to overpower her opponents and June trampled poor Marlene. Now onto the Elite Eight!

What do you think of these matchups? Vivien/Dorothy... two names that were huge in the 1920s (although Vivian was bigger than Vivien). June/Greta... the month name and the Swedish nickname for Margaret. Rhys/Quinn... Welsh versus Irish. Dean/Harrison... battle of the monikers that are famous as both first and last names. I'm not sure how you are going to choose!

You have until Thursday, December 25 to vote. I know it's a holiday week, but there are only four matches, so please set aside the short seconds it will take to fill out a ballot! Vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 4 and the ballot for Round 5 should be published on Friday, December 26. Have fun!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Decades List - The Boys of the 1910s

Continuing our Decades List series... These are the Top 100 names historically that made the list for the 1910s decade because the average percentage of use for these names in that ten year period was the highest out of all of the decades. Meaning, this is the decade in which these names were used the most since 1880.

I will need to split the rest of the series into boys and girls because there are too many names to put in one post. So, let's look at the boys of the 1910s!

Carl - Peaking in 1915, Carl reached as high as #22 and was a steady presence in the Top 100 from 1880 through 1979. As a variant of the popular Charles, it is still one of the top 600 names in the US, but slowly slipping in the ranks.

Chester - Even though it left the Top 1000 after 1995 and continues to show decreasing numbers, Chester was a top name for almost 50 years around the turn of the century. It attained the rank of #53 in 1919.

Clifford - Clifford's popularity was at its height in 1918, although its highest rank was #57 in 1909. While Clifford no longer ranks in the Top 1000 and its nickname Cliff may not bring too many to its side, can we consider the up-and-comer Ford? That option could make the name more attractive to those wanting to honor a special Clifford in their lives.

Edwin - Speaking of honor, Edwin is a name present on both sides of my family and was therefore one of the first names on my radar. It ranked as high as #52 in 1919, but had its highest percentage of use in 1915. Edwin is still one of the top 300 names in the United States and is the real first name of astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Francis - A very popular saint name, Francis ranked at #29 in 1915. Its female counterpart, Frances, soared during the same decade, topping out at #8 in 1918. Needless to say, there were a lot of baby Francis/Franceses around in the 1910s/1920s. A new wave of Francis/Franceses may be on the horizon however, as both names have recently made the turn in the ranks from downward to upward.

Howard - Howard may have only fell out of the Top 1000 after 2012, but it actually ranked as high as #24 in 1919 and 1920. If it were to ever make a comeback, one of the main reasons would have to be the adorable nickname Howie.

Irving - Irving only got as high as #93 in 1911 and was only in the Top 100 for 3 years. The most interesting factoid about the name is that it was popular among Jews as an "American-sounding form of Hebrew names beginning with I such as Isaac, Israel, and Isaiah." (

Joseph - Joseph is a powerhouse, having been in the Top 100 for every year since 1880. In the 1910s, more than 2 boys per 100 were named Joseph. It was ranked at #5 for 6 of the decade's years. Currently, it is tied for the second lowest rank it has ever been at #20 (lowest rank was #22 in 2011).

Julius - A name that jumped off and on the Top 100 list between 1880 and 1912, Julius reached its highest rank in 1883 at #88, but had its highest percentage of use in 1912. Its usage has slowly decreased in subsequent years, and currently remains in the Top 400.

Lester - While it was a pretty steady presence in the Top 100 for almost 50 years, Lester never got above #52 in the ranks and that was in 1906. Its highest percentage of use for the decades was in the 1910s however, and it has only gone down from there, falling out of the Top 1000 after 1999.

Lloyd - Lloyd attained its highest popularity in 1918 when it ranked #51. It has since left the Top 1000 (after 2002), but is hanging around a bit as it hasn't dropped too far below it.

Louis - The regal Louis had its highest ranking in 1882 at #18, but its peak percentage of use was in 1914. It has decreased in usage since then, but has never fallen below #353 and is currently on a slight upswing.

Maurice - The saint name Maurice and its counterpart, Morris, both peaked in the 1910s. Maurice reached #94 in 1914 and still ranks among the top 600 names in the United States.

Milton - Milton reached its pinnacle at #64 in 1912. Seemingly considered an "old guy" name, it hasn't ranked since 2008, but is still considered popular in Sweden.

Morris - As mentioned above, Morris rose along with Maurice, climbing to #82 in 1912. Even though Morris ranked higher than Maurice, the French version of the name still ranks, while Morris fell out of the Top 100 after 1994.

Russell - Russell's highest percentage was in 1914, while its highest rank was #48 in 1904. It still remains one of the top 500 names in the US.

Sidney - Like Francis, Sidney has a female equivalent. Unlike Francis, Sidney for boys was popular many years before Sydney was for girls and never ranked as high. Sidney reached its height in 1912 at #80. It is also still in the Top 1000, but just barely.

Stanley - Stanley peaked at #34 in the mid-1910s. While it has become a top 100 name in England, it is slowly falling away in the States, ranking at #679 in 2013.

Victor - Victor has one of the most, if not the most, irregular record when it comes to the Top 100. Between 1885 and 2003, the name entered and left the Top 100 18 times. It reached its pinnacle at #63 in 1918. Currently, Victor is #142, the lowest rank it has ever had.

Vincent - Another very irregular record is the one held by Vincent. Between 1910 and 1994, Vincent entered and left the Top 100 nine times. Oddly enough, and as proof of its weird track, it reached its highest percentage of use and highest rank (#58) in the 1960s but had its highest use in a decade in the 1910s. Even now, it is possibly on its way back into the top rankings as it sits at #101 after falling to #123 in 2002.

Virgil - Virgil was present in the Top 100 for several years between 1904 and 1922, but never ranked higher than #93 (1907). It fell out of the Top 1000 after 1991.

Wilbur - Wilbur was only in the Top 100 for nine years, mostly in the 1910s. It peaked at #91 in 1913, which happens to closely coincide with the death of Wilbur Wright in 1912. Not sure if there really was an influence there, but other than the pig in Charlotte's Web, Mr. Wright is probably the most famous Wilbur out there.

Willard - Another "Will" name, Willard reached #58 in 1915 and slid down from there, exiting the Top 1000 after 1989.

Woodrow - There is no question where the popularity of Woodrow came from. Woodrow Wilson ran for President in 1912, the same year the name Woodrow entered the Top 100 (it ranked at #234 in 1911). It remained in the Top 100 for the majority of his two terms in office, peaking at #44 in 1913 and has since decreased in use by a large amount.

Wow! What a great list! I especially love Victor and Vincent and wonder why their popularity wavers so much. It surprised me to find that Maurice still ranked while Morris did not. Is it the French twist to the name that makes Maurice more popular or is it the link to the cat in the 9Lives commercials that makes Morris less popular? I personally would love to see Morris rise again, but the numbers do not show that possibility any time soon.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Name Madness 2014 - Round 3


Thank you for another great round of Name Madness! After 87 votes, we have some fascinating results. There were a few cases in which one name was not chosen over the other, producing percentages that don't equal 100%, but I went with it.

Here are the results (winners in bold)...

Angelina 18%
Vivien 82%

Viola 64%
Ava 37%

Bette 80%
Carole 20%

Dorothy 64%
Drew 37%

Monroe 46%
Marlene 54%

Ginger 26%
June 74%

Greta 62%
Gwyneth 38%

Ingrid 54%
Hattie 46%

Alec 62%
Spencer 38%

Rhys 61%
Rex 39%

Quinn 55%
Clark 45%

Colin 56%
Cooper 44%

Dean 67%
Marlon 33%

Laurence 62%
Kiefer 38%

Gable 56%
Gregory 44%

Harrison 59%
Heath 41%

After walloping Annette 82%-18% last week, Vivien does the same to Angelina this week! Bette also has a very convincing win over Carole. The closest matchups were Monroe/Marlene and Ingrid/Hattie, but the boy matchups were all fairly close.

Now it's time for the Sweet Sixteen! Wow. In looking at Round 3, I see some really great matchups and cannot wait to see what you all choose!

Because I will be on vacation next week, you only have until Thursday, December 18 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 3 and the ballot for Round 4 should be published on Friday, December 19. Have fun!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Most Popular Christmas Names Overall

After reading this post on Nameberry the other day, I was inspired to go to my name sums database (all given names since 1880 totaled) to see which Christmas names have been given the most overall. Here is what I found...

How interesting that the top names just happen to be the names of Jesus' parents!

This is such a great list of names, and not just for babies born over the holiday season. Which is your favorite?


Monday, December 8, 2014

Name Madness 2014 - Round 2


Thank you for the tremendous turnout in Round 1! Ninety-four of you voted... THANK YOU! And an additional thank you goes out to Appellation Mountain and Name News for posting links. I hope the trend continues with the next round!

Now down to the results. There were several very close matches as well as some blowouts. A couple of you have voted for both options on some of the matchups, so a few of the numbers do not equal 100%. Please remember next time to vote for one option! There was even a tie on one of the matchups... Carole vs. Sandra was close the entire week! So, I have to be the good/bad guy and break the tie. I know half of you will be happy with my pick!

Here are the results (winners in bold)...

Angelina 56%
Winona 45%

Annette 18%
Vivien 82%

Audrey 50%
Viola 51%

Ava 64%
Veronica 37%

Bette 83%
Thelma 17%

Carole 51% (tie break)
Sandra 50%

Dorothy 53%
Sally 48%

Drew 64%
Rita 36%

Ethel 48%
Monroe 53%

Gilda 43%
Marlene 57%

Ginger 51%
Loretta 49%

Greer 40%
June 61%

Greta 70%
Julie 30%

Gwyneth 56%
Jayne 45%

Halle 30%
Ingrid 71%

Harlow 37%
Hattie 64%

Alec 51%
Spencer 49%

Basil 78%
Rock 22%

Burgess 15%
Rhys 85%

Charlton 40%
Rex 60%

Chase 44%
Quinn 56%

Clark 68%
Orson 32%

Colin 60%
Orlando 41%

Cooper 53%
Olivier 48%

Dean 60%
Montgomery 40%

Denzel 38%
Marlon 63%

Diesel 29%
Laurence 72%

Errol 44%
Kiefer 56%

Gable 62%
Keaton 38%

Gregory 66%
Humphrey 34%

Harrison 60%
Hugh 40%

Heath 60%
Hudson 41%

Besides Carole/Sandra, check out Audrey/Viola, Ginger/Loretta, and Alec/Spencer! So close. Meanwhile, poor Annette, Thelma and Burgess couldn't break 20%. Were they so unlikable or are Vivien, Bette and Rhys that much stronger? I guess we'll see in the next round.

What do you think of the results? Any huge surprises or disappointments for you? Is there any name you are ecstatic it's still around?

Now on to Round 2!

You have until Sunday, December 14 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 2 and the ballot for Round 3 should be published on Monday, December 15. Have fun!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Name Madness 2014 - Round 1

I narrowed down the names of hundreds of actors and actresses to 64 contenders (32 girls and 32 boys). I hope you like my picks! They were put in alphabetical order and then the match-ups were set by putting the first against the last, much like March Madness rankings. I am so in love with how the match-ups fell. Some are perfectly matched (Basil vs. Rock) and some are just hard to choose (Audrey vs. Viola)... for me, anyway!

Where did the names come from? Here is a quick rundown of the contenders...

Angelina - Angelina Jolie
Annette - Annette Bening, Annette Funicello
Audrey - Audrey Hepburn
Ava - Ava Gardner
Bette - Bette Davis, Bette Midler (pronounced differently)
Carole - Carole Landis, Carole Lombard
Dorothy - Dorothy Dalton, Dorothy Dandridge, Dorothy Gish, Dorothy Lamour, Dorothy Malone
Drew - Drew Barrymore
Ethel - Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Merman, Ethel Waters
Gilda - Gilda Gray
Ginger - Ginger Rogers
Greer - Greer Garson, Jane Greer
Greta - Greta Garbo
Gwyneth - Gwyneth Paltrow
Halle - Halle Berry
Harlow - Jean Harlow
Hattie - Hattie McDaniel
Ingrid - Ingrid Bergman
Jayne - Jayne Mansfield
Julie - Julie Andrews
June - June Allyson, June Lockhart
Loretta - Loretta Young
Marlene - Marlene Dietrich
Monroe - Marilyn Monroe
Rita - Rita Hayworth, Rita Moreno
Sally - Sally Field
Sandra - Sandra Bullock
Thelma - Thelma Todd
Veronica - Veronica Lake
Viola - Viola Dana, Viola Davis
Vivien - Vivien Leigh
Winona - Winona Ryder

Alec - Alec Baldwin, Alec Guinness
Basil - Basil Rathbone
Burgess - Burgess Meredith
Charlton - Charlton Heston
Chase - Chevy Chase
Clark - Clark Gable
Colin - Colin Farrell, Colin Firth
Cooper - Gary Cooper, Jackie Cooper
Dean - Dean Jagger, Dean Martin, Dean Stockwell, James Dean
Denzel - Denzel Washington
Diesel - Vin Diesel
Errol - Errol Flynn
Gable - Clark Gable
Gregory - Gregory Peck
Harrison - Harrison Ford, Rex Harrison
Heath - Heath Ledger
Hudson - Rock Hudson
Hugh - Hugh Grant, Hugh Jackman
Humphrey - Humphrey Bogart
Keaton - Buster Keaton, Michael Keaton
Kiefer - Kiefer Sutherland
Laurence - Laurence Olivier
Marlon - Marlon Brando
Montgomery - Montgomery Clift, Robert Montgomery
Olivier - Laurence Olivier
Orlando - Orlando Bloom
Orson - Orson Welles
Quinn - Anthony Quinn
Rex - Rex Allen, Rex Harrison
Rhys - Rhys Ifans, John Rhys-Davies, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Rock - Rock Hudson
Spencer - Spencer Tracy

You have until Sunday, December 7 to vote. Please vote only once and for only one name in each match. Winners of Round 1 and the ballot for Round 2 should be published on Monday, December 8. Have fun!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G!

Thanksgiving Tray

I did this with HALLOWEEN a couple of years ago and thought it would be fun to do again. So... how many names can you find in THANKSGIVING? The rule is you can use only the letters in Thanksgiving and you can only use them the amount of times they show up in the word. Here's what I came up with...


Not very easy! Can you find any more?


Monday, November 24, 2014

Name Madness 2014 - Submit Names for Consideration Now!

I'm a little late this year, but it's time to start the third annual Name Madness!

In 2012, we found out that Claire and Henry were the best character names from TV, books and movies. In 2013, we discovered that Matilda and Callum were the best European names. What will we discover in 2014?

Actually, since I started so late, we won't find out the winners until 2015. But the premise is still the same... each week, you will vote in a tournament bracket style (think March Madness) until we dwindle down to the top two names of the year.

And, without further ado, the theme for Name Madness 2014 is...

Hollywood Names!

Think Greta, Gable, and Greer. Think Angelina, Audrey, and Alec. Think Harlow, Harrison, and Hudson. We have been producing motion pictures since the 1910s, and actors and actresses have always been a part of them, so we have about 100 years of names to choose from. What do you think are some of the greatest names of Hollywood actors and actresses?

With that question in mind, I couldn't just come up with the contenders myself... I want help from you! So, throw some Hollywood names my way. They can be the actor's real name or stage name (both Norma Jeane and Marilyn would be acceptable). They can be first or last names (using the same example, both Marilyn and Monroe would be acceptable). A total of 64 total names (32 boys and 32 girls) is necessary for the tournament, so please comment with your suggestions!

The first round will be posted on Monday, December 1. I don't know about you, but I can't wait!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Decades List - 1900s

Let's continue the series...

These names made the list for the 1900s decade because the average percentage of use for these names in that ten year period was the highest out of all of the decades. Meaning, this is the decade in which these names were used the most since 1880.


Alton - Alton was in the Top 100 for only one year. It reached #78 in 1904, which also happens to be the year Alton Parker ran for President against Theodore Roosevelt. It fell out of the Top 1000 almost 100 years later.

Cecil - Cecil hit is height at #65 in 1902. It stayed fairly popular for several decades before gradually falling away and out of the Top 1000 after 1997. However, the feminine form of Cecilia is currently on the rise.

Clyde -  While Clyde's highest rank was at #50 in 1883, its highest percentage of use was in 1905 when it was ranked #52. Interestingly, it returned to the Top 1000 in 2013 at #999 after 14 years of absence.

Eddie - Eddie was extremely sporadic in terms of popularity during the turn of the century. It was consistently in the Top 100 from 1930 through 1958, but it was at its peak in 1910 at #59. Even though it may be seen more as a nickname for such names as Edward, Edwin, Edgar, and Edmond, it is still ranked in the 600s in the United States as a given name.

Everett - Currently a name increasing in popularity, Everett reached as high as #81 in 1906. It seemed to be on a downward path until the 1990s when it turned around and has been consistently rising since.

Floyd - Did you know Floyd is actually a variant of Lloyd (which reached its height in the 1910s)? Floyd seems to have been a decade or so ahead of its base name, as it peaked in 1905 at #44, 14 years before Lloyd did and seven ranks higher than Lloyd reached, but did not last as long in the Top 1000.

Herman - Herman was used more in the 1900s than any other decade since 1880. However, it ranked highest in 1886 and 1893 at #44 and had the highest percentage of use in 1893. I think we can safely say that even though it is currently ranked high in Norway, in the United States, Herman had its heyday over the turn of the century and has since fallen away.

Jessie - While we may see Jessie more as a nickname for Jessica, it is also a popular variant of the name Jesse for boys. Reaching #69 in 1900 (and its highest percentage of use in 1910), Jessie was not too far from the original Jesse's 1900 rank of #50. Even though its usage is decreasing now, in 2013, Jessie was given to 320 boys (versus 477 girls) and ranked at #720.

Joe - Joe was a steady presence in the Top 100 from 1880 through 1970. Its highest rank was #20 in 1880, but its highest percentage of use was in 1910. It is a fairly steady nickname name that still holds a place in the Top 1000.

Johnnie - With John being #1 from 1880 through 1923, it is no surprise that its nicknames also peaked in the Top 100. Johnnie reached as high as #74 in 1910, many ranks lower and many years prior to counterpart Johnny. It has also disappeared from the Top 1000, while Johnny is still in the 200s.

Leo - Leo reached its pinnacle in 1903 at the rank of #38. It was an early peaker compared to its associates Leon and Leonard, and is currently on its way back into the Top 100.

Leslie - Leslie is now considered a girl's name, but it was once dominated by boys. The takeover happened during the 1940s when the boy Leslie started a gradual decline in popularity. In 1902, however, Leslie reached its highest percentage of use (it reached its highest rank in 1895 at #81), when girl Leslie was in the lower half of the Top 1000.

Otis - Otis only entered the Top 100 three times (1899, 1905, and 1909) and never really got extremely high in rank, only reaching #94 in 1899 (was #99 the other two years). It fell out of the Top 1000 after 1994, but has recently started an upswing that could possibly be aided by the fact that celebrity Olivia Wilde used it on her son in 2014.

Roosevelt - There is no wonder as to the root of Roosevelt's popularity. It was in the Top 100 from 1903-1905, the years Theodore Roosevelt ran for President and won his second term (after taking over for McKinley following his assassination). It peaked in 1905 at #91. Interestingly, there was another peak in the raw numbers in 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt became President, but the rank at that time only rose to #132.

Theodore - No doubt due to the previously mentioned President, Theodore peaked in percentage of use in 1904, when it also reached its highest rank at #30. It had a steady presence in the Top 100 (1880-1944, 1949-1952), and is currently on the rise again (#170 in 2013).

Willie - A very popular name for both boys and girls in the 1900s, Willie was probably used to honor a special William, Willard or Wilbur in the family's life. Boy Willie reached as high as #11 in 1910, when it was given to almost 14 out of every 1,000 boys born, and it is still in the Top 1000 today.


Beulah - While the name does not attract very many people nowadays, Beulah was once ranked as high as #72 in 1903 and 1904, and held a place in the Top 100 for 30 years. It was once used in the Bible as a reference to Israel.

Esther - A Biblical name that has a different fate is Esther. Peaking at #27 in 1896, Esther had its highest usage in the 1900s and after falling only into the 300s in rank over time, it is currently on the rise.

Gladys - Gladys made it all the way to #11 in 1901. In that year, about one girl out of a hundred were given the name. From there, Gladys has slowly moved towards disappearance from use.

Hilda - Hilda was never any higher than it was in 1899 at #87, but it remained a part of the Top 100 for several years around the turn of the century. It is currently used even less than Gladys in the United States, but is one of the top 100 names in Sweden.

Leona - Like the aforementioned Leo, Leona reached its height in the 1900s and after a decrease in usage is currently on the rise. It peaked in 1905 at #69, fell out of the Top 1000 in 1982, re-entered in 2009, and then shot up to #734 in 2013.

Lillian - Lillian may be ranked pretty high right now (#26 in 2013), but it was as high as #10 from 1898 through 1901. During the 1900s, 1 out of every 100 girls was named Lillian. While that number may not be reached again, reaching the Top 10 again is highly possible.

Lola - Lola was only in the Top 100 in 1904 at #99. So, while it did not hold as much muster as most other names on this list, it still held up well on its own as it is usually a diminutive for Dolores. Lola re-entered the Top 1000 in 2002 after a 20-year absence and is continuing to slowly rise.

Marie - Marie is the French form of Maria and variation of Mary. It is no big surprise then that it peaked pretty high at #7 in 1901, 1903 and 1904. In 1899, almost 13 out of every 1,000 girls were named Marie. Ever since then, however, the name is on an extremely slow downslide.

Rose - Like Marie, Rose may be more commonly heard as a middle name nowadays, but back in 1911 and 1913, it was ranked as high as #14 as a first name. Rose reached it's highest percentage of use in 1908 and while it went down from there, it may be currently making a turn for the better.

Vera - Vera made it as high as #65 in 1915 and 1919, although it had its most percentage of use in the 1900s. It dropped out of the Top 1000 in 1984, but has since made a huge comeback, re-entering in 2009 and increasing to #422 in five short years.

Viola - Believe it or not, Viola was more popular at its highest than Violet ever has been. In 1908, Viola ranked at #42, while Violet has just reached its highest ranking at #69 in 2013. It is very different from Violet now, however, as its come back has not been as dramatic and quick. But with increasing numbers in recent years, Viola is definitely another "old" name that is making a move.

Willie - It is fascinating that Willie reached its height as a boy's name and as a girl's name in the same decade. Although, for girls, it did not achieve the same pinnacle. Girl Willie peaked at #54 in 1909 and fell out of the Top 1000 after 1972. In fact, it has almost fallen out of favor completely, as it was only given to five girls in 2013 and was not recorded at all in the previous three years.

Which of these names that peaked in the decade of the 1900s is your favorite? Would you like to see more of any of them? My faves would have to be Otis and Viola!


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Bellas

Isabella was #1 for 2009 and 2010 and has been in the Top 10 since 2004. Elizabella reached the mainstream with the birth of Alyssa Milano's daughter, and Arabella is also in the news again after another celebrity birth.

Is it the "bella" factor that makes these names on the rise? Is it the fact that "bella" means "beautiful" in Italian? Or is it just the feminine sound?

Whatever it is, it's a hit. Let's take a look at some -bellas...

Annabella - A combination of Anna and Bella or a form of Annabel, Annabella has slowly made its way up in the Top 1000 since breaking in in 2001. Interestingly, it is related to the name Amabel, and Amabella has just started showing up in the United States in the past few years.

Arabella - Arabella also has a connection to Amabel and Annabella, and in that way (Latin) it means "yielding to prayer." In the German, it means "eagle heroine." It is also the name of a comedic opera written by Richard Strauss in 1933. Arabella had brief stints in the Top 1000 in the late 1800s, but firmly broke into the ranks in 2005 and has only been on the rise since.

Bella - The name itself has risen a lot since it re-entered the Top 1000 back in 2000 after almost 70 years of absence. No doubt aided by the Twilight craze, it reached as high as #48 in 2010, but has leveled a bit in the past few years.

Christabella - A varient of Christabel, or possibly even a combination of Christina and Bella, Christabella has religious roots as it means "beautiful Christian." It is a rare name in the United States, given to a handful of girls mostly since 2002.

Elizabella - Before Alyssa Milano chose this name for her daughter, many may not have heard of it. It looks like a combination of Elizabeth and Bella and may very well be that. It could often get confused with the more popular Isabella. The earliest recording of this name being used in the United States is 2004 and there were 35 girls given the name in 2013, the highest number so far.

Isabella - The name is huge, but since you can't go anywhere but down from the top, it is probably over the hump now and on its way back down while other -bella names are on the rise. After about a 40 year absence from the Top 1000, Isabella re-entered the ranks in 1990 and was well on its way to the top when Twilight helped the inevitable. Isabella is a variation of Isabel, which is the Spanish form of Elizabeth. Izabella is also a pretty popular spelling, ranking at #179 in 2013, and Ysabella is another consideration.

Mirabella - Mirabella is a form of Mirabelle, which means "wonderful." Its use in the United States was first recorded in 1991 and surprisingly has not been given to more than 60 girls in a year (2011). One question though... do you pronounce it mee-rah-bel-la or my-rah-bel-la?

Rosabella - The meaning for Rosabella is very clear; it is Italian and means "beautiful rose." Another name that I am surprised is not used more in the States, although it is slowly increasing, reaching its height so far in 2013 at 83 girls (first recorded in 1997).

Sabella - Its first recorded use in the States was in 1986 and it has increased to 82 uses in 2013. What does this beautiful name mean? I'm probably the only one who had to do a double-take when I looked it up... it's a shortened form of Isabella. The lack of "I" really threw me for a loop and makes it sound fresher than the popular long form. Can also be spelled Zabella for a fun choice.

Are you in favor of the increase in -bellas? What is your favorite -bella?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From Betty to Lizzi... Elizabeth Nicknames as Given Names

Elizabeth is the only girl name that has been in the Top 100 every year since 1880. It's no wonder though, as it is a classic name with an abundance of nicknames to create some uniqueness to each special girl. But what about the girls who have the nickname on their birth certificate? They are related to the name by custom alone and may have to explain to people that their name is not actually Elizabeth. These girls have parents who simply loved the diminutive more than the full name. And the popularity of these nicknames-as-given-names is pretty grand.

I consulted with my name sums database (all given names since 1880 totaled) and picked out the names that have been in the Top 100, as well as any commonly spelled names that are well known nicknames for Elizabeth. I did not include all possible spellings of each nickname, such as Elleigh or Alyzah.

*Has been in the Top 100

The top names are not a curiosity. Betty was a powerhouse name in the 1920s and 1930s, when up to 3 out of 100 girls were given the name each year, so it is no surprise that it is the most popular Elizabeth-nickname-as-a-given-name overall. Lisa held the #1 spot for the majority of the 1960s, so that is no shock either.

I guess the only thing that had me pause was how "low" Lizzie is. It seems as though Lizzie is more often heard as a nickname than a given name, but the fact that it was in the Top 100 made me think it would be higher. Further digging however, shows that Lizzie was in the Top 100 in the 1880s and 1890s when there weren't as many babies born and/or recorded. Even more interesting is that there have been only seven girls given the name Lizzi since 1880. Seven!? That's not even an "outrageous" spelling of the name. Or maybe it's just weird to someone named Kelli? ;) There have been many other spellings of several of the Elizabeth-nickname-as-a-given-names that have been given to much more and even less than Lizzi... this one just stuck out to me as surprisingly low.

Many Elizabeth nicknames can hold their own quite well. To me, Lisa and Lillian sound more substantial as a given name, probably because they do not have the -ee ending most nicknames possess. I am also a huge fan of Elise for this reason. It is a fantastic option to those wanting to honor an Elizabeth without sounding too nicknamey.

There are several nicknames that have not been given as names. My personal favorite is Busy (could also possibly be spelled Bizzy), but I also know a young Elizabeth called Dizzy, which I absolutely adore. Others include Tibby, Zibby, and Tetty.

How would these Elizabeth-nickname-as-a-given-names rank against each other in 2013?

Fascinatingly, the majority of the names that start with B filter towards the bottom of the list (Betty still being the tops of the Bs) and the E names take over. In fact, all but 4 of the top 15 are E names (the 4 being L names) and the bottom 24 are all B and L names.

In the end, the main joy from this post is seeing all together so many wonderful names with roots from one of the best names of all time. I would have to say that I wish I heard more girls named Betty nowadays, but I probably prefer Elizabeth over any of her nicknames as a given name. That way, I can pick and choose which nickname to go with, or even go with several.

Here's an interesting question... Would your favorite Elizabeth-nickname-as-a-given-name be different from the nickname you would call your daughter named Elizabeth? Or is your favorite Elizabeth nickname the main one you would consider as a given name?

Last but not least... how many suspect Elsa will rise significantly in the coming years? {Raises hand.}


Friday, October 17, 2014

Decades List - 1890s

One of the features of Name-alytics that I loved putting together is the Decades List. This is a list of every Top 100 name listed according to the decade in which they were the most popular (by percentage). It turns out to be a fascinating glimpse of the history of our top names. I thought it would be fun to go through each decade to see if anything special jumps out!

I am going to skip the 1880s because there is no way to tell if the names included in it were actually the most popular in that decade or decades prior. Now, I realize that there is no certainty of any of these lists being perfect since we don't have the data before 1880 and the data is questionable at times. But given what we have, it is even more uncertain for the 1880s names, so I will start this series with the 1890s.

As a reminder, these names made the list for the 1890s decade because the average percentage of use for these names in that ten year period was the highest out of all of the decades. Meaning, this is the decade in which these names were used the most since 1880.


Archie - Archie's highest rank was only at #79 in 1890-91 and after falling out of the Top 100, it kept falling to hardly any use currently. It is one of those names that is highly popular in England/Wales, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, but just can't find a footing in the United States anymore.

Clarence - Clarence had a very strong run for quite a while in the 1890s and early 1900s, reaching #17 in several of those years. It is still more popular than Archie, but it is very slowly falling away.

Dewey - As I write in the book, Dewey seems to have capitalized on the success of Admiral George Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War in 1898. It was only in the Top 100 for the 3 years after the battle, but jumped to #19 in 1898 from the previous year's #111. Interestingly, 1898 was also a standout year for girls named Dewey...  104 girls were given the name that year, compared to 13 the previous year and nothing even close to that since then.

Earl - This royal title name went as high as #20 in 1894 and was in the Top 100 until 1954. It is still being used today, but gradually decreasing in use with each passing year.

Elmer - While Elmer remained in the Top 100 until the early 1930s, its strong years were definitely in the 1890s when it reached its highest rank of #32. Over 100 boys are still given the name each year.

Ernest - Ernest reached its highest rank in 1885 at #21, however it had the most percentage of use in 1895 and in the 1890s. We know of one specific Ernest born in the 1890s... Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899.

Homer - Homer has almost completely disappeared from use despite the famous Greek poet with the same name. It reached its highest rank of #64 in 1893.

Lee - Lee has been regularly used for both genders, but continues to be more popular on boys (girls are more often given the Leigh spelling). It actually peaked in 1900 for percentage of use and rank at #39, but its percentage of use for decades place it in the 1890s.

Mack - Like Lee, Mack peaked in 1900 but had its highest percentage of use in the 1890s. In fact, Mack was only in the Top 100 for the year 1900, when it ranked #96. It is currently involved in an upswing, as the number of boys given the name has increased over the past several years.

Percy - Percy is another name that was barely in the Top 100. It reached #98 in the years 1893 and 1897, and has not been ranked at all since the 1980s. Any influence the popular Percy Jackson series had is minuscule.

Ray - Ray is a steady name that reached its peak before its even more popular counterpart Raymond, which reached #14 in 1919. Ray's highest rank was #49 in 1891. An ever-present name in the Top 1000, Ray continues to shine.

Roy - I can't help but compare the names because they are separated by one letter, but personally, I prefer Ray to Roy. While they both peaked at the same time, Roy has consistently been the more popular of the two and reached its height #18 for six years in the late 1880s and early 1890s.

Walter - Walter may be labeled as an old-guy name at times, but it continues to be a consistent name in the Top 500. The old-guy connotation could come from the fact that while it peaked at #10 in 1914, it was at the lowest #13 from 1880 through 1920, meaning there were a lot of Walters born in that span of 40 years. Walter's highest percentage of use was in the 1890s, when almost 16 of every 1,000 boys were given the name.


Agnes - Peaking at #37 in 1899, Agnes is a name that is fairly considered an old-lady name. But, possibly with the help of Despicable Me and her charming costars Margo and Edith, it seems to be making a slight upturn in recent years.

Alma - Alma is a name that stuck around for quite a bit in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but never got any higher than #51 as it did for three years in the 1890s. It is also the Spanish word for "soul", which could be the reason it is still given to more than 300 girls each year.

Edna - Edna is an old powerhouse, ranking as high as #11 in 1899. It was given to about 1 in every 100 girls born in the 1890s. That number has definitely shrunk over the years, however.

Elsie - As one of the many nicknames for Elizabeth, Elsie achieved its highest ranking in 1896 and 1897 at #31. While it fell away for quite a while, it re-entered the Top 1000 in 2005 and is only getting stronger.

Ethel - If Edna can be considered a powerhouse back in the day, then Ethel was nuclear. While it is currently less popular than Edna, at its height Ethel was #6 in 1896 and was in the Top 10 from 1888 through 1903.

Eva - Eva is another "old" E name that is on the rise, coming back into the Top 100 in 2009 after over 70 years of absence. It peaked at #31 back in 1889.

Florence - Florence was right along side Ethel as another strong name from around the turn of the century, and probably even more substantial. It soared as high as #6 for five years during the 1890s and was in the Top 10 from 1887 through 1904.

Gertrude - Oh, Trudy. One of the classic names that people consider a little too rough around the edges for today's standards. At its height, however, Gertrude was #22 in 1906 and had its best percentage of use in 1896.

Hazel - Whatever Gertrude currently lacks, Hazel has it in spades. Hazel may very well reach its 1897 ranking of #18 in another decade or so.

Mabel - "Mothers Always Bring Extra Love." That is the reasoning behind the Buchman's naming their daughter Mabel on the hit show Mad About You in 1997. While the show didn't have a direct impact on the name's popularity, it has caught some steam in the past several years. Not sure it will reach its 1891 ranking of #15 again, however.

Mae - Somewhat related to Mabel is the simple Mae. Mae never achieved the heights that Mabel did, as it only got to #52 in 1892 and 1895, but it is currently given to more girls and is still on the rise.

Marguerite - This French form of Margaret got as high as #78 for several years in the 1890s and 1910s. Its dominant decade was the 1890s though and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere but down from there.

Myrtle - Myrtle is one of the two names (Nannie is the other) that have been in the Top 100 but are currently not being used at all (by more than 4 in a given year). Definitely not the reason any name wants to stand out, but we can remember Myrtle for the #27 rank it had in 1894 and its steady presence in the Top 100 from 1880 through 1925.

Pearl - After peaking at #24 in 1889, 1890, and 1900, Pearl eventually fell out of the Top 1000 in the 1980s only to return in 2007. It has jumped several hundred spots since then and continues to increase in use.

Would you use any of the names that peaked in the 1890s? I would love to see more Archie and Mae!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Buy Name-alytics with Paypal!

It has come to my attention that some of you have wanted to buy Name-alytics, but weren't able to because there was no Paypal option available. Well, now you have that option! Just click the following link and you can have your very own copy of Name-alytics in less than a minute!


Thank you all for your continued interest and support. I am still so excited about this project and hope you are too!

For more information on this book, you can read a synopsis at the Name-alytics tab above and/or read a review by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain here! (The giveaway is over, but you can read her remarks in the post.)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


My Baltimore Orioles are heading to the American League Championship Series this weekend. For those of you who do not know or care about baseball, this series determines who plays in the World Series for the American League. You can imagine my excitement. :) The last time the Orioles were in the World Series was when they won it all in 1983.

  • I turned 8.
  • M.A.S.H. ended its 11-year stint on television; the finale was the highest rated episode in history.
  • Swatch introduced its first watches.
  • Sally Ride became the first woman in space.
  • Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to become Miss America.
  • Martin Luther King Day was created by President Ronald Reagan.
  • McNuggets were first introduced at McDonald's.
  • Hot music included Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and "Billie Jean", Toto's "Africa", Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax", and Police's "Every Breath You Take".
  • The A-Team and Fraggle Rock made their TV debut.
  • Return of the Jedi, Terms of Endearment, Flashdance, Mr. Mom, Risky Business, Scarface, and The Outsiders were all released into theaters.
  • The Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl over the Miami Dolphins.
  • The New York Islanders won the Stanley Cup.
  • John McEnroe and Martina Navrátilová won the men and women singles tournaments at Wimbledon.
  • The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series.

Needless to say, 1983 was a pretty cool year. I'm hoping 2014 is just as cool, but that will have to be determined in a few weeks.

That's nice and all, but isn't this a name blog? Oh. Ok. Let's talk about names.

In 1983, Jennifer and Michael ruled the roost as they had for many years prior. Other top names included: Jessica, Amanda, Ashley, and Sarah; Christopher, Matthew, David, and Joshua. But are there any gems from the bottom? I took a look at the names that were given to only 5 girls or 5 boys in the year 1983 and found the following...


Delphina - Delphina is a Late Roman name and the feminine form of Delphinus. It has hardly been used at all in the United States, which stumps me a bit. I can't help but see Fina as an adorable nickname for this elegant name.

Harper - So, Harper wasn't always ranked #16 for girls? This recent Top 20 hit did not hit its stride until the 2000s and then just skyrocketed. It is interesting to see a time when it was rare to hear.

Landis - This name has been used on more boys than girls, but it jumped out at me as a charming alternative for a girl. If Landry is a growing trend for girls, why not Landis?

Lettie - More girls were named Lettie in the 1910s and 1920s than any other time. While several names from that time are currently hitting it big (Ruby, June, Violet, Vivian), Lettie is not. But if it's not chosen as a given name, it could be a cute nickname for one of those names... Violet.

Micaiah - Micaiah is a Biblical name that has hardly been used to its full potential. Not to be confused with Micah, it has several pronunciations out there, but the one I prefer is mi-KY-ah. There are both male and female Micaiah's in the Bible and means "who is like Yahweh" in Hebrew. It lends itself to cute nicknames such as Mickey and Caia.

Oona - Very popular in Finland, Oona has Irish roots and a certain glamour about it that I can't explain. I love it. Oona has found small success as a given name in the United States in the 2000s, reaching its height at 47 girls in 2011.

Persephone - Persephone is a Greek mythology name that is currently on the rise, perhaps due to the similar tone it has with Penelope. It could also be considered a "seasonal" name, as the mythological Persephone was associated with vegetation and the spring.

Tamsyn - It hurts to spell it this way (I prefer Tamsin), but I love the name so much I had to include it. It is a feminine form of Thomas and more often heard in England than anywhere else. While Tamsin has been used more than Tamsyn, it has still not found very much favor in the United States. This pains me so.

Tempest - Instead of going straight for the anticipated "Storm" your daughter will surely cause in your life, why not go for the refined and Shakespearean Tempest? It just sounds better. :)

Zanna - A diminutive of Suzanna, Zanna is a quirky alternative to the popular Anna and Hannah.


Aiden - Remember when Aiden wasn't a thing? Believe it or not, Aiden wasn't even a glitch on the radar until 1970. Like Harper for the girls, it is just fun to imagine a time when you did not hear of an Aiden (there were only 27 Aidans in 1983 as well).

Atlas - A Greek mythology name, Atlas was the Titan who had to hold up the celestial spheres on his shoulders as punishment. As most other mythological names, Atlas is currently a baby name on the upswing.

Briggs - I'm really not sure why this name jumped out at me, but it did. It seems to have made a statement to other parents as well, as it has been given to more boys in recent years than ever before.

Fitz - I have already written about names that begin with Fitz, so it's no surprise that I am drawn to this name. It has hardly been used at all in the United States and may still be better as a nickname to those fabulous Fitz- names I went over in my post.

Gaius - Ever since the new version of Battlestar Galactica came out in 2004, I have loved this name... not because I loved the character, but because it was the first time I had really heard it. It is a Roman name and the first name of Julius Caesar. Gaius has barely been used in the United States, and if its stately manner scares you off, you could go with the related Kai.

Lachlan - While fairly popular in Australia, New Zealand and England, this Scottish name finally broke into the Top 1000 here in the United States in 2013.

Ronan - Ronan is an Irish name that has recently caught fire in the States. It entered the Top 1000 in 2001 and has kept rising since.

Theon - Before Theon Greyjoy of Game of Thrones existed (1991), there were several Theons from early centuries found in my quick internet search, most notably one who was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. Even with the popular TV show based on the books, Theon is still scarcely used.

Truett - Truett has barely been around since the early 1900s, but started catching on just a bit recently. Maybe the popularity of Chick-fil-A (which was founded by S. Truett Cathy) helped get the name out there. Cathy himself was named after the baptist preacher George W. Truett.

Vander - We have Xander and Zander, so why not Vander? It could be a shortened version of Evander, which is a name from Greek and Roman mythology (he founded the town that was to become Rome). Vander is a heroic name with a modern twist.

Did any of these names catch your eye? If not, I hope you at least enjoyed some 80's trivia. :) You can see more 80's history here.

Let's Go O's!

Friday, October 3, 2014

The *Jo*s Have It!

My middle name is Joyce. I absolutely love it, not only because it is after my beloved grandmother, but also because it is lovely, versatile, and has a delightful meaning. And while I think it is perfectly splendid as a first name, as many parents in the 1930s and 1940s did, I personally love it in the middle spot. It is short, sweet and lends itself to be even shorter for nicknames... Sammy Jo, Sarah Joy, D.J., etc.

My family has loved to play around with it as a middle name. Grandma was born Natalie Joyce, but her name was changed to Maxine after she was adopted. My great-grandparents kept Joyce as her middle name because she brought them joy. She was actually named after my great-grandfather, Max, but ended up going by Joyce her entire life. My mom is Debra Joyce, but has been called Debby Jo by family, and almost exclusively Jo or Joey by her siblings (and therefore subsequently called Aunt Jo by my cousins). I am often called Kelli Jo or K.J. by family. My daughter is Rachel Joyce, and while she is not around my extended family often, she is getting used to being referred to as Ray Jo when she is around them.

Enough about me.

Maybe because of my experience though, I have always seen Joe/Jo as a truly unisex name. It is simply masculine as well as beautifully tomboyish. As seen in the above clip from Name-alytics, Jo is the shortest name to ever be in the girls' Top 100; it reached #51 in 1947 and the highest in its popularity in the 1950s. Joe, on the other hand, reached its highest rank at #20 in 1880 and the highest in its popularity in the 1900s. Jo has been given to boys and Joe has been given to girls, so they are not mutually exclusive.

For the purposes of this post, however, I am going to concentrate on the girl Jo's. In looking at the names given over the years, there is a lot of love for the *jo*s. Let's take a look at the options out there!

Beyond Jo

There are several names that can be shortened to Jo:


Names Ending in Jo (or cases when Jo can be given as a middle name)

There have been many names in the SSA database that have ended in "jo", but we would more commonly see them as a combo or hyphenated name...


Other Great Combos

These are some first and middle combos that I've heard or thought sounded sweet...

Ada Joy
Alexa Joy
Arabella Joy
Clara Joyce
Elsie Jo
Everly Joyce
Finley Joy
Harper Joy
Hattie Jo
Isla Jo
Lorelei Jo
Louisa Joyce
Mila Joy
Molly Jo
Nora Joyce
Penelope Joyce
Stella Joyce
Summer Joy
Thea Joy
Violet Joyce
Vivian Joy
Wilhelmina Jo

If you are interested in celebrities who have used the wonderful Jo as a middle name for their babies, American volleyball player Gabrielle Reece has a daughter named Brody Jo, and musician John Cougar Mellencamp has a daughter named Teddi Jo.

What do you think of Jo? Would you use it by itself? Would you prefer to use any of its forms as a first name or a middle name?


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oct* Names

Happy October!

The name October was originally given to the eighth month on the Roman calendar and remained the name of the tenth month when January and February were added. As we are all aware, Oct- is the prefix given to words associated with "eight", and that does not change when it comes to names as they were/are sometimes given to the eighth child.

Did you know that only girls have been named after the month of October? At least that is what the SSA data shows us. There have been 620 girls named October since the first recorded case in 1969, and October's most popular year so far was 2008 with 72 girls. I always thought October would be a very wearable name for a boy, especially with the nickname Toby.

What about other names beginning with Oct-?

The most popular Oct- name in the United States, by far, is Octavia, the feminine form of Octavius. A total of 14,769 girls have been given the name since the data has been collected (1880). Its most popular year was 1987, when 446 girls were given the name. 139 boys have also been given the name between 1920 and 1994.

The next most popular Oct- name is Octavio, the Spanish form of Octavius. Between its first record in 1908 and 2013, 9,697 boys were named Octavio. Its most popular year was 2003, when 437 boys were given the name. Five girls were given the name in 1986.

Behind Octavio is the "original", the ancient Roman name Octavius. From 1911 through 2013, Octavius was given to 2,835 boys, and 1991 was its most popular year, when 126 boys were given the name. Fifteen girls were also given the name between 1981 and 1990.

Other Oct- names given over the years:

Octa - total of 160 girls between 1885 and 1941
Octabio - total of 7 boys in 1980
Octava - total of 41 girls between 1894 and 1931
Octave - total of 443 boys between 1880 and 1969
Octavian - total of 862 boys between 1970 and 2013
Octaviana - total of 11 girls in the years of 1925 and 2008
Octaviano - total of 657 boys between 1914 and 2009
Octavie - total of 176 girls between 1883 and 1926
Octavien - total of 23 boys between 1997 and 2008
Octavion - total of 158 boys between 1990 and 2013
Octavious - total of 1,381 boys and 5 girls between 1917 and 2013
Octavis - total of 283 boys between 1973 and 2006
Octavus - total of 5 boys in 1989
Octayvia - total of 38 girls between 1992 and 2001
Octivia - total of 68 girls between 1976 and 2000

Do you have a favorite Oct- name?


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So no one told you life was gonna be this way...

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Friends. Nevermind that I'm old, this is truly a milestone as the show is one of the best comedies of all time in American television. Our current society will forever be influenced by it, including the hairstyles, the quotes, and the... names?

So... do we have more Emmas in the world because of Friends? What about Rachels? My own daughter is a Rachel, and while I have always been a huge fan of the show, I can honestly say her name has absolutely no connection to Rachel Green. I'm sure most parents of Chandlers and Monicas out there will say the same thing, but let's take a look at the numbers anyway... for fun.

For the purposes of this analysis, I used raw numbers. I just wanted to know if more babies were named these names from one year to the next.

Friends debuted in September 1994. Listed below are numbers beginning in 1990 to show the trend of the name in the years leading up to the debut. Also included are the 10 years the show was on the air (1994-2004) and several years after.

Here are the girls' names...

I see no real significant spike in numbers due to the show. For Monica and Rachel, the numbers went up a bit in the first several years of the show, but nothing huge in comparison to the numbers before the show started. Phoebe started its big climb during the show's reign, and then kept getting bigger and bigger after the show ended. Phoebe continued to increase in popularity while Monica and Rachel decrease. Now for the boys...

Joseph is a classic name that is a steady presence in the Top 100, so we won't really go into it much in relation to the show, but just as a point of interest, you can see it gradually decreasing in popularity as time goes on. Ross was on its way down when Friends started, but may have benefited from it in the show's second and third years before continuing its decline. And while you can see a slight increase leading up to the show, I think it's pretty safe to say that Chandler prospered from the show's run. There was never another time when Chandler's numbers were above 1,000 than while Friends was on the air.

Now what about baby girl Chandler and Emma...

While it's interesting that baby girls named Chandler jumped quite a bit in 1995, it wasn't due to "baby girl Chandler" who was born in 1998 on the show, but parents may have been inspired by Chandler Bing enough to name their daughter have him. What's fascinating is a significant spike in 1992 and 1993, before the show even started... what could that be from? As for Emma, it was well on its way to the top several years before Ross and Rachel's daughter was born in 2002, but the fictional baby may have sped up the process, boosting it into the Top 5 that same year.

Do you have a favorite Friends name? Do you believe the show influenced the popularity in the character's names at all?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I am following Nancy's Baby Names' lead and sharing this article about the problems with the Social Security Administration baby names data. The majority of this blog's posts (and my book) utilize this data, and I would be remiss if I didn't share its imperfections. While I have always been aware of the flaws in the data, I need to be sure my readers are as well. We shall take it as it is, be thankful that we have the resources we have, and have fun with it!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another Playground Analysis - Overall Girls Since 1880

We looked at the boys on Monday... now it's the girls turn. You can see the original Top 25 in my original post on Nameberry,

Once I combined the spellings of the Top 1000 names, there are 745 names on the girls list. I would love to include all of them, but to save space I will just do the Top 100. The main name listed is the one that was given to the most babies and the other spellings incorporated into the total are to the right.



Katharine, Katherine, Kathryn







Debora, Debra




Bettie, Bettye









Saundra, Sondra

Ashlee, Ashleigh

Kimberlee, Kimberley



Emilee, Emilie








Aimee, Amie





Rachael, Rachelle



Cristina, Kristina



Kelley, Kelli, Kellie








Meagan, Meghan




Jaclyn, Jacquelyn



Laurie, Lorie, Lorrie


Caitlin, Caitlyn, Kaitlin, Katelyn, Katelynn




Cheri, Cherie, Shari, Sheri, Sherri, Sherrie







Britney, Brittney



Alison, Allyson, Alyson







Breanna, Briana, Bryanna

Tracey, Traci, Tracie





Tami, Tammie


Alissa, Alisa, Elisa



Keri, Kerri, Kerry




Ericka, Erika

Stacey, Staci, Stacie

Significant Notables:

Mary is obviously untouchable, so the most glaring difference is the new #2... Catherine surpasses Elizabeth, rising from #38! And how about Catherine being used more than Katherine? The difference is only two spots between the names on the overall list, but Catherine beats Katherine by over 30,000 babies.

Unlike the boys' Top 10, which only had one move within its ranks, the girls' Top 10 shakes up quite a bit after combining the spellings. Linda overtakes Jennifer, and Sarah jumps from #10 to #7. Finally, the name that peaked my curiosity in the first place, Deborah, moves up from #30 to #9. Susan and Dorothy drop out of the Top 10.

The biggest mover up is Kaitlyn, leaping from #234 to #63. A close second is Stacy, moving up from #226 to #100.

Other big movers up in the Top 100 include: Michelle (#24 to #15), Teresa (#81 to #29), Ann (#65 to #31), Rachel (#48 to #40), Kelly (#64 to #46), Maria (#55 to #47), Jean (#68 to #48), Diane (#58 to #50), Megan (#76 to #54), Jacqueline (#78 to #58), Lori (#98 to #61), Cheryl (#75 to #66), Sherry (#164 to #67), Kathy (#103 to #70), Brittany (#94 to #74), Allison (#131 to #77), Brianna (#157 to #84), Tracy (#150 to #85), Tammy (#105 to #90), Crystal (#107 to #91), Alyssa (#122 to #92), Kristen (#173 to #93), Carrie (#138 to #95), and Erica (#165 to #99).

Fun Notes and Surprises:

Sonya beats out Sonia by 276 babies.

Tricia beats out Trisha by 558 babies.

Dolly beats out Dollie by 578 babies.

Lillie has been used more than Lily.

Lindsey has been used more than Lindsay.

Sherry has the most alternate spellings in the Top 1000 with 7. The other names with 4 or more that aren't already listed above are:
  • Hailey, Haley, Haylee, Hayley
  • Christi, Christie, Christy, Kristi, Kristie, Kristy
  • Jasmin, Jasmine, Jazmin, Jazmine
  • Teri, Terri, Terrie, Terry
  • Madalyn, Madeleine, Madeline, Madelyn
  • Tania, Tanya, Tonia, Tonya
  • Keira, Kiara, Kiera, Kira, Kyra
  • Alaina, Alayna, Elaina, Elena

Which nickname suffix wins the battle? For the girls, I involved any name that ends with an "ee" sound at the end that had more than one alternative spelling included in the Top 1000. This would include -ie, -y, -i, -ey, -ee, and/or -eigh. The results are:
  • Tops for -y (17): Betty, Kimberly, Emily, Kelly, Sherry, Tracy, Tammy, Stacy, Christy, Sally, Holly, Brandy, Molly, Shelly, Patty, Abby, and Dolly.
  • Tops for -ie (9): Carrie, Jamie, Lillie, Leslie, Katie, Jennie, Kylie, Bobbie, and Callie.
  • Tops for -ey (6): Ashley, Haley, Kelsey, Riley, Aubrey, and Lacey.
  • Tops for -i (5): Lori, Vicki, Terri, Jodi, and Jeri.
  • Tops for -ee (2): Kaylee and Lee.

Which wins between the C and the K? I separated out the names that started with the hard C sound (that included both a C and a K spelling in the Top 1000) and determined which spelling was used more since 1880:
  • Tops for C (11): Catherine, Christine, Christina, Crystal, Christy, Carla, Chloe, Cassandra, Casey, Callie, and Carissa.
  • Tops for K (5): Kathleen, Kaitlyn, Kathy, Kara, and Krista

Shawn ranks #567, James ranks #642, Michael ranks #676, and Robert ranks at #915 on the girls overall list (before combining spellings).