Tuesday, January 7, 2014

H Girl Names: Then and Now

The Letter H
Image by Valerie Drake via Flickr

In June of last year, I posted about the change in preferences for boy names beginning with H in the Top 100. Now, I finally get to the girl names.

The H girl names in the Top 100 can basically be separated between those that were popular from 1880 through 1958 and those that were popular from 1966 through 2012. There was a seven year gap between 1959 and 1965 when no H girl names were in the Top 100. And besides one name, Hannah, which appeared in 1880 and then reappeared in 1986, there are no other names on both sides of this gap. Let's look at the two groups:

1880 - 1958
Hannah 1880
Harriet 1880-1889
Hattie 1880-1914
Hazel 1886-1936
Helen 1880-1958
Hilda 1896-1909 (off and on)

1966 - 2012
Hailey 1996-2012
Haley 1991-2007
Hannah 1986-2012
Harper 2011-2012
Heather 1967-1998
Heidi 1966-1983
Holly 1966-1992 (off and on)

There isn't much of an obvious sound variation between the two groups, nor is there anything else determining why the preference changed. It is interesting to note that Helen is the longest running name, as it was in the Top 100 for 79 years. And there are only three names currently running: Hailey, Hannah and Harper.

Do you see anything I don't in terms of the differences between the two groups? I guess there doesn't always have to be a cool trend to follow. Looking at the "older" group, we know Hazel is slowly rising back into the fold (currently ranked at #175), and Hattie only recently returned to the Top 1000 after a 40-year absence (currently ranked at #709). Helen sits at #402, which is lower than it has been in the last several decades, but remains relatively stable. Harriet fell out the Top 1000 after 1970 and Hilda did the same after 1986... do you see either of them making a come back? Hattie is a possible nickname for Harriet, so why not?

As for the "new" group, Hailey and Hannah are on a gradual fall but still holding strong, while Harper is definitely a name on the rise. The alternate spelling of Haley is decreasing in popularity, Heidi and Holly are slowly fading, and Heather is on its way out of the Top 1000.

What do you think? Is Harper the only "it" name out of the H girl names? Do you see any other names coming through? Hadley maybe? What is your favorite H girl name?

A Note from NameFreak: Due to a project that is taking up a lot of my research time, I will be unable to post as often as I did previously. I will try to post once a week. There are quite a few posts in my head, and I am keeping notes so I don't forget these ideas, but the time just isn't there to work on them now. Never fear, however... I am hoping to share this project with you, my fellow name-lovers, as soon as I can! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what I can provide, as well as the wonderful goodies written at the name blogs listed to the right. Thank you!


1 comment:

  1. I think Hilda is the only one of the older names truly out of favor. I would expect to see Hildy on the rise before Hilda. There are a couple of Hazels and Hannahs in my neighborhood who are under 5, and Harriet was on our short list.


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