Names from Bones – Seeley and Temperance

I recently read something about the TV show Bones, which has been on the air since 2005. I’ve never seen the show, but the first names of the main characters, Seeley (male) and Temperance (female), piqued my curiosity. Has Bones been inspiring parents to use these names for their babies?

Yup, it would seem so.

Here are the numbers for Seeley since 2005:

  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2006: unlisted
  • 2007: 7 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2008: unlisted
  • 2009: 10 baby boys and 8 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2010: 34 baby boys and 9 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2011: 32 baby boys and 12 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2012: 36 baby boys and 11 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2013: 38 baby boys and 8 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2014: 28 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2015: 37 baby boys and 15 baby girls named Seeley
  • 2016: 40 baby boys and 15 baby girls named Seeley

And here are the numbers for Temperance:

  • 2005: 8 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2006: 20 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2007: 76 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2008: 88 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2009: 165 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2010: 213 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2011: 274 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 943rd]
  • 2012: 320 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 835th]
  • 2013: 289 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 889th]
  • 2014: 322 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 854th]
  • 2015: 250 baby girls named Temperance
  • 2016: 233 baby girls named Temperance

I’m really surprised by Temperance. Short virtue names like Faith, Grace, Hope and Joy are alive and well, but most of the long virtue names — especially those like Temperance — are long gone. Abstinence, Experience, Deliverance, Diligence, Innocence, Obedience, Perseverance, Providence, Reliance, Repentance, Silence…only Patience, Constance and Prudence are still around. And now Temperance might be coming back.

How do you feel about this? Do you like the name Temperance?

[Updated 1/2020]

9 thoughts on “Names from Bones – Seeley and Temperance

  1. I think Temperance (at least as inspired by the show) is helped in that the character mostly goes by her nickname of “Tempe” – makes it feel much more youthful and less Puritanical.

  2. I must say, I really love the name Temperance. There are certain people who are looking to unearth obscure names, and I find Temperance a perfect candidate for the top 1000. Now Abstinence and Obedience, on the other hand, while as a parent, I certainly wouldn’t discourage those qualities, I still wouldn’t expect my daughter to have to live with those names in these times. Can you imagine?

  3. Kristin, I think we might have seen different episodes? It seems to me like the only people on the show who call Temperance Brennan by a nickname are her family and people who have known her a very long time — generally she’s address and referred by her surname, full name, or “Bones.”

    I’d actually be curious if there are girls named Brennan for the character.

  4. @sarah – I just looked it up–Brennan is more common for girls that I would have guessed.

    Here are the numbers for the 2000s:

    2000 – 42
    2001 – 60
    2002 – 58
    2003 – 41
    2004 – 63
    2005 – 47
    2006 – 69
    2007 – 100
    2008 – 83
    2009 – 86
    2010 – 78

    Usage predates the show, but the recent increase in usage could be due to the show.

  5. I am one of those parents that chose temperance in 2009…. love the show since it started…

  6. I can’t have children but if I could I would name my daughter Brennan , cuz BONES is one of my favorite shows.

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