On a trip that took us through Vegas earlier this year, my husband and I stumbled upon a Titanic-themed gift shop inside the Luxor.
One of the items for sale was a book called Titanic Names. I didn’t purchase it, but it did prompt me to find the very same list of names online. (The list is in various places, including Encyclopedia Titanica and Wikipedia.)
Here are some of the interesting Titanic passenger names I noticed among the more common names (e.g., William, Richard, Alice, Ida):
Last week, Becca commented with some interesting Jeopardy! contestant names (e.g., Hobie, Dorcas) and mentioned J! Archive, which lists tens of thousands of Jeopardy! contestants going back to 1984, when the show premiered.
I skimmed through all the contestants from 1984 to 2015 (as we don’t have baby name data for 2016 yet) and spotted hundreds of unusual names. And it looks like at least two of them got a boost thanks to the show:
One-time player Alancia Wynn, a family practice physician from Virginia, was on Jeopardy! in October of 1999.
The name Brannon saw an increase in usage in 1998:
1999: 118 baby boys named Brannon
1998: 158 baby boys named Brannon
1997: 113 baby boys named Brannon
One-time player Brannon Denning, a graduate student from Connecticut, was on Jeopardy! in September of 1998. (Looks like Brannon Denning is now a law professor at Samford University.)
Alaric & Ezgi …?
These two names may have gotten a slight boost as well, though it’s hard to tell.
Alaric, in 2005. One-time player Alaric Smith was on the show in October of 2005.
Ezgi, in 2015. One-time player Ezgi Ustundag was on the show in October of 2015.
Ezgi is a female name that means “melody” in Turkish.
Anjali (false positive)
“Kids Week” contestant Anjali Tripathi was on the show in September of 1999. The same year, the baby name Anjali more than doubled in usage:
2001: 222 baby girls named Anjali
2000: 230 baby girls named Anjali
1999: 202 baby girls named Anjali
1998: 93 baby girls named Anjali
1997: 80 baby girls named Anjali
But this was a suspiciously steep rise. And it was accompanied by the debut of an alternate spelling (Anjalie). And usage didn’t drop back to normal levels the next year, as one would expect. These facts pointed me to something more high-profile than a Jeopardy! contestant.
Turns out the very successful Hindi coming-of-age romantic comedy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had been released in 1998. The movie featured not one but two main characters named Anjali.
Here are the rest of the names that caught my eye, sorted by year:
In early December, we learned that Prince William and Catherine “Kate” Middleton were expecting.
Many other name bloggers have since posted great lists of potential royal baby names (like this one, and this one).
Because others have already covered the topic, and because I’m not incredibly interested in the royal family, I was on the fence about bothering with a similar post.
And then, rather fortuitously, I received a fun Ancestry.ca press release revealing some of the more unusual names in William’s and Kate’s respective family trees. So I’ll go ahead and post that (plus a couple of polls!) instead:
NEVER MIND ‘ELIZABETH’ – ROYAL BABY COULD BE A ‘LANCELOT’, ‘BONIFACE’ OR ‘GRISSEL’
Unusual first names in the royal couple’s family trees uncovered as pregnancy is announced – Ancestry.ca
If Prince William and Kate Middleton decide to take baby-name inspiration from their forebears, the royal baby could be born a ‘Grissel’, ‘Boniface’ or even ‘Lancelot’.
New research from Ancestry.ca, Canada’s leading family history website, reveals that while ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘John’ are the most common boys and girls names in both family trees, there are several more unusual choices the young royals could opt for.
The royal family tree contains the most unusual names – with Boniface, Cyrian, Marmaduke, Slyvanus and Lancelot all featuring in the male line, while Eusebia, Honor, Thomasin, Ursula and Hyacinth appear for the females.
And while many of Kate’s female ancestors have more recognizable names, her ancestors weren’t without some interesting monikers as well. Among the boys are Garin, Lewen, Theophilus, Uriah and Elie, together with girls called Permelia, Albina, Edezer, Grissel and Jemima.
To discover unusual names in your family’s past, visit Ancestry.ca and sign up for a 14-day free trial.
Let’s play a game. Let’s say William and Kate are required (by decree of the Queen!) to use one of the unusual names above. And let’s also say the couple want to hear your opinion on the matter. (Again, highly plausible!) Which two royal baby names — one boy name, one girl name — would you recommend to them?