How popular is the baby name Billy in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Billy and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Billy.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Billy

Number of Babies Named Billy

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Billy

Round-up of Multiples from 1944

The Badgett Quadruplets in 1944
Jeraldine, Joan, Jean, and Janet Badgett © LIFE

Oodles of multiples — eight sets of twins, one set of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, and one set of quintuplets — were featured in an early 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Most of these multiples had been born in the 1920s and 1930s.

Curious about the names? I knew you would be! Here they are, along with ages and other details.

Twins:

  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan, 19.
  • Lois and Lucille Barnes, 21.
  • Betty and Lenore Wade, early 20s.
  • Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy” Mauch, 22.
    • They had starred in the 1937 movie The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Blaine and Wayne Rideout, 27.
    • They had been track stars at the University of North Texas in the late 1930s along with another set of twins, Elmer and Delmer Brown.
  • Charles and Horace Hildreth, 41.
    • Horace was elected Governor of Maine later the same year.
  • Ivan and Malvin Albright, 47.
  • Auguste and Jean Piccard, 60.
    • “Honors as the world’s most distinguished pair of twins must go to Jean and Auguste Piccard, stratosphere balloonists, who are so identical that not everyone realizes there are two of them.”

Triplets:

  • Diane Carol, Elizabeth Ann, and Karen Lynn Quist, 11 months.

Quadruplets:

  • Claire (boy), Cleo (boy), Clayton (boy), and Connie (girl) Brown, 3.
  • Janet, Jean, Jeraldine, and Joan Badgett, 5.
    • “The customary alliteration in multiple names accounts for the “J” in Jeraldine.”
  • Felix (boy), Ferdinand (boy), Frances (girl), and Frank (boy) Kasper, 7.
  • James (boy), Jay (boy), Jean (girl), and Joan (girl) Schense, 13.
  • Edna, Wilma, Sarah, and Helen Morlok — the Morlok Quads — 13.
  • Anthony, Bernard, Carl, and Donald Perricone, 14.
    • “Their Beaumont neighbors call them “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” for short.”

Quintuplets:

  • Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie, and Yvonne Dionne — the Dionne Quints — 9.

Which of these sets of names do you like best? Why?

Source: “Twins: Accident of Their Birth Sets Them Apart from Other People.” LIFE 6 Mar. 1944: 91-99.


Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2015

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in Ireland in 2015 were Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 626 baby girls
2. Emma, 449
3. Ava, 421
4. Sophie, 407
5. Amelia, 400
6. Ella, 384
7. Lucy, 379
8. Grace, 367
9. Chloe, 362
10. Mia, 360
1. Jack, 752 baby boys
2. James, 697
3. Daniel, 617
4. Conor, 558
5. Sean, 530
6. Adam, 449
7. Noah, 438
8. Michael, 434
9. Charlie, 399
10. Luke, 382

Here are some quick comparisons between these rankings with the 2014 rankings…

New to the top 10:

  • Girl names: Chloe (replaces Aoife, now ranked 13th)
  • Boy names: Michael (replaces Harry, now tied for 14th with Cian)

New to the top 100:

  • Girl names: Maisie, Annabelle, Mila, Rosie, and Eimear
  • Boy names: Lorcan, George, Daithi, Brian, Edward, and Daire

Biggest increases within the top 100:

  • Girl names (by rank): Mila, Fiadh, Maisie, Annabelle, and Alice
  • Girl names (by raw numbers): Fiadh, Roisin, Robyn, Sadie, and Chloe
  • Boy names (by rank): Ollie, Donnacha, Billy, Tadhg, and Brian/Daire (tied)
  • Boy names (by raw numbers): Oliver, Michael, Fionn, Tadhg, and Finn

And finally, some of the “less common” (non-top 100) baby names mentioned in the CSO’s statistical release:

  • Girl names: Paris, Nelly, Dakota, Kim, Pixie, and Sabina
  • Boy names: Barra, Pauric, Zayn, Gus, Romeo, and Otis

Source: Irish Babies’ Names, 2015

Popular Boy Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

How has the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names changed over time (if at all) among the most popular baby names in the U.S.?

This question popped into my head recently, so I thought I’d take a look at the data. We’ll do boy names today and girl names tomorrow.

First, let’s set some parameters. For these posts, “Biblical” names are personal names (belonging to either humans or archangels) mentioned in the Bible, plus all derivatives of these names, plus any other name with a specifically Biblical origin (e.g., Jordan, Sharon, Genesis). The “most popular” names are the top 20, and “over time” is the span of a century.

For boy names, the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names has basically flipped over the last 100 years. Here’s a visual — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and a borderline name (which I counted as non-Biblical) is in the orange cell:

Popular boy names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular boy names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Adam, Alexander, Andrew, Austin (via Augustus), Benjamin, Daniel, David, Elijah, Ethan, Jack (via John), Jackson (via John), Jacob, James, Jason, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Joshua, Justin (via Justus), Lucas, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Nathan, Nicholas, Noah, Paul, Stephen, Steven, Thomas, Timothy, Zachary
  • Non-Biblical names: Aiden, Albert, Anthony, Arthur, Billy, Brandon, Brian, Charles, Christopher, Dennis, Donald, Dylan, Edward, Eric, Frank, Gary, George, Harold, Harry, Henry, Jayden, Jeffrey, Kenneth, Kevin, Larry, Liam, Logan, Louis, Mason, Raymond, Richard, Robert, Ronald, Ryan, Scott, Tyler, Walter, William
  • Borderline name: Jerry (can be based on the Biblical name Jeremy/Jeremiah or on the non-Biblical names Jerome, Gerald, Gerard)
    • It felt strange putting an overtly Christian name like Christopher in the non-Biblical category, but it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible, so…that’s where it goes.

      Here are the year-by-year tallies:

      Year Top 20 names
      given to…
      # Biblical # Non-Biblical
      1914 40% of baby boys 5 (25%) 15 (75%)
      1924 43% of baby boys 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
      1934 43% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1944 47% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1954 46% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1964 42% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1974 38% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1984 36% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      1994 27% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2004 19% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2014 14% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)

      But there’s a huge difference between sample sizes of 40% and 14%, so let’s also take a look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 42% of male births.

      By my count, last year’s top 100 boy names were half Biblical, half non-Biblical:

      Biblical names (49) Non-Biblical names (51)
      Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, James, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Matthew, Jackson (via John), David, Lucas, Joseph, Andrew, Samuel, Gabriel, Joshua, John, Luke, Isaac, Caleb, Nathan, Jack (via John), Jonathan, Levi, Jaxon (via John), Julian (via Julius), Isaiah, Eli, Aaron, Thomas, Jordan, Jeremiah, Nicholas, Evan, Josiah, Austin (via Augustus), Jace (via Jason), Jason, Jose, Ian, Adam, Zachary, Jaxson (via John), Asher, Nathaniel, Justin (via Justus), Juan Liam, Mason, William, Logan, Aiden, Jayden, Anthony, Carter, Dylan, Christopher, Oliver, Henry, Sebastian, Owen, Ryan, Wyatt, Hunter, Christian, Landon, Charles, Connor, Cameron, Adrian, Gavin, Robert, Brayden, Grayson, Colton, Angel, Dominic, Kevin, Brandon, Tyler, Parker, Ayden, Chase, Hudson, Nolan, Easton, Blake, Cooper, Lincoln, Xavier, Bentley, Kayden, Carson, Brody, Ryder, Leo, Luis, Camden

      (Christian, Angel, Xavier, Dominic…all technically non-Biblical, despite having strong ties to Christianity.)

      50%-50% isn’t quite as extreme as 70%-30%, but it’s still noticeably more Biblical than 1914’s 25%-75%.

      Do any of these results surprise you?

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2014

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in Ireland in 2014 were Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 619 baby girls
2. Sophie, 468
3. Emma, 441
4. Grace, 408
5. Ava, 404
6. Ella, 398
7. Amelia, 388
8. Mia, 370
9. Lucy, 369
10. Aoife, 364
1. Jack, 786 baby boys
2. James, 695
3. Daniel, 638
4. Conor, 581
5. Sean, 526
6. Adam, 493
7. Luke, 437
8. Noah, 434
9. Harry, 398
10. Charlie, 389

In the girls’ top 10, Mia replaces Sarah. (Also: Grace rises from 9th to 4th while Aoife falls from 6th to 10th.)

In the boys’ top 10, Luke and Charlie replace Ryan and Michael.

Of all the girl names in the current top 100, the ones that saw the biggest increases from 2013 to 2014 were…

  • Evie, Amber, Sadie, Annie and Ailbhe (in terms of rank change)
  • Sadie, Olivia, Amber, Evie and Lily (in terms of number of babies)

Of all the boy names in the current top 100, the ones that saw the biggest increases from 2013 to 2014 were…

  • Ollie, Peter, Isaac, Danny, Billy and Lorcan (in terms of rank change)
  • David, Luke, Callum, Peter and Ciaran (in terms of number of babies)

Kayden, the boy name that saw the biggest rank-change increase from 2012 to 2013, was one of the names that dropped out of the top 100 in 2014.

Here are the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2007 rankings for Ireland.

Source: Irish Babies’ Names 2014 (CSO)

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

Grand Canyon Names – Tlutha, Tsoojva, Canyon

My husband and I went on a road trip last week (Denver to Mesa Verde, to the Grand Canyon, to Las Vegas, then back to Denver). I won’t go crazy with a long series of posts like I did a couple of years ago, but we did spot some interesting names while walking the rim of the canyon:

Tlutha and Tsoojva

The caption reads: “Tlutha and wife Tsoojva, a Havasupai family photographed in 1899, made their home at Indian Garden until 1928.” That was the year the last of the Havasupai were forced out of the canyon by the National Park Service. (Indian Garden is a riparian area about 5 miles below the rim.)

Tsoojva’s name means “dangling.” I’m not sure what Tlutha’s name means, but he was known to outsiders as Billy Burro.

Here’s more info on Havasupai names:

Havasupai names originally represented whimsical nicknames. Baa Gtgoohva (Bumping Into) received his name when he sneaked into his girlfriend’s bed and then bumped into another man coming to visit as he left. Ii Jgyaava (Axe) got his name when he married Ii (Stick). People called Watahomigie Bqii ‘Bee’ (Totes a Woman) because he physically carried home his wife Suwjaqwa. Today each Havasupai still bears at least one such “Indian name,” sometimes irreverent, that friends and acquaintances use instead of the regular name. Translated, they mean such things as “Mule,” “Backbone,” or “The Swallower.” Many older people do not even recognize their ancestors’ official names because they never knew them by any but their Havasupai names.

Finally, did you know that the name Canyon has been given to well over 2,000 babies at this point? Grand has never been on the list. (Great has, though.)

Sources:

The Colorful Names of Meghalaya, India

meghalaya. indiaThe small, remote Indian state of Meghalaya has long been known for the colorful names of its residents.

The state typically makes international headlines during election years. Actual candidate names have included…

  • Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak
  • Billy Kid A. Sangma
  • Boldness Nongum
  • Bombersingh Hynniewta
  • Clever Marak
  • Darling Wavel Lamare
  • Fairly Bert Kharrngi
  • Field Marshal Mawphniang
  • Frankenstein W. Momin
  • Friday Lyngdoh
  • H. Britain War Dan
  • Highlander Kharmalki
  • Hilarious Dhkar
  • Hispreachering Son Shylla
  • Hopingstone Lyngdoh
  • J. Ulysses Nongrum (He has sisters named England, New Zealand, Finland and Switzerland.)
  • Jhim Carter Sangma
  • John Manner Marak
  • Kenedy Marak
  • Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem
  • Laborious Manik S. Syiem
  • Moonlight Pariat
  • Oral Syngkli
  • Process T. Sawkmie
  • Rain Augustine Lyngdoh
  • Rockfeller Momin
  • Romeo Phira Rani
  • Sevenson Dhar
  • Stafing Jove Langpen Pdahkasiej
  • Teilang Star Blah
  • Tony Curtis Lyngdoh
  • VeecareNicia Lamare
  • Zenith M. Sangma

Here’s what Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak had to say about his name:

“Maybe my parents liked the name and hence christened me Hitler,” he recently told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“I am happy with my name, although I don’t have any dictatorial tendencies.”

Reporters have been writing about the names in Meghalaya for at least a decade, but the strange names have been around a lot longer than that. “My erstwhile escort explained that Khasi parents are fond of naming children after great personalities of the West,” said the author of a 1956 article about Meghalaya’s names. (The article also mentioned Khasi sisters named Million, Billion and Trillion.)

So, why are strange names the norm in Meghalaya? I’ve found various explanations.

One travel article suggests the roots are religious. The names are the “legacy of the missionaries’ work,” it says, though “children now are just as likely to be named after the latest gadget as a saint.” (About 70% of the state is Christian, which is notable, as India overall is only about 2% Christian.)

Another source blames Britain:

The region’s unusual names stem from the state’s close historical links with Britain, explains Agence France-Presse: in colonial times, missionaries and soldiers would visit the hilly state’s capital Shillong, known as the “Scotland of the East,” to escape the overbearing heat of much of the country, and its residents began naming their children with random English words as a nod to that influence.

“Often they don’t know the background of the names. They get attracted to these names for their quest of modernity,” Sanjeeb Kakoty, a history professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, told AFP.

Yet another source adds two more possibilities. First, that people try to “sound knowledgeable by naming their children after great leaders.” Second, that the names are “part of a culture where laughter is considered important.”

Meghalaya’s three major tribes, the Khasis, the Garos and Jaintias all have Laugh Clubs. Giving their children whacky [sic] names is part of the fun.

“We share the most brazen of jokes at these clubs,” says local historian Milton Sangma.

Which might explain why one of the candidates is Tony Curtis, better known as a Hollywood legend.

“We believe if we laugh heartily at least once or twice a day, we will live long.”

(Laughter clubs have only been around since the mid-1990s.)

Which of the names on the list above do you like best?

Sources:

Image: Seema Agarwal

Related post: Soviet-Inspired Baby Names in Kerala, India