Emma, the former #1 girl name, dropped to 6th place last year. Alma, on the other hand, jumped from 11th to 4th and replaced Karla in the top 10.
On the boys’ side, Alfred (jumping from 17th to 9th) and Carl replaced Frederik and Magnus.
In the top 50, the girl names Gry, Naya, and Silje replaced Alba, Naja, and Malou, and the boy names Jakob, Lauge, Milas, Silas, Theo, Thor, and Viggo replaced Andreas, Bertram, Daniel, Jacob, Jonas, Nikolaj, and Sander.
(Gry means “dawn” in Danish and Norwegian, Silje is a diminutive of Cecilia, and Lauge is based on the Old Norse byname Félagi, meaning “fellow, partner, mate.”)
A couple of months ago, Cosmopolitan.com published an essay about one writer’s decision to name her baby girl Mamie. (Actually, Mamie is the baby’s nickname; her real name is Mary Cecilia.) Here are a few lines from the end of the essay:
Now, I cautiously read articles on trending baby names, hoping ours doesn’t appear. A friend tells me she knows of two new Mamies born since my Mamie. To my ear, the baby name sweet spot falls somewhere between recognizable and popular.
I have no complaints about the name Mamie, but I do find it strange that the author, ostensibly concerned about her child’s name becoming trendy, submitted an essay about the name to a widely read women’s website. Because, well, that’s one way to kick off a trend.
Do you like the name Mamie? Do you think usage will rise in the near future?
Here’s a rare, old-fashioned name that’s been given two distinct pop culture boosts over the years — one from the movies, one from the weather.
The movie connection is especially interesting because, as far as I can tell, this is probably the first name to debut on the charts thanks to an actress.
Usage of the name Francelia (fran-SEE-lee-ah) goes back to at least the 1700s. The name was most popular in the mid-1800s, especially in the Northeastern U.S. (New York state in particular). It seems to be an elaborated form of Frances (“Frenchman”) influenced by either Celia (“sky, heaven”) or Cecilia (“blind”), or both.
Francelia debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1912, probably thanks to early silent film actress Francelia Billington, who was born in Texas in 1895 and appeared in silent films from 1912 until the mid-1920s (and in a single talkie in 1930).
Francelia Billington wasn’t the first silent film actress to become famous, but she was the first whose name debuted on the national baby name list while she was famous. Several other silent film actresses of the 1910s also had distinctive names (e.g., Alla Nazimova, Theda Bara, Kathlyn Williams) but their names had all been listed since the late 1800s.
The SSA data from the 1910s isn’t super-reliable, so I’ve put both the SSA and the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) numbers side-by-side below. For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Francelia as a first name, not as a middle.
5 Francelias [debut]
One of the Francelias above was children’s literature scholar/writer Francelia Butler (née McWilliams) who was born in Ohio in 1913.
The name Francelia has remained rare in the U.S. ever since, though it did see a spike in usage in 1969 thanks to the news of Hurricane Francelia, which hit Central America in early September.
1971: 5 baby girls named Francelia
1970: 10 baby girls named Francelia
1969: 23 baby girls named Francelia (and 8 more named Francellia)
1967: 7 baby girls named Francelia
Francelia’s last appearance on the SSA’s list was in 1998, with just 7 baby girls. (To be included on the list, a name needs to be given to at least 5 babies.)
Do you like the name Francelia? Would you consider using it for a baby girl?
A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.
I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”
Here’s the list:
Have any favorites?
Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.
BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.