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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ebba

Number of Babies Named Ebba

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Ebba

Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2016

According to data released by Statistics Sweden on January 31st, the most popular baby names in Sweden in 2016 were Alice and Oscar.

Here are Sweden’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Alice, 910 baby girls
2. Lilly, 690
3. Maja, 664
4. Elsa, 643
5. Ella, 635
6. Alicia, 627
7. Olivia, 601
8. Julia, 597
9. Ebba, 596
10. Wilma, 587

Boy Names
1. Oscar, 879 baby boys
2. Lucas, 864
3. William, 850
4. Liam, 790
5. Oliver, 700
6. Hugo, 688
7. Alexander, 668
8. Elias, 664
9. Charlie, 650
10. Noah, 627

On the girls’ list, Alice replaces Elsa as the #1 name.

In the top 10, Alicia replaces Saga. Alicia’s rise from 21st in 2015 to 6th last year was inspired by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in early 2016 for her role in The Danish Girl (2015).

Overall, the girl name that saw the sharpest increase in usage was Chloe. The girl name that saw the sharpest drop in usage was Elsa.

On the boys’ side, Oscar replaces William as the #1 name.

In the top 10, Alexander and Noah replace Axel and Vincent.

Overall, that boy name that saw the sharpest rise in usage was Nicolas (followed by Frans, boosted by Swedish singer-songwriter Frans, who represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016). The boy name that saw the steepest decrease in usage was Anton.

It should be noted that Sweden does combine spelling variants to come up with national rankings, though I don’t know to what degree. The single example that Statistics Sweden offered was Vilma (159 baby girls) being counted with Wilma (421 baby girls). For that 10th-place total of 587, though, there would need to be at least one more variant in the mix. (I did notice “Whilma” in the database.)

Sources: Namnstatistik – Statistics Sweden, These were Sweden’s most popular baby names in 2016


2 Mystery Baby Names: Ardis & Irva

Not only were the girl names Ardis and Irva the dual top baby name debuts of 1899, but they were also tied for the 5th-highest debut of the late 1800s, according to SSA data:

  1. 38 baby boys: Hobson in 1898 (influence: war)
  2. 35 baby girls: Manilla in 1898 (influence: war)
  3. 25 baby boys: Admiral in 1898 (influence: war)
  4. 23 baby boys: Corbett in 1892 (influence: boxing)
  5. 19 baby girls: Ardis and Irva in 1899 (influence: ?)
  6. 18 baby girls: Ebba in 1888 (influence: royalty)

So far I haven’t been able to figure out what caused either debut, though. Maybe you guys can help me out?

Here’s what I know so far…

Ardis

According to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the number of people named Ardis jumped from at least 10 in 1898 to at least 86 in 1899. (The SSDI is a better source of raw-number data than the SSA for the late 1800s and early 1900s.)

  • 1901: 47 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1900: 59 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1899: 86 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1898: 10 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1897: 15 people with the first name Ardis

The SSDI data also indicates that the usage of Ardis was highest during three successive months: July (12 births), August (17 births), and September (12 births).

Getting back to the SSA data…when Ardis was at peak popularity from the 1910s through the 1940s, it was particularly trendy in the Midwest (especially Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin). This regional preference may have existed in 1899 as well, though it’s hard to tell.

Finally, a novel with the name Ardis in the title — Frank R. Stockton’s Ardis Claverden — existed in 1899. It had been published in 1890, though, so it probably didn’t cause the debut. (Unless it was serialized in the newspapers a decade later…?)

Irva

The SSDI shows that the number of people named Irva jumped from at least 7 in 1898 to at least 64 in 1899:

  • 1901: 14 people with the first name Irva
  • 1900: 18 people with the first name Irva
  • 1899: 64 people with the first name Irva
  • 1898: 7 people with the first name Irva
  • 1897: 5 people with the first name Irva

The name Erva also debuted in 1899. Alternative spellings sometimes point to an audio influence like talkies or television, but the debuts of Irva and Erva predate most of these technologies.

So does anyone out there have any theories on either Ardis or Irva?

(And if you like doing baby name detective work, check out these other open cases!)

Popular Baby Names in Finland, 2015

According to data from the Population Register Center of Finland (Väestörekisterikeskus), the most popular baby names among Finnish speakers in 2015 were Venla and Leo.

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

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Venla, 394 baby girls
2. Sofia, 346
3. Aada, 335
4. Aino, 331
5. Elsa, 326
6. Helmi, 325
7. Emma, 323
8. Eevi, 299
9. Ella, 297
10. Emilia, 262
1. Leo, 408 baby boys
2. Elias, 379
3. Onni, 361
4. Eino, 339
5. Oliver, 330
6. Niilo, 321
7. Väinö, 316
8. Eetu, 313
9. Leevi, 293
10. Daniel, 265

Elsa and Eevi replace Enni and Amanda in the girls’ top 10, and Daniel replaces Aleksi in the boys’ top 10. Venla, the new #1 name, rose from 7th place in 2014.

While about 85% of the babies accounted for were born to Finnish speakers, another 6% were born to Swedish speakers. Here are Finland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names among Swedish speakers specifically:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Ellen, 31 baby girls
2. Saga, 29
3. Amanda, 25
4. Elsa, 224
5. Ida, 21
6. Emma, 20
7. Stella, 19
8. Ebba, 17
9. Emilia, 16
10. Edith, 16
1. Emil, 43 baby boys
2. Oliver, 34
3. William, 32
4. Lucas, 28
5. Max, 26
6. Liam, 25
7. Benjamin
8. Noah, 24
9. Casper, 23
10. Axel, 22

Tied with Emilia and Edith were Olivia, Matilda and Minea; tied with Axel was Anton. Saga, the #2 girl name, ranked 4th in Sweden itself last year.

The Finnish Names Act (Nimilaki) allows babies to receive a maximum of three given names. The names must conform to Finnish orthography, reflect the correct gender, and not be “inappropriate” in any way.

Sources: Trending baby names in 2015: Venla and Ellen for girls, Leo and Emil for boys, Nimet – Väestörekisterikeskus (via Clare’s Name News), Finnish names still subject to law – how many and what kind

Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2015

According to data from Statistics Sweden, the most popular baby names in Sweden in 2015 were Elsa and William.

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Elsa, 872 baby girls
2. Alice, 847
3. Maja, 674
4. Saga, 671
5. Ella, 627
6. Lilly, 613
7. Olivia, 583
8. Ebba, 576
9. Wilma, 757
10. Julia, 574
1. William, 977 baby boys
2. Lucas, 802
3. Liam, 752
4. Oscar, 737
5. Elias, 732
6. Hugo, 711
7. Oliver, 709
8. Charlie, 664
9. Axel, 627
10. Vincent, 602

In the boys’ top 10, Axel replaces Alexander.

In the girls’ top 10, Saga, Ella and Wilma replace Agnes, Molly and Linnea.

The names in the top 100 that rose the fastest were:

  • Lo, Saga, Hedvig, Julie, and Ronja for girls, and
  • Kian, Henry, Love, Algot and Sam for boys.

The names in the top 100 that fell the fastest were:

  • Hilda, Cornelia, Elvira, Felicia and Linn for girls, and
  • Linus, Elvin, Rasmus, Felix and Jack for boys.

The sudden rise of Saga (from 21st to 4th) could be due to the popular Scandinavian TV show “The Bridge,” which features a character named Saga. But, as Maybe it is Daijirō (aka Maks) notes, the show has been around since 2011. Saga’s usage stayed relatively flat until 2014.

Also in 2015, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PVR) received 1,942 applications for adult name changes — a new national record. Znövit (Snow White), Lejontass (Lion paw) and Grön (green) were three of the new names requested last year. Sweden may be strict about names for babies, but name changes for adults are approved around 99% of the time.

Sources: Name statistics – Statistics Sweden, Swedes rush to ditch classic Nordic names

The Royal Baby Name Bertil

prince bertil, sweden, born in 1912
“H.R.H. Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden and Prince Bertil.”
Crown Prince Gustaf VI of Sweden welcomed a baby boy named Bertil in early 1912.

The same year Prince Bertil was born, the baby name Bertil appeared on the U.S. baby name charts:

  • 1917: 21 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1916: 28 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1915: 24 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1914: 31 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1913: 17 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1912: 16 baby boys named Bertil [debut]
  • 1911: unlisted

Bertil was the second-highest debut that year, after Woodroe (inspired by Woodrow Wilson, who was elected president in November).

But the early SSA numbers tend to be low, so here’s some SSDI data for a different perspective. (I’m only counting people with the first name Bertil.)

  • 1917: 24 Bertils born (SSDI)
  • 1916: 33 Bertils
  • 1915: 39 Bertils
  • 1914: 47 Bertils
  • 1913: 33 Bertils
  • 1912: 36 Bertils
  • 1911: 16 Bertils

Just about all of the surnames I saw for Bertils in the SSDI were Swedish. Even more interesting, the SSA data indicates that many of these Bertils were born in Minnesota, Illinois and Massachusetts — states with large Swedish communities:

By 1910 the position of the Midwest as a place of residence for the Swedish immigrants and their children was still strong, but had weakened. Fifty-four percent of the Swedish immigrants and their children now lived in these states, with Minnesota and Illinois dominating. Fifteen percent lived in the East, where the immigrants were drawn to industrial areas in New England. New York City and Worcester, Massachusetts, were two leading destinations.

I think it’s safe to conclude that this usage of Bertil was occurring among Swedish immigrants (and their descendants) exclusively.

So what’s the etymology of Bertil? The Handbook of Scandinavian Names says Bertil and Bertel (which debuted the very next year) are “forms of the first element in German names like Berthold, from bert ‘bright, shining.’ Behind the Name simply says Bertil is a form of Berthold, meaning “bright ruler.”

Surprisingly, Bertil isn’t the first U.S. baby name debut we can link to Swedish royalty. Ebba, which debuted in 1888, was inspired by Princess Ebba Bernadotte — baby Bertil’s great aunt.

Sources: