Over at The Public Domain Review, I found a collection of 51 novelty playing cards — several incomplete decks, mixed together — from 1916 that feature the images and names of popular movie actresses from that era.
Below are all the first names from those cards, plus where those names happened to rank in the 1916 baby name data. (Two-thirds of them were in the top 100, and over 95% fell inside the top 1,000.)
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).
It’s easy to figure out which baby names appeared on all (or most) of the state-specific baby name lists for 2017. But what about the rare names that only made one or two state lists?
A total of 1,324 names appeared on just one state list, and a total of 1,198 names appeared on two state lists. (I analyzed boy names and girl names separately, though, so several of these names did show up on extra lists as the other gender.)
Here’s a selection of the baby names that appeared on just one state list last year:
Neyland, 41 boys in Tennessee (out of 53 nation-wide)
Roel, 23 boys in Texas (out of 50 nation-wide)
Ariza, 22 girls in Arizona (out of 31 nation-wide)
Marty, 21 boys in Ohio (out of 66 boys, and 13 girls, nation-wide)
Venice, 20 girls and 5 boys in California (out of 44 and 12 nation-wide)
Kinnick, 19 boys in Iowa (out of 29 nation-wide)
Benuel, 17 boys in Pennsylvania (out of 26 nation-wide)
Barbie, 16 girls in Pennsylvania (out of 29 nation-wide)
Kainalu, 16 boys in Hawaii (out of 23 nation-wide)
Mahina, 16 girls in Hawaii (out of 22 nation-wide)
Taysom, 14 boys in Utah (out of 24 nation-wide)
Hatcher, 10 boys in Alaska (out of 40 nation-wide)
Talmage, 10 boys in Utah (out of 20 nation-wide)
Atlee, 8 boys in Ohio (out of 25 boys and 32 girls nation-wide)
Cruzito, 8 boys in New Mexico (out of 25 nation-wide)
Nizhoni, 8 girls in Arizona (out of 21 nation-wide)
California, 7 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Griffey, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 21 nation-wide)
Kodiak, 7 boys in California (out of 30 nation-wide)
Rainier, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 24 nation-wide)
Alabama, 5 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Boomer, 5 boys in Texas (out of 33 nation-wide)
Cleveland, 5 boys in Florida (out of 28 nation-wide)
Crockett, 5 boys in Texas (out of 10 nation-wide)
Ole, 5 boys in Minnesota (out of 21 nation-wide)
A lot of these have easy explanations (e.g., Neyland Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Mount Rainier, Taysom Hill) or are logical in some other way (like “Ariza” in Arizona).
Two that I couldn’t figure out, though, were Marty in Ohio and Barbie in Pennsylvania. My assumption regarding Barbie is that it’s popular among the Amish. (Benuel too.) But I have no clue about Marty. Is it college sports…?
And here’s a selection of the baby names that showed up on two state lists in 2017:
Hyrum, 36 boys in Utah and 15 in Idaho (out of 88 nation-wide)
Ammon, 24 boys in Utah and 6 in Pennsylvania (out of 64 nation-wide)
Fannie, 18 in Pennsylvania and 6 in New York (out of 45 nation-wide)
Avenir, 11 boys in Washington state and 6 in California (out of 31 nation-wide)
Reverie, 8 girls in California and 5 in Illinois (out of 26 nation-wide)
Sunshine, 7 girls in Arizona and 7 in California (out of 55 nation-wide)
I was confused about Avenir a few years ago, but I’ve since found the answer: it’s the Russian form of the Biblical name Abner. Avenir has been popping up on West Coast state lists (WA, OR, CA) lately, which makes sense given the fact that several West Coast cities have relatively large Russian-American populations.
Have you had a chance to go over the state lists yet? If so, did you spot anything interesting?
A few years ago, we held a fun 1980s name-song tournament. (Come on, Eileen, you must remember!) This year, let’s go back even further — let’s check out songs with names in the titles from the early rock and roll era (late ’50s and early ’60s).
I’ll explain more about the tournament at the bottom of the post. For now, I’ll just forewarn you that each link opens a video in a new page so that you don’t lose your place on this page, which is pretty long.
"Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers (57%, 4 Votes)
"Sally, Go 'Round the Roses" by The Jaynetts (43%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 7
Which song is better? (30 of 32)
"Susie Q" by Dale Hawkins (71%, 5 Votes)
"Sherry" by The Four Seasons (29%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 7
Which song is better? (31 of 32)
"Runaround Sue" by Dion (67%, 4 Votes)
"Venus in Blue Jeans" by Jimmy Clanton (33%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 6
Which song is better? (32 of 32)
"Sheila" by Tommy Roe (67%, 4 Votes)
"Susie Darlin'" by Robin Luke (33%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 6
…And that’s it for now! Round 2 will start on Friday.
Here’s the full tournament schedule:
Round 1 (64 songs to 32): Vote March 12-15
Round 2 (32 to 16): Vote March 16-19
Sweet 16 (16 to 8): Vote March 20-22
Elite Eight (8 to 4): Vote March 23-25
Final Four (4 to 2): Vote March 26-27
Championship (2 to 1): Vote March 28-29
Winner (1): Announced on March 30
Polls close at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time) on the last day of each round.
And finally, in case you’re wondering how I chose the groups and the pairings: The groups are alphabetical (A to F, G to L, L to P, and R to W). To rank the songs within each group, I used that “total” number of Google search results as a proxy for popularity. Then I created match-ups in true March Madness style: first vs. last, second vs. second-to-last, and so forth.
1,633 babies were babies were born in Providence in 1866, by my count. (The number given by the author of the document is 1,632.)
1,457 of these babies (707 girls and 750 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 176 babies got blank spaces.
234 unique names (123 girl names and 108 boy names) were shared among these 1,457 babies.
And here’s some extra information I forgot to mention in the last post: In 1860, the city of Providence was home to 29.0% of Rhode Island’s population. In 1870, it was home to 31.7% of the population. So each of these 3 sets of rankings (1866, 1867, 1868) ought to account for roughly 30% of the residents of the state.
Now, on to the names…
The top 5 girl names and boy names of 1866 were, unsurprisingly, very similar to the top names of 1867.
Top Baby Girl Names
Top Baby Boy Names
The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.
As expected, Mary was the front-runner by a huge margin. And, while there were dozens of Catherines, and a single Catharine, there weren’t any Katherines.
Mary, 149 baby girls
Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)