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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gemma

Number of Babies Named Gemma

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Gemma

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, E/W, 2013

I’ve got a post on the top names in England and Wales scheduled for Monday, but until then here are a couple of “biggest changes” analyses. We’ll do the girl names today and the boy names tomorrow.

The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.

Biggest Increases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Sienna, +586 babies
  2. Scarlett, +395
  3. Elsie, +293
  4. Sofia, +274
  5. Thea, +241
  6. Ivy, +234
  7. Poppy, +219
  8. Evelyn, +193
  9. Willow, +182
  10. Alice, +172
  1. Reeva, +4951 spots
  2. Esmay, +844
  3. Bea, +761
  4. Khaleesi, +711
  5. Neriah, +703
  6. Keeva, +690
  7. Siyana, +650
  8. Milan, +643
  9. Isla-Mae, +574
  10. Dahlia, +566

Eleanor “Elea” Nickerson of British Baby Names mentioned the rise of Reeva yesterday on Facebook, attributing it to Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend Oscar Pistorius allegedly murdered. That sounds like a good explanation to me. In fact, the murder early last year (and the ongoing news coverage) might explain why Oscar itself saw such a big increase in 2013.

Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (Well, besides Khaleesi. I think we all know where that one comes from at this point.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Amelia, -1491 babies
  2. Lily, -919
  3. Jessica, -658
  4. Mia, -531
  5. Evie, -513
  6. Sophie, -483
  7. Lola, -436
  8. Maisie, -393
  9. Holly, -391
  10. Grace, -389
  1. Gemma, -402 spots
  2. Lilly-Mai, -364
  3. Krystal, -360
  4. Star, -320
  5. Sian, -297
  6. Tayla, -286
  7. Bo, -271
  8. Veronica, -256
  9. Zaina, -246
  10. Tahlia, -240

Top Debut Name

Everly.

Fewer than 3 baby girls got the name in 2012, but 21 baby girls were named Everly in 2013. Everley, Everleigh and Everlyn have been on the list before, but never Everly. (I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007, though.)

Here are the U.S. girl names that changed the most in popularity in 2013, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS


40 Pairs of Baby Names for Girl-Boy Twins

girl-boy twins

A few weeks ago, The Stir posted a list of 20 pairs of baby names for girl-boy twins.

The problem with their list? Each matchy-matchy name-pair started with the same first letter.

Yes, most parents gravitate toward patterns when it comes to naming twins. This has been confirmed by at least one study and is easy to see when you peruse the (now discontinued) lists of popular twin names.

But should they?

No. Child development experts say twins should have dissimilar first names.

So I thought I’d improve upon their list by separating the pairings and giving each of the 40 names a new, non-matchy partner — different first letter, different ending, different number of syllables.

Too Matchy? Much Better!
Hazel & Hugo
Emma & Evan
Madison & Mason
Taylor & Tyler
Vivienne & Val
Ava & Alexander
Chloe & Caleb
Sophia & Samuel
Eva & Ethan
Penelope & Pax
Savannah & Sebastian
Lily & Luke
Dylan & Dean
Naomi & Noah
Imogen & Isaac
Juliette & James
Christina & Christian
Grace & Gavin
Avery & Aiden
Claire & Clive
Hazel & Benjamin
Emma & Charles
Madison & Liam
Taylor & Grant
Vivienne & Phillip
Ava & Carl
Chloe & Gabriel
Sophia & Owen
Eva & Jack
Penelope & Duncan
Savannah & Zane
Lily & Cash
Dylan & Matthias
Naomi & Joseph
Imogen & Grey
Juliette & Simon
Christina & Thomas
Grace & Dominic
Avery & Beau
Claire & Julian
Hugo & Adelaide
Evan & Sabrina
Mason & Aria
Tyler & Addison
Val & Edie
Alexander & Daphne
Caleb & Lydia
Samuel & Hannah
Ethan & Amelia
Pax & Kira
Sebastian & Gemma
Luke & Maya
Dean & Harper
Noah & Abigail
Isaac & Johanna
James & Tabitha
Christian & Veronica
Gavin & Bree
Aiden & Katrina
Clive & Odette

Not only are the pairs in the middle and on the right smarter choices in terms of child development, but they’re also less likely to cause embarrassment and/or confusion. Unlike, say, Christina and Christian.

What are your favorite non-matchy baby names for girl-boy twins?

P.S. Hate to nit-pick, but…the Stir post also included several bogus definitions. Caleb means “devotion to God”? Nope, Caleb means dog.

Source: 20 Pairs of Baby Names for Twins of the Opposite Sex
Image: Adapted from Kinley and Liam Photos (18) by love_K_photo under CC BY 2.0.

Baby Name Needed for Sister of Liam and Brenna

Readers Tracie and Hugh Roarty, who are expecting a baby girl in August, would like a few baby name suggestions.

We have an almost 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter. Their names are Liam Robert and Brenna Kelly. My husband and I are both of Irish American descent. I had loved the name Liam since I was a child (am a bit shocked at how popular it is becoming now!). Their middle names are both family names.

Tracie, Hugh, Liam and Brenna currently live in Belgium, but they’ll be moving back to the U.S. before the baby arrives. They keep track of their travels at Belgian Bloggin, where Tracie recently announced her pregnancy. Tracie mentioned that Brenna would like to name the baby Rapunzel, while Liam would simply like to use the name Brenna again. :)

We have decided that we do not want another very Irish name (I feel like it will start to sound like we wish we lived in Ireland – if that makes sense?).

The names I have been drawn to so far are Margot and Valerie – both French I believe. I think it is the European influence on me. I like that these names are easily recognizable but not extremely popular.

The middle name would be either Patricia or Claire (our mothers names). For the two names so far we like Margot Patricia or Valerie Claire.

I love both Margot and Valerie.

Here are some other names I think Tracie and Hugh might like as well:

Alice
Carla
Caroline
Celeste
Claudia
Charlotte
Diana
Elise/Elisa
Gemma
Johanna
Julia
Marie/Maria
Marion
Matilda
Miranda
Mona
Nicole
Portia
Ramona
Rosalie
Sabine
Sara
Sylvie/Sylvia
Stephanie

Which of the above do you like best for Liam and Brenna’s baby sister? What other names would you suggest?

Babies Named for F1 Driver Jenson Button

According to the newest baby name rankings for England and Wales, the name Jenson shot up from 143rd in 2009 to 96th in 2010.

Jenson’s jump immediately reminded me of an article I read about a baby named Jenson Lewis. He was born in late 2009 to Trevor and Mandy Sutton of Coventry, England, and named after British Formula One drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Looks as though Jenson Button inspired many other expectant parents in the UK to opt for Jenson as well.

What do you think of the name?

EDIT, 8/1 – Just found another Jenson Button baby. This Jenson was born January 1, 2011, and is the son of Gemma Roberts and Michael Iles of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.

Girl Names Based on “Hester Jo” Needed

A reader named Q* contacted me a several years ago about choosing a name for her first daughter, Posy. Q is now expecting her second daughter (due in one week!) and would like some help naming baby #2.

I never wrote a post about Posy’s name, but I think a collective brainstorm is in order for baby #2.

The frontrunners so far are Gemma, Evie (“EH-vie”), Persephone (nn Sephie) and Belle, but Q says that “nothing has really grabbed us.”

Also, there’s this to think about:

We got some very sad news this weekend which is that our close family friend passed away. We would like to incorporate her name somehow in our daughter’s name.

Her name was Hester Jo. I don’t particularly like the name Hester Jo but we would really like to somehow honor her. I prefer Hestia or Hes or Esti to Hester, but none of these names really grab me, and the fact that our last name also ends in an “-er” sound doesn’t seem to mesh well with Hester.

Can you think of any creative ways to incorporate her name? I know that Hester means “star” so I was wondering if there are any other names meaning star or something similar that might be good. Or even matching the initials HJ?

The baby’s last name will be a 2-syllable T-name a lot like Tyler.

First, let me say that I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

I think it’s wonderful that you want to honor Hester Jo. I can understand why “Hester” might not sound so hot with a surname that ends with -er, though.

Hester comes from Esther, which we know of through the biblical Queen Esther. We don’t know for sure what her name means. Esther could be based on the Persian word for “star,” on the name of the goddess Ishtar, on a Median word for “myrtle,” or on something else entirely.

One H-name with a direct connection to the original Esther is Esther’s birth name, Hadassah, which is Hebrew for “myrtle.” It could shortened to a nickname like Hada or Dassah to make it sound a bit peppier, like Posy.

Speaking of nicknames, short forms of Hester and Esther are Hettie and Essie. These could also be bestowed as-is, just like Posy (which is a nickname for Josephine).

Essie reminds me of Vanessa, a name invented by Jonathan Swift. He based it on the name of a friend, Esther Vanhomrigh, and featured it in his poem “Cadenus and Vanessa.” (And Vanessa gives rise to nicknames like Vana and Nessa.)

In terms of star-names, I like Stella, Estella, and Estelle — really, anything in the Stella family (stella is Latin for “star”).

Another star-themed idea is the Scandinavian name Astrid, which doesn’t have an etymological connection to the prefix astro- (which is based on the Ancient Greek astron, “star”) but looks/sounds like it does.

The name Johanna reminds me of Hester Jo a little — Jo in the front, followed by an H.

Other H-names, let’s see…Hazel, Honora (Nora), Heidi, Harriet, Helen, maybe even Hephzibah (nn Hepsie — Persephone/Sephie is on the table, so I had to throw this in!).

Out of this group, I like Hazel the best. It has a z-sound like Posy, and also a vegetation connection like Hester/Esther (possibly “myrtle”), Hadassah (definitely “myrtle”) and Posy (in the bouquet sense).

Now on to the current favorites…

I like them all, actually. I could see any of them in a sibset with Posy.

I’d be a little concerned about trendiness with both Gemma and Belle. Gemma’s been climbing the charts rather quickly in the last few years; you never know how high it could go. And Belle, not popular on its own, could get lost in a sea of girls with -bella names (Isabella is currently ranked #1, Bella #48, Isabelle #105, Annabelle #117, Izabella #140, etc.).

Sephie reminds me a lot of Posy — both are very rare and have an old-fashioned feel. But I don’t know how fair it is to give one daughter a name that is a nickname (i.e. 1 name) and the other a name that has a nickname (i.e. 2 names). If Posy had been Josephine (nn Posy), I would have been a lot more excited about Persephone (nn Sephie).

Finally, Evie. I have a feeling that most people pronounce it EE-vee, not EHV-ee, so correcting people could become a chore. Spelling it Evvie might help, though both names can be pronounced both ways, so the extra v may not make much of a difference.

Want to help Q name her daughter? Please leave a comment with your…

  • Ideas about how to incorporate the name Hester Jo (or the initials H. J.),
  • Opinions on the current favorites, and/or
  • Other helpful suggestions.

*Name edited out at Q’s request.

Baby Names Needed for Triplets

A reader named Skylar is expecting triplets in June. She writes:

I do not know the gender of the babies yet as my husband and I have decided to keep it a surprise. The triplets will be joining and older brother Beckett Wade (Wade after my brother) and Britton Pearl (Pearl after my great grandmother, also my middle name). I am looking for boys and girls names to name the triplets. I do not like common names, I would prefer something trendy to pair with family middle names.

I rarely get requests for trendy names, so this e-mail really stood out.

One great place to look for trendy (or soon-to-be trendy) names is the SSA’s Change in Popularity page, which lists names that increased in popularity from 2008 to 2009. Here are some of the names on that list:

Emmett
Jasper
Paxton
Ryker
Graham
Leon
Silas
Abram
Arabella
Norah
Penelope
Harper
Willow
Lyla
Melina
Daphne

The SSA’s list doesn’t include names that didn’t make the top 500, though, so here are a few more names (from a bit lower down in the rankings) that also increased in popularity from 2008 to 2009:

Knox
Kellan
Archer
Hayes
Daxton
Lucian
Dexter
Uriah
Harlow
Gemma
Milan
Nylah
Myra
Millie
Leona
Catalina

Do you like any of the above with Beckett and Britton? What other names would you suggest? How about name combinations?

Baby Name Needed for Ethan’s Little Sister

A reader named Kathy is expecting a baby girl in December. She’d like some help coming up with a name. She writes:

I have a 25 month old named Ethan. I have loved that name but am sad to see it’s become so popular. I would like suggestions for a feminine, unique girl name if you have some.

Kathy does like the name Ava, but feels it’s too popular to use.

She also mentions that the baby will be of German/Irish extraction and have a 2-syllable surname that starts with an h (think Hofler).

Ethan and Ava are short, simple, traditional names. But they both happen to be very popular right now. So I looked for girl names that have a similar profile, but that aren’t quite as popular (i.e. none are top 20).

Alice
Amy
Anna
Clara
Cora
Elsa
Gemma
Heidi
Ivy
Laura
Leah
Lucy
Lydia
Marie
Mary
Naomi
Paula
Ruth
Sarah
Susan

Now, Kathy did use the word “unique” in her e-mail. None of the above names could be described as unique. In fact, I don’t think any baby name is unique in a literal sense. But here are some names that weren’t popular enough to make the top 1,000 in 2009.

Anja
Audra
Flora
Jill
Judy
Marla
Petra
Sonja

Which of these names do you like best with Ethan? What other names would you suggest to Kathy?