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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gerald

Number of Babies Named Gerald

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Gerald

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style
Janice
Danny
Rebecca
Martin
Cindy
Scott
Lori
Kenneth
Brenda
Patrick
Theresa
Gerald
Angela
Eugene
Wanda
Vincent
Nancy
Howard
Francine
Ira
Olga
Jasmine
Dominic
Rylee
Matthew
Charlotte
Sebastian
Lucy
Kingston
Bella
Preston
Trinity
Grayson
Ava
Eli
Willow
Victor
Nora
Hunter
Fiona
Isaac
Olivia

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.


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?

Male Names in the Domesday Book

Male Names in the Domesday Book

I listed all the female names in the Domesday Book a while back, so today I thought I’d complete the project by listing all the male names.

The male names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (For the record, I overlooked entries in which one person’s name was used to refer to another person, e.g., “Aelfric’s uncle.”)

The most-mentioned name within each letter group is in bold.

If you make it all the way to the bottom, your reward is a top ten list. :)

A

  • Abba (2)
  • Abbud
  • Abel
  • Abraham
  • Acard (2)
  • Acwulf
  • Adam (4)
  • Adbrei
  • Adelard
  • Adelelm (4)
  • Adelo
  • Adelulf (3)
  • Adelund
  • Adulf
  • Aedi
  • Aefic (3)
  • Aelbert (4)
  • Aelfric (88)
  • Aelgeat
  • Aelhard (2)
  • Aellic (2)
  • Aelm
  • Aelmer (5)
  • Aelod
  • Aelred
  • Aelric (4)
  • Aelsi
  • Aeschere
  • Aescman
  • Aescwulf (2)
  • Aethelhelm
  • Aethelmer
  • Aethelmund
  • Aethelred
  • Aethelric (2)
  • Aethelsi
  • Aethelstan (3)
  • Aethelward (2)
  • Aethelwin
  • Aethelwold (4)
  • Agenet
  • Agenwulf
  • Aghmund (5)
  • Agneli
  • Ailbern
  • Aildag
  • Airard
  • Aisil
  • Aistan
  • Aitard (3)
  • Aiulf (5)
  • Akeli
  • Aki (3)
  • Akile
  • Alan (6)
  • Albert (5)
  • Albold (3)
  • Alchen
  • Alchere (5)
  • Alcolm
  • Alcude
  • Aldbert
  • Aldchurl
  • Aldelin
  • Aldred (9)
  • Aldstan
  • Aldwin
  • Aldwulf
  • Aldwy (2)
  • Aleran
  • Alfgar (2)
  • Alfgeat (9)
  • Alfgrim
  • Alfheah (6)
  • Alfhelm
  • Alfhere (2)
  • Alfhild
  • Alfkil
  • Alfnoth
  • Alfred (24)
  • Alfrith (4)
  • Alfsi
  • Alfstan (2)
  • Alfwin (3)
  • Algar (21)
  • Algeard
  • Algeat (4)
  • Algot (4)
  • Ali
  • Alling
  • Alli (3)
  • Almer (33)
  • Almod
  • Almund
  • Alnoth (17)
  • Alnuar
  • Alred (2)
  • Alric (22)
  • Alsi (23)
  • Alstan (10)
  • Altei
  • Altet
  • Aluerle
  • Alulf
  • Alun
  • Alvar
  • Alwaker
  • Alward (36)
  • Alware
  • Alwin (76)
  • Alwold (11)
  • Alwulf
  • Alwy (17)
  • Amalfrid
  • Amalgar
  • Amalric
  • Ambi
  • Ambrose
  • Amerland
  • Amund
  • Anbold
  • Andor
  • Andor
  • Andrac
  • Andrew (3)
  • Ani
  • Anna
  • Ansculf (3)
  • Ansegis
  • Ansel
  • Anselm (2)
  • Ansered
  • Ansfrid (7)
  • Ansger (7)
  • Ansgered
  • Ansgot (8)
  • Ansketil (18)
  • Anund (4)
  • Ape
  • Aret
  • Aretius
  • Arnbiorn (5)
  • Arnbrand
  • Arnger
  • Arngrim (5)
  • Arni (3)
  • Arnketil (8)
  • Arnold (6)
  • Arnulf (10)
  • Arnwin
  • Artald
  • Arthur (2)
  • Arulf
  • Ascelin (6)
  • Ascored
  • Asford
  • Asfrith
  • Asgot (7)
  • Aski (4)
  • Aslak (2)
  • Asli
  • Asroth
  • Asulf
  • Atilic
  • Aubrey (6)
  • Auesgot
  • Augi (2)
  • Augustine
  • Austin
  • Auti (5)
  • Avelin
  • Avenel (2)
  • Azo (3)
  • Azorin
  • Azur (14)

B

  • Baca
  • Bada
  • Bagot
  • Baldric (4)
  • Baldwin (10)
  • Balki (2)
  • Bark
  • Barn
  • Barni
  • Barth
  • Barthi
  • Basing
  • Baswin
  • Batsveinn
  • Beard
  • Belling
  • Belward
  • Benedict (2)
  • Benzelin
  • Beollan
  • Beorn (4)
  • Beowulf
  • Ber
  • Bera
  • Berard
  • Berdic
  • Berengar (4)
  • Berewold
  • Bergthorr
  • Bergulf
  • Bernard (14)
  • Berner (7)
  • Bernheah
  • Bernhold
  • Bernwulf
  • Berold
  • Bersi
  • Bertram (2)
  • Bertunt
  • Besi
  • Beso
  • Best
  • Bettica
  • Biarni
  • Bicca
  • Bigot
  • Bil
  • Blaca
  • Blacre
  • Blaec (2)
  • Blaecmann (5)
  • Blaecmer
  • Blaecstan (3)
  • Blaecsunu
  • Blaecwin (2)
  • Blanc
  • Blancard
  • Bleddyn
  • Bleio
  • Bletcu
  • Blize
  • Blohin
  • Bo
  • Boda
  • Bodda
  • Bodin (3)
  • Boia (2)
  • Boli
  • Bolla (2)
  • Bolli
  • Boln
  • Bolne
  • Bondi (5)
  • Bono
  • Bordin
  • Boselin
  • Bosi
  • Bosker
  • Boso
  • Bosten
  • Boteric
  • Boti (2)
  • Botic
  • Botwulf
  • Bouville
  • Bovi (2)
  • Brand (3)
  • Brandulf
  • Brandwin
  • Branting (2)
  • Breme
  • Bresibalt
  • Bretel
  • Brian (6)
  • Brict
  • Brictfrith (4)
  • Brictgeat
  • Brictheah (2)
  • Bricthere
  • Brictman
  • Brictmer (9)
  • Brictnoth (2)
  • Brictred (2)
  • Brictric (16)
  • Brictsi (6)
  • Brictstan
  • Brictward (3)
  • Brictwin (5)
  • Brictwold (3)
  • Brictwulf (2)
  • Brictwy (2)
  • Brisard
  • Broddi
  • Broklauss
  • Brorda
  • Brothir (4)
  • Brumage
  • Brun (5)
  • Brunard
  • Brune
  • Brunel
  • Brungar (2)
  • Brunhyse
  • Brunier
  • Bruning (2)
  • Brunlocc
  • Brunmann (5)
  • Brunmer (2)
  • Brunsunu
  • Brunwin (3)
  • Bucca
  • Buggi
  • Bului
  • Burcard
  • Burde
  • Burghard
  • Burghelm
  • Burghi
  • Burgnoth
  • Burgred (5)
  • Burgric
  • Burgwald
  • Burnin
  • Burrer
  • Burro
  • Buter

C

  • Cabe
  • Cadiand
  • Cadio (3)
  • Cadwallon
  • Calcebuef
  • Calebot
  • Cana
  • Caradoc
  • Carlman
  • Cave
  • Ceolmer
  • Ceolred (2)
  • Ceolric (2)
  • Ceolstan
  • Ceolwin
  • Ceolwold
  • Charbonnel
  • Cille
  • Claman
  • Clarenbald (4)
  • Claron
  • Cliber
  • Clibert
  • Clodoan
  • Cniht
  • Cnut (6)
  • Cola (7)
  • Colben
  • Colbern
  • Colbert (2)
  • Coleman (4)
  • Colne (2)
  • Colsege
  • Columban
  • Colwin
  • Conan
  • Conded
  • Constantine
  • Corbelin
  • Corbin
  • Corp
  • Costelin
  • Crawa
  • Crin
  • Croc
  • Culling
  • Cus
  • Cuthwulf
  • Cynegar
  • Cyneric (2)
  • Cynesi (2)
  • Cynestan
  • Cyneva
  • Cynewin
  • Cynwold
  • Cynwy
  • Cypping (2)

D

  • Dachelin
  • Daeging
  • Dagobert
  • Danemund
  • David (2)
  • Dedol
  • Deincora
  • Dela
  • Demiblanc
  • Dene (3)
  • Deorc
  • Deoring (2)
  • Deormann (2)
  • Deorsi
  • Deorstan
  • Deorwulf
  • Doda (7)
  • Doding (2)
  • Dodin (2)
  • Dodman
  • Doleswif
  • Dolgfinn (3)
  • Domnic
  • Donald
  • Donewald
  • Dot (2)
  • Dreng
  • Drogo (16)
  • Druward
  • Dubhan
  • Dubhghall
  • Dublel
  • Duncan (2)
  • Dunn (2)
  • Dunnic
  • Dunning
  • Dunstan (4)
  • Durand (12)
  • Dynechaie

E

  • Eadne
  • Ealdormann
  • Ebbi
  • Eccha
  • Ecgfrith
  • Ecgwulf
  • Edda
  • Edelo
  • Edgar (4)
  • Edmer (5)
  • Edmund (9)
  • Ednoth (5)
  • Edred (3)
  • Edric (34)
  • Edsi (4)
  • Edward (22)
  • Edwin (22)
  • Edwold (2)
  • Edwulf (8)
  • Edwy (6)
  • Egbert
  • Egbrand
  • Einarr
  • Einbold
  • Eingar
  • Einulf
  • Elaf (6)
  • Elebolt
  • Elfain
  • Elfin
  • Eli
  • Elinant
  • Elmwy
  • Engelbald
  • Engelbert (2)
  • Engelhere
  • Engelric
  • Enisant (2)
  • Erchenbald (3)
  • Erchenbrand
  • Erchenger (2)
  • Erchenold
  • Erding
  • Erdwulf
  • Erembald
  • Erik
  • Erland
  • Erlebald
  • Erlechin
  • Erling
  • Ermenfrid (2)
  • Ermengot
  • Ermenhald
  • Ernburgis
  • Ernebald
  • Erneis (4)
  • Erngeat (7)
  • Ernsi
  • Ernucion
  • Ernwin (2)
  • Ernwulf (8)
  • Ernwy (7)
  • Ertald
  • Ertein
  • Esbiorn (5)
  • Escelf
  • Esger (5)
  • Eskil (15)
  • Essocher
  • Estan (8)
  • Estgar
  • Estmund
  • Estred
  • Eudo (8)
  • Euen
  • Euing
  • Eur
  • Euremar
  • Eustace (4)
  • Everard (5)
  • Everwin (2)
  • Evrold
  • Ewein
  • Ewen
  • Ewicman

F

  • Falc
  • Fargrim
  • Farman (2)
  • Farthin
  • Fastrad (2)
  • Fastulfr
  • Fatherling
  • Fathin
  • Fathir
  • Fech
  • Feche
  • Feggi
  • Fellow
  • Fenkell (2)
  • Fermeus
  • Ferron
  • Fiacc
  • Filiman
  • Finch
  • Finnghall
  • Fin (2)
  • Firmatus
  • Firmin
  • Fish
  • Flint
  • Flohere
  • Flotmann
  • Folkar
  • Forne (2)
  • Forthred
  • Frani (5)
  • Frank (3)
  • Frawin (2)
  • Fredegaest
  • Fredegis (3)
  • Frederic (2)
  • Freond
  • Frewin
  • Fridebert
  • Frienday
  • Frodo (2)
  • Froger
  • Frumold
  • Fugel
  • Fuglo
  • Fulbert (2)
  • Fulbric
  • Fulcard (4)
  • Fulcher (5)
  • Fulco (7)
  • Fulcran
  • Fulcred
  • Fulcric
  • Fulcwald
  • Fulcwin
  • Fulcwy (4)
  • Fursa

G

  • Gamal (9)
  • Gamalbarn
  • Gamalkarl
  • Gamas
  • Gamilo
  • Garthulfr
  • Garwine
  • Gelder
  • Genred
  • Genust
  • Geoffrey (48)
  • Gerald (5)
  • Gerard (9)
  • Gerbert
  • Gerbodo
  • Gerhelm
  • Geri
  • Gerling
  • Germanus
  • Germund (4)
  • Gernand
  • Gernio
  • Gero
  • Gerwy
  • Gest
  • Gethne
  • Gifard (2)
  • Gilbert (33)
  • Giles (2)
  • Gilleandrais
  • Gillebride
  • Gillemicel
  • Gillepatric
  • Gilli
  • Ginni
  • Gislold
  • Giso
  • Givold
  • Gladiou
  • Gladman
  • Gladwin (5)
  • Gleman
  • Gleu
  • Glewin
  • Gluniairnn
  • God
  • Goda (3)
  • Godard
  • Godday
  • Godebold (4)
  • Godel
  • Godescal
  • Godfrey (11)
  • Godgyth
  • Godhere
  • Goding (8)
  • Godlamb
  • Godlid
  • Godman (4)
  • Godmer (3)
  • Godram
  • Godric (59)
  • Godson (3)
  • Godstan
  • Godtovi
  • Godwin (72)
  • Godwy (3)
  • Goismer
  • Golda
  • Goldhere (2)
  • Golding (2)
  • Goldman
  • Goldnir
  • Goldric
  • Goldstan
  • Goldwin (2)
  • Gos
  • Gosbert (2)
  • Gosmer
  • Gospatric
  • Gotar
  • Goti (6)
  • Gotshelm (3)
  • Gozo
  • Grapinel
  • Green
  • Greifi
  • Grento (2)
  • Grim (6)
  • Grimbald (7)
  • Grimbert
  • Grimkel (3)
  • Grimulf (3)
  • Grucan
  • Gruffydd (4)
  • Guard
  • Gudhridh
  • Guerlin
  • Guerri (2)
  • Gundrada
  • Gundulf
  • Gundwin (3)
  • Gunfrid (5)
  • Gunhard
  • Gunnar (8)
  • Gunnhvati
  • Gunni (3)
  • Gunning
  • Gunnketill
  • Gunnulf
  • Gunnvarth
  • Guntard
  • Gunter
  • Guntram
  • Gunwor
  • Gutbert
  • Guthfrithr (2)
  • Guthlac
  • Guthlif
  • Guthmund (7)
  • Guthroth (3)
  • Guy (8)
  • Gyrth (2)

H

  • Habeinn
  • Haca
  • Hademar
  • Hadulf
  • Hadwin
  • Hadwy
  • Hafgrim
  • Hagebern
  • Hager
  • Hagni
  • Hag
  • Hagris
  • Haimard
  • Haimer
  • Haimeric
  • Haimo (6)
  • Haket
  • Hakon (3)
  • Haldor
  • Halsard
  • Hamelin (3)
  • Haming
  • Hardekin
  • Harding (5)
  • Hardwin (3)
  • Hardwulf (3)
  • Haret
  • Harold (14)
  • Harthacnut (3)
  • Harthgripr
  • Hascoit
  • Hasten
  • Hato
  • Hawarth
  • Healfdene (5)
  • Heca (2)
  • Hedned
  • Heinfrid
  • Heldred
  • Heldric
  • Helghi (2)
  • Helgot (3)
  • Helio
  • Helto
  • Hemming
  • Henry (9)
  • Heoruwulf (3)
  • Heppo
  • Her
  • Herbert (15)
  • Herbrand (2)
  • Herch
  • Hercus
  • Hereberd
  • Herebold
  • Hereward
  • Herewold
  • Herfast (2)
  • Herfrid
  • Heringod
  • Herlewin (6)
  • Herling
  • Herman (3)
  • Hermer (5)
  • Hernetoc
  • Herpolf
  • Herstan
  • Hervey (10)
  • Hezelin
  • Hilary
  • Hildebert
  • Hildebrand
  • Hildferth
  • Hildwin (2)
  • Hoc
  • Hofward
  • Hoga
  • Hold
  • Holland
  • Holmger
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And now it’s time for the…

Top Ten Male Names

Which male were mentioned most often in the Domesday book? The #1 name was William, followed by Robert and Ralph:

1. William (166)
2. Robert (127)
3. Ralph (124)
4. Aelfric (88)
5. Alwin (76)
5. Hugh (76)
7. Roger (73)
8. Godwin (72)
9. Walter (64)
10. Godric (59)

Though the names in the book aren’t necessarily representative of name usage in England overall, it does make sense than William took the top spot. The Domesday Book was created a couple of decades after the Norman Invasion, at a time when the name William was very fashionable, thanks to William the Conqueror.

California Couple with 20 Kids

In late 1966, Jim and Eldora Parnell of Bakersfield, California, welcomed their 20th child.

Here are the names of all twenty kids, plus their 1966-ages:

  • Robert, 26
  • James, 24
  • Edwina, 21
  • Marie (nn Baby Doll, “because we were sure she’d be our last one”), 19
  • Eddie, 18
  • Bill, 17
  • Charlotte, 16
  • Chris (female), 15
  • Elledie, 13
  • Patrick, 12
  • Wanetta, 11
  • Peggy, 9
  • Gail, 8
  • Donna, 7
  • Steve, 5
  • Logan, 4
  • Gil, 3
  • Daryl (twin), 18 months
  • Gerald (twin), 18 months
  • Teri Kay, newborn

Which girl name is your favorite? How about boy name?

Bonus: The article included name stories for Charlotte and Logan. Charlotte “was born in the family car during a visit to Los Angeles. The police officer delivering the baby was named Charley–so, Charlotte.” Logan “was named after Dr. Lloyd Q. Logan, who delivered eight of his older brothers and sisters. But when Logan was born, Dr. Logan was out of town and another doctor delivered him.”

Source: Hillinger, Charles. “Managing a Family of 20 Poses Big, Happy Problem.” Spokesman-Review 11 Dec. 1966: 7.

Baby Named After San Diego Housing Project

During WWII, aircraft workers and their families poured into San Diego to build planes at the Consolidated Aircraft plant. From 1941 to 1942, the population of San Diego jumped from about 203,000 to over 300,000.

Concerned about workers’ poor living conditions (and how these conditions might affect productivity) the Federal government began the Linda Vista housing project in March of 1941. Linda Vista is Spanish for “pretty view.”

The first baby born to residents of the Linda Vista community arrived in late June, 1941. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Chapman and had two older siblings, Patricia and Gerald.

Her name? Linda, after Linda Vista.

[A Mental Floss post I read the other day about Linda Vista Hospital reminded me of this story. The abandoned hospital is in Los Angeles and was built decades before San Diego’s housing project, but their names are similar.]

Sources:

  • “Linda Vista Baby Named for Project.” Los Angeles Times 29 Jun. 1941: 20.
  • Linda Vista @ San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Linda Vista @ SanDiego.gov
  • Taschner, Mary. “Boomerang Boom: San Diego 1941-1942.” The Journal of San Diego History 28.1 (1982).

How to Find a Boy Name that Won’t Become a Girl Name

Are there any boy names out there that aren’t at risk of becoming girl names?

This may not be the answer you want to hear, but: nope. There’s simply no way to guarantee that a boy name won’t suddenly become trendy for girls. (A movie mermaid was all it took for the name Madison — a name with the word “son” right in there — to become a girl name.)

No boy names are girl-proof, but some are certainly girl-resistant. Which ones? Here are five types I’ve come up with:

1. Boy names with unstylish elements, such as “bert” and “stan.” If a boy name isn’t fashionable enough to be popular for boys, it shouldn’t be too tempting to use for girls either.

Albert
Archibald
Bernard
Bertrand
Donald
Irwin
Gilbert
Leopold
Maynard
Rudolph
Stanford
Woodrow

2. Boy names with few vowels. They tend to sound more masculine than other names.

Bryant
Chad
Charles
Clark
Desmond
Grant
Kenneth
Mark
Ralph
Scott
Seth
Trent

3. Boy names with length. Most of today’s popular unisex names stop at two syllables.

Abraham
Alexander
Augustine
Balthazar
Benedict
Barnaby
Benjamin
Emmanuel
Ferdinand
Mortimer
Reginald
Sylvester

4. Boy names with hard endings, such as D, K and T. Many of the boy names being used by girls end with softer consonants like L, N and R.

Bennett
Caleb
Conrad
Craig
Derek
Emmett
Garrick
Isaac
Jared
Patrick
Stuart
Wyatt

5. Boy names with well-known feminine forms. If there’s a readily available girl-version, doesn’t it seem silly to use the masculine form for a female?

Brian (Brianna)
Carl (Carla)
Erik (Erika)
Gerald (Geraldine)
George (Georgia)
Henry (Henrietta)
Joseph (Josephine)
Martin (Martina)
Paul (Paula)
Robert (Roberta)
Theodore (Theodora)
Victor (Victoria)

As I mentioned, there’s never a guarantee. (A female Scrubs character is named Elliot — will that be the next to go? How about Blake, thanks to Blake Lively?) But I think boy names that fit into the above categories are relatively safe bets.

Are there any other types of names you’d add to the list?

Baby Name Needed – Familiar-Yet-Uncommon Boy Name

A reader named Rachel is expecting a baby boy. She says:

We had two girls’ names that I adored — Jane and Marjorie. Both of these are very uncommon (400s for Jane, not in top 1000 for Marjorie!) yet are utterly familiar (and unpretentious).

I am completely unable to find a boys’ name that fits that bill. All of the familiar, classic names are common. All of the uncommon names make me fear trendiness; few have that classic simplicity.

To add another wrinkle, if possible we’d like to honor a relative with an S-name. The only two I’ve found that I like so far are Samuel (but so common) and Silas (uncommon, but maybe trying too hard?) Other contenders are Henry and Edmund.

How funny — as soon as I read that second paragraph, the name Henry popped into my head.

I don’t think Silas is necessarily one of those “trying too hard”-types of names. (Unlike, say, Ptolemy.) But it will sound more natural in some areas than in others. Are future playmates going to have names like Victoria and Robert, or names like Jayden and Kayla? That could make a huge difference to a boy named Silas.

Here are a few other S-names that might be tempting (along with current rankings, for those in the top 1,000):

Simon (261)
Solomon (429)
Stanley (653)
Stanton
Stuart/Stewart
Sylvan
Sylvester

And, along with Edmund and Henry, here are some non-S-names that could work:

Antony (895)
Bernard (940)
Carl (490)
Chester
Clifford
Curtis (380)
Duncan (717)
Eugene (691)
Francis (656)
Franklin (467)
Frederick (523)
Gerald (603)
Gerard
Giles
Harvey
Howard (903)
Jerome (616)
Lane (319)
Leonard (621)
Lewis (640)
Matthias (772)
Milton (923)
Morris
Otis
Percy
Philip (378)
Roger (463)
Roscoe
Victor (111)
Walter (393)

What other names would you suggest to Rachel?

Update: The baby is here! Scroll down to find out what name Rachel chose.