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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gerard

Number of Babies Named Gerard

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Gerard

The Last Intellectual to Latinize His Name?

Rudolf Clausius, originally Rudolf GottliebGerman physicist and mathematician Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888) was one of the founders of the science of thermodynamics.

Another interesting thing about Rudolf Clausius? He was born Rudolf Gottlieb.

I couldn’t find a concrete explanation for the name change, but I did find this in a college physics book: “Born with the name Rudolf Gottlieb, he adopted the classical name of Clausius, which was a popular thing to do in his time.”

(Clausius is based on the Latin clausus, meaning “closed, shut off.” Some sources say Clausius is an alternate name for Janus, the Ancient Roman god of beginnings and endings.)

Yes, many historical European scholars/artists did adopt Latinized names. Astronomer Tycho Brahe was born Tyge Ottesen Brahe. Artist Jheronimus (Hieronymus) Bosch was born Jeroen van Aken. Violin maker Antonius Stradivarius was born Antonio Stradivari. Map maker Gerardus Mercator was born Gerard de Cremer.

But these folks lived during the 1400s, 1500s and 1600s. It was trendy for Renaissance thinkers, who embraced Classical philosophies and attitudes, to Latinize their names. (Wikipedia has a long list of Latinized names coined during the Renaissance if you want more examples.)

Rudolf Clausius, on the other hand, lived during the 1800s. I can’t think of any other public figure who adopted a Latinized name as late as the mid-19th century.

Was Rudolf Clausius the last European intellectual to Latinize his name? Or do other outliers exist?

(At first I thought Carl Linnæus (1707-1778) might fit the bill, but his surname was the legitimate family name, coined by his father Nils before Carl was born. It’s based on the Småland dialect word “linn,” meaning “linden tree,” in reference to a stately linden tree on the family property.)

Sources:


First and Last Names Swapped for Inheritance

Petrus Stuyvesant (1612-1672) was the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland before it was taken by the English in 1664 and renamed New York.

One of his grandsons, Peter Gerard Stuyvesant, was called the “wealthiest man in Now York, after Astor” in the mid-19th century.

But he and his wife, Helen Rutherfurd, had no children.

His sizable estate had to go somewhere upon his death (which happened in 1847 when he drowned at Niagara Falls) so, in his will, he split the bulk of his wealth into thirds: one-third to nephew Hamilton Fish, one-third to nephew Gerard Stuyvesant, and one-third to great-grandnephew Stuyvesant Rutherfurd.

Before 4-year-old Stuyvesant could receive his share of the fortune, though, he had to satisfy a single condition: change his name to Rutherfurd Stuyvesant.

This was done in 1863, “by act of the legislature.”

Thanks in part to his inheritance, Rutherfurd Stuyvesant went on to become a successful New York developer. His biggest achievement was introducing well-off New York City residents to the apartment building circa 1870, “at a time when row houses were the rule for the middle and upper classes.”

Stuyvesant Rutherfurd, Rutherfurd Stuyvesant…it’s a mouthful either way. Which order do you prefer?

Sources:

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?

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2013

Here are the results of the 2013 pop culture baby name game!

But I’m writing them up a bit differently this year — I’m only focusing on 20 big winners.

How did I choose these 20? First, I eliminated all the names that didn’t see increased usage in 2013. Then I eliminated the names that saw relatively small increases in usage. Then I eliminated the names that saw more or less expected increases in usage, given their trajectories.

That left me with about 20 names that became more popular in 2013 due mainly (in some cases entirely) to pop culture influence.

The links will take you to popularity graphs.

1. Jace

  • Increase: +1,649 baby boys (4,692 to 6,341) and +8 baby girls (36 to 44).
  • Inspiration: “Duck Dynasty” character Jason “Jase” Robertson.
  • Even more impressive, the name Jase increased +3,410 and +13.

2. Lincoln

  • Increase: +1,112 baby boys (2,898 to 4,010) and +28 baby girls (33 to 61).
  • Inspiration: The film Lincoln (2012).

3. Ariana

  • Increase: +816 baby girls (3,568 to 4,384).
  • Inspiration: Singer/actress Ariana Grande.
  • 4,384 baby girls is a new all-time high for Ariana. The previous high was 4,322 baby girls in 2007.

4. Everly

  • Increase: +517 baby girls (287 to 804).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Everly, daughter of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan.

5. Kendrick

  • Increase: +472 baby boys (570 to 1,042).
  • Inspiration: Hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar.
  • 1,042 baby boys is a new all-time high for Kendrick. The previous high was 763 baby boys in 1991.

6. Milan

  • Increase: +333 baby boys (151 to 484) and +89 baby girls (382 to 471).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Milan, son of Shakira and Gerard Pique.

7. George

  • Increase: +194 baby boys (2,328 to 2,522).
  • Inspiration: Royal baby George, son of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

8. Francis

  • Increase: +101 baby boys (429 to 530) and +13 baby girls (44 to 57).
  • Inspiration: The election of Pope Francis.
  • Even more impressive, the name Francisco increased +125.

9. Bruno

  • Increase: +91 baby boys (284 to 375).
  • Inspiration: Singer Bruno Mars.
  • 375 baby boys is a new all-time high for Bruno. The previous high was 353 in 1916.

10. Paul

  • Increase: +78 baby boys (1,939 to 2,017).
  • Inspiration: The death of actor Paul Walker.
  • Walker saw an even bigger increase (+128) but I thought Paul’s rise was more compelling as it went against a decades-long decline in usage.

11. Robin

  • Increase: +48 baby boys (104 to 152).
  • Inspiration: Singer Robin Thicke.

12. Diamond

  • Increase: +41 baby girls (345 to 386).
  • Inspiration: Rihanna song “Diamonds” (2012).

13. Wendy

  • Increase: +37 baby girls (357 to 394).
  • Inspiration: Texas politician Wendy Davis.
  • I’m dying to see how much of Wendy’s increase can be attributed to Texas specifically. The SSA’s state lists haven’t been updated yet, though.

14. Nori

  • Increase: +18 baby girls (11 to 29).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby “Nori” (North), daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
  • 29 baby girls is a new high for Nori. The previous high was 20 in 2009.

15. Primrose

  • Increase: +17 baby girls (17 to 34).
  • Inspiration: Hunger Games (2012) character Primrose Everdeen.
  • Prim, a nickname for Primrose, debuted with 7 baby girls.

16. Marnie

  • Increase: +14 baby girls (13 to 27).
  • Inspiration: “Girls” character Marnie Michaels.

17. Rainbow

  • Increase: +9 baby girls (7 to 16).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Rainbow, daughter of Holly Madison and Pasquale Rotella.

18. Kitai

  • Debuted with 16 baby boys.
  • Inspiration: After Earth (2013) character Kitai Raige.
  • Cypher, the name of another After Earth character, increased +4.

19. Sansa

  • Debuted with 11 baby girls.
  • Inspiration: “Game of Thrones” character Sansa Stark.

20. Malala

  • Debuted with 9 baby girls.
  • Inspiration: Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Did any of the above surprise you?

Past PCBNG results: 2012, 2011, 2010.

What Would You Name the Two Frenchmen?

The image below, of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, was captured in early 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype.

It may be the earliest surviving photograph of a person. Two people, actually. Both are in the lower left:

Daguerreotype: Boulevard du Temple

Here’s a close-up:

Boulevard du Temple, detail

The standing man is getting his shoe shined, and the other man (partially obscured) is doing the shoe-shining.

Of all the people on the sidewalk that day, these were the only two to stay still long enough (about 10 minutes) to be captured in the image.

Now for the fun part!

What would you name these two Frenchmen?

Let’s pretend you’re writing a book set in Paris in the 1830s, and these are two of your characters. What names would you give them?

Here’s a long list of traditional French male names, to get you started:

Abel
Absolon
Achille
Adam
Adolphe
Adrien
Aimé
Alain
Alban
Albert
Alexandre
Alfred
Alphonse
Amaury
Amroise
Amédée
Anatole
André
Anselme
Antoine
Antonin
Apollinaire
Ariel
Aristide
Armand
Arnaud
Arsène
Arthur
Aubert
Aubin
Auguste
Augustin
Aurèle
Aurélien
Baptiste
Barnabé
Barthélémy
Basile
Bastien
Benjamin
Benoit
Bernard
Bertrand
Blaise
Boniface
Bruno
Calixte
Camille
Céleste
Célestin
Césaire
César
Charles
Christian
Christophe
Clair
Claude
Clément
Clovis
Constant
Constantin
Corentin
Corin
Corneille
Cosme
Cyril
Damien
Daniel
David
Denis
Déodat
Désiré
Didier
Dieudonné
Dimitri
Diodore
Dominique
Donat
Donatien
Edgar
Edgard
Edmé
Edmond
Édouard
Élie
Eloi
Émeric
Émile
Émilien
Emmanuel
Enzo
Éric
Ermenegilde
Ernest
Ethan
Étienne
Eugène
Eustache
Évariste
Évrard
Fabien
Fabrice
Félicien
Félix
Ferdinand
Fernand
Fiacre
Firmin
Florence
Florent
Florentin
Florian
Francis
François
Frédéric
Gabriel
Gaël
Gaëtan
Gaspard
Gaston
Gaubert
Geoffroy
Georges
Gérard
Géraud
Germain
Gervais
Ghislain
Gilbert
Gilles
Gratien
Grégoire
Guatier
Guillaume
Gustave
Guy
Hector
Henri
Herbert
Hercule
Hervé
Hilaire
Hippolyte
Honoré
Horace
Hubert
Hugues
Humbert
Hyacinthe
Ignace
Irénée
Isidore
Jacques
Jason
Jean
Jérémie
Jérôme
Joachim
Jocelyn
Joël
Jonathan
Joseph
Josse
Josué
Jourdain
Jules
Julien
Juste
Justin
Laurent
Laurentin
Lazare
Léandre
Léo
Léon
Léonard
Léonce
Léonide
Léopold
Lionel
Loïc
Lothaire
Louis
Loup
Luc
Lucas
Lucien
Lucrèce
Ludovic
Maël
Marc
Marcel
Marcellin
Marin
Marius
Martin
Mathieu
Mathis
Matthias
Maurice
Maxence
Maxime
Maximilien
Michaël
Michel
Modeste
Narcisse
Nathan
Nathanaël
Nazaire
Nicéphore
Nicodème
Nicolas
Noé
Noël
Norbert
Odilon
Olivier
Onésime
Pascal
Patrice
Paul
Philippe
Pierre
Placide
Pons
Prosper
Quentin
Rainier
Raoul
Raphaël
Raymond
Régis
Rémy
René
Reynaud
Richard
Robert
Roch
Rodolphe
Rodrigue
Roger
Roland
Romain
Rosaire
Ruben
Salomon
Samuel
Sébastien
Séraphin
Serge
Sévère
Séverin
Simon
Sylvain
Sylvestre
Télesphore
Théodore
Théophile
Thibault
Thierry
Thomas
Timothée
Toussaint
Urbain
Valentin
Valère
Valéry
Vespasien
Victor
Vincent
Vivien
Xavier
Yves
Zacharie

For some real-life inspiration, here are lists of famous 19th century and 20th century French people, courtesy of Wikipedia. Notice that many of the Frenchman have double-barreled, triple-barreled, even quadruple-barreled given names. (Daguerre himself was named Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.)

Source: The First Photograph of a Human

The Revival of Irish Names in Ireland

ireland satelite imageI discovered the RTÉ Radio 1 documentary One Hundred Years of Names (2009) a long time ago. Finally I’ve had a chance to listen to the entire 40-minute program.

It’s pretty good — I like how it tells the story of how Irish names have been revived in Ireland.

Because, back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Irish names were not being used in Ireland, at least not officially. I think this fact would surprise a lot of people. The vast majority of children were given non-Irish names (e.g., Katherine, Rose, John) though some did use the Irish versions of their names in everyday life.

Around the 1930s, a handful Irish names (e.g., Seán, Séamus) began gaining traction. This was thanks to the efforts of those trying to revive Irish such as Éamon de Valera, who later became president of Ireland. (Éamon’s wife, born in 1878, went by Sinéad but was officially a Jane.)

The use of Irish names increased, little by little, over the next few decades.

With the 1970s came a lot more name variety, thanks to Gerard Slevin’s 1974 revision of Rev. Patrick Woulfe’s 1923 book Irish Names for Children. An Irish genealogist interviewed in the documentary said this revision was “quite influential, it was probably the only book on bookshelves at that time on Irish names.”

Since the 1990s, both the popularity and the variety of Irish names in Ireland have continued to increased. The narrator of the documentary summed it up well when she said that, nowadays, “names like Deirdre, Róisín, Gráinne are so familiar, we’d nearly forget they’re revived names.”

Interesting stuff, no?

The documentary is worth a listen if you’re a fan of Irish names. Or if you simply want to hear some Irish name pronunciations, as a bunch of Irish names — Cian (kee-an), Aoife (ee-fa), Ciara (kee-ra), Caoimhe (kwee-va), Niamh (nee-av), Saoirse (sir-sha), Sadhbh (sive), Róisín (ro-sheen), Aoibhinn/Aoibheann (ee-veen), etc. — are mentioned about 10 minutes in.

If you listen, let me know how you like it!

Most Popular Baby Names in Catalonia, 2012

Last year, the top baby names in Catalonia — an autonomous region in northeastern Spain — were Marc for boys and Julia for girls.

Here are Catalonia’s top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2012:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Júlia/Julia (954 baby girls)
2. Martina (889)
3. Laia (833)
4. Carla (748)
5. Paula (697)
6. Maria/María (683)
7. Lucía (656)
8. Aina (591)
9. Noa (548)
10. Sara (529)
11. Clàudia/Claudia (528)
12. Emma (515)
13. Ariadna (452)
14. Alba (451)
15. Abril (380)
16. Arlet (369)
17. Daniela (355)
18. Jana (348)
19. Berta (338)
20. Ona (333)
1. Marc (1,125 baby boys)
2. Àlex/Álex (753)
3. Èric/Eric (735)
4. Pol (696)
5. Pau (669)
6. Hugo (640)
7. Biel (636)
8. Arnau (621)
9. Gerard (600)
10. Jan (589)
11. Martí (577)
12. Nil (538)
13. Aleix (450)
14. David (441)
15. Oriol (431)
16. Daniel (425)
17. Adam (405)
18. Joel (379)
19. Adrià (373)
20. Iker (372)

Iker, regularly a top-20 name in Catalonia, was rare in the U.S. just a decade ago. Today, usage of Iker is rising rapidly. It entered the top 1,000 in 2010 and already ranked 230th in 2012.

Who kicked off the Iker trend? Soccer player Iker Casillas Fernandez. (His younger brother also has an interesting name — Unai, a Basque word meaning “cowherd.”)

Source: Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya