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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Godiva

Number of Babies Named Godiva

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Godiva

Queen Changed Name from Edith to Matilda

Matilda of ScotlandHenry I, who ruled England from 1100 to 1135, was one of the sons of William the Conqueror, England’s first Norman king.

About two months after Henry was crowned king (on the interesting date 11/11/1100) he married one of the daughters of Malcolm III of Scotland and his Anglo-Saxon wife, Margaret.

Malcolm and Margaret’s daughter had been baptized with the Anglo-Saxon name Eadgyth [Edith], but when she was crowned Queen of England, she used the name Matilda.

From then on, she was known as either Matilda or Maud.

Why the name change?

Because “Matilda” was a name favored by the Normans. As historian Robert Bartlett put it, “A lot of people changed their names [following the Norman conquest] because they wanted to pass in polite society — they didn’t want to be mistaken for a peasant, marked out with an Anglo-Saxon name.”

In fact, Norman nobles liked to mock the couple by calling them Godric and Godiva, both of which are Anglo-Saxon names. “Godric and Godiva were the Jack and Jill of their period.”

Sources:


Popular Elizabethan Names

Elea of British Baby Names recently published a great list of names popular during the Elizabethan era (late 16th century) in the Norfolk region. Here are the top 10 names for each gender:

Male Names Female Names
1. John
2. Thomas
3. William
4. Robert
5. Richard
6. Edward
7. Henry
8. Edmund
9. Nicholas
10. James
1. Elizabeth
2. Margaret
3. Mary
4. Ann
5. Agnes
6. Alice
7. Dorothy
8. Joan
9. Katherine
10. Bridget

I thought it would be fun to compare this list to a couple of earlier historical name lists from England, so here are the most common names from King Henry III’s fine rolls (13th century):

Male Names Female Names
1. William
2. John
3. Richard
4. Robert
5. Henry
6. Ralph
7. Thomas
8. Walter
9. Roger
10. Hugh
1. Alice
2. Matilda
3. Agnes
4. Margaret
5. Joan
6. Isabella
7. Emma
8. Beatrice
9. Mabel
10. Cecilia

And, even further back, here are the most-mentioned male names and female names in the Domesday book (11th century):

Male Names Female Names
1. William
2. Robert
3. Ralph
4. Aelfric
5. Alwin
5. Hugh
7. Roger
8. Godwin
9. Walter
10. Godric
1. Aldgyth
2. Aelfeva
2. Leofeva
2. Wulfeva
5. Bricteva
5. Edeva
7. Emma
7. Godiva
9. Goda
10. Edith

The last two lists may not represent the top given names of their time periods very accurately, but they do give you a sense of how given names in England have changed over time.

Female Names in the Domesday Book

Female Names in the Domesday Book

We looked at names from King Henry III’s fine rolls (13th century) a couple of weeks ago, so now let’s go back a bit further and look at names from the Domesday Book (11th century).

What is the Domesday Book?

It’s a land survey, compiled in 1086, that covered much of England and parts of Wales.

The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey – the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday.

The book is held at The National Archives in London, but its contents are available online at Open Domesday.

Most of the names in the Domesday Book are male, as most landowners were men. So, to be different (and to make things easier!) I thought I’d focus on the women.

The female names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (Multiple mentions don’t necessarily speak to name popularity, as this is not a representative sample of 11th-century people. Also, some individuals are simply mentioned in the book more than once.)

A

  • Adelaide
  • Adelina (2)
  • Adeliza
  • Aeldiet
  • Aeleva (3)
  • Aelfeva (9)
  • Aelfgyth (4)
  • Aelfrun
  • Aelfthryth
  • Aelgeat
  • Aelgyth
  • Aelrun
  • Aethelfled
  • Aethelgyth
  • Agnes (2)
  • Ailhilla
  • Aldeva
  • Aldgyth (13)
  • Aldhild
  • Aldwif
  • Aleifr
  • Aleva
  • Alfhild (3)
  • Alfled (3)
  • Alswith
  • Althryth
  • Alware
  • Alweis
  • Alwynn (2)
  • Asa
  • Asmoth
  • Azelina

B

  • Beatrix
  • Bothild
  • Bricteva (8)
  • Brictfled
  • Brictgyth

C

  • Christina
  • Cwenhild
  • Cwenleofu
  • Cwenthryth

D

  • Deorwynn
  • Dove

E

  • Edeva (8)
  • Edhild
  • Edith (5)
  • Edlufu
  • Egelfride
  • Emma (7)
  • Estrild
  • Eva

G

  • Goda (6)
  • Gode (2)
  • Godelind
  • Godesa
  • Godgyth (4)
  • Goldhild
  • Godhyse
  • Godiva (7)
  • Godrun
  • Goldeva
  • Goldrun
  • Gudhridh
  • Gunild (2)
  • Gunwor
  • Guthrun
  • Gytha (4)

H

  • Heloise (2)
  • Hawise

I

  • Ida
  • Ingifrith
  • Ingrith
  • Isolde

J

  • Judith

L

  • Lefleda
  • Leodfled
  • Leofcwen
  • Leofeva (9)
  • Leoffled (4)
  • Leofgyth
  • Leofhild
  • Leofrun
  • Leofsidu
  • Leofswith
  • Leofwaru
  • Leohteva

M

  • Matilda (3)
  • Mawa
  • Menleva
  • Mereswith
  • Merwynn
  • Mild
  • Modeva
  • Molleva
  • Muriel

O

  • Odfrida
  • Odil
  • Odolina
  • Oia
  • Olova
  • Oseva

Q

  • Queneva

R

  • Regnild
  • Rohais (2)

S

  • Saegyth
  • Saehild
  • Saelufu
  • Saewaru
  • Saieva
  • Sigrith
  • Skialdfrith
  • Stanfled
  • Sunneva

T

  • Tela
  • Thorild
  • Thorlogh
  • Tova
  • Tovild
  • Turorne
  • Tutfled

W

  • Wigfled
  • Wulfeva (9)
  • Wulffled (2)
  • Wulfgyth
  • Wulfrun
  • Wulfwaru (2)
  • Wulfwynn (2)

See anything you like?

Also, did you notice the names of Scandinavian origin (e.g., Guthrun, Ingrith, Sigrith)? “These names are most numerous in the eastern half of the country, particularly Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This is precisely where, as we know from other evidence, there was a substantial settlement of Scandinavian immigrants.”

UPDATE: Here are the Male Names in the Domesday Book.

Sources:

Image: National Archives (UK)

Popular and Unique Names in England and Wales, 2008

Don’t get too excited — these aren’t the top names for 2009. (If only!)

Why am I posting old news? Because I recently found a more complete version of the 2008 list that goes all the way down to baby names used in England and Wales just three times. So, the top-ranked names may be old news, but the rest are new. (New to me, anyway.) Here goes:

Boys Girls
Popular Names Jack
Oliver
Thomas
Harry
Joshua
Olivia
Ruby
Emily
Grace
Jessica
Unusual names
(# of babies)
Spike (23)
Willoughby (22)
Ziggy (20)
Ptolemy (19)
Zidane (13)
Zinedine (12)
Kal-El (10)
Hendrix (9)
Humphrey (8)
Elan (6)
Gruff (6)
Legend (6)
Achilles (5)
Amen (5)
Bright (5)
Jesse-James (5)
Tennyson (5)
Darlington (4)
James-Dean (4)
Courage (3)
Freedom (3)
Messiah (3)
Remus (3)
Riquelme (3)
Seven (3)
Bluebell (20)
Primrose (17)
Temperance (13)
Breeze (11)
Cleopatra (11)
Sorrel (11)
Tigerlily (9)
Tirion (9)
Comfort (8)
Peaches (8)
Pebbles (8)
Beyonce (7)
Miami (7)
Zinnia (7)
Godiva (6)
Mercades (5)
Panashe (5)
Tulip (5)
Wednesday (5)
Magenta (4)
Boadicea (3)
Cayenne (3)
Kimora-Lee (3)
Plum (3)
Rejoice (3)

And now, just for fun, let’s compare usage in England to usage in America:

Name # UK* Boys # UK Girls # U.S. Boys # U.S. Girls
Avery 4 6 1,731 5,758
Harper 18 20 244 1,108
Mackenzie
Makenzie
Mckenzie
361
28
462
53
9
66
?**
?
?
4,425
2,048
2,258
Riley 2,201 63 4,076 5,701
Total*** 363,000 346,000 2,150,000 2,060,000

*By UK, I mean England and Wales. Not an accurate substitution, I know. But “England and Wales” is just way too long for that spot.
**The 1,000th name on the U.S. top 1,000 was used for 192 baby boys. So the question marks represent some number between 0 and 192.
***Update: Kelly has astutely pointed out that raw numbers can be misleading. I’m not going to change the chart — I’m just too lazy — but I’ve thrown in some rough totals, for context.

Source: Office for National Statistics