A couple of months ago, we looked at a long, year-by-year list of the top baby name rises. A month after that, we saw the corresponding list of top drops.
On that second post, Frank B. left a comment in which he asked about absolute rises and drops — because the lists only covered relative movement within the data. So I thought two more posts were in order: top raw-number rises, and top raw-number drops.
We’ll start with the rises again. Just keep in mind that the SSA numbers don’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t quite reflect reality.
Here’s the format: Girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the numbers represent single-year rises in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, the usage of the girl name Ethel increased by 155 babies and the usage of the boy name Chester increased by 106 babies.
Here are the most distinctively Canadian first names by decade, according to Canadian website The 10 and 3:
2010s: Zainab and Linden
2000s: Gurleen and Callum
1990s: Simran and Mathieu
1980s: Chantelle and Darcy
1970s: Josee and Stephane
1960s: Giuseppina and Luc
1950s: Heather and Giuseppe
1940s: Heather and Lorne
1930s: Isobel and Lorne
1920s: Gwendoline and Lorne
Did you know that Canada’s love of “Lorne” comes from the Marquess of Lorne, the British nobleman who served as Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883? To see more explanations, and also more names per decade, check out the source article.
The name I’m most curious about is Josée from the 1970s. It had a “Canadian factor” of 634.6 — larger than any other name in the study — but also had no explanation, and I can’t figure out the influence. Does anyone have a guess?
On the hunt for a rare girl name with a retro feel?
Here’s a big batch of uncommon female S-names that are associated in some way with early cinema (i.e., each is either a character name or an actress name).
For those that have had enough usage to appear in the national data, I’ve included links to popularity graphs.
Saba Raleigh was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in England in 1867. Her birth name was Isabel Pauline Ellissen. Saba was also a character played by actress Myrta Bonillas in the film The Claw (1927).
Sabra Sabra de Shon was an actress who appeared in one film in 1915. She was born in Massachusetts in 1850. Sabra was also a character name in multiple films, including Cimarron (1931) and A Man Betrayed (1941).
Salomy was a character name in multiple films, including Salomy Jane (1914) and Wild Girl (1932).
Salti was a character played by actress Beatie Olna Travers in the film A Romance of Old Baghdad (1922).
Samanthy was a character name in multiple films, including The Uneven Balance (short, 1914) and The Lonesome Heart (1915).
Samaran was a character played by actress Julia Faye in the film Fool’s Paradise (1921).
Sanchia Percival was a character played by actress Dorinea Shirley in the film Open Country (1922).
Sari Maritza (SHA-ree MAR-ee-tsa) was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s. She was born in China in 1910. Her birth name was Patricia Detering-Nathan. Sari was also a character name in multiple films, including The Virgin of Stamboul (1920) and The Stolen Bride (1927).
Sigrid Holmquist was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in Sweden in 1899. Sigrid was also a character name in multiple films, including Transatlantic (1931) and I Remember Mama (1948).
Horseflies are fierce. Like mosquitoes, they require a blood meal before they can reproduce. But even for a horsefly, this one was special. Bryan Lessard first spotted her in the Australian National Insect Collection. As soon as he laid his eyes on her round, golden abdomen, draped in two translucent, honey-colored wings, he knew: “I figured, if I’m ever going to name a species after Beyoncé, this is it.”
Until then, it had been known to locals as the “golden bum fly” but had not been described scientifically. No longer. In 2011, the artist-formerly-known-as-golden-bum-fly officially got her new taxonomic name: Scaptia beyonceae. With this moniker, Lessard hoped, she “would become an ambassador for bootylicious biodiversity.”
Her crusade to include men’s names when meteorologists differentiated hurricanes placed her at the eye of an international storm.
Following a long naval tradition of giving storms women’s names, just as ships are referred to by female pronouns, government forecasters adopted the practice in 1953 and applied it alphabetically.
Soon, weathermen — and they were mostly men — were applying sexist clichés to the storms, like suggesting that they were unpredictable or “temperamental” and were “flirting” with barrier islands or coastlines.
But a generation after Ms. Bolton began her campaign, the weathermen finally capitulated.
My sister’s name is September, and today is her 32nd birthday. Yes, that’s right. My parents named my sister September even though she was born in January, and she has consequently suffered years of obvious questions. Of course, these are the same people who named their only son Ranger.
Gal’s first name is pretty much pronounced how it’s written (think “gal pal”). You’ve also probably found yourself pronouncing her last name as “Guh-dough” or “Gah-dot” thinking you’ve got it all down, but sorry to disappoint you: both of those are wrong. … During her interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Gal explained that the correct way to pronounce her last name is “Gah-dote.” Say it with me: “Gah-dote.” Gadot means river bank, while Gal means wave in Israeli.
From Nina Sankovitch’s memoir Tolstoy and the Purple Chair (2011):
For my father, the consequences of war brought him far from home, and eventually across an ocean, to start over in a new world. My parents tell me I was named after the members of the corps de ballet of the Bolshoi, most of whom were named Nina. They went to see a performance of the Bolshoi just days before I was born. But I also know that my name is another ripple effect of the war, coming from my father’s sister Antonina, who was murdered that night in 1943.
(Three of her father’s siblings — Sergei, Antonina, and Boris — were all killed one night during WWII.)
Adelman and his colleagues came up with a new naming convention that incorporates the mom’s first name. Instead of Babygirl Hobson, my daughter would instead be tagged as Katherinesgirl Hobson. Twins would be called 1Katherinesgirl and 2Katherinesgirl, rather than the conventional BabygirlA and BabygirlB. (Another system using temporary names like CutiePie and BuggyBear was rejected, says Adelman.)
Mark begins her classes by telling the story behind her name. “For just a few moments after I was born, [my parents] thought that Marsha Mark was a really nice name. But a couple of hours passed and then they said, ‘No wait, it’s a terrible name!’ and they went to try and change it, but the folks at the hospital said, ‘No, sorry, you signed the papers, so that’s the name,'” Mark recounted. “To my mind, the name Marsha either belongs to a sister in The Brady Bunch or to someone who wears, maybe, pink ruffles. And neither of those applies to me. So, I’ve been called M my whole life, and I’m happy with it.”
Have you spotted any good name-related quotes/articles lately? Let me know!
Nature is waking up again! Let’s celebrate by checking out which nature names are the most popular for baby girls right now. Ironically the top 50 list below includes all the seasons except for “Spring,” but it does feature lots of springtime things: flowers, birds, trees…
For this list I stuck to names that are also correctly spelled English words. This means that I skipped names that are non-English words (like Stella and Luna) and alternative spellings of words (like Brooke and Briar). I should also mention that several of the above (including Rowan, Robin, and Clementine) do have more than one etymology to choose from.