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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Hilary

Number of Babies Named Hilary

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Hilary

Name Quotes #54: Roella, Rumi, Tsh

splash, movie, quote, quotation, madison, 1980s

From the 1984 movie Splash, the character Allen (Tom Hanks) talking with his then-nameless lady friend (Daryl Hannah) as they walk around NYC:

Woman: “What are English names?”

Allen: “Well, there’s millions of them, I guess. Jennifer, Joanie, Hilary. (Careful, hey, those are hot!) See names, names… Linda, Kim– (Where are we? Madison.) Uh, Elizabeth, Samantha–”

Woman: “Madison…I like Madison!”

Allen: “Madison’s not a name… Well, all right, ok, Madison it is. Good thing we weren’t at 149th Street.”

Jay-Z on the names of his twins, Rumi and Sir, from a recent Rap Radar interview (via People):

“Rumi is our favorite poet, so it was for our daughter,” he shared. “Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”

From a 2016 interview with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander in the Tampa Bay Times:

In the early ’90s, he and wife, Pam, who grew up in Pinellas County, settled down in the Sunshine State, drawn by family ties and the promise of a nice, safe community in which to raise their son, Robin Taylor, now 23, and daughter, Robin-Sailor, 15. (Zander’s go-to line about his kids’ quirky names: “My wife just calls us Robin, and we all come running.”)

From a 2009 review of the book Looking In, about photographer Robert Frank:

On November 7 1955, part-way through a two-year, Guggenheim-funded voyage around America, the photographer Robert Frank was arrested by Arkansas state police who suspected he was a communist. Their reasons: he was a shabbily dressed foreigner, he was Jewish, he had letters of reference from people with Russian-sounding names, he had photographed the Ford plant, possessed foreign whisky and his children had foreign names (Pablo and Andrea).

From an article called This Is The Biggest Influence On Baby Names:

[Neil] Burdess says most parents’ baby-name decisions are shaped by affluent, highly educated families who live near them, rather than prominent figures in pop culture.

[…]

He cites research conducted in California in the 1960s, which found that names adopted by high-income, highly educated parents are soon embraced by those lower down the socioeconomic ladder.

From a 2015 obituary of movie star Rex Reason:

Contrary to what one might think, Rex Reason was his birth name, not one dreamed up by a Hollywood executive. Universal Pictures, in fact, had billed him as “Bart Roberts” in a couple of films before he insisted on being credited with his real name.

From a 1998 obituary of surfer Rell Sunn:

There seemed to be a bit of destiny attached. Her middle name, Ka-polioka’ehukai, means Heart of the Sea.

“Most Hawaiian grandparents name you before you’re born,” she says. “They have a dream or something that tells them what the name will be.” Hawaiians also have a knack for giving people rhythmic, dead-on nicknames, and for young Rell they had a beauty: Rella Propella.

“My godmother called me that because I was always moving so fast,” says Rell. “To this day, people think my real name is Rella. Actually I was born Roella, a combination of my parents’ names: Roen and Elbert. But I hated it, and no one used it, so I changed it to Rell.”

From a blog post by Jason Fisher on naming practices in Nigeria:

When [Kelechi Eke] was born, his mother experienced dangerous complications, which his parents acknowledged in his naming. In Igbo, Kelechi means “thank God”, and Eke means “creation”. The usual Igbo name for God, Chineke, means literally, “God of Creation”, and you can see both elements (chi + eke) in his two names. When K.C.’s own son was born, it was in the wake of difficulties in bringing his wife to the United States; consequently, they chose the name Oluchi, meaning “God’s work”, suggesting their gratitude that the immigration problems were resolved before his mother went into labor.

From the about page of writer Tsh Oxenreider:

My name is Tsh Oxenreider, and no, my name is not a typo (one of the first things people ask). It’s pronounced “Tish.” No reason, really, except that my parents were experimental with their names choices in the 70s. Until my younger brother was born in the 80s, whom they named Josh, quite possibly one of the most common names for people his age. Who knows what they were thinking, really.

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.


What Popularized the Baby Name Deneen?

mystery name deneen

Deneen is the million-dollar baby name mystery. It saw a massive spike in usage in 1964, and I had no idea why for years. Only recently have I stumbled upon a plausible explanation.

But first let’s check out the numbers. Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Deneen (or a variant) from 1963 to 1966, sorted by 1964 levels of usage:

Name 1963 1964 1965 1966
Deneen 22 1,604 421 223
Denine 17 133 101 71
Daneen 29 132 85 70
Dineen 10 68 43 35
Denene 7 66 38 31
Denean 7 58 61 40
Danine 7 29 23 31
Danene 12 24 18 11
Deneane 24* 11 9
Deneene 24* 13 14
Danean 14* 14 6
Deeneen 12**
Doneen 7 11 9
Dennine 10* 7 7
Deneena 7**
Deniene 7*
Dennen 7**
Donene 7
Deaneen 5**
Deneem 5**
Dinene 7**
TOTALS 118 2,247 842 557

*Debut, **One-hit wonder

According to the state-by-state data, Deneen usage tended to be highest in the most populous states. This isn’t much of a clue, but it does tell us that the influence was national (e.g., movie, music) and not regional (e.g., college sports, local politician).

For a long time my only guess on Deneen was the same guess Hilary Parker made in her poisoned baby names post: musical duo August & Deneen. But their hit single “We Go Together” came out in 1968 — long after the 1964 baby name spike. So August & Deneen clearly isn’t the answer.

About a month ago I tried another Deneen search. This time around I found a recent thread on Deneen at the Baby Name Wizard forum. According to intel gathered by forum members, Deneen could have been popularized by a ’60s commercial for Ivory dishwashing liquid.

At first I wasn’t so sure. The only vintage Ivory commercials I could find online were for Ivory Snow laundry detergent and, while many of these did feature names (e.g., Allison, Betsy, Bonnie, Debbie, Esther, Joy, Kerry, Kimberly, Michelle, Terry) the names were never on-screen. You don’t get a spelling-specific name spike if the influence is audio-only.

Then I noticed, lower down in the thread, that someone included a link to a single Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial from 1962. The spot featured a mother-daughter pair, “Mrs. Bernard Pugar and Dana,” and their names were indeed shown on-screen for several seconds. Now this looked promising.

I’ve since tracked down a similar Ivory commercial featuring “Mrs. Blake Clark” and her daughter Nicky, though Nicky’s name was never shown on-screen. No luck finding a Deneen version yet.

So I’ll just sit tight and hope that, one day, someone uploads the commercial in question and puts this whole Deneen baby name mystery to rest. :)

In the meanwhile, some questions:

  • If you were watching TV in the ’60s, do you happen recall an Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial featuring the name Deneen? (Long shot, I know.)
  • What do you think of the name Deneen? Which spelling do you like best?

P.S. Djuna popped up on the baby name charts in 1964 as well. I’m declaring 1964 the year of the mysteriously trendy D-names.

The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary

Hilary Parker’s recent post on the 14 most “poisoned” baby names reminded me that I haven’t yet written about the demise of the baby name Hillary. (Or Hilary. Or Chelsea.)

So let’s travel back to 1992 for a minute.

In mid-July, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was selected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. His wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea were now in the national spotlight.

In early November, Bill managed to beat Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush to become the 42nd president of the United States. Hillary and Chelsea would now stay in the national spotlight.

And in late November, a few weeks after the election, the Miami Herald printed this:

Now that the Clinton women are set to move into the White House, both names are becoming more popular among new parents.

For the first time, Chelsea has cracked the top 10 list of the most popular girl names in Florida. Name expert Leonard R. N. Ashley, a Brooklyn College professor, said he expects Hillary to also catch on.

[…]

The popularity of Chelsea, on the rise long before the presidential pre-teen made her Democratic convention appearance, is likely to get a boost from the first family pedigree, Ashley said.

The “name expert” got it wrong, of course.

Hillary did not catch on. Nor did Chelsea. Both names had been on the rise, but usage dropped significantly after 1992.

Here are the spikes, both graphically and numerically:

The Baby Name Hillary

Baby Name Hillary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hillary
  • 1994: 408 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 566th]
  • 1993: 1,064 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 261st]
  • 1992: 2,522 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 132nd]
  • 1991: 1,789 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 166th]
  • 1990: 1,523 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 192nd]

That’s a 58% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hillary fell so low that it got pushed out of the top 1,000 entirely for two years (2002 and 2003).

The Baby Name Hilary

Baby Name Hilary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hilary
  • 1994: 145 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 1,208th]
  • 1993: 343 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 651st]
  • 1992: 1,171 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 233rd]
  • 1991: 1,148 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 243rd]
  • 1990: 1,216 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 232nd]

A 71% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hilary was out of the top 1,000 by 1994 and hasn’t been back since. (Hilary Parker says the name Hilary is “clearly the most poisoned.”)

The Baby Name Chelsea

Baby Name Chelsea - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Chelsea
  • 1994: 7,713 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 38th]
  • 1993: 11,288 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 25th]
  • 1992: 16,176 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 15th]
  • 1991: 13,508 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 18th]
  • 1990: 12,782 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 24th]

The drop here isn’t as dramatic — just 30% — but Chelsea was out of the top 100 by 1999. It currently ranks 222nd.

Why?

Why did the name Hillary slip after Hillary Clinton became a fixture in the White House?

Because she violated gender norms — that’s my guess.

Hillary Clinton, 1992

Hillary Clinton was a new kind of First Lady. She was a lawyer, a businesswoman, a scholar and an activist. She was the first First Lady with an earned (vs. honorary) post-graduate degree, and the first to have her own professional career.

But, instead of being praised for her intelligence and ambition, she was criticized for it.

Just two months after the inauguration, Anna Quindlen of the New York Times made note of the double standard:

Maybe some of our daughters took notice of how Hillary Clinton was seen as abrasive, power-hungry and unfeminine when to some of us she seemed merely smart, outspoken and hard-working. Maybe they saw the masquerade and recognized intuitively the age-old message about how much more attractive women are when they are domestic, soft, contented, the message aimed over the years at Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt and many, many others.

To expectant parents, it didn’t matter that Hillary Clinton was smart and successful. They began avoiding the name Hillary in 1993 because the First Lady — the most high-profile Hillary in the nation — was making her name seem “unfeminine.”

Do you agree? Disagree?

P.S. What are the 13 other “poisoned” names? The 9 to drop since the 1960s are Ashanti, Catina, Deneen, Farrah, Iesha, Infant, Katina, Khadijah and Renata. The other four — Celestine, Clementine, Dewey and Minna — are from the 1800s, a time when SSA data wasn’t too reliable.

Sources:

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)
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Y

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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.

Ellery – Girl Name or Boy Name?

Ellery - girl name or boy name?

In the comments to my final road-trip post, several people mentioned Ellery. So I thought we should take a closer look at the name.

Specifically, let’s discuss whether Ellery is a boy name, a girl name, or both.

First, a little background. Ellery is related to Hilary, which comes from the Latin masculine name Hilarius, a derivative of hilaris, “cheerful.”

Like Hilary, Ellery began as a boy name. Unlike Hilary, Ellery was used primarily for baby boys all the way until the 1980s. (For Hilary, the scales tipped from “mostly boys” to “mostly girls” during the 1940s.) Fictional detective Ellery Queen may have helped reinforce Ellery’s masculinity mid-century.

Ellery popped up on the girls’ list intermittently from the ’50s through the ’70s, but wasn’t a regular presence until the mid-1980s. By the late ’80s, more girls than boys were already getting the name:

  • 1982 – 25 boys and fewer than 5 girls named Ellery
  • 1983 – 29 boys, 6 girls
  • 1984 – 30 boys, 6 girls
  • 1985 – 21 boys, 8 girls
  • 1986 – 16 boys, 8 girls
  • 1987 – 28 boys, 11 girls
  • 1988 – 15 boys, 16 girls
  • 1989 – 12 boys, 18 girls
  • 1990 – 18 boys, 26 girls
  • 1991 – 15 boys, 28 girls
  • 1992 – 14 boys, 19 girls
  • 1993 – 18 boys, 32 girls
  • 1994 – 15 boys, 29 girls

From 2004 to 2005, the number of baby girls named Ellery nearly doubled, from 77 to 130. I’m still not quite sure why. Regardless, the number has stayed above the hundred-mark ever since.

Meanwhile, on the boy’s side, the number of baby Ellerys is dwindling:

  • 2007 – 10 boys and 151 girls named Ellery
  • 2008 – 19 boys, 141 girls
  • 2009 – 8 boys, 171 girls
  • 2010 – 13 boys, 187 girls
  • 2011 – 10 boys, 196 girls

Right now, Ellery is in danger of dropping off the boys’ list entirely.

It’s also on track to reach the top 1,000 for girls soon. (It ranked 1,216th in 2011.)

So what are your thoughts on Ellery: Girl name? Boy name? Somewhere in between?

[Other girl name/boy name debates: Aubrey, Avery, Charlie, Elliot, Maxwell, Peyton, Rory, Shea, Stuart]