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

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Popularity of the Baby Name James

Number of Babies Named James

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name James

Name Spotting: Malancthon

sign, colorado, names
Sign inside Garden of the Gods

My dad came out to visit us in Colorado recently. He loves geology, so we made sure to take him to several different places with impressive rocks/terrain.

One place we visited was Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. In this park we spotted the above sign, which described how the park got its name back in the 1850s:

As they looked over this area of cathedral-like rock spires, one man, Malancthon Beach, commented that the spot would be a great place for a beer garden someday. His friend, a poetic young man named Rufous Cable, replied that it was a place “fit for the Gods.”

It’s a cool story, but, to me, that first name “Malancthon” is way more interesting than the origin of the park name. Where did it come from?

My best guess is that Malancthon is a tribute to 16th-century German theologian Philipp Melanchthon, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname at birth was Schwartzerd (“black earth” in German), but as a young man he Latinized his name to the classical equivalent Melanchthon (“black earth” in Greek).

Civilian Conservation Corps, new deal
CCC Company 1848

We also saw some names at Red Rocks, which is both a park and a famous amphitheater.

The amphitheater was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that existed during the Great Depression. One display included a photo of 124 of the men in the local CCC. Here are their first names, sorted by frequency:

  • 5: Joe, Raymond
  • 4: Charles
  • 3: Arthur, Clarence, Edward
  • 2: Bill, Byron, Carl, David, Earnest, Edwin, Everett, Jack, James, Leo, Maurice, William
  • 1: Aaron, Albert, Aldine, Alfonso, Allen, Alva, Amos, Ancelmo, Arleigh, Aubrey, Audrey, Barnett, Blaine, Calvin, Celestino, Charley, Claud, Claude, Clayton, Cleston, Dale, Damas, Dan, Darold, Dick, Don, Donald, Ed, Elden, Elias, Elipio, Emerson, Emilio, Eric, Ernest, Eston, Fares, Frank, Fred, Glenn, Grant, Gust, Guy, Horace, Hubert, Irvin, Jake, Jasper, Jesse, Jim, John, Jose, Kenneth, Lawrence, Leland, Leonard, Lester, Louis, Lyman, Manual, Marvin, Max, Merce, Noah, Norman, Orval, Pasqual, Paul, Pete, Richard, Rowland, Rudolfo, Russel, Russell, Sandeford, Trenton, Willard

…What interesting names have you spotted while out and about recently?

Popular Baby Names in North Dakota, 2017

According to North Dakota’s Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the state in 2017 were Emma and Oliver.

Here are North Dakota’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Emma, 64 baby girls
2. Harper, 55
3. Olivia, 47
4. Amelia, 45
5. Ava, 42
6. Abigail, 34
7. Quinn, 29
8. Addison, 28 (3-way tie)
9. Ella, 28 (3-way tie)
10. Evelyn, 28 (3-way tie)

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 63 baby boys
2. Henry, 57
3. Liam, 52
4. Easton, 43 (2-way tie)
5. Noah, 43 (2-way tie)
6. Logan, 41
7. Asher, 40
8. Jack, 39
9. Owen, 38 (2-way tie)
10. Ryker, 38 (2-way tie)

In 2016, the top names were Harper/Olivia and Oliver.

In the girls’ top 10, Abigail and Quinn replace Charlotte and Nora.

In the boys’ top 10, Noah, Logan, Asher, Jack, and Ryker replace William, Mason, James, Wyatt, and Hudson. And Easton is still going strong!

There were also differences between these rankings and the SSA’s 2017 rankings for North Dakota. The SSA data has Ellie and Hazel (instead of Quinn and Addison) in the girls’ top 10, and William (instead of Ryker) in the boys’ top 10.

Source: North Dakota Fast Facts 2017 (pdf)

Popular Baby Names in Northern Ireland, 2017

According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), the most popular baby names in Northern Ireland in 2017 were Emily and James.

Here are the Northern Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Emily, 216 baby girls
2. Grace, 202
3. Olivia, 179
4. Isla, 153
5. Anna, 142
6. Sophie, 132
7. Ella, 128
8. Amelia, 127
9. Charlotte, 124
10. Sophia, 121

Boy Names
1. James, 243 baby boys
2. Jack, 226
3. Noah, 189
4. Charlie, 185
5. Jacob, 180
6. Harry, 169
7. Thomas, 158
8. Daniel, 147
9. Oliver, 143
10. Logan, 125

In the girls’ top ten, Isla and Charlotte replace Lily and Ava.

In the boys’ top ten, Thomas and Logan replace Matthew and Alfie.

The top two names, Emily and James, were the same in 2016.

In the adjacent Republic of Ireland, the top names of 2017 were Emily and Jack.

Sources: Baby Names – NISRA, Top 10 baby names in Northern Ireland

“Broken Arrow” Baby Names

Broken Arrow movie poster

Elliott Arnold’s 1947 novel Blood Brother was a fictionalized account of the adventures of Old West historical figures Cochise, a Chiricahua Apache chief, and Tom Jeffords, a U.S. Indian agent.

The book was later adapted into a movie and a TV series, and both of these things ended up influencing U.S. baby names.

Sonseeahray & Debralee

The movie Broken Arrow was released in the summer of 1950. It starred Jeff Chandler as Cochise and James Stewart as Tom Jeffords. But the two baby names that debuted in the data thanks to the movie were associated with a different character: Sonseeahray, played by teenage actress Debra Paget.

Broken Arrow wasn’t Debra Paget’s first movie, but it was her first big hit, and it helped her achieve a new level of fame. And in 1951, her birth name Debralee debuted in the data. In fact, it was that year’s top debut name.

  • 1955: 7 baby girls named Debralee
  • 1954: 6 baby girls named Debralee
  • 1953: 11 baby girls named Debralee
  • 1952: 9 baby girls named Debralee
  • 1951: 19 baby girls named Debralee [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

The public had become aware that Debra Paget was born “Debralee Griffin” in mid-1950, thanks to a newspaper article by AP journalist Hubbard Keavy, who called Debra’s birth name “improbable” (a curious comment, coming from guy named Hubbard Keavy). He quoted Debra’s mother, Margaret Griffin, as saying:

I christened her Debra. Her father’s people were Pagets. I used to call her Debra Lee, thinking that would be a good professional name. But Paget is more unusual and there are no Pagets in the movies.

Debra’s sister, Marcia Eloise Griffin, also acted under a stage name: Teala Loring.

The name of the character Sonseeahray also debuted in 1951:

  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 7 baby girls named Sonseeahray [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

Sonseeahray, defined in the novel as “morning star,” seems to be legitimate Apache name; it was included and defined in the book Life Among the Apaches (1868) by John C. Cremony.

Two real-life Sonseeahrays are Fox News reporter Sonseeahray Tonsall and German actress Sonsee Neu, born Sonsee Ahray Natascha Floethmann-Neu.

Marsheela & Ansara

The TV series Broken Arrow first aired on ABC from 1956 to 1958. (Reruns aired in 1959 and 1960.) The show starred Michael Ansara as Cochise and John Lupton as Tom Jeffords. While it did not include the character Sonseeahray, an early episode did feature a Sonseeahray-like character named Marsheela.

Marsheela, played by actress Donna Martell, appeared in the episode “Apache Girl” in mid-1957. The same year, the name Marsheela was a one-hit wonder in the baby name data:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 11 baby girls named Marsheela [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

I figured out the source of this one only after posting about Marsheila, which was the most-used spelling of Marsheela that year (no doubt because of the familiarity of the Irish name Sheila, which was a top-100 girl name in the U.S. throughout the ’50s and ’60s).

Another one-hit wonder was the surname of Arab-American actor Michael Ansara. Five baby boys were named Ansara in 1960:

  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 5 baby boys named Ansara [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted

Though Broken Arrow had made Michael Ansara a household name, this debut lines up more cleanly with a later TV Western that Ansara also starred in: Law of the Plainsman, which lasted from 1959 to 1960.

His surname may be based on the Arabic term al-ansar, meaning “the helpers.”

Sources:

Gwyned: Baby Name Inspired by 1940s Career Girl

gwyned, 1948, baby name, 1940s, magazine
© 1948 Life

In 1948, the name Gwyned was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data. In fact, it was the top one-hit wonder of the year.

  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: 9 baby girls named Gwyned [debut]
  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A 23-year-old career girl named Gwyned Filling.

In May of 1948, she was profiled in Life magazine in a 12-page, 24-image photo essay called “The Private Life of Gwyned Filling.” A 25th image of Gwyned was featured on the cover.

Gwyned, a recent college graduate from Missouri, was working in New York City as a copywriter at the Newell-Emmett advertising agency for $52 a week. The photos showed Gwyned in her day-to-day life: quarreling with her roommate Marilyn in their 11×15-foot apartment, eating breakfast at the diner for 15¢, going on a date, running to work in the rain, and so forth.

“In a world where television was still a novelty, the story turned her into a minor celebrity. The issue sold so fast it had to be reprinted in the first week.”

The very first paragraph of the accompanying article revealed that Gwyned’s mother Mildred had discovered the name “Gwyned” in the society column of a newspaper. Life called it an “odd name.” (It may have been based on Gwynedd, the name of an ancient kingdom in Wales.)

In November of the same year, Life gave readers an update on Gwyned: she had quit her job and married a co-worker named Charlie. For their honeymoon, they took a cruise to the Caribbean.

What are your thoughts on the name Gwyned? Do you like it more or less than the similar name Gwyneth?

P.S. Thank you to Becca for calling my attention to Gwyned a few years ago!

Sources: