How popular is the baby name Jane in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Jane and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Jane.
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Both her parents were curlers, members of a tight-knit sport where an intense reverence for the game tends to bleed over into the players’ personal lives. And so it was only natural that Joe and Kristin Polo decided to name their future daughter Ailsa, after the Scottish island where the granite that makes curling rocks is mined.
After Randall’s birth on Dec. 31, 1982, Ronn wanted to name her Kikki, after Kiki Cutter, the first American skier, male or female, to win a rase in a World Cup event, a slalom in 1968. Deborah preferred Meghan. They compromised on Kikkan.
When I was eight, I changed my name. Until then, I was called Johanna Louise, because my youthful parents, huge Bob Dylan fans, had named me after his mystical 1966 ballad, Visions of Johanna. In mid-70s south Manchester, sadly, the mysticism was somewhat lost. I hated explaining my name […] and thought it sounded clunky and earthy, when I longed to be ethereal and balletic.
From an essay about ethnic names by Australian-born Turkish author Dilvin Yasa
“Have you ever considered changing your name to something more ‘white’?” asked a literary agent the other day. “It’s been my experience that authors with strong, Anglo names tend to do better at the cash registers than those who have ethnic or even Aboriginal names.”
“Leave your name as it is!” [Jane Palfreyman] wrote. “I can tell you that their names have affected the popularity of Anh Do*, Christos Tsiolkas, Kevin Kwan or Munjed Al Muderis – and indeed may well have contributed to their success.”
*Misspelled “Ahn Do” in the original text.
From an article called “Restore Yamhill!” in the March 30, 1917, issue of The New York Sun:
The City Commission of Portland, Ore., has succumbed to an attack of mock elegance and under its influence has erased from the map the excellent, juicy and meaningful name of Yamhill street, substituting for it the commonplace and sordid Market street.
Yamhill is ancient, respectable, typical, historic. Alexander Henry, a fur trader of the Northwest Company, traversing the then unknown Willamette country, met at Willamette Falls, January 10, 1814, seven “ugly, ill formed Indians” leading a horse. They were of the Yamhela tribe, as Henry spelled it in his diary, the name being derived from the Yamhela, or yellow river.
From an article about Rose Collom in True West Magazine:
Rose was the perfect name for the Grand Canyon’s first official botanist, because self-taught Rose Collom blossomed when exposed to the state’s flora.
Rose discovered several varieties of plants previously unknown, and each was named after her.
George Clooney explaining why he and his wife Amal named their twins Alexander and Ella (People):
“[We] didn’t want to give them one of those ridiculous Hollywood names that don’t mean anything,” George told Paris Match in an interview published Saturday. “They’ll already have enough difficulty bearing the weight of their celebrity.”
Summary of a recent study on the practice of naming winter storms (WBIR):
The researchers presented their subjects with three mock tweets about an upcoming winter storm — either using names like “Bill,” “Zelus,” or no name at all — then asked them about their perceptions of the storm’s potential severity.
It turned out that the survey participants were equally likely to show concern for the storm regardless of whether common names such as Bill were used, rather than uncommon names, such as Zelus. This was a surprise to Rainear, who thought that more “Americanized” names might make people more wary.
[N]ext month the Toy Manufacturers of America will induct Betty James, 82, the retired toy maker who gave the Slinky its name, into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
Mrs. James came up with the name after deciding that Slinky best described the sound of a metal spring expanding and collapsing. Slinky, of course, meaning sort of stealthily quiet. Mrs. James did not have sexy evening wear in mind; it was 1943, after all, and there was a war.
It is so 1980 for modern Kenyan parents to name their children after biblical figures. Ati names like Grace, Hannah, Sarah, Magdalene or Jane for their daughters is now a no-no. For sons, naming them Abednego or Adonijah sounds like a bad Sunday school dream.
Names like Peter and Paul, Esther and Lois were fashionable in their grandparents’ time and today, girls are named Tasha, Tanya or Tiffany, while boys go by cooler ones like Cy, Kyle, Declan and Sherwin.
…The article also mentioned that many traditional names now have modernized forms:
Wangui -> Kui
Waithiageni -> Sheni
Wanjiku -> Ciku
Wanjiru -> Ciru
Wambui -> Foi
Wacera -> Cera
“Modern parents have no qualms having them appear like that in official documents. Welcome to baby names in 21st century Kenya.”
Onomastician Cleveland Kent Evans vs. the baby name Gage (Washington Post):
But right now, Evans is pondering the sudden, explosive rise of the male first name Gage. From out of nowhere. There’s no record of this name, nothing in the texts, nothing anywhere. And yet just in the last couple of years, it’s been popping up all around the country.
Finally, he asked his students at Bellevue College near Omaha. One student got the reference immediately: “Emergency!” he said. Meaning the short-lived 1970s TV series, of course. Turns out there was a character named John Gage on that show, and he was generally addressed as Gage.
Incredibly, “Emergency!,” which aired opposite “60 Minutes” for four years, was exceedingly popular among elementary-school children.
One mom’s positive experience with revealing her son’s name during pregnancy (Popsugar)
One reason why people don’t reveal the baby’s name is to ward off other people’s opinions. I could tell there were a couple of my friends who didn’t like the name, but just like I didn’t get pregnant to please them, I’m wasn’t going to change his name for them either. Most people that I talked to had enough common sense to keep their opinions to themselves. Even if they didn’t, it wouldn’t have changed a thing.
My son’s name […] is special to me. I didn’t stop feeling that way once I told it to people — if anything, it made the pregnancy a whole lot easier.
From the script for Mother Is a Freshman (1949), about a 35-year-old widow, Abigail, who starts attending the college that her daughter Susan goes to:
Abigail: I mean about the Abigail Fortitude Memorial Scholarship.
Susan: The one they give to any girl whose first two names are Abigail Fortitude?
Susan: Clara Fettle says no one’s applied for it since 1907, and there’s zillions piling up.
Abigail: And you never told me!
Susan: Of course not.
Abigail: It never occurred to you that my first names are Abigail Fortitude–that I’ve had to put up with them all my life!
Susan: I know, Mom. It must have been awful.
Abigail [struck by thought]: Maybe that’s why my mother gave me those names. Maybe she know about the scholarship.
…Turns out the scholarship had been set up by Abigail’s grandmother, also named Abigail Fortitude.
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).
In 1910, the Boston-based publisher H. M. Caldwell Co. ran the following ad for its “My Own Name” series of books in American Motherhood magazine.
It is the purpose of these charming little books to tell girls all about their names, information about the name, its origin, the name in history, the name in poetry, fiction and romance is given, also notable namesakes past and present.
It wasn’t much of a series, though, as there were only 25 names to choose from:
Alice (ranked 10th nationally in 1910)
Clearly three more names could have fit on that last line (next to Winifred), so let’s turn this into a game. Which three girl names would you add to this list? That is, give us three names you like that would also be logical additions to this list, given the time period. For instance, I think I’d add Iola, Della, and Bonnie. How about you?
(If you want to access the national rankings for 1910, click over to the SSA’s site and scroll down to “Popular Names by Birth Year.”)
Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…
Apollo: A baby boy born in the Canadian town of Kelowna at the start of the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, was named Niall Apollo — Apollo after the Greek god of the sun. (Castanet)
Charles: A baby boy born in Missouri in October of 2016 with the help of St. Charles County ambulance district paramedics was named Charles. (Fox 2)
Chepkura: A baby girl born in Kenya on August 8, 2017, while her mother was at a polling station waiting in line to vote, named Chepkura. In Swahili, kura means “ballot” or “vote.” (BBC)
Eclipse: A baby girl born in South Carolina on the day of the solar eclipse was named Eclipse Alizabeth. (The State)
Garavi, Sanchi, and Taravi: Triplet baby girls born in Gujarat in September of 2017 were named Garavi, Sanchi, and Taravi after India’s Good and Services Tax (GST), introduced by PM Narendra Modi on July 1. (India Times)
GST: A baby born in Rajasthan in the wee hours of July 1, 2017, was named GST. (Indian Express)
Harvey: A baby boy born in Texas in August of 2017 amid the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey was named Harvey. (Washington Post)
Kessel: A baby boy born in Pittsburgh in May of 2017 was named Kessel after Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel. (NHL)
Jetson: A baby boy born on June 18, 2017, aboard a Jet Airways flight from Dammam to Kochi was named Jetson after the Indian airline. (The Asian Age)
Justin-Trudeau: A baby boy born in Calgary on May 4, 2017, to a Syrian refugee family was named Justin-Trudeau in honor of Canada’s prime minister. (CTV News)
Luuuke: A baby boy born in North Carolina in July of 2017 was named Cameron Luuuke after Carolina Panthers players Cameron Newton and Luke Kuechly. “[W]hen Kuechly is performing well on the field, the crowd screams “Luuuuuuuuke,” which is why the family has spelled their son’s middle name using three u’s.” (Fox 46)
Lyric: A baby girl born on March 19, 2017, to A. J. McLean of the vocal group the Backstreet Boys was named Lyric. (People)
Mangala: A baby girl born in India in January of 2017 aboard a Mangala Express train en route from Mangalore to Jhansi was named Mangala. (Indian Express)
Nicole: A baby girl born in late 2015 at just 27 weeks in an emergency C-section was named Hadley Nicole – Nicole after delivery nurse Nicole Kenney. (WIVB Buffalo)
Noah Harvey: A baby boy born on August 29, 2017, “while Tropical Storm Harvey was raging across his hometown of Beaumont, Texas” was named Noah Harvey. (Deseret News)
Pajero Sport: A baby boy born in Indonesia in April of 2017 was named Pajero Sport after the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV because “we just happen to be fans,” said the father. (Coconuts Jakarta)
Pasley: A baby girl born in Minnesota in June of 2017 was named Shirah Pasley Yang — middle name in honor of Jane Pasley, the organ donor whose kidney was received by Kari Yang, Shirah’s mother. (Pioneer Press)
Searyl Atli: A baby born in Canada in November of 2016 “could be the first in the world to not have a gender designation.” The baby’s gender-neutral first and middle names are Searyl and Atli. (BBC)
Starla: A baby girl born in Colorado on August 2, 2017, in a car on the way to the hospital was “named Starla because of her dramatic entrance.” (Denver7)
Storm: A baby girl born in Miami in September of 2017, as Hurricane Irma approached the region, was named Nayiri Storm. (Weather Channel)
Syria: A baby girl born in Moscow in November of 2015 was named Syria “after her father’s military assignment destination.” (Moscow Times)