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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Popularity of the Baby Name Jane

Number of Babies Named Jane

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Jane

Game: Add 3 Girl Names to this 1910 List…

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.

names from 1910

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:

  1. Alice (ranked 10th nationally in 1910)
  2. Annie (19th)
  3. Bertha (33rd)
  4. Charlotte (99th)
  5. Dorothy (4th)
  6. Edith (35th)
  7. Eleanor (55th)
  8. Elizabeth (7th)
  9. Fanny (391st)
  10. Gertrude (26th)
  11. Gladys (15th)
  12. Helen (2nd)
  13. Isabel (176th)
  14. Jane (116th)
  15. Katherine (57th)
  16. Lucy (75th)
  17. Margaret (3rd)
  18. Marion (59th)
  19. Marjorie (68th)
  20. Mary (1st)
  21. Mildred (8th)
  22. Nellie (51st)
  23. Ruth (5th)
  24. Sarah (40th)
  25. Winifred (185th)

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.”)


Names in the News: Eclipse, Searyl, Luuuke

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)

Name Quotes #53: DeVante, Ella, Buffalo

Time for some name quotes!

From a Movie Pilot interview with John Knoll, who came up with the name for Rogue One character Jyn Erso:

“My youngest daughter is Jane, and my wife is Jen, so [Jyn] is sort of mashup of them. And growing up my aunt was Aunt Ginny, [short] for Virginia, so there’s a little bit of that, too. It’s a mix up of a lot of my favorite women in my life.”

[Do you think Jyn will debut in the SSA data in 2017?]

From an A.V. Club review of the Black-ish episode “The Name Game,” in which characters argued about the name DeVante:

Dre’s point that names like Matthew, David, and Kevin don’t mean anything to him is fair. He wants to name his son after the actual culture and people he grew up around, and he hates the fact that when “something is black the world thinks that it’s bad.” Appeasing white culture with a name that has no cultural signifiers creates the type of internalized hatred that causes characters like Ruby and Charlie to respond so negatively to black names.

From a Telegraph essay by Sophia Money-Coutts about how absurd names build character:

But it’s enormously character building, being given an absurd name. It teaches you fortitude and tolerance because you will have to explain it 73 times a day. No use in labelling your children as George and Amal Clooney have just done. They’ve called their twins Ella and Alexander. I mean, they’re all right. Ella will probably grow up to be a florist or a yoga teacher and Alexander sounds like he might sell houses in Fulham. But what is life if you don’t grow up justifying your name to everyone you meet? Being called something silly means you can never take yourself too seriously.

From a Seattle Times article about what it’s like to share the name Alexa with the Amazon device:

Even though she’s never been on the receiving end of any commands or jokes, [Alexa] Wakefield remembers her first reaction to Alexa being, “How are they [Amazon] sort of allowed to use somebody’s name, like a more common name, as something like a robotic command,” she says, “It seems like a little bit of a violation.”

Later, she adds, “It’s placing your name in a subservient manner.”

These days, Wakefield says she’s learned to “look on the bright side.” “It’s sort of a feeling of pride,” she says, “Like a person named Alexa is very helpful!”

From a Cup of Jo post about offbeat middle names:

My friend gave her baby the middle name “Swift” because her labor was so quick.

Our friends chose the middle name “Buffalo” for their son because it was his dad’s nickname growing up. “It took my husband nine months to convince me,” my friend told me. “Then, in the middle of the night after signing the birth certificate, I had a mild panic attack at the hospital. Now I love it.”

From a Science of Us post about why it’s so hard to remember someone’s name:

There is a very simple reason why it’s so easy for the names of new acquaintances to slip right out of your head within moments of being introduced: Names are kind of meaningless. Memory experts say that the more pathways back to a memory you have, the easier it becomes to retrieve that memory, and this just doesn’t often happen naturally with names.

[…]

Sure, there may be family history or a great deal of sentimental meaning behind a person’s first name, but when you meet someone at a party, there’s no readily apparent reason why this guy should be named Mike and that guy should be named Max.

From an interview with CUNY business school student Janeflora Henriques:

When I was born, my oldest sister (who was a difficult child) insisted I be named “Florence” after a movie actress she idolized. My sister threatened consequences if I weren’t. On the other hand, the tradition of my tribe dictated that I be named after my dad’s eldest sister. Fearing whiplash from in-laws, my mother was wary to skip naming me after my aunt. At the same time, my mother was concerned about a daughter who said she would have nothing to do with me if I weren’t named Florence. So my mother shortened my aunt Jennifer’s name to “Jane” and Florence to “Flora” and gave me both.

From a Guardian article about extinct Hyoliths and their “helens”:

We all tend associate certain qualities to people’s names, usually on the basis of people we have known. Helen, for example, is a very sensible name. I associate it with practical, dependable people I have known. You can rely on a Helen. A quick look at the ONS data for girls’ names in England and Wales tells me that it reached a high point of number 8 in the list of baby names in both 1964 and 1974. It’s also the technical term for a hyolith appendage: a hyolithid has a pair of helens. I think this is utterly brilliant. The original paper from 1975 says “We term these … structures helens because the word has no functional connotations, and they were first described under the generic name Helenia by Walcott”. Really? Or did they know a Helen?

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

Early Recognition of the “Great-Grandparent Rule”

grandmotherA baby name becomes trendy for one generation. For the next two generations, while those initial babies are parent-aged and grandparent-aged, you can expect the name to go out of style. But during the third generation, once the cohort reaches great-grandparent age, the name is free to come back into fashion.

Evelyn is a name with a usage pattern that fits this description well.

I’ve seen it described elsewhere as the 100-Year Rule, but I prefer to call it the Great-Grandparent Rule, as it makes more sense to me to frame it in terms of generations.

Essentially, the pattern has to do with a name’s main generational association shifting from “a name that belongs to real-life old people” to “a name that sounds pleasantly old-fashioned.”

I used to think the pattern was one we’d only recently discovered — something we needed the data to see — but it turns out that at least one observant person noticed this trend and wrote about it in The San Francisco Call more than 100 years ago (boldface mine):

Time was — and that not very long ago — when old fashioned names, as old fashioned furniture, crockery and hand embroideries, were declared out of date. The progress of the ages that replaced the slower work of hand by the speed of machines cast a blight on everything that betokened age.

Spinning wheels were stowed away in attics, grandmothers’ gowns were tucked into cedar chests, old porcelain of plain design was replaced by more gaudy utensils and machine made and embroidered dresses and lingerie lined the closets where formerly only handwork was hung.

So with given names. Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah, Hannah and Anne, one and all, were declared old fashioned and were relegated to past ages to be succeeded by Gladys, Helen, Delphine, Gwendolyn, Geraldine and Lillian and a host of other more showy appellations.

Two generations of these, and woman exercised her time honored privilege and changed her mind.

She woke suddenly to the value of history, hustled from their hiding places the ancient robes and furnishings that were her insignia of culture, discarded the work of the modern machine for the finer output of her own fair hands, and, as a finishing touch, christened her children after their great-grandparents.

Old fashioned names revived with fervor and those once despised are now termed quaint and pretty and “quite the style, my dear.”

Pretty cool that this every-third-generation pattern was already an observable phenomenon three generations ago.

The article went on to list society babies with names like Barbara, Betsy, Bridget, Dorcas (“decidedly Puritan”), Dorothea, Frances, Henrietta, Jane, Josephine, Lucy, Margaret, Mary, Olivia, and Sarah (“much in vogue a century ago”).

Have you see the 100-Year Rule/Great-Grandparent Rule at play in your own family tree? If so, what was the name and what were the birth years?

Source: “Society” [Editorial]. San Francisco Call 17 Aug. 1913: 19.
Image: Frances Marie via Morguefile

California Family with 22 Children

Story family of California in 1940 U.S. census
The Story family on the 1940 U.S. Census
Marion and Charlotte “Lottie” Story of Bakersfield, California, had at least 22 children — including five sets of twins — from 1922 to 1946. Seventeen of their kids are listed on the 1940 U.S. Census (at right).

I don’t know the names of all the Story children, but here are 20 of them: Jean, Jane, Jack, Jacqueline, June, Eileen, Clyde, Robert, James, Jeannette, Steve, Jerry, Terry (sometimes “Terrytown”), Charlotte, Scotty, Sherrie, Garry, Joanne, Frances (called Lidwina), and Monica (called Sandy).

Charlotte Story herself was one of a dozen children, born from 1899 to 1919. Her 11 siblings were named Pearl, George, Rhea, Hazel, Fern, Ira, Myrtle, Dorothy, Helen, Russell, and Viola.

And Charlotte’s mother Elsie was one of 13 children, born from 1865 to 1892. Her 12 siblings were named Edward, Levi, William, Frank, Rosa, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Archibald, Gertrude, and Emma.

So here’s the question: If you had to choose all of your own children’s names from just one of the sibsets above, which set would you pick? Why?

Sources: Charlotte M Lacount Story – Find A Grave, Elsie E Dubay LaCount – Find A Grave