Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.
Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.
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.
Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…
Ambre (rejected): A baby boy born in France in January of 2018 was almost named Ambre (French for “amber”) but the French government rejected the name, claiming it could cause gender confusion. (The Local)
Aneurin: A baby boy born in Wales on June 26, 2018 — days before the 70th anniversary of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), founded by Aneurin “Nye” Bevan — was named Aneurin. (South Wales Echo)
Carson*: A baby boy born in Pennsylvania in July of 2018 was named after Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. (CBS)
“Pennsylvania Hospital has also had several babies named Carson lately. And one girl named Kelce, spelled like Jason Kelce.” (ABC, Oct. 2018)
Casey: A baby boy born in Kentucky in August of 2018 was named Jaxon Casey, middle name in honor of Kentucky’s “Casey’s law,” which the parents credit for saving each of their lives. (Courier Journal)
Foles*: A baby born in Philadelphia in October of 2018 was named Layla Grace Foles, second middle name in honor of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. (ABC)
Lily: A baby girl born in England in June of 2018 was named Lily after her 96-year-old great-great-grandmother Lily. (Leigh Journal)
Murren: A baby girl born in North Carolina in April of 2017 was named Tessa Murren, middle name in honor of the Swiss mountain village in which she was likely conceived. (The Local)
Onyx: A baby boy born in Idaho in April of 2018 — to a couple walking across the U.S. from Georgia to Oregon — was named Onyx “after the healing stone, which represents overcoming fear.” (Idaho Press)
Rachel: A baby girl born in Scotland in July of 2018 was named Ashley Rachel, middle in honor of Rachel Mackie, the ambulance technician who delivered her en route to the hospital. (BBC)
Suharsi: A baby girl born aboard the Indonesian hospital ship KRI Dr. Soeharso in October of 2018 was named Suharsi, “a feminine adaptation of Soeharso.” (Daily Mail)
Zeppelin: A baby boy born in the U.S. in December of 2016 was named Zeppelin after the zeppelin bend, inspired by the fact that his umbilical chord was knotted at birth. (USA Today)
Zeppelin is the son of actors Jensen Ackles and Danneel Harris. He has a twin sister named Arrow. (Danneel’s name was inspired by Danneel Street in New Orleans, btw.)
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.”)
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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.