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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jenny

Number of Babies Named Jenny

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Jenny

Is the Name Mellona Really that Bad?

Back in 1886, writers at the New York newspaper The Sun spotted the name “Mellie Butterfield” in the Omaha Herald and it piqued their curiosity.

In the same column…we found Nellies and Minnies, Gussies and Lizzies, Mollies and Sadies, Tillies and Sallies, Bessies, Maggies, Jennies, Tudies [sic], and the whole run of nursery names, but we were able to infer the real and dignified names of these lovely young women.

They couldn’t figure out Mellie, though. So they asked the Herald editor for the details. He said Mellie’s real name was Mellona after the Roman goddess Mellona. (Mellona is based on the Latin word mel, meaning “honey.”)

It seems that the young lady’s grandfather was a Presbyterian minister [Rev. Josiah Moulton], and that he gave the name to her mother at the suggestion of a classically inclined brother clergyman, and that Mellona was therefore handed down to the daughter.

The anonymous Sun writers were not keen on the name Mellona:

  • “Mellona? We cannot say that we like the name suggested by the clergyman”
  • “it is so unusual as to be odd”
  • “why did he not call her Melissa”
  • “A very odd name for a girl is objectionable rather than otherwise”
  • “surely there is nothing peculiarly beautiful in Mellona to call for its selection”
  • “the Moulton family have a monopoly of its use — and they are likely to keep it”

Their final comment — “Mellona is a much more suitable name for a young lady than Mellie” — was vaguely complimentary, but it doesn’t quite make up for the string of criticisms that preceded it.

Do you agree with them about the name Mellona?

Source: “Mellie.” Sun [New York] 19 Jul. 1886: 2.

(That post about women’s pet names from a few months ago was also based on a Sun essay.)


The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Round 1a

80s name-song tournament, round 1a

Ready for a March Madness-inspired tournament that involves both names and ’80s music?

We’ll start with 40 songs from the ’80s that prominently feature given names — songs like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Oh Sherrie,” “Who’s Johnny” and “Dirty Diana” — and, over the next few weeks, we’ll whittle them down until we determine which song earns the title of Ultimate ’80s Name-Song.

Here’s the tournament schedule:

  • March 9-14: Round 1a. Starts with 20 songs. Ends with 4 winners.
  • March 16-21: Round 1b. Starts with 20 songs. Ends with 4 winners.
  • March 23-28: Round 2. Starts with 8 songs. Ends with 2 winners.
  • March 30-April 4: Final round.
  • April 6: Winner announcement.

Round 1 is so big that I had to split it up over two weeks. This week (1a) covers the first half of the ’80s. Next week (1b) covers the second half.

Each round begins early Monday and ends early Saturday, so you have exactly 5 days to submit your answers.

Ready? Let the battles begin!

The battles are over! Check below for the winners.

Battle 1

WINNER: “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) by Kim Carnes

The contestants:

  • Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) by Kim Carnes
    • She got Greta Garbo standoff sighs, she’s got Bette Davis eyes
  • Charlotte Sometimes” (1981) by The Cure
    • All the sounds of Charlotte sometimes, into the night with Charlotte sometimes
  • 867-5309/Jenny” (1981) by Tommy Tutone
    • Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to? You give me somethin’ I can hold on to
  • Jessie’s Girl” (1981) by Rick Springfield
    • I wish that I had Jessie’s girl, where can I find a woman like that
  • Mickey” (1982) by Toni Basil
    • Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Bette Davis Eyes" (1981) by Kim Carnes (43%, 23 Votes)
  • "Jessie's Girl" (1981) by Rick Springfield (36%, 19 Votes)
  • "867-5309/Jenny" (1981) by Tommy Tutone (30%, 16 Votes)
  • "Mickey" (1982) by Toni Basil (23%, 12 Votes)
  • "Charlotte Sometimes" (1981) by The Cure (11%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

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Battle 2

WINNER: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

The contestants:

  • Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners
    • Come on Eileen, oh I swear what he means, at this moment, you mean everything
  • Gloria” (1982) by Laura Branigan
    • Gloria, I think they got your number, I think they got the alias, that you’ve been living under
  • Jack and Diane” (1982) by John Cougar Mellencamp
    • Little ditty ’bout Jack and Diane, two American kids growin’ up in the heartland
  • Rosanna” (1982) by Toto
    • All I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes, Rosanna, Rosanna
  • Valerie” (1982) by Steve Winwood
    • Valerie, call on me, call on me, Valerie, come and see me, I’m the same boy I used to be

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (54%, 27 Votes)
  • "Jack and Diane" (1982) by John Cougar Mellencamp (42%, 21 Votes)
  • "Rosanna" (1982) by Toto (30%, 15 Votes)
  • "Gloria" (1982) by Laura Branigan (22%, 11 Votes)
  • "Valerie" (1982) by Steve Winwood (10%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 50

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Battle 3

WINNER: “Billie Jean” (1983) by Michael Jackson

The contestants:

  • Rio” (1983) by Duran Duran
    • Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
  • Billie Jean” (1983) by Michael Jackson
    • Billie Jean is not my lover, she’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
  • Oh Diane” (1983) by Fleetwood Mac
    • Love is like a grain of sand, slowly slippin’ through your hand, oh oh Diane
  • Joanna” (1983) by Kool and the Gang
    • Joanna, I love you, you’re the one, the one for me
  • Think of Laura” (1983) by Christopher Cross
    • Think of Laura but laugh don’t cry, I know she’d want it that way

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Billie Jean" (1983) by Michael Jackson (67%, 31 Votes)
  • "Rio" (1983) by Duran Duran (35%, 16 Votes)
  • "Joanna" (1983) by Kool and the Gang (22%, 10 Votes)
  • "Think of Laura" (1983) by Christopher Cross (15%, 7 Votes)
  • "Oh Diane" (1983) by Fleetwood Mac (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 46

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Battle 4

WINNER: “Oh Sherrie” (1984) by Steve Perry

The contestants:

  • Sister Christian” (1984) by Night Ranger
    • Sister Christian oh the time has come, and you know that you’re the only one
  • Oh Sherrie” (1984) by Steve Perry
    • Oh, Sherrie, our love, holds on, holds on
  • William, It Was Really Nothing” (1984) by The Smiths
    • William, William, it was really nothing, it was your life
  • Frankie” (1985) by Sister Sledge
    • Hey Frankie, do you remember me? Frankie, do you remember?
  • Kayleigh” (1985) by Marillion
    • Kayleigh, is it too late to say I’m sorry?

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Oh Sherrie" (1984) by Steve Perry (48%, 25 Votes)
  • "Sister Christian" (1984) by Night Ranger (38%, 20 Votes)
  • "William, It Was Really Nothing" (1984) by The Smiths (19%, 10 Votes)
  • "Frankie" (1985) by Sister Sledge (13%, 7 Votes)
  • "Kayleigh" (1985) by Marillion (10%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 52

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Finally, please help me share this tournament post on social media! I’d love to get a lot of people participating. Thank you!

Have You Named Your Computer?

Have You Named Your Computer?

Lots of people name their cars, but how many people name their computers?

A good number, turns out.

Granted, any computer on a network already has a name. But that’s not necessarily the name we’re talking about here. (Though some people do change their computer’s network name to match its “given” name.)

What kinds of names have people chosen for their laptops and desktops? Here are some real-life computer names I’ve collected from around the web:

Aurora: “I named her Aurora. Isn’t she beautiful? Like every really wonderful thing, her outward beauty is a reflection of her deeper goodness.” –MrShad of Conflictium

Avery Cates: “How can you resist this series when the first line of the back cover blurb is “Avery Cates is a very bad man”? I love Avery Cates so much I named my computer after him.” –Melanie of Melanie R. Meadors (blog)

Black Stallion: “As my birthday/Christmas present, I was given a brand new LAPTOP! Vane named him “Black Stallion”. It’s very sleek and black.” –Des of Miss DreamyMarie

Don Juan IV: “Don Juan IV is my laptop. What, you don’t name your computer? That is too bad.” –Heather of The Spohrs Are Multiplying

Dorothy Parker: “Interesting aside: I named my computer Dorothy Parker. It’s probably wishful thinking more than anything else.” –cenobyte of centre of the univerce

Frangus: “Frangus is a beautiful name. It sounds like the name of the lost Weasley child. It evokes images of a tall, rangy, somewhat grungy hunk (think Aragorn-esque) with blazing red hair, a legendary sword, and a breathtaking Scottish accent. It was also, as some may recall, from a Sparticle made of pure awesomeness. It just fit perfectly.” –RabidWrackspurt via SparkLife

Henry & Eli: “I finally have a laptop, after two and half years working on a desktop. Trust me, I loved my desktop but he was hard to live with. Not being able to spend valuable time with him while I worked with my friends in the studios. And yes, I called him a ‘he.’ I named him Henry. But now my laptop is named Eli and he is a gem. I can take him anywhere and I love it! I sound like I had no idea they make computers that can move.” –Catie of Catie Witt (blog)

Holophonor: “All of which is an extended introduction to the announcement of the name of my new MacBook. I’ve dubbed it Holophonor. (…) It’s a musical instrument from Futurama, which produces images as well as music. It’s allegedly incredibly hard to play (although the holophonor recital in one episode suggests a little otherwise) but is capable of intoxicatingly immersive effects.” –James Grimmelmann of The Laboratorium

Hubert: “I named my computer Hubert because it reminds me of Hubert Humphrey, the long time U.S. Senator from Minnesota and Lyndon Johnson’s vice president. For those of you too young to remember, Humphrey was a likeable, compulsive talker who was so eager to please he could become annoying. My computer is like that.” –Gwen Gibson of The Lighter Years

Lafayette: “Lafayette – My current iMac is named for my favorite, and the most well-acted character in HBO’s True Blood.” –Courtney Heard of courtneyheard.com

Lisbeth: “But, before I sign off for tonight, let me introduce you to Lisbeth. (…) Yes, I named my laptop after the hacker survivor extraordinaire from the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She’s a victim who takes her life back, with the power of her intelligence and her trusty computer.” –Erin of Daisies and Bruises

Lucille: “My computer is Lucille; she is a fiery redhead, like Lucille Ball.” –Rachel of Not-so-Plain Jane

Lucy: “I am writing this from my new laptop – a MacBook. Lovely little piece of equipment – I have named her Lucy (as in “Lucy, I’m h-o-m-e”) with the hopes that we will enter into a long-term relationship of mutual respect and understanding.” –mimijk of Waiting for the Karma Truck

Lula: “It was the Romantic me who went to Circuit City and Best Buy, who glazed over as acne-riddled salesboys extolled the virtues of Vaios and Thinkpads, and who eventually fled to do some reading on the subject before spending nearly a month’s salary for a basic, Luddite-friendly model. When I finally got my laptop home, I immediately named her Lula (after my grandmother, who also inspired and terrorized me), then ditched my paper notebook, opened Word, and began writing the new play before even checking out the other programs I had paid for.” –David Valdes Greenwood via The Boston Phoenix

Mandy: “I know you all are wondering why her name is Mandy (ok, maybe you’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) When I first got Mandy, she was a beautiful new white Macbook. I had just started dating my Handsome, and he lent me his book of cd’s so I could put new music on my new laptop. Well, lo and behold, what cd did I find buried in with his? Why yes, the cd pictured at the beginning of this post [Mandy Moore’s “So Real”]. I thought this was hysterical, and because it was a white cd and my laptop was white, I named her Mandy. It seemed to fit.” –Kate of Kindly, Kate

Marcus: “i have named him Marcus after the lead singer of my favorite band Mumford & Sons. i was going to call him Lenny because Lenovo, but ever since the movie The Perfect Man, all i can think of when i hear that name is a chubby guy singing a Styx song.” –Leann Elizabeth of A Glass of Leannade

Milo: “My world is currently in a state of crazed shuffling and god-awful box hoarding. My room is now returned to the cold monastic state I found it in and as soon as this post is over so goes Milo the netbook. (Yes I named my computer Milo, no you cannot make fun of me for it). By this time tomorrow I will have returned to my domicile and summer hi-jinks can begin!” –SugaryCynic of Sugary Cynicism

Nox: “It started (…) with me buying a new computer, and this time I went for brand new hardware, top of the line, as I just had gotten my first paycheck from my first real job. And as this was a proper computer, it needed a proper name. And as the casing was black, I went looking for something that resembled darkness and the absence of light. Can you guess which name I ended up with? Probably not if you aren’t very well versed in old Greek and Roman mythology, as the goddess I named my computer after isn’t that famous. I named my computer “Nox”, the Roman name for the Greek goddess Nyx, the the primordial goddess of the night.” –Sebastian Storholm of Sebastian’s Blog

Sadie: “Sadie came into my life in March of 2008. She was an HP Pavilion, the first new computer I had purchased in over ten years. Sadie was not my first choice when I was doing research in buying a laptop, but she was quite simply prettier and shinier than the one I had originally picked out, so I bought her instead. I named her Sadie because I had had a dream where I bought a laptop and named it Sexy Sadie, after the Beatles song.” –Gena Radcliffe of You Are Not a Winner

Sally: “My computer, Sally (yes, I named my computer), is almost six years old. While I love her to death, it’s about time to put her down. She’s been good to me, despite all the verbal abuse.” –Marian Schembari of marianlibrarian.com

Serena: “I got Serena back in the winter of 2005, and named her, as I named a lot of my machines, [after] a character in the TV show ‘Roswell’ – actually, an enigmatic reference to a person from the future who was never shown on screen.” –Chris K of The Kelworth Files

SparkyBookPro: “My baby is going into the hospital for outpatient surgery. Actually it’s more like a transplant. SparkyBookPro needs his fan replaced. Yes, I named my computer. Yes, I am a nerd. They are also going to do a bypass of the current battery and transplant a new one in its place. As soon as I am done with this post (and a bit more blog reading), SparkyBookPro will be taken to the facility. He will be gone for two days.” –Kim of Emergiblog

Tardis: “Now, I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a big Whovian. (fan of the British show Dr Who) I named my computer the TARDIS, I have a sonic screwdriver on me at all times, and I bought a pair of Converse because the 10th Doctor wears them. Yes, I am obsessed.” –Jenny of The Eternal Puppy Station

Thusnelda: “How did I choose the name Thusnelda? Well, you see, a month or two ago I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to buy a laptop, and I needed a name. And generously, Angela shared the names of some of her relatives. And when I read Thusnelda, I knew that had to be the one. It is solid, original, and not at all trendy. There aren’t going to be 15 other Thusneldas in a 3-block radius. And the name can’t go out of style, because it was never in style.” –Amber Strocel of strocel.com

Veronica: “She’s cute, she’s skinny, she’s bright-eyed, energetic (great battery life), and she even has a cute pattern on her hood. I’ve named her Veronica.” –Jamie of The Appropriate Opinion

Have you named your computer? If so, what’s the name, and why did you choose it?

Growing Up with the Name Bich

What was it like to grow up in the U.S. in the ’70s and ’80s with a Vietnamese name like Bich?

Here’s an excerpt from Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir by Bich Minh Nguyen, who moved to Michigan with her family as a 1-year-old in 1975.

In Vietnamese [Bich] meant jade, which was all well and fine in Vietnam but meant nothing in Michigan. It was pronounced with an accent tilting up, the tone leading almost toward a question, with a silent h. Bic! I hated the sound–too harsh, too hard, and the c so slight that it evaporated in the air. I preferred to hear it as Bit. The sound seemed tidier, quieter. So that’s what I made my name over to be, and it was fine until my classmates learned to read and swear. By second grade I was being regularly informed that I was a bitch. I started fantasizing then about being Beth, or maybe Vanessa or Polly. I longed to be Jenny Adams with the perfect simple name to match her perfect honeyed curls. […] I felt I could judge the nature and compassion of teachers, especially substitutes, by the way they read my name. The good ones hesitated and gently spelled it, avoiding a phonetic pronunciation. The evil ones simply called out, Bitch? Bitch Nu-guy-in?

Bich wasn’t allowed to use an American name, but other kids she knew were allowed to:

Their parents were anxious for them to fit into Grant Rapids and found the three quickest avenues: food, money, and names. Food meant American burgers and fries. Money meant Jordache jeans and Izod shirts. Names meant a whole new self. Overnight, Thanh’s children, Truoc and Doan, became Tiffany and David, and other families followed. Huong to Heather, Quoc to Kevin, Lien to Lynette. Most of the kids chose their own names and I listened while they debated the merits of Jennifer versus Michelle, Stephanie versus Crystal. They created two lives for themselves: the American one and the Vietnamese one–Oriental, as we all said back then. Out in the world they were Tiffany and David; at home they were Truoc and Doan. They mothers cooked two meals–pho and sautes for the elders, Campbell’s soup and Chef Boyardee for the kids.

In primary school, Bich knew one other Vietnamese girl, Loan, who also continued to use her original name. They became friends.

Bitch and Loan, some of the kids said on the playground. Hey, bitch, can you loan me some money?

Nowadays, Bich Minh Nguyen tends to go by the name Beth.

I wonder what proportion of the Vietnamese-American kids in Bich’s generation went by an “American” name outside the home. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any data on this, have any of you guys?

Source: Nguyen, Bich Minh. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir. New York, Penguin: 2008.

Related: Hebrew Names Lost In Translation

How Do You Like Your Name, Jennifer?

“I love the sound of my name and the history of it deriving from Guinevere,” says Jennifer Marie, a 30-year-old who was born in Minnesota but is now living in Tennessee.

What’s the story behind her name?

I was born at 28w6d weighing only 3lbs8oz and being 13in in length. In short I was very early and very tiny. The doctors prepared my parents for the worst, so being Catholic, they wanted me named and baptized as soon as possible. Throughout their pregnancy, my parents had planned on naming Anastasia Marie nn Stacie if I was a girl and Nicholas Alexander if I was a boy (they didn’t know the sex). However, being born so early through a wrench in their plans. My grandma (mom’s mom) felt that Anastasia was too long of a name for such a little baby. Needing a name quickly and agreeing with my grandma, they chose Jennifer (like many other parents in 1982) with the nn Jennie/Jenny. They swear they didn’t know it was that popular. Ironically, Jennifer is only one letter less and one syllable less than Anastasia. Marie was kept as its a family mn; 13th generation on both sides of the family.

Is there anything she dislikes about her name?

I know most people would expect me to say I disliked the popularity of my name, and maybe at one point in my life I would have. However, I actually enjoy the link it has provided me to other people, creating friendships and conversation.

Usage of the baby name Jennifer peaked in the 1970s and 1980s.

Finally, would she recommend that expectant parents today use the name Jennifer?

I would recommend my name to today’s parents. Most people see it as a mom name, which makes it a pleasant surprise to meet a little Jennifer or Jenny.

Thank you, Jennifer!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

What Did WWI Do for the Baby Name Liberty?

"Ring Me Again" Third Liberty Loan doorknob sign
Third Liberty Loan doorknob sign (Money Museum, Kansas City)
During World War I, the United States raised money for the war effort by selling Liberty Bonds to citizens.

The government offered a series of four Liberty Loans — two in 1917, two more in 1918.

“For Americans who were not inclined or able to enter into military service, fundraising offered an alternative demonstration of patriotism.”

A handful of parents took this patriotism even further by naming their babies Liberty.

How did this affect the overall popularity of the baby name Liberty?

The Baby Name Liberty
Liberty
(1918 spike)
  • 1919: 25 baby girls named Liberty
  • 1918: 150 baby girls, 14 baby boys named Liberty
  • 1917: 43 baby girls, 8 baby boys named Liberty
  • 1916: 6 baby girls, 7 baby boys named Liberty
  • 1915: (unlisted)
  • 1914: 7 baby girls named Liberty

Liberty became the 585th most popular baby girl name in 1918.

It wouldn’t enter the top 1,000 again until 1976, the year of the U.S. Bicentennial.

***

Families with the surname Bond must have been especially tempted to name their babies Liberty in 1917 and 1918.

I’ve found records for several babies named Liberty Bond, such as Liberty Lois Bond (b. 1917, California) and Liberty C. Bond (b. 1918, Michigan).

A baby girl who ended up with the name Liberty was born to Wallace and Jenny Bond of Oklahoma in 1917:

Named “Flossie Mae” at birth, her name was changed to “Liberty” when a relative told her father that she would buy Liberty Bonds in her name if he would make the switch. (She resented the name until she got a copy of her birth certificate decades later and learned that she otherwise would have gone through life as Flossie Mae.)

In the early 1950s, Ed Sullivan wrote that actor Ridge Bond had a cousin, born during the first World War, named Liberty Bond. “She married Frank Bell, and her name became Liberty Bell.”

***

Liberty Bond was also used more than once as a first-middle combination.

For instance, a baby named Liberty Bond Bailey, born in New York in 1918, made national headlines:

News comes from Ithaca, N.Y., that a real, live “Liberty Bond,” weighing nine pounds, arrived in that city on the morning of April 6, simultaneously with the opening of the loan drive and the anniversary of our entrance into the great war. It wasn’t of the accustomed variety, however, but a lusty, named “Liberty Bond” Bailey by his patriotic parents, Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Bailey of 614 Utica Street. The boy’s parents were so elated by the triple significance of the day that they named the new arrival in honor of the great bond drive.

According to his wife, his name was the doctor’s idea:

“The doctor mentioned it to his mother about the bonds and as he handed (the baby) over, he said, ‘Here’s your liberty bond’,” Garetta Bailey said. “So, she named him Liberty Bond.”

And I’ve found another Liberty Bond Bailey, believe it or not, born almost exactly a year earlier in Oklahoma.

A 1918 newspaper reported that a baby boy born to Mr. and Mrs. Alex Sleime of West Virginia was named Liberty Bond.

Records suggest that around 8 other babies were also named “Liberty Bond,” including Liberty Bond Todd (b. 1917, Texas) and Liberty Bond Jones (b. 1918, North Carolina).

P.S. Another first-middle combination I spotted a handful of times was “Liberty Loan.” One example: Liberty Loan Hickman, born in Texas in 1917.

Sources:

Will the Baby Name Toby Be Getting a Boost?

The Disney sitcom Good Luck Charlie has been popularizing the baby name Charlie for girls. Will it now have a similar influence on the baby name Toby?

In December of 2011, Disney announced that the family in the sitcom would be welcoming a fifth child. Fans were given a 2-week window in which to vote for their favorite baby name via the show’s official webpage. These were the choices:

Bo
Bobby Jr.
Jonah
Noah
Toby
Erika
Jenny
Mallory
Sydney
Talia

The baby, a boy, arrived during the episode that aired on June 24, 2012. He was born in an ice cream truck and given the name Toby (which had received nearly 26 million votes).

Usage of the baby name Toby has been declining in the US lately:

  • 2007: 457 baby boys, 51 baby girls with the name Toby
  • 2008: 439 baby boys, 52 baby girls with the name Toby
  • 2009: 396 baby boys, 56 baby girls with the name Toby
  • 2010: 356 baby boys, 50 baby girls with the name Toby
  • 2011: 289 baby boys, 60 baby girls with the name Toby

Do you think the popular sitcom could turn this trend around?