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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Johanna

Number of Babies Named Johanna

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Johanna

Popular Baby Names in Germany, 2014

According to data from the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Association for German Language), the most popular baby names in Germany in 2014 were Hanna/Hannah and Luis/Louis.

Here are the country’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Hanna/Hannah
2. Mia
3. Emma
4. Sophia/Sofia
5. Emilia
6. Lena
7. Anna
8. Lea/Leah
9. Marie
10. Lina
1. Luis/Louis
2. Leon/Léon
3. Maximilian
4. Ben
5. Paul
6. Lukas/Lucas
7. Jonas
8. Noah/Noa
9. Luka/Luca
10. Felix

Last year’s top names were Mia and Ben. On the girls’ list, Lea/Leah replaces Johanna (now ranked 12th). On the boys’ list, Maximilian replaces Finn/Fin/Fynn (now ranked 11th).

Here are the top baby names in Germany for 2013, 2012 and 2010.

UPDATE, 5/7: Replaced the original rankings in this post (which mixed firsts and middles) with the rankings above (which is first names only). Thanks, Diane!

Sources: GfdS (2014), GfdS (2013)

40 Pairs of Baby Names for Girl-Boy Twins

girl-boy twins

A few weeks ago, The Stir posted a list of 20 pairs of baby names for girl-boy twins.

The problem with their list? Each matchy-matchy name-pair started with the same first letter.

Yes, most parents gravitate toward patterns when it comes to naming twins. This has been confirmed by at least one study and is easy to see when you peruse the (now discontinued) lists of popular twin names.

But should they?

No. Child development experts say twins should have dissimilar first names.

So I thought I’d improve upon their list by separating the pairings and giving each of the 40 names a new, non-matchy partner — different first letter, different ending, different number of syllables.

Too Matchy? Much Better!
Hazel & Hugo
Emma & Evan
Madison & Mason
Taylor & Tyler
Vivienne & Val
Ava & Alexander
Chloe & Caleb
Sophia & Samuel
Eva & Ethan
Penelope & Pax
Savannah & Sebastian
Lily & Luke
Dylan & Dean
Naomi & Noah
Imogen & Isaac
Juliette & James
Christina & Christian
Grace & Gavin
Avery & Aiden
Claire & Clive
Hazel & Benjamin
Emma & Charles
Madison & Liam
Taylor & Grant
Vivienne & Phillip
Ava & Carl
Chloe & Gabriel
Sophia & Owen
Eva & Jack
Penelope & Duncan
Savannah & Zane
Lily & Cash
Dylan & Matthias
Naomi & Joseph
Imogen & Grey
Juliette & Simon
Christina & Thomas
Grace & Dominic
Avery & Beau
Claire & Julian
Hugo & Adelaide
Evan & Sabrina
Mason & Aria
Tyler & Addison
Val & Edie
Alexander & Daphne
Caleb & Lydia
Samuel & Hannah
Ethan & Amelia
Pax & Kira
Sebastian & Gemma
Luke & Maya
Dean & Harper
Noah & Abigail
Isaac & Johanna
James & Tabitha
Christian & Veronica
Gavin & Bree
Aiden & Katrina
Clive & Odette

Not only are the pairs in the middle and on the right smarter choices in terms of child development, but they’re also less likely to cause embarrassment and/or confusion. Unlike, say, Christina and Christian.

What are your favorite non-matchy baby names for girl-boy twins?

P.S. Hate to nit-pick, but…the Stir post also included several bogus definitions. Caleb means “devotion to God”? Nope, Caleb means dog.

Source: 20 Pairs of Baby Names for Twins of the Opposite Sex
Image: Adapted from Kinley and Liam Photos (18) by love_K_photo under CC BY 2.0.

Popular Baby Names in Germany, 2013

Two unofficial lists of the top baby names in Germany are now out.

According to Knud Bielefeld of the blog Beliebte Vornamen, the most popular baby names last year were Mia and Ben.

According to the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Association for German Language), though, the most popular baby names last year were Sophie/Sofie and Maximilian.

Here are Bielefeld’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Mia
2. Emma
3. Hanna/Hannah
4. Sophia/Sofia
5. Anna
6. Lea
7. Emilia
8. Marie
9. Lena
10. Leonie
1. Ben
2. Luca/Luka
3. Paul
4. Jonas
5. Finn/Fynn
6. Leon
7. Luis/Louis
8. Lucas/Lukas
9. Maximilian
10. Felix

And here are the GfdS’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Sophie/Sofie
2. Marie
3. Sophia/Sofia
4. Maria
5. Mia
6. Emma
7. Hannah/Hanna
8. Anna
9. Emilia
10. Johanna
1. Maximilian
2. Alexander 
3. Paul
4. Luca/Luka 
5. Ben
6. Luis/Louis
7. Elias
8. Leon
9. Lukas/Lucas
10. Noah

So what’s the difference between these lists? Bielefeld focused on first names only, while the GfdS included all given names (firsts + middles) on the same list.

That said…this year, for the first time, the GfdS issued a two extra mini-lists. One is first names only, the other is middle names only.

Here are their most popular first names (nearly identical to Bielefeld’s list):

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Mia
2. Emma
3. Hanna/Hannah
1. Ben
2. Paul
3. Luca/Luka

And here are their most popular middle names:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Sophie/Sofie
2. Marie
3. Maria
1. Alexander
2. Maximilian
3. Elias

If you’d like to see the 2012 lists, here they are: GfdS, Bielefeld.

Sources: Ben and Mia – Germany’s top baby names, Die beliebtesten Vornamen 2013

Most Popular Baby Names in Germany, 2012

The most popular baby names in Germany were announced quite a while ago, but I never noticed the press release. Oops.

According to Germany’s Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Association for German Language), the country’s top names are Luca/Luka for boys and Sophie/Sofie for girls.

Here are the top 10 boy names and top 10 girl names of 2012:

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Luca/Luka (1.69% of boys)
2. Maximilian (1.67%)
3. Alexander (1.56%)
4. Paul (1.55%)
5. Ben (1.29%)
6. Leon/Léon (1.29%)
7. Lukas/Lucas (1.26%)
8. Elias (1.25%)
9. Luis/Louis (1.20%)
10. Jonas (1.08%)
1. Sophie/Sofie (3.28% of girls)
2. Marie (3.22%)
3. Maria (1.58%)
4. Sophia/Sofia (1.50%)
5. Mia (1.48%)
6. Emma (1.39%)
7. Hannah/Hanna (1.27%)
8. Anna (1.23%)
9. Johanna (1.12%)
10. Luisa/Louisa (1.08%)

So, 17.2% of the baby girls and 13.8% of the baby boys born in Germany last year got a name in the top ten.

Some of the unusual names accepted by the government in 2012 were Fallion, Kirono, Meus, Katte, Ruster and Semea.

Source: GfdS

The 20 Children of Johann Sebastian Bach

German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) had a total of 20 children.

He had seven with his first wife, Maria Barbara Bach (who was his 2nd cousin). Four of these children survived to adulthood.

  1. Catharina Dorothea (b. 1708)
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann (b. 1710)
  3. Maria Sophia (twin, b. 1713)
  4. Johann Christoph (twin, b. 1713)
  5. Carl Philipp Emanuel (b. 1714)
  6. Johann Gottfried Bernhard (b. 1715)
  7. Leopold Augustus (b. 1718)

The other 13 he had with his second wife, Anna Magdalena Wilcke. Six survived to adulthood.

  1. Christiana Sophia Henrietta (b. 1723)
  2. Gottfried Heinrich (b. 1724)
  3. Christian Gottlieb (b. 1725)
  4. Elisabeth Juliana Friderica (b. 1726)
  5. Ernestus Andreas (b. 1727)
  6. Regina Johanna (b. 1728)
  7. Christiana Benedicta (b. 1730)
  8. Christiana Dorothea (b. 1731)
  9. Johann Christoph Friedrich (b. 1732)
  10. Johann August Abraham (b. 1733)
  11. Johann Christian (b. 1735)
  12. Johanna Carolina (b. 1737)
  13. Regina Susanna (b. 1742)

Do you like any of these names? If so, which ones?

Source: David, Hans T., Arthur Mendel and Christoph Wolff. The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.

Baby Name Needed for Sister of Liam and Brenna

Readers Tracie and Hugh Roarty, who are expecting a baby girl in August, would like a few baby name suggestions.

We have an almost 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter. Their names are Liam Robert and Brenna Kelly. My husband and I are both of Irish American descent. I had loved the name Liam since I was a child (am a bit shocked at how popular it is becoming now!). Their middle names are both family names.

Tracie, Hugh, Liam and Brenna currently live in Belgium, but they’ll be moving back to the U.S. before the baby arrives. They keep track of their travels at Belgian Bloggin, where Tracie recently announced her pregnancy. Tracie mentioned that Brenna would like to name the baby Rapunzel, while Liam would simply like to use the name Brenna again. :)

We have decided that we do not want another very Irish name (I feel like it will start to sound like we wish we lived in Ireland – if that makes sense?).

The names I have been drawn to so far are Margot and Valerie – both French I believe. I think it is the European influence on me. I like that these names are easily recognizable but not extremely popular.

The middle name would be either Patricia or Claire (our mothers names). For the two names so far we like Margot Patricia or Valerie Claire.

I love both Margot and Valerie.

Here are some other names I think Tracie and Hugh might like as well:


Which of the above do you like best for Liam and Brenna’s baby sister? What other names would you suggest?

Girl Names Based on “Hester Jo” Needed

A reader named Q* contacted me a several years ago about choosing a name for her first daughter, Posy. Q is now expecting her second daughter (due in one week!) and would like some help naming baby #2.

I never wrote a post about Posy’s name, but I think a collective brainstorm is in order for baby #2.

The frontrunners so far are Gemma, Evie (“EH-vie”), Persephone (nn Sephie) and Belle, but Q says that “nothing has really grabbed us.”

Also, there’s this to think about:

We got some very sad news this weekend which is that our close family friend passed away. We would like to incorporate her name somehow in our daughter’s name.

Her name was Hester Jo. I don’t particularly like the name Hester Jo but we would really like to somehow honor her. I prefer Hestia or Hes or Esti to Hester, but none of these names really grab me, and the fact that our last name also ends in an “-er” sound doesn’t seem to mesh well with Hester.

Can you think of any creative ways to incorporate her name? I know that Hester means “star” so I was wondering if there are any other names meaning star or something similar that might be good. Or even matching the initials HJ?

The baby’s last name will be a 2-syllable T-name a lot like Tyler.

First, let me say that I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

I think it’s wonderful that you want to honor Hester Jo. I can understand why “Hester” might not sound so hot with a surname that ends with -er, though.

Hester comes from Esther, which we know of through the biblical Queen Esther. We don’t know for sure what her name means. Esther could be based on the Persian word for “star,” on the name of the goddess Ishtar, on a Median word for “myrtle,” or on something else entirely.

One H-name with a direct connection to the original Esther is Esther’s birth name, Hadassah, which is Hebrew for “myrtle.” It could shortened to a nickname like Hada or Dassah to make it sound a bit peppier, like Posy.

Speaking of nicknames, short forms of Hester and Esther are Hettie and Essie. These could also be bestowed as-is, just like Posy (which is a nickname for Josephine).

Essie reminds me of Vanessa, a name invented by Jonathan Swift. He based it on the name of a friend, Esther Vanhomrigh, and featured it in his poem “Cadenus and Vanessa.” (And Vanessa gives rise to nicknames like Vana and Nessa.)

In terms of star-names, I like Stella, Estella, and Estelle — really, anything in the Stella family (stella is Latin for “star”).

Another star-themed idea is the Scandinavian name Astrid, which doesn’t have an etymological connection to the prefix astro- (which is based on the Ancient Greek astron, “star”) but looks/sounds like it does.

The name Johanna reminds me of Hester Jo a little — Jo in the front, followed by an H.

Other H-names, let’s see…Hazel, Honora (Nora), Heidi, Harriet, Helen, maybe even Hephzibah (nn Hepsie — Persephone/Sephie is on the table, so I had to throw this in!).

Out of this group, I like Hazel the best. It has a z-sound like Posy, and also a vegetation connection like Hester/Esther (possibly “myrtle”), Hadassah (definitely “myrtle”) and Posy (in the bouquet sense).

Now on to the current favorites…

I like them all, actually. I could see any of them in a sibset with Posy.

I’d be a little concerned about trendiness with both Gemma and Belle. Gemma’s been climbing the charts rather quickly in the last few years; you never know how high it could go. And Belle, not popular on its own, could get lost in a sea of girls with -bella names (Isabella is currently ranked #1, Bella #48, Isabelle #105, Annabelle #117, Izabella #140, etc.).

Sephie reminds me a lot of Posy — both are very rare and have an old-fashioned feel. But I don’t know how fair it is to give one daughter a name that is a nickname (i.e. 1 name) and the other a name that has a nickname (i.e. 2 names). If Posy had been Josephine (nn Posy), I would have been a lot more excited about Persephone (nn Sephie).

Finally, Evie. I have a feeling that most people pronounce it EE-vee, not EHV-ee, so correcting people could become a chore. Spelling it Evvie might help, though both names can be pronounced both ways, so the extra v may not make much of a difference.

Want to help Q name her daughter? Please leave a comment with your…

  • Ideas about how to incorporate the name Hester Jo (or the initials H. J.),
  • Opinions on the current favorites, and/or
  • Other helpful suggestions.

*Name edited out at Q’s request.