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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Joyce

Number of Babies Named Joyce

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Joyce

Popular Girl Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

The ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names in the girl’s top 20 is about the same today as it was 100 years ago, though the ratio did change a bit mid-century.

(In contrast, there’s been a steady increase in the number of Biblical-origin names among the top boy names.)

Here’s the color-coded table — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and several borderline names (which I counted as non-Biblical) are in the orange cells:

Popular girl names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular girl names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Abigail, Anna, Betty (via Elizabeth), Chloe, Danielle, Deborah, Debra, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isabella (via Elizabeth), Janet, Jean, Joan, Judith, Judy, Julie, Lillian (via Elizabeth), Lisa (via Elizabeth), Lois, Marie, Marilyn, Mary, Mia (via Maria), Michelle, Nancy (via Anne), Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth, Sandra (via Alexander), Sarah, Sharon, Stephanie, Susan, Tammy (via Tamar/Tamara)
  • Non-Biblical names: Alexis, Alice, Alyssa, Amanda, Amber, Amelia, Amy, Angela, Ashley, Aubrey, Avery, Barbara, Brenda, Brianna, Brittany, Carol, Carolyn, Catherine, Charlotte, Christina, Christine, Crystal, Cynthia, Diane, Donna, Doris, Dorothy, Edna, Ella, Emily, Emma, Evelyn, Florence, Frances, Gladys, Grace, Harper, Heather, Helen, Irene, Jennifer, Joyce, Karen, Kathleen, Kayla, Kelly, Kimberly, Laura, Lauren, Linda, Lori, Louise, Madison, Margaret, Marjorie, Megan, Melissa, Mildred, Natalie, Nicole, Olivia, Pamela, Patricia, Rose, Shannon, Shirley, Sofia, Sophia, Taylor, Tiffany, Victoria, Virginia
  • Borderline names:
    • Ava (could be based on the Germanic root avi or the Biblical name Eve)
    • Jessica (literary invention, but Shakespeare may have based it on the Biblical name Iscah)
    • Samantha (possibly inspired by the Biblical name Samuel)

Again, feels pretty weird to put overtly Christian names like Christina and Christine in the non-Biblical category, but oh well.

Here are the year-by-year tallies:

Year Top 20 names
given to…
# Biblical # Non-Biblical
1914 31% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1924 31% of baby girls 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
1934 32% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1944 35% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1954 34% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1964 24% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1974 24% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1984 26% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1994 19% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2004 14% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2014 12% of baby girls 5 (25%) 15 (75%)

Just like with the boy names, though, there’s a big difference between the 1914 and 2014 sample sizes — 31% and 12%. So let’s also look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 31% of female births.

By my count, last year’s top 100 girl names were about a quarter Biblical, three-quarters non-Biblical:

Biblical names (27) Non-Biblical/Borderline names (73)
Isabella (via Elizabeth), Mia (via Maria), Abigail, Elizabeth, Chloe, Addison (via Adam), Lillian (via Elizabeth), Hannah, Anna, Leah, Gabriella, Sadie (via Sarah), Sarah, Annabelle, Madelyn (via Magdalene), Lucy (via Lucius), Alexa (via Alexander), Genesis, Naomi, Eva, Lydia, Julia, Khloe, Madeline (via Magdalene), Alexandra, Gianna (via Joanna), Isabelle (via Elizabeth) Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Emily, Madison, Charlotte, Harper, Sofia, Avery, Amelia, Evelyn, Ella, Victoria, Aubrey, Grace, Zoey, Natalie, Brooklyn, Lily, Layla, Scarlett, Aria, Zoe, Samantha, Audrey, Ariana, Allison, Savannah, Arianna, Camila, Penelope, Claire, Aaliyah, Riley, Skylar, Nora, Hailey, Kaylee, Paisley, Kennedy, Ellie, Peyton, Caroline, Serenity, Aubree, Alexis, Nevaeh, Stella, Violet, Mackenzie, Bella, Autumn, Mila, Kylie, Maya, Piper, Alyssa, Taylor, Eleanor, Melanie, Faith, Katherine, Brianna, Ashley, Ruby, Sophie, London, Lauren, Alice, Vivian, Hadley, Jasmine

Faith, Grace, Angela, Nevaeh, Natalie…all technically non-Biblical.

27%-73% is remarkably similar to both 25%-75% (smaller 2014 sample) and 30%-70% (1914 sample).

So here’s the question of the day: If you had to choose all of your children’s names from either one group or the other — Biblical names or non-Biblical names — which group would you stick to, and why?


Nine Years of Nancy’s Baby Names

Happy blogiversary, Nancy’s Baby Names!

Nancy Joyce Darken, upside-down and tap dancing, Chicago, 1937
© LIFE

I’m a day late, but that’s ok — at least I remembered it this year. :)

I launched Nancy’s Baby Names on March 6, 2006, so yesterday the blog officially turned nine years old.

Many thanks to everyone who reads along, and especially to those who comment and send emails. You guys are awesome. You make this worthwhile.

That image above comes from an old issue of LIFE. I bookmarked it, not knowing how I’d ever work it into a post, but now I know.

It’s 6-year-old Nancy Joyce Darken of Chicago, standing on her head, tap-dancing on the ceiling of a wooden box-like apparatus with her name (and my name!) at the top. “She did this for a Chicago radio broadcast June 13, took both the studio and her audience by storm.”

My hope for year 10 is that I can continue to entertain you guys just like Nancy Joyce entertained those radio listeners nearly 80 years ago. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Image: “She is tap-dancing on the ceiling.” LIFE 28 Jun. 1937: 68.

Starlet Names from the Early 1900s

Ever heard of the WAMPAS Baby Stars?

They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.

WAMPAS baby stars 1928

About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).

Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).

I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).

  • 7: Dorothy
  • 6: Helen
  • 4: Elizabeth
  • 3: Frances, Ruth, Virginia
  • 2: Anita, Ann, Barbara, Betty, Clara, Doris, Dorothea, Eleanor, Evelyn, Gladys, Gwendolyn, Hazel, Jacqueline, Katherine, Laura, Louise, Lucille, Margaret, Maria, Marian, Marie, Marion, Mary, Patricia, Violet
  • 1: Adamae, Alberta, Alma, Anne, Audrey, Augusta, Blanche, Carmelita, Caryl, Constance, Derelys, Dolores, Duane, Edna, Eleanor, Ena, Enriqueta, Ethel, Ethlyne, Evalyn, Flora, Gisela, Gloria, Gretchen, Hattie, Helene, Ina, Ingeborg, Jacquiline, Jean, Joan, Jobyna, Josephine, Juanita, Julanne, Kathleen, Kathryn, Kitty, Launa, Laurette, Lena, Lenore, Lilian, Lola, Lu Ann, Lucile, Madeline, Marceline, Martha, Mildred, Myrna, Natalia, Natalie, Nellie, Neoma, Olive, Olivia, Patsy, Rita, Rochelle, Rose, Sally, Suzanne, Sidney, Toshia, Vera, Vina

And here are the leftover stage names:

  • 5: Sally
  • 4: Mary
  • 3: Joan, June
  • 2: Betty, Jean, Judith, Pauline
  • 1: Alice, Bessie, Boots, Claire, Colleen, Dolores, Dorothy, Elinor, Evelyn, Fay, Frances, Gigi, Ginger, Gladys, Gloria, Gwen, Iris, Janet, Joyce, Julie, Karen, Kathleen, Lila, Lina, Lois, Lona, Loretta, Lucille, Lupe, Marian, Molly, Mona, Natalie, Patricia, Sue

(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)

Finally, a few interesting details:

  • Jobyna is Jobyna Ralston, named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
  • Derelys is Derelys Perdue. “Perdue’s boss, future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy, insisted on changing her name to the more palatable Ann Perdue.” She sued, but lost, and her career never recovered. Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
  • Sidney is Sidney Fox, a female who had the name Sidney/Sydney long before the name became trendy for girls.
  • Lina is Lina Basquette, who I mentioned in last week’s name quote post.
  • One of the Marys is Mary Astor, who went on to give her daughter a Hawaiian name.

Which of the above names do you like best? Why?

Source: Derelys Perdue – Biography – Movies & TV – NYTimes.com

1940s Family with 24 Kids – Largest Family in U.S.?

In 1946, the National Father’s Day Committee declared 63-year-old New Yorker George N. Davis the father with the largest family in the United States.

largest family 1940s
The Davis family of New York, 1946

Whether or not his family really was “the largest family in the United States” at that time I don’t know, but I can tell you that he had a total of 24 children (though only 20 were still living in 1946). He had seven with his first wife, Lillian, and the rest with his second wife, Anna.

Here are the names of all 24, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alice
  2. Anna
  3. Arthur
  4. Beulah
  5. Blanche
  6. Brayton
  7. Clark
  8. Charles (died in infancy)
  9. Derwood
  10. Emma Jean
  11. Geneva
  12. George
  13. Irving
  14. Isaac (died in infancy)
  15. Isaac
  16. Joyce Mae (died in infancy)
  17. Laura (died as an adult)
  18. Lena
  19. Lovisa
  20. Raymond
  21. Rupert
  22. Viva
  23. Wallace
  24. Winrick

According to the 1920 Census, he also had a stepdaughter named Ella.

Out of the 24 names on the list, which girl and boy names do you like best?

Source: George N. Davis, Father of the Year

P.S. Here’s a short newsreel movie [vid] about the family.

Did You Know About the Babies Named Depression?

In the U.S., the Great Depression started in 1929 and lasted through most of the 1930s.

What was it like to live during the Depression?

Massive unemployment had a profound social and emotional impact upon American workers and their families. […] The great population movement of the thirties was transiency the worker adrift in a sea of unemployment. People, especially the young, girls as well as boys, took to the road because they could no longer bear to stay home. In the middle of the decade when the dust blew in the Great Plains, wiping out their farms, whole families of Okies, Arkies, and Mizoos migrated west, especially to California. The migrants often made their way to the junk-pile Hoovervilles with their Prosperity Roads, Hard Times Avenues, and Easy Streets. The destitute often lost their homes or farms because they were unable to make payments on mortgages.

depressionOne fascinating fact I discovered not long ago is that a small number of babies born during the Great Depression were actually named Depression.

At least three of these babies made the news:

  • In the New York Times: Norma Depression Jacobs, a baby girl born to Joseph and Sally Jacobs of New York in early 1932.
  • In the Reading Eagle: Viola Depression Davis, a baby girl born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1932.
  • In the New York Times: Franklin Depression Pasquale, a baby boy born in New York in 1933. (Franklin was for President Roosevelt, whose presidency began in March of 1933 — “the worst month for joblessness in the history of the United States.”)

And here are more baby Depressions I tracked down using other sources:

  • Robert Depression Cann, born in Oklahoma on October 22, 1931.
  • Joyce Depression Bradford, born in Texas on December 5, 1931.
  • Robert Depression Arnold, born in California on February 2, 1932.
  • Helen Depression Carr, born in Indiana on February 29, 1932.
  • Hoover Depression Norman, born in Texas on June 14, 1932. (Hoover was in office from 1929 to 1933.)
  • Depression Heaton, born Ohio on June 24, 1932. (Born and died the same day, sadly.)
  • William Depression Ellerby, born in North Carolina on August 5, 1932.
  • Depression Brockington, born on October 21, 1932.
  • Depression Ivy, born in Texas on May 28, 1934.
  • Percy Depression Giles, born in West Virginia circa 1934.
  • Depression Austin, born in North Carolina circa 1934.
  • Depression Red, born in Georgia circa 1934. (The sister born right after her was named “Beauty.” Quite the disparity.)
  • Depression Bennett, born in Alabama on February 10, 1938.

I also found two baby Depressions born in the 1870s, during an earlier period of economic recession now called the Long Depression.

Sources:

  • “Baby Will Know of Depression; In Fact, It’s Her Middle Name.” New York Times 19 Jan. 1932.
  • Bernstein, Irving. “Americans in Depression and War.” The U.S. Department of Labor Bicentennial History of The American Worker, Ed. Richard B. Morris. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976.
  • “Child, Named for President, Called Franklin Depression.” New York Times 3 May 1933.
  • “Parents Name Baby Viola Depression.” Reading Eagle 26 Oct. 1932: 9.

[Check out these other names from the early-to-mid 1930s: Edwarda, Joretta, Karina, Nira, Norita, Normandie, Rockne, Sharlie]

The Baby Name Rockne

Knute Rockne
Knute Rockne
In 1931, the baby name Rockne debuted on the SSA’s baby name list. It was the top debut name for baby boys, in fact.

  • 1933: 9 baby boys named Rockne
  • 1932: 14 baby boys named Rockne
  • 1931: 17 baby boys named Rockne [debut]
  • 1930: not listed

The number of babies named Knute increased that year as well:

  • 1933: 8 baby boys named Knute
  • 1932: 10 baby boys named Knute
  • 1931: 19 baby boys named Knute
  • 1930: 8 baby boys named Knute

If you know college football, you already know where these comes from: Knute [kah-NOOT] Rockne.

Rockne was the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame. Today he’s considered one of the greatest coaches in college football history.

On March 31, 1931, 43-year-old Rockne was killed when the Fokker Trimotor* he was flying in crashed in Kansas.

Rockne was the first American celebrity to die in a commercial airplane crash, and news of his death stunned a Depression-mired nation. The ensuing mourning was truly a national event.

Also named for Rockne in 1931 was Rockne, Texas. Several months after the crash, the local schoolchildren were asked to vote between the potential community names Rockne (for Knute Rockne) and Kilmer (for poet Joyce Kilmer):

The boys voted for the football coach and the girls voted for the poet resulting in a tie. The next day Edith Goertz changed her vote giving the community its name, “Rockne”.

*Airlene was born in a Fokker Trimotor in late 1929.

Sources:

  • Coughlin, Dan. “Now He Tells Me.” Cleveland Leader 22 Oct. 2009.
  • Davies, Richard O. Sports in American Life: A History. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Marks, Paula Mitchell. “Rockne, TX.” Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  • Nelson, Marian H. Early History of Rockne, Texas.

Image: Knute Rockne, George Grantham Bain Collection, LOC

Search and Rescue Baby Name

In February of 1956, Joyce Atherton of Ugthorpe, England, went into labor. An ambulance from nearby Whitby couldn’t reach her because of the snowdrifts, so helicopter pilot Ron Salt of the No. 275 Squadron RAF (Royal Air Force) flew in, picked her up, and transported her to the hospital.

Days later, a baby girl arrived. She was named Mary Sarah Atherton. Where did her middle name come from? It was inspired by the acronym SARAH, “Search And Rescue And Homing,” as Ron’s group was also known as a Search and Rescue and Homing Squadron.

(SARAH was actually a piece of equipment the squadron pilots used. It was a miniature transmitter developed in the early 1950s to help rescuers locate downed pilots, especially during air-sea rescues.)

Source: “Sarah Named After Her Air Rescuers.” Bulletin and Scots Pictorial 19 March 1956: 5.

Other acronym baby names: Ramsi, Mash, Kytal, Ily, Ilys