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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Margaret

Number of Babies Named Margaret

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Margaret

Baby Name Story: Kimberly Sunshine

In September of 1983, Margaret Kruger of Stuart, Florida, went into labor three months early. She was put into an air ambulance helicopter heading to Tampa…but the baby wasn’t going to wait that long. So pilot Ron Ray made an emergency landing in a cow pasture near Okeechobee, and a baby girl was born soon after the landing.

Kruger said:

“Everyone was rushing around, getting the incubator out of the helicopter it wouldn’t open inside and trying to get the baby to breathe […] Cow manure was everywhere caked on the incubator and helicopter skids.”

The baby weighed less than two pounds and spent the next three months in the hospital. Despite being given a 20% chance of survival, she lived.

Her name? Kimberly Sunshine — Kimberly because it means “field” or “clearing” (in part*) and Sunshine because it recalls “the sunshine that surrounded her the day she was born.”

*The “ly” part of Kimberly comes from a word meaning “field,” but the “kimber” part is based on any of several Old English names (e.g., Cyneburga, Cynebald).

[Here’s another baby name story that involves both a helicopter and a pilot named Ron, ironically. And here’s one with a cow.]

Sources:

  • Plarski, Pat. “Baby Born in Copter Beating All the Odds.” Palm Beach Post 25 Mar. 1984.
  • Swartz, Sally. “Pilot Visits Girl who was Born in his Helicopter.” Palm Beach Post 28 Jun. 1992.

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

Top Baby Names in Nova Scotia, 1914

Speaking of popular baby names Nova Scotia…did you know that the province’s Open Data site includes birth registration records from the mid-1800s and from the early 1900s? I isolated the records from 1914 — the most recent year in the data — and came up with baby name rankings for about a century ago:

Top Girl Names, 1914
1. Mary (close to 700 girls)
2. Margaret
3. Annie
4. Marie
5. Helen
6. Dorothy
7. Florence
8. Elizabeth
9. Catherine (over 100 girls)
10. Alice

Top Boy Names, 1914
1. John (close to 600 boys)
2. Joseph
3. James
4. William
5. George
6. Charles
7. Robert
8. Arthur
9. Donald
10. Edward (over 100 boys)

The rankings represent about about 6,700 baby girls and about 6,800 baby boys born in Nova Scotia in 1914. I’m not sure how many babies were born that year overall, but it looks like the province’s total population in 1914 was roughly 500,000 people.

Hundreds of the names were used just once. Here are some examples:

Unique Girl names Unique Boy names
Adalta, Adayala, Ailsa, Amilene, Anarina, Aniela, Attavilla, Birdina, Buema, Burance, Caletta, Cattine, Celesta, Claviettee, Deltina, Elta, Erdina, Ethelda, Eudavilla, Evhausine, Fauleen, Genneffa, Gennesta, Heuldia, Hughenia, Iselda, Ivenho, Lanza, Lebina, Lelerta, Loa, Lougreta, Manattie, Meloa, Milnina, Minira, Namoia, Naza, Neitha, Neruda, Olava, Oressa, Prenetta, Ramza, Ruzena, Sophique, Stanislawa, Taudulta, Udorah, Velena, Vola, Vonia, Waldtraut, Willina, Yuddis Albenie, Alpine, Alywin, Alyre, Armenious, Bayzil, Bernthorne, Briercliffe, Carefield, Cicero, Colomba, Craigen, Desire, DeWilton, Docithee, Edly, Enzile, Ethelberth, Ewart, Exivir, Fernwood, Firth, Florincon, Glidden, Gureen, Haliberton, Haslam, Hibberts, Irad, Kertland, Kinsman, Kitchener, Langille, Lemerchan, Lockie, Lubins, Meurland, Murl, Neddy, Nevaus, Niron, Odillon, Olding, Phine, Rexfrid, Roseville, Saber, Sifroi, Sprat, Stannage, Venanties, Waitstill, Wardlo, Wentworth, Wibbert

I also spotted one boy with the first and middle names “Earl Gray” (delicious!) and another with the first and middle names “Kermit Roosevelt” (the name of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s six children).

Sources: Open Data Nova Scotia (specifically, Birth Registrations 1864-1877, 1908-1914), Nova Scotia – Population urban and rural, by province and territory (via Wayback)

Popular Baby Names in New York City, 2015

According to data from the New York City Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the city last year were Olivia and Ethan.

Here are New York City’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names
1. Olivia (595 baby girls)
2. Sophia
3. Emma (tied)
4. Mia (tied)
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Emily
8. Ava
9. Chloe
10. Madison

Boy Names
1. Ethan (773 baby boys)
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Jacob
5. Jayden
6. Matthew
7. David
8. Daniel (tied)
9. Dylan (tied)
10. Aiden

On the girls’ list, Olivia replaces Sophia as the top name and Madison replaces Sofia in the top 10.

On the boys’ list, Dylan and Aiden replace Michael and Alexander in the top 10.

Here are the top names broken down by ethnic/racial group:

Latino:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emma
5. Camila
1. Liam
2. Dylan
3. Ethan
4. Matthew
5. Noah

Black:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Madison
2. Skylar
3. Ava
4. Olivia
5. Mia
1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Aiden
4. Jeremiah
5. Ethan/Josiah (tie)

White:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Leah
4. Sarah
5. Esther
1. David
2. Joseph
3. Moshe
4. Jacob
5. Benjamin

Asian & Pacific Islander:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia
2. Chloe
3. Sophia
4. Emily
5. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Ryan
4. Muhammad
5. Aiden

New York City’s less-popular names (used 10 times each) included…

  • Damaris, Eunice, and Shirin (girl names)
  • Dimitri, Immanuel, and Ousmane (boy names)

The news release also mentioned that NYC’s baby name data goes back as far back as 1898. That year, the top girl names were Mary, Catherine, and Margaret, and the top boy names were John, William, and Charles.

Here are NYC’s 2014 rankings. For more U.S.-specific baby name rankings, see the U.S. name rankings subcategory. For international rankings as well, check out the full name rankings category.

Source: Olivia and Ethan Top Health Department’s Annual Most Popular Baby Names For 2015

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