Here are the top names within each of the three regions:
Flanders (58% of Belgians) Language: Dutch
1. Louise 2. Emma 3. Marie 4. Elise 5. Ella
1. Lucas 2. Liam 3. Arthur 4. Louis 5. Noah
Wallonia (32% of Belgians) Language: mostly French
1. Léa 2. Lucie 3. Alice 4. Emma 5. Chloé
1. Louis 2. Hugo 3. Nathan 4. Noah 5. Gabriel
Brussels (10% of Belgians) Languages: Dutch/French
1. Nour 2. Lina 3. Sofia 4. Sara 5. Yasmine
1. Adam 2. Mohamed 3. Gabriel 4. Rayan 5. David
I find it interesting that Olivia, the 3rd-most-popular baby girl name in the country overall, didn’t hit the top 5 in any of the three regions. It came in 6th in both Flanders and Wallonia and 11th in Brussels.
In 2015, Emma replaced Lea as the top girl name, William joined Thomas as the top boy name, Beatrice replaced Charlie in the girls’ top 10, and Noah replaced Olivier in the boy’s top 10. (Here are the 2014 rankings.)
[UPDATE, May 2017 – The Quebec rankings for 2015 have since been updated and it looks like William has pulled ahead of Thomas to become the sole #1 name.]
Of all 9,096 girl names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 74.5% of them were used a single time. Here are some of the unique girl names:
Allegresse – the French word allégresse means “joy, elation.”
Confiance – the French word confiance means “confidence, trust.”
Exaucee – the French verb exaucer means “to grant a wish.”
Garance – the French word garance refers to a shade of red created from the root of the madder plant.
In the girls’ top 10, Lena replaces Fien (short for Jozefien, the Dutch form of Josephine). In the boys’ top 10, Seppe and Jules replace Lars and Alexander.
I would have guessed that Seppe was a diminutive of Joseph (akin to the German name Sepp). According to a Behind the Name contributor, though, Seppe is a West Frisian name that can be traced back to Sibe, a “Frisian short form of masculine names that have sigu or sigis for a first element” and a second element begins with the letter b (e.g., Sibald, Sibert).
About 32% of Belgians live in the southern region, Wallonia, where the official language is French (and, in some areas, German). Here are the top 10 baby names for Wallonia:
In the girls’ top 10, Malak and Anna replace Ines and Louise. In the boy’s top 10, Amir, Lucas and Yanis replace Ayoub, Nathan and Anas.
Morocco World News notes that “heavy immigration from Morocco and other Muslim countries has left its traces, as Mohamed has been the most common male name in the Brussels Region recently.” Mohamed was the #1 boy name in Brussels from the late 1990s until 2011, in fact. And the same wave of immigration has given a big boost to many other Arabic names (Amir, Bilal, Hamza, Imran, Malak, Nour, Rayan, Yousra, etc.) within the last few decades.
The image below, of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, was captured in early 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype.
It may be the earliest surviving photograph of a person. Two people, actually. Both are in the lower left:
Here’s a close-up:
The standing man is getting his shoe shined, and the other man (partially obscured) is doing the shoe-shining.
Of all the people on the sidewalk that day, these were the only two to stay still long enough (about 10 minutes) to be captured in the image.
Now for the fun part!
What would you name these two Frenchmen?
Let’s pretend you’re writing a book set in Paris in the 1830s, and these are two of your characters. What names would you give them?
Here’s a long list of traditional French male names, to get you started:
For some real-life inspiration, here are lists of famous 19th century and 20th century French people, courtesy of Wikipedia. Notice that many of the Frenchman have double-barreled, triple-barreled, even quadruple-barreled given names. (Daguerre himself was named Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.)
1. William (855 baby boys) 2. Nathan (839) 3. Olivier (798) 4. Alexis (746) 5. Samuel (737) 6. Gabriel (731) 7. Thomas (707) 8. Jacob (706) 9. Felix (702) 10. Raphael (590) 11. Antoine (560) 12. Liam (522) 13. Noah (462) 14. Benjamin (446) 15. Xavier (444) 16. Emile (440) 17. Mathis (417) 18. Adam (412) 19. Justin (405) 20. Zachary (389)
Check out Charlie in 12th place for girls. For boys, it’s all the way down in 145th place.
Charlie is being used more and more often as a girl name in the U.S. as well.
The next-most-popular Charl- names for each gender were Charlotte in 24th place and Charles in 21st place. (Though, if you count the hundreds of baby boys with a Charles combination-name, e.g., Charles-Antoine, the total for Charles jumps to over 750, putting the name in 4th place.)
Want to compare the top Quebec baby names of 2012 with those of 2009, or 2006?