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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Maureen

Number of Babies Named Maureen

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Maureen

Baby Names from “How Green Was My Valley”

Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley told the story of a Welsh coal-mining family during the late 19th century. The story’s narrator was schoolboy Huw Morgan, eighth of nine* siblings, and the symbolic greenness of the valley referred to the fact that, over the course of the Huw’s life, the valley where he lived changed color from green to black due to the mining.

In 1940, How Green Was My Valley was the best-selling book of the year and won the National Book Award for fiction the same year. In late 1941, a Hollywood film based on the book was released. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and ended up winning in five categories, including Best Picture.

Thanks to the book and the movie, two Welsh names (and one sort-of Welsh name) ended up appearing in the SSA’s baby name data…

The baby name Angharad debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1943.

Let’s go alphabetically, starting with Angharad, pronounced ahn-HAHR-ahd, roughly. In the story, Angharad (played by Maureen O’Hara in the film) was Huw’s older sister.

American audiences heard this name loud and clear within the first few minutes of the movie:

The name Angharad was a one-hit wonder in the data in 1943:

  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: 5 baby girls named Angharad [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

While the name didn’t catch on in the U.S., one name-book notes that it “has been strongly revived in Wales since the 1940s.”

The middle element of Angharad has the same root as the Welsh word caru, meaning “love.”

The baby name Bronwyn debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1942.

Next we have the names Bronwen and Bronwyn. The first appeared in 1941:

  • 1945: 10 baby girls named Bronwen
  • 1944: 8 baby girls named Bronwen
  • 1943: 9 baby girls named Bronwen
  • 1942: 8 baby girls named Bronwen
  • 1941: 7 baby girls named Bronwen [debut]
  • 1940: unlisted

And the second followed in 1942:

  • 1945: 20 baby girls named Bronwyn
  • 1944: 9 baby girls named Bronwyn
  • 1943: 10 baby girls named Bronwyn
  • 1942: 9 baby girls named Bronwyn [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

In the story, Bronwen/Bronwyn was Huw’s sister-in-law (the wife of his brother Ivor).

For the book, the name was spelled Bronwen, which is the traditional form of the name. It can be traced back to Welsh elements meaning “breast” (bron) and “white, fair; blessed, holy” (gwen).

But for the movie, the name was respelled Bronwyn, inexplicably. The film character Bronwyn (played by Anna Lee**) was typically called “Bron.”

Notably, one of the babies named after the character was Maureen O’Hara’s only child, Bronwyn, born in 1944. Her birth is likely what boosted the -wyn spelling ahead of the -wen spelling in 1945.

Which Welsh name do you like more, Angharad or Bronwen?

Which Welsh name do you prefer?

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*The nine Morgan siblings in order were Ivor, Ianto, Davy, Owen, Gwilym Jr., Angharad, Ceridwen, Huw, and Olwen.
**Anna Lee’s five children were named Joanna Venetia, Caroline, John, Stephen, and Timothy.

Sources:

The Trio in Rio – Leila, Liina, Lily

Next Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, 30-year-old identical (and alliterative) triplets Leila, Liina, and Lily Luik of Estonia are expected to run the women’s marathon. This will make the “Trio in Rio,” as they call themselves, the first set of triplets to compete in an Olympics.

In comparison, about 200 sets of twins have competed in the Olympics over the years. Here are some of the Olympic twins with similarly alliterative names:

  • Åke & Arne (Sweden) [not technically alliterative; see JJ’s comment]
  • Catarina & Christina (Sweden)
  • Darius & Donatas (Lithuania)
  • Darrin & Dan (USA)
  • Dennis & Duane (USA)
  • Dionísio & Domingos (Portugal)
  • Jean-Jacques & Jean-Marc (France)
  • Jodie & Julie (Canada)
  • Jules & Julian (Belgium)
  • Katalin & Krisztina (Hungary)
  • Katrine & Kristine (Norway)
  • Lívia & Lucia (Slovakia)
  • Madeline & Margaret (Puerto Rico)
  • Marianne & Mildred (Netherlands)
  • Sandy & Sonia (Zimbabwe)
  • Malcolm “Mal” & Melville “Mel” (Jamaica)
  • Mark & Michael (Canada)
  • Maureen & Melanie (Netherlands)
  • McJoe & McWilliams (Puerto Rico)
  • Mikuláš & Miloslav (Slovakia)
  • Pascal & Patrick (France)
  • Paula & Peta (Bermuda)
  • Paulo Miguel & Pedro Miguel (Portugal)
  • Pavol & Peter (Slovakia)
  • Randolph & Robert (USA)
  • Rhoda & Rhona (Canada)
  • Ricardo & Rodrigo (Chile)
  • Sharon & Shirley (Canada)
  • Stanley & Sydney (Great Britain)
  • Tami & Toni (USA)
  • Terry & Tom (USA)
  • Valeriy & Volodymyr (Ukraine)
  • Valj & Vita (Ukraine)
  • Veronika & Viktoriya (Belarus)
  • Vida & Vidette (South Africa)
  • Zlatko & Zoran (Yugoslavia)

You can see a full list of Olympic twins in the OlympStats post Twins at the Olympics.

Have you been tuning in to the Olympics? If so, have you spotted any interesting names so far?

First C-Section Quads Get Rhyming Names, Mostly

A set of quadruplets was delivered via Caesarean section for the first time ever on November 1, 1944. The quads — 3 girls and 1 boy — were born to Kathleen and Joseph Cirmnello of Philadelphia. TIME magazine noted several weeks later that the quadruple C-section was “a feat unique in medical history.”

The foursome had been known as A, B, C and D. However, Cirminello named the boy Michael on Saturday and the mother picked Kathleen for girl B’s name. The other two Monday were named Maureen and Eileen.

Kathleen, Maureen, Eileen, and…Michael. Do you think Michael ever felt left out because his name didn’t rhyme with his sisters’ names?

(Another rhyming sibset: Don Ameche’s Rhyming Children.)

Sources:

  • “Medicine: Quadruple Caesarean.” TIME Nov. 13, 1944.
  • “Cirminello Quads Named; Father Goes Back to Work.” Miami News Nov. 6, 1944: 2-A.

Popular Baby Names in Northern Ireland, 2014

According to data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), the most popular baby names in Northern Ireland in 2014 were Emily and Jack.

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 261 baby girls
2. Grace, 189
3. Sophie, 180
4. Amelia, 175
5. Ella, 172
6. Olivia, 152
7. Anna, 150
8. Lucy, 149
9. Sophia, 148
10. Eva, 146
1. Jack, 285 baby boys
2. James, 276
3. Daniel, 236
4. Charlie, 224
5. Harry, 193
6. Noah, 190
7. Oliver, 155
8. Ethan, 153
9. Jacob, 148
10. Thomas, 147

Olivia and Eva replace Aoife and Jessica in the girls’ top 10.

Thomas replaces Matthew in the boys’ top 10.

Two names that made big jumps into the top 100 were Kian (171st to 78th) and Aria (218th to 89th).

Finally, here are some of the unusual names that were given to only 1 or 2 babies in Northern Ireland last year:

Girl Names Boy Names
Aoifrie, Cobhlaith, Cuisle, Deirbhile, Enfys, Ermioni, Ezraelle, Flossie-Bo, Ionagh, Ionela, Labhaoise, Loveday, Maoiliosa, Maureen-Nevaeh, Narbflaith, Rimgaile, Saorfhlaith, Saylor-Doll, Tsz, Vogue, Zinifer Aodh, Benji-Beau, Caoilte, Cavani, Connlaoth, Davog, Dualta, Epaphroditus, Feidhlim, Goldberg, Grantas, Jecstonio, Jeef, Kal-El, Laochra, Laoghaire, Mjtba, Peanut, Seachlann, Stanex, Theo-Thaddeus, Tucgan

Earlier rankings for Northern Ireland: 2013, 2012, 2007, 2006.

Sources: NISRA – Demography, Most popular NI baby names for 2014 are Jack and Emily

Maureen and Mavourneen – Too Close for Twin Names?

Maureen O’Connor, former San Diego mayor (1986-1992), was charged with money laundering in federal court earlier this month.

I don’t know much about the situation, but I was intrigued to learn that Maureen had 12 siblings, including a twin sister with a very similar name — Mavourneen.

(The other siblings are Patrick, Michael, Dennis, Sharon, Dianne, Colleen, Sheila, Timothy, Karen, Thomas and Shawn.)

The names Maureen and Mavourneen [pronounced muh-VOOR-neen] are both Irish, but they have different etymologies:

Maureen is an anglicized form of Máirín, which is a pet form of Máire, which — like the English name Mary — is based on the French name Marie, which comes from the Latin name Maria. In ancient Rome, Maria was originally a feminine form of Marius, but it was later popularized as a version of the Hebrew name Miriam. The meaning of Miriam is unknown, though hypothesized definitions abound: “beloved,” “rebellious,” “strong sea,” “bitter sea,” “drop of the sea,” etc.

Mavourneen is an anglicized form of the Irish phrase mo mhúirnín, meaning “my darling.” It began as a term of endearment, but morphed into a given name probably when the song “Kathleen Mavourneen” (1837) became popular in the mid-1800s. (A number of the 19th-century Mavourneens I’ve tracked down were named “Kathleen Mavourneen.” Many of the 20th century Mavourneens too, actually.)

In terms of popularity, Maureen was one of the top 100 baby names in the U.S. from 1947 until 1954. Mavourneen, on the other hand, has never cracked the U.S. top 1,000.

And now the main question: What do you think of the names Maureen and Mavourneen for twins? Cute? Too close? Somewhere in between?

[Related poll: How Similar Should Twin Names Be?]