While cleaning out my bookmarks the other day, I rediscovered this post on French names from francophile blog Polly-Vous Francais. It contrasts the names found in the birth and death announcements of a French newspaper. Here’s a sampling:
Two weeks (and two million croissants) later, I’m back in the States…with photos!
I’ll be posting them in batches over the next few days. This first batch consists of names I spotted in various commercial settings. (Names for sale, if you will.)
These zipper charms (called “Les Zippers”) were in a shop close to Notre-Dame in Paris:
Traditional names like Jean and Marie were also represented, but I found the trendy names a bit more interesting. (Photos for Corentin, Noémie, Océane, Ophélie, Tiphaine and Yanis ended up being too fuzzy to post.)
These name “cards” (not sure exactly what their purpose is) were in a shop in Monaco:
If Ségolène looks familiar, it’s likely thanks to former French presidential contender Ségolène Royal.
Finally, I found some street signs featuring given names (e.g. Bruno Boulevard) at a rest stop in Italy, but didn’t have the camera or a pen with me at the time. The only name I can recall now is Tiziano.
The names below are “one-hit wonder” names that ranked among the 1,000 most popular U.S. baby names only once — sometime during the 1880s.
This list is much longer than the 1940s and 1950s lists, but it’s also probably a lot less reliable. Why? Because the SSA‘s baby name data for the late 1800s and early 1900s is pretty skewed. As a result, a lot of random names (and misspellings) managed to rank among the statistical “top 1,000” during this period.
The obituaries included female names like Denise, Gilberte and Jacqueline and male names such as Emile, Pierre and Yves. Based on the ages listed, it seems that many of the deceased were born around the year 1915.
The birth announcements, on the other hand, included female names like Béatrix, Noémie, Quitterie and Tatiana and male names such as Amaury, Foucauld, Hipployte and Mathis. Interestingly, Polly notes that “In some cases it wasn’t clear whether the name was male or female.”
It’s anecdotal, of course…but the difference between the two groups is notable, and is likely indicative of a nationwide shift in baby name preferences.
I haven’t been able to track down a list of the top French baby names of 2006, but the most popular for 2004 were:
Male Names (top 5): Enzo, Lucas, Théo, Thomas, Hugo