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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sarah

Number of Babies Named Sarah

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sarah

Popular Baby Names in Norway, 2016

According to data released back in January by Statistics Norway, the most popular baby names in Norway in 2016 were Nora/Norah and Lucas/Lukas.

Here are Norway’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

norway, girl names, 2016Girl Names
1. Nora/Norah/Noora, 551 baby girls
2. Emma, 410
3. Sara/Sarah/Zara, 379
4. Sofie/Sophie, 367
5. Sofia/Sophia, 340
6. Maja/Maia/Maya, 324
7. Olivia, 323
8. Ella, 313
9. Ingrid/Ingerid/Ingri, 310
10. Emilie, 309

Boy Names
1. William, 498 baby boys
2. Oskar/Oscar, 420
3. Lucas/Lukas, 408
4. Mathias/Matias, 397
5. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip, 396
6. Oliver, 385
7. Jakob/Jacob, 378
8. Emil, 369
9. Noah/Noa, 362
10. Aksel/Axel, 359

That image is a piece of a larger infographic showing the most popular baby names in each Norwegian county. In two counties, Oppland and Aust-Agder, the top girl name last year was the intriguing Tiril. Tiril seems to have no specific meaning; it may have been derived from the (nonsense?) word tirilil from the 19th century poem “Lokkende Toner” by Johan Sebastian Welhaven.

(A similar name we talked about recently was Tirrell.)

I forgot to post Norway’s 2015 rankings, but in 2014 the top names were Nora/Norah and Lucas/Lukas.

Sources: Navn – SSB, Tiril – Nordic Names


Name Quotes #51: Fox, Bear, Sarah, Michael

quote, name, blake lively, stage name, real name

From a 2006 interview with Blake Lively:

Q: I’ve got to say, “Blake Lively” sounds almost too cool to not be a stage name…

A: People are always like, “Blake Lively! Okay, what’s your real name?” It’s kind of embarrassing to tell people, because it sounds like a really cheesy stage name.

Q: Is there a story behind the first part?

A: Actually, my grandma’s brother’s name was Blake, and my sister wrote it down when she was reading a family tree. And they said, “If it’s a boy, we’ll name him Blake, and if it’s a girl, we’ll name her Blakely.” And everybody thought I was going to be a boy, and then I came out and I was a girl. And they had already been calling me Blake for months because they were positive I was going to be a boy. And they had been calling me Blake for so long, they just [kept it].

[The surname “Lively” came from Blake’s mother’s first husband. Blake’s mother kept it after the divorce, and Blake’s father — her mother’s second husband — liked it enough to take as his own when they married.]

[I mentioned Blake Lively in this year’s Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity post. Speaking of the latest batch of baby names…]

From “From Alessia to Zayn, Popular Baby Names on the Rise!” on the Social Security Matters blog:

Some other notable names in the top 10 biggest increase category include Benicio and Fox for boys. […] As for Fox, did anyone ever figure out what the fox said?

[I love that the SSA made a reference to “What Does the Fox Say?” in a baby name post.]

From Baby Kylo: ‘Star Wars’ Names Raced Up the Charts in 2016 at Live Science:

“What dad wants to name his son after a son who kills his dad?” said baby-name expert Laura Wattenberg, who analyzed the latest data on Babynamewizard.com. “It doesn’t seem like the most auspicious choice.”

From an E! News article about Liam Payne:

The One Direction singer-turned-solo artist explained the origin of son Bear Payne’s name during a Total Access radio interview, which he said was decided upon by mom Cheryl Cole.

“It was an internal battle,” Liam reflected. “I wanted a more traditional name and she wanted a name that was more unusual. “The reason she chose Bear was because Bear is a name that when you leave a room, you won’t forget.”

“And I like that,” the U.K. native decided eventually.

From The psychological effects of growing up with an extremely common name by Sarah Todd at Quartz:

If the purpose of a name is to signify an object, a very common first name seems like a pretty ineffective signifier. When people on the street say my name, I often don’t bother to turn around, knowing that there are probably other Sarah’s in close proximity. And so I think of “Sarah” less as a name that’s specific to me and more as a general descriptor—another word for “woman” or “girl,” or something else that applies both to me and to a lot of other people, too.

[Found via Appellation Mountain.]

From Why Coke Is Adding Last Names to ‘Share a Coke’ in Ad Age:

As for first names, Michael is No. 1, according to Coke.

[Found via Name Nerds.]

From Why Your Name May Be Ruining Your Life

Two University of Colorado economists found compelling evidence that the first letter of your last name does matter quite a bit—especially when you’re young.

Professor Jeffrey Zax and graduate student Alexander Cauley analyzed data on the lives of more than 3,000 men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools 2 in 1957. They found that those with surnames further back in the alphabet did worse in high school, in college, and in the job market early in their careers. […] While correlation isn’t necessarily causation, the researchers firmly believe there’s a connection.

[Found via Nameberry.]

[I’m slightly surprised we haven’t seen Zax in the data yet. Zaxton is a regular these days, though.]

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Baby Names from Pullman Cars?

pullman car, train,Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?

So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).

Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.

Alana, Archer, Arnold Adriatha, Arundel, Arvonia
Baxter, Becket, Bradley Bantry, Bellonia, Besco
Calvin, Catalina, Clyde Cadesia, Clarnie, Clymer
Dana, Deborah, Dwight Darlow, Dathema, Dodona
Edith, Eileen, Elmo Edminster, Emalinda, Etherley
Finley, Flavia, Floyd Fithian, Flaxton, Florilla
Gary, Georgette, Grayson Gavarnie, Gilia, Gloxinia
Harper, Harriet, Hector Harista, Humela, Hythe
Iona, Isabella, Ivan Irvona, Isleta, Ixion
Jessica, Jordan, Julia Jacelia, Jathniel, Justitia
Kara, Keith, Kenneth Keinath, Kenia, Kittson
Laurel, Lewis, Linden Lauveta, Leolyn, Lysander
Madison, Marco, Maude Mardonia, Mayence, Morganza
Nicola, Noel, Nora Narinda, Nasby, Norlina
Olivia, Omar, Otis Oaklyn, Olanda, Oxus
Parker, Perry, Philippa Penlyn, Pipila, Pixley
Quincy Quarren
Rebecca, Riley, Ronald Rexis, Risley, Ruxton
Sarah, Scott, Susanne Salphrona, Sarver, Sibley
Thora, Tracy, Tyler Tascott, Tilden, Tisonia
Vanessa, Vernon, Victoria Varick, Vinora, Vivita
Wesley, Wilson, Wren Welby, Wescott, Wexford

Which of the names above do you like best?

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

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name like Sarah

five name friday, girl name

You’re back at the furniture warehouse, this time looking for an armchair to go with the couch you got a few months ago. While there, you strike up a conversation with yet another friendly pregnant lady (what are the chances?!). You ask her if she’s chosen a name yet, and this is what she says:

I want to name my daughter after my mom Sarah, but I also want my daughter (and my mom!) to have their own unique names, not exact duplicate names. What are some nice names like Sarah?

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But there are hundreds of armchairs to choose from, and the store won’t stay open forever, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before you get back to your shopping.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

I want to name my daughter after my mom Sarah, but I also want my daughter (and my mom!) to have their own unique names, not exact duplicate names. What are some nice names like Sarah?

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]