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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sean


Posts that Mention the Name Sean

Popular and Unusual Baby Names in Ireland, 2018

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were again Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Emily
  2. Grace
  3. Emma
  4. Sophie
  5. Amelia
  6. Ella
  7. Ellie
  8. Mia
  9. Ava
  10. Fiadh (pronounced fee-ah)

Boy Names

  1. Jack
  2. James
  3. Noah
  4. Conor
  5. Daniel
  6. Harry
  7. Luke
  8. Michael
  9. Adam
  10. Charlie

In the girls’ top 10, Ella, Ellie, and Fiadh replace Hannah (now 11th), Lucy (13th), and Chloe (16th). The Irish name Fiadh* comes from the word fia, which means “wild” — in a “wild animal” or “wild deer” sense specifically. (Many sources oversimplify the definition by reducing it to “deer.”)

In the boys’ top 10, Charlie replaces Sean (now both 13th & 74th — see below for an explanation).

New entrants to the girls’ top 100 were Ada, Bella, Bonnie and Ivy. Ada and Ivy were the fastest climbers.

New entrants to the boys’ top 100 were Frankie, Freddie and Theodore. Theodore and Frankie were the fastest climbers.

Something else new to the rankings in 2018? The síneadh fada — an important Irish diacritic that indicates a long vowel. (In Irish, the word síneadh means “stretching” or “prolongation” and the word fada means “long.”) This is what pushed longtime top-five name Sean out of the top 10 entirely in 2018. “Sean” and “Seán” are now being counted as separate names. Currently, Seán ranks 13th while fada-less Sean is way down in 74th place.

Speaking of names with relatively low placement on the list, baby names bestowed just three times each in Ireland last year included…

  • Rare girl names: Aodhla, Erris, Fódla, Rahela, Seoda, Ugne, Xenia
  • Rare boy names: Connla, Iarfhlaith, Liam Óg, Lughaidh, Seánie, Sionnach, Zente

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names 2018: Introduction, Babies’ Names 2018 Tables, CSO baby names list features síneadh fada for first time
Image: © 2019 CSO

*The name Fiadh debuted in the U.S. data in 2018.

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2017

Ireland’s rankings came out early this year! Typically we don’t see them until the start of June, but this year they were released at the end of February.

Anyway…according to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2017 were Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Emily
2. Emma
3. Amelia
4. Grace
5. Sophie
6. Lucy
7. Hannah
8. Mia
9. Ava
10. Chloe

Boy Names
1. Jack
2. James
3. Daniel
4. Conor
5. Sean
6. Noah
7. Luke
8. Harry
9. Adam
10. Michael

In the girls’ top 10, Chloe replaces Lily.

In the boys’ top 10, Harry replaces Oisin.

Interesting factoid: “While there were 2,981 baby boys named John [the #1 boy name] 50 years ago, taken together the five most popular boys’ names in 2017 accounted for 2,765 baby boys.”

The names that saw the most growth in popularity — just within the top 100, I believe — were:

  • Girl names by…
    • Rank: Aoibhin (+81 spots), Nina (+41 spots), Hazel & Pippa (tie; +21 spots each)
    • Number of babies: Aoibhin (+57), Evie (+54), Sadie (+34)
  • Boy names by…
    • Rank: Theo (+33 spots), Jackson (+29 spots), Ruairi (+27 spots)
    • Number of babies: Luke (+45), Logan (+44), Harry (+36)

In 2016, the top two names were Emily and James.

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names 2017, Babies’ Names 2017 Tables, Jack and Emily most popular baby names in 2017

Find More Family Names Over the Holidays

how to find more family names

It’s December! A month full of gatherings. Particularly family gatherings.

This is great news for expectant parents who want to find a family name, but haven’t had any luck with the obvious choices (like parent names and grandparents names). Family gatherings are the perfect place to dig a little deeper — for more names in the family tree, or for names that aren’t technically in the family tree, but that are strongly associated with your family in some other way.

All you have to do is start asking questions.

Essentially, you want to ask your older relatives about their personal history and best memories. This won’t just benefit you — it’ll make your relatives feel valued, it’ll make the occasion memorable for everyone, and it’ll keep the conversation focused (so that no one can veer off into, say, politics).

Here are some questions you could use. They’re geared toward uncovering important people, places, events, symbols, and other noun-y type things that might make good baby names. (If you have any other question ideas, leave a comment!)

Family Member Interview Questions

Self Where and when were you born?
What’s your full name?
Is there a story behind your name?
What nicknames have you had, as a child and as an adult?
Siblings If you had siblings, what were their names/nicknames?
Parents Where and when were they born?
What are their full names?
Is there a story behind their names?
Did they have nicknames?
What were they like?
What is your fondest memory of them?
(Did this happen at a particular place or event?)
What other items, places, events, people, ideas, and so forth do you associate with them?
Aunts & Uncles If you had aunts and uncles, what were their names/nicknames?
Grandparents Where and when were they born?
What are their names?
Is there a story behind any of their names?
Did they have nicknames?
What is your fondest memory of them?
(Did this happen at a particular place or event?)
What other items, places, events, people, ideas, and so forth do you associate with them?
Ancestors Do you remember your great-grandparents or any other older relatives?
What were their names?
What stories have come down to you about the ancestors you never met?
(Do you have any famous ancestors?)
What items, places, events, people, ideas, and so forth are associated with any of these ancestors?
Family Friends What significant family friends do you remember?
What other people have helped your family in some significant way?
Family Memories What did your family do together? Think activities, traditions, locations, etc.
What is your fondest family memory?
(Did this happen at a particular place or event?)
What special items in your home do you remember?
Personal Memories
(childhood & teen years)
What did you like to do?
Where did you like to spend time?
Who were your good friends?
What special places did you travel?
What people (teachers, coaches, community members) were particularly helpful to you?
What is your fondest childhood memory?
What is your fondest memory of your teenage years?
What other items, places, events, people, ideas, and so forth do you associate with these times in your life?
Personal Memories
(adulthood)
What did you like to do?
Where did you like to spend time?
Who were your good friends?
What special places did you travel?
What people (friends, mentors, coworkers, community members) were particularly helpful to you?
What is your fondest adulthood memory?
What other items, places, events, people, ideas, and so forth do you associate with this time in your life?
Significant Other What is/was his/her name?
When and where did you meet?
If you married, when and where did you marry?
What is your fondest memory of him/her?
(Did this happen at a particular place or event?)
What other items, places, events, people, ideas, and so forth do you associate with this person/relationship?
Personal Highlights Describe the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to you.
Describe the time/place you remember feeling the most content and at peace.
Which person (either friend or public figure) has had the biggest positive influence on your life?

As you take notes, remember to be open-minded. Try not to dismiss any name right away.

First, because many names have other forms. So you might not like Grandpa Ivan’s name, but “Ivan” could lead you to something you do like: Evan, Sean, Gianni, Johnny…

Second, any name could end up being associated with multiple family members, and hence have a greater overall significance than you would have expected. Maybe you’re not so sure about your mother-in-law’s maiden name, Lloyd…until you hear some hilarious story involving your own great-grandfather and an ill-fated fishing trip to a place called Lloyd’s Creek, which helps you see “Lloyd” in a whole new light.

If you end up finding a great baby name this year after talking with your relatives, come back and lets us know!

Baby Names Inspired by the Solar Eclipse

baby names, solar eclipse

On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have — or conceive! — a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that isn’t as audacious as Eclipse itself). So what are your options?

Names with “celestial” associations

A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…

“Sun” names Helios, Elio, Sunny, Sol, Solange, Soleil, Solaris, Ravi, Samson, Surya, Sunniva, Haruko, Hinata
“Star” names Star, Stella, Estelle, Starla, Astra, Seren, Tara, Citlali, Hoshi
“Moon” names Luna, Moon, Selene, Selena, Chandra, Mahina, Qamar, Dawa
“Earth” names Eartha, Gaia, Tierra, Tlaloc, Avani
“Sky” names Sky, Skyla, Skylar, Lani, Miku, Akash, Alya, Celeste, Celestine, Ciel, Sora

Names with “dark” associations

The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…

“Shadow” names Shade, Umbra, Shadow, Zillah
“Dark” or “Black” names Melanie, Duff, Dubhan, Ciar, Ciara, Ciaran, Sullivan*, Krishna, Charna, Jett, Raven
“Night” names Nisha, Layla, Nyx, Lilith, Miyako, Rajnish

*Sullivan essentially means “descendant of the little dark eye” in Irish — weirdly appropriate for a solar eclipse baby name, don’t you think?

Name combos with both “celestial” and “dark” associations

You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…

  • Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
  • Jett Samson: “black” and “sun”
  • Ciaran Sol: “black” and “sun”
  • Melanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
  • Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)

Names (or name combos) featuring the letters “S” and “E”

This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…

Seeta
Sela
Selene (“moon” in Greek)
Selma
Seraphina
Seren (“star” in Welsh)
Serenity
Sean
Sebastian
Sefton
Sergio
Seth
Severino
Seymour

Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…

Sally Esther
Scarlett Eve
Sophia Eloise
Susanna Elizabeth
Samuel Elijah
Shane Everett
Stanley Edward
Sylvester Ellis

Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?

Sources: When & Where to See the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, Two Minutes Of Darkness With 20,000 Strangers

Update, 5/15/2018: The baby name Eclipse debuted in the 2017 SSA data!

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2016

According to data released yesterday by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2016 were Emily and James.

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

Girl Names
1. Emily, 490 baby girls
2. Grace, 452 (up from 8th to 2nd)
3. Ava, 388 (2-way tie)
4. Lucy, 388 (2-way tie)
5. Amelia, 369 (2-way tie)
6. Sophie, 369 (2-way tie)
7. Emma, 365 (down from 2nd to 7th)
8. Mia, 357
9. Hannah, 351 (new)
10. Lily, 334 (new)

Boy Names
1. James, 688 baby boys (new #1 name; replaces Jack)
2. Jack, 684
3. Daniel, 558 (2-way tie)
4. Conor, 558 (2-way tie)
5. Sean, 501
6. Noah, 446
7. Adam, 400
8. Oisin, 398 (new)
9. Michael, 394
10. Luke, 375

Some quick facts about the girl names…

  • Newbies to the top 10: Hannah, Lily
  • Newbies to the top 100: Aria, Harper, Heidi, Matilda, Willow, Zoey
  • Biggest increases within the top 100, by…
    • Ranking: Willow/Matilda (tied), Harper, Heidi, Zoey, Daisy
    • Raw number: Grace, Fiadh, Saoirse, Charlotte, Evie, Holly/Alice (tied)
  • Top girl names in Ireland’s five biggest cities: Amelia (Dublin and Cork), Ava (Limerick), Fiadh (Galway), Mia (Waterford)

And some quick facts about the boy names…

  • Newbie to the top 10: Oisin
  • Newbie to the top 100: Muhammad
  • Biggest increases within the top 100, by…
    • Ranking: Muhammad, Louis, Lucas, Josh/Jason (tied), Ollie
    • Raw number: Finn, Max, Jacob, Lucas, Oisin, Ollie, Rian
  • Top boy names in Ireland’s five biggest cities: James (Dublin), Charlie (Cork), Conor (Limerick), Michael (Galway), Daniel (Waterford)

Finally, here are the 2015 rankings for Ireland, the 2016 rankings for Northern Ireland, and some Irish name pronunciations.

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names 2016, Press Statement Irish Babies’ Names 2016