Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2016 to 2017? And which ones decreased the most?
There are a few different ways to answer this question. The SSA, for instance, likes to look at ranking differences within the top 1,000. And I like to augment their list by looking at raw number differences across all the data.
According to finalized data released yesterday by Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the most popular baby names in the province last year were — as expected — Olivia and Liam.
Here are Ontario’s official top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:
9. Amelia and Mia (tie)
According to the news release, “Tenley, Riaan and Eason are brand new to the list this year.” I’m pretty sure this is a reference to the top 100, not the full list, as I doubt a name like Tenley has never been used in Ontario before.
The baby name Tenley first popped up in the SSA’s baby name data in 1953:
1957: 11 baby girls named Tenley
1956: 25 baby girls named Tenley
1955: 11 baby girls named Tenley
1954: 6 baby girls named Tenley
1953: 12 baby girls named Tenley [debut]
The inspiration? Tenley Emma Albright (b. 1935), who overcame childhood polio to become a world-class figure skater.
She won a silver medal at the 1952 Winter Olympics, became the first “triple crown” winner (U.S., North American, and World titles) in figure skating in 1953, and won a gold medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics (the first to be televised).
After retiring from figure skating in 1956, she became a surgeon.
Where did she get her name?
“I don’t know exactly where my mother found the name Tenley. When I asked her, she said, “I just liked the sound.”
Her family is full of interesting names: father Hollis, mother Elin, and brother Nile (whose name is “Elin” spelled backwards). Her first husband was named Tudor, and her three daughters are Lilla Rhys, Elin, and Elee.
In 1965, Tenley explained her eldest daughter’s name to Sports Illustrated. She said that Lilla came from the Swedish expression Lilla Vän (“little friend”) — her mother’s childhood nickname — and that Rhys was a family name.
In July of 2014, for her 79th birthday, Tenley hosted a party for her many namesakes at the Boston Skating Club. She promoted the party via the website My Name Is Tenley. Over 60 Tenleys showed up, some coming from as far away as London and Holland. The party even featured a performance by an 11-year-old skater named (what else?) Tenley.
(And what pushed the name Tenley in the top 1,000 for the first time in 2010? A contestant named Tenley on the 14th season of The Bachelor.)