How popular is the baby name Christopher 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 Christopher.

The graph will take a few moments to load. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take 9 months!) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Christopher


Posts that Mention the Name Christopher

What turned Notorious into a baby name in 1995?

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. (1972-1997) in the music video for the song "One More Chance."
Notorious B.I.G.

The unlikely name Notorious debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1995, dropped off in 1996, then returned in 1997:

  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: 9 baby boys named Notorious
  • 1996: unlisted
  • 1995: 9 baby boys named Notorious [debut]
  • 1994: unlisted
  • 1993: unlisted

Notorious has re-appeared in the data several times since, but, so far, 9 babies in a single year represents peak usage.

So, what turned this vocabulary word — a synonym of “infamous” — into a personal name?

New York City rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls), born Christopher Wallace in 1972.

His 1994 debut album, Ready to Die, featured the singles “One More Chance” (which peaked at #2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart), “Big Poppa” (#6), and “Juicy” (#27).

“Big Poppa” was also nominated for the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance of 1995. Here’s the music video:

In March of 1997 — two weeks before the release of his second album, Life After Death — Biggie was murdered in a drive-by shooting while visiting Los Angeles.

[M]any rap fans suspect the shooting is connected to the East Coast-West Coast feud that has become prevalent in the hip-hop community over the last several years. Smalls and the label he’s on, Bad Boy Entertainment, had been in a fierce rivalry with Tupac Shakur and the Los Angeles-based gangsta rap label Death Row Records, and Shakur had accused Smalls of involvement in a 1994 robbery in which Shakur was shot.

Shakur had been murdered less than a year earlier (also in a drive-by shooting).

Biggie’s second album included the singles “Hypnotize” (which peaked at #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart), “Mo Money Mo Problems” (#1), and “Sky’s the Limit” (#26).

What are your thoughts on the name Notorious?

P.S. The word may have a negative connotation nowadays, but the original meaning of notorious was simply “publicly known and spoken of” (via the Medieval Latin word notorius, meaning “well-known”).

Sources:

Baby names with PH: Phoenix, Ophelia, Joseph

pheasant

Looking for baby names that feature the appealing letter-pair PH?

I’ve collected a hundreds of options for you in this post!

Before we get to the names, though, let’s get one big question out of the way…

Why does PH sound like “F”?

In English, PH is a digraph, which means that it’s a pair of letters that make a single sound. (It’s interesting that the word “digraph” contains a digraph, isn’t it?)

Most of the English words that have PH were derived from Greek — specifically, from Greek words that included the Greek letter phi:

Greek letter phi (uppercase)
Phi (uppercase)

In ancient times, the Greek letter phi made an aspirated p-sound. (The unaspirated p-sound, on the other hand, was made by the Greek letter pi.)

When Greek was transliterated into Latin, the letter phi was written as “ph” to denote this aspiration — that is, to signal that the letter “p” was accompanied by a brief puff of air.

So, what happened?

In the first several centuries A.D., the pronunciation of the Greek letter phi changed. It slowly evolved from an aspirated p-sound into an f-sound.

As a result, the letter-pair “ph” underwent a corresponding (though somewhat illogical) pronunciation change. It, too, came to represent an f-sound — and still does to this day.

Now, back to the names!

Top baby names with PH

Let’s begin with the most popular names with PH (including a few names that start with PH):

Top girl names with PHTop boy names with PH
Sophia
Josephine
Sophie
Phoebe
Daphne
Phoenix
Ophelia
Stephanie
Murphy
Persephone
Joseph
Christopher
Phoenix
Memphis
Philip
Phillip
Raphael
Kristopher
Ephraim
Murphy

Now here are the same names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Christopher + Kristopher

The name Christopher was derived from a pair of ancient Greek words: christos, meaning “Christ” or “anointed one,” and phoros, meaning “bearing” — hence, “Christ-bearing.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Christopher in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Christopher

Kristopher is a slightly simplified form of Christopher (perhaps influenced by the Scandinavian spelling, Kristoffer).

Graph of the usage of the baby name Kristopher in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Kristopher

Christopher is currently the 52nd most popular boy name in the nation, and Kristopher ranks 936th.

Other forms of the name include Christoph (German) and Christophe (French).

Daphne

The name Daphne was derived from the ancient Greek word daphne, meaning “laurel.”

In Greek myth, Daphne was a naiad who was saved from the advances of the god Apollo by being transformed into a laurel tree.

Daphne is currently the 288th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Daphne in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Daphne

One variant form of the name is Daphna. The name is also sometimes spelled Daphnie, Daphney, or Daphni.

Ephraim

The name Ephraim is the Biblical Greek form of a Hebrew name meaning “fruitful.” It’s pronounced a variety of ways: EHF-rum, EEF-rum, EHF-fray-um, etc.

Ephraim is currently the 978th most popular boy name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ephraim in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ephraim

The name is also sometimes spelled Ephram or Ephrem.

Joseph + Josephine

The name Joseph is based on Ioseph, the Biblical Greek form of a Hebrew name meaning “he adds.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Joseph in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Joseph

Josephine comes from Joséphine, the French feminine form of Joseph.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Josephine in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Josephine

Joseph is currently the 28th most popular boy name in the U.S., whereas Josephine ranks 72nd for girls.

The Dutch form of Joseph is Josephus. Other feminine forms include Josepha (German) and Josephina.

Memphis

Memphis was the Greek form of the ancient Egyptian city-name Men-nefer, which meant “his beauty.” (The nefer element is also evident in the Egyptian name Nefertiti.)

The Egyptian city is long gone, but a city in Tennessee was named Memphis in the 1820s.

Memphis is currently the 404th most popular boy name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Memphis in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Memphis

Murphy

The Irish surname Murphy was derived from a medieval Irish given name comprised of the elements muir, meaning “sea,” and cath, meaning “battle.”

Murphy is currently the 716th most popular girl name in the U.S. (It’s also sitting just outside the top 1,000 for boys.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Murphy in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Murphy

The name is also sometimes spelled Murphie, Murphee, or Murphey.

Ophelia

The name Ophelia was derived from the ancient Greek word opheleia, meaning “aid, help, succor.”

It’s not a name found in Greek myth, but William Shakespeare used it for a character in his play Hamlet around the year 1600. And, much more recently, the Lumineers featured the name in their 2016 song “Ophelia” [vid].

Ophelia is currently the 321st most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ophelia in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ophelia

The French form of the name is Ophélie.

Persephone

The etymology of the Greek name Persephone (pronounced per-SEH-fuh-nee) isn’t known for certain, but one modern theory suggests that it means “she who threshes ears of corn.”

In Greek myth, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter (the goddess of agriculture) and Zeus.

Persephone is currently the 778th most popular girl name in the U.S. (It entered the top 1,000 for the first time in 2019.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Persephone in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the baby name Persephone

The name is also sometimes spelled Persephonie or Persephony.

Philip + Phillip

The name Philip was derived from a pair of ancient Greek words: philos, meaning “beloved, loving,” and hippos, meaning “horse” — hence, “lover of horses.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Philip in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Philip (one L)

Phillip-with-two-L’s is a common variant of Philip.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Phillip in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Phillip (two L’s)

Philip is currently the 451th most popular boy name in the nation, and Phillip (two L’s) ranks 523rd.

Both spellings are typed entirely with the right hand on a standard QWERTY keyboard, which is interesting.

Other forms of the name include Philipp (German) and Philippe (French). Feminine forms include Philippa and Phillipa.

Phoebe

The name Phoebe was derived from the ancient Greek word phoibos, meaning “pure, bright, radiant.”

Many characters in Greek myth had this name, including a Titaness who was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia. This particular Phoebe was the grandmother of the sun god Apollo and the moon goddess Artemis.

Phoebe is currently the 247th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Phoebe in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Phoebe

The spelling Phebe (used in certain translations of the Bible) was more prevalent in previous generations. Among the babies born in the city of Providence in 1868, for instance, we find four girls named Phebe, but none named Phoebe.

Phoenix

The name Phoenix was derived from the ancient Greek word phoinix, meaning “crimson” or “purple.

In Greek and Egyptian myth, the phoenix was a bird that periodically self-immolated and then rose again from its own ashes.

In fact, the capital of Arizona was named “Phoenix” because early settlers, in the 1860s, noticed archaeological evidence of the previous Native American inhabitants and recognized that “the new town would spring from the ruins of a former civilization.”

Phoenix, a relatively gender-neutral name, currently ranks 248th for boys and 308th for girls.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Phoenix in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Phoenix

Raphael

Raphael — the name of a Biblical archangel, Renaissance painter, and a Ninja Turtle — is based on a Hebrew name meaning “God heals.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Raphael in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Raphael

Raphael is currently the 538th most popular boy name in the nation.

Feminine forms of the name include Raphaela (German) and Raphaëlle (French).

Sophia + Sophie

The name Sophia was derived from the ancient Greek word sophos, meaning “wisdom,” “sound judgment,” “skilled.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sophia in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sophia

Sophie is the French form of Sophia.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sophie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sophie

Sophia is currently the 6th most popular girl name in the U.S., and Sophie ranks 76th.

Stephanie

The name Stephanie was derived from the ancient Greek word stephanos, meaning “crown” (or, more precisely, “that which surrounds”).

Stephanie is currently the 455th most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Stephanie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Stephanie

One variant form of the name is Stephania. The name is also sometimes spelled Stephany or Stephani.

More names with PH

So, what other names have PH in them?

Here are some less-common choices (that are still seeing usage in the U.S. these days):

  • Aleph
  • Alpha
  • Alphonse, Alphonso
  • Aphrodite
  • Apphia
  • Asaph
  • Cephas
  • Cypher
  • Delphi
  • Delphina, Delphine
  • Gryphon
  • Hephzibah
  • Humphrey
  • Japheth, Japhet, Yaphet
  • Morpheus
  • Mustapha, Moustapha
  • Naphtali
  • Nephi
  • Ophira
  • Phaedra
  • Pharaoh
  • Pharrell
  • Phelan
  • Philemon
  • Philo
  • Philomena
  • Philopateer, Philopater
  • Phineas, Phinehas
  • Prophet
  • Phyllis
  • Ralph, Ralphie
  • Randolph
  • Rapha
  • Rudolph
  • Saphina
  • Saphira, Sapphira, Saphyra
  • Sapphire
  • Sephira
  • Sephiroth
  • Sephora
  • Seraph
  • Seraphim
  • Seraphina, Saraphina, Seraphine
  • Shiphrah
  • Sophina
  • Sophonie
  • Sophronia
  • Sophus
  • Sylphrena
  • Sypha
  • Symphony
  • Theophilus
  • Triumph
  • Zephaniah, Zephan
  • Zephyr, Zephyra, Zephyrus

Finally, here are some very rare names with PH — some of which haven’t seen any usage in the U.S. in recent years, others of which never appeared in the U.S. data at all.

Girl names:

Alpharetta, Amphirho, Amphithea, Aphaea, Alphonsa/Alphonsine, Aphra (e.g., Aphra Behn), Cleopha/Cléophée, Christophine, Delpha/Delphia, Dymphna, Elpha, Elaphia, Eugraphia, Euphrasia/Euphrasie, Glaphyra, Iphigenia, Nephele, Nephthys, Ophrah, Orpha/Orphia, Phaenna, Pharaildis, Philia, Philena/Philene, Philina/Philine, Philinda, Phillis, Philomela/Philomel, Philotera, Phoenicia, Photina/Photine, Phronsie, Phryne, Phyllida, Ralphine, Seraphia, Sophilia, Sophonisba, Theophila/Theophilia, Theophania, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Zelpha, Zephyria/Zéphyrine, Zilpha/Zilphia

Boy names:

Alphaeus, Alphonsus, Amphion, Caliph, Cephus, Cleophas/Cleophus, Delphin/Delphinus, Demophon, Dolph/Dolphus, Eliphalet/Eliphelet, Eliphas/Eliphaz, Ephesius, Epiphanius, Eugraphius, Euphemius, Euphranor, Euphrasius, Hephaestus, Ildephonse, Jehoshaphat/Josaphat, Jephthah/Jephtha, Naphtali/Nephtali, Nicéphore, Onuphrius, Ophir, Orpheus, Pamphilus, Phaedrus, Phanuel, Pharamond, Pharez, Phelan, Phelim, Philbert/Philibert, Phileas, Philemon, Philetus, Philon, Photius, Porphyrius, Rodolph, Rolph, Seraphin, Sophron/Sophronius, Télesphore, Theophanes, Theophilus, Tryphon, Xenophon

Options that work for both genders include Alphie, Iphis, and Seraph.


Which of the PH names above to do you like most? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. If you’d like to see popularity graphs for any of the more common names in this post, just check below for the long list of tags. Each tag is a name, so find the name you’re interested in and click through. The graph will take a moment to load — it’s grabbing a lot of data — but it will allow you to see at a glance the name’s current and historical U.S. usage.

Sources:

Image by Jan Temmel from Pixabay

Top lengths of baby names in the U.S., 2021

Which lengths were the most and least popular for U.S. baby names in 2021?

Top length for girl names: 6 letters

For baby girls, the most-used length was 6 letters, followed by 5 and 7.

Graph of length popularity for U.S. baby girl names, 2021

The most popular girl names per length were…

  • 2 letters (over 200 baby girls): Bo, Jo, Zo, An, Vy, Io
  • 3 letters (over 58,300): Ava, Mia, Zoe, Ivy, Eva, Ada
  • 4 letters (over 223,800): Emma, Luna, Ella, Aria, Mila, Nora
  • 5 letters (over 348,000): Sofia, Avery, Emily, Chloe, Layla, Hazel
  • 6 letters (over 466,100): Olivia, Amelia, Sophia, Evelyn, Harper, Camila
  • 7 letters (over 307,900): Eleanor, Abigail, Madison, Addison, Lillian, Paisley
  • 8 letters (over 142,000): Isabella, Scarlett, Penelope, Victoria, Brooklyn, Savannah
  • 9 letters (over 71,800): Charlotte, Elizabeth, Valentina, Josephine, Gabriella
  • 10 letters (over 8,000): Evangeline, Alexandria, Alessandra, Jacqueline
  • 11 letters (over 300): Christianna, Ameliagrace, Anavictoria
  • 12 letters (under 100)
  • 13 letters (over 100)
  • 14 letters (under 100)
  • 15 letters (none)

Top length for boy names: 6 letters

For baby boys, the most-used length was also 6 letters, followed by 5 and 4.

Graph of length popularity for U.S. baby boy names, 2021

The most popular girl names per length were…

  • 2 letters (over 1,800 baby boys): Bo, Ty, Om, Aj, Cy, Oz
  • 3 letters (over 49,200): Leo, Eli, Kai, Ian, Ace, Max
  • 4 letters (over 288,800): Liam, Noah, Jack, Levi, Owen, John
  • 5 letters (over 453,200): James, Lucas, Henry, Mateo, Mason, Ethan
  • 6 letters (over 511,800): Oliver, Elijah, Daniel, Samuel, Joseph, Julian
  • 7 letters (over 269,000): William, Jackson, Michael, Grayson, Matthew, Gabriel
  • 8 letters (over 106,100): Benjamin, Theodore, Maverick, Santiago, Jonathan, Jeremiah
  • 9 letters (over 42,000): Alexander, Sebastian, Christian, Nathaniel, Alejandro
  • 10 letters (over 3,700): Maximilian, Alessandro, Kristopher, Montgomery
  • 11 letters (over 7,800): Christopher, Maximiliano, Constantine
  • 12 letters (over 200)
  • 13 letters (over 100)
  • 14 letters (under 100)
  • 15 letters (under 100)

Top first letters of baby names in the U.S., 2021

Which first letters were the most and least popular for U.S. baby names in 2021?

Top first letters for girl names: A, E, M

For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U.

Graph of first letter popularity for U.S. baby girl names, 2021

The most popular girl names per letter were…

  • A-names (over 273,100 baby girls): Amelia, Ava, Abigail, Avery, Aria, Aurora
  • B-names (over 49,300): Brooklyn, Bella, Brielle, Blakely, Bailey, Brianna
  • C-names (over 93,100): Charlotte, Camila, Chloe, Claire, Caroline, Cora
  • D-names (over 40,300): Delilah, Daisy, Diana, Daniela, Delaney, Dakota
  • E-names (over 155,300): Emma, Evelyn, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Ella, Emily
  • F-names (over 16,500): Freya, Faith, Finley, Fiona, Fatima, Frances
  • G-names (over 42,900): Gianna, Grace, Genesis, Gabriella, Genevieve, Georgia
  • H-names (over 54,900): Harper, Hazel, Hannah, Hailey, Hadley, Harmony
  • I-names (over 44,100): Isabella, Isla, Ivy, Iris, Isabelle, Isabel
  • J-names (over 73,500): Josephine, Jade, Julia, Josie, Juniper, Jasmine
  • K-names (over 89,100): Kinsley, Kennedy, Kaylee, Kehlani, Katherine, Kylie
  • L-names (over 115,300): Luna, Layla, Lily, Leah, Lucy, Lillian
  • M-names (over 143,500): Mia, Mila, Madison, Maya, Madelyn, Madeline
  • N-names (over 58,800): Nora, Nova, Naomi, Natalie, Natalia, Nevaeh
  • O-names (over 30,200): Olivia, Olive, Oakley, Oaklynn, Octavia, Ophelia
  • P-names (over 37,600): Penelope, Paisley, Piper, Peyton, Parker, Presley
  • Q-names (over 4,100): Quinn, Quincy, Queen, Quinley, Quetzalli, Quinnley
  • R-names (over 74,800): Riley, Ruby, Rylee, Raelynn, Rose, Remi
  • S-names (over 116,400): Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett, Stella, Savannah, Skylar
  • T-names (over 24,200): Taylor, Teagan, Trinity, Tatum, Tessa, Talia
  • U-names (over 600): Unique, Uma, Ulani, Una, Unknown, Unity
  • V-names (over 32,400): Violet, Victoria, Valentina, Vivian, Valerie, Valeria
  • W-names (over 14,700): Willow, Wren, Winter, Wynter, Willa, Wrenley
  • X-names (over 4,500): Ximena, Xiomara, Xyla, Xena, Xochitl, Xitlali
  • Y-names (over 7,600): Yaretzi, Yara, Yareli, Yasmin, Yamileth, Yuna
  • Z-names (over 29,100): Zoey, Zoe, Zuri, Zara, Zariah, Zelda

Top first letters for boy names: J, A, L

For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was U.

Graph of first letter popularity for U.S. baby boy names, 2021

The most popular boy names per letter were…

  • A-names (over 178,600 baby boys): Alexander, Asher, Aiden, Anthony, Andrew, Adrian
  • B-names (over 86,600): Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett, Beau, Bryson, Brayden
  • C-names (over 123,000): Carter, Charles, Caleb, Christopher, Cameron, Cooper
  • D-names (over 85,000): Daniel, David, Dylan, Dominic, Declan, Damian
  • E-names (over 108,700): Elijah, Ethan, Ezra, Elias, Ezekiel, Eli
  • F-names (over 20,500): Finn, Felix, Finley, Francisco, Fernando, Finnegan
  • G-names (over 53,500): Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson, Gael, Giovanni, George
  • H-names (over 50,000): Henry, Hudson, Hunter, Harrison, Hayden, Hayes
  • I-names (over 31,500): Isaac, Isaiah, Ian, Ivan, Israel, Ismael
  • J-names (over 202,800): James, Jack, Jackson, Jacob, John, Joseph
  • K-names (over 93,400): Kai, Kayden, Kingston, Kaiden, Kevin, King
  • L-names (over 133,400): Liam, Lucas, Levi, Logan, Leo, Luke
  • M-names (over 126,700): Mateo, Michael, Mason, Matthew, Maverick, Miles
  • N-names (over 57,400): Noah, Nathan, Nolan, Nicholas, Nathaniel, Nicolas
  • O-names (over 38,800): Oliver, Owen, Oscar, Omar, Orion, Odin
  • P-names (over 23,700): Parker, Patrick, Peter, Preston, Phoenix, Paxton
  • Q-names (over 3,100): Quinn, Quentin, Quincy, Quinton, Quintin, Quinten
  • R-names (over 82,800): Ryan, Roman, Robert, Rowan, River, Ryder
  • S-names (over 70,300): Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago, Silas, Sawyer, Steven
  • T-names (over 59,200): Theodore, Thomas, Thiago, Theo, Tyler, Tucker
  • U-names (over 2,500): Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, Ulysses, Uziel, Umar
  • V-names (over 11,000): Vincent, Victor, Valentino, Vincenzo, Vicente, Vihaan
  • W-names (over 49,100): William, Wyatt, Waylon, Wesley, Weston, Walker
  • X-names (over 7,200): Xavier, Xander, Xzavier, Xavion, Xavien, Xavian
  • Y-names (over 8,200): Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda, Yousef, Yahir, Yisroel
  • Z-names (over 26,900): Zion, Zachary, Zayden, Zane, Zayn, Zander

Name quotes #106: Amitabh, Chapel, Kit

double quotation mark

Ready for another batch of name quotes? Here we go!

From a 2012 interview with Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, who didn’t learn that his real name was Christopher until he was 11:

It was very strange, I went to school, and I remember that you had to do these tests to find out what set you’re in — how clever you are. I put down “Kit Harington,” and they looked at me like I was completely stupid, and they said, “No, you’re Christopher Harington, I’m afraid.” It was only then I learnt my actual name. That was kind of a bizarre existential crisis for an 11-year-old to have, but in the end I always stuck with Kit, because I felt that’s who I was. I’m not really a “Chris.”

From the article “What your name says about your age” (2016) in The Hindu:

Movie stars seem to have an impact on naming conventions too. The median [age of women named] Raveena, Karishma, Twinkle and Kajol are between 20 and 23 today, which, given the two movie stars’ debuts in the early 90s, makes sense. The median Aishwarya is 21, which is roughly how many years ago Ms. Rai Bachchan won the Miss World title.

Among men, there has been a sharp rise in the popularity of Shahrukh and Sachin, both peaks coinciding with their debuts on film screens and the cricket field respectively. Amitabh is declining in popularity after hitting a peak among those who were born in the mid 70s.

From the RTÉ article “What Irish children’s names reveal about us” (2022) by Dr. Dylan Connor :

In a recent study, we turned name analytics toward one of Ireland’s big historical questions: why were the Irish so reluctant to follow couples elsewhere in reducing the size of their families?

[…]

We found something surprising. Many of our prior expectations were confirmed: professionals had fewer children than laborers, families were smaller in cities, and Catholics had more children than Protestants. The single strongest indicator that a couple had a large family, however, was whether or not they picked traditional and common names for their children. When parents chose names like Patrick, Mary and John, they typically had more children. Parents with fewer children relied more on uncommon names like Eric, Sam, Hazel and Irene. Irrespective of religion, naming was linked to family size and the pattern even held for the Irish in America.

Irish couples were particularly likely to buck trends as they were exposed to cities. Urban couples were not only the first to sharply curtail childbearing, but were also more likely to experiment with new and unusual names. This was a sharp departure from large rural Irish families, where successive generations were named after parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Actor Josh Brolin’s explanation of his daughter’s name, Chapel Grace (b. 2020):

Everywhere we have traveled the one place Kathryn and I always found a great solace in were chapels. Not being particularly religious, but a God feeling heavily inundating our lives, chapels have always been the sanctuaries where we felt most connectedly free to give thanks. Chapel Grace is, to us, a manifestation of that celestial feeling that was always felt as we meandered and knelt.

Finally, two unrelated quotes from a 2008 Mental Floss article about undesirable names. Here’s the first:

In June 2001, a total solar eclipse was about to cross southern Africa. To prepare, the Zimbabwean and Zambian media began a massive astronomy education campaign focused on warning people not to stare at the Sun. Apparently, the campaign worked. The locals took a real liking to the vocabulary, and today, the birth registries are filled with names like Eclipse Glasses Banda, Totality Zhou, and Annular Mchombo.

And here’s the second:

When Napoleon seized the Netherlands in 1810, he demanded that all Dutchmen take last names, just as the French had done decades prior. Problem was, the Dutch had lived full and happy lives with single names, so they took absurd surnames in a show of spirited defiance. These included Naaktgeboren (born naked), Spring int Veld (jump in the field), and Piest (pisses). Sadly for their descendants, Napoleon’s last-name trend stuck, and all of these remain perfectly normal Dutch names today.