How popular is the baby name Ed 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 Ed.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ed


Posts that Mention the Name Ed

How did The Jackson 5 influence baby names in the early 1970s?

The Jackson Five on the cover of Jet magazine (Aug. 6, 1970)
The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5, whose “bubblegum soul” sound made them remarkably successful in the early 1970s, consisted of five musically gifted brothers out of Gary, Indiana. Their names were:

  • Sigmund Esco “Jackie” Jackson, b. 1951
  • Toriano Adaryll “Tito” Jackson, b. 1953
    • Records suggest that Tito’s first name was actually “Tariano,” but the press typically spelled it “Toriano.”
  • Jermaine LaJuane Jackson, b. 1954
  • Marlon David Jackson, b. 1957
  • Michael Joe Jackson, b. 1958

The brothers began performing together in the mid-1960s, but Jacksonmania didn’t hit until 1970, with the success of songs like “I Want You Back” (1969), “ABC” (1970), “The Love You Save” (1970), and “I’ll Be There” (1970) — all four of which hit #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.

At the height of their fame, the boys even had a Saturday morning cartoon show called “The Jackson 5ive” (1971-1972).

The animated version of the Jackson brothers in the cartoon series "The Jackson 5ive" (1971-1972).
“The Jackson 5ive”

So how did the Jacksons’ celebrity affect U.S. baby names in the early 1970s? Let’s go brother by brother…

Jackie

Jackie Jackson couldn’t stop the name Jackie from trending downward, and he didn’t do much for the unusual name Esco, but the name Sigmund did see a distinct uptick in usage in 1971.

Fun fact: Jackie dated Debraca Foxx during the early ’70s.

Tito

Tito Jackson not only popularized his nickname, Tito, but he boosted both Toriano and Adaryll into the data for the first time. In fact, Toriano was the top debut name of 1970, and it still ranks as one of the top boy-name debuts of all time. (It also likely influenced the car name Torino.) The name Adaryll didn’t surface until 1972.

TitoTorianoAdaryll
197499†61.
197362807
197276135†9*†
19715477.
19703962*.
196933..
*Debut, †Peak

Tito’s first son, Toriano Adaryll “Taj” Jackson, Jr. (b. 1973) — whose nickname was derived from his initials — gave the name Taj a boost. His second son, Taryll (b. 1975), was behind the debut of the name Taryll (also mentioned here).

Jermaine

Jermaine Jackson, the co-lead vocalist of the group (with Michael), brought so much attention to the name Jermaine that it not only entered the top 1,000, but nearly cracked the top 100 as well:

  • 1974: 1,628 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 151st]
  • 1973: 2,039 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 127th]
  • 1972: 1,966 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 135th]
  • 1971: 1,015 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 233rd]
  • 1970: 171 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 622nd]
  • 1969: 5 baby boys named Jermaine

Jermaine was the fastest-rising boy name in the U.S. in both 1970 and 1971 — two years in a row, impressively.

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

On the heels of Jermaine’s rise, several variant spellings of the name either saw similarly increased usage or appeared for the first time in the boys’ data:

19691970197119721973
Jermaine51711,0151,9662,039†
Germaine.2995157†146
Jermain.13*329494
Jamaine..42*4038
Jarmaine..16*1319
Germain..112721
Jermine.9*1716
Jeremaine..8*714
Jermane..7*2033
Jemaine..7*913
Jermanie..7*78
Jermon..6*812
Jarmain..6*..
Jermayne...17*†17†
Jermone...119
Jerman...8*7
Jamain...8*†5
Jamane...8*†.
Jermyn...7*7
Germane...5*7†
Jermanine...5*.
Germayne...5*†.
Jermiane....8*†
*Debut, †Peak usage

Jermaine’s middle name, LaJuane, also debuted (in 1971).

Jermaine had a total of nine children, one of whom was named (rather infamously) Jermajesty.

Marlon

Marlon Jackson was the main reason that the name Marlon saw peak usage in 1972. (But he had some help from Marlon Brando, whose movie The Godfather came out the same year.)

Michael

Michael Jackson — who was still a decade away from releasing his massively popular solo album Thriller — couldn’t ultimately reverse the decline of the name Michael. But the combined influence of Michael Jackson and other famous Michaels (like basketball star Michael Jordan, and TV star Michael Landon) did help the name’s usage level out somewhat during the 1970s and ’80s.

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

Which Jackson 5 name is your favorite? (And, if you were around during Jacksonmania: Which group member was your favorite?)

While you ponder these questions, check out the group’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in December of 1969:

Sources:

Images: © 1970 Jet, © 1971 Videocraft International Limited

Name quotes #99: Silbestre, Iris, Kin

Silbestre Esquivel’s inscription (via Petrified Forest NP’s IG)

About the historical “Silbestre Esquivel” inscription inside Petrified Forest National Park:

Who was Silbestre Esquivel? In 1811, he inscribed his name in what would become Petrified Forest National Park. Was he passing through? Was he a lonely cowboy or shepherd? Even the history of discovery of the inscription is mysterious. Two different articles in a magazine and a newspaper in 1943 and 1945 claim to discover the name. The earlier one found it by directions from a business woman in the area—wouldn’t she be the one to have discovered it? A professional photographer, Michael Bend, did find out that the man was part of a party traveling from Santa Fe to Utah lead by José Rafaél Sarracino to trade with the Ute people. Such fascinating secrets!

(The name Silbestre — like the related name Sylvester — can be traced back to the Latin word silva, meaning “forest.”)

From Blake Lively’s WIRED Autocomplete Interview [vid] with Anna Kendrick:

Anna: How did Blake Lively…get her name?
Blake: My grandmother’s brother was named Blake.
A: Oh!
B: But he was murdered. So thanks for asking, Google.
A: She’s so dark.

(Blake Lively was also featured in Name Quotes #51.)

From a Louder interview with John Rzeznik about the Goo Goo Dolls’ hit song “Iris”:

By the time Rzeznik had ironed out some of the “ugly chord sequences”, he had a swooning future classic on his hands. Only the name was required. “I’m horrible at naming songs,” he says, “so it’s the last thing I do. I was looking through a magazine called LA Weekly and saw that a great singer-songwriter called Iris DeMent was playing in town. I was, like: ‘Wow! What a beautiful name.’

(The song doesn’t actually include the name Iris in the lyrics, and yet the usage of the baby name Iris does seem to rise at a faster rate in 1998 and 1999, so…did the song influence the name? Wdyt?)

From the book Indiana’s 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State (2016) by James E. St. Clair:

Amid much publicity in the early 1950s, [Herb Shriner and his wife] had given their children names that reflected his Hoosier heritage: They had a daughter named Indiana (known as “Indy”) and a son, Kin, named in honor of Abe Martin creator Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard. Kin Shriner became a soap opera actor; his twin brother, Wil (named for Will Rogers, but with one l), became a comedian, television, director, and talk show host with a laid-back style reminiscent of his father.

From an essay about names in The Arizona Republic by Karina Bland:

When Jim and I were choosing a name for our son, we turned to the dictionary.

Sawyer has three half-siblings — Sonnet, Sky and Savannah. Each name is an actual word, not a name like Sam or Sarah. We wanted to do the same for this baby.

Our list is still there in my Random House College Dictionary with the red cover — 22 possibilities neatly printed in purple pencil on the back of a sheet of paper shaped like a cluster of grapes: Street, South, Story, Satchel, Sage, Saracen.

We had narrowed it down to a handful — Storm, Sawyer, Story, Scout, Scarlet — when we saw him on an ultrasound for the first time. A boy. And he was instantly Sawyer, one fist raised above his head, all boyhood and adventure.

From an essay on baby names in The Guardian by Ed Cumming:

The one truly radical act for a British parent is to pluck a name from further down the class ladder. Yet it might not be the worst idea for the downwardly mobile upper-middle classes, whose jobs in accounting and law are about to be replaced by Elon’s robots. They continue to worry that Liam or Wayne wouldn’t fit in at Eton, little realising that will be the least of their concerns. Cressida and Monty will have a much harder time fitting in at the robot repair shop.

Pop culture baby name game, 2020

Happy birthday, Elvis!

It’s hard to put into words just how bizarre 2020 was.

Despite this…people still had babies in 2020, and people still paid attention to pop culture in 2020. (In fact, thanks to quarantine, many people probably paid a lot more attention to pop culture than usual last year.) So, let’s put the seriousness of 2020 aside for a second and kick off the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

Of course, “pop culture” includes not just things like movies and music and social media, but also anything that was in the news — including COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the U.S. presidential election.

Which baby names will see higher usage — or appear for the very first time — in the 2020 SSA baby name data thanks to pop culture?

Here are some initial ideas (plus some context):

  • Aalam, DJ Khaled’s baby
  • Ahmaud, shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
  • Amala, Doja Cat album
  • Azula, character from Avatar: The Last Airbender (made available on Netflix in mid-2020)
  • Breonna, shooting of Breonna Taylor
  • Bryant, death of Kobe Bryant
  • Casme, contestant on season 19 of The Voice
  • Catori, Chris Brown’s baby (suggested by alex)
  • Chadwick, death of Chadwick Boseman
  • Charli, singer Charli XCX
  • Corona, coronavirus
    • Not to mention the brand new Daddy Yankee song “Corona” [vid]…
  • Crozier, naval captain Brett Crozier (suggested by elbowin)
  • Daisy, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom’s baby
  • Desz, contestant on season 19 of The Voice
  • Doja, singer Doja Cat
  • Domhnall, Irish actor on (canceled) HBO series Run
  • Dua, singer Dua Lipa
  • Esty, character on the Netflix miniseries Unorthodox
  • George, killing of George Floyd
  • Gianna, death of Gianna Bryant
  • Greta, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg
  • Isaias, hurricane
  • Jack, death of Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s unborn baby
  • Kamala, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
  • Kamiyah, character in the Lifetime movie Stolen by My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story*
  • Kaori, Kevin Hart’s baby
  • Katara, character from Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Kobe, death of Kobe Bryant
  • Kraken, NHL expansion team (Seattle)
  • Larriah, contestant on season 19 of The Voice
  • Laura, hurricane
  • Lenin, Starbucks barista Lenin Gutierrez (suggested by elbowin)
  • Liberty, Meghan McCain’s baby
  • Lovella, singer Matt Bellamy’s baby
  • Lynika, death of Lynika Strozier (suggested by elbowin)
  • Lyra, Ed Sheeran’s baby
  • McGivney, beatification of Fr. Michael McGivney
  • Neowise, comet (suggested by elbowin)
  • Onyx, Iggy Azalea’s baby
  • Raddix, Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden’s baby
  • Rayshard, shooting of Rayshard Brooks
  • River, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara’s baby
  • Robinette, President-elect Joseph Robinette Biden (suggested by elbowin)
  • Rona, coronavirus
  • Rue, Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert’s baby
  • Rumble, model Lucky Blue Smith’s baby
  • Ruth, death of RBG
  • Sovereign, Usher’s baby
  • Tchalla, death of Chadwick Boseman (who played T’Challa in 2018’s Black Panther)
  • Wenliang, Chinese doctor Li Wenliang (suggested by elbowin)
  • Willa, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s baby
  • Win, Ciara and Russell Wilson’s baby
  • Yara, actress Yara Shahidi
  • Zuko, character from Avatar: The Last Airbender (here’s one Zuko from 2020)

Some of the names from the 2019 game could be applicable to the 2020 data as well.

Also, feel free to zoom out and consider name trends this year. Here are a few ways in which baby-naming may have been influenced by our collective experience of COVID-19, for instance:

  • “In my opinion this unprecedented situation will affect naming towards something “bolder” or “more badass” baby names and so you’ll probably see a spike of certain names like King, Major or Royal.” (Gheba)
  • “I’d bet on the rise of virtue names, or at least modern version of virtue names, like Brave/Bravery, Courage, Honor, etc. And I’d say names like Legend, Messiah, Legacy, Major, King, will probably rise some more too.” (Skizzo)
  • “I think it will also affect which media influence names this year. Eg we’ll miss out on names inspired by Olympic athletes, but might see even more from Netflix and YouTube.” (Clare)

What other names (or name trends) should we add to the list? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Just remember to make a note of the pop culture influence!

I’ll post the results as soon as I can after the SSA releases the 2020 data (in May of 2021, hopefully).

*Did you know that the actress who played Kamiyah in that Lifetime movie is named Rayven Symone Ferrell? Certainly a nod to Raven-Symoné

Sea-themed names given to sea-born babies

Earlier this year, singer Ed Sheeran welcomed a baby girl named Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran. She wasn’t actually born at sea — “Seaborn” is her mother’s surname — but did you know that many of the babies named “Seaborn” throughout history were in fact born at sea?

And it doesn’t stop at “Seaborn.” These sea-born babies got all sorts of interesting names hinting at the circumstances of their birth. Here’s a round-up of what I’ve spotted in the records…

Sea-inspired names:

  • Sea
  • Seaborn (The earliest American example I know of is Seaborn Cotton, born in August of 1633 while as his parents were traveling from England to New England. Notably, he was the uncle of Cotton Mather.)
  • Seabourn
  • Seaborne
  • Seabourne
  • Seafield
  • Seaford
  • Seaforth (e.g., Charles Seaforth Stewart)
  • Sealine
  • Seaman
  • Sea-Mercy (This one comes from Sea-Mercy Adams, a man who got married in Philadelphia in 1686.)

Ocean-inspired names:

Marine-inspired names:

  • Marina
  • Marine
  • Mariner
  • Marino

Atlantic-inspired names:

  • Atlanta
  • Atlante
  • Atlantia
  • Atlantic (One was Atlantic Seaborn Ford, born in 1863. Another was Atlantic Missouri Linne, born in 1889.)
  • Atlantica
  • Atlantika

Pacific-inspired names:

  • Pacific
  • Pacifica
  • Pacifico

And, finally, all of the other sea-birth-inspired baby names I’ve seen:

If you had a baby on the open ocean, what would you name that baby?

Image: Salem Harbor (1853) by Fitz Henry Lane