How popular is the baby name Geraldine 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 Geraldine.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Geraldine


Posts that Mention the Name Geraldine

Name quotes #97: Netley, Cordelia, O’Shea

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From the book Anne of Green Gables (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a conversation about names between characters Anne Shirley and Marilla Cuthbert:

“Well, don’t cry any more. We’re not going to turn you out-of-doors to-night. You’ll have to stay here until we investigate this affair. What’s your name?”

The child hesitated for a moment.

“Will you please call me Cordelia?” she said eagerly.

“Call you Cordelia? Is that your name?”

“No-o-o, it’s not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”

“I don’t know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn’t your name, what is?”

“Anne Shirley,” reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, “but, oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can’t matter much to you what you call me if I’m only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name.”

“Unromantic fiddlesticks!” said the unsympathetic Marilla. “Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You’ve no need to be ashamed of it.”

“Oh, I’m not ashamed of it,” explained Anne, “only I like Cordelia better. I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia–at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”

“What difference does it make how it’s spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

“Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an E I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”

From a Graham Norton Show episode [vid] that aired in January, 2016, in which comedian Kevin Hart talks about baby names following a discussion between Graham and Ice Cube about Cube’s birth name (O’Shea Jackson):

Lemme educate you on something. Black people are notorious for picking things that they saw one day and saying, “That’s my baby name.” That’s all that was. That’s all that was, Graham. It was nothing — there was no amazing story behind it. We’d love to tell you, yes, it actually came from a Irish forefather that did this…that’s not the case. His mother was reading the paper, and she was eating some cereal, and somebody in back said, “O’Shea!” She said, “That’d be a good name for the baby.” That’s it. That’s how it happened.

(Name Quotes #41 includes a quote from O’Shea himself.)

From a New York Times interview with Kate Winslet:

[Ms. Winslet] has a son, Bear, 7, with her current husband, who has gone back to his original name, Edward Abel Smith, from his playful pseudonym, Ned Rocknroll.

“He added ‘Winslet’ as one of his middle names, just simply because the children have Winslet,” the actress said. “When we’re all traveling together, to all have that name on the passports makes life easier.” (Bear’s middle name is Blaze, after the fire that Kate and Ned escaped that burned down the British Virgin Islands home of Richard Branson, her husband’s uncle.)

(The article also mentioned that a Delco sandwich shop now sells a hoagie called “The Mare” in honor of Kate’s Mare of Easttown character, Mare Sheehan.)

From a Vogue UK interview with Thandiwe Newton (whose first name means “beloved” in Zulu):

Meanwhile Thandiwe and her younger brother attended a Catholic primary school run by joyless nuns […] where the W of her name drifted inward, out of sight and earshot, in a futile hope to make her feel less different.

[…]

No longer is Newton afraid of the red carpet because of how much it reminded her of her invisibility, and she looks forward to a future where the illusion of race will no longer narrow who we are. […] All her future films will be credited with Thandiwe Newton, after the W was carelessly missed out from her first credit. Now she’s in control. Many lives lived and she’s come out triumphant, preserved in the magic of the mist and sun that made her, and wanted her to shine. “That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.”

Speaking of reclaiming names…from an article about immigrants reclaiming anglicized names on PEI (the speaker is a man named Chijioke Amadi, originally from Nigeria):

“What I didn’t really know then was I was trying to fit in, because that’s what society made me think, that my name was so hard to pronounce.”

Ironically, he found that going by CJ made it harder to fit in with his own community.

“The fact that I never used my real name made my community start veering away from me, rather than coming towards me,” he said.

“It makes you second guess who you are, what you are.”

From a review of a book about famous English con man/writer Netley Lucas (born circa 1903, died 1940):

Anyone keen to make sense of the chaotic career of Netley Lucas could usefully begin by compiling a list of his aliases. I managed a dozen; there are doubtless more. They include the debt-bilking naval officer Gerald Chilfont; the travel agency-swindling Viscount Knebworth; that fabled Asian potentate the Emir of Kurdistan, in whose name Lucas reserved accommodation at the Savoy; the hotel-haunting Honourable Basil Vaughan; the celebrity biographer Evelyn Graham; and a certain Lady Angela Stanley who, proposing to write a life of Queen Alexandra based on her years as a lady-in-waiting, was discovered to be quite unknown to the royal household that had supposedly employed her.

(He also claimed that he was born aboard a yacht anchored near the village of Netley in Southhampton, and that this was the source of his first name.)

From an article about Mormon baby names by USU professor Jennifer Mansfield:

It seems as though members [of the LDS Church] in Utah feel so similar to everyone else that (consciously or unconsciously) they try to find other ways to express their individuality in ways that do not carry negative consequences. Names carry an especially heavy weight in the LDS Church (perhaps inspired to some extent by Helaman 5:6-7), so naming feels like a meaningful place to invest creativity without suffering the repercussions that come from being different in other ways.

That all being said, my strong impression is that very few Mormons deliberately use baby naming practices to rebel against the pressures of social conformity that come along with being part of a tight-knit religious subculture. No one I’ve spoken with seems to realize that their “unique” names are not unique at all, but instead are yet another characteristic they share with many of their Mormon neighbors.

Famous Female Names from 1916

Over at The Public Domain Review, I found a collection of 51 novelty playing cards — several incomplete decks, mixed together — from 1916 that feature the images and names of popular movie actresses from that era.

Below are all the first names from those cards, plus where those names happened to rank in the 1916 baby name data. (Two-thirds of them were in the top 100, and over 95% fell inside the top 1,000.)

  • Anita (ranked 151st in 1916)
  • Anna (7th)
  • Beatriz (1,281st)
  • Bessie (56th)
  • Blanche (89th)
  • Clara (39th)
  • Cleo (180th)
  • Constance (213th)
  • Dolores (146th)
  • Dorothy (3rd)
  • Edith (28th)
  • Ella (81st)
  • Ethel (25th)
  • Fannie (116th)
  • Florence (14th)
  • Geraldine (94th)
  • Gertrude (35th)
  • Grace (26th)
  • Helen (2nd)
  • Julia (46th)
  • June (86th)
  • Kate (346th)
  • Kathlyn (731st)
  • Lenore (340th)
  • Lillian (16th)
  • Louise (18th)
  • Mabel (65th)
  • Marguerite (78th)
  • Mary (1st)
  • May (190th)
  • Mildred (6th)
  • Myrtle (58th)
  • Nellie (61st)
  • Norma (111th)
  • Olive (132nd)
  • Ormi (4,982nd)
  • Pauline (33rd)
  • Pearl (57th)
  • Ruth (5th)
  • Viola (59th)
  • Violet (83rd)
  • Vivian (77th)
  • Wanda (138th)

Which of the names above do you like best?

Source: Moriarty Playing Cards (1916) – The Public Domain Review

Where did the baby name Oona come from in 1942?

Oona O'Neill in a soap advertisement (March, 1943)
Oona O’Neill

The Irish name Oona first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the 1940s:

  • 1944: 5 baby girls named Oona
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Oona
  • 1942: 5 baby girls named Oona [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

Why?

It was thanks to Oona O’Neill, daughter of Eugene and Agnes O’Neill, both writers. Oona was born in Bermuda in 1925, five years after her father won his first Pulitzer Prize.

In the early 1940s, Oona was a teenage socialite with famous friends. And in April of 1942, when the 16-year-old debutante was selected as the top “glamour girl” of New York society at the Stork Club, she became famous.

Oona got offers from film studios, and if she had gone in that direction, her name might have become more popular during the 1940s. Instead, she became the wife of Charlie Chaplin in June of 1943, when she was 18 and he was 54. Not long after that, her name dropped back off the charts.

(Oona and Charlie went on to have eight children, named: Geraldine, Michael, Josephine, Victoria, Eugene, Jane, Annette, and Christopher. Geraldine’s daughter Oona Chaplin played the part of Talisa Maegyr on Game of Thrones a few years ago.)

These days, the name Oona (which is actually a spelling variant of Úna) is relatively close to the U.S. top 1,000:

  • 2017: 93 baby girls named Oona [rank: 2,085th]
  • 2016: 111 baby girls named Oona [rank: 1,856th]
  • 2015: 131 baby girls named Oona [rank: 1,634th]
  • 2014: 63 baby girls named Oona [rank: 2,761st]
  • 2013: 38 baby girls named Oona [rank: 3,977th]

Do you think it will ever get there?

What are your thoughts on the baby name Oona?

P.S. “Oona” was back in the baby name data in 1954, the year a character named Oona could be seen on the big screen in the movie Taza, Son of Cochise.

P.P.S. I also mentioned Charlie Chaplin in this post about the name Cherrill.

Source: Oona O’Neill – Wikipedia
Image: from a Woodbury soap advertisement in Life magazine (March 8, 1943)

Name quotes #66: Brenton, Jacob, Gene Autry

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It’s the last batch of name quotes for 2018!

Let’s start with a line from the Blake Shelton country song “I’ll Name The Dogs”:

You name the babies and I’ll name the dogs

From an article about dog names in New Orleans:

New Orleans dogs are often the namesakes of the cuisine (Gumbo, Roux, Beignet, Po-Boy, Boudin); the Saints (Brees, Payton, Deuce); music (Toussaint, Jazz, Satchmo); streets (Clio, Tchoupitoulas, Calliope); neighborhoods (Pearl, Touro, Gert) and Mardi Gras krewes (Zulu, Rex, Bacchus).

From an article about the names of Scottish salt trucks (“gritters”):

At any given moment, the trucks are working away to keep Scotland’s roads safe, with their progress available for all to see on an online map [the Trunk Road Gritter Tracker], which updates in real time. But a closer look at this map, with its jaunty yellow vehicles, reveals something still more charming: An awful lot of these salt trucks have very, very good names. Gritty Gritty Bang Bang is putting in the hard yards near Aberuthven. Dynamic duo Ice Buster and Ice Destroyer are making themselves useful near Glasgow and Loch Lomond. Three trucks apparently hold knighthoods–Sir Salter Scott, Sir Andy Flurry, Sir Grits-a-Lot. At least two (Ice Queen and Mrs. McGritter) are female. Every one is excellent.

(Some of the other gritter names are: For Your Ice Only, Grits-n-Pieces, Grittalica, Grittie McVittie, Luke Snowalker, Plougher O’ Scotland, Ready Spready Go, Salty Tom, and Sprinkles.)

From an article about the name Brenton being trendy in Adelaide in the 1980s (found via Clare of Name News):

No doubt the popularity of the name Brenton interstate and in the US is down to the paddleboat TV drama All the Rivers Run, which starred John Waters as captain Brenton Edwards and Sigrid Thornton as Philadelphia Gordon.

The miniseries first ran on Australian television in October 1983 and was later broadcast on the American channel HBO in January 1984.

(Indeed, the name Brenton saw peak usage in the U.S. in 1984, and the name Philadelphia debuted the same year.)

From an article about baby-naming in New South Wales:

Once upon a time the list of top 100 names in a year used to capture nearly 90 per cent of the boys born, and three-quarters of girls. Now it’s less than half of either gender.

The reason is an explosion in variety, with multiculturalism and parents’ desire for individuality seeing the pool of baby names grow from 4252 in 1957 to 16,676 today. That’s 300% more names for only 30% more babies being born.

Professor Jo Lindsay from Monash University has researched naming practices in Australia and said parents today had more freedom and fewer family expectations than previous generations.

From an article about the 16-child Sullivan family of North Carolina:

They were, in order, Cretta in 1910, Leland in 1912, Rosa in 1913, Woodrow in 1916, Wilmar in 1918, Joseph in 1919, Dorothy in 1921 and Virginia in 1923.

The second wave included Irving in 1924, Blanche in 1925, C.D. in 1927, Geraldine in 1928, Marverine in 1930, Billy in 1932, Tom in 1934 and Gene in 1938.

[…]

Gene Autry Sullivan, the youngest of the children and the one who organizes the reunion each year, said he was told he was named after legendary cowboy movie star Gene Autry “because his parents had run out of names by then.”

(The post about Sierra includes a photo of Gene Autry.)

From an article about the challenges of growing up with an unfamiliar name:

Recently I was asked to give a talk to students at a mostly white school. I’d been in back-and-forth email contact with one of the teachers for ages. My full name, Bilal Harry Khan, comes up in email communication. I’d signed off all our emails as Bilal and introduced myself to him that way too. He had been addressing me as Bilal in these emails the entire time. But as he got up to introduce me to a whole assembly hall of teachers and students, he suddenly said, “Everyone, this is Harry.”

From an article about a college football team full of Jacobs (Jacob was the #1 name in the US from 1999 to 2012):

Preparing for the fall season, the offensive coordinator for University of Washington’s football team realized his team had a small problem. It went by the name Jacob.

The Pac-12 Huskies had four quarterbacks named Jacob or Jake (plus a linebacker named Jake and a tight end named Jacob).

From an article about Sweden’s even-stricter baby-naming laws:

The number of baby names rejected by Swedish authorities has risen since last summer, when the regulations were tightened.

The new law made it easier to go through a legal name change in some ways, including by lifting a ban on double-barrelled surnames, but regulations around permitted first names were tightened.

Some of the restrictions include names that are misleading (such as titles), have “extreme spelling”, or resemble a surname.

Early recognition of the “Great-Grandparent Rule”

grandmother

A 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

Related post: Two Annabelles, 101 Years Apart