How popular is the baby name Germaine 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 Germaine.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Germaine


Posts that Mention the Name Germaine

Mystery baby names: Romayne & Romaine

puzzle

Writing about Amish names a few weeks ago reminded me of Romaine and Romayne, which saw relatively high usage in the state of Pennsylvania (as girl names) during the early-to-mid 20th century.

The more popular spelling, Romaine, appeared in the national data from the 1880s to the 1990s. For most of that period, it saw its highest usage in Pennsylvania.

Here’s a look at the data for Romaine from the 1920s, for instance:

Girls named Romaine, U.S.Girls named Romaine, PA
19298739 (45%)
192891*45 (49%)
19278046 (58%)
19266436 (56%)
19257135 (49%)
19247439 (53%)
19236832 (47%)
19228854* (61%)
19217843 (55%)
19207341 (56%)
*Peak usage

The less popular spelling, Romayne, appeared in the national data from the early 1900s to the 1960s. From at least the 1910s until the 1940s, the majority of Romayne’s usage was in Pennsylvania.

Here’s the data for Romayne from the 1920s:

Girls named Romayne, U.S.Girls named Romayne, PA
19294523 (51%)
192847*30* (64%)
19273622 (61%)
19262518 (72%)
19253825 (66%)
19243818 (47%)
19232819 (68%)
19222717 (63%)
19213219 (59%)
19203325 (76%)
*Peak usage

My initial guess was that either the Amish or the Mennonites were behind the heavy Pennsylvania usage. Reading through obituaries and online memorials, though, I’ve found women named Romaine/Romayne who were members of various religious groups: Mennonite, Catholic, Jewish, Episcopalian, Methodist, etc. So I’m not sure if that theory holds water.

My next guess was that it represented transferred usage of the surname Romaine (a form of the Dutch surname Romein), perhaps due to the influence of the French name Germaine. But I don’t know why this would have been any more likely to happen in Pennsylvania than in, say, New Jersey or New York (both of which also saw a lot of Dutch settlement during the 1600s).

What are your thoughts on this?

Source: Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

P.S. A similar name, Rolayne, saw a bit of usage among Mormons decades ago…

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

Baby names falling in 2018: Boy names

Which boy names decreased the most in popularity from 2017 to 2018?

In this post we’ll answer the question two different ways: first by looking at the top absolute (raw number) drops, second by looking at the top relative drops.

Fastest Falling Boy Names: Absolute

  1. Matthew, -1,747 baby boys
  2. Logan, -1,662
  3. Jacob, -1,408
  4. Aiden, -1,324
  5. Aaron, -1,243
  6. Mason, -1,114
  7. Christopher, -1,024
  8. Michael, -1,019
  9. Andrew, -1,017
  10. Jayden, -981

Fastest Falling Boy Names: Relative

  1. Neizan, -78% (from 27 to 6 baby boys)
  2. Oseias, -74%
  3. Thierno, -74%
  4. Beren, -73%
  5. Franko, -72%
  6. Borna, -71%
  7. Germaine, -71%
  8. Jamien, -71%
  9. Jevin, -71%
  10. Fedor, -69%

(This second list only accounts for names that stayed in the data; I didn’t account for names that fell off the list in 2018.)

If you have any explanations for the name movement above, let us know in the comments!

P.S. Here’s the SSA’s table of baby names that decreased in rank from 2017 to 2018. The top boy names on their list are Aaden, Dilan, and Craig.

Contrarian baby names: Cliff, Janet, Steve, Wanda…

corn

“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.

If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.

But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.

If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.

Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.

Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.

Contrarian Baby Names: Girls

Alberta
Anita
Ann
Annetta
Annette
Bambi
Becky
Benita
Bertha
Bessie
Beth
Betty
Beverley
Beverly
Blanche
Bobbie
Bobby
Bonita
Candy
Caren
Carlene
Carol
Carole
Cary
Caryn
Cathleen
Cathy
Charla
Charlene
Charmaine
Cheri
Cherie
Cheryl
Chris
Christi
Cindy
Claudette
Coleen
Colleen
Connie
Dale
Danette
Danita
Darlene
Dawn
Dawna
Deanne
Debbie
Debora
Debra
Deirdre
Delores
Denice
Denise
Diane
Dianna
Dianne
Dollie
Dolores
Dona
Donna
Doreen
Dori
Doris
Dorthy
Eddie
Edwina
Ernestine
Ethel
Gail
Gayle
Gena
Geralyn
Germaine
Gilda
Glenda
Glenna
Harriett
Jackie
Janet
Janice
Janis
Jayne
Jean
Jeanette
Jeanie
Jeanine
Jeanne
Jeannette
Jeannie
Jeannine
Jeri
Jerri
Jerry
Jill
Jimmie
Jo
Joan
Joann
Joanne
Jodi
Jody
Joellen
Joni
Juanita
Judi
Judy
Juli
Kandi
Karin
Kathie
Kathy
Kay
Kaye
Kerrie
Kerry
Kim
Kimberley
Kitty
Kris
Kristi
Ladonna
Laureen
Lauretta
Laurie
Lavonne
Lee
Leesa
Lois
Lorene
Lori
Lorie
Lorinda
Lorna
Lorraine
Lorrie
Lou
Louann
Lu
Luann
Luanne
Lucretia
Lupe
Lyn
Lynda
Lynn
Lynne
Madonna
Marcia
Marcy
Margie
Mariann
Marianne
Marla
Marsha
Maryjo
Maureen
Meg
Melba
Melinda
Melva
Michele
Migdalia
Mitzi
Myrna
Nanette
Nelda
Nicki
Nita
Norma
Pamela
Patrice
Patsy
Patti
Patty
Pauline
Peggy
Pennie
Phyllis
Randy
Reba
Rene
Rhonda
Rita
Robbie
Robbin
Roberta
Robin
Rochelle
Ronda
Rosanne
Roseann
Roxane
Roxann
Sandy
Saundra
Sharon
Sheila
Shelia
Shelley
Shelly
Sheri
Sherri
Sherry
Sheryl
Shirley
Sondra
Sue
Susanne
Suzan
Suzanne
Tammie
Tammy
Tena
Teri
Terri
Terry
Thelma
Theresa
Therese
Tina
Tonia
Tonya
Tracey
Traci
Tracie
Tracy
Treva
Trina
Trudy
Velma
Verna
Vicki
Vickie
Vicky
Wanda
Wendy
Willie
Wilma
Yolanda
Yvonne

Contrarian Baby Names: Boys

Adolph
Al
Alford
Alphonso
Arne
Arnie
Arnold
Artie
Barry
Barton
Bennie
Bernard
Bernie
Bert
Bill
Billie
Bob
Bobbie
Brad
Bradford
Brent
Bret
Britt
Bud
Buddy
Burl
Burt
Butch
Carey
Carleton
Carlton
Carmen
Carroll
Cary
Cecil
Chester
Chuck
Clarence
Claude
Cletus
Cleveland
Cliff
Clifford
Clifton
Columbus
Curt
Curtiss
Dale
Dan
Dana
Dannie
Darrel
Darryl
Daryl
Dave
Davie
Del
Delbert
Dell
Delmer
Denny
Derwin
Dewey
Dirk
Don
Donnie
Donny
Doug
Douglass
Doyle
Duane
Dudley
Duwayne
Dwain
Dwaine
Dwane
Dwight
Earl
Earnest
Ed
Edsel
Elbert
Ernie
Farrell
Floyd
Fred
Freddie
Fredric
Gale
Garland
Garry
Garth
Gene
Geoffrey
Gerard
Gerry
Gilbert
Glen
Glenn
Greg
Gregg
Greggory
Grover
Guy
Hal
Haywood
Herbert
Herman
Homer
Horace
Howell
Hubert
Irwin
Jackie
Jame
Jeff
Jefferey
Jeffry
Jerald
Jerold
Jess
Jim
Jimmie
Jodie
Jody
Johnie
Johnnie
Karl
Kelly
Ken
Kenney
Kennith
Kent
Kermit
Kerry
Kim
Kirk
Kraig
Kurt
Laurence
Lawrance
Len
Lenard
Lennie
Les
Leslie
Lester
Lindell
Lindsay
Lindsey
Linwood
Lloyd
Lonnie
Lonny
Loren
Lorin
Lowell
Loyd
Lynn
Marion
Marty
Matt
Maxie
Mel
Merle
Merrill
Mickel
Mickey
Millard
Milton
Mitch
Mitchel
Monty
Neal
Ned
Nicky
Norbert
Norman
Norris
Orville
Perry
Pete
Phil
Ralph
Randal
Randel
Randell
Randolph
Rayford
Rick
Rickey
Rickie
Rob
Robby
Robin
Rock
Rodger
Rogers
Rojelio
Rolf
Ron
Roosevelt
Rudolfo
Rudolph
Rufus
Russ
Rusty
Sal
Sammie
Sandy
Sanford
Scot
Sherman
Sherwood
Skip
Stan
Stanford
Steve
Stevie
Stewart
Stuart
Sylvester
Tad
Ted
Terence
Thurman
Tim
Timmothy
Timmy
Tod
Todd
Tom
Tommie
Toney
Tracey
Tracy
Val
Vernell
Vernon
Waymon
Wendell
Wilbert
Wilbur
Wilford
Wilfred
Willard
Willis
Winfred
Woody

Interestingly, thirteen of the names above — Bobbie, Cary, Dale, Jackie, Jimmie, Jody, Kerry, Kim, Lynn, Robin, Sandy, Tracey, Tracy — managed to make both lists.

Now some questions for you…

Do you like any of these names? Would you be willing to use any of them on a modern-day baby? Why or why not?