The baby name Esty (a diminutive of Esther) is primarily used in the state of New York, thanks to the large Jewish community in New York City.
But the name was also featured in the Emmy-winning Netflix series Unorthodox a couple of years ago. So, last year, I checked the Esty data (both the national data and the New York data) to see if the show had influenced the name’s usage.
It may have — Esty did indeed see its highest-ever usage both nationally and in New York in 2020. Even more intriguingly, though, I noticed what seemed to be gaps in the recent NY data. Specifically, New York had no data on the name Esty for the years 2016, 2018, and 2019.
Check it out:
Esty usage in the U.S.
Esty usage in New York
I mean, It’s possible that the New York usage of Esty simply dropped below the 5-baby minimum during those particular years. As per the SSA:
To safeguard privacy, we exclude from our tabulated lists of names those that would indicate, or would allow the ability to determine, names with fewer than 5 occurrences in any geographic area.
If that were the case, though, you’d expect to see corresponding dips in the national usage. And we don’t see that here.
It seems more likely to me that some of the New York data is simply…missing.
So the next question is: Are there gaps in the NY data for other names as well?
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).
The male names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (For the record, I overlooked entries in which one person’s name was used to refer to another person, e.g., “Aelfric’s uncle.”)
The most-mentioned name within each letter group is in bold.
If you make it all the way to the bottom, your reward is a top ten list. :)
Which male were mentioned most often in the Domesday book? The #1 name was William, followed by Robert and Ralph:
1. William (166) 2. Robert (127) 3. Ralph (124) 4. Aelfric (88) 5. Alwin (76) 5. Hugh (76) 7. Roger (73) 8. Godwin (72) 9. Walter (64) 10. Godric (59)
Though the names in the book aren’t necessarily representative of name usage in England overall, it does make sense than William took the top spot. The Domesday Book was created a couple of decades after the Norman Invasion, at a time when the name William was very fashionable, thanks to William the Conqueror.