How popular is the baby name James 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 James.

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Popularity of the Baby Name James


Posts that Mention the Name James

Baby name story: Thomas Lipton

Thomas Lipton's yacht "Shamrock"
The original Shamrock

In 1899, Scottish businessman Thomas Lipton, founder of the Lipton Tea company, sailed his racing yacht Shamrock overseas to challenge the Columbia (owned by J. P. Morgan) in the America’s Cup.

Lipton lost. And his next four America’s Cup boats — the Shamrock II, the Shamrock III, the Shamrock IV, and the Shamrock V — also lost (in 1901, 1903, 1920, and 1930, respectively).

He became the loveable [sic] loser; a man whose good-natured approach to the obstacles stacked against him turned him into a folk hero and promoted his business interests in America as well.

Scottish businessman Thomas Lipton (1848-1931)
Thomas Lipton

His repeated attempts to win the Cup also inspired one New York family to name a baby after him.

Adolph and Catherine Bergner of Tompkinsville, Staten Island, had three “shamrock babies” (as the newspapers called them).

Their first child, a boy, was born in 1899 — around the time the original Shamrock “dropped anchor off Tompkinsville after a passage across the ocean.” He was named James Adolph.

Their second child, a girl, was born in 1901 — just as Shamrock II entered American waters. She was named Helen Elizabeth.

Their third child, a boy, was born in 1903 — “on June 14, just as the steamer on which Sir Thomas came across the Atlantic arrived at Quarantine.” The Bergners decided to acknowledge the ongoing coincidences by naming this one Thomas Lipton Bergner.

They promptly wrote a letter to Thomas Lipton, to tell him about his new namesake. With his reply, Lipton “sent to each of the children a gold stickpin with a Shamrock on the face.”

Sources:

Most-changed baby names in the U.S. (2017-2022)

signs

The Washington Post recently published a pair of articles about babies whose names had been changed.

The first article mentioned that, according to SSA data, nearly 30,000 babies in the U.S. had had their names changed from January 2017 to March 2022.

The second article dug a little deeper, revealing the names that ranked highest on either side of the name-change spectrum: most-abandoned and most-adopted.

Most-abandoned baby namesMost-adopted baby names
1. Issac [sic]
2. Chole [sic]
3. Aiden
4. Conner
5. Elliot
6. Michael
7. James
8. Isabella
9. Sophia
10. David
1. Isaac
2. Chloe
3. Sebastian
4. William
5. Olivia
6. Michael
7. Elijah
8. Matthew
9. Connor
10. Jonathan

The top two names on both lists — Issac/Isaac and Chole/Chloe — clearly represent spelling corrections.

And my guess is that at least a portion of the boys named “Conner” had their names changed to the more common spelling “Connor.” (Connor has been a top-100 boy name since the early 1990s.)

My favorite thing about these rankings, though? The fact that Michael managed to balance itself out by ranking #6 on both lists. :)

(Thank you to Ellyn for letting me know about the WaPo articles!)

Sources:

Image by Javier Allegue Barros from Unsplash

Popular baby names in Northern Ireland, 2021

Northern Ireland

According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), the most popular baby names in Northern Ireland last year were Grace and Jack.

Here are the Northern Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Grace, 182 baby girls
  2. Emily, 150
  3. Fiadh, 149
  4. Olivia, 148
  5. Isla, 138
  6. Sophie, 128
  7. Aoife, 122
  8. Ella, 111
  9. Anna, 106
  10. Sophia, 102

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 193 baby boys
  2. Noah, 191
  3. James, 173
  4. Charlie, 155
  5. Oliver, 131
  6. Theo, 119
  7. Leo, 117
  8. Cillian, 116
  9. Finn, 115
  10. Harry, 114

In the girls’ top 10, Aoife and Anna replaced Amelia, Lucy and Freya. (Two replaced three because there was a tie for tenth last year.)

In the boys’ top 10, Leo replaced Thomas.

And on the other side of the spectrum…

Northern Ireland’s downloadable data only goes down to names given to 3 babies, technically, but this batch of data — like the 2020 batch — included two extra alphabetized sets of names at the end. I believe these sets of names were the ones given to 2 babies and 1 baby, respectively. With that theory in mind, here’s a sampling of names from the second set:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Aodhla, Bediha, Caodhla, Darbie, Edera, Farbhlaidh, Gullandama, Harryanna, Izzy, Jersey, Khalessee, Lasairfhiona, Moya-Grace, Nollaig, Otter, Pupa, Qismina, Rozerin, Samhradh, Toireasa, Ugne, Venba, Wanda, Xanthe, Yarra, ZarkaAstraeus, Brogain, Chulainn, Dubhlainn, Edico, Finnian, Gerard-Og, Holiness, Iollan, Jefaldo, Kestrel, Laochrainn, Murdo, Nivonio, Orin, Padraic, Quevin, Riocht, Struan, Tuathal, Uisce, Vinny, Wai, Xayah, Yeats, Zeyue

Explanations/associations for some of the above…

  • Farbhlaidh – Irish for “overlord, ruler.”
  • Lasairfhiona – Irish for “flame of wine” — lasair meaning “flame,” fhíona meaning “of wine.” (The Irish word for “wine” is fíon.)
  • Nollaig – Irish for “Christmas.”
  • Samhradh – Irish for “summer.”
  • Chulainn – a reference to Cú Chulainn of Irish mythology.
  • Riocht – Irish for “kingdom.”
  • Tuathal – both a legendary conqueror of Ireland (Túathal Techtmar) and the Irish word for “counterclockwise.”
  • Uisce – Irish for “water.” (Also the word upon which “whiskey” was based!)
  • Yeats – a reference to W. B. Yeats, the Irish poet.

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Northern Ireland, if you’d like to compare.

Sources: Baby Names – NISRA, Irish Names and Surnames, Wiktionary

Popular and unique baby names in Sonoma County (California), 2021

Sonoma

According to the government of Sonoma, California, the most popular baby names in the county last year were Mia and and Mateo.

Here are Sonoma’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Mia, 29 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 26
  3. Isabella, 24
  4. Luca, 22
  5. Luna, 21
  6. Gianna, 18
  7. Aurora, 17 (tie)
  8. Emma, 17 (tie)
  9. Riley, 16 (tie)
  10. Eliana, 16 (tie)

Boy Names

  1. Mateo, 38 baby boys
  2. Liam, 29
  3. Noah, 28
  4. James, 23
  5. Oliver, 22
  6. Benjamin, 21
  7. Lucas, 19 (tie)
  8. Sebastian, 19 (tie)
  9. Jacob, 17 (4-way tie)
  10. Jack, 17 (4-way tie)

(The other two names in the 4-way tie were Henry and Julian.)

Here are some of the baby names that were bestowed just once in Sonoma last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Ahsoka, Bowyn, Cordova, Dutton, Eivissa, Fiadh, Galdina, Hanalie, Indira, Jinora, Ketsana, Levaleah, Metzli, Nebula, Odette, Peninaiaiga, Quinnie, Rockella, Sersha, Tallulah, Umi, Vrianna, Wren, Yadelene, ZeyaAxis, Beaudin, Codiak, Delmar, Elymus, Fletcher, Gibb, Herbert, Ilumi, Jonael, Kalais, Lesinali, Maimonides, Neithan, Ozan, Perrin, Ratu, Samarth, Tonalli, Usyk, Ville, Waimea, Xavien, Yamikani, Zabdiel

Some thoughts on a few of the above…

  • Ahsoka is a character from the Star Wars universe.
  • Dutton is the surname of the family featured on the TV show Yellowstone.
  • Sersha looks like a phonetic rendering of Saoirse.
  • Maimonides refers to Moses ben Maimon, a medieval Jewish philosopher.
  • Tonalli is a Nahuatl word that refers to the warmth of the sun (among other things).

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Sonoma, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Sonoma County Baby Names

Popular and unique baby names in Scotland (UK), 2021

scotland

According to the National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in the country last year were Olivia and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 349 baby girls
  2. Emily, 318
  3. Isla, 317
  4. Freya, 270
  5. Ella, 259
  6. Amelia, 257
  7. Ava, 241
  8. Sophie, 238
  9. Grace, 235
  10. Millie, 216

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 382 baby boys
  2. Noah, 337
  3. Leo, 289
  4. Oliver, 284
  5. Harris, 273
  6. Finlay, 255
  7. Lewis, 254
  8. James, 252
  9. Rory, 247
  10. Alexander, 240

In the girls’ top 10, Millie replaced Lily.

In the boys’ top 10, Lewis replaced Archie.

The fastest-rising names in the girls’ top 100 were Lyla, Blake, and Rowan; the fastest-rising names in the boys’ top 100 were Carson, Struan, and Myles.

Other names that have seen higher usage recently include Maeva (influenced by Made in Chelsea actress Maeva D’Ascanio) and Connell (influenced by Normal People character Connell Waldron).

And what about the unique names?

Almost 12% of baby girls were given a name that no other girl was registered with in 2021. Almost 9% of boys had unique names for births last year.

Baby names bestowed just once in Scotland last year included…

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Arlo-Moon, Aquamarine, Boglarka, Bryar-Loch, Cleagh, Cocohuay, Dervla, Diadem, Ember-Willow, Estrid, Falluin, Floraidh, Ghillie, Gwenno, Hessa, Humna, Iolanthe, Ischia, Jahanara, Juaa, Ketaki, Knoxie, Linaz, Liola-Sky, Mharli-Mae, Myfanwy, Nardos, Nymeria, Ocean-Bleu, Otterly, Pannavee, Paris-Sarah, Quinnie, Ribhinn, Ruoyi, Salka, Stuti, Thyra, Tifa, Unsa, Velvetjane, Wilda, Xiylo, Ying, Zanna, ZarnishArziki, Athilan, Bligh, Bruar, Caladh, Ciurar, Domhnall, Doski, Eloim, Ezra’banx, Firth, Fury, Gilmar, Guyan, Hanzala, Harcus, Ieuan, Ivaylo, Jockie, Joris, Kairimui, Kallikrates, Linstrum, Lorenzo-Moon, Marric, Massinissa, Nakoah-Knox, Nimrod, Oputjo, Otter, Parnaj, Prokop, Quanders, Rascal, Rhue, Simanga, Somhairle, Torben, Trix, Uziah-Nova, Vakaris, Wrath, Xanthus, Yuveer, Zander-Blu, Zebedee

Here are possible explanations/associations for some of the above:

  • Diadem, a type of crown
  • Ischia, an island near Naples
  • Nymeria, a direwolf from Game of Thrones
  • Ribhinn, a Scottish-Gaelic word (rìbhinn) meaning “maiden, girl”
  • Tifa, a character from the Final Fantasy video games
  • Kallikrates, a 5th-century BC Greek architect
  • Masinissa, a 2nd-century BC Numidian king
  • Somhairle, a 12th-century Norse-Gaelic king

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Scotland, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Babies’ First Names 2021 – National Records of Scotland, Trends in baby names 2021 (PDF)