How popular is the baby name Judith 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 Judith.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Judith


Posts that Mention the Name Judith

Glitch alert: Why are there gaps in the recent New York baby name data?

glitch

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
20216357
20206860
201959
201841
20173636
201643
20153937
20143735

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?

To check, I grabbed all the names with heavy New York usage listed in the 2021 state-by-state post and the 2020 state-by-state post — 34 names in total — and looked the data.

The result? Exactly half had similar gaps.

Here’s what I found…

The boy name Cheskel (a form of Chatzkel, which is based on Ezekiel) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 5 years straight:

Cheskel usage in the U.S.Cheskel usage in New York
20212929
202018
201927
201830
201723
201627
20152221
20142523

The girl name Chany (a diminutive of Channah) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years straight:

Chany usage in the U.S.Chany usage in New York
20216558
202056
201960
201855
201756
20165555
20154443
20144241

The boy name Naftuli (based on the Biblical name Naphtali) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years straight:

Naftuli usage in the U.S.Naftuli usage in New York
20212929
202033
201933
201827
201724
20163333
20152422
20142925

The girl name Idy didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:

Idy usage in the U.S.Idy usage in New York
202146
20204747
20193126
201829
201726
201625
20151716
20141513

The boy name Shmiel (a form of Shmuel, which is based on Samuel) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:

Shmiel usage in the U.S.Shmiel usage in New York
20214040
202045
20193838
201831
201735
201644
20154444
20143837

The girl name Yides (a diminutive of Yehudit, which is a form of Judith) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:

Yides usage in the U.S.Yides usage in New York
202139
20203434
201951
20183232
201739
201635
20154242
20143838

The boy name Berl didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:

Berl usage in the U.S.Berl usage in New York
202119
20201717
20192323
201818
201716
201622
20152121
20141918

The girl name Frady (a diminutive of Freyde) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years straight:

Frady usage in the U.S.Frady usage in New York
20212525
202022
201923
201821
20172121
20162020
20151714
20141919

The girl name Pessy (a diminutive of Batya, which is a form of the Biblical name Bithiah) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:

Pessy usage in the U.S.Pessy usage in New York
20216351
202062
201941
20185446
20174133
201634
20154645
20144240

The boy name Lipa (a short form of Lipman, which is based on the name Liberman) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:

Lipa usage in the U.S.Lipa usage in New York
20215044
20204843
201953
20184438
201737
201642
20154340
20145050

The boy name Usher (a form of Asher) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:

Usher usage in the U.S.Usher usage in New York
20214136
202037
201958
20183629
201734
20164135
20154540
20143128

The boy name Avrum (a form of Abraham) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:

Avrum usage in the U.S.Avrum usage in New York
20214234
20203728
201924
20182924
201727
201625
20151716
20142322

The boy name Lazer (a form of Eliezer) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:

Lazer usage in the U.S.Lazer usage in New York
202140
20203731
20194539
201829
201728
20164335
20152928
20143331

The boy name Yossi (a diminutive of Yosef) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:

Yossi usage in the U.S.Yossi usage in New York
20213529
202030
20192318
20183024
201721
201629
20152019
20142519

The girl name Goldy (a diminutive of Golda) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 2 years:

Goldy usage in the U.S.Goldy usage in New York
20216957
20206353
20195144
20186254
201756
201646
20154842
20142822

And, finally, the boy name Nachman didn’t appear in the New York state data for 2 years:

Nachman usage in the U.S.Nachman usage in New York
20212718
20202317
201918
20182012
201721
20162116
20152824
20142720

If the gap years matched up more closely with one another — as with the glitch of 1989, for instance — I could chalk it up to a few incomplete batches of data.

But they don’t, so…I don’t know what to make of this.

Do you guys have any thoughts, or theories?

(If you’d like to examine the New York data for yourself, download the “State-specific data” file from the SSA website.)

Sources: Behind the Name, SSA

Name quotes #98: Judith, Xochitl, Rajaonina

From an article about famous people reclaiming their names in The Guardian:

Earlier this year, the BBC presenter formerly known as Ben Bland changed his surname to Boulos to celebrate his maternal Sudanese-Egyptian heritage.

[…]

The Bland name had masked important aspects of his identity that he had downplayed as a child, not wanting to be seen as in any way “different”, including his Coptic faith, Boulos said. “Every name tells a story – and I want mine to give a more complete picture of who I am.”

Boulos’s grandparents, who came to Britain in the 1920s, had chosen the surname Bland because they feared using the Jewish-Germanic family name “Blumenthal”. “They decided on the blandest name possible — literally — to ensure their survival,” he wrote.

(Two more quotes on name-reclaiming were in last month’s quote post.)

Actress Camila Mendes [vid] talking about her name on The Late Late Show With James Corden in 2017:

So my name is Camila Mendes, and there’s a singer called Camila Cabello, and a singer called Shawn Mendes. And people seem to think my Twitter is a fan account for that relationship.

From the book I Speak of the City: Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (2015) by Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo:

Babies were baptized with new and strange names, particularly in the 1920s, names taken from the titles of various socialist experiments (for instance, in Tabasco with Garrido Canaval, who established socialist baptisms), and as a result of the emergence of the radio and the indigenist turn of the city’s language. Masiosare became a boy’s name (derived from a stanza of the national anthem: “Mas si osare un extraño enemigo…”), but also Alcazelser (after the popularity of Alka-Seltzer), Xochitl, Tenoch, Cuauhtémoc, Tonatihu (the biblically named Lázaro Cárdenas named his son Cuauhtémoc).

From a Good Morning America article about ’90s sitcom Saved by the Bell:

The names of characters came from people [executive producer Peter] Engel knew growing up.

“I knew a guy named Screech Washington. He was a producer. I said I’m not going to hire him, but I’m going to steal your name,” he said. “Slater was a kid who was in my son’s kindergarten class, Zack was named after my dear, dear friend, John DeLorean. […] His son’s name was Zack. Lisa Turtle was a girl I knew and Mr. Belding, Richard Belding, had been my cranky editor when I worked at Universal.”

From the book Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood (2004) by Robert S. Birchard:

DeMille interviewed Gloria Stuart for the part of the high school girl [in This Day and Age], Gay Merrick, and said she was “extremely enthusiastic,” and he also considered Paramount contract player Grace Bradley, but ultimately he selected a former model who called herself Mari Colman. In April 1933 Colman won a Paramount screen test in a New York beauty competition, and DeMille was apparently delighted by the innocent image she projected.

In a comic sequence in David O. Selznick’s 1937 production of A Star Is Born, the studio’s latest discovery, Esther Blodgett, is given a new name more in keeping with her status as a movie starlet. As This Day and Age was getting ready to roll, Mari Colman was subjected to the same treatment as DeMille and Paramount tested long lists of potential screen names. Among the suggestions were Betty Barnes, Doris Bruce, Alice Harper, Grace Gardner, Chloris Deane, and Marie Blaire. Colman herself suggested Pamela Drake or Erin Drake. On May 15, Jack Cooper wrote DeMille that he had tried several names on seventeen people. Eleven voted for the name Doris Manning; the other six held out for Doris Drake. Somehow, the name ultimately bestowed upon her was Judith Allen. DeMille and Paramount had high hopes for Allen, and she was even seen around town in the company of Gary Cooper, one of the studio’s biggest stars.

From an academic paper by Denis Regnier called “Naming and name changing in postcolonial Madagascar” (2016):

Nowadays, most names borne by individuals in Madagascar are a particular mix of foreign names (mainly Christian, French, or British but sometimes Muslim) and Malagasy names. This is because the spread of the Christian faith in the nineteenth century resulted in people increasingly giving names from the Bible to their children. These biblical names were often modified to follow the phonological and morphological rules of the Malagasy language (e.g., John becomes Jaonina or Jaona), and often the honorific particle Ra-, the word andriana (lord), or both were added to them (e.g., Rajaonina and Randrianarijaona). While at the beginning of Christian evangelization most people still had, in traditional Malagasy fashion, only one name, progressively the most common structure of names became “binomial,” as Gueunier calls it (Gueunier 2012, 197). In this case, a Christian name (or other foreign name) is often juxtaposed to a Malagasy name, although sometimes both names are of Malagasy origin or, more rarely, both names are foreign.

And let’s end with a related quote about Madagascar’s very long names:

Names were reduced in length when French colonization began in 1896 — the shortest names today include Rakotoarisoa, Rakotonirina, Andrianjafy or Andrianirina, and tend to have around 12 characters minimum.

Popular baby names in New Zealand, 2020

According to New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs, the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Isla and Oliver.

Here are New Zealand’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Isla, 243 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 222
  3. Amelia, 213
  4. Olivia, 208
  5. Willow, 184
  6. Harper, 177
  7. Ava (tie), 175
  8. Lily (tie), 175
  9. Sophie, 168
  10. Ella, 163

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 315 baby boys
  2. Jack, 261
  3. Noah, 240
  4. Leo, 235
  5. Lucas, 206
  6. George, 197
  7. Charlie, 183
  8. William (tie), 175
  9. Thomas (tie), 175
  10. Hunter, 174

In the girls’ top 10, Lily and Ella replaced Mila and Ruby.

In the boys’ top 10, Hunter replaced James.

Notably, top girl name Isla “first made the top 100 girls’ names in 2004.”

Here are a few other factoids:

Taylor and Darcy are the most evenly split gender-neutral names for 2020, with a 51/49 per cent divide between boys and girls.

There were no Jacindas or Judiths on the top 10 list and no increase in Ashleys despite these names appearing often in the media during 2020.

The top Maori baby names of 2020 were Mia, Aria and Maia for girls and Nikau, Manaia, and Ari for boys.

Back in 2019, the top names were Amelia and Oliver.

Sources: Top Baby Names in New Zealand, Top 2020 baby names: Same name tops list eight years in a row

The descendants of Tristram Coffyn

Medal depicting Tristram Coffin/Coffyn (c.1609-1681)
Tristram Coffin/Coffyn

Earlier this week we talked about the original Tristram Coffyn of Nantucket, who is known to have a massive number of descendants.

He and his wife Dionis* had five children in England, then four more after relocating to the New World. Here are the names of not only all nine of their children, but also their 76 grandchildren:

  1. Peter (b. 1631) and his wife Abigail had 11 kids:
    • Parnel, Eliphalet, Abigail, Peter, Jethro**, Tristram, Robert, Edward, Judith, Parnell, Elizabeth
  2. Tristram (b. 1632) and his wife Judith had 10 kids:
    • Judith, Deborah, Mary, James, John, Lydia, Enoch, Stephen, Peter, Nathaniel
  3. Elizabeth (b. 1634) and her husband Stephen Greenleaf had 10 kids:
    • Stephen, Sarah, Daniel, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Tristram, Edmund, Judith, Mary
  4. Stephen (b. 1637)
  5. James (b. 1640) and his wife Mary had 14 kids:
    • Experience, James, Mary, Abigail, Nathaniel, John, Dinah, Elizabeth, Deborah, Ebenezer, Joseph, Benjamin, Ruth, Jonathan
  6. Deborah (b. 1642)
  7. Mary (b. 1645) and her husband Nathaniel Starbuck had 10 kids:
    • Mary, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Jethro, Barnabas, Eunice, Priscilla, Hephzibah, Ann, Paul
  8. John (b. 1647) and his wife Deborah had 11 kids:
    • Lydia, Peter, John, Love, Enoch, Samuel, Hannah, Benjamin, Tristram, Deborah, Elizabeth
  9. Stephen (b. 1652) and his wife Mary had 10 kids:
    • Daniel, Dionis, Peter, Stephen, Judith, Susanna, Anna, Mehitable, Hepzibah, Paul

Which of the above names do you like best? Are there any you don’t like at all?

*Dionis’s name is evidently a truncated form of Dionysia, which derives from Dionysius, which originally referred to a devotee of the Greek god Dionysos. The names Dennis and Denise are also derivatives of Dionysius.

**Nantucket’s Oldest House, also called the Jethro Coffin House, was built in 1686 as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin.

Sources: Tristram Coffin, Sr. (1608-1681) – WikiTree, My Father’s Shoes – Our Coffin Story

How did Grace Kelly influence baby names?

Actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982)
Grace Kelly

Philadelphia native Grace Kelly appeared in her first movie in 1951. By 1955, she had become one of the biggest box-office draws in the nation. But she gave up her career as an actress to assume the role of a princess in 1956 when she married the ruler of Monaco.

I know of five baby names (so far) that got a boost thanks to Grace Kelly…

Grace

First thing’s first: Grace Kelly’s first name, Grace. It saw a two-year uptick in the mid-’50s:

  • 1959: 1,660 baby girls named Grace [rank: 204th]
  • 1958: 1,708 baby girls named Grace [rank: 198th]
  • 1957: 1,917 baby girls named Grace [rank: 186th]
  • 1956: 1,837 baby girls named Grace [rank: 189th]
  • 1955: 1,390 baby girls named Grace [rank: 216th]
  • 1954: 1,410 baby girls named Grace [rank: 213th]

Decades later, it would peak in the rankings at 13th place for two years in a row (2003 and 2004).

Kelly

The rise of Kelly can’t be attributed to a single factor, as we saw yesterday. That said, I have no doubt that Grace Kelly played a part in feminizing the first name Kelly during the 1950s:

  • 1959: 6,379 baby girls named Kelly [rank: 74th]
  • 1958: 4,471 baby girls named Kelly [rank: 108th]
  • 1957: 1,907 baby girls named Kelly [rank: 187th]
  • 1956: 831 baby girls named Kelly [rank: 310th]
  • 1955: 540 baby girls named Kelly [rank: 380th]
  • 1954: 455 baby girls named Kelly [rank: 406th]

Grace Kelly’s paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants. The Irish surname Kelly can have several possible origins, but a common one is the Ó Ceallaigh, “descendant of Ceallach.” The meaning of the personal name Ceallach isn’t known for certain — some sources say “bright-headed,” others say it comes from a word meaning “war,” or a different word meaning “church.”

In 1968, the name Kelly saw peak usage on the boys’ list (97th) and then-peak usage on the girls’ list (12th). In 1977, thanks to the Charlie’s Angels character, it bounced back to reach an even higher peak for girls (10th).

Lizanne

Grace’s little sister Elizabeth “Lizanne” Kelly married Donald LeVine in Philadelphia in June of 1955. The same year, the baby name Lizanne debuted on the charts:

  • 1959: 32 baby girls named Lizanne
    • 10 born in Pennsylvania
  • 1958: 39 baby girls named Lizanne [peak]
    • 13 born in Pennsylvania
  • 1957: 36 baby girls named Lizanne
    • 10 born in Pennsylvania
  • 1956: 32 baby girls named Lizanne
    • 9 born in Pennsylvania
  • 1955: 15 baby girls named Lizanne [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

Notice how the usage of Lizanne in the late ’50s was particularly high in Pennsylvania. It was the same through most of the ’60s as well.

Rainier

Grace married Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco, in a lavish wedding in Monaco in April of 1956. The same year, the baby name Rainier debuted on the charts:

  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 7 baby boys named Rainier
  • 1956: 11 baby boys named Rainier [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

The name Rainier is ultimately based on the Germanic words ragin, meaning “advice, decision, counsel,” and hari, meaning “army.”

(The six bridesmaids at the wedding were named Bettina, Carolyn, Judith, Maree, Rita — actress Rita Gam — and Sally.)

Caroline

Grace and Rainier had three children: Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. The births of the latter two didn’t seem to have an effect on U.S. baby names, but the birth of Caroline in January of 1957 did give Caroline a bump that year:

  • 1959: 1,046 baby girls named Caroline [rank: 273rd]
  • 1958: 990 baby girls named Caroline [rank: 282nd]
  • 1957: 1,135 baby girls named Caroline [rank: 253rd]
  • 1956: 702 baby girls named Caroline [rank: 329th]
  • 1955: 743 baby girls named Caroline [rank: 315th]
  • 1954: 770 baby girls named Caroline [rank: 304th]

Toward the end of 1957, John and Jacqueline Kennedy — who were still several years away from becoming President and First Lady — also welcomed a daughter named Caroline. They didn’t get the idea from Grace Kelly, though. Caroline Kennedy was named after her maternal aunt, Caroline Lee Radziwill.

Sources: Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll – Wikipedia, Rayner – Behind the Name