How popular is the baby name Margery 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 Margery.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Margery


Posts that Mention the Name Margery

The Mystery of Essfa

This might not be a mystery. It might just be my imagination running away with me. But I’ll put it out there anyway.

We all know there are flaws with the SSA data. I’ve blogged about the baby name glitch of 1989 and the Korea-Kansas mis-codes, for instance. And data scientist David Taylor made a slide deck illustrating several issues with the SSA data a few years ago.

So my question is this: Could Essfa, a one-hit wonder from 1921, be another flaw?

According to the SSA data, the name Essfa was given to 6 babies in 1921, and all 6 of these babies were born in Vermont.

But when we look for these Essfas in the SSDI, we get…nothing. Not a single Essfa from anywhere, born in any year.

This doesn’t prove anything, but it is very curious.

Then there’s the fact that all these Essfas were born in Vermont, a relatively small state not known for adventurous baby-naming. The SSA’s Vermont-specific data from 1921 puts oddball Essfa on par with classics like Emma and Julia:

All baby names given to 6 babies
in VT in 1921, according to SSA
VT,F,1921,Emma,6
VT,F,1921,Essfa,6
VT,F,1921,Germaine,6
VT,F,1921,Glenna,6
VT,F,1921,Gloria,6
VT,F,1921,Harriett,6
VT,F,1921,Julia,6
VT,F,1921,Kathryn,6
VT,F,1921,Mae,6
VT,F,1921,Margery,6
VT,F,1921,Wilma,6

Again, very curious.

After doing more research, I was only able to find a single person named Essfa who was born in Vermont in 1921. The intriguing part? She had multiple identities:

  • She was born Essfa Estella Bickford Vermont on May 7, 1921.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis upon marrying William Earl Davis in Vermont in 1937.
  • She became Essfa E. Millette upon marrying Rupert Frank Millette in New Hampshire in 1941.
  • She became Essfa E. Walker upon marrying Howard C. Walker in New Hampshire in 1953.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis (again) upon marrying Arthur I. Davis in Connecticut in 1964, and passed away in 1976 as a Davis.

And I found a sixth alias — in Billboard magazine, oddly enough. For decades Billboard operated a mail-forwarding service for traveling performers. The name “Essfa E. White” appeared regularly on their Letter List from 1945 until 1948. (She was also listed under the surname Millette once, in 1946.)

So we know for sure that one Essfa was born in Vermont in 1921, and that this Essfa used at least six different names (if you count Davis twice) throughout her lifetime.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether this particular Essfa was counted 6 different times in the SSA data somehow.

What do you think?

Source: Billboard – Wikipedia

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1867

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.

I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:

  • 1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
  • 1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
  • 254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.

And now, on to the names…

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.

  1. Mary, 138 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 46
  3. Ellen, 37
  4. Margaret, 34
  5. Sarah, 31
  6. Annie, 19
  7. Elizabeth, 16
  8. Alice, 15
  9. Florence, 14
  10. Ann, Emma & Ida, 12 each (3-way tie)
  11. Minnie, 11
  12. Harriet & Julia, 9 each (2-way tie)
  13. Anna, Caroline, Carrie, Jennie, Joanna & Louisa, 8 each (6-way tie)
  14. Cora & Eliza, 7 each (2-way tie)
  15. Agnes, Clara, Edith, Rosanna & Theresa, 6 each (5-way tie)
  16. Bertha, Grace, Hannah, Hattie, Jane, Lillian, Maria, Martha, Nellie & Susan, 5 each (10-way tie)
  17. Eleanor, Fannie, Gertrude, Helen, Isabella, Lucy & Rosa, 4 each (7-way tie)
  18. Anne, Bridget, Ella, Emily, Esther, Eva, Lizzie, Mabel, Matilda & Ruth, 3 each (10-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amelia, Charlotte, Dora, Eleanora, Elvira, Henrietta, Jessie, Josephine, Kate, Louise, Lydia, Maggie & Rosella, 2 each (14-way tie)
  20. Abby, Addie, Adelaide, Adelia, Almina, Almira, Amanda, Amey, Amy, Anastasia, Angelie, Annis, Antoinette, Augusta, Aurelia, Bethiah, Cecelia, Celia, Clarissa, Clementina, Corielynn, Cornelia, Drusilla, Effie, Emeline, Estella, Ethelin, Fanny, Florentina, Frances, Gelie, Genevieve, Georgiana, Georgianna, Helena, Honora, Irene, Isabel, Issie, Juliann, Julietta, Katie, Laura, Leah, Leonora, Lillie, Lillis, Lily, Lottie, Luella, Margaretta, Margery, Margret, Marietta, Maude, May, Millie, Myra, Nelly, Phebe, Robie, Rosalthe, Rose, Selina, Sophia, Susanna, Susannah, Vienna, Viola, Vira, Virginia & Winifred, 1 each (72-way tie)

All Boy Names

  1. John, 87 baby boys
  2. William, 75
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 50
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 40
  7. Joseph, 30
  8. Walter, 21
  9. Edward, 16
  10. Francis & Michael, 14 each (2-way tie)
  11. Patrick, 13
  12. Arthur & Robert, 12 each (2-way tie)
  13. Frank, Frederick & Henry, 11 each (3-way tie)
  14. Albert, 9
  15. Daniel & Peter, 8 each (2-way tie)
  16. David, Eugene, Howard & Samuel, 6 each (4-way tie)
  17. Alexander, Louis & Stephen, 5 each (3-way tie)
  18. Harry, Herbert, Hugh & Martin, 4 each (4-way tie)
  19. Carl, Edgar, Everett, Jeremiah & Willie, 3 each (5-way tie)
  20. Abraham, Alfred, Clarence, Cornelius, Dennis, Ernest, Ezra, Franklin, Freddie, Jacob, Jesse, Lewis, Luke, Nicholas, Philip, Sylvester, Theodore, Timothy, 2 each (18-way tie)
  21. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Amos, Andrew, Appleton, Archibald, Ashel, August, Benjamin, Benno, Bernard, Bertram, Burt, Byron, Clifford, Davis, Dexter, Dunlap, Edmund, Edwin, Elmer*, Embert, Forrest, Freddy, Gustav, Herman, Isaac, Jeffrey, Jerome, Josiah, Lucian, Malcolm, Matthew, Maurice, Milton, Nathan, Nehemiah, Nelson, Oren, Oscar, Otto, Owen, Paul, Ralph, Reginald, Richard, Sanford, Seth, Shirley, Sullivan, Terence, Theobald, Victor, Wanton, Warren, Weston, Wheelan, Wilford, 1 each (59-way tie)

*Elmer, who had the middle initial “E.,” was likely named after early Civil War casualty Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Twins & Triplets

Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twinsTriplets
Annie & Fannie
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Ann & Maurice
Grace & George
Harriet & Albert
Ida & Ashel
Mary & James
Abraham & George
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
Carl, (blank) & (blank)
James, Alexander & Sarah

I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).

Sources:

First Names from King Henry III’s Fine Rolls (1200s)

Henry III of England
Henry III of England

I’ve got some 13th-century English names for you today!

They come from the fine rolls of Henry III of England (1216–1272). The fine rolls were basically financial records. King Henry III wasn’t the first to keep them, but they “expand[ed] considerably in size and content during Henry’s reign.”

The Henry III Fine Rolls Project has translated the fine rolls from Latin to English, if you want to check them out.

Even better for our purposes, though, is this nifty database of given names in the Fine Rolls of Henry III, which shows us the most-mentioned male names and female names in the rolls.

(These lists aren’t the same as the single-year, society-wide baby name popularity lists we’re accustomed to — they cover a wide range of birth years, and a small segment of society — but they do give us a general idea of which names were the most popular during the 1200s.)

Of the 8,423 male names in the fine rolls, these were the most popular:

  1. William (1,217 mentions)
  2. John (669)
  3. Richard (495)
  4. Robert (434)
  5. Henry (376)
  6. Ralph (365)
  7. Thomas (351)
  8. Walter (346)
  9. Roger (337)
  10. Hugh (297)
  11. Geoffrey (261)
  12. Simon (218)
  13. Adam (200)
  14. Nicholas, Peter (180 each)
  15. Gilbert (157)
  16. Alan (110)
  17. Phillip (109)
  18. Reginald (88)
  19. Stephen (83)
  20. Elias (66)
  21. Alexander (65)
  22. Osbert (52)
  23. Eustace (44)
  24. Andrew, Matthew (42 each)
  25. Ranulf (40)

Other names on the men’s list: Hamo, Fulk, Payn, Waleran, Drogo, Engeram, Amfrid, Ratikin, Walkelin, Bonefey, Fulcher, Hasculf, Herlewin, Joldwin, Lefsi, Marmaduke, Orm, Albizium, Cocky, Deulobene, Gwenwynwyn, Markewart.

Of the 1,314 female names in the fine rolls, these were the most popular:

  1. Alice (140 mentions)
  2. Matilda (138)
  3. Agnes (76)
  4. Margaret (69)
  5. Joan (62)
  6. Isabella (60)
  7. Emma (37)
  8. Beatrice (34)
  9. Mabel (33)
  10. Cecilia (32)
  11. Christiana (30)
  12. Hawise (29)
  13. Juliana (27)
  14. Sibyl (25)
  15. Rose (21)
  16. Sarra (16)
  17. Helewise (15)
  18. Avice, Eleanor, Eva, Lucy (14 each)
  19. Leticia (13)
  20. Felicia (12)
  21. Isolda, Margery, Petronilla (11 each)
  22. Ascelina, Edith (10 each)
  23. Phillippa (9)
  24. Amice, Elena, Katherine, Mary, Sabina (8)
  25. Basilia, Muriel (7)

Other names on the women’s list: Albrea, Amabilia, Eustachia, Idonea, Egidia, Millicent, Amphelisa, Avegaya, Barbata, Comitessa, Frethesenta, Wulveva, Alveva, Dervorguilla, Deulecresse, Elizabeth (just 1!), Flandrina, Oriolda.

See any names you like?

Source: The Henry III Fine Rolls by David Carpenter