How popular is the baby name Marne 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 Marne.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Marne


Posts that Mention the Name Marne

Name quotes #110: Marné, Wulfstan, Brandon

double quotation mark

Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:

Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’

From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:

When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?

[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]

Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:

Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.

But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.

[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]

“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”

[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]

From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:

While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.

A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.

From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:

Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.

Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.

From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:

Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Babies named for Armistice Day

Front page news, 11/11/1918

Here’s a name that, year after year on November 11, I keep forgetting to write about: Armistice. It debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1918:

  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 6 baby boys named Armistice
  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1919: 5 baby boys named Armistice
  • 1918: 5 baby girls named Armistice [debut]
  • 1917: unlisted

The influence, of course, was the Armistice declared on November 11, 1918, that signaled the end of World War I. From that point forward, November 11 became known as Armistice Day. (It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.)

A few of the babies named Armistice even got “Day” as a middle name. And at least one of these “Armistice Day” babies, born in Connecticut in 1927, managed to make it into newspapers:

Bridgeport, it has developed, is to have an Armistice Day the year round. Born on Nov. 11 last, the infant daughter of a local family is believed to be the first child in the country named in honor of the world holiday. Her official name is “Armistice Day Guiseppina [sic] Olympia Bredice.” Her father is an employee of a local sewing machine factory.

What do you think of Armistice as a first name?

Source: “Baby named “Armistice Day”.” Reading Eagle 23 Nov. 1927: 4.

P.S. More WWI baby names: Foch, Marne, Allenby, Joffre, Pershing, Tasker, and Liberty.

More WWI names: Allenby, Joffre, Pershing, Tasker

joffree, cover of collier's, 1915
Joffre, Collier’s cover, Mar. 1915

The top debut names of 1918 were Foch and Marne, for French general Ferdinand Foch and the Second Battle of the Marne. Of course, Foch and Marne weren’t the only WWI-related baby names to debut in the SSA data during the 1910s. Here are four more:

Allenby

  • 1919: unlisted
  • 1918: 6 baby boys named Allenby [debut]
  • 1917: unlisted

Allenby, which made the SSA’s list only once, comes from British Field Marshal Edmund Allenby (1861-1936). He was given command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) in mid-1917.

Joffre

  • 1919: 7 baby boys named Joffre
  • 1918: 35 baby boys named Joffre
  • 1917: 37 baby boys named Joffre
  • 1916: 16 baby boys named Joffre
  • 1915: 14 baby boys named Joffre
  • 1914: 6 baby boys named Joffre [debut]
  • 1913: unlisted

Joffre, which debuted in 1914 and peaked in 1917, was inspired by French General Joseph Joffre (1852-1931). He was commander-in-chief of the French Army during World War I.

The SSDI tells me that two of those 1917 babies were named Joffre Pershing and Joffre Haig, and that another Joffre Pershing was born in 1918.

Pershing

  • 1920: 28 baby boys named Pershing
  • 1919: 103 baby boys named Pershing [rank: 595th]
  • 1918: 295 baby boys named Pershing [rank: 334th]
  • 1917: 53 baby boys named Pershing [rank: 882nd]
  • 1916: unlisted
  • 1915: 10 baby boys named Pershing [debut]
  • 1914: unlisted

Pershing, which debuted in 1915 and peaked in 1918, was inspired by General John Pershing (1860-1948). He was the only person promoted to the highest rank in the U.S. Army — General of the Armies — during his lifetime (in 1919).

No doubt scores of other baby boys were named “John Pershing,” such as John Pershing Williams, born in August of 1917 to Mr. and Mrs. W. J. S. Williams of Scioto County, Ohio.

Tasker

  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1919: 8 baby boys named Tasker
  • 1918: 7 baby boys named Tasker [debut]
  • 1917: unlisted

Tasker, which has been on the list a total of three times, comes from General Tasker Bliss (1853-1930). He was the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1918.

…Not surprisingly, the WWI names above fell out of favor after the early 1920s. But a few did reappear on the SSA’s list in the early ’40s (during WWII) — Pershing in 1940, and Joffre and Tasker in 1942.

Source: “Namesake Son for General Pershing.” Portsmouth Times 26 Oct. 1917.

Where did the baby names Foch and Marne come from in 1918?

French military leader Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929)
Ferdinand Foch

The names Marne and Foch and were the top debut names in the U.S. baby name data for girls and boys (respectively) in 1918:

Boys named FochGirls named MarneBoys named Marne
1920.65
19199.6
191858*24*17*
1917...
1916...
*Debut

Foch debuted so impressively in 1918 that it reached the top 1,000 for the first and only time (ranking 874th in 1918).

And Marne didn’t just debut as a girl name — it also debuted as a boy name. In fact, it was the third-highest boy-name debut of 1918, after Foch and Victory.

The Social Security Death Index shows a similar spike in usage of both names (being used as first names specifically) that year:

People named Foch (SSDI)People named Marne (SSDI)
1920.10
1919813
19184137
191716
1916.3

So where did these two names come from?

As it turns out, they were inspired by related things.

The Second Battle of the Marne — the last major German offensive of WWI — was fought in the Marne River valley (in northeastern France) over several days in July of 1918. The Allies resisted the attack, then launched a counterattack led by French general Ferdinand Foch — Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies. Soon after, Foch launched the Hundred Days Offensive (August to November), which led to the defeat of Germany and the end of World War I.

The river name Marne is pronounced mahrn (with a guttural R) by French speakers, though I doubt the American babies named for the battle used this pronunciation. (The name saw peak usage in the late 1960s, shadowing the much higher peak of the similar name Marnie.)

The surname Foch is pronounced fosh — like the word “foe” with an sh-sound attached. I spotted several feminized versions of the name (e.g., Focha, Fochette) in the SSDI.

The SSDI also included people with more than one WWI-inspired given name, such as:

  • Foch Pershing Pensis (1918-2011)
  • Marne Pershing Nagle (1918-2010)
  • Victory Foch Havens (1918-1944)
  • Pershing Foch Mills (1918-2008)

What are your thoughts on these names?

Sources: Second Battle of the Marne – Wikipedia, Ferdinand Foch – Wikipedia, SSA, SSDI
Image: LOC

[Latest update: 6/2022]

Top debut names in the U.S. baby name data, 1881 to today

flower bud

Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing explanations tied to historical people/events. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

*If you ignore the baby name glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Image by kazuend from Unsplash