How popular is the baby name Silver 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 Silver.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Silver


Posts that Mention the Name Silver

Popular baby names in British Columbia (Canada), 2016

According to British Columbia’s Vital Statistics Agency, the most popular baby names in the province in 2016 were Olivia and Lucas.

Here are British Columbia’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 265 baby girls
2. Emma, 218
3. Charlotte, 194
4. Ava, 185
5. Sophia, 175
6. Chloe, 164
7. Emily, 155
8. Abigail, 152
9. Amelia, 141
10. Evelyn, 138

Boy Names
1. Lucas, 231 baby boys
2. Benjamin, 222
3. Ethan, 213
4. Oliver, 210
5. Liam, 200
6. Noah, 199
7. James, 189
8. William, 186
9. Jacob, 176
10. Owen, 174

In the girls’ top 10, Evelyn replaced Ella.

In the boys’ top 10, Noah, James, and Owen replaced Alexander, Mason, and Hunter.

Names at the other end of the spectrum — used just five times each in 2016 — include:

  • Althea, Blaire, Daya, Emberly, Felicity, Genesis, Hallie, Jaskirat, Lisa, Melissa, Naira, Oona, Patricia, Remy, Silver, Taryn, Uma, Violette, Whitney (girl names)
  • Augustus, Brixton, Cristiano, Duncan, Emilio, Finnian, Gibson, Hassan, Jared, Koa, London, Mantaj, Noel, Rayden, Shea, Tony, Umar, Willem, Zian (boy names)

The top names in 2015 were Emma and Oliver.

According to preliminary 2017 data (covering January 1st to December 15th) the top two names of the current year are likely Olivia and Benjamin.

Sources: Baby’s Most Chosen Names in British Columbia, 2016, British Columbia’s top baby names (prelim. 2017)

What’s your Cape Breton nickname?

A few weeks ago I posted about the baby names Silver and Free Silver, which were bestowed by bimetallism buffs in the 1890s.

Decades later, in the 1930s, Canadian writer Silver Donald Cameron was born.

His name had nothing to do with monetary standards, though. He wasn’t even born a “Silver.” He was simply Donald Cameron until the early 1970s, when he decided to adopt the name Silver to set himself apart from all the other Canadian men named Donald Cameron.

How did he come up with Silver? He didn’t. A friend gave it to him:

“Lard Jasus, b’y,” said folk-singer Tom Gallant, “you need a proper Cape Breton nickname.” I know what he means: Black John MacDonald as distinguished from John The Piper MacDonald and Gimpy John MacDonald and John By-The-Church MacDonald. What are my own characteristics? I’m short: what about Donald The Runt? Or Brief Donald? No, no dignity: if he had called himself Clubfoot George would we remember Lord Byron?

Tom struck a chord in his Yamaha, gazed at me. “That hair,” he said. It’s my most striking feature, prematurely grey hair, set off by black eyebrows and moustache. Don’t ask me how I got that color scheme, ask God: He did it. Children stop me in the street to ask me if I’m wearing a wig. Adults chalk it up to noxious personal habits and secret vices.

“That hair,” said Tom. “That’s it. Silver Donald Cameron.”

Cameron refers to himself as “Silver Donald” all over his website, awesomely.

Nicknames have been a tradition on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, for hundreds of years. They’re particularly popular among the coal miners, and tend to fall into several broad categories: place names, occupational names, patronymics, physical features, and personality traits.

Other nicknames based on physical features don’t tend to be as complimentary as “Silver.” They include “Buffalo Head,” “Potato Nose,” “Saucer Eyes,” “Popeye,” and “Bandy Legs.”

“Alex the Clock” had one arm that was shorter than the other. “Waterloo Dan” had backed into a hot stove in his youth and thereafter sported the brand “Waterloo No. 2” (written backwards) on his bum.

People don’t get to choose their own nicknames on Cape Breton, but let’s pretend for a moment that you live there and you get to choose yours. What would it be?

Sources:

Babies named “Free Silver” and “Gold Standard”

gold vs silver
Puck‘s take on gold vs. silver in 1900

The Free Silver Movement gave the baby name Silver a boost during the 1890s, as we saw in yesterday’s post. But the story doesn’t end there.

Some parents got even more specific with their babies’ names, opting for the full phrase “Free Silver”:

  • Free Silver Hopkins, born in Oklahoma in 1894
  • Free Silver Kasler, born in Oklahoma in 1895
  • Free Silver Watts, born in West Virginia in 1895
  • Free Silver Waters, born in Georgia in 1898

Then there were the people on the other side of the issue. They supported the gold standard, and a handful of them named their babies accordingly:

  • Gold Standard Kirkwood, born in Mississippi in 1890
  • Gold Standard Gunn, born in West Virginia in 1897
  • Goldstandard T. Rowlett, born in Oklahoma in 1898
  • Goldstandard G. Anderson, born in Kansas in 1898

Names from the same decade that included both metals, such as Goldie Freesilver, are harder to interpret. These names could be more about novelty than about politics (i.e., not a nod to bimetallism).

  • Silver Gold Kay, born in Arizona in 1893
  • Goldie Silvery Budd, in Ohio in 1896
  • Golden Silver Colley, born in Kentucky in 1896
  • Goldie Freesilver Crawford, born in Oklahoma in 1897
  • Goldie Silverada Hoffman, born in Colorado in 1899

Today’s question: If you had to choose either Gold or Silver (or some variant thereof, like Goldie or Silverene) as your baby’s name, which metal would you choose?

Image: The survival of the fittest – LOC

What turned Silver into a baby name in 1896?

“Silver Lunatics”

The name Silver — which regularly appears in the U.S. baby name data these days — first popped up way back in the 1890s, when it suddenly debuted with an impressive 10 baby boys:

  • 1898: unlisted
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: 10 baby boys named Silver [debut]
  • 1895: unlisted
  • 1894: unlisted

If we look at the SSDI data, we see a similar spike in the number of people named Silver in 1896:

  • 1898: 8 people named Silver
  • 1897: 6 people named Silver
  • 1896: 18 people named Silver
  • 1895: 6 people named Silver
  • 1894: 8 people named Silver

Can you guess the cause?

I’ll give you two hints. First, look what happens to the name Bryan that year:

  • 1898: 57 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1897: 97 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1896: 157 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1895: 27 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1894: 9 baby boys named Bryan

Now check out how the name Jennings peaks a year later:

  • 1898: 28 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1897: 50 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1896: 40 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1895: 9 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1894: 5 baby boys named Jennings

No doubt you’ve pieced it together: 1896 was the year William Jennings Bryan ran for president, and the central issue for Democrats that year was Free Silver.

The U.S. was in the middle of a depression, and Free Silver supporters (the “Silverites”) thought the depression could be alleviated via the coinage of silver.

“For true believers,” the Encyclopedia Britannica states, “silver became the symbol of economic justice for the mass of the American people.”

And those “true believers” were very likely the ones naming their kids Silver back in 1896.

But Bryan’s opponent, William McKinley, was able to convince voters that Free Silver was a bad thing — that the resultant inflation would harm the economy — and won the election.

What do you think of the baby name Silver?

Sources: William Jennings Bryan – Wikipedia, Free Silver – Wikipedia, Free Silver Movement | United States history | Britannica.com
Image: A down-hill movement – LOC

P.S. Want to see other money-inspired monikers? Try Legal Tender, Rose Mary Echo Silver Dollar, Free Silver, Gold Standard, and Depression.