How popular is the baby name Toby 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 Toby.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Toby


Posts that Mention the Name Toby

Popular baby names in the Channel Islands, 2021

The island of Sark (one of the four main Channel Islands)
Sark (one of the Channel Islands)

The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel. They are divided into two territories — the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey — and, like the Isle of Man, they are Crown Dependencies, but not officially part of the UK. (The residents of all three regions are British citizens, though.)

The Bailiwick of Jersey includes the most-populous island, Jersey, while the Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the less-populous islands of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm.

English is the official language in both bailiwicks, but local forms of Norman French (like Jèrriais, and Guernesiais) are also spoken on certain islands.

The Channel Islands (off the coast of Normandy, France)
Channel Islands (off the coast of France)

Now, on to the names!

Jersey

Last year, Jersey welcomed a total of 890 babies — 426 girls and 464 boys. Here are the island’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Sienna
  2. Isla
  3. Olivia
  4. Willow
  5. Ellie
  6. Maria
  7. Sophia
  8. Valentina
  9. Amelia
  10. Charlotte

Boy Names

  1. Arthur
  2. Oliver
  3. Noah
  4. Freddie
  5. Alexander
  6. Lucas
  7. Toby
  8. William
  9. Henry
  10. Sebastian

Since 2014, the name Sienna has reached the girls’ top 10 only twice…but it ranked #1 both times. I can’t account for the higher usage in 2018, but the 2021 return could be attributable to the influence of royal baby Sienna Elizabeth, born in September to Princess Beatrice.

Guernsey

Last year, Guernsey welcomed a total of 527 babies — 263 girls and 264 boys. Here are the bailiwick’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 6 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 4 (6-way tie)
  3. Evie, 4 (6-way tie)
  4. Florence, 4 (6-way tie)
  5. Imogen, 4 (6-way tie)
  6. Isla, 4 (6-way tie)
  7. Penelope, 4 (6-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Luca, 6 baby boys (tie)
  2. Theodore, 6 (tie)
  3. Archie, 5 (3-way tie)
  4. Leo, 5 (3-way tie)
  5. Theo, 5 (3-way tie)
  6. Arthur, 4 (6-way tie)
  7. George, 4 (6-way tie)
  8. Max, 4 (6-way tie)
  9. Oscar, 4 (6-way tie)
  10. Thomas, 4 (6-way tie)
  11. William, 4 (6-way tie)

My source also mentioned a few other facts…

  • Isabella was given to 3 baby girls, Jessica to 2, and Isabella-Jude, Izabella, and Isabelle to 1 each.
  • Lucas was given to 3 baby boys, and Matthew, Mateus, Matheus, and James to 1 each.
  • Over 54% of the babies born in Guernsey last year were given a name that was used just once.
  • Back in 1996, the top names in Guernsey were Jessica, Lauren, and Sophie (a 3-way tie) and James.

This is the first time I’ve posted rankings for Guernsey, but I’ve been posting Jersey’s rankings for a few years — here’s 2020, for instance.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the word “bailiwick” refers to the jurisdiction of a bailiff.

Sources: Annual Statement – Office of the Superintendent Registrar – Government of Jersey (PDF), Revealed: Jersey’s most popular baby names in 2021, Olivia, Theo, and Luca most popular baby names in Guernsey

Images: Adapted from Channel Islands by Copernicus Sentinel-2, ESA under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO and from Aerial view of Sark by Phillip Capper under CC BY 2.0.

Top male names in England, 1560-1621

A while back, I stumbled upon a register of people associated with Oxford University in the late 1500s and early 1600s. The most interesting part? The author of the register included a chapter dedicated to first names and surnames, and that chapter featured a table of male forenames ranked by frequency of occurrence from 1560 to 1621.

The author claimed that, for several reasons, these rankings were “probably…more representative of English names than any list yet published” for that span of time. One reason was that the names represented men from “different grades of English society” — including peers, scholars, tradesmen, and servants.

Ready for the list?

  1. John, 3,826 individuals
  2. Thomas, 2,777
  3. William, 2,546
  4. Richard, 1,691
  5. Robert, 1,222
  6. Edward, 957
  7. Henry, 908
  8. George, 647
  9. Francis, 447
  10. James, 424
  11. Nicholas, 326
  12. Edmund, 298
  13. Anthony, 262
  14. Hugh, 257
  15. Christopher, 243
  16. Samuel, 227
  17. Walter, 207
  18. Roger, 195
  19. Ralph (sometimes confused with Raphael/Randall in the records), 182
  20. Peter, 175
  21. Humphrey, 168
  22. Charles, 139
  23. Philip, 137
  24. David, 129
  25. Matthew (sometimes confused with Matthias), 116
  26. Nathaniel, 112
  27. Michael, 103
  28. Alexander, 98 (tie)
  29. Arthur, 98 (tie)
  30. Laurence, 90
  31. Giles, 88
  32. Stephen, 86
  33. Simon (sometimes confused with Simeon), 83
  34. Daniel, 79
  35. Joseph, 78 (tie)
  36. Lewis, 78 (tie)
  37. Andrew, 69
  38. Roland (also Rowland), 65
  39. Griffith (also Griffin), 60
  40. Evan, 55
  41. Abraham, 54 (tie)
  42. Leonard, 54 (tie)
  43. Owen, 53
  44. Gilbert, 52
  45. Morris (sometimes confused with Maurice), 51
  46. Bartholomew, 46 (3-way tie)
  47. Oliver, 46 (3-way tie)
  48. Timothy, 46 (3-way tie)
  49. Morgan, 45
  50. Martin, 44 (tie)
  51. Rice (sometimes confused with Richard), 44 (tie)
  52. Gabriel, 41
  53. Benjamin, 40
  54. Jeffrey (also Geoffrey; sometimes confused with Godfrey), 38
  55. Ambrose, 36
  56. Adam, 35
  57. Toby (also Tobias), 34
  58. Jerome, 33
  59. Ellis, 30
  60. Paul, 29
  61. Bernard, 28 (3-way tie)
  62. Gregory (sometimes confused with George), 28 (3-way tie)
  63. Isaac, 28 (3-way tie)
  64. Jasper (also Gaspar), 26 (tie)
  65. Randall (also Randle, Randolph; sometimes confused with Ralph), 26 (tie)

Did the relative popularity of any of these names surprise you?

Entries lower down on the list included Lancelot (23), Jarvis (22) Theophilus (19), Marmaduke (18), Fulke (17), and Cadwalader (9).

The author also included every other Oxford-associated name from that general time period, so here’s a sampling of the rare names that popped up in the register just once:

  • Aegeon, Arundel, Aunstey, Aymondesham
  • Bamfield, Beauforus, Bezaliel, Bulstrod
  • Cadoc, Cannanuel, Chiddiock, Cosowarth
  • Dabridgcourt, Delvus, Deodatus, Donwald
  • Erisy, Esdras
  • Fettiplace, Florice, Fogge
  • Glidd, Gourneus, Granado
  • Hattil, Hercius
  • Jarniot, Jerameel, Jeremoth, Jolliffe
  • Kelamus, Killingworth, Kingsmell
  • Leoline, Levinus, Livewell
  • Maior, Maniewe, Marchadine, Moyle
  • Nargia, Nizael, Noye
  • Ogier, Olliph
  • Peleger, Periam, Pexall, Phatnell
  • Rimprum, Rollesley, Rotheram, Rumbold
  • Scipio, Snappe
  • Thekeston, Thrasibulus, Timoleon, Tournie
  • Ulpian, Umpton, Utred
  • Wallop, Walsingham, Warian, Willgent
  • Yeldard
  • Zorobabel

Source: Register of the University of Oxford, vol. 2, part 4, edited by Andrew Clark, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889.

Popular baby names in Sonoma County (California), 2017

According to the government of Sonoma, California, the most popular baby names in the county in 2017 were Mia and Mateo.

Here are Sonoma’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Mia, 33 baby girls
2. Olivia, 32
3. Sophia, 26
4. Charlotte, 19
5. Scarlett, 17

Boy Names
1. Mateo, 34 baby boys
2. Oliver, 25
3. Julian, 23
4. William, 22
5. Sebastian, 21

And here are some of the baby names from the other end of the list. Each of these was bestowed just once in Sonoma in 2017:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Azul Estrella, Bridget, Cardiff, Dottie, Ember, Florence, Gitselle, Hanen, Inii, Jazbel, Kova, Lennica, Mala Solara, Nelle, Opal, Pema, Rumi, Sabina, Tinsel, Vincere, Winslow, Yissel, ZahraAchilleon, Bremm, Cavendish, Dorsett, Elon, Fynn, Gradius, Hiroki, Ikaikaokalani, Jamokie, Kadessen, Larkin, Mazlo, Norrin, Onkar, Paul, Rhone, Suliano, Toby, Vyndel, Westley, Yoah, Zedrick

The top names in 2016 were Emma and Mateo.

Source: SoCo Data

Where did the baby name Hoby come from in 1958?

trackdown, hoby gilman, 1950s, western, television
Hoby

Westerns were the hottest thing on television in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and we can see it in the baby name data. Here’s yet another Western-inspired debut, Hoby:

  • 1960: 6 baby boys named Hoby
  • 1959: 14 baby boys named Hoby
  • 1958: 30 baby boys named Hoby [debut]
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: unlisted

Hoby (which rhymes with Toby and Dobie) was the top debut of the year for boys in 1958. In fact, one of the biggest boy name debuts ever.

The inspiration? Hoby Gilman, the main character of the TV western Trackdown (1957-1959).

Hoby, played by actor Robert Culp, was a Texas Ranger who spent his days tracking down bad guys in post-Civil War Texas. “[Culp’s] Hoby Gilman was a cooler character than other deadpan Western cowboys. Culp…imbued Hoby with a hipness that was ahead of the time but which presaged the Sixties yet to come.”

Notably, Trackdown “was given official approval from the (modern day) Rangers and the state of Texas.”

The character originated on an episode of Zane Grey Theatre in May of 1957. A mere five months later, a whole series based on Hoby had emerged. (A whopping five episodes of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre were developed into subsequent TV shows. Impressive.)

Robert Culp went on to co-star with Bill Cosby in I Spy from 1965 to 1968. His character, named Kelly, gave a temporary boost to the male usage of Kelly, which peaked for boys in 1967/1968.

What are your thoughts on the name Hoby?

Sources:

The many names in “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis”

The character Dobie Gillis of the TV series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959-1963).
Dobie Gillis from “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

Girl-crazy teenager Dobie Gillis was a character created by writer Max Shulman in the 1940s. He was first brought to life in the movie The Affairs of Dobie Gillis in 1953, but the most memorable portrayal of Dobie was by Dwayne Hickman in the four-season TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which premiered in September of 1959.

Dobie Gillis is notable for being “the first prime-time series to consistently privilege teenage characters, activities, and spaces over those associated with family shows.”

It was also known for the unusual character names. Dobie (pronounced doh-bee, rhymes with Toby) had friends with names like:

  • Maynard (a beatnik played by Bob Denver, who later portrayed Gilligan)
  • Zelda (a brainiac played by Sheila James Kuehl, sister of Jeri Lou)
  • Thalia Menninger (a rich girl played by Tuesday Weld)

These “uncommon first names [were] evidently meant to seem vaguely silly in their failure to conform with ’50s norms.”

The show ended up influencing the usage of several baby names. First of all, it was behind the debut of the name Dobie in 1960:

  • 1964: 9 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: 6 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1961: 8 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1960: 9 baby boys named Dobie [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

The name Thalia also saw a spike in usage in 1960, which makes sense because all but two of the episodes featuring Thalia Menninger were first-season (1959-1960) episodes. Dobie pronounced Thalia’s name thale-ya.

  • 1964: 46 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1963: 42 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1962: 42 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1961: 46 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1960: 90 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1959: 30 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1958: 24 baby girls named Thalia

Finally, the name Zelda saw elevated usage in the early ’60s:

  • 1964: 133 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1963: 171 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1962: 178 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1961: 168 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1960: 136 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1959: 142 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1958: 131 baby girls named Zelda

Fun fact: Zelda — who pursued Dobie as ardently as Dobie pursued all other females — once convinced a girl named Phyllis to break it off with Dobie by warning her that her married name would be “Phyllis Gillis.”

Many of the secondary and single-episode characters had unusual names as well. Here are some examples:

Aphrodite
Arabella
Aristede
Blossom
Bruno
Bubbles
Chatsworth
Clothilde
Clydene
Drusilla
Esmond
Glynis
Imogene
Jethro
Kermit
Laurabelle
Leander
Maribelle
Mignonne
Poppy
Riff

Do you like any of the above Dobie Gillis names? How about the name “Dobie” itself?

Sources:

  • Kearney, Mary C. “Teenagers and Television in the United States.” Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television, ed. by Horace Newcomb, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 2276-2281.
  • Sterritt, David. Mad to be Saved: The Beats, the ’50s, and Film. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998.
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV Series 1959–1963) – IMDb