P is for popularity of names

“Roger” was the 31st most popular boy’s name in 1953.

roger_name My friend Arthur did this some time back, based on this TIME magazine article, which, not incidentally, is US-centric.

“The popularity of your name is likely far different today than it was the year you were born. Maybe you’re one of those men born in 1983 and named Michael, the most popular name of the year.

“Today, if you were given the most popular boy’s name, you’d be named Noah. The following interactive shows you which name had the same popularity in the past year and every decade since 1890 as yours did the year you were born, using [then] newly released baby name data for 2014.”

The premise is slightly misleading in that, early on, there was a paucity in the diversity of names. For boys, John and William were heavily used in the 1880s (89,951 and 84,881, respectively), well ahead of James (54,058). For girls, Mary (91,669) was even more dominant; Anna (38,159) and Emma (25,404) were far behind.

Still: “Roger” was the 31st most popular boy’s name in 1953. It was MOST popular in 1945, hitting its peak of #22, I dare say, because of World War II: “Roger that. Roger over and out.”

My name today would be Oliver, a name I associate with the TV show Green Acres, Charles Dickens, and Elvis Costello.

My 2000s name is Isaac, a good biblical name, son of Abraham (nearly sacrificed) and Sarah, and father of Jacob and Esau.
My 1990s name is Mark, my brother-in-law’s name, and the shortest of the Gospels in the Bible.
My 1980s name is Edward, my great uncle’s name on my maternal grandmother’s side.
My 1970s name is Terry. I knew a guy named Terry in the 1970s at college and worked with a woman named Terry in the 1990s.
My 1960s name is Alan. Not incidentally, the Social Security list does not combine spellings, such as Allan and Allen.
My 1950s name is Henry, the VIII, and Aldrich.
My 1940s name is Ernest, another great uncle’s name on my maternal grandmother’s side.
My 1930s name is Leonard, as in Bernstein, and Nimoy.
My 1920s name is Elmer, as in Bernstein, and Fudd.
My 1910s name is Eddie, as in the Renaissance Geek, though that’s not his given name.
My 1900s name is Alfred, as in Tennyson or Batman’s butler.
My 1890s name is Sam, promoter of Green Eggs and Ham, or the Sham.

“Name trends are provided by the Social Security Administration… This tool only searches for names of the same gender as what you entered at the top. Many names have drifted from being associated with boys to being associated with girls over the years, so it can appear as though female names are showing up in the male results.”

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

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