Analyzing the Top Twenty: 1880
In honor of the coming new year, I will be analyzing the top 20 names once a week for every ten years, all the way up to 2009. I know that doesn’t quite fit, but I thought every decade would be easier. First is 1880:
1. John and Mary. Well, that was to be expected. The two of them have been the most popular for centuries. John is fine, a little plain, but mostly fine. I prefer Jonathan, though, somehow John seems very nickname-ish. Mary is a classic, and its not my favorite because it too, is quite plain. If I were to use Mary, I would definitely pair it with Alice or Grace or Sophia, and call her by two names.
2. William and Anna. Not surprising there, either. William has always been popular, and even now William is still a top ten name. Perhaps now people like the nickname Will. I know I do. And Anna is lovely, in my opinion its much prettier than boring drab Anne.
3. James and Emma. I’m sure James will be back in a couple of years, its one of those solid, stately names that can’t stay out for long. As for the nicknames Jim and Jimmy, though, those can be out and stay out. Oh, Emma. Once number three, now number 1. Who knew Emma would be so popular again? I love it, though I wouldn’t use it because its so popular. And Emma was actually popular in England during the 80s, so they beat us to it.
4. Charles and Elizabeth. Charles is definitely coming back, no doubt about that. Charlie is adorable, and Charles has that strong manly feel to it. I have already heard of a slew of newborn boys named Charles. Elizabeth is in the top ten again too, but its showing signs of wear. Though I do adore the nicknames Beth and Libby. Actually, I love all of Elizabeth’s wide range of nicknames.
5. George and Minnie. George is, of course, the name of almost every old guy I possibly know. Really, it is. I’ve met so many Georges its hard to keep track. I’m not fond of the name, but the female Georgia is lovely. Minnie is another surprise, I’ve never met a Minnie. I’ve met a Minette though.
6. Frank and Margaret. Frank is one I hope will be resurrected from the baby name dead soon. Like Charles, it has that manly, solid feel but the nickname Frankie is just so cute. Margaret is a family name, so it has special connections for me. I have a cousin Meg, an Aunt Margie, and a Grandma Maggie. Its not my favorite name, but its special.
7. Joseph and Ida. As some of you may know, Joseph almost became the name of my new son. Joey for short, of course. In the end, he became Camden Joseph, so I still used it. But I love Joey still. And Ida is a surprise. I haven’t heard of many ladies named Ida. I suppose the old folks liked unisex names too, because Ida was originally a boy name. Either way, I find it a similarity to today’s popular Ava and Ada.
8. Thomas and Alice. Thomas is actually getting quite popular, though I imagine Tom and Tommy won’t be as popular for nicknames this time around. I personally have a neutral feel towards it, I would use it for a middle name but not for a first. Alice is my second favorite name in the entire world, period. Actually, it might be moving up to my first soon. I can’t believe its not popular yet. Probably people think it already is, because of Twilight. But I love Alice, and Ali as a nickname would suit a modern little girl.
9. Henry and Bertha. Henry, I love. Nickname Hank, not so much. But Henry is already popular with hipster parents, meaning it will be a matter of time before it appeals to a wider audience. Unlike other name nerds, I rejoice when I see my favorite names being widely accepted by the public. However, Bertha is not one of those favorites. Try as I might to view Bertha with an open mind, it proves to be quite difficult.
10. Robert and Sarah. One of the few remaining -bert names left that can stand to be used, Robert is as much an old classic as a modern one. Though I can’t see Bob or Bobby as nicknames in the future, Rob and Robby might have a better chance. Sarah is a name that needs no explanation, it is and always will be popular. I do prefer Sara, but thats just me.
11. Edward and Annie. Another Twilight name. Personally, Edward is not a wonderful name, but I like it enough not to hate it. It does have character to it, but Ed and Eddie are horrible nicknames. Annie IS a nickname, and I like it, somehow. Of course, I prefer it to be a nickname for Anna or Annabel, but I do like it.
12. Harry and Clara. My kids love Harry Potter, so I end up hearing that name too much. I’m not too stricken with it, and even less with Harold, but its possibly growing on me. But right now I prefer Harry over Harold any day. I absolutely adore Clara to bits and pieces. Claire is common, Clarissa is frilly, but Clara is the right amount of fabulous.
13. Walter and Ella. Walt Disney, anyone? Well, its probably not the strongest connection for most people, but thats who I think of. I don’t recall ever meeting a Walter. Some say that Walter is so uncool that it must be cool again, but I’m not sure its quite there yet. But Ella is just slamming the charts right now, and I’m almost positive she will be on the 2009 top ten.
14. Arthur and Florence. Arthur is another one of those that may be resurrected. Honestly, if I had quadruplet boys, I would name them Charles, Henry, Arthur, and Frank. Ugh. Florence. As much as I try to like this name, it just doesn’t do it for me. It seems like an earlier version of a geographical name. Flora, however, is pretty and exotic.
15. Fred and Cora. Okay, fine. Quintuplet boys. Because I absolutely MUST add Fred with the resurrected boy names group. Although I prefer Frederick as the full name. And absolutely NO Freddy. Horrible nickname, in my opinion. I am in love with Cora, as I always have been, but I just recently learned that Cora was a made-up name. How disappointing! But Coralie, the French name, does have a illustrious history.
16. Albert and Martha. I must admit, neither of these names are my favorite. Albert has always had a nerdy, creepy feel to it. The first is probably attributed to Albert Einstein, but I’m not sure what the latter is. Martha reminds me of Martha Stewart, who, lets just say, is not my favorite person in the world. As a name nerd, I like those names because they are old fashioned, but as a person I just don’t like them very much.
17. Samuel and Laura. These names are actually not doing so bad on the popularity list right now. Samuel is extremely popular, almost 1/4 of the little boys in my daughter’s school is named Samuel, or just Sam. Laura is a little less popular, but I can see it coming back. Personally, it seems a bit classier and prettier than the overused Lauren.
18. David and Nellie. David is not one of my favorites, simply because I know way too many Davids and I would never use it as a first name. But no matter how much I want to use David as a middle name, it just won’t work because somehow David won’t flow with anything. Nellie, I love. Especially the spelling. I used to think that I was weird for always using the -ie spellings for names like Hollie, Sallie, and Nellie, but here it is on the top 20 chart!
19. Louis and Grace. Louis is not a personal favorite, but I see it coming back and actually becoming quite popular with hipster parents. I’m not a huge fan, but I love the feminine Louise, Louisa, and Lois. Grace is thought of as a filler middle name, but I would definitely use it, if my daughter’s name wasn’t already Gracelyn. I can see it as a first name too, but I prefer it in some form, like Gracelyn, Graciela, or simply as a middle.
20. Joe and Carrie. What a letdown. Well, not really, but these two are probably my least favorite names. I hate the name Joe, its so average, so plain, so everyday. Whats worse is that is was on the top 20! I thought people back then had better taste. Anyway, Joseph is infinetly better. Carrie, I can deal with, but I really am not fond of it. For some weird reason, it seems like a very small, weak name. I’m alright with it as a nickname for Caroline, but thats it.
Well, what do you think? Tell me your thoughts on the 1880 top 20s or paste a link to your blog/video/whatever in the comments. Hope to hear from everybody!