Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Girls' Names Through the Ages

My father recently researched our family tree, going back to the 1700s. Since I've been focused on finding girls' names, I figured I'd take a look at what our own clan has to offer.

My discovery: A lot of the names are back in vogue today (Ella, Charlotte), while some have virtually disappeared from usage (Mercy, Salome).

Salome: no longer trendy

Only two have remained consistently fashionable: Elizabeth and Anna. As for Salome, I'm surprised that name was ever used, given her sordid reputation (and yet, it charted in the top 1,000 until the 1910s).

I'm also curious about "Aby" from 1800. Was this an early example of cr8tive spelling, or just a misprint?

Here are the family's girl names up through my grandmother (along with where they rank in popularity today):
1780: Mercy (not in top 1,000)
1786: Anna (29)
1794: Anne (544)
1797: Rebecca (132)
1800: Aby (not in top 1,000, but Abby is 257 and Abigail is 8.)
1805: Rachel (90)
1810: Matilda (762)
1811: Charlotte (68)
1818: Martha (682)
1820: Mary (102)
1820: Harriet (not in top 1,000)
1826: Elizabeth (11)
1833: Salome (not in top 1,000)
1843: Mariana (219)
1845: Martha (682)
1853: Olive (588)
1858: Ella (14)
1878: Charlotte (68)
1889: Olive (588)
1918: Virginia (617)

I doubt we'll use any of these names, but it's been a fun exercise.