27 August 2012

Girlsʼ names change 7 times more than boysʼ since 1940 Census

Source -- Social Security Administration (link in article)

I don’t come cross too many “young” Diane’s and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I come across anyone who share’s my name!  

My test of a forename’s popularity is whether you find it “printed” on merchandise when on vacation!  Fortunately or unfortunately for my children, we never find their names printed on anything.  Maybe I was a little too successful in giving them unique names!

This comes to mind because last month findmypast.com published a piece talking about baby names and their popularity as found in the 1940 census and today! Here is an abbreviated excerpt.

The most popular baby names for American girls at the time of the 1940 U.S. Census have changed since then seven times more than the top names for boys the same year, reveals a study by genealogy website, findmypast.com...

Findmypast.com researchers analyzed the records of the U.S. Social Security Administration, which has recorded American baby names since 1879... 

None of the top 10 girls' names in 1940 even make today's top 100, while seven of the top 10 boys' names do so and three (James, David, William) make the top 20.

"Baby names are like period pieces", says Josh Taylor, genealogist for findmypast.com. "Some recall a particular era, which can make them clues when researching family history."

Read the full PR piece.

Back to my name – Diane.  I visited the Social Security Administration (Baby Name Data) website to learn more about names and their popularity!  In the year I was born, my name was 19th in popularity and the list includes my husband’s name, my sister’s name, her husband’s name, etc.  So, we definitely seem to be a product of “our generation!”

And, how far my name has fallen!  For 2011, the name Diane is NOT in the top 1000 names, though the variant Diana is found in the 203rd spot!  I guess I’m more unique than I thought ....

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