Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Popular Was Your Name?

This week, Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings issued the following mission for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

1) Go to the Popular Baby Name page on the Find the Best website at
2) Enter your given name into the search box, click the appropriate gender button, and click on the "All" Decade button. Note the results for your given name.
3) Tell us about how the popularity of your name has changed over the decades. Were you named during the buildup, the height, or the drawdown of the popularity of your given name?
4) Share your results in a blog post of your own, in comments to this blog post, or in a Facebook status or Google+ Stream post.

I haven’t participated in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for while but this sounded like fun. In fact, it was so much fun, I got a little carried away!

My first name—Denise—first appears in the Roaring 20s with a rank of 967 and grows steadily until its peak in the 1950s at #26 in the standings. It remains relatively stable in the 1960s and then begins a steady decline in popularity each decade until the present with a ranking of 340. My parents chose my name at the height of its popularity.

Jacqueline, my middle name, first appears in the rankings for the 1900s at a rank of 652; beginning in the 1930s it is in the top 100 names and stays there through the 2000s bouncing around between a rank of 51 and 100.

Just for kicks, I checked on my younger sister’s given names as well:

Jennifer, her first name, appears on the charts during the 1940s at #207, and increases to #1 in the 1970s, drops to #2 in the 1980s, and in the 2000s has dropped to 37. She was named during the buildup of the popularity of her name.

Her middle name—Jeannine—appears in the rankings from the 1920s to the 1970s, but the highest rank is 316 in the 1930s.

And to round it out, my son’s name—Christopher—is in the rankings from 1880 through today, reaching the height of its popularity at #2 in the 1970s, staying there through the 1980s and 1990s, dropping to #5 in the 2000s. I chose his name at the peak of its popularity.


© 2012 Denise Spurlock

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