Category: baby name Jasper
In 1642, Oliver Cromwell led a contingent of parliamentarians against King Charles I, defeating him in what became known as the English Civil War and giving rise to the only occasion in modern British history where the monarchy has not held power. Three and a half centuries later, he became my husband’s hero for it, my husband who is a constitutional lawyer and a committed republican (small ‘r’). In the years before the arrival of our first child, we lived in Oxford, both of us affiliated with the University there. Amidst its hallowed halls and Gothic spires, people would talk in hushed tones about their ‘periods’ of expertise. My husband’s period was the seventeenth century. Cromwell was his guy.
Unsurprisingly, Oliver was always his first choice for a boy’s name. It became mine too. We said we weren’t having children, though, so we bestowed instead the name Cromwell upon our future dog, a brown and white beagle. Things changed and we didn’t get the dog. But we did welcome a son who was, of course, called Oliver. My husband wanted it because it was traditional and historically grounded. I wanted it because it was sparky and unconventional. It is both of those things, depending on where you come from: this is what has made the Venn diagram effect of our name selection so successful. The year Oliver was born it was the fifth most popular baby name in the UK. In the US, it hadn’t even broken the top 100.
Midway through compiling this week’s list, I realized just how many great boys’ names are out there.
This is a subject of some debate. Creativity in naming a son was long frowned on, and parents tended to fall back on the most familiar choices. In 1900, more than 6% of all newborns were named John, while just 5.25% answered to Mary. #2 name, William, was given to almost 5.3% of boys, but the #2 girl name, Helen, represented just under 2% of new births. The names change, but the pattern holds. In 1965, 4.3% of boys were Michael, and 3.3% of girls answered to Lisa. Generally speaking, more boys receive the most popular names.
Reasons are plentiful, and even the most daring namer of daughters may very well veer towards the classics for a son, leading to sibsets like James, Henry, and Persephone. But could this be the generation to challenge that pattern?
Our focus on baby names 2010 continues today with the top 100 boys’ names.
The top seven names remain the same from the first quarter count, with Henry, Finn, and Oliver weighing in at numbers 1, 2, and 3. This greater stability on the boys’ side echoes the pattern in the overall U.S. popularity list, where boys’ names tend to maintain their places longer than girls’ names.
The fastest riser is Sawyer, with Declan, Simon, Micah, Graham, and Landon also making big leaps. William also landed much higher on the list — but we suspect that’s our mistake and we missed it last time. Names that slid the furthest are Kyle, and Caleb.
New to the Top 100 from the first quarter (and marked with an asterisk*) are Satchel, Nico, Nicholas, Xavier (number 101 in the last count), Micah, Graham, and Landon. No-shows: Hugh, Griffin, and Liev. Also no longer among the top boys’ names are three that may have landed on the list last time around because we mistakenly included searches for the girls’ versions: Harper, Remy, and Rory.