The most popular boys’ names of the 1940s were John, Peter, Robert, and David, but what were the least popular names? Here are ten names which were only chosen once in any year between 1944 and 1949 in South Australia, making them unique names for their time and place. Still rare, some feel surprisingly contemporary, while one or two have perhaps had their day.
Category: Waltzing More Than Matilda
Latinised form of the Greek form of Andrew. The name has been used in Germany since the Middle Ages; a famous medieval namesake is Andreas Osiander, a Lutheran mystic and theologian. The name Andreas was used in Britain too, although probably the name was still pronounced the same way as Andrew in everyday life. Just outside the Top 100 in Germany, Andreas is less often seen in English-speaking countries, perhaps because of fears it will be be confused with its feminine counterpart, Andrea. This German classic seems like a fresh update to flagging Andrew, and has recently had some publicity from the disaster movie San Andreas.
These are names which rose the fastest in Australia in 2014, calculated not only by overall national position, but by the number of states in which the name had significant gains. It also compares their progress in Australia with that in the US, UK, and New Zealand.
Hazel just joined the national Top 100 as its fastest-rising name, going up 63 places to #88: the last time it was a Top 100 name was in the 1940s. The catalyst for Hazel’s entry to the Top 100 is last year’s teenage tearjerker, The Fault in Our Stars, based on the novel by John Green, and with Shailene Woodley in the role of Hazel. A fashionable retro name with a cool Z sound, chosen by several celebrities, Hazel was due for popularity. Just outside the US Top 100, it’s already Top 50 in New Zealand, but only in the 300s in England/Wales.
The most popular girls names of the 1940s were Margaret, Patricia, Judith, and Helen, but what were the least popular names? Here are ten names which were only chosen once in any year between 1944 and 1949 in South Australia, making them unique for their time and place. They continue to be rare, and some parents will still find them appealing.
Thought to be a Latinised form of the Germanic name Aveza, most likely a long form or elaboration of the familiar Ava. Introduced to England by the Normans, it was reasonably common in the Middle Ages, and quickly became associated with the Latin word avis, meaning “bird”. Avis Rent a Car was founded in the 1940s by Warren Avis, but did not become big in Australia for some time – it’s now quite difficult to disassociate the name Avis from the rental company, although it’s very much on trend and still seems contemporary and pretty. It was also a good fit in the 1940s, when names such as Avril and Averil were fashionable.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child in April, and rumour has it that they are going to have a princess, rather than a prince (rumour also said that Prince George was going to be a girl, so don’t get too attached to the notion).
However, suppose Prince George did have a sister rather than a brother, what might her name be? I looked through the names of all those born in the House of Windsor to a monarch, or to an heir to the throne, and found that the names chosen for them tended to follow fairly clear patterns.