G Names: Then and now, hard and soft
Over history, have American parents favored the soft or hard G sound for their children? I have put together the G names that have been in the Top 100 since 1880, and created a chart showing which names have been on top in each decade. And as an attempt to show things visually, I have also highlighted the names that begin with the hard G sound…
**If the chart is too small to read on your device, here are the names in a different format:
1880s:Garfield, George, Grover, GuyGeorgia, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace_1890s:George, Grover, GuyGeorgia, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace1900s:George, Gerald, Glenn, GuyGenevieve, Georgia, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace1910s:George, Gerald, Gilbert, Glenn, GordonGenevieve, Georgia, Geraldine, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace1920s:Gene, George, Gerald, Gilbert, Glenn, GordonGenevieve, Geraldine, Gertrude, Gladys, Gloria, Grace1930s:Gary, Gene, George, Gerald, Gilbert, Glenn, GordonGail, Geraldine, Gertrude, Gladys, Gloria, Grace1940s:Gary, Gene, George, Gerald, Glenn, Gordon, GregoryGail, Geraldine, Glenda, Gloria1950s:Gary, George, Gerald, Glenn, Greg, GregoryGail, Glenda, Gloria1960s:Gary, George, Gerald, Glenn, Greg, GregoryGail, Gina, Gloria1970s:Gabriel, Gary, George, Gerald, GregoryGina1980s:Gabriel, Gary, George, GregoryGina1990s:Gabriel, Garrett, George, GregoryGabrielle, Grace2000s:Gabriel, Garrett, GavinGabriella, Gabrielle, Genesis, Gianna, Grace, Gracie2010s:Gabriel, Gavin, GraysonGabriella, Gabrielle, Genesis, Gianna, Grace_
Glancing at the chart, it seems as though the hard G outnumbers the soft G. After actually counting, 13 of the 16 boy names and 9 of the 15 girl names that appear in the Top 100 begin with a hard G. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern in the preference over time, other than the disappearance of the soft G in the top boy names in recent years. Looking at the chart in its entirety though, you can see a definite bell curve for both genders. There has been a gradual increase and decrease in popularity of G names over time, with one sharp jump for girls from the 1990s to the 2000s.
The appearance of Gina in the 1980s column should have an asterisk next to it, as it only appeared in 1980. From 1981 through 1989, there were no girl names that started with G in the Top 100. Also, from 1964 until 1980, Gina was the only girl G name in the Top 100.
Garfield is a one-hit-wonder. It appeared in the Top 100 in 1881, the year after James Garfield became President and the year of his death (he was in office for only 200 days before being assassinated). Grover‘s popularity between 1884 and 1893 is probably due to another president, Grover Cleveland, who was in office from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897 (I guess the thrill of the name died down during his second term).
Grace fell out of the Top 100 after 1938 only to reappear in 1995 after a 56-year absence.
Other G names that haven’t already been mentioned and appear in the current Top 500 are: Giovanni, Gael, Grant, Gage, Greyson, Giselle, Gabriela, Graham, Griffin, Gunner,Giuliana, Gemma, Grady, Gia, Gerardo, Gideon, Guadalupe, Gustavo, Gianni, and Gunnar.
Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.