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G Names: Then and now, hard and soft

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By Kelli Brady of NameFreak!

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…

1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Garfield George George George Gene Gary Gary Gary Gary Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel
George Grover Gerald Gerald George Gene Gene George George Gary Gary Garrett

Garrett

 

Gavin
Grover Guy Glenn Gilbert Gerald George George Gerald Gerald George George George Gavin Grayson
Guy   Guy Glenn Gilbert Gerald Gerald Glenn Glenn Gerald Gregory Gregory    
      Gordon Glenn Gilbert Glenn Greg Greg Gregory        
        Gordon Glenn Gordon Gregory Gregory          
          Gordon Gregory              
                           
Georgia Georgia Genevieve Genevieve Genevieve Gail Gail Gail Gail Gina Gina Gabrielle Gabriella Gabriella
Gertrude Gertrude Georgia Georgia Geraldine Geraldine Geraldine Glenda Gina     Grace Gabrielle Gabrielle
Gladys Gladys Gertrude Geraldine Gertrude Gertrude Glenda Gloria Gloria       Genesis Genesis
Grace Grace Gladys Gertrude Gladys Gladys Gloria           Gianna Gianna
    Grace Gladys Gloria Gloria             Grace Grace
      Grace Grace Grace             Gracie  

**If the chart is too small to read on your device, here are the names in a different format:

1880s:
Garfield, George, Grover, Guy
Georgia, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace
1890s:
George, Grover, Guy
Georgia, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace

1900s:
George, Gerald, Glenn, Guy
Genevieve, Georgia, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace

1910s:
George, Gerald, Gilbert, Glenn, Gordon
Genevieve, Georgia, Geraldine, Gertrude, Gladys, Grace

1920s:
Gene, George, Gerald, Gilbert, Glenn, Gordon
Genevieve, Geraldine, Gertrude, Gladys, Gloria, Grace

1930s:
Gary, Gene, George, Gerald, Gilbert, Glenn, Gordon
Gail, Geraldine, Gertrude, Gladys, Gloria, Grace

1940s:
Gary, Gene, George, Gerald, Glenn, Gordon, Gregory
Gail, Geraldine, Glenda, Gloria

1950s:
Gary, George, Gerald, Glenn, Greg, Gregory
Gail, Glenda, Gloria

1960s:
Gary, George, Gerald, Glenn, Greg, Gregory
Gail, Gina, Gloria

1970s:
Gabriel, Gary, George, Gerald, Gregory
Gina

1980s:
Gabriel, Gary, George, Gregory
Gina

1990s:
Gabriel, Garrett, George, Gregory
Gabrielle, Grace

2000s:
Gabriel, Garrett, Gavin
Gabriella, Gabrielle, Genesis, Gianna, Grace, Gracie

2010s:
Gabriel, Gavin, Grayson
Gabriella, 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.

Additional observations:

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.

With the staying power of George, there has never been a time when the Top 100 was without a boy G name. George fell out of the top after 1992 and was also the last soft G boy name on the list.

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.

There are a few boy/girl correlations for G names in the Top 100: Gabriel/Gabriella and Gabrielle, George/Georgia, and Gerald/Geraldine.

Other G names that haven’t already been mentioned and appear in the current Top 500 are: GiovanniGaelGrantGageGreysonGiselleGabrielaGrahamGriffinGunner,
GiulianaGemmaGradyGiaGerardoGideonGuadalupeGustavoGianni, and Gunnar.

What is your favorite G name? Do you see any of these Top 500 rising to the Top 100 soon? Do you see any of the older names coming back?

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.

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About the author

NameFreak!

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. Her eBook, Name-alytics, is a look at the history of the Top 100 names in the United States. Check it out at https://gumroad.com/l/name-alytics!
View all of NameFreak!'s articles View all Berry Juice Bloggers

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15 Responses to “G Names: Then and now, hard and soft”

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Ginafrances Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 12:17 am

Yay! I am a Gina born in the early nineties. I love my name. My favorite ‘G’ names are a remixed versions of the classics-

Glory
Gia
Gregor
Grove

But I also believe that some ‘G’ names are classic and don’t need to be messed with. I’m thinking Gabriel, Gerard, Georgia, Genevieve. Thank you for posting this!

augusta_lee Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 12:35 am

My favorite G- name is Gabriel. I’m also fond of Giovanni and Gloria.

tori101 Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 6:38 am

I’m not a major fan of the ‘G’ names to be honest.

I do like from the lists above…
Grace
Genevieve
Gregory
Gabrielle
Gabriella
Gianna
Giovanni
Giovanna
Greyson
Giselle
Griffin
Guiliana
Gideon

But most probably I wouldn’t use the letter ‘G’.

niteowl13 Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 8:36 am

My name starts with a G, but it will never be in the top 1000. I wish there were more G names that I liked, but I only really like the basics, like Grace and Gavin, and they are too popular.

spotlightstarlit Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 9:27 am

Interesting to see mine and my sister’s name on the chart and to ponder whether future DD’s name will ever be plotted out.

Anotherkate Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 11:24 am

Love Gabe and Grant. I like Virginia nn ginny but it’s pretty popular in the South it seems (the ones I know are in their late twenties to mid thirties)

iamamiam Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Love Geneva; don’t think I saw it on this list, though

EmilyVA Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I looove G names! It’s my favorite letter.
For girls I love:
Genevieve (which could go top 100), Gillian (pronounced Jillian), Gwyneth, Gretchen, Ginevra, Ginger, Garland, Geraldine, Gemma, and Giselle.

For boys I love Gilbert, Guy, Gideon and Gus!

Then for girls I love names that contain the letter g including: Brigitta, Margaret, Marguerite, Magda, Dagmar, Marigold, Hedwig, Margot, Magnolia, and Magalie.

I may never get to use them in real life, but many of my characters have G-names. Yay G!

Esswei Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Glenda is a guilty pleasure of mine; I adore it, but because of the Oz connotation and its datedness I probably won’t ever consider it seriously. I met a girl named Geena last year and it’s really made me rethink the name- it sounds so happy and sing-songy to me now. I also like Gemma, Grace, and Gabriel.

KateMP91 Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 11:41 am

First off, I love the picture, I live on the Columbia, and most of my time is spent in it’s water! <3

In all honesty, I don't like any of the top G names throughout history, except Georgia (which I just adore!).

My favorite G names:
Georgia
Gideon
Gabo (I love the way it looks, but I am hesitant to love the sound)
Galloway

My mother has a G name (Geneva) as does the last baby boy I met (Gannon).

RainstreamofSpiritClan Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I like the name Guinevere. I like Grace as a middle name.

danshamaya Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Really excited to see my favorite name, Geraldine in a blog post! I think she deserves more love.

Giinkies Says:

September 17th, 2013 at 10:30 pm

My name is Gina 🙂
I always think of using Genevieve or Geneva in honor of me.

A mutual friend had the name Genevieve in honor of her mom Jennifer.
I am glad they went with the original spelling and did not try to corrupt it with a J.

jessamine13 Says:

November 25th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I love Gloria! I would definitely use that for a daughter.

jessamine13 Says:

November 25th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I also like Gemma, Gracie,Grant, and Geraldine.

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