Popular British Names: The Fastest-Rising Names in the UK
The following is a guest post by Luke Eales from BabyNames.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading baby names websites. Established in 2007, the BabyNames.co.uk helps parents on the path to finding the perfect baby name.
Having read Nameberry’s recent article on popular baby names 2010, I was inspired to run some analysis of my own – this time with a UK slant.
So in a similar way to what Nameberry did, I delved into our site usage data. I brought up a list of the names receiving the most searches this year so far, and compared the numbers against the same period last year. I then sorted the names to see which had the greatest proportional increase in searches. The result is two lists – the UK’s fastest rising boys and girls names of 2010 so far.
There are a number of pop culture influences in this list – Jenson Button (that’s him in the picture) is an English Formula 1 racing driver who won the recent championships, and Ollie is the name of a very popular contestant on X Factor, the UK’s equivalent of American Idol.
I’d be interested to hear what Nameberry readers think about baby names in the UK – are we at the mercy of US trends, or could you guys learn something from us Brits when it comes to naming ideas?
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on July 23rd, 2010 at 6:02 am
What adorable names! My favourite name for my daughter-to-be, Lucia, is up there 🙂 I also love Elena, Poppy and Lyra for girls, and Freddie, Milo and Jonah for boys.
I wonder if the -cey trend is going to replace the megapopular -ley suffix for girls? Look at the girls’ list… Lucie, Lacey, Macey, Gracie, Darcey/Darcie and Maisie are all trending strongly.
on July 23rd, 2010 at 8:53 am
The Brits rock
on July 23rd, 2010 at 9:16 am
I think we can learn from you Brits! LOVE most of the names! I REALLY LOVE Esme!
Thanks for the info!
on July 23rd, 2010 at 9:18 am
Oh, I don’t think Brits are at the mercy of US trends by any means. I take it for granted that American parents adopt British trends. We look to the UK (and the rest of Europe too) as the height of coolness. 🙂
For example, I love these lists. Maisie, Esme, Jude, and Ollie are adorbs!
India is interesting. I’ve only met one person with that name. Is it a British thing? (Imperialism and all that.)
on July 23rd, 2010 at 9:26 am
I went to high school with a girl named Darcy, so I’m kind of surprised to see that one being so trendy in the U.K. It sounds like the sort of name that was popular in the U.S. in the 70s. I also had classmates named Penny and Betty and Nancy and Bonnie. They sound like names for moms to me, not ones I’d expect to see on a kid here. Some of the names like Isla, Arabella, Violet, etc., look like they’ll eventually be popular in the U.S. because they haven’t been before but we already had our “names ending in ey, cutesy” stage for little girls. I don’t really like a lot of the boy’s names that are popular in Britain right now like Alistair (knew a really weird one), Ollie, Lewis or Stanley, which sound old. There’s some overlap too in what is popular in the U.S., with more nicknames popular in Europe. In general it looks like the Britain loves nickname names and kind of cutesy “ie” ending names right now.
on July 23rd, 2010 at 11:06 am
I named my daughter Esme (who was born in January), based on a Top British Baby Names blog on nameberry last year. It is still quite unusually here in the US, but most people I run into love it!
on July 23rd, 2010 at 12:06 pm
British naming is just so lovely. I often feel like North America is always about 5 years behind the naming trends, in comparison to the UK. And while nicknames as full names are growing in popularity in North America, I don’t think that trend will ever quite catch up to the UK counterparts.
Great lists, thanks for the data!
on July 23rd, 2010 at 1:17 pm
Lacey surprised me. I love Mai, so some pleased chagrin (if that even exists) there. Lyra? Shoot, that was going up my personal list and I thought I was being so clever! OH, well. 🙂
This is a total shot in the dark, but I wonder if part of Ollie’s popularity is due to its similarity to Ali.
Lottie and Rae are also loverly. Highly stealable.
Since English baby-naming trends are often acknowledged as primary bellwether, as least by us berries, I’d be interested in knowing where the English are getting their baby names from.
Do Brits get baby names from TV as much as Americans do? What are some Brit soap star names? What other factors do you think contribute?
on July 23rd, 2010 at 5:34 pm
Poppy is my favorite name!! I love Robbie also. British names in general are so lovely.
on July 23rd, 2010 at 6:53 pm
Nice to see Leighton, Darcy and Kelsey on the boys list.
on July 24th, 2010 at 12:32 am
Surprisingly I don’t like a majority of the names of this list. Alfie used to feel fresh and cute to me (4 years ago) when I first heard it on a new born.
Most of these names are nickname names, which would be okay if they are stand alone names but most of these aren’t.
I do still love the Brit style, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings forward!
on July 25th, 2010 at 9:07 am
To answer Sachiko – I’d say us Brits are just as influenced by pop culture as Americans its just our pop culture differs slightly. I mean some tv shows etc cross over (there are plenty of Sawyers and Evangeline’s in the UK now because of Lost) but then british soap operas are very influential over here and british pop stars etc.
Ruby is number 2 in the UK as a direct result of Charlotte Church naming her daughter Ruby (it’s number 1 in Wales actually, where I live, since Charlotte is Welsh). Dexter, her sons name, is also pretty popular. There was also a character in Eastenders (1 of the 2 most popular british soaps) called Ruby a few years ago which helped.
Katie’s doing well at no 20, I would imagine glamour model Jordan aka Katie Price is helping that (although I have no idea why anyone would name their daughter after her! hehe).
Summer has become very popular since another character in Eastenders named her daughter that.
Phoebe I’d say has come from US tv shows like Friends and Charmed. Imogen is the name of a British reality tv personality. Isla is obviously from Isla Fisher. Keira from Keira Knightley.
A character on Coranation St (the other big UK Soap Opera) named their daughter Bethany a few years ago and that is now at 55.
Madison I’d say has been directly stolen from the US! Sienna from Sienna Miller. Lacey is the name of an actress who stars in Eastenders. Libby is the name of a character in Eastenders!! (as you can see soaps really are influential here.)
Francesca and Frankie are doing well, Francesca nn Frankie is the name of the most famous member of British girl group The Saturdays.
Connie is the name of a British TV presenter Connie Huck and now that’s just outside of the top 100!
As for the boys, Jack is our number 1 which seemed to become popular around the Pirates of the Caribbean time. Alfie was the name of a film Jude Law starred in and thats now in the top 10. Jude law’s name itself is doing well too.
Charlie I would imagine has come from Lost maybe, or just part of the nickname as a name trend.
Dylan is the name Catherine Zeta-Jones chose for her son, and then of course her daughter’s name Carys is doing well too.
Jake is the name of a character on a popular children’t tv show.
Archie was the name of a character (an evil old man actually! lol) on Eastenders.
Harvey is the name of Katie Price (Jordan’s) eldest son. There’s also a tv presenter with that name.
Freddie was chosen by the late Jade Goody (reality tv star) for one of her two sons and its now at nuber 60.
Kian is a name of a member of Irish boy band Westlife.
Declan’s not too far outside the top 100, it’s the name of one half of British presenter duo Ant and Dec (Anthony and Declan).
So yes, we’re definitely celeb and tv crazy just like you guys!! I’d say a lot of the say, more stylish British parents, look for inspiration from the names of the children of British celebrities like Jude Law and Sadie Frost (Finlay, Rafferty, Iris and Rudy), Kate Moss (Lila) Tamzin Outhwaite (Florence) Denise Van Outen (Betsy) Samia Smith (Freya) Wayne and Coleen Rooney (Kai) David and Victoria Beckham (Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz) Elle MacPherson (Aurelius) Liam Gallagher (Molly, Lennon, Gene) Noel Gallagher (Anais, Donovan) Jamie and Jules Oliver (Poppy, Daisy, Petal) Simon and Yasmin Le Bon (Amber, Saffron, Tallulah) Gordon Ramsay (Megan, Jack, Holly, Mathilda) Nigella Lawson (Cosima) etc etc!
As well as of course the names of the celebs themselves.
Big trends right now are obviously nickname names as well as flower names and old fashioned names. I think a lot of people (myself included) like to the royal family and the middle class Brits for inspiration. The Times and Telegraph baby announcements are fantastic!!
on July 25th, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Whilst LJandRL is right in that British naming patterns are affected by popular culture, I think some of the links are a bit tenuous, because some of them seem to be coincidences, e.g. Jack. That name has been popular for years (I had 6 in my year of 150 students!), way before Pirates of the Carribbean.
I would say the patterns are the kinda nickname style names; Milly, Molly, Alfie, Archie, Charlie etc.
Also, the trend that always seems to be apparent about grandparent-y names becoming back in fashion also links with this. I know a lot of people who have named children names like Archie and Ted for instance, after older relatives who were always known by those names but on their birth certificates were Archibald and Edward and so forth.
The Times and Telegraph baby announcements give an insight to a minority of British society. Seriously, only the very posh or aristocratic people list their children in them. They do reflect patterns such as the flowery names but the use of multiple middle names and family names is unusual amongst the normal peeps of the UK! There are some names such as Hugo and Rupert and to a lesser extent, girls names such as Arabella and Jemima which will always be judged as upper-classed and I would never use them because I still hold that kind of stigma, my family are not upper-class like that! I dunno, it’s weird in Britain, the class structure isn’t really spoken about but you always just kinda know, especially by names.
on July 26th, 2010 at 12:37 pm
I wasn’t claiming that Jack only came about after Pirates of the Caribbean, just stating that the film put the name back in the spotlight and increased it’s popularity even further.
And if you read my comment again, you’ll see that I said The Times and Telegraph were good inspiration – I didn’t claim that they reflected naming trends throughout all of the UK. But I do believe that name lovers like myself and many other berries look to these announcements for inspiration. I also think that multiple middle names is becoming much more common amongst us “working classes” lol in the UK and this is obviously directly from the influences of upper classes and royalty.
Beatrice, William and Harry are all back in Vogue big time thanks to the royal family.
I’m of working class background but I’d definitely consider using Hugo, Arabella and Jemima if I wanted to and wouldn’t feel like I couldn’t because of the class divide. I do think it’s softening as time goes on but it will most likely always be a part of British culture.
http://pencilsandwhatnot.wordpress.com/ (Auburn) Said
on July 26th, 2010 at 12:49 pm
@ Phaedra – on the subject of India, I think it is an imperialism thing. I’m British, and I’ve known five Indias that I can recall, and heard of more, so I’d say it’s in regular but not excessive use here, definitely.
It probably came about because of colonial patriotism, and also as there were quite a few Brits living in India during the days of the British Empire and perhaps daughters were named to honour their birthplace. Because of that, it became well-known as a name here, so even after colonialism was effectively over it was still established and accessible as a name.
on July 26th, 2010 at 2:35 pm
Veddy interesting! Thanks for all the info. I guess “class” is the unspoken thing there that race is here in the US.
on July 27th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
We named our son Alistair a year and a half ago and people here have never heard of it or can’t pronounce it. Weird that it’s #9 in the UK.
on July 28th, 2010 at 11:16 am
Michele–we named our oldest daughter Bronwen. Americans think she’s a boy and can’t pronounce it; my British and Aussie friends yawn and say, “Oh, yeah, that name.” I guess it’s not uncommon across the pond.
on August 6th, 2010 at 11:09 am
Yay! My name’s in there! (Mine has an “h” though) And I live in the U.S too…
on February 13th, 2011 at 12:17 pm
i love the name zach for a boy and lacey for a girl
Weekend Post: Names of Questionable Gender « Mer de Noms Said
on May 28th, 2011 at 10:04 am
[…] most famous Darcey is Mr. Darcy, but Nameberry did a post, albeit a little while ago, that placed Darcy, in it’s various spellings, in the most […]
on July 12th, 2011 at 4:26 am
Louis is written twice, some of my favourite names are on here!
on July 17th, 2011 at 4:05 am
Louis is pronounced as Lew-e in the uk where lewis is the more common lew-is!
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