Listening to the radio over the last couple of days, there has been a lot of talk about how traditional British names are becoming less and less popular and names like Norman, Walter, Percy, Gertrude, Edna and Ethel will soon be forgotten.

Gurgle.com studied the most popular names of 1907 with those that have made the grade over the past five years.
In 1907, 1,048 babies were named Gertrude but none were in 2005. Baby Normans declined from 1,991 to two.
Many babies are named after celebrities or given made-up names now, rather than being given relatives’ ones, as often happened in the past, Gurgle.com said.

I understand it is sad to lose names that used to be so popular, but I feel that this sort of story isn’t really news. Surely names come in and out of favour constantly, so its strange to get upset over the changes in popularity between only 1907 and now. I’m sure back in 1907, people could have complained about the loss of the popular names of 1807. In fact, I think that the popularity and unpopularity of names at a certain time is partly what gives each generation its sense of identity.

Sarah Stone, editor of Gurgle.com, said: “Not so long ago it seems we all knew a Great Uncle Harold or Aunty Irene, but sadly it seems these names could soon be lost forever.”

Yes that may be true, but in the same way in a few years time we’ll all know an Uncle Paul and an Aunty Sharon and eventually those names will go ut of fashion and people will know an uncle Ryan and an aunty Rachel. The same rules apply over time!

More than anything else, we should be celebrating the fact that many names do stick and stay popular for hundreds of years, (often due to the royalty connection – i.e. names like Elizabeth, Philip and Charles) and some of the most popular names in 2007 were Jack, Thomas and Oliver for boys and Grace, Ruby and Olivia for girls. Most of these names have been popular at many other points in history and so I reckon this suggests that names do come back. Perhaps in another hundred years, there’ll be new born baby Ednas and Walters again.

BBC Article
Popular Baby Names – Although this is US information, its pretty interesting to look up the most popular names for each year since 1880.

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