The Popularity of Christian Names

At the present time, the Christian (first) names given to children is of public interest with the publishing of tables listing the most popular first names each year. The recent birth of a son to Prince William and his wife Kate and his Christening as "George", presumably after his great grandfather George VIth was widely reported and will no doubt lead to a rise in popularity for "George" as a first name for some years to come.

This page examines the popularity of first names as given in the census returns.

The guidance given to enumerators varied over the census years. In 1841, the space on the form was limited and the abbreviation of names, such as Thos for Thomas, was suggested. In later years the inclusion of a second name or an initial was suggested. In the four tables below, no attempt has been made to consolidate the data to take account of shortenings, familiar and diminutive versions such as Wm and Wllm with the proper name, in this example, William. Also, where a second name or initial is included, this is treated in these four tables as a different first name.

The first two tables identify the most popular first names of males and females of all ages that appear in the returns for each census year.

The next two tables identify the most popular first names of males and females under the age of 10 that appear in the returns for each census year. This should correspond closely with the children born in the approximately 10 year period since the previous census, giving a better guide to the changes in the popularity of first names over the census years.

Popularity of first names for males

Rank1841185118611871188118911901
1William
(312)
William
(307)
William
(264)
William
(260)
William
(229)
William
(233)
William
(218)
2John
(308)
John
(252)
John
(194)
John
(196)
John
(170)
George
(181)
George
(175)
3Thomas
(208)
Thomas
(205)
Thomas
(169)
George
(194)
George
(160)
John
(139)
John
(134)
4James
(205)
James
(199)
James
(148)
Thomas
(171)
Thomas
(139)
James
(124)
Charles
(101)
5henry
(145)
George
(161)
Henry
(145)
James
(160)
James
(139)
Henry
(120)
Thomas
(97)
6George
(139)
Henry
(137)
George
(143)
Henry
(145)
Henry
(121)
Charles
(118)
James
(89)
7Charles
(99)
Charles
(123)
Charles
(133)
Charles
(131)
Charles
(118)
Thomas
(117)
Henry
(88)
8Richard
(70)
Richard
(80)
Joseph
(56)
Joseph
(68)
Edward
(64)
Alfred
(75)
Frederick
(81)
9Joseph
(69)
Joseph
(65)
Edward
(52)
Frederick
(61)
Joseph
(49)
Arthur
(68)
Alfred
(71)
10Edward
(52)
Edward
(61)
Richard
(48)
Edward
(56)
Arthur
(48)
Frederick
(64)
Harry
(63)
11Robert
(35)
Robert
(39)
Alfred
(46)
Richard
(50)
Alfred
(46)
Edward
(59)
Arthur
(57)
12Samuel
(31)
Frederick
(37)
Frederick
(38)
Alfred
(45)
Walter
(39)
Harry
(51)
Albert
(56)
13Daniel
(25)
Samuel
(35)
J
(28)
Robert
(29)
Harry
(37)
Joseph
(49)
Edward
(54)
14David
(19)
Alfred
(32)
Robert
(27)
Arthur
(25)
Richard
(37)
Albert
(46)
Frank
(45)
15Alfred
(17)
Daniel
(24)
Samuel
(27)
Walter
(23)
Frederick
(36)
Walter
(42)
Walter
(43)
16Frederick
(17)
Stephen
(16)
W
(17)
Daniel
(22)
Robert
(26)
Richard
(38)
Joseph
(40)
17Edwin
(14)
Benjamin
(15)
David
(15)
Samuel
(22)
Fredrick
(25)
Frank
(32)
Ernest
(36)
18Francis
(12)
Francis
(15)
Walter
(14)
Harry
(21)
Albert
(22)
Ernest
(26)
Robert
(31)
19Stephen
(12)
Edwin
(15)
Daniel
(14)
Benjamin
(17)
Edwin
(18)
Robert
(25)
Richard
(28)
20Wm
(11)
David
(13)
Benjamin
(14)
Edwin
(12)
Frank
(17)
Herbert
(21)
Herbert
(22)

Popularity of first names for females

Rank1841185118611871188118911901
1Mary
(364)
Mary
(239)
Sarah
(196)
Elizabeth
(178)
Elizabeth
(145)
Mary
(138)
Mary
(117)
2Sarah
(261)
Elizabeth
(228)
Mary
(186)
Mary
(178)
Mary
(134)
Elizabeth
(128)
Elizabeth
(107)
3Ann
(239)
Ann
(226)
Elizabeth
(159)
Ann
(174)
Sarah
(130)
Sarah
(111)
Annie
(100)
4Elizabeth
(222)
Sarah
(220)
Ann
(156)
Sarah
(169)
Eliza
(95)
Eliza
(88)
Emily
(89)
5Jane
(89)
Eliza
(110)
Eliza
(111)
Eliza
(104)
Ann
(94)
Emily
(84)
Sarah
(84)
6Hannah
(69)
Jane
(94)
Jane
(87)
Emma
(79)
Ellen
(81)
Annie
(82)
Edith
(75)
7Martha
(68)
Mary Ann
(92)
Mary Ann
(80)
Ellen
(77)
Emma
(72)
Alice
(76)
Alice
(73)
8Emma
(66)
Emma
(82)
Emma
(80)
Mary A
(76)
Emily
(65)
Ellen
(71)
Ellen
(65)
9Eliza
(59)
Martha
(65)
Caroline
(60)
Emily
(75)
Annie
(63)
Emma
(64)
Eliza
(64)
10Caroline
(47)
Hannah
(64)
Fanny
(52)
Jane
(73)
Alice
(63)
Ann
(60)
Mary A
(55)
11Harriet
(43)
Caroline
(49)
Martha
(52)
Mary Ann
(59)
Fanny
(55)
Edith
(58)
Florence
(54)
12Charlotte
(39)
Ellen
(46)
Ellen
(51)
Caroline
(56)
Mary Ann
(53)
Fanny
(52)
Emma
(46)
13Maria
(37)
Louisa
(44)
Mary A
(50)
Fanny
(56)
Caroline
(49)
Rose
(40)
Ethel
(42)
14Ellen
(36)
Fanny
(43)
Hannah
(50)
Martha
(50)
Jane
(49)
Louisa
(39)
Rose
(39)
15Fanny
(34)
Charlotte
(43)
Emily
(50)
Hannah
(46)
Louisa
(44)
Florence
(39)
Jane
(38)
16Anne
(30)
Mary A
(36)
Charlotte
(37)
Alice
(39)
Martha
(41)
Kate
(37)
Fanny
(37)
17Elisabeth
(25)
Maria
(34)
Anne
(36)
Louisa
(38)
Edith
(36)
Caroline
(37)
Louisa
(36)
18Louisa
(25)
Emily
(33)
Louisa
(34)
Harriet
(36)
Harriet
(35)
Ada
(36)
Caroline
(35)
19Elisa
(25)
Susan
(31)
Harriet
(32)
Annie
(35)
Mary A
(34)
Jane
(34)
Kate
(35)
20Sophia
(24)
Harriett
(27)
Maria
(30)
Charlotte
(28)
Rose
(34)
Mary Ann
(34)
Ann
(34)

Popularity of first names for males under the age of 10

Rank1841185118611871188118911901
1William
(84)
William
(66)
William
(48)
George
(52)
William
(45)
William
(39)
William
(30)
2Thomas
(55)
James
(47)
George
(44)
William
(45)
George
(25)
George
(23)
George
(26)
3George
(55)
John
(45)
Henry
(44)
Charles
(37)
John
(24)
Arthur
(20)
Frederick
(21)
4John
(54)
Henry
(43)
James
(37)
John
(32)
Charles
(23)
Albert
(19)
Frank
(19)
5James
(47)
Thomas
(42)
Charles
(30)
Thomas
(30)
Henry
(23)
Harry
(19)
Albert
(13)
6Henry
(40)
Charles
(41)
Thomas
(29)
Frederick
(28)
Thomas
(22)
Frederick
(17)
John
(13)
7Charles
(36)
George
(41)
John
(23)
James
(27)
Arthur
(20)
Charles
(17)
Harry
(12)
8Edward
(19)
Frederick
(24)
Alfred
(22)
Henry
(23)
Alfred
(19)
Frank
(16)
Arthur
(12)
9Joseph
(19)
Alfred
(21)
Frederick
(20)
Arthur
(18)
Edward
(18)
Alfred
(16)
Cecil
(11)
10Richard
(15)
Edward
(21)
Joseph
(15)
Walter
(15)
Walter
(16)
Thomas
(15)
Alfred
(10)
11Frederick
(11)
Joseph
(12)
Edward
(11)
Edward
(14)
Harry
(16)
Henry
(11)
Edward
(9)
12Robert
(10)
Richard
(9)
Harry
(10)
Joseph
(12)
Albert
(16)
James
(10)
Leonard
(9)
13Edwin
(10)
Walter
(7)
J
(8)
Harry
(11)
James
(14)
John
(10)
Walter
(9)
14Samuel
(8)
Edwin
(6)
Samuel
(6)
Alfred
(9)
Fredrick
(13)
Edward
(9)
Henry
(9)
15Alfred
(8)
Samuel
(6)
Walter
(6)
Richard
(7)
Frederick
(12)
Ernest
(9)
Ernest
(9)
16David
(6)
Francis
(6)
Richard
(5)
Albert
(6)
Frank
(11)
Walter
(7)
George A
(8)
17Thos.
(5)
Arthur
(5)
David
(5)
Ernest
(6)
Ernest
(8)
Herbert
(6)
Charles
(8)
18Benjamin
(5)
Robert
(4)
H
(5)
William J
(5)
Joseph
(6)
Richard
(6)
James
(8)
19Francis
(4)
Daniel
(3)
William H
(4)
William H
(5)
Herbert
(5)
Harold
(5)
Thomas
(7)
20Albert
(3)
Frank
(3)
W
(4)
Tom
(4)
Fred
(5)
Robert
(5)
Bertie
(7)

Popularity of first names for females under the age of 10

Rank1841185118611871188118911901
1Mary
(71)
Mary
(37)
Ann
(28)
Mary
(26)
Edith
(23)
Alice
(24)
Edith
(20)
2Ann
(46)
Elizabeth
(36)
Eliza
(23)
Ellen
(26)
Alice
(20)
Edith
(20)
Ethel
(18)
3Sarah
(41)
Sarah
(33)
Ellen
(23)
Elizabeth
(24)
Ellen
(18)
Ethel
(20)
Annie
(17)
4Elizabeth
(36)
Emma
(30)
Emily
(22)
Sarah
(23)
Elizabeth
(17)
Mary
(19)
Florence
(16)
5Emma
(27)
Ann
(28)
Sarah
(22)
Emily
(22)
Annie
(17)
Annie
(16)
Daisy
(15)
6Eliza
(21)
Eliza
(27)
Mary Ann
(19)
Alice
(19)
Rose
(14)
Florence
(15)
Dorothy
(13)
7Harriet
(16)
Mary Ann
(25)
Mary
(18)
Emma
(19)
Mary
(14)
Rose
(12)
Emily
(12)
8Caroline
(16)
Jane
(23)
Emma
(18)
Eliza
(18)
Emily
(14)
Emily
(10)
Mabel
(12)
9Ellen
(16)
Emily
(17)
Elizabeth
(16)
Ann
(16)
Florence
(13)
Gertrude
(9)
Elsie
(11)
10Hannah
(15)
Fanny
(16)
Fanny
(15)
Mary Ann
(13)
Fanny
(12)
Elizabeth
(9)
Alice
(10)
11Jane
(15)
Louisa
(14)
Louisa
(13)
Jane
(12)
Kate
(12)
Daisy
(9)
Rose
(9)
12Fanny
(15)
Ellen
(14)
Mary A
(12)
Fanny
(11)
Sarah
(11)
Kate
(8)
Gladys
(8)
13Elisa
(13)
Caroline
(12)
Jane
(11)
Annie
(11)
Ada
(11)
Mabel
(8)
Elizabeth
(8)
14Louisa
(13)
Hannah
(10)
Caroline
(10)
Ada
(10)
Eliza
(10)
Ellen
(7)
Ivy
(8)
15Emily
(11)
Charlotte
(10)
Harriett
(9)
Rose
(10)
Louisa
(9)
Emma
(7)
Ada
(7)
16Charlotte
(10)
Harriett
(9)
Elizth
(8)
Louisa
(10)
Emma
(8)
Fanny
(7)
Lilian
(7)
17Maria
(9)
Martha
(8)
Clara
(8)
Anne
(9)
Clara
(8)
Eliza
(6)
Florence M
(7)
18Martha
(7)
Lydia
(7)
Alice
(8)
Caroline
(9)
Minnie
(7)
Lizzie
(6)
Hilda
(6)
19Lucy
(6)
Amelia
(7)
E
(7)
Martha
(9)
Agnes
(6)
May
(6)
Violet
(6)
20Anna
(6)
Maria
(6)
Maria
(7)
Edith
(8)
Lucy
(5)
Maud
(5)
Nellie
(6)

Conclusions on specific names

In the tables below, names with second names or initials are included in the total, although it is possible that there might be a rare double counting where an entry includes three or more names or two names followed by an initial. Also some abbreviations or spelling variations are included. The numbers shown for individual names are consequently significantly higher than the corresponding values in the tables above.

The graphs use the percentage of the total number of children, including both boys and girls

'William' is the most popular name for for children under 10 years old in all but one census year, 1871, when 'George', second in popularity most years, was most popular. It seems remarkable that in 1841 over 7% of children, probably one in seven boys were christened 'William'.

Most names that were very popular in 1841 were much less popular in later years, particularly for girls, where Mary, Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth and Emma, the five most popular in 1841, did not feature in the top ten in 1901, when Edith, Florence, Ethel, Annie and Daisy were the five most popular.

The popularity of 'Annie' is interesting, almost totally replacing both 'Ann' and 'Anne'. Both 'Elizabeth' and 'Eliza' declined in popularity also, but without a significant increase in the popularity of 'Lizzie'

At the end of this page there is a form which allows the entry of names separated by ',' (comma) for a combined total for those names and by ';' (semi colon) for separate totals

The top five boys' names in 1841

Name1841185118611871188118911901
William, Willm., Wm86726465737059
George,Geo56475366423753
John56533240372527
Thomas,Thos56483535252425
James47513930221610

The top five boys'names in 1901

Name1841185118611871188118911901
William, Willm., Wm86726465737059
George,Geo56475366423753
Frederick, Fredrick, Frederic14302835342946
Albert32113283230
Arthur45831342729

The top five girls' names in 1841

Name1841185118611871188118911901
Mary7676595629369
Ann46322919411
Sarah424133381852
Elizabeth,Elisabeth,Elizbth,Elizth42392828251312
Emma27322221972

The top five girls' names in 1901

Name1841185118611871188118911901
Edith00515393936
Ethel000252928
Annie01923282125
Florence0036343632
Daisy000031221

Variations of Ann

Name1841185118611871188118911901
Ann46322919411
Anne611010331
Annie01923282125

Variations of Elizabeth

Further study of the nine firstnames of "Elizth" in 1861 shows that all were in the enumeration district containing West Hill and it is probable that this is simply an enumerator using an abreviation to speed up his task.

Name1841185118611871188118911901
Elizabeth,Elisabeth,Elizbth38392028241312
Elizth4090200
Eliza212826231181
Lizzie0002673

For other first names, enter the names separated by commas and semi-colons and click the "Extract data" button.

Note that results are consolidated for names separated by commas.

Note that names followed by a second name or initial are also included.