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.

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