It is always possible to find lists of the most popular first names in a country, but I thought that this interactive map for France covering 1946 to 2011 is really fascinating, with some really jaw-dropping surprises for the names in recent years.
I know that Kevin stormed onto the scene due to several American actors with that name. Later, people tried to justify it as being a Bréton name, but even if so, it was never popular before Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Kline, etc.
Where did all the Enzos comme from? I have a friend named Enzo in Paris, but he is Italian (I mean born and raised there, not a French person of Italian descent) - he is also older than the popular Enzos.
Also, the Elodies? There are Elodies here, but never as many as on the French map.
Most of the others are very similar. Léa is the most popular name for girls here now.
Huge numbers of people who received the most popular name of their year of birth are embarrassed by it later. I knew a Brigitte who knew that she had the name because of Brigitte Bardot, for example, and most Martines hate their name as well.
In the article I read about all of these names, they did point out that even in the most popular years of any dominant name, at least 97% of the other children had a different name. But whenever you are in a classroom with two or even three children with the same name, it just seems like "everybody" has the same name. The years of "Jean" and "Marie" must have been really irritating.
One of my colleagues pored over name lists with her eldest daughter when she was about to give birth to her second child, a son. Obviously, they wanted something as original as possible and were very careful to avoid all of the trendy names that had been circulating about. The name "Raphael" was chosen after much thought. And it turned out that Raphael was the most popular male baby name in Paris the year that he was born. Sometimes there is no escaping destiny. Luckily, Raphael was extremely popular in Paris but not in the rest of France, so at least the poor kid will not be swamped with other boys with the same name.
Apparently, Brussels is much easier, because the #1 name for boys there has been Mohammed for a decade.
I live in fear that my next granddaughter will be named "Miley" since it made the short list a few years ago. Hopefully, my children have come to their senses. Of course, if they read this they might just use the name for retaliation.
Htmb, my nephews seem to be having a contest to give weird names to their children. Oh well, maybe they will be normal in another few years.
Meanwhile, I was reading a article in one of today's newspapers which says that Parisians give completely different names to their children than the rest of France. Over the last 10 years, the most popular names in Paris have been Louise and Gabriel. Other popular Parisian names are Arthur, Adam, Raphaël, Chloë, Alice and Sarah. The article points out that Parisians give much more "retro" first names to their children than the rest of France.
I think it's just fine that people give traditional/retro names to kids. Those poor kids stuck with weird names because of a contemporary celebrity!
Of the babies I know here, there is one Arthur, a Nino (the grandparents were not pleased), a Clairence (makes me think of a fat kid with glasses in a Far Side cartoon), and a Philémon. How can anyone do that to their kid? Not celebrity names, but mostly pretty awful.
My oldest daughter's middle name is the same as my first, as well as my mother and grandmother's first names. Oldest gave HER oldest the same middle name and now her second child, who is five, thinks she needs to have the same middle name. We're fine with a change because none of us like her middle name anyway, but her father, who picked it out, would have a fit.
My biological father's first name was Cuthbert, yet all of the other siblings had normal names: William, Richard, Robert and Patricia. Even though I thought my paternal grandparents were relatively evil, it never struck me how evil they actually were when I was a child because I didn't know what a horrible burden such a name was.
one weird name i encountered here (in a baby group) was mars - i would suppose they named him for the god or the planet, but i suspect all his school friends later on will just think of the chocolate bar.
another one i find kind of weird, at least in germany, is minerva.
and sometimes it is sibling combinations, i know two that are named louis and lucie - i wonder how often they mishear each other's name for their own, when someone calls them ...
I once knew someone who was the youngest of eight kids. He was named Rolland (first syllable rhymes with all), and his oldest brother was named Roland (first syllable rhymes with go). It seems they had run out of names by the last child.
One of the things that strikes me now that I have started doing some genealogy is how few names were used in general -- not only in Poland, where I look, but also in France, where my husband is looking.
And because families had lots of children, many of whom died young, they would often re-use the same name when another child was born. So looking at births + deaths, the same parents would have 2 or 3 Marianna or Jan. My great-great grandfather married 3 times (as I discovered) and had 3 daughters called Katarzyna (Katherine), at least one of whom survived to be my great-grandmother.
When I see an occasional Petronela or something, it's a real surprise.
Adding something I meant to say at the beginning of this thread -- that map of France with the flashing names does not seem to take into account all the hyphenated names that were so popular in France in the 1940s and 1950s and even later. All the Jean-François, Jean-Claude, Jean-Pierre, Marie-Christine, Marie-Françoise and on and on.
They still exist a bit but now the combinations are more like Pierre-Etienne or Charles-Henri.
I always thought my name was somewhat old-fashioned by the time I came along, more of the generations before me. However, I looked it up & it was #29 the year I was born. I guess that's not too surprising, considering that it was the name of the main character in an immensely popular film for children nine years earlier.
My son's name is Aaron. When he was in grade school he complained to me that a neighbor kid claimed that was a girl's name. I asked what the annoying child's name was.
No idea. But I am pretty sure that the worldwide popularity of Emma is because of Emma Watson. She had a very positive role in the 8 Harry Potter films and her personal life seems to have been exemplary as well.