Since first names aren't necessarily inherited, like surnames, the choice the parents make can reveal more details about a parent's tastes or personality, or even reveal information about popular events during the time when they decided upon a name, which can give you even more details in your geneaological research! Many families carry down names of relatives as a tradition or way of honoring or respecting those other members of the family. Other families opt for names based on sound or the meaning behind a name, and some families name their children based on popular culture, after famous celebrities! If you find an especially unique name in your family history, consider looking at local newspapers to see if there were any significant or popular events during your family's life.

Search your name

The Social Security Administration has released the most popular baby names from every decade from 1880 until 2010, using data from the social security card applications, and so you can see if your name made the list! Be sure to check to see if your ancestor's name is on the list, it might give you clues about your other ancestors, especially if you find a naming pattern within your records.

Here are some interesting observations from the most popular baby names by decades list:

  • The name William appears within the top ten list for 12 decades, but drops from the list during the 1980's and 1990's, but has a comeback in the 2000's
  • The names John and Robert appear in the top ten list for 11 decades! It isn't until the 1990's, when the names drop off the list
  • Mary makes the top ten list until 1970, but doesn't appear in the top ten after that
  • In the 1930 decade, Shirley was the 4th most popular name, but dropped all the way down to number 14 in the following decade
  • Jayden is the most recent addition to the top ten list and appeared on the list in the 2010's
  • Tyler was a popular name during the 1990's decade, but that's the only time it made it into the top ten list
  • Only 34 different male names appear in the top ten lists, whereas there are 64 female name varieties used throughout the decades

Did your name make the top ten?

Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration has also released the most popular names of 2015 listed below. Do you think any of these will make the 2020 most popular baby name list?


Photo courtesy of the Social Security Administration

Did your name make any of these lists?

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