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UK shuns unusual baby names despite the celebrity trend

  • 37% of people would name their children after relatives with traditional names
  • Quirky celebrity baby names not so original after all
  • Brooklyn and Cruz found in the 19th Century censuses
  • Genes Reunited analysed over 750 million names

Analysis of over 750 million records by genesreunited.co.uk, a leading UK family history website, reveals that celebrities are not as original as they may think when it comes to naming their offspring, as research shows unusual baby names such as Suri, Cruz and Apple have been recorded for over 150 years.

Although celebrities continuously opt for unusual names, a recent poll shows that 79% of people prefer traditional names in favour of something more unusual. Furthermore, half would choose a name simply by whether or not they liked the sound of it. [1]

It's not unusual...

David and Victoria's children's names have all appeared in the UK censuses before. In the 1881 Census a Brooklyn was recorded and since 1841 someone has carried the name Cruz four times. This is also the case with their brother Romeo, namesake of one of Shakespeare's most famous protagonists, who appears 294 times between 1841 and 1911.

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow also went down the unusual name route, with a fruity name for their young daughter, Apple. Whilst unheard of in modern times, it was used over a hundred years ago with the name appearing in the 1861, 1871 and 1911 censuses. Apple has grown in popularity, appearing 76 times in the birth records.

The prize for the most original celebrity baby name goes to Sir Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, whose eldest daughter [Fifi] Trixibelle doesn't appear in any of the Census records. Friends of the Beckham's, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' daughter's name Suri has only been registered once, in the 1891 Census. However, Suri has gone on to be registered 67 times in the birth records up until 2005.

The analysis of over 750 million names in the records shows that there are 1000 completely unique names, both forename and surname, highlighting that there has always been an appetite for unusual names. Some of the unique names registered include Flossy Nairn, whose brother was called Ora Nairn, as well as Willington Trites and Glesson Whatman[3].

Keeping up with the Joneses

Despite society often following the lead of celebrity culture, the records have shown that millions of people like to stick with tradition. John and Mary take the crown for the most popular names ever recorded in the UK, with over 8 million Marys and over 10 million Johns.

Top 10 boys' and girls' names of all time

Girl Boy
1 Mary John
2 Elizabeth William
3 Sarah Thomas
4 Ann James
5 Margaret George
6 Jane Robert
7 Alice Charles
8 Hannah Joseph
9 Emma Henry
10 Ellen David

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genesreunited.co.uk, says: "If you are interested in family history or are simply looking for inspiration for a potential baby name, our records with over 750 million names going back centuries, provide a fascinating insight through history and maybe some great ideas."

"It seems to be a celebrity trend to name offspring unusual names, but we have found throughout our extensive record collections this is not a new trend. We have seen what was once a uncommon name, such as Daisy, slowly being incorporated into what we now see as traditional. Our research has found that 79% of people would prefer a traditional name, so maybe in the future 'Cruz' or 'Suri' will be seen in this way?"

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

[1] Figures taken from a poll of 947 Genes Reunited subscribers

[2] Number of times the names appear in the censuses

Census year
Forename c1841 c1851 c1861 c1871 c1881 c1891 c1901 c1911
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Cruz 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1
Romeo 13 18 16 28 38 54 52 75
Apple 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2
Trixibelle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Memphis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Suri 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

[3] Below is a list of other celebrity baby names as they appear in the censuses

Census year
Forename c1841 c1851 c1861 c1871 c1881 c1891 c1901 c1911
Anais 5 3 2 20 10 9 12 22
Annais 2 3 12 0 1 1 1 0
Apple 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2
Bluebell 0 0 4 0 1 3 7 20
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Cruz 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1
Daisy 1 5 32 187 4225 27578 58437 77434
Fifi 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
Lennon 0 2 0 1 3 4 9 11
Lourdes 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 5
Maddox 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Madonna 2 1 14 8 11 12 23 22
Memphis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rocco 1 1 6 14 20 15 30 23
Romeo 13 18 16 28 38 54 52 75
Saffron 0 1 1 1 1 0 2 1
Shiloh 3 5 2 5 7 7 2 1
Suri 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Tallulah 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Trixibelle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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Notes to the Editor - About Genes Reunited

Genes Reunited was launched in 2002 as a sister-site to the Internet phenomenon Friends Reunited. Since then it has grown to become the UK's largest genealogy website.

It marked a revolution in genealogy and ancestry by combining them with Internet social-networking. Members are able to build their family tree by posting it on the site and investigating which ancestors they share with other members. They can also search historical records such as census, birth, death, marriage and military records.

It currently has over 11 million members and over 750 million names listed. One new name is added to the site every single second.