Jack ousts Alfie in name game

YES, it is that time of the year again, when I divulge the most popular names bestowed upon babies born in the past 12 months in the Great Yarmouth Mercury circulation area.

YES, it is that time of the year again, when I divulge the most popular names bestowed upon babies born in the past 12 months in the Great Yarmouth Mercury circulation area. But first, two items of news appertaining to this little name-game annual ritual.

A national newspaper has supported my persistent grumble by reporting that “traditional names such as Gertrude and Norman have virtually died out within a lifetime as parents copy celebrities and give their children individual identities, research has shown. Babies are rarely named after relatives or godparents, as was typical a century ago.

“Instead, parents have become more adventurous, following the example of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who named their daughter Apple, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who called their twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline. It means that names once common in school playgrounds, such as Walter, Harold and Percy for the boys and Edna, Ethel and Irene for girls, are almost unheard of.”

Apparently statisticians compared the most popular names of 1907 with those recorded in 2005 by the Office of National Statistics.

The second revelation, in an airline's in-flight magazine, was that Swedish officials have relaxed strict laws prohibiting children being called ridiculous names. Swedish children, “could be called anything, including Christmas Tree, but the line has been drawn at offensive or religious words”.

So, what has happened in east Norfolk in 2008?

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Well, Jack has ousted Alfie as the most popular name for a boy, pushing it down to third place shared with Daniel/Danny and Lewis; Harry retains the runner-up spot for the third year.

As for the girls. Grac(i)e topped the list, having been joint first in 2007 with Amy, Emily, Evie and Lily (spelt various ways). Evie came second this time, with the Lily variations third.

I must emphasise, as usual, that the above findings refer only to first names, those by which the holders will usually be called throughout their lives. For baby boys, James was again the most used middle name, followed jointly by George and Thomas; putting first and following names together, George topped the chart, with Jack, James and Thomas close behind in second spot.

The baby girls' most chosen middle name was Mae/May/Mai, just ahead of Rose. Combine the first and following lists, and Grac(i)e was the leader, ahead of the May group.

Although a staggering range was chosen by new parents for their babies, including unusual spellings and inventive names, it seems apparent that some conventional ones are holding their ground against the du-different trend. Admitted, those commonplace a century ago - like the Gertrudes and Normans mentioned in the national press report - seldom appear in this newspaper's weekly Births column from which I cull my lists, but some conventional ones do retain their popularity.

Here are some of the 2008 names in our columns notable by being a revival of a traditional one, or with a degree of inventiveness about them.

Boys: Alexander Albert, Anthony, Archie, Arden, Ashton, Aston Spencer, Austin, Bailey, Billy Jack George, twins Blake and Dexter, Buddy Wib, Callum, Calvin, Casey Kenneth, Cian Chandler, Christopher, Cody, Corbyn George, Daniel Gordon, Donny, Edan, Elliot, Ellis, Enzo, Ethan Solomon, Ewan Donald, Finley, Francis, Gabriel, Harley Oscar, Harrison, Harry Oliver, Harvey, Haydn, Henry, Jaiden, twins Jake Nicholas Eric and Oliver Martin Ray, Jamison, Joel, Joseph, Joshua, Jude, Kallum, Kaven, Keane, Keanu, Kingsley, Kodie, Kye Tyler, Kyle, Leo Robbie, Leon, Leonard, Lewis, Lincoln Pearce, Lucas George, Luke, Makenzie, Marcus, Morgan, Oakleigh/Oakley, Olley, Ray, Raymond, Reilly, Rhys Anthony, Riley Peter, Rio, River, Robert, Robin, Rocco, Rodger, Ronnie, Russell, Samuel Robert, Sidney Mally, Sonny David, Taylor, Theo, Todd, Tomas, Tommy Norman, William Arthur, Wren, Zach, Zachary, Zak Terence, Zane.

Girls: Ana-Isabella, Angel, Asha, Ava Christianna, Beth, Bracken April, Caelan Isobel, Caitlin Josie, Ciala Amira, Connie, Dana, Demi, Eleanor, Ellis, Emmi, Erin Paighton, Esme, Evelyn, Evie, Freya, Halle, Hallie Summer, Hetty, Ilyssa Rayne, Imogen Daisy, Isabelle Erica, Isla Sinclair, Jannora, Jazlyn Kia Trudie, Jemma, Kaci, Kailea, Kelcia, Keria, Kyra, Lacie, Laila, Lara Alice Lily, Lizzie, Lola Isabelle Molly, Madeleine, Maggie Maud, Maisy, Mali, Marcie, Matilda, Megan, Melissa June, Michaela, Natalie, Neve Helena, Nicole, Nina, Ophelia, Poppy, Pria Nichole, Rae, twins Raffery and Harlow, Roxanne Leah, Rubie, Ruth, Sahara Patricia, Saskia, Sassy Be-Be, Scarlett Rose, twins Shante and Melody, Sienna, twins Skye and Layla, Sophie Jean, Tianna, Tierney Eloise, Trinity Patricia, Velise, Violet, Weston Ellie Yada.

As a cricket fan, I was pleased to see Jack Hobbs announced in March. In the Mercury of May 9 were Zach and Zane, probably the first time two names starting with Z had appeared in the same issue.

Presumably the findings issued by the National Office of Statistics are compiled from information supplied by registrars when parents apply for the compulsory birth certificates for their offspring, whereas mine are based purely on Mercury paid announcements and are perhaps only a small percentage of the total.

I wonder if an official “league table” of all baby names in the Great Yarmouth neighbourhood would differ much from the Mercury ones...



First names

1 Jack (10 mentions)

2 Harry (9)

3=Alfie, Daniel/Danny, Lewis (6)

4=Alexander, Callum, Jayden/Jaiden (5)

5=George, Joshua, Oliver, Sonny (4)

Middle names

1 James (12)

2=George, Thomas (11)

3 William (9)

4 David (8)

5=Edward, Lewis, Robert (4)

All names

1 George (15)

2=Jack, James, Thomas (13)

3 William (12)

4 Lewis (10)

5 Harry (9)


First names

1 Grace/Gracie (9)

2 Evie (8)

3 Lily/Lillie/Lilly (5)

4=Ella, Mia, Olivia, Scarlet (4)

5=Daisy, Erin, Lucy/Lucie, Maisie, Summer (3)

Middle names

1 May/Mae/Mai (12)

2 Rose (10)

3 Grace (7)

4 Louise (6)

5 Marie (5)

All names

1 Grace/Gracie (16)

2 Mai/Mae/May (13)

3=Lily/Lillie/Lilly, Rose (10)

4 Olivia (7)

5 Ella (6)



First names

1 Alfie/Alfy (7)

2 Harry (6)

3 Jack (5)

4=Charlie, Dylan, Jamie, Max, Oliver (4)

5= Ethan, Jayden, Jenson, Oscar/Oskar (3)

Middle names

1 James (18)

2 John (10)

3 William (5)

4=David, George, Peter (4)

5=Lee, Michael, Paul, Reece/Reiss/Rhys, Robert, Stephen (3)

All names

1 James (18)

2 John (10)

3=Alfie/Alfy, Jack, William (7)

4=Dylan, Harry, Oliver (6)

5=David, George (5)


First names

1=Amy, Emily, Evie, Grace, Lily/Lillie (5)

2=Chloe, Ella, Freya/Fraia, Olivia, Ruby (4)

3=Brooke, Ellen, Ellie, Erin, Isobel/Isabel, Lucy, Scarlett (3)

Middle names

1 May/Mae/Mai (19)

2 Rose (14)

3 Louise (10)

4 Elizabeth (9)

5 Ann(e) (7)

All names

1 May/Mae/Mai (19)

2 Rose (14)

3 Grace (11)

4 Louise (10)

5 Elizabeth (9)