Monday, March 26, 2012

Bad news for Mad Men’s Don & Betty Draper: their names head U.S. endangered list, finds study marking 1940 US Census release April 2

The names that time forgot: ‘Donald’, ‘Betty’ are biggest losers in U.S. names league since 1940: study by findmypast.com

“Names can be genealogy what carbon-dating is to archaeology”

Donald Trump, Betty White still blooming but namesakes top threatened list


Santa Monica, CA; Monday, March 26 2012 – Once two of America’s most popular names, ‘Betty’ and ‘Donald’ are the baby names that have fallen farthest from favor since the time of the 1940 Census, reveals a new study.

Iconic owners of such names, like Betty White and Donald Trump, are still going strong but their monikers top the endangered list, reveals the study conducted by genealogy website findmypast.com to mark the Government’s release of the 1940 Census records April 2.

The news comes the very week that Don and Betty Draper return to TV in the hit show, Mad Men (Season 5) and the very month that Betty White has been voted America’s favorite Hollywood star.

Donald was the ninth most popular name for American boys born in 1940 but now ranks just 377th, while Betty was the fifth most popular name for American girls born the same year but no longer even makes the top 1,000!

“Baby names are like period pieces”, says Josh Taylor, a leading genealogist and spokesperson for findmypast.com. “Some recall a particular era, which can make them useful clues for researching family history. Indeed, you can sometimes guess roughly when someone was born simply by their first name. In such cases, names can be to genealogy what carbon-dating is to archaeology.”

Findmypast.com researchers trawled the records of the US Social Security Administration, which has recorded baby names, based on Social Security applications for births, since 1879.

Over 23,000 American babies born in 1940 were named Donald. Donald Trump was a forties baby (born 1946), who these days styles himself "The Donald.”

The best-known “Donalds’ in American life were born in the decades either side of 1940: Donald Rumsfeld in 1932, Donald Duck in 1934, actor Donald Sutherland in 1935 (albeit in Canada).

Betty’s hailing from the golden age of Betties include movie idol Betty Grable; Betty Crocker, an inventor character of cake-mix fame; and, of course, America’s favorite celebrity Betty White.

Famous Donald’s (And Their Birth Year)
Donald Rumsfeld (1932)
Donald Duck (1934)
Donald Sutherland (1935)
Donald Trump (1946)
Donald “Don” Draper (1926)

Famous Betty’s (And Their Birth Year)
Betty Draper (1932)
Betty Boop (1930)
Betty White (1922)
Betty Friedan (1921)
Betty Crocker (1921)
Betty Grable (1916)


Top U.S. Baby Names in 1940

Rank
Boys
Girls
1
James
Mary
2
Robert
Barbara
3
John
Patricia
4
William
Judith
5
Richard
Betty
6
Charles
Carol
7
David
Nancy
8
Thomas
Linda
9
Donald
Shirley
10
Ronald
Sandra



 

Top U.S. Baby Names in 2010

Rank
Boys
Girls
1
Jacob
Isabella
2
Ethan
Sophia
3
Michael
Emma
4
Jayden
Olivia
5
William
Ava
6
Alexander
Emily
7
Noah
Abigail
8
Daniel
Madison
9
Aiden
Chloe
10
Anthony
Mia

Source: Social Security Online

Note: Mary and James topped the U.S. rankings for baby names in 1940. In our time, Jacob and Isabella rank top. Jayden and Aiden both make the top 10 boys’ names, while Madison, Chloe and Mia are all in the girls’ top 10.

Biggest Losers In U.S. Baby Name Popularity Stakes Since 1940

Table: Most Popular Boys’ Names In 1940, Ranked By Size Of Fall Since


NAME
RANK 1940
RANK 2010
FALL (PLACES)
1. Donald
9
377
368
2. Ronald
10
342
332
3. Richard
5
127
122
4. Charles
6
63
57
5. Thomas
8
62
54
6. Robert
2
54
52
7. John
3
26
23
8. James
1
19
18
9. David
7
15
8
10. William
4
5
1

Source: Social Security Online

Table: Most Popular Girls’ Names In 1940, Ranked By Size Of Fall Since


NAME
RANK 1940
RANK 2010
FALL (PLACES)
1. Betty
5
Not in top 1000*
996+
2. Carol
6
Not in top 1000*
995+
3. Shirley
9
Not in top 1000*
992+
4. Judith
4
879
875
5. Barbara
2
710
708
6. Linda
8
624
616
7. Patricia
3
615
612
8. Nancy
7
521
514
9. Sandra
10
517
511
10. Mary
1
109
108

About findmypast.com

findmypast.com is a proud participant in the 1940 US Census Community Project and the new US addition to the global network of findmypast family history websites, with over 18 million registered members worldwide and over a billion genealogical records dating back to 1200.

From early April 2012, visitors to findmypast.com will be able to browse 1940 US Census images and find out more about their American family tree.

A full launch of findmypast.com will happen this summer. This will provide US customers with an extensive set of US records, in addition to a vast overseas collection, including a billion English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Australian and New Zealand records, plus millions of pages from the British Library's newspaper collection.

findmypast.com is owned by brightsolid online publishing.