CLICK HERE FOR BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND MYSPACE LAYOUTS »

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Research Sunday: Age Distribution among the Names of the 1881 Women of St Ives

It's a somewhat convoluted title, but it touches upon two areas that I have been thinking about since my last post on workhouse names. First, can regionality be seen in the names given in the 1881 census, and secondly, can you see if names skew 'older' or 'younger'. In 1881, was Jane a name associated with old people or young people?

I'm going to address regionality first. With modern data, it can be easy to compare naming trends in different countries, and now, there is more information within countries about modern regional naming patterns. Baby Name Wizard has the excellent Name Mapper for US data, there used to be a good Baby Name Map but it doesn't seem to be online anymore. England and Wales now releases top 10s for each region; in Canada and Australia, the different states/territories/provinces release their own name data each year.

The 1881 census recorded where people lived and where they were born, so it's possible to take a snapshot of which names were much more popular in certain regions than others.

Some regions retain strong identities and names that are strongly linked with those regions - I've started with Cornwall. You can buy whole books about 'Cornish Names' - I wanted to find out whether any of those names was actually being used in Cornwall in 1881. I chose St Ives, and ordered the names from this page. It gave me 1615 names in total, 897 females and 718 males. There's plenty in these lists to discuss, so I'm dividing these posts into male and female to do so.

Without further ado, here are the 20 most popular female names:


Rank Name Count % Change from general population data Change in % from general population data
1 Mary 165 18.39 = +5.3%
2 Elizabeth 127 14.16 = +5.8%
3 Jane 48 5.35 +2 +6.2%
4 Catherine 40 4.46 +13 +3.3%
5 Ann 32 3.57 -2 -2.9%
6 Grace 27 3.01 +44 +2.7%
7 Annie 26 2.90 +2 +0.2%
8 Eliza 24 2.68 -1 -0.1%
9 Sarah 23 2.56 -5 -3.7%
10 Margaret 21 2.34 +1 =
11 Martha 19 2.12 +3 +0.5%
12 Alice 17 1.90 -4 -0.9%
13 Nanny 17 1.90 NEW NEW
14 Bessie 14 1.56 +49 +1.4%
15 Susan 12 1.34 +16 +0.7%
16 Kate 11 1.23 +10 +0.4%
17 Edith 9 1.00 +2 =
18 Nancy 9 1.00 +51 +0.9%
19 Wilmot 9 1.00 NEW NEW
20 Emma 8 0.89 -10 -1.8%

I'll start with the percentage data. 73.36% of the women in the St Ives sample held a name in the top 20, this is a little higher than the national average of  67.9%, but not as high as 78.8% of last week's workhouse names. So the women in St Ives were a little more uniform in their naming habits than the general population. The top 10 in St Ives is 59.4%, higher than the general population's 53%.

Regionality is clear in this list. Aside from the top few names, there are seven new names to the top 20 compared with the general population, including two (Nanny and Wilmot) which were not in the top 100 at all. Now this is a small sample, so I did consider whether Nanny and Wilmot in particular represented a family naming pattern. The same surnames were repeated frequently - it seems to have been a close knit community. However, they were from families with different surnames, and spanned ages from 67 to 4 for Wilmot and 75 to 2 for Nanny, with them fairly well distributed among the ages.

Looking at the FreeBMD records, Wilmot (a diminutive of William, could be borne by men or women) was given to 1607 people (no distinction between men and women) between 1837 and 1960 (though I think the records are patchy after about 1920). Of those 1607 people, 294 were born in Cornwall - 18.2% of Wilmots. In an average year (1850), Cornwall counted for 2.2% of the births recorded on FreeBMD, so 18.2% is a massive increase. I suspect that Wilmot as a female name (as it appears exclusively in St Ives) would give an even higher %, but FreeBMD doesn't differentiate between male and female records.

1109 Nannys were born in Cornwall, 28.4% of the Nannys born in Britain. Nancy and Annie also show considerable increases. Nans is a Cornish word that means 'valley', but I don't think there's a link between the names and the word. The Oxford English Dictionary first lists Nanny appearing with its nursemaid meaning at the end of the 18th century, nanny-goat appears in the mid 18th century.


Age Distribution
In my last post, I commented that there seemed to be a lot of 'older' names that were more popular amongst the workhouse women, probably because the age of the workhouse women tended to be older. In the past week, I've realised that I can depict the age distribution of the St Ives women, and compare whether different names have different age distributions. So to start, here is a graph:















Nearly half (411) of the women were under 20 years old (born after 1861), so 'young' names should dominate. From my Victorian Smiths posts, I've identified four names to test: Jane (which should be on 40+ year olds), Mary (should be on all ages, but mainly 20 year olds), Annie (which should be on 0 year olds) and Grace (which I didn't look at when I did my Victorian Smiths study - as you can see by its climb of 44 places, it's not that common among the general population).

Jane
I'm going to consider the names according to the percentage of each age group they represent, Jane is a good example of how this works.
Year born Frequency
1871-81 9
1861-70 4
1851-60 7
1841-50 3
1831-40 8
1821-30 7
1811-20 8
1801-10 2

The most number of Janes was born in 1871-81, but that only represents 4% of all women born 1871-81. The 8 Janes born 1811-20 represents 13% of all women. Graph:


There's a definite shift towards Janes on the older side.

Mary


Mary is fairly evenly distributed across the ages, although 30-40 year olds have the most Marys (over a quarter of them were named Mary), with 40-50 year olds and 0-10 year olds having less.

Annie


Annie is only borne by the young, most commonly those under 10.

Grace

Grace seems fairly evenly distributed among the ages, but skews a little older. I'm glad that these graphs seem to have correlated with my Victorian Smiths data. I'm going to make some more, and see if any surprises come up, which I will post.

Top 10


And as a small conclusion (and because I could post these graphs forever), the top 10. The top 10 seems to be becoming less representative of the names borne by the younger generations.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Ellen Factsheet


Meaning
Greek via Medieval English - possibly 'torch'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Ellen Smith (b. 1510)
1550-1690: High: #12 (1550); Low: no entries (1660-80); fairly stable at #17 then decline
1840-1905: High: #7 (1850, 1860); Low: #20 (1905); stable with decline at end of period
1914-1994: High: #24 (1914); Low: no entries (1944-84); decline with reemergence at end of period
2004: #124
2008: #210
2011: #258 (189 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #59 (1884, 1946); Low: #699 (2009, 2011); slight decline, slight rise, slow decline
2011: #699 (395 births)


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Research Sunday: Names in Workhouses of the 1881 census

Following my post on Names and Status in the 1881 census, I've been thinking about how else status can easily be seen in the 1881 census. In my previous post, I looked at 'masters' and 'servants', and how that situation implies higher and lower status. When one speaks of 'low status', you couldn't get much lower in Victorian Britain than the workhouse. Workhouses were places where people who could not support themselves could live and have employment. Whilst they provided relief for the poor, life inside workhouses was intended to be harsh - you had to be destitute and desperate.

I found that http://www.workhouses.org.uk/ have transcribed the 1881 census and put it into tables - making it easy to copy and order the relevant data in Excel. I chose to look at workhouses situated in London, mainly the East End, for my sample. The workhouses I sampled were:

This provided me with 4011 records,which can be broken down into 2002 men and 2009 women, a fairly even split, although I think some of the records have the wrong gender assigned (eg a female Thomas Collins and a male Rebecca Stockley). I ended up with 1994 male and 1994 female named people (some did not have a name recorded). As I was able to copy the tables, this is a study that could be easily expanded or replicated - but I stopped with 4011 as that is a workable amount to count the names.

I worked out the order of the names, the % of the total who bore that name and then have compared them with 1881 census data for the general population.

Their top 20s are as followed:
Male

Rank Rank compared with 1881 census total Name Workhouses Count % % compared with 1881 census total
1 = William 346 17.35 +4
2 = John 289 14.49 +2.1
3 = Thomas 171 8.58 +0.7
4 +1 James 155 7.77 +1.2
5 -1 George 139 6.97 0
6 = Henry 120 6.02 +1.4
7 = Charles 93 4.66 +0.6
8 = Joseph 73 3.66 +0.3
9 +1 Edward 55 2.76 +0.2
10 +1 Frederick 54 2.71 +0.3
11 -1 Robert 48 2.41 -0.3
12 +3 Samuel 46 2.31 +0.5
13 = Richard 41 2.06 +0.1
14 -2 Alfred 34 1.71 -0.3
15 +11 Daniel 27 1.35 +0.9
16 +8 Benjamin 25 1.25 +0.6
17 = Albert 22 1.10 -0.2
18 -4 Arthur 20 1.00 -0.9
19 -1 David 16 0.80 -0.3
20 -4 Walter 14 0.70 -0.7

This top 20 is fairly concordant this is with the 1881 general population census data. Apart from a little swapping around, and Benjamin and Daniel being much more popular at #15 and #16, there isn't much of a difference. The most notable difference is that this top 20 counts for a larger percentage of the names used than the general population census data. (89.67% of workhouse males had names in this top 20 compared with 80.4% of the general population having a top 20 name). 

The majority of the population is low status (that's generally how status works) and as the general population census data reflects the names popular among the majority, it reflects the names that are popular among those of 'low status', diluted slightly by names that might have a strong regional identity (such as Malcolm, popular in Scotland - I think a great further study would look at names that show strong regionality). 

The male name that seemed more 'high status' in my previous study - Frederick - is in about the same position as in the general population here. James and George, which were more 'low status' are in about the same position as the general population as well. In general then, the names borne by males in the workhouses seem to reflect the names that were popular among the general population.

A wordle (I copied in full names, hence why you might be able to see popular surnames such as Smith and Brown in the background):

Benjamin and Daniel
A quick word on Benjamin and Daniel, as they are the two names that do show a significant increase in popularity from the 1881 census data. Benjamin covers most ages (there are no 20-30 year old Benjamins, but there are 10 year olds and 60 year olds), all the workhouses and are mostly born in and around London.
Daniel however, is borne almost exclusively by 40+ year olds and includes five men whose birthplace is listed as Ireland. It is the second most popular name (after John) of men whose birthplace is listed as Ireland, so that might account for its increased popularity - that a significant number of men born in Ireland ended up in east London in 1880s.

Females

Rank Rank compared with 1881 census total Name Workhouses Count % % compared with 1881 census total
1 = Mary 321 16.10 +3.1
2 = Elizabeth 211 10.58 +2.3
3 +1 Sarah 162 8.12 +1.7
4 -1 Ann 153 7.67 +1.1
5 = Jane 79 3.96 -0.7
6 = Ellen 79 3.96 +0.9
7 = Eliza 71 3.56 +0.8
8 +3 Margaret 53 2.66 +0.3
9 +1 Emma 51 2.56 -0.1
10 +7 Catherine 49 2.46 +1.3
11 +4 Louisa 42 2.11 +0.8
12 -4 Alice 41 2.06 -0.7
13 +11 Caroline 40 2.01 +1.1
14 -1 Hannah 34 1.71 -0.3
15 +2 Maria 33 1.65 +0.4
16 +15 Susan 32 1.60 +1
17 -5 Emily 28 1.40 -0.7
18 +2 Charlotte 27 1.35 +0.3
19 +10 Frances 27 1.35 +0.7
20 -2 Harriet 26 1.30 +0.1
While the top 7 is fairly concordant with the general population top 7, the rest of the top 20 is full of movement. Some names have risen dramatically (Catherine, Caroline, Susan, Frances), others have dropped into obscurity (Annie has dropped 16 places to #25, Edith is #19 in the general population but only has one workhouse bearer).  Again, as with the male names, this top 20 accounts for a larger % of the names borne than the general population - 79% compared with 68% (and note, as almost always, this shows there is more variety in female names than male names). 

Margaret
A note on Margaret. In my previous 1881 post, I found that Margaret was more likely to be borne by the higher status individuals ('masters') than the lower status ones ('servants'). However, this study shows that it was borne by more workhouse inmates than among the general population. I wondered if this was a regionality thing - that more London-born people were named Margaret, but as many of the workhouse Margarets were born in Ireland, then this seems less likely. 

Catherine, Caroline, Susan, Frances
Most of the Catherines, Susans, Carolines and Frances are 40+, indeed, much of the workhouse population is 40+, as workhouses became places where the destitute elderly who could not work to support themselves could end up. My Victorian Smiths studies showed that all these names peaked in the 1840-50s (and probably earlier, as I was not able to study beyond 1840). So they are more popular amongst the 40+ year olds than the younger inmates. 

Names that experienced steeper popularity curves - were less popular in 1840s and more popular around 1880 - such as Alice, Edith, Annie, Emily, Florence (#38 compared with #21 general, and would be #1 or 2 by 1900), Beatrice (no workhouse entries) and Maud (2 workhouse entries) are all less popular in the workhouse, reflecting the lower numbers of young people in the workhouse and perhaps, the fact that once in the workhouse, women were unable to produce and support large numbers of children. Mary would be the name for a first child, Elizabeth for the second but they wouldn't get to the fifth or sixth child which they could name a more unusual name such as Florence or Beatrice.

An exciting chart based on my Victorian Smiths data:
Hannah, Harriet and Martha don't follow this general trend, but only Martha is significantly less popular amongst the workhouse population.

A wordle (I think Elizabeth looks a bit small compared with Ann because it is such a long name):


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bridget Factsheet


Meaning
Irish via English - 'exalted one'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Bridget ...nies (b.1506)
1550-1690: High: #14 (1550); Low: no entries (1560, 1590, 1640-90); decline and disappearance
1840-1905: High: #48 (1840); Low: #111 (1905); decline
1914-1994: High: #79 (1934); Low: no entries (1954-94); slight rise then decline
2004: #638
2008: #790
2011: #1015 (34 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #112 (1973); Low: #995 (1937); decline, rise, decline
2011: #472 (624 births)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Dorothy Factsheet



Meaning
Greek via English - 'gift of God'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Dorothy Rockleye (b. 1534)
1550-1690: High: #10 (1610-20, 1640, 1670); Low: #16 (1550); fairly stable at #10-12
1840-1905: High: #6 (1905); Low: #64 (1875); sharp rise at end of period
1914-1994: High: #4 (1914); Low: no entries (1964-94); decline and disappearance
2004: #1072
2008: #859
2011: #603 (67 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #2 (1920-7); Low: not in top 1000 (2005, 2007-10); quick rise then slow decline

2011: #937 (273 births)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Isabel Factsheet

Meaning
Hebrew via Greek and Spanish or Medieval Occitan - 'my God is an oath; God has sworn; God is an abundance/satisfaction'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries (60 Isabellas, #6)
Earliest birth record: Isabel Thorpe (b. 1538)
1550-1690: High: #10 (1580-1600);  Low: #18 (1680); slow rise and fall
1840-1905: High: #21 (1845); Low: #54 (1900); slow fall
1914-1994: no entries
2004: #49
2008: #50
2011: #66 (857 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #83 (2003); Low: #528 (1965); gradual fall, small rise, beginning of a fall
2011: #128 (2396 births)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rachel Factsheet

Meaning
Hebrew - 'ewe'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Rachel Jonsun (b. 1543)
1550-1690: High: #19 (1550); Low: no entries (1560-1690); absent for most of period
1840-1905: High: #43 (1840); Low: #155 (1905); decline over period
1914-1994: High: #9 (1984); Low: no entries (1914-54); sharp rise and fall
2004: #63
2008: #117
2011: #190 (271 births)


US statistics
1880-2011: High: #9 (1996); Low: #202 (1951); slow fall, quick rise, gradual fall
2011: #117 (2614 births)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sarah Factsheet

Meaning
Hebrew - 'princess; lady'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries (16 entries, #16 for Sarra)
Earliest birth record: Sarah Copeman (b. 1508)
1550-1690: High: #4 (1660-90); Low: no entries (1550-60); rise over period
1840-1905: High #2 (1840); Low: #22 (1900-5); gradual decline over period
1914-1994: High #1 (1974-84): Low #85 (1944); decline, sharp rise and then small decline
2004: #56
2008: #72
2011: #90 (663 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #3 (1993); Low: #119 (1959); slow fall, quick rise, gradual decline
2011: #39 (5472 births)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Martha Factsheet

Meaning
Aramaic - 'lady'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: No entries
13th century: No entries
Earliest birth record: Martha Waddington (1525)
1550-1690: High #8 (1670-80); Low - no data (1550-80); grew in popularity over period
1840-1905: High #11 (1840-45); Low #52 (1905); decline over period
1914-1994: no data whole period
2004: #136
2008: #81
2011: #83 (723 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #14 (1882); Low: #772 (2011); slow decline
2011: #772 (350 births)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Frances Factsheet

Meaning
Feminine form of Francis - late Latin via English - 'a Frenchman, a Frank'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Frances Stewell (1538)
1550-1690: High #15 (1680); Low - no data (1550-60); mode -  #18 (1570, 1610-60, 1690)
1840-1905: High #19 (1840); Low #38 (1900); decline over period
1914-1994: High #37 (1914); Low no data (1974-94); decline over period
2004: #340
2008: #500
2011: #552 (75 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #8 (1918); Low: #826 (2007); rise and then gradual fall
2011: #789 (341 births)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hannah Factsheet

Meaning
Hebrew - 'favour; grace; He [God] has favoured me'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Hannah Collier (b. 1532)
1550-1690: High: #8 (1690); Low: no entries (1550-1610); rise over period
1840-1905: High: #8 (1840-5); Low: #53 (1905); decline over period
1914-1994: High: #5 (1994) ; Low: no entries (1934-64)
2004: #12
2008: #19
2011: #41 (1462 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #2 (1998-2000); Low: #924 (1967); fall, quick rise, beginning a slow fall again
2011: #25 (6497 births)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Grace Factsheet

Meaning
Latin via Old French - 'grace'

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries (1 Grecia)
Earliest birth record: Grace Rishton (b. 1519)
1550-1690: High: #10 (1690); Low: no entries (1550-80); slow rise over period
1840-1905: High: #38 (1845); Low: #55 (1895); small decline and rise over period
1914-1994: High: #42 (1914); Low: no entries (1944-84); decline with rise at end of period
2004: #11
2008: #4
2011: #8 (3691 births)


US statistics
1880-2011: High: #13 (1883-4, 1890, 2003-4); Low: #397 (1977); high, fall, rise
2011: #16 (7560 births)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rebecca Factsheet

Meaning
Hebrew or Aramaic via Latin - possibly 'a snare', although etymology is unclear

England and Wales statistics
Anglo-Saxon record: no entries
13th century: no entries
Earliest birth record: Rebecca Jonis (b. 1539)
1550-1690: High: #19 (1660-90); Low: no entries (1550-1630); slight rise over period
1840-1905: High #25 (1840-45); Low: #81 (1900-05); decline over period
1914-1994: High #1 (1994); Low: no entries (1914-54); sharp rise at end of period
2004: #26
2008: #66
2011: #88 (693 births)

US statistics
1880-2011: High: #10 (1973-4); Low: #185 (1926); fall, rise, fall
2011: #148 (2091 births)