Names like John and Mary have long been staples in the United States, at least since 1880 (according to the U.S. Social Security website). But you might have noticed a lot more men named David than John while you were investigating your family tree on Ancestry.com. That might have something to do with where you live. While many names have national popularity, some names really rise in given regions or even in particular states.
In 2013, there were plenty of babies named Liam and Emma, but Jacob and Sophia also dominated in pockets of the country. And a traditional name like William still takes the top spot throughout the South. Then there are a few names like Ethan, Mason, and Ava that are No. 1 in some areas.
But Jacob and William weren’t just popular last year; those baby names have been high in popularity since at least the year 2000. On the female side, many people have opted for a slight variation in the past 13 years, going from the traditional Emily to the more currently fashionable Emma.
If you go to the mall in Kansas, you might see a lot of heads turn if a parent calls the name Madison, but that’s nothing compared to 1980 when the male name Michael and the female name Jennifer were in vogue nationwide. The Mike and Jen power combo was the frontrunner in all but 16 states across the country. Though if you are in Georgia, you may know more 34-year-olds named James or Amanda.
If you are fascinated by the changing trends, the Social Security website tracks names state-by-state all the way back until 1960 (using data culled from Social Security applications), when traditional names like David, Mary, and John were in favor.
How do the names in your family tree stack up to the names that are most common across the country? The best way to find out is to look.