Something about the name Mary?

There’s an interesting item in the 1964 blog (from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate).

They looked at the US Social Security Administration statistics on popular baby names.

Where is Mary? Not in the top ten. From 1910 to 1965 Mary was either the #1 or #2 name for girls in the U.S. In 2009, this name dropped out of the top 100 for the first time (currently #102). By comparison, Joseph has remained consistently popular. Although at #16 in 2009 this is the lowest rank for Joseph since 1910.

They also considered the names of the evangelists and provide a chart showing how the names have trended.

Finally they add:

…"worship attendance does increase Catholics’ likelihood of choosing specific names that are disproportionately common within their tradition… They estimate that 50% of females named Mary (or Marie, Marion, Maria, Maryann, etc.) in the United States were raised Catholic (p.221). Females with the following names were least likely to have been raised Catholic: Tamara or Tammy (14%), Shirley or Shirlene (15%), Bonnie (16%), Brenda (16%), and Joyce (18%) (p.222).

How are things in your family? Are you named for a saint? Have you named your children after saints?

James, Thomas, Daniel, Mary. Close enough?

My family is Italian. There are many people named Maria or with Maria as a middle name; I can’t name them all off the top of my head! I’m not named after a saint, but my name is derived from a saint’s name.

I’m named after St. Gerard Majella. My sister is also named after him (her middle name is Majella - this is also my first cousin’s middle name). My sister’s first name is Maria. My middle name is the same as my mother’s, Maryam. My sister’s children are named after St. Columcille, and St. Anne.


Our family was not much different than all the other Italian families in the neighborhood (1950’s and 1960’s) Anthony, Peter, Frank, Joseph, and Marianna. What is interesting in your post are the dates. They do coincide with the large immigration of folks from Italy and Ireland who were very traditional in their naming of children. I wonder if that skewed the data.

Last time I saw her, my aunt Mary pointed out that her name is beautiful, traditional, and perfect for a grandniece. :smiley:
I’d love to name at least one of my children Mary, though the name for my first daughter is already picked out and I’d really like to name my second after my grandmother. If I have a third it will be a top option.

Having recently looked at the SSA name lists myself, I noticed that many of the more popular boys’ names are more traditional or “old-fashioned,” (Jacob, Michael, Alexander, Anthony) whereas girls’ names have changed quite a bit. Many of the most popular ones are new hybrids of old classics, and almost have a fairy-tale feel to them (Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Chloe, Mia).

I don’t think any of the top baby names are at the top for any reasons of faith and culture, but are more a reflection of personal taste.

In my family, we weren’t named after saints, but after family, and my parents chose first names they liked that were often biblical or less popular. My husband and I are doing a variation of this approach, naming our children after family and also after a saint, so that they have a canonized saint as a patron. Our first daughter is due to arrive in May, so her name is intended to honor Mary. It is also my grandmother’s name, so we are honoring her with the choice.

My middle name is after St. Anne (without the “e”). From the time I first saw Peter Pan as a child in the 50’s, I was determined to name my first baby girl Wendy. I loved that name, loved her sweet character, had a sweet cousin with that name, and no other name would do–my baby girl was going to be Wendy. So it happened with my first child, but I also wanted her to have a saint’s name, so I chose Marie as her middle name, after the Blessed Mother.

My daughter isn’t particularly fond of the name, but too bad. :smiley: Wendy is a loving, caring, motherly figure in Peter Pan, and Mary is certainly the most loving Mother there is, and my daughter is a great and loving mother, so I guess she is living up to her names.:slight_smile:

I looks to me like the name “Mary” was so popular for so long that it just couldn’t continue. At first when the name “Mary” became so popular that there were five or six girls named “Mary” in a class, people started using middle names along with Mary. I know a lot of people older than me who go by “Mary Frances”, “Mary Beth”, “Mary Grace” and so on. This helped distinguish one from the other.

In my age group, many of us have the first name “Mary” but you’d never know it. I came to find out that a great number of my friends actually have the first name “Mary” but go by their middle names only. So “Mary Michelle” goes by “Shelly”.

Then of course, people used to be told they had to be named after a saint at baptism so they use the middle name for that, too. So now we have children being named “Cameron Joseph” or something similar.

And now, naming someone after a relative will cut down on the number of saints names being used as well, as "Cameron Joseph"s grandchildren will most likely be named “Cameron” after him.

Me, I have used saint names as well, and I also have a “Mary”. Maybe it will come back - she is the only one in her whole school.

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