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Names and Naming Patterns in England
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Scott Smith-Bannister

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206637.001.0001

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Personal Names

Personal Names

(p.134) (p.135) 7 Personal Names
Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538–1700

Scott Smith-Bannister

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the fifty most popular boys' and girls' names in use in England between the commencement of parochial registration and the end of the seventeenth century. The top fifty boys' names fall into a number of (largely) distinct groups. The first group comprises the pre-eminent cadre of the five personal names most commonly given in England during this period. The second distinct group of boys' names comprised names that generally occupied the sixth to tenth positions in the hierarchy of name popularity. This patterning of name distribution is entirely consistent with the notion that name-sharing practices had a dominant role in determining which names were given to boys baptized during this period. In common with the patterning of the distribution of the names bestowed upon boys, the patterning of those given to girls may also be best understood as a series of largely distinct groups distinguished by their respective mean levels of ranked popularity.

Keywords:   England, personal names, boys, girls, name popularity, name distribution, name-sharing

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