When I was pregnant with my son, my 8 year old niece suggested George. While we had already picked a name, I thought to myself, That’s not a bad suggestion.
My niece is not the only one who likes George. There has been some talk in the name-world about George. In fact the idea to spotlight George this week came from two places. First there was the announcement of Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane’s choice of Georgia* for their daughter a few weeks ago. Secondly, Swistle Baby Names highly endorsed George to a reader as a potential brother for Charlotte.
I can easily see George becoming the next Henry, a name that had blended into the background for decades, only to emerge as being considered handsome and charming these past few years.
George was a hot commodity during the late 19th, early 20th centuries. He averaged among the top 5 boy names from the 1880s through the 1900s. He continued to average among the top 10 from the 1910s through the 1930s. It’s no wonder then, that the name is one of the few that has become a part of the U.S. cultural lexicon:
By George I think he’s got it, (which some believe is actually a misquote of By George I think she’s got it, from a screen play by who else? George Bernard Shaw). And we agree: George has got it.
The feminine variation Georgia* which peaked at 83 in 1890, is seen as a hot choice among some parents, such as Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane.
According to the stats, Georgia may not be headed for super-stardom, but has seen a little resurgence. Georgia hit her lowest point in the 1980s in the 500-600’s and saw a rapid rise in the 1990s and settled in the top 350s this past decade, where it may have hit a plateau.
While George still ranks higher than Georgia, he appears to be on the decline, ranking at 164 for 2010, his lowest rank ever. But don’t be surprised if things turn around for George.
For one thing, parents of the currently stylish Henry and Oliver might need another son’s name. Or expectant parents who like Henry and Oliver may fear these names are becoming overused, and could turn to George.
For another thing, he has some marvelous associations. While Martha is our nation’s first-first lady, George is our nation’s first president. And for those looking for musical inspiration, there is the late George Harrison from the Beetles. But what may have the most credibility with today’s parents is the perennially handsome and dignified George Clooney.
George is a name most parents have known all of their lives and taken for granted. But when viewed through a new lens, his manly timeless qualities make him worth a second look.
Readers: Do you feel George could be the next Henry?
*Georgia was discussed earlier this week in Feminizations with Fun Nicknames.