Sunday Summary 4.16.17If you’re celebrating Easter today, wishing you a joyful day!

Lately I’ve been thinking about this: do names ever really go away? Stories like this one come up from time to time, and specific names, like Gary, tend to grab headlines.

My thought: Gary isn’t going anywhere. That’s because the name charted in the US Top 1000 nearly every year since we started tracking the information – we’re talking well over 100 years of history. Sure, Gary has evolved from leading man Cooper to Spongebob’s pet snail over the last fifty years. But with countless men by the name, it’s only a matter of time before we rediscover Gary.

In fact, if the 100-year rule holds, it could be as soon as 2030.

I wrote about 1930s baby names a while back:

It could be time to update those posts, because I think some of these 1930s names have caught on.

The names that are at risk, I think, are the true rarities. The ones that never made a Top 100 list; the ones that aren’t found on lots of family trees and history books, just awaiting rediscovery. But in 2017, we have so many marvelous resources – The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, anyone? –  it’s possible that even obscure names like Gisela and Tudor can be re-discovered indefinitely.

Elsewhere online:

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I have a week-old baby! In thinking about Easter names, we settled on Winifred after learning that one of its possible meanings is “reconciled to God.”.

    We also have a Gareth, and while I have no intention of calling him Gary, I could totally see him eventually answering to that nickname. It never occurred to me to consider that a name headed for ” extinction “. 480+ babies in one year is a lot for an ” out of fashion” name.

    I agree that in our era of obscure sources, no name should be permanently discounted. Although I do think association can be powerful. Elmo may eventually loose it’s Sesame Street vibe, but I doubt Adolf will ever fully recover from the grime of WW2.

  2. “Gisela” is obscure! *laugh* It just goes to show that what is common and what is obscure, what is normal and what is unusual, is SO dependent on what your context is. 🙂