Hollywood stars Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn influenced the names of Scottish babies in decades gone by, according to new analysis by National Records of Scotland.

For the first time statisticians have looked back through all the names used since 1935 and charted the top 100 names in each year.

NRS Statistician Maria Kaye-Bardgett said: “Over time we see an increase in the variety of names being used, with stars from the silver screen having an impact.

“For example, Marilyn rose to popularity in 1946 and peaked in 1953 when Monroe starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire.

“The name Audrey appeared to get a boost from Audrey Hepburn’s career, rising to reach a peak of 36th in 1963 before dropping out of the top hundred in 1976.

“This shows pop culture was already influential 70 years ago and continues to have an impact on what parents decide to name their children today.”

Another key finding from this report is the relative stability among boys names.

A dozen names have stayed in the top 100 for babies born in Scotland over the last 88 years and all of them are for boys.

These names are Adam, Alexander, Daniel, David, James, Joseph, Matthew, Michael, Robert, Samuel, Thomas, William.

Maria Kaye-Bardgett commented: “These twelve names are long-term favourites that have stood the test of time, interestingly none of them are for girls.

“The only girls name that came close to this sustained popularity was Elizabeth which was in the top 100 every year except 2018 and 2021, perhaps reflecting the long reign of Elizabeth II.”

Many parents seem to choose comeback names, something which was popular in decades gone by. Names like Louis, Finlay and Emily are all popular again having fallen out of the top 100 in previous decades.

Maria Kaye-Bardgett added: “One name which has bounced back recently is Flora which returned to the top 100 after a 78 year absence. It was previously in the top 100 from 1935 to 1943. It’s return could be a result of the renewed interest in the Jacobite era with the hugely successful Outlander TV series including the character Flora Macdonald, famous in history for having helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after defeat at Culloden.”

The latest statistics also found some one-offs; names that made it into the top 100 for one year only.

This category included the name Jan for boys in 1946. The vast majority of baby boys called Jan had a father who was in the Polish military.

Up to 200,000 Polish soldiers, sailors and airmen trained in Scotland between 1940 and 1947. Many Polish people were interned, imprisoned or conscripted during the war but thousands escaped and were sent to Scotland to train

Another one-off was Kylie in 1988, when there were 104 baby girls given the name in the year Kyle Minogue left Neighbours to launch her music career.

You can track the popularity of names in Scotland at bit.ly/NRSBabyNames.

Photo Credit: 12019 / Pixabay

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