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First Names change with the times

Whilst recording each CHRIMES birth as part of this research, it was noticeable just how much naming conventions have changed over the years. Up until the mid nineteenth century, most children were given just one forename, and it was selected from a very limited set of customary names. There were very few who were named anything other than John, Joseph, Thomas, Arthur, Edward, Samuel, William, Ann/Anne/Annie, Elizabeth/Eliza, Ellen and Mary. The research associated with this website includes 43 men named "John CHRIMES", making this the most common name, with "Joseph CHRIMES" coming a close second at 39. There are 26 women named "Mary CHRIMES", making this the most common female name.
This small selection of names and the fact that there was only the one forename makes life difficult for us researchers!

The first appearance of a middle name (second forename) is Mary Anne CHRIMES born in 1817, and the first appearance of a middle name for a man is Thomas Williamson CHRIMES born in 1823. This leads us on to the next noticeable trend: that of giving a middle name which is the birth surname of the mother or grandmother. Hence we find Margaret Rigby CHRIMES, Henry Cash CHRIMES, Ann Faulkner CHRIMES, Hannah Wright CHRIMES, John Johnson CHRIMES and many others.
By 1845 we see more people given a middle name, such a George Henry CHRIMES and Sarah Emma CHRIMES. Stand-out names from this period are: Alan James Beech CHRIMES, William Bertram CHRIMES, Flora Matilda Taylor CHRIMES, Hannah Sodona CHRIMES, Mabel Gunson CHRIMES, Lilian Eugenie CHRIMES.

By 1900, about half of the new-borns are given a middle name. By 1950, we've left the Josephs and Marys behind and moved on to Philip, Roger, Raymond, Kenneth, Hazel, Audrey, Denise and Jennifer. And after 1990 we see some really wonderful names such as Brandon Connor, Callum James, Ashlea Amber, Nathan Thomas and Toby Oliver. Then from 2000 things liven up even more, with the likes of Ciara Michelle, Zoe Alice, Becky Mai, Tariq Rakeem and Summer Lyndsey. If only the CHRIMESs of the 18th century had such names, they would be much easier to trace in the records!

Footnote for UK readers:
Did you notice that in the 2011 UK census you were not asked for your middle name? Neither were you asked for your place of birth, other than the country. On the face of it, that will hinder genealogy researchers in 100 years from now, but I'm sure that they will have data and technology at their disposal which will more than make up for those omissions.

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Last updated 2 January 2024
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