Irish baby names: then and now

Have popular Irish baby names changed over the years?

Findmypast is working in partnership with IrishCentral to share fascinating insights into your Irish ancestors. 

The Central Statistics Office of Ireland recently released the most popular Irish babies’ names of last year, with Jack and Emily topping their respective lists. But wouldn’t it be interesting to turn back the clock to see if these names were as popular over 100 years ago?

We decided to compare 2013’s results to the 1911 Census of Ireland, which is available to search for free online on The National Arhcives of Ireland’s website and through this analysis we uncovered some interesting facts.

While Jack has been a popular name for baby boys in Ireland for some time now, in 1911 this wasn’t the case. Only 21 infants were recorded with the name Jack that year.

Emily was a little more popular back then but still not quite as common as it is in Ireland today. There were 166 baby Emilys in 1911 compared to 625 in 2013.

The only name on 2013’s list which was even more widespread in Ireland over a century ago was James. It may have been the second most popular boy’s name in 2013, but there were over 4,600 babies named James in Ireland in 1911.

Perhaps most surprisingly, new-borns named Conor, Sean and Sophie all only appear once in the 1911 census records. In stark contrast, these three have been consistently popular baby names in Ireland in recent years.

You can examine the full comparison list below where you’ll see that, as with most things, baby-naming customs in Ireland have certainly changed over the past century.

For more stories on tracing your Irish heritage from findmypast click here.

* Originally published in July 2014.