Something about Mary

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 8:18 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - William Shakespeare might have said it best in Romeo and Juliet when he asked, “What’s in a name?” For Americans, the name they choose for girls follows a definite trend. The social security website goes back to 1922 and for more than 100 years, one name has been the favorite choice for females.

During the Christmas season, the name Mary is prominent. But for many Americans, that name is acclaimed year-round.

Mary held the top spot for 25 years. Mary then moved into second place in 1947 to be replaced by Linda for six years through 1952. But Mary made an impressive comeback for nine years in the number one position through 1961. Then, Mary never made a return to the top five after 1967.

Most popular baby names
Most popular baby names(KFYR)

So, why is that name so popular? Your News Leader made a trip to the Burleigh County Senior Center to find out.

This woman is named Mary and says her name came from a family friend.

“I was told I was named after my mother’s girlfriend, and her name was Mary Catherine. Which is a very good Christian name,” said Mary Catherine Raybon.

She recalls that the practice of giving children names from the Bible or names otherwise associated with Christianity was very common even before she was born. In the 1920s, names like Ruth and Joan make appearances in the top five. Mary thinks the reason her name was so popular for so long was because children were often named after other family members.

“Then you’re keeping that person alive in the family with that child, yeah I’ve seen it too. When I was raising them, you did it too, but it wasn’t as trendy as what you have now,” said Raybon.

The Social Security Administration recently released the top names for girls in 2022. Olivia is once again the most popular as she’s been queen bee since 2019, replacing Emma — 2018′s most popular name.