This all began once I got here throughout the work of Algernon Newton, who painted fantastic footage of London homes and English landscapes. Even by 1943, when Enid Blyton revealed the primary of the Five Find-Outers books, the title Algernon had develop into a comic book archaism (as in Frederick Algernon Trotteville).

Anyway, this set me off on a voyage of discovery, and I ended up with two high 10s, of extinct women’ and boys’ names. The boys’ record will come subsequent week.

I used the Office for National Statistics dataset of infants’ first names in England and Wales, 1996-2020, and the Scottish records for 2020 and 2021. The ONS dataset has a peculiar characteristic, which is that it omits names which might be recorded solely a few times in a yr, on grounds of confidentiality – the bottom rating for any title is three. Therefore, I’ve outlined as extinct any title that doesn’t seem within the dataset since 2000, or within the latest Scottish information.

1. Chastity. Nominated by Allan Holloway, John Oxley and Andrew Paterson.

2. Deirdre. To the shock of many present Deirdres, the title was final recorded in 1999, when there have been three. Nominated by Steven Fogel.

3. Ermintrude. Nominated by Alex Burghart and the Marquis of Madeley. Marcus Leaning stated he labored with one within the 1980s, often known as Ermin.

4. Evadne. Nominated by Pernille Rudlin, whose personal title additionally scores zero.

5. Glenys. As in Kinnock. Thanks to Molly Pinner, who nominated Glynis, additionally extinct.

6. Hortense. French, however as soon as posh British. Thanks to Harvey.

7. Lilias. Scott’s grandmother.

8. Margery. Variant of Margaret; there have been three Marjories in 2020, however this spelling, which was once frequent, is now extinct. Thanks to Ian Stevens.

9. Mervyn. Mervyn Pike was a feminine Conservative MP, 1956-74, who featured in my Top 10 Unisex Names of MPs (due to Oliver Kamm for reminding me). As a boy’s title, Mervyn is uncommon however not fairly extinct (there have been 4 in 2017).

10. Senga. Agnes backwards was once common in Scotland. No extra. Thanks to Robert Wright.

Also extinct, though by no means well-known: Alwynne (Jonn Elledge’s grandmother); Blodwyn (due to Helen Barrett); and Corbyn: “A popular girl’s name in the early Victorian period but fell out of favour,” stated Allan Holloway (it’s nonetheless a uncommon boy’s first title – there have been 4 in 2020).

Boys’ names tailored for women by including “–ina”, which used to occur extra in Scotland, are largely extinct: Donaldina, Hughina, Jamesina (Jamesina Anderson was a Glasgow metropolis councillor 1945 to 1962: due to James Dawson), Murdina, Neilina (thanks Margaret Caldwell) and Williamina (Barry Havenhand’s mom). Thomasina survives: there have been 4 in England and Wales in 2019, however none in Scotland 2020-21. “I knew of an Arthurina Arthurson, in Shetland, which seems a tough start in life,” stated David Alston.

Endangered: Ambrosia, final recorded in 2012; Bertha (nominated by Fran Pickering) 2017; Dorcas 2018; Doreen 2019; Elfrida (my grandmother) 2017; Gertrude 2013; Honoria (from Benjamin Lewis) 2016; Maureen (from Scope Davies) 2019; Muriel 2010; Myrtle 2018; Nigella 2015; Olwyn (from Andrew Freer) 2018; Phyllis (from Chris Jones and Mollscroll) 2018; and Unity (from Siobhan O’Neil) 2011.

Not fairly extinct (these are the numbers recorded in 2020): Alexandrina 3; Araminta 10; Ariadne 22; Beryl 3; Brenda 9; Carmel (Svenja O’Donnell’s nice aunt) 5; Charity 4; Denise 4; Doris 9; Edna 8; Enid (as in Blyton, having fun with a little bit of an vintage revival) 41; Ethel 17; Euphemia 8; Gladys 3; Hilda 9; Joyce (Indolent Knave’s grandmother) 13; Karen 16 (declined from 76 in 1996); Marigold 9; Marjorie 3; Maud 7; Maude 5; Mavis 22; Mildred 6; Noreen 6; Norma 5; Patience 7; Philomena 14; Portia 4; Prudence 14; Queenie 11; Shirley (requested after by Shirley Madin) 8; Thora 10; and Wilhelmina 11.

Not extinct in any respect: Alma: there have been 153 in 2020; Audrey 143; Blossom 130; Evangeline (nominated by Graham Fildes, citing “Evangeline – A Tale of Arcadie”, by Henry Longfellow) 113; Myra 75; and Winifred 83.

Honourable point out (once more) for Henry Peacock, who advised me in regards to the exceptional names given to individuals in honour of battles, largely within the First World War, wherein a relative died. These had been largely women’ names, comparable to Sommeria, Arrasina, Verdunia, Monsalene and Dardanella, though Verdun was a surprisingly frequent boy’s title. More than 1,600 youngsters got names associated to the Great War.

Thanks to Alan Benzie for pointing me in the direction of the Scottish information, and to Adam Behr, who discovered this US names aggregator, which makes use of data from the Social Security Administration.

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Next week: Extinct boys’ names.

Coming quickly: People who broke the factor they had been in command of for the higher good, beginning with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Your options please, and concepts for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by e mail to

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