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Thursday 18 September 2014

Future bleak for Gertrude and Cecil

Published 04/04/2014 | 00:22

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The name Cyril, immortalised in the chant Nice One Cyril honouring Tottenham great Cyril Knowles, is becoming less popular.

Names including Gertrude, Bertha, Willie and Cecil are at risk of dying out, while others such as Cyril and Mildred are becoming less popular, a new study has revealed.

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An analysis of millions of birth records from 1905 revealed that some forenames have virtually disappeared, with many others being increasingly ignored.

The report by family history website Ancestry.co.uk showed the most "endangered" names included Gertrude, Bertha and Blodwen for girls and Willie, Cecil and Rowland for boys.

Norman, Horace, Leslie, Doris, Hilda and Edna were among the most popular names in 1905, but have become much less popular over the years, said the report.

Many popular names from the early 20th century have evolved to their shorter form, which has replaced their previous name in popularity.

The trend has seen Freddie replace Frederick, Archie overtake Archibald and Charlie become far more popular now than Charles. The same applies to girls' names, with Lexi replacing Alexandra, Sophia making way for Sophie and Ellie overtaking Eleanor.

The analysis also showed more girls' names disappearing or "at risk" than boys.

Many of the most popular names of 1905 remain common today, driven by the fact that one in three parents choose their child's name to commemorate an ancestor, such as Lily, Hannah and Lydia for girls and Alan, Patrick and Joe for boys.

Miriam Silverman, UK content manager, from Ancestry.co.uk, said: "Of course, no first name can truly become extinct, as it can easily be resurrected, but it's fascinating to look at the list from 1905 and see which have thrived and which have faded into obscurity.

"We also know that people appreciate a rare or unusual name in their family tree and as more people join the family history revolution we believe that such endangered names will be protected by concerned descendants."

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