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Surnames moving to the front

More and more parents have picked up on the idea of giving their children traditional surnames as first names. Statistics from various parts of the world in the past couple of years show a range of family names becoming popular as given names. This trend is running alongside an established move towards biblical names, especially for boys, and flowers and nature, mostly for girls.

Lawrence and Alexander have for years been interchangeable as first names and surnames. Now there is a rush to promote family names to the forefront, especially for boys. Perhaps it’s the influence of mothers keen to give prominence to a maiden name or a name prominent on their side of the family. Or maybe these are names that just sound manly. Whatever the reason, the evidence is clear.

Mostly it’s a boy thing both in the US and the UK. The latest official list for England and Wales shows some sharp risers with seven surnames in the top 100 first names: Harrison, Mason, Riley, Harvey, Tyler, Jackson and Ellis. Making rapid progress into the top 150 are Cooper, Parker, Bailey and Cole.

The rise of Harper for girls is one of the few examples of a female name/surname making it big while Harlow and Quinn are rising more modestly up the female chart.

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