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Genealogists' stock in trade are names, dates and places. I have been
thinking about names. My name "James" happens to be the number one most common name in the U.S. (according to some sources). John, Robert, Michael and William round out the top five. The top five for women are Mary, Patricia, Linda, Barbara and Elizabeth in that order. Now, we aren't talking here about popular names. The Social Security Administration has a website
listing the most popular names by year back to 1879. The year I was
born, James was also the most popular name. In fact, in that year, the
top five are almost the same as the all time most common names.

Going back to the earliest data in the Social Security Administration
database, 1880, (compilation from the year preceding) John, William and
James are still the top three. If you know a little history, you might
recognize King John, King William (William the Conqueror) and King James
(as in the Bible edition) which might explain their popularity or maybe
it was the other way around.


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