To highlight the National Day, here is an overview of the history of first names in Quebec from 1900 to today.
From Mary to Léa and from Joseph to William , the most popular first names of the last century have changed several times. Some of them have gone through the decades without ever completely disappearing, but each generation has had its own first names. Can you guess the age of a Cécile, a Denise or a Nathalie ?
It was around 1900 that Quebec parents began to follow fashions for first names. Previously, first names were transmitted from father to son and from godfather to godson. Among the most popular first names among the 400,000 people baptized before 1800, there were first names from New France such as Jean Baptiste, François Xavier, Toussaint, Marie Josèphe andMarie Louise . Between the two, Joséphine, Philomène, Roméo and Napoléon were at the top of the charts here.
Did you know?
The mayor of Montreal elected in 1904 was called Hormidas Laporte. We see very few Hormidas these days! In this era of colorful names, the Quebec families of5 children spent an average of $500 per year.
From 1900 to 1920
From 1890, it was the Josephs and the Maries who enjoyed the greatest popularity. In fact, around this time, they experienced a resurgence in popularity as a single name. Before and after this period, these two first names were often given as middle names to Quebec children born into a practicing Catholic family.
Other popular first names in the early twentieth century were Arthur, Louis, Alfred, Gérard and Roland for boys andMarie-Louise, Alice, Anna and Joséphine for girls.
From 1920 to 1940
Between 1920 and 1940, we find at the top of the list the first names of your primary school teachers with the most seniority, or those who had just retired for the youngest among you. It was the time of Cécile, Rita, Thérèse, Yvette, Jeannine and Denise.
For boys, the most popular first names were Gérard, Roger, Marcel, Jacques and André.
The waves after 1940
Since 1940, three waves of first names have swept across Quebec. These three waves represent well the separation of the clergy and the freedom of parents who felt freer to choose secular first names. The first, which lasted until the 70s, brought the Lise, the Nicole and the Dianewho today are often grandmothers. She also brought the Sylvain and theMichel.
The second, which lasted from 1970 to 1995, gave rise to several "modern" names. This is how the Karine, Julie and Stéphanie as well as the Jonathan, Stéphane andMaxime were born.
Finally, the third, that of your children and teenagers, has been the most stable since Joseph and Marie of 1900. Indeed, since 1995 the most popular boys' names have been Thomas and William. On the girls' side, Emma and Léa have topped the list since the year 2000.
As we can see, Quebec parents have always been quite sober in their choice of first names. It remains to be seen if tradition will return at a gallop or if the so-called modern names will continue to appear on the school benches.
Check out our many other baby name articles, you're sure to find inspiration there!