Onomastics in Interaction With Other Branches of Science. Volume 2.

Online Exploration of Given Name Popularity in the Netherlands Since 1790

Gerrit Bloothooft
Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

David Onland
Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


Given names are an expression of identity and reflect socio-cultural and linguistic relationships in a society. The variation in popularity of given names over time can be studied in the Netherlands from 1790 onwards, based on the digital civil registration (21.9 million births, 1880–2017) and digitized marriage certificates (resulting in 4.04 million births of brides and grooms, 1790–1880). Data is accessible online in the Dutch corpus of given names which provides information on 480,851 different names. Some characteristics of long-term popularity changes for individual names, but also the possibility to show the popularity of sets of names are demonstrated. For the latter, there is the option to use regular expressions to define a pattern that names should match. Examples are given to clarify the possibilities.

given names, popularity, 19th and 20th century, online access

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