Unisex names: Rowan

Rowan

In this series, I will be taking a look at how English-speaking countries perceive unisex names, such as Rowan, which I will be looking at in my first post of the series.

I will first start off this post by showing you data from Outward Passenger Lists in Britain. The years that I picked out range from 1920 to 1954.

Years Number Compared to USA*
1920-1924 1 male & 1 female 38 males & < 25 females
1925-1929 4 males & 1 female 34-38 males & < 25 females
1930-1934 1 male 35-39 males & < 25 females
1935-1939 2 males 37 males & < 25 females
1940-1944 1 male & 2 females 26-30 males & 7-23 females
1945-1949 3 males & 1 female 50 males & < 25 females
1950-1954 4 males & 1 female 37 males & < 25 females

*From SSA list (ourbabynamer.com has a handy table showing how many Rowans born in any year were given Social Security numbers)

Looking at the data, Rowan was a bit rarer in Britain than in the United States and it was in the masculine majority at the time, although a couple of females were given the name as well.

Let’s now switch gears to births and turn back the clock to the time before the 1920s (any year up to 1912 or 1915). Provided in the table below are numbers of babies who were either born, baptised or christened in England & Wales, the United States, Canada (British Columbia and Ontario) and South Australia.

England & Wales United States British Columbia Ontario South Australia
Male 16 <175 0 4 0
Female 4 <175 0 0 0

Looking at the data, it seems that Rowan was even rarer before the 1920s.

Now, we will look at data for births in specific years, starting in 1966.

England & Wales United States British Columbia Ontario South Australia
Male 16 8 <5 <5 1
Female 13 <5 <5 <5 0

1973

England & Wales United States British Columbia Ontario South Australia
Male 32 7 <5 <5 4
Female 26 <5 <5 <5 1

1980

England & Wales United States British Columbia Ontario South Australia
Male 63 11 <5 <5 3
Female 33 7 <5 <5 3

Looking at the data, it shows that Rowan became more often used in Britain than in other English-speaking countries after the 1960s. The other difference is that the name was mostly unisex, leaning towards being a masculine name.

1996

England & Wales United States British Columbia Ontario South Australia
Male 172 64 12 11 2
Female 76 146 10 19 0

Looking at the data from the United States, it briefly leaned towards being a feminine name in the 1990s and early 2000s before turning back to being a masculine name.

2013 (* 2010 for Ontario)

England & Wales United States British Columbia Ontario* South Australia
Male 494 1,175 34 79 5
Female 72 704 8 38 0

For now, from what is shown in the data below, it is considered, in general, masculine in Britain and British Columbia and unisex in the United States and Ontario. In South Australia, it is considered rare but masculine.

So, that’s the end of all of this. Leave a comment below and tell me which gender you would classify Rowan at.

Sources:

Available at ancestry.co.uk: Outward Passenger Lists (1890-1960), England & Wales FreeBMD Birth Index (1837-1915) and England & Wales Birth Index (1916-2005)
Available at familysearch.com: Canada Births & Baptisms (1661-1959), Ontario Births (1869-1912) and Australia Births & Baptisms (1792-1981)
For USA: Social Security Administration
For England & Wales (1996 onwards): Office for National Statistics
For British Columbia (1915 onwards): Government of British Columbia
For Ontario (1917-2010): ontario.ca Male & Female
For South Australia (1944 onwards): South Australian Government Data Directory

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s