The Office for National Statistics as just released their research for the most popular names for newborns in 2017. The headlines are:
• Oliver remained the most popular first name given to baby boys in England and Wales in 2017, a position held since 2013; Harry and George have remained in second and third places respectively since 2016.
• Olivia remained the most popular first name given to baby girls in 2017, a position held since 2016; Amelia remained in second place and Isla moved up to third.
• Leo replaced Thomas in the top 10 for boys, whilst Hunter and Ralph replaced Aaron and Jasper in the top 100 in 2017.
• Poppy replaced Jessica in the top 10 for girls, whilst Aurora, Orla, Edith, Bonnie, Lyla and Hallie replaced Lexi, Zoe, Maddison, Sarah, Felicity and Lydia in the top 100 in 2017.
• Most of the top 10 baby names of 2007 have declined in popularity, with the names Thomas, Daniel, Ruby, Grace, Jessica and Chloe all given to at least 50% fewer babies in 2017 than they were 10 years previously.
• Regionally, Olivia was the most popular name for baby girls throughout England and in Wales in 2017, but for baby boys Oliver was beaten by Muhammad in London, the West Midlands, and Yorkshire and The Humber, with Harry the most popular name in the North East.
Each birth in England and Wales has to be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 42 days of the birth. The law sets out who has to give this information but basically it is mum and/or dad if the couple are married and mum if they are not married. There are special rules for still born children and children conceived via an IVF procedure. There are also rules for an unmarried mother who does not want to put the name of the father of the child on the register. There are then further rules about putting the name of the father onto the birth certificate at a later date. Rules, rules, rules.
There are then more rules about what you can and cannot call your child and case law where there is a dispute about what to call the child. (In one case, the Local Authority were successful in stopping a mother calling her twins Cyanide and Preacher.) There are restrictions on changing a child’s name if there are certain court orders in force – even if both parents agree to the change. There is more case law about changing a child’s surname from the birth name to a new step-father/mother’s name.
You’ll be getting the picture that is complicated……. If you need help, we can unravel it for you and set you on the right path.