“Old people used to have silly names!” says ancestry research site

What’s that Mary, traditional names are dying out?

Cecil, Rowland and Willie have fallen so far out of favour that no one wants to use them for their child.

They are the names nobody wants.

Although Cecil, Rowland and Willie were once among the most popular names in Britain, they have fallen so far out of favour they have now became “extinct”.

Latest birth records show that not a single person was given any of the three names while girls’ names Bertha, Blodwen or Fanny are also extinct.

Source: Telegraph, 4 April 2014

Or, to put it in slightly more immature terms, here’s the Daily Star’s take on the tale:

Fanny and Willy (stop sniggering!) on the ‘extinct’ baby names list

FANNY and Willy are now deemed “extinct” as no one chose these baby names in recent years.

Old-fashioned boys’ names such as Cecil and Rowland, and girls’ names such as Blodwen and Gertrude have also fallen out of favour.

Research carried out by Ancestry.co.uk showed that no babies born in 2012 were registered with these names.

Source: Daily Star, 4 April 2014

OK, now, settle down at the back, there’s nothing remotely amusing about the impending extinction of your garden-variety Willy or Fanny – just ask the website who paid to have this research created:

Miriam Silverman, from Ancestry.co.uk, said: “Of course, no first name can truly become extinct, as it can easily be resurrected, but it’s fascinating to look at the list from 1905 and see which have thrived and which have faded into obscurity.

“We also know that people appreciate a rare or unusual name in their family tree and as more people join the family history revolution we believe that such endangered names will be protected by concerned descendants.”

Oh, good – it turns out the names aren’t actually going extinct, it’s just PR for an ancestry-researching site looking to get more people to join their ‘family history revolution’. Phew. Worried Willies: stand down.