A Funny Thing About William
US Social Security records indicate that the five most popular boys’ names in 1915 were John, William, James, Robert, and Joseph.
In 2014, the top five were Noah, Liam, Mason, Jacob, and William.
Not only has William remained a popular given name for 100 years, it has become doubly popular with the newcomer Liam.
Liam is another version of William.
Of Germanic origin, William is a compound of the Old German element vila, “will” or “resolution,” and helm, “helmet.” The name can be translated as “helmet of resolution” and occurs in different forms in different modern languages:
Irish: Ulliam (shortened to Liam)
According to an article at MooseRoots (a genealogy research engine), in 2014, William was the most popular name given to newborn boys in 14 states, and Liam the top name in 17 states. The article suggests that William is more popular in the South and Liam in the North, but a closer look at the state-by-state statistics given on another part of the site shows that in several of the states in which Liam is number one, William is close behind. In eleven states, both William and Liam rank in the top three:
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