SANTA MONICA, California, March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Once two of America's most popular names, 'Betty' and 'Donald' are the baby names that have fallen farthest from favor since the time of the 1940 Census, reveals a new study.
Iconic figures like Donald Trump and Betty White may still be going strong but their first names now top the U.S. endangered list, reveals the study conducted bygenealogy website findmypast.com to mark the Government's release of the 1940 Census records April 2.
The news comes the very week that Don and Betty Draper returned to TV in the hit show, Mad Men and the very month that Betty White was voted America's favorite Hollywood star.
Donald was the ninth most popular name for American boys born in 1940 but now ranks just 377th, while Betty was the fifth most popular name for American girls born the same year but no longer even makes the top 1,000.
"Baby names are like period pieces," says Josh Taylor, a leading genealogist and spokesperson for findmypast.com. "Some recall a particular era, which can make them useful clues for researching family history. Indeed, you can sometimes guess roughly when someone was born simply by their first name. In such cases, names can be to genealogy what carbon-dating is to archaeology."
Findmypast.com researchers trawled the records of the US Social Security Administration, which has recorded baby names, based on Social Security applications for births, since 1879.
The best-known Donalds in American life were born in the decades either side of 1940: Donald Trump (alias "The Donald") in 1946; Donald Rumsfeld in 1932; Donald Duck in 1934 and (Canadian-born) actor Donald Sutherland in 1935.
Bettys hailing from the golden age of Betties include movie idol Betty Grable; Betty Crocker, an inventor character of cake-mix fame; and, of course, America's favourite Hollywood celebrity, Betty White.
Famous Donalds (And Their Birth Year)
Donald ("Don") Draper (1926)
Donald Trump (1946)
Donald Rumsfeld (1932)
Donald Duck (1934)
Donald Sutherland (1935)
Betty Draper (1932)
Betty White (1922)
Betty Boop (1930)
Betty Friedan (1921)
Betty Crocker (1921)
Betty Grable (1916)