The Decline of Jane

 I was thinking about my name last night, as you do. Standard.

What I thought was this. When I pick up my daughter from school I don't hear the name Jane being called, nor do I hear that my daughters have friends called Jane, and in fairness neither do I. I do have one friend called Jayne, but as us true Jane's know, that isn't a proper Jane.

Anyway, as I love a spreadsheet, and a stat, I thought I would find out if my instincts were right. Sadly they are. Thank you the Office Of National Statistics, you remain as always my security blanket of facts.

So here are those facts. Since 1904, the name Jane has risen in popularity and then declined. In 1964 it was ranked the 7th most popular name, the best it has ever been. I was born in 1967 so it was quite a popular name at this point, but by 1984 it had dropped quite dramatically to 84th most popular girls name.  In 2015 it was ranked 1205 most popular, not as low as 2011 when it reached an all time low of 1438. Here is a little graph I have put together to demonstrate the rise and fall of the name Jane.

Info provided by the Office of National Statistics
Jane, is of course a fantastic name, and one I share with some very famous people. For example;

Jane Austin - Novelist
Jane Fonda - Actress
Jane Lynch - Actress
Jane Goodall - Zoologist
Jane Russell - Actress
The gorgeous Jane Russell

Jane Addams - Civil Rights Leader and Women's Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Jane Addams - Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Lady Jane Grey - Queen of England (for 9 days, and then sadly beheaded)
Jane Campion - Screen Writer and Director
Jane Seymour - Actress
Jane Digby - British Adventurer
Calamity Jane - American frontierswoman and scout
Jane Kelly - Artist and Journalist

This is but a few auspicious Jane's,  there are, of course, many more. It is hardly surprising we are such an accomplished group of women when you realise that the name Jane means Gift from God. Obvs.

I am saddened when you hear the use of Jane in the context of a Jane Doe, I realise it would be insensitive to not give the victim (as it usually is) a name and when this was first used it was a common name, like John. Originally, they were both used in old English law for legal purposes, in a quite complicated process where a landlord wanted to remove a tenant, which was called an act of ejectment. They needed to keep the names anonymous (I don't know why) and so they used Jane Doe, John Doe and sometimes Richard Roe. These all have been used since then for lots of reasons in legal and criminal matters.

The other thing, in the 1980's, that didn't help us Jane's was, Plain Jane Super Brain off Neighbours. Darn her - and she wasn't even plain, she was gorgeous - but boy oh boy did I pay for that!

Not in the slightest bit plain Jane, off Neighbours
In general, however, Jane has been a great name, with great women filling the name out with their achievements.

I have enjoyed being a Jane, it can't be shortened or messed about with. There are few who can call me Janey, my Dad being one, as generally I find it quite derivative.

I think it is a strong name, for strong women, who aren't frivolous or fancy, hopefully, like me.

I would recommend it, it has done me proud.


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