Yes, we have no Sengas

Currently arousing my geek tendencies is the General Register Office for Scotland‘s list of every baby name registered (PDF, other formats available at the bottom of this page) in 2006.

Fiddling with the Excel version produce some interesting stats. For example, although slightly more boys were born in Scotland than girls (26,544 as opposed to 25,336) they only use two-thirds as many different names (2,586 boys names v. 3,506 girls’). The trend for double, treble or even quadruple-barrelled forenames is evident; there are total of 110 boys names which use more than one name in combination (including the remarkably long Henri-Jay-Karl-Alexander) but there are 316 girls multiple-barrelled names (including a staggering 15 called Demi-Leigh, which at first made me suspect a clerical error, but a quick Google reveals it is also the name of a young road accident victim, which may have raised its profile).

There are of course the curious spellings (Danyael, Jaxson, Makenzi and my personal favourite, Maksymilian), celebrity-influenced ones (Brooklyn, Zidane, Sean-Paul), the totally uninspired (Junior), and the downright peculiar (Denim, B-Jay, Bo-Breeze, Coast). There are 60 Georges and 7 Tonys, but no Osamas or Saddams, and thankfully there are none called Aryan Justice.

But most importantly, there are no babies recorded with the name Senga. Senga is “Agnes” backward, and according to various urban legends I heard during my time in Edinburgh, was the name given to several babies borne by women whose grandmothers were called Agnes, with the reversal given to make it more hip ‘n modern. Certain class assumptions about the mothers’ demographics mean the word is now a synonym for “ned” or “chav”. But the total absence of Sengas from the 2006 register perhaps suggests it’s a myth. Unless you know different.

NB: More baby name zen: The Baby Names Forum and its counterpart, the Bad Baby Names forum. The NYT reports on the growing number of babies called Nevaeh while one Baby gets named after an Everquest character. Finally, enjoy the unintentionally hilarious random baby name generator – on my first go I got “Roten”.

4 thoughts on “Yes, we have no Sengas

  1. I come from Scotland and have never encountered a Senga – but I did hear the same tale about Agnes backwards referring to girls born in Paris a few years ago. You’re right about the hyphenation – my mum taught someone called “Peachy-Heather” up there. Top name.

No new comments may be added.