It's official! When all the spellings are added together, Mohammed and Lily were the #1 names in England and Wales in 2011. Harry and Amelia both fall into second place.
Noticeably there is much less movement in the boys' chart than the girls'. The main reason for this is due to the greater number of spelling variations with girls' names which, when added together, push many names up several places.
There were also a few other notable changes within the Top 100:
Isabelle and Sophia move into the Top 10, while Maisie and Layla move into the Top 20. Moving up to the Top 50 are Maya, Amy, Caitlin, Madison and Gracie. New in the Top 100 are Darcy, Macey, Aaliyah, Casey, Alicia, Tilly, Alisha, Gabriella, Victoria, Alyssa, Lyla and Alexandra -- some of them taking up the eight spaces created by combining alternate spellings Lilly, Emilia, Isabel, Hollie, Lexie, Isobel, Sofia and Maddison.
Mohammed and Riley move into the Top 10, Finley and Jayden move into the Top 20 and Kayden, Aiden and Louis step up into the Top 50. Zac, Kieran, Zain, Corey, Layton, Cody, Rowan, Dominic, and Patrick join the Top 100, some replacing spelling variants Muhammad, Mohammad, Finlay, Louie and Reece.
Here is a brief rundown of the combined spellings Top 20 (links to the full list are at the bottom of this post):
There is a fine line between the pronunciation and spellings of many names which cause problems when combining spellings. Is Masie a Macy or a Maisie? Should Emma-Leigh be counted among the Emmas, or the Emilys? Realistically, the pronunciation of many names are very subjective.
Some names are homonymous, having the same pronunciation but a different origin. Cameron is a Scottish surname, Kamran is a Persian name, however, in "the classroom test" they would both respond to "KAM-ron." Given also that the multitude of variant spellings make it impossible to know which parents are using Kamran as the Persian name, and which are using it as an alternate spelling of Cameron, the two cannot be accurately serparated.
I have grouped the spellings in a way that I felt reflect the same sound. For full disclosure, I have listed all the variations, in order of their individual rank, to give a full picture of all the spellings that have been coined. I have also included the birth count of each name so that, should you want to take certain spellings out of a category, you can adjust the rankings easily yourself.
Alicia - As Alicia can be either be pronounced with a "liss" or a "leesh" sound, it is impossible to know exactly how many of the 465 parents who named their daughter Alicia in 2011 are using the former, or the latter, pronunciation. Does Alicia belong with Alisha, or should they be kept separate? And where do Elecia and Elysia fit in?
I have opted to keep the two separate, grouping "ia" variants with Alicia (putting it at #72) and "sh" variants with Alisha (putting it at #87). If, however, the two spellings were added together, Alisha/Alicia would rank #42.
Emilia - It is difficult putting Emilia in the same category as Amelia. Many feel that Amelia and Emilia have a different style, yet while that is true, they do, nonetheless, have the same (or incredibly similar) pronunciation. If you keep Emilia and Amelia separate, however, where would Emelia go? Or Amilia?
Fortunately, having the two names separate or together has become a moot point as Amelia ends up in second place either way. Without Emilia, Amelia's variants total 5513 births; without Emilia it totals 6588 putting it second place between Lily's 9715 and Olivia's 5375.
Louis - Louis always proves a problem for me as there is a disagreement over pronunciation in the UK. Some named Louis are, the traditional, LOO-ee (Louis Walsh and Louis Tomlinson, for example). However, some are Loo-iss (like Olympian Louis Smith). Personally I have met boys called Louis pronounced both ways and this leads to the problem of whether Louis should be added to Lewis or Louie.
I have opted to put it with Louis, as this reflects the traditional pronunciation. If the spelling Louis was added to Lewis, it would bump the name up from #38 to #23.
Miah - Mia or Maya? There does not seem to be a consensus on this one. I have put it with Maya (#24), but if it was added to Mia (#15) it would push it up one place..
You can see the complete Top 100 Combined Spellings tables (complete with variant spellings) on these pages: