I would like your impartial advice on this, as a baby name advice blogger. Most people think "syrup" and I'm aware of the slavery connotations - however my daughter will be Caucasian/Italian. We live in California, and both have college/graduate degrees. Is Jemima a quirky biblical name or still too loaded to use?
Interesting! I'm not sure! For me it definitely has an immediate syrup/slavery association (no biblical association even for this pastor's daughter---Jemima had such a tiny/brief mention), but that kind of association dims so quickly with increased usage of a name. One year it's "NOAH?? As in, THE ARK??," and then suddenly it's in the Top 10.
So let's check to see what the Social Security Administration says the usage is doing:
1996 - 27 baby girls named Jemima
1997 - 13
1998 - 14
1999 - 26
2000 - 22
2001 - 24
2002 - 18
2003 - 34
2004 - 32
2005 - 28
2006 - 35
2007 - 43
2008 - 33
2009 - 50
2010 - 32
2011 - 39
Not much, huh? Somewhat of an increase over time, but not exactly leaping up the charts.
Here's something of possible interest, however: the very similar name Jemma hadn't been in the Top 1000 since 1879 (that's how far the online records go back)---but it suddenly appeared in 2010 and 2011 at #854 and #832, respectively. The spelling Gemma has a similar story: nothing from 1879 through 2007---but then it appeared in 2008 at #889, and then for the next three years it LEAPED: #562 in 2009, #449 in 2010, and #356 in 2011.
This suggests to me that the SOUND of the name Jemima may be ready to come into style. The associations may still be too strong---or perhaps Jemima just needs a few more years and will then suddenly leap after Gemma.
What does everyone else think? Is Jemima usable now? Usable soon? Not usable in the foreseeable future? Let's have a poll over to the right, but put the reasons for the responses in the comments section. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Poll results for "The name Jemima:" (411 votes total):
I think it's usable now! - 132 votes (32%)
I think it'll be usable soon! - 58 votes (14%)
I don't think it'll be usable for a long time - 123 votes (30%)
I don't think it'll ever be usable - 80 votes (19%)
I can't decide - 18 votes (4%)