The choice of baby names can reveal how rapidly individuals adapt to new circumstances. A French genealogy database of 5.5 million individuals born between 1905 and 1925 permits an analysis of name transmission from father to son/daughter and uncle to nephew/niece as a reaction to the family disruptions caused by the exigencies of World War I. Immediately following mobilization, the rate of paternal name transmission increased by about 50 percent for both males and females, enhanced by a father’s level of risk as a soldier. Transmission of an uncle’s name increased following his death regardless of whether he died at war, though the phenomenon was significantly more sustained if he did so.

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