How popular is the baby name Asa in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Asa and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Asa.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Asa

Number of Babies Named Asa

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Asa

The Baby Name Saford, a Hillbilly One-Hit Wonder

In 1941, Saford debuted on the U.S. baby name charts with 11 baby boys — enough to make it the top boy name debut of the year.

Clayton and Saford Hall in in 1940
Clayton and Saford Hall in 1940
Never to be seen on the list again, Saford was also the top one-hit wonder name of 1941, and it’s tied for 9th on the list of most popular one-hit wonder boy names of all time.

So what’s the story behind this mysterious name?

The state-by-state data offers a big clue about the origin of Saford:

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 11 baby boys named Saford
    • 9 born in Virginia specifically
  • 1940: unlisted

The name Saford was inspired by Saford Hall, a member of the pre-bluegrass musical duo the Hall Twins. The other member was Saford’s identical twin brother, Clayton. Saford played the fiddle, Clayton played the banjo, and both boys could sing.

Clayton and Saford were born in rural Patrick County, Virginia, in 1919. They were the last of 10 children. Their older siblings were named Lee, Roxie, Thamon, Mack, Romie, Samson, Simon and Asa.

Ralph Berrier, Jr. — a journalist who happens to be Clayton’s grandson — wrote about the twins in his book If Trouble Don’t Kill Me. Here’s how he describes them on his website (which also includes recordings of several performances from the early ’40s):

The Hall twins rose from mountain-bred poverty to pickin’ and yodelin’ all over the airwaves of the South in the 1930s and 1940s, opening shows for the Carter Family, Roy Rogers, the Sons of the Pioneers, and even playing the most coveted stage of all: the Grand Ole Opry.

They played the Grand Ole Opry twice, in 1941 and in 1942, as part of Roy Hall and His Blue Ridge Entertainers. (They weren’t related to Roy.)

This is exactly when we see the unusual name Saford pop up on the baby name charts for the first and only time. I’ve even found a Virginia baby named Saford Clayton, though he wasn’t born until 1944.

The name Clayton was already being given to hundreds of U.S. babies per year in the early ’40s, but usage does seem to rise in both Virginia and North Carolina in 1942.

Just as their musical careers were beginning to take off, though, the brothers were drafted. Saford was sent to North Africa and Europe, and Clayton was sent to the South Pacific.

The Hall twins survived WWII, and they continued playing music after returning to the States, but they were never able to achieve the same level of musical success. Saford passed away in 1999, Clayton in 2003.

Sources:


Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

Female Names in the Domesday Book

Female Names in the Domesday Book

We looked at names from King Henry III’s fine rolls (13th century) a couple of weeks ago, so now let’s go back a bit further and look at names from the Domesday Book (11th century).

What is the Domesday Book?

It’s a land survey, compiled in 1086, that covered much of England and parts of Wales.

The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey – the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday.

The book is held at The National Archives in London, but its contents are available online at Open Domesday.

Most of the names in the Domesday Book are male, as most landowners were men. So, to be different (and to make things easier!) I thought I’d focus on the women.

The female names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (Multiple mentions don’t necessarily speak to name popularity, as this is not a representative sample of 11th-century people. Also, some individuals are simply mentioned in the book more than once.)

A

  • Adelaide
  • Adelina (2)
  • Adeliza
  • Aeldiet
  • Aeleva (3)
  • Aelfeva (9)
  • Aelfgyth (4)
  • Aelfrun
  • Aelfthryth
  • Aelgeat
  • Aelgyth
  • Aelrun
  • Aethelfled
  • Aethelgyth
  • Agnes (2)
  • Ailhilla
  • Aldeva
  • Aldgyth (13)
  • Aldhild
  • Aldwif
  • Aleifr
  • Aleva
  • Alfhild (3)
  • Alfled (3)
  • Alswith
  • Althryth
  • Alware
  • Alweis
  • Alwynn (2)
  • Asa
  • Asmoth
  • Azelina

B

  • Beatrix
  • Bothild
  • Bricteva (8)
  • Brictfled
  • Brictgyth

C

  • Christina
  • Cwenhild
  • Cwenleofu
  • Cwenthryth

D

  • Deorwynn
  • Dove

E

  • Edeva (8)
  • Edhild
  • Edith (5)
  • Edlufu
  • Egelfride
  • Emma (7)
  • Estrild
  • Eva

G

  • Goda (6)
  • Gode (2)
  • Godelind
  • Godesa
  • Godgyth (4)
  • Goldhild
  • Godhyse
  • Godiva (7)
  • Godrun
  • Goldeva
  • Goldrun
  • Gudhridh
  • Gunild (2)
  • Gunwor
  • Guthrun
  • Gytha (4)

H

  • Heloise (2)
  • Hawise

I

  • Ida
  • Ingifrith
  • Ingrith
  • Isolde

J

  • Judith

L

  • Lefleda
  • Leodfled
  • Leofcwen
  • Leofeva (9)
  • Leoffled (4)
  • Leofgyth
  • Leofhild
  • Leofrun
  • Leofsidu
  • Leofswith
  • Leofwaru
  • Leohteva

M

  • Matilda (3)
  • Mawa
  • Menleva
  • Mereswith
  • Merwynn
  • Mild
  • Modeva
  • Molleva
  • Muriel

O

  • Odfrida
  • Odil
  • Odolina
  • Oia
  • Olova
  • Oseva

Q

  • Queneva

R

  • Regnild
  • Rohais (2)

S

  • Saegyth
  • Saehild
  • Saelufu
  • Saewaru
  • Saieva
  • Sigrith
  • Skialdfrith
  • Stanfled
  • Sunneva

T

  • Tela
  • Thorild
  • Thorlogh
  • Tova
  • Tovild
  • Turorne
  • Tutfled

W

  • Wigfled
  • Wulfeva (9)
  • Wulffled (2)
  • Wulfgyth
  • Wulfrun
  • Wulfwaru (2)
  • Wulfwynn (2)

See anything you like?

Also, did you notice the names of Scandinavian origin (e.g., Guthrun, Ingrith, Sigrith)? “These names are most numerous in the eastern half of the country, particularly Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This is precisely where, as we know from other evidence, there was a substantial settlement of Scandinavian immigrants.”

UPDATE: Here are the Male Names in the Domesday Book.

Sources:

Image: National Archives (UK)

Like Symmetry? Try Palindromic Baby Names

Did you know that a handful of baby names happen to be palindromes? Here are some names that can be read the same way in either direction (i.e. both forwards and backwards):

Two of these, Hannah and Ava, happen to be very popular for baby girls at the moment.

Need two names? You could consider a pair of names that become a palindrome when written side-by-side:

Aidan & Nadia
Aileen & Neelia
Alan & Nala
Allan & Nalla
Allen & Nella
Amin & Nima
Ariel & Leira
Arik & Kira
Aron & Nora
Axel & Lexa
Aydan & Nadya
Ari & Ira
Ellen & Nelle
Flor & Rolf
Iris & Siri
Leon & Noel
Linus & Sunil
Miles & Selim

It’s also possible to come up with your own palindromic pairs by flipping traditional names to create brand new names. For instance, I’ve seem James, Kevin, Manuel and Ramon flipped to become Semaj, Nivek, Leunam and Nomar.