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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Barbara

Number of Babies Named Barbara

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Barbara

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: T (part 1)

theda bara, 1915, actress, cinemaHere’s the next installment of rare female names collected from very old films (1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s).

There were a lot of T-names, so I split the list into two posts. The second half will be up in a few weeks.

Taffy
Taffy was a character name in multiple films, including Penthouse Rhythm (1945) and Springtime in the Sierras (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Taffy.

Tahama
Tahama was a character played by actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan in the film King of the Zombies (1941).

Tahia
Tahia was a character name in multiple films, including White Savage (1943) and Call of the South Seas (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Tahia.

Tahona
Tahona was a character played by actress Margaret Loomis in the film The Hidden Pearls (1918).

Taisie
Taisie Lockhart was a character played by actress Fay Wray in the film The Conquering Horde (1931).

Takla
Takla was a character played by actress Gilda Gray in the film The Devil Dancer (1927).

Talapa
Talapa was a character played by actress Margaret Loomis in the film Told in the Hills (1919).

Talithy
Talithy Millicuddy was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film The Blazing Trail (1921).

Talma
Madame Talma was a character played by actress Edna May Oliver in the film The Great Jasper (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Talma.

Talu
Talu was a character played by actress Lenore Ulric in the film Frozen Justice (1929).

Taluta
Taluta was a character played by actress Ann Little in the short film The Outcast (1912).

Tama
Tama was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tama.

Tamandra
Tamandra was a character played by actress Ormi Hawley in the short film Tamandra, the Gypsy (1913).

Tamarah
Tamarah was a character played by actress Fern Andra in the film Lotus Lady (1930).

Tamarind
Tamarind Brook was a character played by actress Gloria Swanson in the film What a Widow! (1930).

Tambourina
Tambourina was a character played by actress Carrie Clark Ward in the film The Paliser Case (1920).

Tamea
Tamea was a character name in multiple films, including Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925) and Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Tamea.

Tana
Tana was a character name in multiple films, including The Devil Dancer (1927) and The Forest Rangers (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tana.

Tanaka
Tanaka was a character played by actress Laska Winter in the film Fashion Madness (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tanaka.

Tanis
Tanis was a character name in multiple films, including Babbitt (1924) and Babbitt (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Tanis.

Tanit
Tanit Zerga was a character played by actress Milada Mladova in the film Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Tannie
Tannie Edison was a character played by actress Virginia Weidler in the film Young Tom Edison (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Tannie.

Tansy
Tansy Firle was a character played by actress Alma Taylor in the film Tansy (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Tansy.

Tanyusha
Tanyusha was a character played by actress Nancy Carroll in the film Scarlet Dawn (1932).

Tarusa
Tarusa was a character played by actress Esther Dale in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1941).

Tarzana
Tarzana was a character played by actress Raquel Torres in the film So This Is Africa (1933).

Tasia
Tasia was a character played by actress Dolores del Rio in the film The Red Dance (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tasia.

Tatiane
Tatiane Shebanoff was a character played by actress Jacqueline Gadsden in the film His Hour (1924).

Tatuka
Tatuka was a character played by actress Velma Whitman in the short film As the Twig Is Bent (1915).

Taula
Taula was a character played by actress Ernestine Gaines in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1926).

Taupou
Taupou was a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film The Brute Master (1920).

Taxi Belle
Taxi Belle Hooper was a character played by actress Rita La Roy in the film Blonde Venus (1932).

Tautinei
Tautinei was a character played by actress Grace Lord in the film The Lure of the South Seas (1929).

Teala
Teala Loring was an actress who appeared in films primarily in the 1940s. She was born in Colorado in 1922. Her birth name was Marcia Eloise Griffin.

  • Usage of the baby name Teala.

Teazie
Bessie “Teazie” Williams was a character played by actress Mae Marsh in the film The White Rose (1923).

Tecolote
Tecolote was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Captive God (1916).

Tecza
Tecza was a character played by actress Geraldine Farrar in the film The Woman God Forgot (1917).

Teddy
Teddy Sampson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1895. Teddy was also a character name in multiple films, including Vultures of Society (1916) and Having Wonderful Time (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Teddy.

Tee-hee-nay
Tee-Hee-Nay was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film The Legend of the Lost Arrow (1912).

Teena
Teena Johnson was a character played by actress Sally O’Neil in the film Hardboiled (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Teena.

Teenie
Teenie McPherson was a character played by actress Renee Houston in the film Fine Feathers (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Teenie.

Tehani
Tehani was a character played by actress Movita in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Tehani.

Tehura
Tehura was a character played by actress Jacqueline Logan in the film Ebb Tide (1922).

Teita
Teita was a character played by actress Bessie Love in the film Soul-Fire (1925).

Tela
Tela Tchaï was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s and 1940s. She was born in France in 1909.

  • Usage of the baby name Tela.

Teleia
Teleia Van Schreeven was a character played by actress Adele Mara in the film Wake of the Red Witch (1948).

Temata
Temata was a character played by actress Hilo Hattie in the film Tahiti Nights (1944).

Tempe
Tempe Pigott was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in England in 1884.

  • Usage of the baby name Tempe.

Tempest
Tempest Cody was a character played by actress Marie Walcamp in a series of Tempest Cody short films in 1919.

Temple
Temple Drake was a character played by actress Miriam Hopkins in the film The Story of Temple Drake (1933). The film was based on the novel Sanctuary (1931) by William Faulkner.

  • Usage of the baby name Temple.

Tempy
Aunt Tempy was a character played by actress Hattie McDaniel in the film Song of the South (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Tempy.

Teodora
Teodora was a character played by actress Alma Rubens in the film The World and His Wife (1920).

Teola
Teola was a character played by various actresses in the various film adaptations of Tess of the Storm Country.

  • Usage of the baby name Teola.

Teresina
Teresina was a character played by actress Nina Campana in the film Tortilla Flat (1942).

Terpsichore
Terpsichore was a character played by actress Rita Hayworth in the film Down to Earth (1947).

Tesha
Tesha was a character played by actress Maria Corda in the film A Woman in the Night (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tesha.

Tessibel
Tessibel was a character played by various actresses in the various film adaptations of Tess of the Storm Country.

Tessie
Tessie was a character name in multiple films, including Tessie (1925) and Make Me a Star (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Tessie.

Texas
Texas Guinan was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Texas in 1884. Texas was also a character played by actress Dot Farley in the film Lady Be Good (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Texas.

Thais
Thais Merton was a character played by actress Adda Gleason in the film One Traveler Returns (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Thais.

Thalie
Thalie was a character played by actress Dagmar Godowsky in the film The Trap (1922).

Thania
Princess Thania was a character played by actress Frances Drake in the film The Lone Wolf in Paris (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Thania.

Thanya
Thanya was a character played by actress Kitty Gordon in the film The Crucial Test (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Thanya.

Tharon
Tharon Last was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Crimson Challenge (1922). The film was based on the novel Tharon of Lost Valley (1919) by Vingetta “Vingie” Roe.

  • Usage of the baby name Tharon.

Theda
Theda Bara was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Her birth name was Theodosia Burr Goodman.

  • Usage of the baby name Theda.

Thel
Thel Harris was a character played by actress Lottie Briscoe in the short film Honor Thy Father (1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Thel.

Thelda
Thelda Kenvin was an actress who appeared in one film in 1926. She was born (with the first name Ethelda) in Pennsylvania in 1899. Thelda was also a character played by actress Greta Granstedt in the film There Goes My Heart (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Thelda.

Thelma
Thelma Todd was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1906. Thelma Salter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1908. Thelma was also a character name in multiple films, including A Modern Thelma (1916) and A Broadway Butterfly (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Thelma.

Themar
Themar was a character played by actress Barbara La Marr in the film Arabian Love (1922).

Theo
Theo Scofield West was a character played by actress Lana Turner in the film Marriage is a Private Affair (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Theo.

Theodosia
Sister Theodosia was a character played by actress Sarah Padden in the film The Zero Hour (1939).

Thera
Thera Dufre was a character played by actress Gretchen Lederer in the short film Under a Shadow (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Thera.

Thirza
Thirza Tapper was a character played by actress Viola Lyel in the film The Farmer’s Wife (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Thirza.

Thomsine
Thomsine Musgrove was a character played by actress Dorothy Mackaill in the film The Fighting Blade (1923).

Thora
Thora was a character name in multiple films, including The Face of the World (1921) and The Winking Idol (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Thora.

Thorhild
Thorhild was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the film The Viking (1928).

Thurya
Thurya was a character played by actress Dorothy Janis in the film Fleetwing (1928).

Thymian
Thymian was a character played by actress Louise Brooks in the film Diary of a Lost Girl (1929).

Thyra
Thyra was a character played by actress Eleanor Boardman in the film The Only Thing (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Thyra.

*

Which of the above names do you like best?


Early Recognition of the “Great-Grandparent Rule”

grandmotherA baby name becomes trendy for one generation. For the next two generations, while those initial babies are parent-aged and grandparent-aged, you can expect the name to go out of style. But during the third generation, once the cohort reaches great-grandparent age, the name is free to come back into fashion.

Evelyn is a name with a usage pattern that fits this description well.

I’ve seen it described elsewhere as the 100-Year Rule, but I prefer to call it the Great-Grandparent Rule, as it makes more sense to me to frame it in terms of generations.

Essentially, the pattern has to do with a name’s main generational association shifting from “a name that belongs to real-life old people” to “a name that sounds pleasantly old-fashioned.”

I used to think the pattern was one we’d only recently discovered — something we needed the data to see — but it turns out that at least one observant person noticed this trend and wrote about it in The San Francisco Call more than 100 years ago (boldface mine):

Time was — and that not very long ago — when old fashioned names, as old fashioned furniture, crockery and hand embroideries, were declared out of date. The progress of the ages that replaced the slower work of hand by the speed of machines cast a blight on everything that betokened age.

Spinning wheels were stowed away in attics, grandmothers’ gowns were tucked into cedar chests, old porcelain of plain design was replaced by more gaudy utensils and machine made and embroidered dresses and lingerie lined the closets where formerly only handwork was hung.

So with given names. Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah, Hannah and Anne, one and all, were declared old fashioned and were relegated to past ages to be succeeded by Gladys, Helen, Delphine, Gwendolyn, Geraldine and Lillian and a host of other more showy appellations.

Two generations of these, and woman exercised her time honored privilege and changed her mind.

She woke suddenly to the value of history, hustled from their hiding places the ancient robes and furnishings that were her insignia of culture, discarded the work of the modern machine for the finer output of her own fair hands, and, as a finishing touch, christened her children after their great-grandparents.

Old fashioned names revived with fervor and those once despised are now termed quaint and pretty and “quite the style, my dear.”

Pretty cool that this every-third-generation pattern was already an observable phenomenon three generations ago.

The article went on to list society babies with names like Barbara, Betsy, Bridget, Dorcas (“decidedly Puritan”), Dorothea, Frances, Henrietta, Jane, Josephine, Lucy, Margaret, Mary, Olivia, and Sarah (“much in vogue a century ago”).

Have you see the 100-Year Rule/Great-Grandparent Rule at play in your own family tree? If so, what was the name and what were the birth years?

Source: “Society” [Editorial]. San Francisco Call 17 Aug. 1913: 19.
Image: Frances Marie via Morguefile

Name Quotes #47 – Hiroko, Jaxon, Joule

Welcome to this month’s quote post!

From “Modern baby names have gone too far” (in the Telegraph) by Tom Ough:

Yes: Jaxon. This name is a bad name — an atrocious name. It is an elision of “Jack’s” and “son”, the join clumsily Sellotaped by an X which would find a better home in a bad action film than in a child’s name. (Young readers called Xerxes: forgive me, then promise never to watch your parents’ copy of 300.)

The babies lumbered with ‘Jaxon’ are victims of poor taste rather than sons of men called Jack: if any name is a bastardisation, this is it.

From “The untold stories of Japanese war brides” (in the Washington Post) by Kathryn Tolbert:

They either tried, or were pressured, to give up their Japanese identities to become more fully American. A first step was often adopting the American nicknames given them when their Japanese names were deemed too hard to pronounce or remember. Chikako became Peggy; Kiyoko became Barbara. Not too much thought went into those choices, names sometimes imposed in an instant by a U.S. officer organizing his pool of typists. My mother, Hiroko Furukawa, became Susie.

How did it feel to be renamed for someone in the man’s past, a distant relative or former girlfriend? My mother said she didn’t mind, and others said it made their lives easier to have an American name.

On the origin of the name “Lolo” from the Lolo National Forest website:

“Lolo” probably evolved from “Lou-Lou”, a pronunciation of “Lawrence,” a French-Canadian fur trapper killed by a grizzly bear and buried at Grave Creek.

The first written evidence of the name “Lolo” appears in 1831 when fur trader John Work refers in his journal to Lolo Creek as “Lou Lou.”

In an 1853 railroad survey and map, Lieutenant John Mullan spelled the creek and trail “Lou Lou.” However, by 1865 the name was shortened to Lolo and is currently the name of a national forest, town, creek, mountain peak, mountain pass and historic trail in west central Montana.

From an article about historical name trends in England:

The establishment of the Church of England coincided with the publication in 1535 of the first modern English translation of both the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible. The Protestant reform movement stressed the central importance of the Bible, and the new English translations meant that many more people could read the Bible themselves. In turn, it also meant that they had access to the large stock of names from the Old Testament – from Aaron to Zechariah, and Abigail to Zipporah. These names had the added attraction that they were much less associated with Catholicism than many New Testament names. As a result, Old Testament names became much more common during the late-16th century and 17th century, especially among girls.

NPR writer Lateefah Torrence on the name of her daughter Dalia Joule Braun-Torrence:

Post-delivery, Frank and I were still unsure of her name. In the few days before her birth, we had narrowed our girl name list down to Aziza and Dalia.

[…]

We looked into her tiny face and asked, “Dalia?” Our little girl stared at us inquisitively. I think she may have been thinking, “Obviously.” We then asked, “Aziza?” — she turned away from us, and we knew our Dalia was here.

From the book Cajun Country (1991) by Barry Jean Ancelet, Jay Dearborn Edwards, and Glen Pitre:

[A] few years ago the Lafourche Daily Comet ran an obituary for eighty-two-year-old Winnie Grabert Breaux. The article listed Winnie’s brothers and sisters, living and dead: Wiltz, Wilda, Wenise, Witnese, William, Willie, Wilfred, Wilson, Weldon, Ernest, Norris, Darris, Dave, Inez and Lena.

(According to Winnie’s Find a Grave profile, “Wiltz” is Wilson, “Witnese” is Witness and “Weldon” is Wildon. Here’s a recent post on Cajun nicknames.)

From “JFK’s legacy in Bogotá lives on 55-years later” (in The City Paper) by Andy East:

It was Dec. 17, 1961, and nearly one-third of Bogotá’s 1.5 million inhabitants had turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon for one reason: to catch a glimpse of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The massive outpouring was the largest reception the U.S. leader ever had.

[…]

The historic visit, which lasted only 14 hours, would change the lives of thousands of families and have a profound impact on the city that is still visible 55 years later.

[…]

In the immediate years after Kennedy’s visit, the most popular baby names registered at baptisms in Ciudad Kennedy were John, Fitzgerald (Kennedy’s middle name), Jacqueline and Kennedy.

(Here’s a recent post about U.S. babies named for JFK.)

From “Old people names of the future” by Sara Chodosh:

Perhaps the strongest trend in recent years hasn’t been certain names, it’s been a diversity of names. […] The plethora of names has weakened individual trends; we haven’t had a strong female name trend since the ’90s. And without a significant number of babies with a particular name, we may stop associating certain names with certain generations.

For more, check out the name quotes category.

Arrr! Baby Names for Talk Like a Pirate Day

pirate baby

Avast! Did you know that today is Talk Like a Pirate Day?

“Arrr” itself doesn’t make a great name — even for pirates — but here’s the next best thing: over 120 names that feature the “ar”-sound.

Araminta
Arcadia
Arden
Aretha
Aria
Arianna
Arlene
Arlette
Artemis
Barbara
Barbie
Carla
Carlene
Carley
Carmel
Carmella
Carmen
Charlene
Charlotte
Charmaine
Darcy
Daria
Darla
Darlene
Gardenia
Harbor
Harlow
Harmony
Hildegarde
Karla
Katarina
Larisa
Mara
Marcella
Marcia
Margaret
Margot, Margaux
Maria
Mariah
Mariana
Marie
Marina
Mariska
Marissa
Marjorie
Marla
Marlena
Marlene
Marley
Marnie
Marta
Martha
Marva
Martina
Narcissa
Parthenia
Pilar
Rosario
Scarlett
Skylar
Starla
Arcadio
Archer
Archibald
Archie
Ari
Arlo
Arnold
Arsenio
Arthur
Balthazar
Barnaby
Barton
Bernard (…Bernarr?)
Carl
Carlisle
Carlton
Carson
Carter
Carver
Charles
Clark
Dario
Darius
Darwin
Edgar
Edward
Finbar
Garfield
Gerard
Gunnar
Hardy
Harley
Harper
Harvey
Howard
Karl
Lars
Larson
Lazarus
Leonard
Marcel
Marcellus
Mario
Marius
Marc, Mark
Marcus, Markus
Marlow
Marshall
Martin
Marvin
Nazario
Oscar
Parker
Richard
Stewart, Stuart
Ward
Warner
Warren
Warrick
Willard
Yardley

Which of the “ar”-names above do you like best? Did I miss any good ones?

(Image from Pixabay)

Additions, 9/20:

Poll: Pick a Pair of Toni Twin Names

joan and jean mcmillan, twins, 1949While looking at multiples from 1944 last month, I found sources claiming that both Mary & Marjorie Vaughan and Lois & Lucille Barnes were the “original” twins in the ads for Toni Home Permanents (tagline: “Which twin has the Toni?”).

Many sets of twins were involved in the Toni ad campaigns of the ’40s, though, so I’m not sure if any single set of twins can be called the “original” twins. For example, a November 1949 issue of LIFE included a full-page Toni ad with six sets of twins:

  • Eleanor and Jeanne Fulstone of Nevada
  • Betty and Barbara Land of Virginia
  • Barbara and Beverly Lounsbury of New Jersey
  • Joan and Jean McMillan of Texas (pictured)
  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan of Indiana
  • Charlotte and Antoinette Winkelmann of New York

Let’s pretend you’re about to have twin girls, and you have to give them one of the name-pairs above. Which pair do you choose?

Pick a pair...

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