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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Beaver


Posts that Mention the Name Beaver

The Emergence of Chucky

guidling light, radio, baby name

No, I’m not talking about the evil doll. I’m talking about the baby names Chucky and Chuckie, which both emerged in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1940s:

YearChuckie usageChucky usage
195216 baby boys20 baby boys
195123 baby boys17 baby boys
19507 baby boys11 baby boys
19496 baby boys [debut]10 baby boys
1948(unlisted)5 baby boys
1947(unlisted)(unlisted)

Why?

Because, around this time, a baby/young boy named Chuckie was being featured on the popular radio soap opera The Guiding Light.

In 1948, the soap began to focus on the Bauer family, particularly Meta [MAY-tah] Bauer. That year Meta conceived a child out of wedlock with Ted White.

After she gave birth to a baby boy (either in late 1948 or early 1949) she gave him up for adoption. The adoptive parents chose to name him Charles after the pastor who’d helped arrange the adoption.

During 1949, but both Meta and Ted decided they wanted the baby back, so young Chuckie became the object of two separate custody lawsuits (one filed by Meta, the other by Ted). Chuckie was given back to Meta, so Ted decided then to marry her (early 1950) solely in order to have access to his son. But the marriage didn’t work, Meta left, and she initiated yet another custody battle for Chuckie.

By mid-1950 Chuckie was somehow old enough to be taking boxing lessons (Ted’s idea) and ended up with a severe head injury. He slipped into a coma for a few weeks, then died in September. (Days later, Meta shot and killed Ted.)

Chuckie’s tragic death likely accounts for the higher usage of Chuckie in 1951.

But both names see their highest usage in 1961 specifically:

YearChuckie usageChucky usage
196223 baby boys31 baby boys
196145 baby boys36 baby boys
196026 baby boys31 baby boys

This looks to be due to a different Chuckie entirely — a mischievous blonde boy named Chuckie who was the focus of a Leave It to Beaver episode called “Chuckie’s New Shoes” that aired in December of 1960.

Do you like the name Chuckie? Would you use it as a legal name, or do you prefer it as a nickname for Charles?

Source: About GL: Who’s Who in Springfield | Meta Bauer | Guiding Light

Where Did the Baby Name Geddy Come From?

geddy lee, rush,
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2004

Last weekend, the Toronto Zoo announced that its three capybara pups would be named Geddy, Alex, and Neil in honor of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart — the three members of the legendary Canadian rock band Rush (known for songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight”).

Vocalist Geddy Lee was born Gary Lee in Toronto in 1953 to parents Morris and Manya Weinrib, Holocaust survivors from Poland. Here’s how the name “Gary” morphed into the name “Geddy”:

“Okay, it’s like the same story of Leave it to Beaver. The story goes: my mother is Polish and she has a very thick accent. When I was about twelve years old, I had a friend who, whenever he heard my mother pronounce my name, he thought she was calling me, ‘Geddy.’ He started calling me ‘Geddy,’ and eventually, all of my friends started calling me ‘Geddy,’ and eventually my mother started to call me ‘Geddy,’ for real. And eventually, I changed my name legally to ‘Geddy,’ so that’s the story and that’s my name, Geddy.”

So have any human pups ever been named for Geddy Lee? Yup–so many that we can see them in the data. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, when Rush was a fixture on the Billboard charts, the name Geddy started appearing on the U.S. baby name charts:

  • 1984: 9 baby boys named Geddy
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 14 baby boys named Geddy
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 5 baby boys named Geddy [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted

Since then, at least 175 U.S. babies have been named Geddy.

And that’s how a Canadian prog rock band turned “Geddy” — a Polish mispronunciation of Gary — into an American baby name. :)

(Kinda reminds me of the mondegreen Kasara…)

If you were having a son, and you had to name him either Gary or Geddy, which would you choose? Why?

Sources: Toronto’s ‘capybaby’ triplets named after famous rock trio Rush, Geddy Lee: The Reluctant Rockstar (originally in Bass Frontiers Magazine)

P.S. Here’s that Leave it to Beaver story.

Baby Boys Named Beaver? Gee Whiz, Wally.

Jerry Mathers as Beaver Cleaver

April 7th is International Beaver Day, so today is a weirdly appropriate day to check out the baby name Beaver, which debuted on the baby name charts in 1959:

  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 9 baby boys named Beaver
  • 1963: 5 baby boys named Beaver
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 5 baby boys named Beaver [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted

The cause? Leave It to Beaver, the iconic TV sitcom that aired from 1957 to 1963.

The central character of the series (which had nothing to do with actual beavers) was a boy named Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver. Beaver was the youngest member of an idealized, post-war family of four living in a fictional suburban community.

As with Rambo and several other pop culture baby names, “Beaver” had been in use as a first name in the U.S. long before 1959. (In fact, one of the co-creators of the show discovered the name while serving in the Merchant Marine during WWII. One of his shipmates was named Beaver.) Leave It to Beaver simply boosted the visibility/usage of the name enough for it to finally appear on the SSA’s annual baby name list, which doesn’t include names bestowed fewer than five times per year.

So how did a boy named Theodore acquire a nickname like Beaver? When Beaver was born, his older brother Wally couldn’t pronounce “Theodore” correctly. The result was “Tweeter.” From there, the word somehow morphed into “Beaver.”

The nickname was finally explained during the last episode of the series. Jerry Mathers, the actor who played Beaver, thought the explanation was “lame.” Perhaps…but this explicit focus on Beaver’s nickname during the mid-1963 finale may have been what caused the usage of Beaver to peak in 1964.

The name Wally was also used more often during the late ’50s and early ’60s. So was the name of Beaver’s father, Ward, but not the name of his mother, June.

What do you think of the baby name Beaver? Is it better or worse than Bimbo? How about Twig (another sitcom nickname from the 1950s)?

Sources: International Beaver Day – BWW, Leave It to Beaver – Wikipedia, Leave It to Beaver FAQ, Jerry Mathers how the name “Beaver” on “Leave It to Beaver” came about [vid]

P.S. At least one U.S.-born Beaver got the middle name Cleaver. This real-life Beaver Cleaver was born in 1965.