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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Bertil

Number of Babies Named Bertil

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Bertil

The Baby Name Roald

roald amundsen
Roald Amundsen
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first person to cross the Northwest Passage (1905), to reach the South Pole (1911), and to reach both poles (1926).

His name, Roald, can be traced back to an Old Norse name made up of the words hróðr, meaning “fame,” and valdr, meaning “ruler.” It first appeared on the U.S. baby name charts in 1912:

  • 1915: 6 baby boys named Roald
  • 1914: 7 baby boys named Roald
  • 1913: 5 baby boys named Roald
  • 1912: 10 baby boys named Roald [debut]
  • 1911: unlisted

Why 1912? Because, even though Amundsen reached the South Pole in December of 1911, the rest of the world wasn’t aware of his accomplishment until after he’d left Antarctica and arrived in Tasmania in March of 1912.

The SSDI shows a similar rise in the number of Roalds born in 1912:

  • 1915: 4 people named Roald
  • 1914: 5 people named Roald
  • 1913: 6 people named Roald
  • 1912: 9 people named Roald
  • 1911: 3 people named Roald

Many of the U.S. babies named Roald during the 1910s were born to parents who had emigrated from Norway.* Amusingly, four or five of these baby Roalds were born into families with the surname Amundson or Amundsen.

Peak usage happened in 1928, the year Roald Amundsen went missing and was presumed dead after a plane crash in the Arctic.**

Finally, though I don’t have any data to back it up, my hunch is that the name Roald also saw increased usage in other regions in the 1910s and 1920s, and perhaps later. Amundsen’s two most famous namesakes are writer Roald Dahl, born in Wales in 1916, and chemist Roald Hoffmann, born in Poland in 1937.

*Similar to the way Bertil became trendy among Swedish immigrants.
**Same thing happened to the name Knute the year Knute Rockne died, also in a plane crash.

Source: Roald Amundsen – Wikipedia


The Royal Baby Name Bertil

prince bertil, sweden, born in 1912
“H.R.H. Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden and Prince Bertil.”
Crown Prince Gustaf VI of Sweden welcomed a baby boy named Bertil in early 1912.

The same year Prince Bertil was born, the baby name Bertil appeared on the U.S. baby name charts:

  • 1917: 21 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1916: 28 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1915: 24 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1914: 31 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1913: 17 baby boys named Bertil
  • 1912: 16 baby boys named Bertil [debut]
  • 1911: unlisted

Bertil was the second-highest debut that year, after Woodroe (inspired by Woodrow Wilson, who was elected president in November).

But the early SSA numbers tend to be low, so here’s some SSDI data for a different perspective. (I’m only counting people with the first name Bertil.)

  • 1917: 24 Bertils born (SSDI)
  • 1916: 33 Bertils
  • 1915: 39 Bertils
  • 1914: 47 Bertils
  • 1913: 33 Bertils
  • 1912: 36 Bertils
  • 1911: 16 Bertils

Just about all of the surnames I saw for Bertils in the SSDI were Swedish. Even more interesting, the SSA data indicates that many of these Bertils were born in Minnesota, Illinois and Massachusetts — states with large Swedish communities:

By 1910 the position of the Midwest as a place of residence for the Swedish immigrants and their children was still strong, but had weakened. Fifty-four percent of the Swedish immigrants and their children now lived in these states, with Minnesota and Illinois dominating. Fifteen percent lived in the East, where the immigrants were drawn to industrial areas in New England. New York City and Worcester, Massachusetts, were two leading destinations.

I think it’s safe to conclude that this usage of Bertil was occurring among Swedish immigrants (and their descendants) exclusively.

So what’s the etymology of Bertil? The Handbook of Scandinavian Names says Bertil and Bertel (which debuted the very next year) are “forms of the first element in German names like Berthold, from bert ‘bright, shining.’ Behind the Name simply says Bertil is a form of Berthold, meaning “bright ruler.”

Surprisingly, Bertil isn’t the first U.S. baby name debut we can link to Swedish royalty. Ebba, which debuted in 1888, was inspired by Princess Ebba Bernadotte — baby Bertil’s great aunt.

Sources: