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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Carl

Number of Babies Named Carl

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Carl

Name Quotes #62: Alice, Donna, Shachar

Ready for another batch of name-related quotes gathered from all over the place?

Let’s start with Liberian midwife Alice Sumo:

…[S]he was both surprised and delighted when quickly babies were named after her.

“I said ‘oh wow’ because with some of them I didn’t even know that they had named the baby after me! When you go to the market everybody is called Alice of Alex or Ellis. The last time I counted it was 862 Alices but now it has increased to 1,000 plus!

“To me the name Alice is an action name. Alice people are active people, they are caring people, they are loving people. A, the first letter in the alphabet. A for action.”

From Jack Burton’s article about songwriters Harry and Albert Von Tilzer in the April 9, 1949, issue of Billboard magazine:

After a season of tanbark and tinsel, Harry caught on with a traveling repertoire company, playing juvenile roles, singing songs of his own composing, and abandoning the family name of Gumm for a more glamorous and professional moniker. He took his mother’s maiden name of Tilzer and added “Von” for a touch of class. This switch in nomenclature proved to be the keystone of a songwriting dynasty which was destined to make history in Tin Pan Alley with the turn of the century.

The family’s surname was originally Gumbinsky. The phrase “tanbark and tinsel” refers to the circus; Harry was part of a traveling circus for a time as a teenager.

From an article about names in Israel by Abigail Klein Leichman:

I figured [Forest Rain’s] parents must have been hippies or Native Americans. In mainstream American culture, it is unusual to name children after elements of nature. How many people do you know named Rainbow, Lightning, Juniper Bush, Boulder, Valley, Oak, Prairie, Wellspring, or Wave?

In Israel, such names are extremely commonplace. If Forest Rain translated her name to Ya’ara Tal, no Israeli would think it exotic in the least. The words mentioned above translate to the everyday Hebrew names Keshet, Barak, Rotem, Sela, Guy, Alon, Bar, Ma’ayan, and Gal.

Another difference is that many modern Israeli names are unisex. You often cannot tell by name alone if someone is male or female. Tal, Gal, Sharon, Noam (pleasant), Shachar (Dawn), Inbar (amber), Inbal (bell), Neta (sapling), Ori (my light), Hadar (splendor), Amit (friend), and myriad other common names are used for either gender.

From an essay in which birder Nicholas Lund contemplates naming his baby after a bird (found via Emily of Nothing Like a Name):

Eventually Liz asked me to think about why I was pushing for this, and whether a birdy name was in the best interests of our kid. Did he need to carry on my own birding legacy? She was right. My son may very well grow up to love birds—I really hope he does—but he also might not. It should be his choice and not mine. If my dad had named me after some of his hobbies, you’d be calling me Carl Yastrzemski Lund or Rapala Lure Lund, and then I’d have to live with that.

From Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom:

Apart from life, a strong constitution, and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth was a name, Rolihlahla. In Xhosa, Rolihlahla literally means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but its colloquial meaning more accurately would be “troublemaker.” I do not believe that names are destiny or that my father somehow divined my future, but in later years, friends and relatives would ascribe to my birth name the many storms I have both caused and weathered.

From an Irish newspaper article about the CSO disregarding fadas in Irish baby names:

The CSO recently unveiled its Baby Names of Ireland visualisation tool recently published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) tool allowing users to check the popularity of names officially registered in Ireland. However, it does not allow for names with the síneadh fada or other diacritical marks that denote pronunciation or meaning.

[…]

“Our language, while having a special status afforded it in the Constitution has been progressively marginalised to the fringes of bureaucracy.

“It behoves the Central Statistics Office above all other institutions to be correct in all matters it reports. This is where historians will first go to research,” [author Rossa Ó Snodaigh] said.

From an essay by Donna Vickroy about the difficulty of being named Donna in 2018:

[L]ately people ask “Vonna”? or “Dana?” or “What?” Maybe the whole language movement has taken a toll.

Still, with its solid D beginning, short O solidified by double Ns and that ubiquitous feminine A at the end, Donna is — and should continue to be — easy to understand, pronounce, spell.

And yet, the struggle is real. Donna appears to be aging out.

From an Atlas Obscura article about a disgruntled former 7-Eleven owner:

The owner, Abu Musa, named his new convenience store “6-Twelve,” a one-up of the 7-Eleven name, which references the chain’s original operating hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Musa’s store operates from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

For lots more name quotes, click that link.

Baby Names for Tea Lovers (Namestorm #17)

baby names for tea lovers

We haven’t done a Namestorm in a long time! The last one we did was for coffee lovers, so let’s follow that up with one for tea lovers.

Here are some tea-inspired baby names for all the tea lovers out there:

Camellia
The Camellia genus gives us not only flowers, but also tea: the Camellia sinensis plant is our primary source of tea. The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus in honor of Czech missionary and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706).

Thomas

  • Thomas Garway was the first person sell tea in London, in 1657.
  • Thomas Twining founded Twinings of London in the early 1700s.
  • Thomas Lipton founded Lipton Tea in the 1890s.
  • Thomas Sullivan of New York inadvertently invented teabags in 1907 when he distributed tea samples in loosely woven silk bags and people started using the bags to brew the tea.

Catherine (or Catarina)
Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza popularized tea-drinking among the British nobility in the mid-1600 upon her marriage to King Charles II in 1662. (FYI: The borough of Queens in New York City was named during Catherine’s tenure, so it was presumably named for her.)

Robert
Britain was obsessed with tea by the 1800s, but China controlled the tea trade. So in the late 1840s, the British East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune (1812-1880) to China to learn the secrets of Chinese tea production and to smuggle tea plants and seedlings out of the country and take them to India.

Jasmine
Jasmine tea is a blend made with green tea and jasmine blossoms.

Grey (or Earl) (or Earl Grey)
Earl Grey tea is a blend made with black tea and oil of bergamot (a type of citrus fruit). It existed as far back as the 1880s and is thought to be named after former British Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey.

Nanette
The famous song “Tea for Two” comes from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette. It’s a duet sung during Act II by characters Nanette and Tom.

What other baby names with a tea association can you come up with?

Popular Baby Names in Denmark, 2016

According to data released by Statistics Denmark, the most popular baby names in the country in 2016 were Sofia and Noah.

Here are Denmark’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Sofia, 480 baby girls
2. Alma, 447
3. Emma, 439
4. Ella, 438
5. Ida, 428
6. Freja, 427
7. Clara, 426
8. Anna, 402
9. Laura, 396
10. Alberte, 386

Boy Names
1. Noah, 538 baby boys
2. Victor, 531
3. Oliver, 523
4. Oscar, 521
5. William, 520
6. Lucas, 509
7. Carl, 483
8. Malthe*, 451
9. Emil, 445
10. Alfred, 433

On the boys’ list, the top 10 remained the same overall, but Noah replaced William in the #1 spot.

On the girls’ list, the #1 name remained the same, but Alberte replaced Isabella in the top 10.

Here are the 2015 rankings, if you’d like to compare.

*Malthe can be traced back to Helmold, a Germanic name meaning “helmet” + “rule.”

Sources: Names of newborn children – Statistics Denmark, Malthe – Behind the Name

Mystery Monday: The Name Carlester

Ready for another mystery baby name? Today we’ve got Carlester, which jumped on and off the SSA’s list (with curious regularity) throughout the ’50s:

  • 1959: 6 baby boys named Carlester
  • 1958: 9 baby boys named Carlester (5 born in Maryland)
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 9 baby boys named Carlester (5 born in Maryland)
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 11 baby boys named Carlester
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: 10 baby boys named Carlester [debut]
  • 1951: unlisted

So far, I can’t pinpoint the source.

The name Carlester definitely wasn’t new in 1952 — dozens of people all over the U.S. had been named Carlester prior to the 1950s, going back to at least the late 1800s.

And, contrary to what the SSA data implies, most of the 1950s usage was far to the south of Maryland. In fact, during the first few years of the decade, it looks like most of the usage was in North Carolina specifically. Football player Carlester Crumpler was born in North Carolina in 1951, for instance.

There could be an African-American angle here, but I’ve checked several African-American publications from the time period and haven’t yet spotted a Carlester (or a Carl Ester).

Any idea why the name Carlester started seeing higher usage in the early ’50s?

Ti-Grace, ‘Tit Carl, and T-Rex – Cajun Nicknames

A number of Cajuns have nicknames prefixed with “Tee” “Ti,” “Tit,” “T,” and so forth — all pronounced tee. This prefix is derived from the French word petit, meaning “small” or “little.” It typically denotes a namesake/junior, or else the youngest child in a family.

In a blog post about Cajun French, writer Ramona DeFelice Long noted that “[o]n the bayou, a T-Rex would not be a dinosaur. T-Rex would be a boy named Rex who was named after his father named Rex.”

Linda Barth, author of The Distinctive Book of Redneck Baby Names, compared the prefix to the diminutive suffix -ie and gave the example of ‘Tit Carl as being “sort of the Cajun version” of Carlie.

Speaking of examples…Ti-Grace Atkinson (b. 1938) played a prominent role in the early radical feminist movement. She was born “Grace” in Baton Rouge, but has always gone by “Ti-Grace.” Here’s why:

My mother’s family was from Virginia. I was named for my Grandmother, whom I adored. My father’s family was from Pennsylvania. I kept the “Ti” which is Cajun, and I kept it because I knew I was going to live in the North and I did not want to forget or let anybody else forget that that was part of my heritage.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Ti-Grace was mentioned in articles about militant feminism in Life, Newsweek, the New York Times, Esquire, and elsewhere. Though her name never ended up on the SSA’s baby name list, I did find records for two non-Louisiana females born in the early ’70s and named Ti-Grace, thanks to her influence.

Her name came in particularly handy (from her perspective) when she ran away from home as a teenager:

They had hired detectives to find me, but because my first name is so difficult, the detectives kept getting lost. Nobody would ever put it down right, thank God.

Have you ever met someone with a Cajun T- (or Ti-, or Tee-, etc.) nickname?

Sources: