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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Carolyn

Number of Babies Named Carolyn

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Carolyn

What Launched Lynley?

carol lynley, model, actress
© 1957 LIFE

Precocious teen model-turned-actress Carol Lynley was in the spotlight from the late ’50s onward. In 1957 she was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine, for instance, and in 1958 she played Rapunzel on TV.

But the name-like surname Lynley didn’t pop up in the SSA data until 1962:

  • 1965: 7 baby girls named Lynley
  • 1964: 10 baby girls named Lynley
  • 1963: 12 baby girls named Lynley
  • 1962: 10 baby girls named Lynley [debut]
  • 1961: unlisted

The name Lynlee also debuted that year, and the name Linley starting being used more often for girls.

Carol Lynley is clearly the influence here, but it’s hard to pin down the reason. She appeared in two movies in 1961, and on several TV shows in 1962, but these things aren’t particularly notable — she’d been in movies and on TV before.

My best guess is that the marketing campaign for Return to Peyton Place (1961) drew new attention to her name. Even though the sequel to Peyton Place flopped, Lynley’s starring role ensured that she was featured prominently in advertisements, including TV commercials.

Carol Lynley was born Carole Jones in 1942. (It was the year that Carole Lombard died in a plane crash; lots of parents opted for Carole-with-an-e in 1942.) When Jones started modelling, she chose to go by the name Carolyn Lee. But when she started acting, she altered the name to Carol Lynley because another actress had already claimed “Carolyn Lee.”

Do you like the name Lynley? If you were going to use it, how would you spell it?

Source: “Letters to the Editors.” Life 13 May 1957: 16.


Popular Girl Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

The ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names in the girl’s top 20 is about the same today as it was 100 years ago, though the ratio did change a bit mid-century.

(In contrast, there’s been a steady increase in the number of Biblical-origin names among the top boy names.)

Here’s the color-coded table — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and several borderline names (which I counted as non-Biblical) are in the orange cells:

Popular girl names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular girl names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Abigail, Anna, Betty (via Elizabeth), Chloe, Danielle, Deborah, Debra, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isabella (via Elizabeth), Janet, Jean, Joan, Judith, Judy, Julie, Lillian (via Elizabeth), Lisa (via Elizabeth), Lois, Marie, Marilyn, Mary, Mia (via Maria), Michelle, Nancy (via Anne), Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth, Sandra (via Alexander), Sarah, Sharon, Stephanie, Susan, Tammy (via Tamar/Tamara)
  • Non-Biblical names: Alexis, Alice, Alyssa, Amanda, Amber, Amelia, Amy, Angela, Ashley, Aubrey, Avery, Barbara, Brenda, Brianna, Brittany, Carol, Carolyn, Catherine, Charlotte, Christina, Christine, Crystal, Cynthia, Diane, Donna, Doris, Dorothy, Edna, Ella, Emily, Emma, Evelyn, Florence, Frances, Gladys, Grace, Harper, Heather, Helen, Irene, Jennifer, Joyce, Karen, Kathleen, Kayla, Kelly, Kimberly, Laura, Lauren, Linda, Lori, Louise, Madison, Margaret, Marjorie, Megan, Melissa, Mildred, Natalie, Nicole, Olivia, Pamela, Patricia, Rose, Shannon, Shirley, Sofia, Sophia, Taylor, Tiffany, Victoria, Virginia
  • Borderline names:
    • Ava (could be based on the Germanic root avi or the Biblical name Eve)
    • Jessica (literary invention, but Shakespeare may have based it on the Biblical name Iscah)
    • Samantha (possibly inspired by the Biblical name Samuel)

Again, feels pretty weird to put overtly Christian names like Christina and Christine in the non-Biblical category, but oh well.

Here are the year-by-year tallies:

Year Top 20 names
given to…
# Biblical # Non-Biblical
1914 31% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1924 31% of baby girls 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
1934 32% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1944 35% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1954 34% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1964 24% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1974 24% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1984 26% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1994 19% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2004 14% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2014 12% of baby girls 5 (25%) 15 (75%)

Just like with the boy names, though, there’s a big difference between the 1914 and 2014 sample sizes — 31% and 12%. So let’s also look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 31% of female births.

By my count, last year’s top 100 girl names were about a quarter Biblical, three-quarters non-Biblical:

Biblical names (27) Non-Biblical/Borderline names (73)
Isabella (via Elizabeth), Mia (via Maria), Abigail, Elizabeth, Chloe, Addison (via Adam), Lillian (via Elizabeth), Hannah, Anna, Leah, Gabriella, Sadie (via Sarah), Sarah, Annabelle, Madelyn (via Magdalene), Lucy (via Lucius), Alexa (via Alexander), Genesis, Naomi, Eva, Lydia, Julia, Khloe, Madeline (via Magdalene), Alexandra, Gianna (via Joanna), Isabelle (via Elizabeth) Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Emily, Madison, Charlotte, Harper, Sofia, Avery, Amelia, Evelyn, Ella, Victoria, Aubrey, Grace, Zoey, Natalie, Brooklyn, Lily, Layla, Scarlett, Aria, Zoe, Samantha, Audrey, Ariana, Allison, Savannah, Arianna, Camila, Penelope, Claire, Aaliyah, Riley, Skylar, Nora, Hailey, Kaylee, Paisley, Kennedy, Ellie, Peyton, Caroline, Serenity, Aubree, Alexis, Nevaeh, Stella, Violet, Mackenzie, Bella, Autumn, Mila, Kylie, Maya, Piper, Alyssa, Taylor, Eleanor, Melanie, Faith, Katherine, Brianna, Ashley, Ruby, Sophie, London, Lauren, Alice, Vivian, Hadley, Jasmine

Faith, Grace, Angela, Nevaeh, Natalie…all technically non-Biblical.

27%-73% is remarkably similar to both 25%-75% (smaller 2014 sample) and 30%-70% (1914 sample).

So here’s the question of the day: If you had to choose all of your children’s names from either one group or the other — Biblical names or non-Biblical names — which group would you stick to, and why?

Names With the Word “Car”

If you’re looking for a car name — or you’re a car-lover looking for a baby name — here’s a logical list for you: names that contain the word “car.”

  • Cara, Carra
  • Caramia
  • Cardea
  • Caren, Carin, Caron, Caryn, Karen
  • Carey, Cari, Carie, Carrie, Carrie, Cary
  • Caridad
  • Carina
  • Carissa, Carisa
  • Carl
  • Carla
  • Carleen, Carlene
  • Carlee, Carleigh, Carley, Carli, Carlie, Carly
  • Carlissa, Carlisa
  • Carlisle, Carlyle
  • Carlo
  • Carlos
  • Carlota, Carlotta
  • Carlton, Carleton
  • Carlyn, Carlynn
  • Carmel, Carmela, Carmella, Carmelo, Carmello
  • Carmen
  • Carmine
  • Carol, Carole, Carrol, Carroll, Caryl
  • Carolann
  • Carolee
  • Carolina
  • Caroline, Carolyne
  • Carolyn, Carolynn
  • Carsen, Carson
  • Carsten
  • Carter
  • Carver
  • Charisma, Carisma
  • Encarnacion
  • Giancarlo
  • Karma, Carma
  • Macario, Macarius, Macaria
  • MacArthur
  • Oscar
  • Ricardo, Ricarda
  • Scarlett, Scarlet
  • Toccara

Want to see more names for cars?

Miss America Names – Caleche, Jillayne, Osjha, Tangra, Venus

Did you know that there have been Miss Americas named Venus (1944), BeBe (1948), Jacque (1949), Vonda (1965) and Leanza (1993)?

Miss America 1926, Norma Smallwood, had the middle name Des Cygne, which she then passed along to her daughter as a first name (paired with the middle name L’Amour).

In 2000, the Miss America pageant included delegates named Brandee (from New Hampshire), Brandi (from New York) and Brandy (from Arkansas).

Other interesting names I spotted skimming over lists of delegates include…

  • Acacia Courtney (2015)
  • Adria Elaine Easton (1970)
  • Alansa Rounds Carr (1960)
  • Aloha Eugenia Porter (1926)
  • Ami Vice (2005) – just two letters away from Miami Vice!
  • Aniska T. Tonge (2013)
  • Annalou Johnston (1949)
  • Annyse Diane Sherman (1942)
  • Armelia Carol Ohmart (1946)
  • Arron Racheal Wendel (2001)
  • BaShara Crystelle Chandler (1994)
  • Bee Jay Johnston (1949)
  • Bethlene Pancoast (2007)
  • Bindhu Pamarthi (2014)
  • Brantlee Corinne Price (1970)
  • Burma Ann Davis (1969)
  • Caleche Manos (2008)
  • Charlavan Baker (1955)
  • Chardelle Hayward (1953)
  • Che’Vonne Dalora Burton (2001)
  • Chuti Lynn Tiu (1995)
  • Clark Janell Davis (2016)
  • Cloris Leachman (1946)
  • Coline-Helen Kaualoku Aiu (1975)
  • Cullen Johnson (1995)
  • Dakeita Tania Vanderburg (1984)
  • Dalyce Gail Smith (1956)
  • Daphne Jean Cochran (1981)
  • Darby Lynn Moore (1975)
  • Daureen Podenski (1980)
  • Delight Michelle Scheck (1999)
  • Dell-Fin Kala’upaona Po’aha (1951)
  • Dellynne Cole Catching (1969)
  • Delta Burke (1975)
  • Denby Annette Kwai Foong Dung (2002)
  • Devanni Partridge (2010)
  • Djuan Keila Trent (2011)
  • Dusene Alee Vunovich (1961)
  • Du Sharme Le Shette Carter (1993)
  • Dustin-Leigh Konzelman (2006)
  • Echo Layne Rost (1974)
  • Edithea Lois Wilde (1923)
  • Eisa Megan Krushansky (1998)
  • Eldrida Fisk (1922)
  • Ethelda Bernice Kenvin (1923)
  • Eudora Leola Mosby (2006)
  • Eugenia Alexandra Primis (2002)
  • Fairfax Bushnell Mason (1948)
  • Ferol Amelia Dumas (1941)
  • Fianna Marie Dickson (2004)
  • Florine Holt (1939)
  • Freita Fuller (1973)
  • Galen Aubrey Giaccone (2009)
  • GiGi Marie Gordon (1997)
  • Glenna Marie Pohly (1953)
  • Glynnelle Hubbard (1958)
  • Gordean Leilehua Lee (1960)
  • Gunnel Ragone (1969)
  • Gussie Short (1937)
  • Guylyn Elaine Remmenga (1979)
  • Haunani Asing (1977)
  • Hela Yungst (1971)
  • Helmar Liederman (1922)
  • Herma Loy Elliott (1963)
  • Honey Castro (1986)
  • Iora June Victor (1944)
  • Irmgard Dietel (1937)
  • Itha Duerrhammer (1944)
  • Jade-Romejii Smalls (2000)
  • Jalee Fuselier (2011)
  • Jaleigh Jeffers (1983)
  • Jeffie Lorraine Ventling (1998)
  • Jenileigh Avriel Sawatzke (2007)
  • Jere Wright (1957)
  • Jillayne Ann Mertens (2002)
  • Jini Boyd (1946)
  • Jinx Burrus (1951)
  • Junnie Young Cross (2001)
  • Kalyn Evel Chapman (1994)
  • Kama Katherine Boland (2000)
  • Kanoe Aberegg (1994)
  • Kanoelehua Kaumeheiwa (1974)
  • Kapri Allyse Rose (2002)
  • Karissa Carol Rushing (1991)
  • Karlyne La Rae Abele (1951)
  • Kehaulani Tiffanie Naleialoha Christian (2003)
  • Kendi Lynn Brown (1979)
  • Keone Cook (1981)
  • Keungsuk Kim (1982)
  • Kiaraliz Medina (2013)
  • Kinila Latia Callendar (2005)
  • Kippy Lou Brinkman (1966)
  • La Bruce Sherrill (1940)
  • LaFrance Boyett (1935)
  • LaRue Wilson (1935)
  • Lencola Sullivan (1981)
  • Lenena Ruth Holder (1994)
  • Lennie Josephine Nobles (1946)
  • Ligaya Stice (1990)
  • Loveta Chera-Lyn Cook (1999)
  • Luna Lynn McClain (1947)
  • Madonna Kimberly Emond (2004)
  • Marlinda Mason (1960)
  • Marshawn LaToya Evans (2002)
  • Mattigene Palmore (1939)
  • Melanne Pennington (1985)
  • Merissa Starnes (1998)
  • MerriBeth Cox (2013)
  • Merrilee Gay Miller (1965)
  • Mifaunwy Dolores Shunatona (1941)
  • Mikka Lynn Darby (1989)
  • Mineola Graham (1944)
  • Molla Barnett (1926)
  • Monnie Drake (1940)
  • Monta Anne Maki (1980)
  • Mozelle Ransome (1927)
  • Najla Ghazi (1988)
  • Naylene Vuurens (1979)
  • Nelle Xerminia Owens (1942)
  • Neva Jackson (1923)
  • Noralyn Olsen (1971)
  • Onalee Louise Olson (1966)
  • Osjha Michelle Anderson (2000)
  • Othelia Mitsch (1935)
  • Pennisue Largent (1982)
  • Pepper Donna Shore (1947)
  • Pilialoha Kalai Gaison (2007)
  • Ramsey Carpenter (2015)
  • Rana Beth Jones (2004)
  • Ra Nae Petersen (1977)
  • Rashida Tulani Jolley (2001)
  • Raven Malone (1947)
  • ReJean Ann Bowar (1962)
  • Renelle Kimberly Richardson (2001)
  • Ronnee Brunk (1968)
  • Sabrian Olena Rubin (2005)
  • Savvy Shields (2016)
  • Scarlotte Lee Deupree (2003)
  • Semmelle Shantae Ford (2001)
  • Seva Celeste Day (1976)
  • Shandi Finnessey (2003)
  • Sherrylyn Patecell (1961)
  • ShonDrell Latasha Hunter (2004)
  • Soncee Brown (1992)
  • Stuart Fraser Johnson (1959)
  • Tangra Lea Riggle (2003)
  • Tanssia Zara (1922)
  • Timmy Weston (1945)
  • Tippe Emmott (2013)
  • Titilayo Rachel Adedokun (1994)
  • Tosca Carolyn Masini (1951)
  • Toula Hages Straton (1943)
  • Toyia Tynae Taylor (2000)
  • Trelynda Kerr (1984)
  • Urania Judith Nicholaides (1946)
  • Valli Suzanne Kugler (2003)
  • Vanadora Baker (1940)
  • Veena Michelle Goel (2005)
  • Velva Irene Robbins (1954)
  • Wayring Smathers (1937)
  • Wilda Georgine Bowman (1946)
  • Wildeana Withers (1925)
  • Wren Prather (1973)
  • Yanci Jane Yarbrough (2000)
  • Yetta Haber (1925)
  • Ysleta LaVerne Leissner (1949)
  • Yun Tau Zane (1948)
  • Zasada Lord (1926)
  • Zulma Caballero Lopez (1938)

Which of the above do you like best?

For more beauty queen names, check out these posts on Miss Teen USA Names and Miss USA Names.

Sources: Miss America, Norma Smallwood – Wikipedia

Last update to this post: Aug. 2017

Name Your Munchkin after a Munchkin?

If you’re a huge Oz fan — or just a fan of old-fashioned names generally — here’s a list of (most of) the people who played Munchkins in the legendary 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”:

Male Female
Adam
Albert
Arnold
August
Bela
Bernard
Billy (2)
Carl (2)
Carlos
Charles (4)
Charley
Clarence
Colonel
Dominick
Eddie
Elmer
Emil
Eugene
Eulie
Frank (3)
Franklin
Franz
Fredreich
Garland
George (2)
Gerard
Gus
Harry
Harvey
Henry
Howard
Jack
Jakob (2)
James (2)
Jimmie
Jessie
John (2)
Johnny (3)
Joseph (2)
Karl
Kurt
Lajos
Leon
Lewis
Matjus
Matthew
Meinhardt
Mickey
Murray
Nels
Nicholas
Parnell
Prince
Robert
Sandor
Theodore
Tommy
Victor
Walter
Willi
William (2)
Addie
Alta
Ann
Betty (2)
Carolyn
Charlotte
Christie
Dolly
Donna
Elizabeth
Elly
Elsie
Emma
Ethel
Eva
Fern
Freda
Frieda
Gertrude
Gladys (2)
Gracie
Hazel (2)
Helen (2)
Hilda (2)
Hildred
Jeane
Joan
Josefine
Leona
Lida
Lillian
Margaret (3)
Marguerite
Marie
Mitzi
Nita
Nona
Olga
Patsy
Priscilla
Ruth (2)
Shirley
Stella
Thaisa
Valerie
Viola
Yvonne

While the majority of the 132 Munchkins in the film were played by little people, a handful of the female Munchkins were actually played by child actresses.

Source: The Wizardry of Oz by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, via Kansas Wizard of Oz ‘N More.