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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Casara

Number of Babies Named Casara

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Casara

The Double-Spike Baby Name Norita

baby name norita - graph
Usage of the baby name Norita spiked in ’35 and ’37.
Something unusual happened to the baby name Norita in the 1930s:

  • 1939: 34 baby girls named Norita
  • 1938: 47 baby girls named Norita
  • 1937: 155 baby girls named Norita
  • 1936: 19 baby girls named Norita
  • 1935: 89 baby girls named Norita
  • 1934: 7 baby girls named Norita
  • 1933: 6 baby girls named Norita

See how it spiked twice? Interesting, no?

A double-spike requires a double-explanation, and one of those explanations I’ve figured out. The other I’m still working on.

Norita’s 1935 Spike

Norita’s first spike can be traced back to a contest, believe it or not. Contests were all the rage in the mid-1930s according to Newsweek:

Almost every week, radio stations and newspapers announce new contests. Prizes of money, automobiles, and round-the-world trips incite listeners and readers to send in slogans and 50-word essays written on soap wrappers and cigar bands.

This particular contest, sponsored by Gold Medal Flour, was woven into the storyline of an old time radio show called “Betty and Bob.” After characters Betty and Bob Drake found a orphaned baby girl at their doorstep on Christmas Eve of 1934, they asked their audience to help choose a name for her.

Gold Medal Flour magazine advertisements from early 1935 gave detailed descriptions of the baby — “golden hair,” “blue eyes,” “happy disposition” — and hints on picking a name, which they stressed should be “original” and “unique.”

Thousands of cash prizes were offered, including a $10,000 grand prize. Here’s the full list (and what the prizes would be worth in today’s dollars):

  • 1st – $10,000 (equivalent to $170,713.14 in 2013)
  • 2nd – $1,500 ($25,606.97)
  • 3rd – $1,000 ($17,071.31)
  • 4th – $500 ($8,535.66)
  • 5th – $250 ($4,267.83)
  • 6th – $200 ($3,414.26)
  • 7th – $150 ($2,560.70)
  • 8th – $100 ($1,707.13)
  • 9th – $75 ($1,280.35)
  • 10th – $25 ($426.78)
  • 11th – $15 ($256.07)
  • 12th – $10 ($170.71)
  • 13th – $7 ($119.50)
  • 14th – $5 ($85.36)
  • 1,000+ other entrants – $1 each ($17.07)

That’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that the nation was still trying to pull itself out of the Great Depression in the mid-1930s.*

Hundreds of thousands of people entered the contest, which ran until mid-February. Some people really went out of their way to catch the attention of the judges:

One woman painstakingly embroidered a pillow with a name on it and could not understand why she got no prize. She even claimed the work had damaged her eyesight. A man sent an 8-foot, electrically-wired lighthouse with the entry-name over its door. A third contestant contributed a huge doll in an expensive bassinet; a nameplate hung on the doll’s neck.

More than 50,000 people suggested the name Goldie (a nod to Gold Medal Flour). Another 57,000 suggested Betty-Jane.

But only Mrs. E. M. Nelson of Minnesota suggested the grand prize-winning name Norita, a name she’d created from an Old English word for “foster child,” norie (also spelled nory, nurry, etc.). The word ultimately comes from Old French nourrir, meaning “nourish.”

The only other prize-winner I know of was a woman named Martha Hunt of Washington state who submitted the name “Adolla” and received $250 (5th place).

According to a newspaper article from 1942, the Gold Medal Flour “Radio’s Nameless Mystery Baby” contest was General Mills’ second-most successful contest ever. Seven years later, the company was still receiving entries.

Norita’s 1937 Spike

The second spike was higher than the first — 155 babies this time, versus 89 in 1935 — but I haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause.

One thing I can tell you about the 1937 spike is that, in contrast to the 1935 spike, it inspired a lot of variant forms:

Name 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938
Norita 7 89 19 155 47
Noretta 8 15 6 65 32
Noreta 7** 5 52 14
Noreda 17**
Norrita 16**
Noreeta 8**
Noreita 8**
Noritta 8**
Norietta 6**
Norreta 6**
Norretta 5**

**First appearance on the SSA’s list.

A sudden increase in variant forms always points me to an audio source — something that has a lot of people hearing a name, but not seeing it written down. This forces people to come up with their own spellings. The Deirdre and Casara spikes were caused by audio sources, for instance.

So the second Norita spike was likely caused either by radio or by a movie. (Television wasn’t widely adopted until well into the 1950s.)

One other thing I can tell you is that the 1937 spike was localized, just like the 1935 spike. In 1935, most of the babies named Norita were born in the Midwest:

  • 12 Noritas in Minnesota (1935)
  • 9 Noritas in Wisconsin (1935)
  • 7 Noritas in Indiana (1935)
  • 6 Noritas in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio (1935)
  • 5 Noritas in Texas (1935)

The story of a Minnesota woman winning $10,000 by inventing the name “Norita” was probably a lot bigger in this region than elsewhere.

Skipping ahead two years, we see something similar:

  • 17 Noritas in Ohio (1937)
  • 16 Noritas in Pennsylvania (1937)
  • 14 Noritas in California (1937)
  • 11 Noritas in Illinois (1937)
  • 10 Noritas in Texas (1937)
  • 9 Noritas in Indiana and Minnesota (1937)
  • 5 Noritas in Michigan, Oregon, and West Virginia (1937)

The localization isn’t quite as strong, but over 20% of the 1937 Noritas were born in Ohio and Pennsylvania, which is notable.


My best guess is that the second spike is related to the “Betty and Bob” radio show somehow. Perhaps baby Norita became an on-air character in 1937?

But I have no clue why the name was disproportionately popular in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Do you have any ideas?

Also: Do you like the name Norita? Would you ever consider using it for a baby?


  • BLS Inflation Calculator
  • “Contest: 57,000 American Listeners Have The Same Idea” Newsweek 11 May 1935: 38.
  • Hughes, Lawrence M. “Advertising news.” New York Sun 13 Feb. 1941: 23.
  • Whitney, William Dwight Whitney and Benjamin Eli Smith. The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. New York: The Century Co., 1914.
  • “Wins Cash Award for Baby’s Name.” Spokane Daily Chronicle 18 Apr. 1935: 6.

*Did you know some kids were actually named Depression during the Great Depression?

Baby Names Inspired by Misheard Song Lyrics?

lost in emotion, lisa lisa music vido, que sera que seraDo you ever mishear song lyrics?

I do. All the time. (Though I’m not nearly as bad as my husband.)

I ask because I believe today’s baby names can be traced back to a specific set of lyrics misheard by dozens of parents a little more than 20 years ago.


The Names

Casara, Kasarah, Cassara, and Casarah all debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1987. The same year, Kasara returned after being listed only once before (in the mid-1970s). And in 1988, Cassarah made its first and only appearance.

Name 1986 1987 1988 1989
Kasara 22 44 19
Casara 17 34 10
Kasarah 10 25 17
Cassara 9 18 10
Casarah 7 12 10
Cassarah 5

At first I couldn’t figure them out. They didn’t look like alternative spellings of a more popular name. They all popped up at about the same time, pointing to a single pop culture source, but the origin wasn’t obvious (as it had been with names like Daughtry and Cheetara.)

Finally, months after discovering them, I came up with a decent theory.

The Song

Let’s set the scene. Artists on the radio back in 1987 included U2, George Michael, Whitney Houston, Tiffany, Billy Idol, Madonna, The Bangles, Bon Jovi, Kim Wilde, Los Lobos with “La Bamba,” Belinda Carlisle, Exposé, Atlantic Starr…and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam.

In fact, 1987 was a great year for Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Their second album, Spanish Fly, went platinum in August. Two songs from the album ended up becoming Billboard #1 singles — “Head to Toe” in June, “Lost In Emotion” in October.

I’m sure you’ve heard “Lost in Emotion” before, but here’s the video just in case. (How awesome are those outfits, btw?)

Pay special attention to the following lines [starting at 1:27]:

Que sera, que sera
Baby, whatever will be
Que sera, que sera
Between you and me

The Connection

That “que sera, que sera” in the chorus is a corruption of the phrase “que sera, sera,” taken from the earlier song “Que Sera, Sera.” The phrase is commonly thought to mean “whatever will be, will be,” though that’s not quite true.

Anyway, to someone casually listening to “Lost in Emotion” on the radio, the words “que sera” blend together and sound just like Kasara, Casara, and the other names above.

The Proof

Well, not “proof” exactly. But an enticing bit of evidence.

I did a search for anyone (a blogger, say) who’d written about mistaking “que sera” for a girl name. Just to see if anyone could back me up.

Check out this comment I found at song site Am I Right:

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s, “Lost In Emotion”

The Misheard Lyrics:
Kassarah, Kassarah

The Real Lyrics:
Lost in emotion Que sera, que sera.

The Story: My sister named my niece Kassarah after this song. Ooops, oh well a beautifully unique name for a beautiful, unique girl! – Submitted by: Sandee

Jackpot. :)

(Incidentally, the spelling Kassarah has never appeared on any of the SSA’s baby name lists.)

The Conclusion

So that’s what I suspect — in the late ’80s, dozens of expectant parents heard Lisa Lisa’s “Lost in Emotion,” interpreted “que sera” as a female name, and used the misheard lyric as a baby name, spelling it various ways (e.g. Kasara, Casara, Kasarah).

But I’d love to hear other theories if anyone out there has a better explanation.

P.S. Other baby name mysteries I’ve talked about (or solved!): the first airplane baby, the disappearing gas card baby, the babies (not) named after Aqua Net, and the great baby name glitch of 1989.

One-Handed Baby Names – Jimmy, Carter, Tessa, Lynn

When you sign your first name, you use one hand. But when you type it, chances are you need to use both hands — even if your name is a short as Emma, Gus or Ty.

Have you ever wondered which names can be touch-typed on the standard QWERTY keyboard with one hand only? Me too, so I came up with some lists. Let’s check out the left-handed names first, since there are a lot more of them, then right-handed names.

left-handed baby names

Left-Handed Baby Names

  • Ace, Ada, Asa, Ava
  • Babette, Barbara, Barrett, Baxter, Bess, Bette, Brad, Brett
  • Cade, Caesar, Cara, Carter, Casara, Case, Cass, Cesar
  • Dara, Dave, Dax, Debra, Dee, Dessa, Dexter, Drew
  • Ed, Edgar, Edward, Egas, Esta, Etta, Eva, Eve, Everard, Everett, Evette, Ezra
  • Freeda, Fred, Fredda
  • Gage, Garret, Garrett, Gerard, Grace, Greg, Greta, Grete, Gretta
  • Rebeca, Rebecca, Reece, Reed, Reese, Retta, Reva, Rex
  • Sabra, Sage, Sara, Steve, Stewart, Svea
  • Tad, Ted, Tara, Tate, Tera, Teresa, Tess, Tessa, Tex, Trace, Tracee
  • Vera, Vesta, Vester
  • Wade, Wafa, Ward, Wes
  • Zada, Zara, Zed

How funny is it that Dexter, which comes directly from the Latin word for “right,” is typed with the left hand only?

right-handed baby names

Right-Handed Baby Names

  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

I realize that QWERTY “handedness” is not a major baby-naming factor for most people, but I do think it would be cute to pair a one-handed name with another one-handed name — maybe a surname (Teresa Garza, Phillip Hill) or a twin name (Edward & John, Grace & Lily, Zara & Milo). What do you think?