How popular is the baby name Chaffee 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 Chaffee.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Chaffee


Posts that Mention the Name Chaffee

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

1890s

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1940s

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1960s

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2020s

  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

World’s Fair Baby Named for St. Louis

The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, which commemorated the Louisiana Purchase, included “anthropological exhibits” — essentially, various groups of indigenous people put on display. These exhibits included Apaches, “Eskimos” (Tlingits), African Pygmies, and the Ainu of Japan.

One particularly popular exhibit was the 47-acre Philippine Exposition, which featured over 1,000 Filipinos from at least 10 different ethnic groups. (The fair was held soon after the Philippines had become an unincorporated territory of the U.S. following the Philippine-American War* (1899-1902), which itself followed the Spanish-American War.)

On July 6, a Filipino baby boy was born at the Philippine Exposition. When he was christened several weeks later, David R. Francis — the president of the fair (and the former governor of Missouri) — acted as godfather.

The boy’s full name? Louis Francis Silva, first and middle names “in honor of St. Louis and President Francis,” respectively.

Sources:

Image: Philippine Exposition pamphlet

*The military governor of the Philippines from from 1901 to 1902 was Adna Romanza Chaffee, Sr. — the father of Adna Romanza Chaffee, Jr., after whom Fort Chaffee was named.

Toma & Baretta: Crime Drama Baby Names

toma, television, baby name, 1970s

The gritty TV police drama Toma, which starred actor Tony Musante as New Jersey police detective David Toma, started airing in 1973.

The year the show premiered, the baby name Toma, which had only ever appeared in the data as a girl name, started seeing usage as a boy name. It even cracked the boys’ top 1,000 briefly.

  • 1975: 6 baby girls / 26 baby boys named Toma
  • 1974: 21 baby girls / 84 baby boys [rank: 884th] named Toma
  • 1973: 21 baby girls / 43 baby boys [debut] named Toma
  • 1972: 9 baby girls / x baby boys named Toma
  • 1971: 5 baby girls / x baby boys named Toma

But usage petered out after Toma was canceled in 1974.

baretta, television, baby name, 1970s

In 1975, a retooled version of Toma called Baretta came out. The new show, which starred Robert Blake as New York City police detective Tony Baretta, was less violent and included more comic relief than the original. (Baretta had a pet cockatoo named Fred, and one of his informants was a man called Rooster.)

In response, the name Baretta debuted in the baby name data, and it remained there for the same number of years the Emmy-winning series was on the air (1975-1978).

  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: 8 baby boys named Baretta
  • 1977: 13 baby boys named Baretta
  • 1976: 6 baby girls / 13 baby boys named Baretta
  • 1975: 14 baby girls [debut] / 18 baby boys [debut] named Baretta
  • 1974: unlisted

Notice how the name debuted on both sides of the list. Other dual-debut names from the 1970s include Chaffee, Chudney, Khaalis, Shilo, Sundown, and Tavares.

Which name do you like more, Toma or Baretta?

Which of the two do you prefer?

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Illya All Over Again

The baby name Illya debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1965.

The name Illya double-debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1960s:

 YearBoys Named IllyaGirls Named Illya
196755 [rank 980th]10
196678 [rank 828th]11
196535 [debut]5 [debut]
1964unlistedunlisted
1963unlistedunlisted

Illya was the #1 debut name for boys in 1965. In fact, it ended up becoming one of the top boy-name debuts overall, and it reached the top 1000 twice.

So where did it come from?

The influence wasn’t the movie that gave yesterday’s name Ilya a boost, but the Cold War-era spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which premiered on TV in 1964 and ran until 1968. (U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for “United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.”)

The main characters were CIA agent Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughn) and KGB agent Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin (played by David McCallum). Illya, a Slavic form of Elijah, was spelled out in the opening credits.

The name Napoleon may have also gotten a slight boost from the show, though it’s hard to tell.

Do you like the name Illya?

(Other dual-gender debuts I’ve posted about include Chaffee, Dasani, Dondi, Rikishi, and Sundown.)

Where did the baby name Dasani come from?

dasani, water, baby name, 1990s

Bottled water became increasingly trendy in the U.S. during the final decades of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the mid-to-late ’90s, though, that major players in the beverage industry finally hopped on the bandwagon: Pepsi launched Aquafina in 1994, and Coca-Cola followed with Dasani in 1999.

While I’ve never* seen “Aquafina” used as a human name, Dasani popped up in the U.S. baby name data right on cue in 1999. In fact, in was a rare dual-gender** debut that year:

  • 2004: 63 baby girls + 19 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2003: 67 baby girls + 18 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2002: 105 baby girls + 28 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2001: 94 baby girls + 60 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2000: 58 baby girls + 37 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1999: 9 baby girls + 9 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: unlisted

The name, which saw peak usage in the early 2000s, also gave rise to a bunch of variants (Dasany, Dasanii, Desani) and soundalikes (Asani, Masani, Jasani, Tasani, Kasani, Sani).

What does the word Dasani mean? Here’s the official answer, straight from the 1999 version of the Dasani website (archived via the Wayback Machine):

People are having a lot of fun guessing the origin of the name DASANI. One Coca-Cola executive jokingly said it sounded like a “Roman god of water.” Actually, the name DASANI is an original creation. Consumer testing showed that the name is relaxing and suggests pureness and replenishment.

Similarly, an article from early 1999 explained that “the name Dasani isn’t derived from any existing word, English or foreign, but is meant to evoke the idea of freshness and purity.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Dasani?

*I’ve seen Aquafina used as a stage name, though: Awkwafina (born Nora Lum).

**Other dual-gender debuts include Chaffee, Dondi, Rikishi, Shelva, and Sundown.

Sources: