Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Clyde in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Clyde and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Clyde.
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Marion and Charlotte “Lottie” Story of Bakersfield, California, had at least 22 children — including five sets of twins — from 1922 to 1946. Seventeen of their kids are listed on the 1940 U.S. Census (at right).
I don’t know the names of all the Story children, but here are 20 of them: Jean, Jane, Jack, Jacqueline, June, Eileen, Clyde, Robert, James, Jeannette, Steve, Jerry, Terry (sometimes “Terrytown”), Charlotte, Scotty, Sherrie, Garry, Joanne, Frances (called Lidwina), and Monica (called Sandy).
Charlotte Story herself was one of a dozen children, born from 1899 to 1919. Her 11 siblings were named Pearl, George, Rhea, Hazel, Fern, Ira, Myrtle, Dorothy, Helen, Russell, and Viola.
And Charlotte’s mother Elsie was one of 13 children, born from 1865 to 1892. Her 12 siblings were named Edward, Levi, William, Frank, Rosa, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Archibald, Gertrude, and Emma.
So here’s the question: If you had to choose all of your own children’s names from just one of the sibsets above, which set would you pick? Why?
Today marks the 86th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto.
One thing I’ve always found interesting about the former planet is that its discovery/naming involve a string of people who all happen to have memorable names: Percival, Vesto, Clyde, Herbert, Falconer, and Venetia.
Businessman and astronomer Percival Lowell began looking for the trans-Neptunian planet he’d postulated — “Planet X” — in the early 1900s at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona Territory. Even after he died in 1916, Observatory staff kept up the search.
Young astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh, using photos taken by the Observatory’s astrograph, finally made the discovery on February 18, 1930. The existence of a ninth planet was announced to the public on March 13, which would have been Percival Lowell’s 75th birthday. It was also the anniversary of the discovery of Uranus (in 1781).
Now it was up to the director of Lowell Observatory, astronomer Vesto M. Slipher, to name the new planet.
Soon suggestions indeed poured in from all quarters: Cronus, Odin, Persephone, Erebos, Atlas, Prometheus…the list seemed endless. One young couple even wrote to Tombaugh asking that the planet be named after their newborn child!
The suggestion Slipher liked best was “Pluto.” Not only was Pluto one of the few good names from classical mythology not already in use (Pluto was the ruler of the underworld) but its first two letters coincided with Percival Lowell’s initials.
Ostensibly the suggestion had come to Slipher via telegram from Oxford astronomer Herbert Hall Turner, who was passing it along for retired Bodleian Librarian Falconer Madan, who had gotten it from his 11-year-old granddaughter Venetia Burney, who’d come up with it over breakfast the day after the discovery was announced.
Nowadays it’s hard to believe that Venetia was the very first person to propose the name Pluto. Astronomers at the Brera Observatory in Milan, for instance, had nicknamed the planet Pluto soon after it was discovered. (And Slipher was no doubt aware of this.)
Nevertheless, when Slipher used the name in print for the first time on May 1, he gave Venetia Burney full credit. On May 25, the planet was officially named Pluto.
Today’s question: Which of the male names above do you like best? Vote below, then tell me why in the comments.
Clyde and Dorothy Popp of Missouri had a baby boy in 1952 and named him Soda.
Yup — Soda Popp.
When Soda Popp was enrolled in school, it made the news:
Jefferson City, Mo., May 15 (AP) Soda Popp, 5, has been enrolled for kindergarten here next year.
And he’s been in the news quite a bit since, thanks to his memorable name.
In a 2003 interview with the Kansas City Star, he had this to say about it:
“I tell folks I have a sister named Lolly,” he said with a laugh. “And that I have twin sons, Snap and Crackle.”
That’s fiction, of course. But his name? That’s pure fact, he insists.
“My mom wanted to give me a name that would stand out – something unusual; something folks wouldn’t forget,” he said.
It’s worked. “People say, ‘How could your parents name you that?’ But I’m glad they did. My name has opened a lot of doors for me.”
A writer for the Topeka Capital-Journal spent a few days with Soda Popp in 2007. He said Soda was often forced to produce his driver’s license to prove his name really was “Soda Popp.”
What do you think of the name “Soda Popp” — cool, or cruel?
P.S. Soda Popp reminds me of two names I’ve seen on the 1940 census: R C Cola Osbey, a 21-year-old man in Texas, and Seven Up Stubin, a 22-year-old man in South Carolina. (And Seven Up Stubin reminds me of Lemon Lime Clay.)
“A Little Drink.” Milwaukee Sentinel 16 May 1957: 2.
Frazee, Brent. “Refreshing Soda: Yes, his name is really ‘Soda Popp.'” Kansas City Star 25 May 2003: C14.
Love to fly the friendly skies? Then this list may be for you. Here are some names from early 20th-century aviation history:
Wilbur and Orville
American brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright built and flew the world’s first airplane in December of 1903.
French aviator Louis Blériot was the first to fly a plane across the English Channel (from France to England) in July of 1909.
French aviatrix Elise Raymonde Deroche was the first woman to receive a pilot’s license, in March of 1910.
French aviator and inventor Henri Fabre designed and flew the world’s first seaplane, also in March of 1910.
American aviatrix Harriet Quimby was the first woman to fly across the English Channel (from England to France) in April of 1912 — one day after the sinking of the Titanic. Harriet was also the first U.S. woman to receive a pilot’s license.
John and Arthur
British aviators John Alcock (pilot) and Arthur Whitten Brown (navigator) made the first nonstop transatlantic flight (from Canada to Ireland) in June of 1919.
John and Oakley
American aviators John Macready and Oakley Kelley made the first nonstop transcontinental flight (from New York to San Diego) in May of 1923.
American aviator Charles Lindbergh was the first American and the first solo pilot to fly across the Atlantic (from the U.S. to France) in May of 1927.
American aviator Charles Yeager was the first pilot to travel faster than sound, in October of 1947.
Dieudonné and Joseph
French aviators Dieudonné Costes (pilot) and Joseph Le Brix (navigator) made the first nonstop crossing of the south Atlantic (from Senegal to Brazil) in October of 1927.
Hugh and Clyde
Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn made the first nonstop transpacific flight (from Japan to the U.S.) in October of 1931.
American aviatrix Amelia Earhart was the first woman to make a solo flight across Atlantic (from Canada to Northern Ireland) in May of 1932.
Wiley (and Winnie)
American aviator Wiley Post made the first solo round-the-world flight in July of 1933. The trip took over a week to complete. (His plane, the Winnie Mae, was named after the daughter of the plane’s original owner.)
English aviatrix Amy Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia, in May of 1930.
I concentrated on airplanes, but the history of aviation goes back hundreds of years and covers kites, gliders, balloons, blimps, airships, helicopters, and so forth. What other aviation names can you come up with (from any era, using any aircraft)?
A reader named Danielle wrote to me the other day. She is searching for a name for her second son. She says:
We love the beach, ocean, boating and water and would like something unique to go with that.
Her first son is named Landon Kai. (Kai is the Hawaiian word for “sea,” among other things.)
Dylan, Welsh for “great sea,” was the first name that came to mind. It’s fashionable, and I think it goes well with Landon. Popular variant spellings of Dylan include Dillon and Dillan.
Murdoch/Murdock and Murphy are also tied to the sea. Both can be traced back to the Gaelic name Murchadh, which means “sea warrior.” (Morgan might also be sea-related, depending on the etymology you trust.)
For something more avant garde, sea gods and goddesses with cool names include Lir/Llyr (Irish), Mazu (Chinese), Moana (Polynesian), Nereus and Triton (Greek).
Branching out to other bodies of water…Lincoln and Lachlan are both lake-related, while Kyle refers to a channel or strait. River has been used as name (so has Rio), and specific rivers have given rise to names such as Clyde, Jordan, Kelvin, Shannon and Trent.
The name Jonah is associated with the biblical tale about a prophet who is swallowed by a large fish. The name Ulysses is associated with the Odyseey, a Homeric poem featuring a long sea journey. (The former means “dove” in Hebrew, while the latter comes from a Greek verb meaning “to hate.”)
Finally, a short note to Danielle: Do you have any favorite beaches or bodies of water? Try taking a look at their names. (None will mean “water” or “beach,” but you’ll personally associate the name with those things.) For instance, beaches in my town have names like Gray, Parker and Wilbur. Beaches in nearby towns include Crosby, Ellis, Fisher, Glendon, Orrin and Ryder. And these don’t even cover all the local ponds, lakes, inlets, bays, and so forth.