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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Delphine

Number of Babies Named Delphine

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Delphine

Early Recognition of the “Great-Grandparent Rule”

grandmotherA baby name becomes trendy for one generation. For the next two generations, while those initial babies are parent-aged and grandparent-aged, you can expect the name to go out of style. But during the third generation, once the cohort reaches great-grandparent age, the name is free to come back into fashion.

Evelyn is a name with a usage pattern that fits this description well.

I’ve seen it described elsewhere as the 100-Year Rule, but I prefer to call it the Great-Grandparent Rule, as it makes more sense to me to frame it in terms of generations.

Essentially, the pattern has to do with a name’s main generational association shifting from “a name that belongs to real-life old people” to “a name that sounds pleasantly old-fashioned.”

I used to think the pattern was one we’d only recently discovered — something we needed the data to see — but it turns out that at least one observant person noticed this trend and wrote about it in The San Francisco Call more than 100 years ago (boldface mine):

Time was — and that not very long ago — when old fashioned names, as old fashioned furniture, crockery and hand embroideries, were declared out of date. The progress of the ages that replaced the slower work of hand by the speed of machines cast a blight on everything that betokened age.

Spinning wheels were stowed away in attics, grandmothers’ gowns were tucked into cedar chests, old porcelain of plain design was replaced by more gaudy utensils and machine made and embroidered dresses and lingerie lined the closets where formerly only handwork was hung.

So with given names. Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah, Hannah and Anne, one and all, were declared old fashioned and were relegated to past ages to be succeeded by Gladys, Helen, Delphine, Gwendolyn, Geraldine and Lillian and a host of other more showy appellations.

Two generations of these, and woman exercised her time honored privilege and changed her mind.

She woke suddenly to the value of history, hustled from their hiding places the ancient robes and furnishings that were her insignia of culture, discarded the work of the modern machine for the finer output of her own fair hands, and, as a finishing touch, christened her children after their great-grandparents.

Old fashioned names revived with fervor and those once despised are now termed quaint and pretty and “quite the style, my dear.”

Pretty cool that this every-third-generation pattern was already an observable phenomenon three generations ago.

The article went on to list society babies with names like Barbara, Betsy, Bridget, Dorcas (“decidedly Puritan”), Dorothea, Frances, Henrietta, Jane, Josephine, Lucy, Margaret, Mary, Olivia, and Sarah (“much in vogue a century ago”).

Have you see the 100-Year Rule/Great-Grandparent Rule at play in your own family tree? If so, what was the name and what were the birth years?

Source: “Society” [Editorial]. San Francisco Call 17 Aug. 1913: 19.
Image: Frances Marie via Morguefile


Mystery Baby Names – Open Cases

I’m a baby name blogger, but sometimes I feel more like a baby name detective. Because so much of my blogging time is spent doing detective work: trying to figure out where a particular baby name comes from, or why a name saw a sudden jump (or drop) in usage during a particular year.

If a name itself doesn’t make the answer obvious (e.g., Lindbergh) and a simple Google search hasn’t helped, my first bit of detective work involves scanning the baby name charts. I’ve learned that many search-resistant baby names (like Deatra) are merely alternative spellings of more common names (Deirdre).

If that doesn’t do it, I go back to Google for some advanced-level ninja searching, to help me zero in on specific types of historical or pop culture events. This is how I traced Irmalee back to a character in a short story in a very old issue of the once-popular McCall’s Magazine.

But if I haven’t gotten anywhere after a few rounds of ninja searching, I officially give up and turn the mystery baby name over to you guys. Together we’ve cracked a couple of cases (yay!) but, unfortunately, most of the mystery baby names I’ve blogged about are still big fat mysteries.

Here’s the current list of open cases:

  • Wanza, girl name, debuted in 1915.
  • Nerine, girl name, debuted in 1917.
  • Laquita, girl name, debuted in 1930.
  • Norita, girl name, spiked (for the 2nd time) in 1937.
  • Delphine, girl name, spiked in 1958.
  • Leshia, girl name, debuted in 1960.
  • Lavoris, girl name, debuted in 1961.
  • Djuna, girl name, debuted in 1964.
  • Latrenda, girl name, debuted in 1965.
  • Ondina, girl name, debuted in 1968.
  • Khari, boy name, debuted in 1971.
  • Jelani, boy name, debuted in 1973.
  • Toshiba, girl name, debuted in 1974.
  • Brieanna, girl name, debuted in 1979.
  • Sumiko, girl name, spiked in 1980.
  • Tou, boy name, debuted in 1980.
  • Marquita, girl name, spiked in 1983.
  • Caelan, boy name, debuted in 1992.
  • Deyonta, boy name, debuted in 1993.
  • Trayvond, boy name, debuted in 1994.
  • Zeandre, boy name, debuted in 1997.
  • Yatzari, girl name, debuted in 2000.
  • Itzae, boy name, debuted in 2011.

If you enjoy sleuthing, please give some of the above a shot! I’d love to knock one or two off the list before I start adding more mystery names in the coming weeks…

Update, 1/23/15: Forgot to add Avenir from the distinctive baby names, state by state list (see Oregon & Washington). It debuted as a boy name in 2002.

Update, 7/13/16: More still-open cases from the Mystery Monday series last summer: Theta, Memory, Treasure, Clione, Trenace, Bisceglia, Genghis and Temujin.

Mystery Baby Name – Delphine

The baby name Delphine has an interesting popularity graph. Usage of the name peaked in the 1920s and it may have had a long, slow decline all the way to the end of the century…if not for a period of increased in usage from the late ’40s until the early ’60s.

Even more curious? A spike in the number babies named Delphine in 1958:

  • 1960: 192 baby girls named Delphine
  • 1959: 252 baby girls named Delphine
  • 1958: 347 baby girls named Delphine
  • 1957: 132 baby girls named Delphine
  • 1956: 154 baby girls named Delphine

I’m not sure what caused the turnaround in the late ’40s (maybe Delphine Downing played a part?) and I’m also not sure what caused the spike.

Any ideas?

UPDATE: Commenter Becca figured out the spike. It was caused by the TV show Kitty Foyle, which aired on NBC during the first half of 1958. Thanks, Becca!

Unique Baby Names in Quebec, 2012

One thing I love about Quebec? Their yearly baby name list includes all baby names.

Not just names given to 5 or more babies, like the U.S. list. Not just names given to 3 or more babies, like the England and Wales list.

Every single name. Regardless of whether the name was given to hundreds of babies or just one.

Privacy: Who needs it! :)

Here are some stats on all those Quebec names:

  • 7,921 boy names total
    • 6,107 (77%) of them were given to 1 baby boy
    • 7121 (90%) of them were given to 1, 2, 3 or 4 baby boys*
  • 9,074 girl names total
    • 6,686 (74%) of them were given to 1 baby girl
    • 8058 (89%) of them were given to 1, 2, 3 or 4 baby girls*

*So, if the names given to 5+ babies in Quebec account for only about 10% of the names on the full list, and we assume baby name distribution in the U.S. is similar, the “full” U.S. lists should contain over 140,000 boy names and over 190,000 girl names.

Here are some of Quebec’s unique names (used only once):

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
Aghogho Elise
Alphee
Aoua
Apphia
Arnautilik Louisa
Aupale
Auphelie
Ayagutaq
Becky Tillikasak
Berlidia
Brunette
Cloud
Cloudine Mae
Cocolo
Delphine Eleonore
Desneiges
Euphelie
Evodine Ntshila
Feenix
Felixia
Fella
Fenixia
Feriel Nouara
Fihagarra
Flechanne
Flechelle
Fleurange
Franstevia
Fritzmaelle Deborah
Garrissa
Grace Nono Dipita
Iakohontsiio
Iakoteraswiioshton
Iaohseranawen
Ibtihel
Ichnekanoron
Idonia
Iehwatsirahnira’ts
Ietohrhuostha
Iotenhariio
Ipena Alexa
Iphigenie
Itohan
Justinique
Katsitsenhawitha
Kayla de la Caridad
Kelo-Meteore
Knoxia
Lady-Snider
Latt Hemlyss
Livia Mbombo
Ludgy
Lumen Pascale
Lyora Lyssandre
Maatiwaaytaabinukwaa
Maisie Inuusiq
Maniphone
Maori
Mar Mar
Mardochee Widlyka
Mavourneen
Mavrixe
Mennishkuess
Mewefca
Myrianna Pishumuss
Myrrhielle
Nancy Silaggi
Necerine
Nephthalia Elani
Oriana
Oriella
Orlanel Keriane Elsa
Orlguine
Ossossohou
Ouassila
Ouerdia
Paglianie Stacy
Perpetua
Prielle Tehora
Qilabuk
Qiluqi
Qods
Qullik
Qupanuaq
Ralphine
Roldyanna
Romance
Rosemaelle-Esperance
San San Jessica
Scotia
Sevim
Shellsea
Shyness
Sila Grey
Sombriddy
Stephanie Daystar
Stevia
Stherlyn’s
Sublime
Tally-Ann Uapikuniss
Teiakotshennonnihat
Teieronhiathe Tha
Teietsitsen Tons
Thalia Sgrolma
Thaliamenie
Thea Daphnee
Tiewennaie Na’s
Tillikasak
Trickcy
Tsubaki-Constance
Vinuki Sethlini
Vithusha
Vithushana
Wazberly
Wildana
Willfalya Gladaelle
Wilthalia
Windflower
Woodaelle
Wylianna
Xxxxxxxalaniq O’oka
Yvedianah
Zaely Hyacinthia
Agape Enrique
Aws
Brudginel-Bryan
Chedly
Chivens
Christian Braveheart
Chromeo
Cliffordson
Darling Jose
Darvens Moteler
Davinnsly
Delivrance
Dykxon
Ecclesiaste
Enbo
Fackel
Favour-Fane
Folly
Fougnigue
Fred-Eden
Ghemsley Nollens
Gia-Uy
Godly Christian
Heaven Theophile
Hichembentaiba
Ittulaaq
Judley
Kahrhata’kehshon
Kendley-Wilgenson
Kenny S. Phacoly
Klyf
Kylliam
Lafleche William
Lamartiniere Junior
Lewandowski
Lord-Lee Treasure
Manhattan-Zola
Manic
Mardochee
Milliam
Mortadha
Neo-Phoenix
Nyrlberson
Olmo Centeotl
Pat-Leo
Perseus Koperqualuk
Po Bing
Polycarpe Riley
Quincy-Herby
Quindlley
Rahontsawaks
Rahontsiiostha
Raiden Jethro
Ra’kerenhat’atie
Rakhmondzhon
Rallendi
Ramzi Nizar
Rani’ Konhra Katste
Raniehtenha Wi
Rarennisa’s
Rarennonni
Ratanakpich
Ricci Smily
Rocky Junior
Rolmerson
Ronikonrahniron
Roolens
Roque
Roweniente
Salomon Ghandi
Sebastian Berry-D
Shaquille-Shanqi
Shelby-Christ
Success
Sunny Skye
Sunny-James
Tchy
Tebly
Thominhdy
Tiesto
Toly-Jos
Tristar
Trooper
Tsikahnawakeniate H
Uqitatuq
Uqittuk
Utshimass
Victor-Sam Ikuagasak
Vuyolwethu
Wa’kenhrawakon
Widolph-Tristan
William-Promedi
Winner
Wynn Oscar
X-Zaylen
Yanga
Ylai Santiago
Yohann Tresors
Ywisnavin
Zack Browndly
Zion-Lee Eliott

I had my eye out for Inuit names in particular.

Among the girl names given to two babies last year, I spotted both Chaya Mushka and Katniss.

P.S. Here are the Most Popular Baby Names in Quebec for 2012.

110+ Hidden Gems: Rare Baby Girl Names

gemstoneWant a girl name that’s not popular, but also not made-up?

I looked through the names at the bottom of SSA’s 2011 mega-list and found a bunch of hidden gems:

  1. Alberta (9 baby girls)
  2. Alexandrina (6)
  3. Amity (28)
  4. Apollonia (21)
  5. Augusta (31)
  6. Augustina (15)
  7. Avelina (34)
  8. Bernadine (6)
  9. Bertha (45)
  10. Bettina (8)
  11. Blanche (6)
  12. Bryony (5); Briony (16)
  13. Carlotta (20)
  14. Celestina (19)
  15. Celestine (7)
  16. Cicely (14)
  17. Claribel (19)
  18. Clarice (37)
  19. Clarity (17)
  20. Claudette (9)
  21. Claudine (9)
  22. Clementina (7)
  23. Constantina (5)
  24. Coretta (5)
  25. Corinna (37)
  26. Cornelia (17)
  27. Damiana (10)
  28. Davida (10)
  29. Delphine (26)
  30. Dinah (44)
  31. Dolores (39)
  32. Dorothea (15)
  33. Edwina (8)
  34. Eloisa (42)
  35. Enid (15)
  36. Ernestina (5)
  37. Eugenia (29)
  38. Eugenie (8)
  39. Eulalia (25)
  40. Euphemia (5)
  41. Evita (13)
  42. Fabiana (47)
  43. Faustina (21)
  44. Flavia (12)
  45. Floriana (6)
  46. Florina (6)
  47. Georgette (24)
  48. Gertrude (16)
  49. Gloriana (22)
  50. Golda (34)
  51. Goldie (37)
  52. Heloise (8)
  53. Henrietta (34)
  54. Hilda (40)
  55. Imelda (23)
  56. Io (9)
  57. Ione (26)
  58. Isidora (13)
  59. Jeanne (39)
  60. Josette (27)
  61. Junia (17)
  62. Linnaea (12)
  63. Lucette (7)
  64. Lucienne (43)
  65. Lucilla (12)
  66. Marietta (22)
  67. Maude (9)
  68. Mavis (38)
  69. Minerva (38)
  70. Nanette (8)
  71. Nell (32)
  72. Nella (38)
  73. Nicola (30)
  74. Nicoletta (19)
  75. Nicolina (29)
  76. Odette (48)
  77. Olympia (22)
  78. Orla (28); Orlagh (6)
  79. Phillipa (10)
  80. Philomena (41)
  81. Phyllis (20)
  82. Rhoda (28)
  83. Romana (6)
  84. Rosabella (46)
  85. Rosalba (17)
  86. Rosaline (20)
  87. Rosella (26)
  88. Rosetta (25)
  89. Rosette (5)
  90. Rosina (17)
  91. Rowena (15)
  92. Rubina (5)
  93. Rue (13)
  94. Sebastiana (5)
  95. Seraphine (19)
  96. Sigrid (15)
  97. Stephania (32)
  98. Sybilla (5)
  99. Talulla (5)
  100. Therese (47)
  101. Thomasina (6)
  102. Thora (19)
  103. Tova (43)
  104. Ulyssa (8)
  105. Ursula (25)
  106. Vashti (16)
  107. Verity (38)
  108. Violetta (46)
  109. Vita (36)
  110. Wanda (23)
  111. Winifred (30)
  112. Winona (20)
  113. Xanthe (7)
  114. Zenaida (36)
  115. Zenobia (22)
  116. Zillah (9)
  117. Zipporah (41); Tzipporah (12)

(In some cases, a different spelling of the name is more popular than what’s shown here. For instance, Isidora is rare, but Isadora is more common.)

Like any of these?

Did you spot any other great end-of-the-list names?

See the boys’ list, or check out the Rare Baby Names page.