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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Denali

Number of Babies Named Denali

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Denali

100+ Baby Names for 100 Years of the NPS

national park service 100th birthday (zion poster, 1938)The U.S. National Park Service has a birthday coming up!

When the NPS was created on August 25, 1916, there were only 35 national parks and monuments. (The world’s first, Yellowstone, had been established in 1872.)

Nowadays the agency oversees 411 units. These units are located in the 50 states and beyond, and include national monuments (82), national historic sites (78), national parks (59), national historical parks (50), national memorials (30), national battlefields (11), national seashores (10), national lakeshores (4), national scenic trails (3), and more.

Let’s celebrate the upcoming centenary with over 100 baby names that pay tribute to the national parks specifically:

  • Acadia for Acadia National Park.
  • Angel or Angela for Grand Canyon National Park’s Angel’s Window.
  • Arrow for the NPS emblem, the arrowhead.
  • Archer for Arches National Park.
  • Barbara for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Barbara Island.
  • Bathsheba for Hot Springs National Park’s Bathhouse Row.
  • Bay for any of the parks featuring a bay, such as Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, Biscayne National Park, etc.
  • Benda or Bendrick for Big Bend National Park.
  • Bona for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Bona.
  • Bristol for Great Basin National Park’s bristlecone pines.
  • Bryce or Brycen for Bryce Canyon National Park.
  • Cadden or Caddie for Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain.
  • Cade for Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Cades Cove.
  • Canyon for any of the parks featuring a canyon, such as Grand Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, etc.
  • Capitola for Capitol Reef National Park or for Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan.
  • Carl or Carla for Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
  • Caven for Mammoth Cave National Park.
  • Cedar for Congaree National Park’s Cedar Creek.
  • Cinder for Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Cinder Cone.
  • Clark for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.
  • Clifford or Clifton for Mesa Verde National Park’s Cliff Palace.
  • Cruz for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Cruz Island.
  • Delica for Arches National Park’s Delicate Arch.
  • Denali for Denali National Park & Preserve.
  • Denison for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Denison.
  • Domenica or Domenico for Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome.
  • Douglas for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Douglas.
  • Elias for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
  • Elliott for Biscayne National Park’s Elliott Key.
  • Ever or Everly for Everglades National Park.
  • Faith for Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful geyser.
  • Forest for Petrified Forest National Park.
  • Garland for Garland County, Arkansas, where Hot Springs National Park is located.
  • Gates for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve.
  • Guadalupe for Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
  • Gunnison for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
    • The park was established in 1999, and Gunnison debuted on the baby name charts the very same year. Did one event cause the other?
  • Harding for Kenai Fjords National Park’s Harding Icefield.
  • Hassel for Virgin Islands National Park’s Hassel Island.
  • Jackson for Jackson Hole, where much of Grand Teton National Park is located.
  • Jarvis for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Jarvis.
  • Jefferson for Dry Tortugas National Park’s Fort Jefferson.
  • John for Virgin Islands National Park’s St. John Island.
  • Joshua for Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Kenai for Kenai Fjords National Park.
    • The derivation of Kenai is unknown, but it could come from either Dena’ina Athabascan (“big flat” or “two big flats and river cut-back” or “trees and brush in a swampy marsh”), Russian (“flat barren land”), or Iniut (“black bear”).
  • Kingston or Kingsley for Kings Canyon National Park.
  • Lake for any of the parks featuring lakes, such as Crater Lake National Park, Voyageurs National Park, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, etc.
  • Lamar for Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
  • Lata for the National Park of American Samoa’s Lata Mountain.
  • Lehman for Great Basin National Park’s Lehman Caves.
  • Lewis for Glacier National Park’s Lewis Range.
  • Livingston for Glacier National Park’s Livingston Range.
  • Manning for Saguaro National Park’s Manning Cabin.
  • Mara for Joshua Tree National Park’s Oasis of Mara.
    • In the Serrano language, Mara means “the place of little springs and much grass.”
  • Martin for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Martin.
  • Maui, where Haleakalā National Park is located.
  • Mauna for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Mauna Loa.
  • Miguel for Channel Islands National Park’s San Miguel Island.
  • Norris for Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin.
  • North for North Cascades National Park.
  • Olympia for Olympic National Park.
  • Parker, Parkyr, Parks, Park, or Parke as a tribute to all national parks.
  • Pele as a symbol of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
  • Prairie for any of the parks featuring a prairie, such as Badlands National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, etc.
  • Pratt for Guadalupe Mountains National Park’s Pratt Cabin.
  • Rainier for Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Ranger as a tribute to all national parks and park rangers.
  • Reef for Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Rhodes for Biscayne National Park’s Old Rhodes Key.
  • Rocky for Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Roosevelt for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • Rosa for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Rosa Island.
  • Royale or Royal for Isle Royale National Park.
  • Sandy for Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Sanford for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Sanford.
  • Sequoia for Sequoia National Park.
  • Shenandoah for Shenandoah National Park.
  • Sherman for Sequoia National Park’s General Sherman Tree.
  • Sky or Skye for any of the parks featuring a night sky program, such as Big Bend National Park, Great Basin National Park, etc.
  • Talus for Pinnacles National Park’s talus caves.
  • Theodore for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • Valley for any of the parks featuring a valley, such as Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Kobuk Valley, etc.
  • Verda or Verdell for Mesa Verde National Park.
  • Virginia for Virgin Islands National Park.
  • Windy for Wind Cave National Park.
  • Wolfe for Arches National Park’s Wolfe Ranch.
  • Woodrow or Wilson for Woodrow Wilson, who signed the act that created the NPS.
  • Woodson or Woody for Redwood National and State Parks.
  • Yosemite for Yosemite National Park.
  • Zion for Zion National Park.

For all you national park lovers out there: What other park-inspired names can you come up with?

Sources: List of national parks of the United States – Wikipedia, History (U.S. National Park Service), NPS Site Designations (pdf), Kenai Fjords National Park Profile 2015 (pdf)

Image: Adapted from Zion National Park, Ranger Naturalist Service – LOC


Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2015

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2015!

Quick disclaimer: Some of these names were already on the rise. Others were likely influenced by multiple pop culture events/people (not just the one listed). So I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence for yourself.

Adaline, +737 [ranked 11th on the list of raw-number increases for girl names]

  • Up from 164 baby girls in 2014 to 901 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).

Abel, +659 [ranked 12th on the list of raw-number increases for boy names]

  • Up from 2,557 baby boys in 2014 to 3,216 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Abęl Makkonen Tesfaye (stage name The Weeknd).

Finn, +301 [ranked 47th on the list of raw-number increases for boy names]

  • Up from 1,580 baby boys in 2014 to 1,881 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Taya, +180

  • Up from 93 baby girls in 2014 to 273 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie American Sniper (2014).

Lucille, +142

  • Up from 970 baby girls in 2014 to 1,112 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of B. B. King (whose guitars were all called “Lucille”).

Margot, +126

  • Up from 377 baby girls in 2014 to 503 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actress Margot Robbie.

Atticus, +106

  • Up from 852 baby boys in 2014 to 958 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the book Go Set a Watchman (2015).

Canaan, +104

  • Up from 179 baby girls in 2014 to 283 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the news of Oprah Winfrey’s son, Canaan.

Hakeem, +87

  • Up from 72 baby boys in 2014 to 159 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Annalise, +78

  • Up from 699 baby boys in 2014 to 777 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show How to Get Away with Murder (2014-).

Lola, +57

  • Up from 1,386 baby girls in 2014 to 1,443 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Arlo, +54

  • Up from 518 baby boys in 2014 to 572 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Carter, +53

  • Up from 10,674 baby boys in 2014 to 10,727 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: unsure (suggested in the comments).

Carli, +36

  • Up from 110 baby girls in 2014 to 146 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Carli Lloyd.

Margo, +36

  • Up from 152 baby girls in 2014 to 188 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Paper Towns (2015).

Bjorn, +35

  • Up from 63 baby boys in 2014 to 98 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Roland, +32

  • Up from 437 baby boys in 2014 to 469 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie By The Sea (2015).

Taraji, +30

  • Up from 200 baby girls in 2014 to 230 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Adonis, +29

  • Up from 327 baby boys in 2014 to 356 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Creed (2015).

Sullivan (as a boy name), +29

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2014 to 660 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Sullivan Stapleton.

Joy, +28

  • Up from 692 baby girls in 2014 to 720 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Inside Out (2015).

Kylo, +27

  • Up from 8 baby boys in 2014 to 35 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Alex (as a girl name), +25

  • Up from 160 baby girls in 2014 to 185 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Alex Morgan.

Rebel, +25 (as a girl name), -3 (as a boy name)

  • Up from 58 baby girls in 2014 to 83 in 2015.
  • Down from 48 baby boys in 2014 to 45 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the Confederate flag debate.
  • Update, 5/12/16: The state-by-state data was just released. Of the 83 baby girls named Rebel, 12 were born in Texas, 9 in California, 8 in Arkansas and 6 in Oklahoma. Of the 45 boys, 7 were born in Texas and 5 in Tennessee.

Meghan, +24

  • Up from 214 baby girls in 2014 to 238 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Meghan Klingenberg.

Lucious, +18

  • Up from 19 baby boys in 2014 to 37 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Christie, +15

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2014 to 46 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Christie Rampone.

Tobin (as a girl name), re-entered with 14

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 14 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Tobin Heath.

Alessia, +13

  • Up from 200 baby girls in 2014 to 213 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Alessia Cara.

Lyon, +13

  • Up from 29 baby boys in 2014 to 42 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Kelsea, +12

  • Up from 35 baby girls in 2014 to 47 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

Gigi, +11

  • Up from 27 baby girls in 2014 to 38 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: model Gigi Hadid.

Ragnar, +11

  • Up from 19 baby boys in 2014 to 30 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Rollo, re-entered with 10

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 10 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Max (as a girl name), +9

  • Up from 14 baby girls in 2014 to 23 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: Maxima “Max” Chan Zuckerberg, daughter of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Poe, re-entered with 9

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 9 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Denali, +8 (as a boy name) and +7 (as a girl name)

  • Up from 20 baby boys in 2014 to 28 in 2015.
  • Up from 55 baby girls in 2014 to 62 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the renaming of Denali.

Bindi, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: Dancing with the Stars contestant Bindi Irwin.

Eilis, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Brooklyn (2015).

Trai, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Becky, +5

  • Up from 53 baby girls in 2014 to 58 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Becky Sauerbrunn.

Bernie, +5

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2014 to 11 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Saint, +5

  • Up from 32 baby boys in 2014 to 37 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: Saint West, son of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Serra, +5

  • Up from 12 baby girls in 2014 to 17 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the canonization of Junipero Serra.

Taron, +4

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2014 to 35 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Taron Egerton.

Names that went down:

Names not on the SSA’s list in 2015:

  • Aslaug
  • Bryshere
  • Cookie
  • Dameron
  • DuVernay
  • Empire
  • Furiosa
  • Halsey
  • Jeralean
  • Junipero
  • Jussie
  • Lagertha
  • Rey (as a girl name)
  • Sonoya
  • Trump

Did any of these surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2014 game that have started/continued to do well: Hazel, Amal, Tauriel, and Wyatt (as a girl name). Elsa and Anna, on the other hand, both saw drops in usage.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2015

pop culture baby name game 2015

Two momentous things happen every year on December 2. First, Britney Spears celebrates her birthday. (Happy b-day, Brit-Brit!) Second, NBN kicks off another round of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

Which baby names will see significant movement on the baby name charts in 2015 thanks to popular culture (television, music, movies, sports, current events, products/advertising, video games, etc.)? Comment below with your guesses. Don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.

Here are a few to start us off:

  • Adaline – the movie The Age of Adaline was released in April
  • Arlo – the movie The Good Dinosaur was released in November
  • Atticus – the book Go Set a Watchman was released in July
  • Bernie – Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign in May
  • Bryshere, Cookie, Empire, Hakeem, Jussie, Lola, Lucious, Lyon, Taraji, Trai – the show Empire debuted in January
  • Denali – the mountain was renamed in August
  • Furiosa – the movie Mad Max was released in May (suggested by Megan)
  • Jeralean – supercentenarian Jeralean Talley died in June (suggested by elbowin)
  • Junipero, Serra – 18th-century priest Junipero Serra was canonized in September
  • Lucille – musician B. B. King died in May (suggested by elbowin)
  • Margo, Quentin – the movie Paper Towns was released in July
  • Misty – ballerina Misty Copeland became the ABT’s first-ever African-American female principal dancer in June
  • Roland, Vanessa – the movie By the Sea was released in November
  • Trump – Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in June

I’ll post the results in mid-May, after the SSA releases the 2015 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, subscribe!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011: #1 & #2, 2010.

Name Quotes for the Weekend #33

It's not like I called her Coffee Table - quote by Holly Madison, mother of Rainbow

From an interview with Holly Madison at Yahoo Parenting:

Q: People love to pass judgment on baby names — everyone has an opinion. Your daughter Rainbow has an unusual name; did you have to deal with a lot of judgment there?

A: Oh, yeah. I got flooded with stupid commentary on social media. It’s definitely a unique name. I like unique names and I wouldn’t have picked it if were common. But, growing up, there was a girl in my class named Rainbow. I grew up in Oregon, where a lot of hippies went to start families. There was a girl at school named Rainbow, and I was so jealous and I wanted it to be my name. So it’s definitely unusual, but it’s a name. It’s not like I called her Coffee Table. People love to say, “That’s a stripper name.” But I’ve spent a lot of time in Vegas and strippers aren’t named Rainbow. They’re named Amber, Crystal and Jessica.

From an article about Woody Guthrie’s son Joady in the Mercury News:

Joady Guthrie was named for Tom Joad, the hero of John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” because his father, himself a political activist and an Oklahoman, or “Okie,” was sympathetic to the plight of 1930s farmers of the Great Depression. Many of Woody Guthrie’s songs championed Dust Bowl migrant workers and working people.

From an article about a baby sloth at the London Zoo:

The seven-week-old two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus), born to second-time parents Marilyn and Leander, needed a helping hand when his mum stopped producing milk, and was unable to care for her infant.

Keepers have named the young male Edward after Johnny Depp’s famous character, Edward Scissorhands, due to his impressive claws – which will grow up to four inches in length and enable him to cling on and climb easily through the tree-top branches of his Rainforest Life home.

From the opinion piece “Denali and the Names of the Past” by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker:

The truth is that the obsession with word magic and names is a primitive one, inherently irrational. Names are notional. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet–or as rancid, depending; a mountain by its older name is just as tall. Yet the desire to remedy the wrongs of the past by righting our nomenclature is a deep one, and it burns on. Word magic it may be, and no more than that, but we believe in magic, and we think in words.

[…]

Nothing depends on names. The rock will not get an inch taller or shorter or changed in nature depending on what we call it. If Ohioans want to keep calling it Mount McKinley, let them, and let them take a place of pride along with those who are fighting to keep Pluto called a planet. We are not slaves of our tongues. But we are citizens of our languages. Choosing names is a way of expressing emotions. The things of this world can exist with as many names as we choose to give them, and the biggest among them can take on many identities without getting any smaller.

(This is in response to Denali’s recent renaming.)

From “Leave Mariah Alone, Dammit” at New York Magazine site The Cut:

Little Moroccan, whose name is technically a modifier, modified Mariah’s photo-op by briefly rushing over to hug her.

From “The Paradox of Baby Names” by Megan Garber in The Atlantic:

Erfolgswelle [a baby-naming company in Switzerland] has a business not just because there are people in the world with $31,000 lying around to finance its services, but because there can be a game-theory component to baby-naming. While some parents choose traditional names for their kids, and many others choose family names, and many others choose names that have been lifted from pop culture…many other new parents seek unusual names that, they hope, will help their kids stand out rather than fit in. As the sociologist Philip Cohen put it, exploring the precipitous decline of the name Mary in recent years, “Conformity to tradition has been replaced by conformity to individuality.”

(Thank you to commenter Pernille for making sure I saw this one!)

From an article about the late Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney in the New York Times:

Mr. Pinckney’s late mother, Theopia Stevenson Aikens, was a baseball fan who named her son after Roberto Clemente, the Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star, who had died in a plane crash seven months earlier while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, family members said. His last name, one of the most stories in South Carolina politics, is that of a pair of white slaveholding cousins who signed the United States Constitution.

From a comment about Vietnamese names by reader Pham Quang Vinh in Viet Nam News:

Vietnamese address other compatriots by their first name, not by their family name like other peoples in the world and always call it in Vietnamese way, which means they will pronounce the last syllable of the longer full name for addressing that person.

For example, if a person is named Nguyen Manchester United, everybody will know he comes from the Nguyen family and no matter what follows Nguyen, including a middle name or addressed name or not, it must be translated and spoken in Vietnamese way and will become something like man-chet-to-diu-nai-tit, so, people will call him Tit.

Nobody cares about what lies before the “Tit” in his full name. If he is stopped by a policeman on the street, he would be called “Anh (Brother) Tit” or “Ong (Mister) Tit.”

For previous quote posts, check out the name quotes category.

Will Denali’s Renaming Influence Baby Names?

When I posted about Denali (the name) back in May, the federal government was still calling Denali (the mountain) “Mount McKinley.”

That changed about a week ago, when the federal government officially renamed the mountain “Denali” during Obama’s historic trip to Alaska.

Republicans from Ohio are not pleased about this, predictably, but everyone else seems to be.

Will this news have a noticeable affect the usage of the baby name Denali in 2015, do you think?

Popular Baby Names in Alberta, 2014

According to data from Service Alberta, the most popular baby names in Alberta in 2014 were (again) Olivia and Liam.

Here are Alberta’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Emily
4. Sophia
5. Ava
6. Isabella
7. Abigail
8. Ella
9. Charlotte
10. Hannah
1. Liam
2. Ethan
3. Benjamin
4. William
5. Logan
6. Noah
7. Jacob
8. Oliver
9. Lucas
10. Carter

In the girls’ top 10, Isabella, Ella, and Hannah replace Avery, Chloe and Lily.

In the boys’ top 10, Oliver replaces Mason, and Lucas drops from 2nd to 9th.

A total of “6,110 distinct boy names and 7,409 distinct girl names” were registered last year. Here are some of the more unusual picks:

Unusual Girl Names Unusual Boy Names
Aafreen, Acadia, Adefolarin, Alimothy, Aluex, Anemone, Angelbert, Athens-Ava, Azhettea, Bandit, Baybee, Borbala, Brisbane, Caylex, Ceroxity, Cersei, Clairity, Cleony, Cyzarine, Daydence, Dazzlin, Ddendyll, Denali, Dibdrisht, Eiffel, Elisapea, Ellyndriel, Ethiopia, Felizity, Finfinne, Gai-Inn, Gnouma, Hattie-Kay, Izna, Iztlixochitl, Jeinezt, Jimiefer, Kestrel, Koblenz, Leiralita, Louange, Maghfira, Maisley, Marshall-Heigl, Melon, Mentallah, Mintge, Morning-Star, Nof, Nomingoo, Phahannah, Qiersteine, Raineeville, Rhadio, Rteel, Schneidine, Selvaria, Serastella, Sixx, Syaffa, Talimia, Thumbelina-Jane, Vando-Vandu, Vermond, Vhia, Via-star, Vimbai, Vinoruveze, Wahpan-ah-chak, Zethandra Alecvander, Agbomk, Arcadian, Arkham, Bellicose, Border, Beowulf, Brenor, Bronxdyn, Cadillac, Clarenziel, Clarksicnarf*, Clench, Cobain, Colt-Wesson, Confucius, Dazareth, Dokter, Drew-Donnelly-Donald, Drizelle, Erbenstan, Eulliejhay, Evanescence, Fteen, Gavisht, Gibson-Rush, Helix, Jaffredson, Kakwa, Kgotso, K’i, KiiyosaahKomapii, Kreydd, Macxinier, Madiba, Markonal, Mavallus, MC-Jerry, McYusef, NorthernSky, Ollivander, Pitch, Qambarali, Quark, Reech, Ricarlisle, Ringo, Seanex**, Shaddix, Soloolo, Spur, Strife, Tenor, Tesla, Thaxter, Theologis, Thrain, Thunderboy, Uel, Uzuvira, Vangelis, Venzuela, Whizkie-Czar, WindyBoy, Xeighdrey, Xyber, Zabartor, Zabit, Zarillious, Zegee

*Clarksicnarf is the combination of Clark (forwards) and Francis (backwards).
**Seanex is very close to Seanix.

Here are Alberta’s top names from 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006.

Sources: Alberta’s Top Babies Names – Service Alberta, Liam and Olivia top baby names for 2014

The Baby Name Denali

baby name denali

People sat up and took notice in early 1897 when gold prospector William Dickey claimed that a mountain he’d seen in Alaska was the tallest mountain on the continent:

We named our great peak Mount McKinley, after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the Presidency, and that fact was the first news we received on our way out of that wonderful wilderness. We have no doubt that this peak is the highest in North America, and estimate that it is over 20,000 feet high.

William Dickey, "Discoveries in Alaska," 1897, about Mt. McKinley
From “Discoveries in Alaska,” New York Sun, Jan. 1897
And Dickey’s claim proved to be true — the tallest peak in North America is indeed the South Peak of “Mount McKinley,” with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet. (Not only that, but the base-to-summit vertical rise above sea level is around 18,000 feet — greater than that of Mount Everest.)

But it also kicked off a naming controversy that persists to this day.

Because the mountain already had a name. Several names, in fact. There were multiple indigenous groups in the region, and each called the peak something different:

The Koyukon called it Deenaalee, the Lower Tanana named it Deenaadheet or Deennadhee, the Dena’ina called it Dghelay Ka’a, and at least six other Native groups had their own names for it.

Denali — a version of the Koyukon Athabascan name Deenaalee, meaning “the high one” or “the tall one” — seems to have become the preferred name among settlers and visitors in the area.

And yet, even though…

  • Hudson Stuck, co-leader of the first expedition to successfully climb the mountain in 1913, began his book The Ascent of Denali (1914) with a “plea for the restoration to the greatest mountain in North America of its immemorial native name,” and
  • Charles Sheldon, the naturalist who came up with the idea of a conserving the Denali region as a national park, made “repeated pleas [to Congress] to return the mountain to its original name,”

…the U.S. officially adopted the name McKinley when President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act in early 1917.

Alaska officially renamed the mountain Denali in 1975, and the U.S. officially renamed the park Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980. But, despite ongoing efforts to restore the name Denali, the federal government continues to refer to Denali as “Mt. McKinley.”

UPDATE: On August 30, 2015, the mountain was officially renamed Denali by U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The mountain is part of the 65-million-year-old, 600-mile-long Alaska Range located in south-central Alaska. The mountain range was created by the Denali Fault, which runs along the southern edge of the range and frequently causes earthquakes in the region.

Tens of thousands of people have attempted to reach the summit of Denali over the years. The overall success rate is about 52%, but in the 2014 season it was just 36%. The average expedition (round-trip) lasts 17 to 21 days, and climbers experience an “extremely wide range of temperatures and conditions” on the mountain, including winds in excess of 80 miles per hour that can last for several days in a row.

Denali is surrounded by 6 million acres of subarctic parkland, one-sixth of which is covered with glaciers. In 2014, the park welcomed over 531,000 visitors.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the mountain that Charles Sheldon was thinking of when he came up with the idea of establishing a park. It was the large mammals — grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, lynxes, wolves, and more — in the region. He thought they’d be wiped out by hunters if the land wasn’t protected.

There’s also plenty of evidence of ancient life in Denali National Park: thousands of trace fossils (such as footprints) have been discovered there.

So, has the word Denali ever been used as a baby name?

It has, for both genders. Here’s the number of U.S. babies given the baby name Denali since the turn of the century:

  • 2014: 55 baby girls and 20 baby boys named Denali
  • 2013: 62 baby girls and 11 baby boys named Denali
  • 2012: 48 baby girls and 21 baby boys named Denali
  • 2011: 45 baby girls and 13 baby boys named Denali
  • 2010: 42 baby girls and 20 baby boys named Denali
  • 2009: 54 baby girls and 15 baby boys named Denali
  • 2008: 55 baby girls and 22 baby boys named Denali
  • 2007: 43 baby girls and 26 baby boys named Denali
  • 2006: 57 baby girls and 31 baby boys named Denali
  • 2005: 51 baby girls and 41 baby boys named Denali
  • 2004: 56 baby girls and 31 baby boys named Denali
  • 2003: 46 baby girls and 33 baby boys named Denali
  • 2002: 50 baby girls and 29 baby boys named Denali
  • 2001: 44 baby girls and 17 baby boys named Denali
  • 2000: 40 baby girls and 8 baby boys named Denali

The gender breakdown for these particular years is 69% female, 31% male.

Though I’ve found a few isolated cases of people in the U.S. named Denali in the 1800s and early 1900s, usage of the name didn’t pick up steam until the end of the 1900s. Denali started appearing regularly on the SSA’s baby name list as a girl name in the late 1980s, and as a boy name in the late 1990s.

Appropriately, the name Denali first became trendy in Alaska. In fact, it’s one of Alaska’s most distinctive baby names…though I think this may soon change, as usage in the states (especially California and Texas) has been inching upward lately.

What do you think of the baby name Denali?

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