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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Donald

Number of Babies Named Donald

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Donald

Round-up of Multiples from 1944

The Badgett Quadruplets in 1944
Jeraldine, Joan, Jean, and Janet Badgett © LIFE

Oodles of multiples — eight sets of twins, one set of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, and one set of quintuplets — were featured in an early 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Most of these multiples had been born in the 1920s and 1930s.

Curious about the names? I knew you would be! Here they are, along with ages and other details.


  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan, 19.
  • Lois and Lucille Barnes, 21.
  • Betty and Lenore Wade, early 20s.
  • Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy” Mauch, 22.
    • They had starred in the 1937 movie The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Blaine and Wayne Rideout, 27.
    • They had been track stars at the University of North Texas in the late 1930s along with another set of twins, Elmer and Delmer Brown.
  • Charles and Horace Hildreth, 41.
    • Horace was elected Governor of Maine later the same year.
  • Ivan and Malvin Albright, 47.
  • Auguste and Jean Piccard, 60.
    • “Honors as the world’s most distinguished pair of twins must go to Jean and Auguste Piccard, stratosphere balloonists, who are so identical that not everyone realizes there are two of them.”


  • Diane Carol, Elizabeth Ann, and Karen Lynn Quist, 11 months.


  • Claire (boy), Cleo (boy), Clayton (boy), and Connie (girl) Brown, 3.
  • Janet, Jean, Jeraldine, and Joan Badgett, 5.
    • “The customary alliteration in multiple names accounts for the “J” in Jeraldine.”
  • Felix (boy), Ferdinand (boy), Frances (girl), and Frank (boy) Kasper, 7.
  • James (boy), Jay (boy), Jean (girl), and Joan (girl) Schense, 13.
  • Edna, Wilma, Sarah, and Helen Morlok — the Morlok Quads — 13.
  • Anthony, Bernard, Carl, and Donald Perricone, 14.
    • “Their Beaumont neighbors call them “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” for short.”


  • Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie, and Yvonne Dionne — the Dionne Quints — 9.

Which of these sets of names do you like best? Why?

Source: “Twins: Accident of Their Birth Sets Them Apart from Other People.” LIFE 6 Mar. 1944: 91-99.

What’s Your Cape Breton Nickname?

A few weeks ago I posted about the baby names Silver and Free Silver, which were bestowed by bimetallism buffs in the 1890s.

Decades later, in the 1930s, Canadian writer Silver Donald Cameron was born.

His name had nothing to do with monetary standards, though. He wasn’t even born a “Silver.” He was simply Donald Cameron until the early 1970s, when he decided to adopt the name Silver to set himself apart from all the other Canadian men named Donald Cameron.

How did he come up with Silver? He didn’t. A friend gave it to him:

“Lard Jasus, b’y,” said folk-singer Tom Gallant, “you need a proper Cape Breton nickname.” I know what he means: Black John MacDonald as distinguished from John The Piper MacDonald and Gimpy John MacDonald and John By-The-Church MacDonald. What are my own characteristics? I’m short: what about Donald The Runt? Or Brief Donald? No, no dignity: if he had called himself Clubfoot George would we remember Lord Byron?

Tom struck a chord in his Yamaha, gazed at me. “That hair,” he said. It’s my most striking feature, prematurely grey hair, set off by black eyebrows and moustache. Don’t ask me how I got that color scheme, ask God: He did it. Children stop me in the street to ask me if I’m wearing a wig. Adults chalk it up to noxious personal habits and secret vices.

“That hair,” said Tom. “That’s it. Silver Donald Cameron.”

Cameron refers to himself as “Silver Donald” all over his website, awesomely.

Nicknames have been a tradition on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, for hundreds of years. They’re particularly popular among the coal miners, and tend to fall into several broad categories: place names, occupational names, patronymics, physical features, and personality traits.

Other nicknames based on physical features don’t tend to be as complimentary as “Silver.” They include “Buffalo Head,” “Potato Nose,” “Saucer Eyes,” “Popeye,” and “Bandy Legs.”

“Alex the Clock” had one arm that was shorter than the other. “Waterloo Dan” had backed into a hot stove in his youth and thereafter sported the brand “Waterloo No. 2” (written backwards) on his bum.

People don’t get to choose their own nicknames on Cape Breton, but let’s pretend for a moment that you live there and you get to choose yours. What would it be?


Popular Boy Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

How has the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names changed over time (if at all) among the most popular baby names in the U.S.?

This question popped into my head recently, so I thought I’d take a look at the data. We’ll do boy names today and girl names tomorrow.

First, let’s set some parameters. For these posts, “Biblical” names are personal names (belonging to either humans or archangels) mentioned in the Bible, plus all derivatives of these names, plus any other name with a specifically Biblical origin (e.g., Jordan, Sharon, Genesis). The “most popular” names are the top 20, and “over time” is the span of a century.

For boy names, the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names has basically flipped over the last 100 years. Here’s a visual — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and a borderline name (which I counted as non-Biblical) is in the orange cell:

Popular boy names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular boy names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Adam, Alexander, Andrew, Austin (via Augustus), Benjamin, Daniel, David, Elijah, Ethan, Jack (via John), Jackson (via John), Jacob, James, Jason, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Joshua, Justin (via Justus), Lucas, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Nathan, Nicholas, Noah, Paul, Stephen, Steven, Thomas, Timothy, Zachary
  • Non-Biblical names: Aiden, Albert, Anthony, Arthur, Billy, Brandon, Brian, Charles, Christopher, Dennis, Donald, Dylan, Edward, Eric, Frank, Gary, George, Harold, Harry, Henry, Jayden, Jeffrey, Kenneth, Kevin, Larry, Liam, Logan, Louis, Mason, Raymond, Richard, Robert, Ronald, Ryan, Scott, Tyler, Walter, William
  • Borderline name: Jerry (can be based on the Biblical name Jeremy/Jeremiah or on the non-Biblical names Jerome, Gerald, Gerard)
    • It felt strange putting an overtly Christian name like Christopher in the non-Biblical category, but it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible, so…that’s where it goes.

      Here are the year-by-year tallies:

      Year Top 20 names
      given to…
      # Biblical # Non-Biblical
      1914 40% of baby boys 5 (25%) 15 (75%)
      1924 43% of baby boys 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
      1934 43% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1944 47% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1954 46% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1964 42% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1974 38% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1984 36% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      1994 27% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2004 19% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2014 14% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)

      But there’s a huge difference between sample sizes of 40% and 14%, so let’s also take a look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 42% of male births.

      By my count, last year’s top 100 boy names were half Biblical, half non-Biblical:

      Biblical names (49) Non-Biblical names (51)
      Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, James, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Matthew, Jackson (via John), David, Lucas, Joseph, Andrew, Samuel, Gabriel, Joshua, John, Luke, Isaac, Caleb, Nathan, Jack (via John), Jonathan, Levi, Jaxon (via John), Julian (via Julius), Isaiah, Eli, Aaron, Thomas, Jordan, Jeremiah, Nicholas, Evan, Josiah, Austin (via Augustus), Jace (via Jason), Jason, Jose, Ian, Adam, Zachary, Jaxson (via John), Asher, Nathaniel, Justin (via Justus), Juan Liam, Mason, William, Logan, Aiden, Jayden, Anthony, Carter, Dylan, Christopher, Oliver, Henry, Sebastian, Owen, Ryan, Wyatt, Hunter, Christian, Landon, Charles, Connor, Cameron, Adrian, Gavin, Robert, Brayden, Grayson, Colton, Angel, Dominic, Kevin, Brandon, Tyler, Parker, Ayden, Chase, Hudson, Nolan, Easton, Blake, Cooper, Lincoln, Xavier, Bentley, Kayden, Carson, Brody, Ryder, Leo, Luis, Camden

      (Christian, Angel, Xavier, Dominic…all technically non-Biblical, despite having strong ties to Christianity.)

      50%-50% isn’t quite as extreme as 70%-30%, but it’s still noticeably more Biblical than 1914’s 25%-75%.

      Do any of these results surprise you?

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

Baby Named after Notre Dame Coach

Francis William “Frank” Leahy, who played football at Notre Dame under Knute Rockne, went on to coach the Notre Dame football team himself for 11 seasons (1941-43, 1946-53).

“While at Notre Dame, Leahy had six undefeated seasons, five national championship teams and an unbeaten string of 39 games in the late 1940s.”

Leahy retired for health reasons in 1954.

A week after he retired, Arnold and Mildred Penza of Kenosha, Wisconsin — parents of Don Penza, captain of Leahy’s 1953 Notre Dame team — welcomed their 10th child.

The baby boy was named Frank Leahy Penza, after Coach Leahy.

(The names of all 10 Penza kids, from oldest to youngest, were Donald, John, George, Dennis, Thomas, Joan, James, Mary Lynn, Diane, and Frank.)


The Baby Name Roni

The movie-inspired baby name Rawnie from a few weeks ago reminded me of the baby names Roni and Roni Sue, neither of which I’ve posted about yet. So today let’s check out Roni, which saw a spike in usage in the mid-1950s:

  • 1958: 89 baby girls named Roni
  • 1957: 94 baby girls named Roni
  • 1956: 134 baby girls named Roni (ranked 864th)
  • 1955: 295 baby girls named Roni (ranked 536th)
  • 1954: 70 baby girls named Roni
  • 1953: 49 baby girls named Roni

roni 1955
What was the cause?

A feel-good news story about a 17-month-old Greek orphan named Roni Marie. She was being adopted by childless Texas couple Norman and Helen Donahoe in very early 1955. (This is how the story managed to slightly increase the usage of Roni among 1954 babies.)

Norman, a Navy lieutenant, “took his Christmas leave to hitchhike to Athens for the brown eyed foundling.” He spent 3 weeks in Greece finalizing the adoption.

Once Roni was his, the pair set off on the return trip, which lasted from January 8 to January 13.

“Roni Marie’s trip to the U.S. became somewhat of a diaper derby for Lieutenant Donahoe…he was rapidly running out of disposable diapers and he worried about the dwindling supply. But he was able to add to his diaper stock during a stopover in Morocco.”

LIFE Magazine, a little late to the party, printed a short blurb about the Donahoes on January 24.

So how do you feel about the name Roni? Do you like it any more or less than Rawnie?

P.S. A follow-up article published in 1961 revealed that Norman and Helen had gone on to adopt one more Greek orphan, Steven, and then have two biological children, Eloni [sic?] and Donald. (I’m assuming Eloni’s name was really Eleni, which is a Greek form of Helen.)

P.P.S. This story reminds me of both Stephen Dondi Thomas and Tyechia Reid.


  • “Cry from an Immigrant.” LIFE 24 Jan. 1955: 48.
  • “Donahoe Family Grows.” Daytona Beach Morning Journal 16 Jun. 1961: 1.
  • “Greek-Born Lass Meets Foster Mom.” Toledo Blade 14 Jan. 1955: 3.
  • “Hitching Yank and His Baby Halted in Italy.” Chicago Sunday Tribune 9 Jan. 1955: 38.

Mouseketeer Names – Annette, Dennis, Margene, Ronnie

Annette Funicello, the most popular member of the original Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1959), passed away a couple of days ago.

Seeing her name in the news made me think about the other original Mouseketeers, most of whom were born in the early to mid-1940s (making them teens in the late 1950s). If you’re looking for a baby name reminiscent of sock hops and soda fountains, the first batch of Mouseketeers is not a bad place to start:

  1. Annette Funicello (b. 1942)
  2. Billie Beanblossom (b. 1944)
  3. Bonita “Bonnie” Lynn Fields (b. 1944)
  4. Bonni Lou Kern (b. 1941)
  5. Bronson Scott* (b. 1947)
  6. Charles “Charlie” Laney (b. 1943)
  7. Cheryl Holdridge (b. 1944) – who went on to marry Lance Reventlow
  8. Carl “Cubby” O’Brien (b. 1946)
  9. Dallas Johann (b. 1944)
  10. Darlene Gillespie (b. 1941)
  11. Dennis Day (b. 1942)
  12. Joseph Richard “Dickie” Dodd (b. 1945)
  13. Don Agrati (b. 1944)
  14. Donald “Don” Underhill (b. 1941)
  15. Doreen Tracey (b. 1943)
  16. Eileen Diamond (b. 1943)
  17. John “Johnny” Crawford (b. 1946)
  18. John Joseph “Jay-Jay” Solari (b. 1943)
  19. (John) Lee Johann (b. 1942)
  20. Judy Harriet (b. 1942)
  21. Karen Pendleton (b. 1946)
  22. Larry Larsen (b. 1939)
  23. Linda Hughes (b. 1946)
  24. Leonard “Lonnie” Burr (b. 1943)
  25. (Lowrey) Lynn Ready* (b. 1944)
  26. Margene Storey (b. 1942)
  27. Mark Sutherland (b. 1944)
  28. Mary Espinosa (b. 1945)
  29. Mary Sartori (b. 1943)
  30. Mickey Rooney, Jr. (b. 1945)
  31. Michael “Mike” Smith (b. 1945)
  32. Nancy Abbate (b. 1942)
  33. (William) Paul Petersen (b. 1945)
  34. Robert “Bobby” Burgess (b. 1941)
  35. Ronald “Ronnie” Steiner (b. 1942)
  36. Sharon Baird (b. 1942)
  37. Sharyn “Sherry” Alberoni (b. 1946)
  38. Timothy “Tim” Rooney (b. 1947)
  39. Thomas “Tommy” Cole (b. 1941)

*Bronson Scott was a girl; Lynn Ready was a boy.

Which of the above names are your favorite(s)?

Sources: Girl next door Annette Funicello dies at 70, The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show