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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Goldie

Number of Babies Named Goldie

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Goldie

Unusual American Names – Free Silver, Gold Standard

gold vs silver
Puck‘s take on gold vs. silver in 1900

The Free Silver Movement gave the baby name Silver a boost during the 1890s, as we saw in yesterday’s post. But the story doesn’t end there.

Some parents got even more specific with their babies’ names, opting for the full phrase “Free Silver”:

  • Free Silver Hopkins, born in Oklahoma in 1894
  • Free Silver Kasler, born in Oklahoma in 1895
  • Goldie Freesilver Crawford, born in Oklahoma in 1897
  • Free Silver Waters, born in Georgia in 1898
  • Free Silver Watts, born in West Virginia in 1895

Then there were the people on the other side of the issue. They supported the gold standard, and a handful of them named their babies accordingly:

  • Goldstandard G. Anderson, born in Kansas in 1898
  • Gold Standard Kirkwood, born in Mississippi in 1890
  • Gold Standard Gunn, born in West Virginia in 1897
  • Goldstandard T. Rowlett, born in Oklahoma in 1898

Names from the same decade that included both metals, such as Goldie Freesilver, are harder to interpret. These names could be more about novelty than about politics (i.e., not a nod to bimetallism).

  • Goldie Silvery Budd, in Ohio in 1896
  • Golden Silver Colley, born in Kentucky in 1896
  • Goldie Silverada Hoffman, born in Colorado in 1899
  • Silver Gold Kay, born in Arizona in 1893

Today’s question: If you had to choose either Gold or Silver (or some variant thereof, like Goldie or Silverene) as your baby’s name, which metal would you choose?

Image: The survival of the fittest – LOC

The Double-Spike Baby Name Norita

baby name norita - graph
Usage of the baby name Norita spiked in ’35 and ’37.
Something unusual happened to the baby name Norita in the 1930s:

  • 1939: 34 baby girls named Norita
  • 1938: 47 baby girls named Norita
  • 1937: 155 baby girls named Norita
  • 1936: 19 baby girls named Norita
  • 1935: 89 baby girls named Norita
  • 1934: 7 baby girls named Norita
  • 1933: 6 baby girls named Norita

See how it spiked twice? Interesting, no?

A double-spike requires a double-explanation, and one of those explanations I’ve figured out. The other I’m still working on.

Norita’s 1935 Spike

Norita’s first spike can be traced back to a contest, believe it or not. Contests were all the rage in the mid-1930s according to Newsweek:

Almost every week, radio stations and newspapers announce new contests. Prizes of money, automobiles, and round-the-world trips incite listeners and readers to send in slogans and 50-word essays written on soap wrappers and cigar bands.

This particular contest, sponsored by Gold Medal Flour, was woven into the storyline of an old time radio show called “Betty and Bob.” After characters Betty and Bob Drake found a orphaned baby girl at their doorstep on Christmas Eve of 1934, they asked their audience to help choose a name for her.

Gold Medal Flour magazine advertisements from early 1935 gave detailed descriptions of the baby — “golden hair,” “blue eyes,” “happy disposition” — and hints on picking a name, which they stressed should be “original” and “unique.”

Thousands of cash prizes were offered, including a $10,000 grand prize. Here’s the full list (and what the prizes would be worth in today’s dollars):

  • 1st – $10,000 (equivalent to $170,713.14 in 2013)
  • 2nd – $1,500 ($25,606.97)
  • 3rd – $1,000 ($17,071.31)
  • 4th – $500 ($8,535.66)
  • 5th – $250 ($4,267.83)
  • 6th – $200 ($3,414.26)
  • 7th – $150 ($2,560.70)
  • 8th – $100 ($1,707.13)
  • 9th – $75 ($1,280.35)
  • 10th – $25 ($426.78)
  • 11th – $15 ($256.07)
  • 12th – $10 ($170.71)
  • 13th – $7 ($119.50)
  • 14th – $5 ($85.36)
  • 1,000+ other entrants – $1 each ($17.07)

That’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that the nation was still trying to pull itself out of the Great Depression in the mid-1930s.*

Hundreds of thousands of people entered the contest, which ran until mid-February. Some people really went out of their way to catch the attention of the judges:

One woman painstakingly embroidered a pillow with a name on it and could not understand why she got no prize. She even claimed the work had damaged her eyesight. A man sent an 8-foot, electrically-wired lighthouse with the entry-name over its door. A third contestant contributed a huge doll in an expensive bassinet; a nameplate hung on the doll’s neck.

More than 50,000 people suggested the name Goldie (a nod to Gold Medal Flour). Another 57,000 suggested Betty-Jane.

But only Mrs. E. M. Nelson of Minnesota suggested the grand prize-winning name Norita, a name she’d created from an Old English word for “foster child,” norie (also spelled nory, nurry, etc.). The word ultimately comes from Old French nourrir, meaning “nourish.”

The only other prize-winner I know of was a woman named Martha Hunt of Washington state who submitted the name “Adolla” and received $250 (5th place).

According to a newspaper article from 1942, the Gold Medal Flour “Radio’s Nameless Mystery Baby” contest was General Mills’ second-most successful contest ever. Seven years later, the company was still receiving entries.

Norita’s 1937 Spike

The second spike was higher than the first — 155 babies this time, versus 89 in 1935 — but I haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause.

One thing I can tell you about the 1937 spike is that, in contrast to the 1935 spike, it inspired a lot of variant forms:

Name 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938
Norita 7 89 19 155 47
Noretta 8 15 6 65 32
Noreta 7** 5 52 14
Noreda 17**
Norrita 16**
Noreeta 8**
Noreita 8**
Noritta 8**
Norietta 6**
Norreta 6**
Norretta 5**

**First appearance on the SSA’s list.

A sudden increase in variant forms always points me to an audio source — something that has a lot of people hearing a name, but not seeing it written down. This forces people to come up with their own spellings. The Deirdre and Casara spikes were caused by audio sources, for instance.

So the second Norita spike was likely caused either by radio or by a movie. (Television wasn’t widely adopted until well into the 1950s.)

One other thing I can tell you is that the 1937 spike was localized, just like the 1935 spike. In 1935, most of the babies named Norita were born in the Midwest:

  • 12 Noritas in Minnesota (1935)
  • 9 Noritas in Wisconsin (1935)
  • 7 Noritas in Indiana (1935)
  • 6 Noritas in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio (1935)
  • 5 Noritas in Texas (1935)

The story of a Minnesota woman winning $10,000 by inventing the name “Norita” was probably a lot bigger in this region than elsewhere.

Skipping ahead two years, we see something similar:

  • 17 Noritas in Ohio (1937)
  • 16 Noritas in Pennsylvania (1937)
  • 14 Noritas in California (1937)
  • 11 Noritas in Illinois (1937)
  • 10 Noritas in Texas (1937)
  • 9 Noritas in Indiana and Minnesota (1937)
  • 5 Noritas in Michigan, Oregon, and West Virginia (1937)

The localization isn’t quite as strong, but over 20% of the 1937 Noritas were born in Ohio and Pennsylvania, which is notable.


My best guess is that the second spike is related to the “Betty and Bob” radio show somehow. Perhaps baby Norita became an on-air character in 1937?

But I have no clue why the name was disproportionately popular in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Do you have any ideas?

Also: Do you like the name Norita? Would you ever consider using it for a baby?


  • BLS Inflation Calculator
  • “Contest: 57,000 American Listeners Have The Same Idea” Newsweek 11 May 1935: 38.
  • Hughes, Lawrence M. “Advertising news.” New York Sun 13 Feb. 1941: 23.
  • Whitney, William Dwight Whitney and Benjamin Eli Smith. The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. New York: The Century Co., 1914.
  • “Wins Cash Award for Baby’s Name.” Spokane Daily Chronicle 18 Apr. 1935: 6.

*Did you know some kids were actually named Depression during the Great Depression?

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.

Popular and Unique Baby Names in Idaho, 2010

The state of Idaho recently released its 2010 annual report, and the report includes some baby names.

First, here are Idaho’s most popular baby names of 2010. (More or less the same as what SSA has listed for Idaho that year.)

Popular Boy Names Popular Girl Names
1. William (119)
2. Samuel (116)
3. Logan (115)
4. Ethan (101)
5. Jacob (95)
6. Aiden (92)
7. Mason (89)
8. Noah (82)
9. Alexander (81)
10. James (79)
1. Olivia (122)
2. Emma (103)
3. Sophia (99)
4. Ava (88)
5. Abigail (85)
6. Elizabeth (83)
7. Emily (78)
8. Isabella (77)
9. Ella (71)
10. Addison & Brooklyn (65 each)

Now on to the bizarre stuff!

In the report, Idaho included a selection of unique names:

Unique Boy Names Unique Girl Names
Bear, Character, Dagger, Freighter, Genghis, Hatchet, Hemi, Ice-T, Jethreaux, Justify, King Tiberius, Laugh, Nightsky, Permisius, Raysyn, Ripken, Saw, Scythe, Skeeter, Sourish, Theory, Truth, W’dbin, Wisdom, Zytareon Arrehli, Aoife, Balou, Bronwyn, Dawnlight, Dixi, Espn, Hickory, Kalifornia, Koal, Legacy, Little Noah, Meeka Bella, Mhyrrauzhe, Moneeq, Moserratt, Omolola, Oo, Rootsy, Saphron, Sparkle, Sunset, Tietsie, Virtue, Xoko

Some thoughts:

  • Nightsky and Dawnlight need a playdate. (Just like Thunder and Lightning.)
  • Mhyrrauzhe = Mirage?
  • My first impulse with “Oo” was to pronounce it “uh-oh.” (Uh-oh indeed, if that’s actually how you say it!)

Since Idaho’s annual reports for 2006-2010 are all available online, lets look at the selections of unique names from years past, shall we?


Unique Boy Names Unique Girl Names
“Champion” Reese, Civic, Cougar, Domonique, Eleven, Evol, Hopper, Huckleberry, Irish, Jah Kobi, Jaxxon, Kastle, K-Den, Major Jack, Nixon, Noall, Oz, Pledger, Reef, Sabyr, Shade, Shadow, Skeet, Taft, Zebedee Arlington, August Star, Beatriz, Byrkli, Charm, Clarixxa, Daiquiri, Fayte, Goldie-Moon, Gyzzelle, Jubilee, Kanyon, Lala, Love, Montana, Nirvana, Pepper, Prairie, Poppy, Soul, Tottie, Tundra, Zipporah


Unique Boy Names Unique Girl Names
Adjrick, Andronicus, Arrow, Blazer, Brayke, Buzz, Casino, Chamillionaire, Dacx, Driggs, Gamble, Heman, Klete, Kodiak, Kroten, Krue, Link, Mitt, Pheonix, Ransom, Rodee, Silynce, Summit, Zzyzx Angelic, Beautifull, Boisen, Byainett, Calloway, Celestial, Ecstacy, Eeleceya, Hadies, Heaven, Infiniti, Integrity, Jewleah, Kaskade, Kozmo, Maplejo, Mishalyn, Remmington, Season, Symphony, Thyme, Ugonna, Xerenity, Zepplyn


Unique Boy Names Unique Girl Names
Aodhan, Braestyn, Buell, Champ, Dazryn, Elisjsha, Enveus, Grimsley, Hayze, Holdem, Kamero, Kay-Sin, Khonnerk, Lowgin, Makaijden, Mickyle, Nykolaus, Painter, Praze, Sander, Shadrack, Solo, Space, Tlaloc, Trackin Arbor, Auktober, Blessin, Brizzbin, Brookenzie, Cabella, Clarity, Denym, Eos, Epiphany, Honesty, Kwincee, Lavender, Lybburtie, Miami, Modiesty-Star, Mysticque, Peaches, Perfect, Rebel-Ann, Seattle, Shy, Uneike, Vegas, Zoigh
  • Casino and Gamble in 2008, Holdem and Vegas in 2007…do I detect a pattern here?


Unique Boy Names Unique Girl Names
Akhilles, Backtash, Blend, Bronco, Chalk, College, Colquohn, Daily, Gid, Hampton, Howdy, Jameraquoi, Karona, Lake, Packer, Polo, Razor, Rythmik, Sacramento, Spur, Trask, Tucson, Winn, Wracer, Xzavvyer Allyvia, Anakalia, Aptisam, Aveda, Blayde, Bristol, Cedee, Dorcas, Fall, Heziachiah, Kalispell, Klowie, Lexington, Little Summers, Navy, Northstar, Nutaliay Harmoney, Pennilane Meadow, Phaedra, Russia, Tacheranai, Tragen, Tsunami, Viktoriya, Yochabelle

P.S. In the 2006-2009 reports, the heading of the unique names section was “Selected Unique Names, Yewneek Spellings.” For 2010, it was lengthened to “Selected Unique Baby Names, Yewneek Baybee Spellings.” I happen to love these headings, but aren’t they a bit snarky for an official state document…?

Spelling Tip for Creative Baby Names – Hard G vs. Soft G

Gordana Gehlhausen was a contestant on Project Runway this season. Before the season began, I assumed her first name would be pronounced with a hard G, like Gordon. I was wrong. She pronounces her name with a soft G. I wonder how many other people also got it wrong?

Typically, when the letter G is followed by E, I or Y, it’s soft. Otherwise, it’s hard. Gentle and giant have soft G’s, while gargoyle and gurgle have hard G’s.

The rule can also be applied to names. Geoffrey and Gillian have soft G’s; Gavin, Goldie and Gus have hard G’s. (Exceptions like Gertrude and Gideon do exist.)

If you want to personalize a name that features the letter G, or substitute a G for a J, pay close attention to the vowels that follow. Taking an E out of George turns the name into a geological formation. Forcing a G into James gives you Games. (And playing Games with baby names is usually not a good idea.)

Would You Sell the Right to Name Your Baby?

Several years ago, Melissa Heuschkel of Connecticut sold the right to name her fourth baby to online casino In exchange for about $15,000, she named her daughter Golden Palace (nn Goldie).

If a stranger offered you double that — $30,000 — for the right to name your next child, what would you say?

Remember, this person would have free rein. The name could be Andrew, Gretel, Justice, YanniLiveAtTheAcropolis…anything at all. You’d never have to use the name, but it must appear on the birth certificate.

If you’d say yes: Why? (And, what would you do with the money?)

If you’d say no: Why not? (And, would you change your mind if the amount were higher?)

Source: “Golden Palace Benedetto.” Day [New London] 30 Apr. 2005: B5.