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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Helen

Number of Babies Named Helen

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Helen

Name Quotes #53: DeVante, Ella, Buffalo

Time for some name quotes!

From a Movie Pilot interview with John Knoll, who came up with the name for Rogue One character Jyn Erso:

“My youngest daughter is Jane, and my wife is Jen, so [Jyn] is sort of mashup of them. And growing up my aunt was Aunt Ginny, [short] for Virginia, so there’s a little bit of that, too. It’s a mix up of a lot of my favorite women in my life.”

[Do you think Jyn will debut in the SSA data in 2017?]

From an A.V. Club review of the Black-ish episode “The Name Game,” in which characters argued about the name DeVante:

Dre’s point that names like Matthew, David, and Kevin don’t mean anything to him is fair. He wants to name his son after the actual culture and people he grew up around, and he hates the fact that when “something is black the world thinks that it’s bad.” Appeasing white culture with a name that has no cultural signifiers creates the type of internalized hatred that causes characters like Ruby and Charlie to respond so negatively to black names.

From a Telegraph essay by Sophia Money-Coutts about how absurd names build character:

But it’s enormously character building, being given an absurd name. It teaches you fortitude and tolerance because you will have to explain it 73 times a day. No use in labelling your children as George and Amal Clooney have just done. They’ve called their twins Ella and Alexander. I mean, they’re all right. Ella will probably grow up to be a florist or a yoga teacher and Alexander sounds like he might sell houses in Fulham. But what is life if you don’t grow up justifying your name to everyone you meet? Being called something silly means you can never take yourself too seriously.

From a Seattle Times article about what it’s like to share the name Alexa with the Amazon device:

Even though she’s never been on the receiving end of any commands or jokes, [Alexa] Wakefield remembers her first reaction to Alexa being, “How are they [Amazon] sort of allowed to use somebody’s name, like a more common name, as something like a robotic command,” she says, “It seems like a little bit of a violation.”

Later, she adds, “It’s placing your name in a subservient manner.”

These days, Wakefield says she’s learned to “look on the bright side.” “It’s sort of a feeling of pride,” she says, “Like a person named Alexa is very helpful!”

From a Cup of Jo post about offbeat middle names:

My friend gave her baby the middle name “Swift” because her labor was so quick.

Our friends chose the middle name “Buffalo” for their son because it was his dad’s nickname growing up. “It took my husband nine months to convince me,” my friend told me. “Then, in the middle of the night after signing the birth certificate, I had a mild panic attack at the hospital. Now I love it.”

From a Science of Us post about why it’s so hard to remember someone’s name:

There is a very simple reason why it’s so easy for the names of new acquaintances to slip right out of your head within moments of being introduced: Names are kind of meaningless. Memory experts say that the more pathways back to a memory you have, the easier it becomes to retrieve that memory, and this just doesn’t often happen naturally with names.

[…]

Sure, there may be family history or a great deal of sentimental meaning behind a person’s first name, but when you meet someone at a party, there’s no readily apparent reason why this guy should be named Mike and that guy should be named Max.

From an interview with CUNY business school student Janeflora Henriques:

When I was born, my oldest sister (who was a difficult child) insisted I be named “Florence” after a movie actress she idolized. My sister threatened consequences if I weren’t. On the other hand, the tradition of my tribe dictated that I be named after my dad’s eldest sister. Fearing whiplash from in-laws, my mother was wary to skip naming me after my aunt. At the same time, my mother was concerned about a daughter who said she would have nothing to do with me if I weren’t named Florence. So my mother shortened my aunt Jennifer’s name to “Jane” and Florence to “Flora” and gave me both.

From a Guardian article about extinct Hyoliths and their “helens”:

We all tend associate certain qualities to people’s names, usually on the basis of people we have known. Helen, for example, is a very sensible name. I associate it with practical, dependable people I have known. You can rely on a Helen. A quick look at the ONS data for girls’ names in England and Wales tells me that it reached a high point of number 8 in the list of baby names in both 1964 and 1974. It’s also the technical term for a hyolith appendage: a hyolithid has a pair of helens. I think this is utterly brilliant. The original paper from 1975 says “We term these … structures helens because the word has no functional connotations, and they were first described under the generic name Helenia by Walcott”. Really? Or did they know a Helen?

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.


Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: V

valli valli, v names, baby names, girl names, actress,
Valli Valli (1882-1927)
Here’s the next installment of uncommon female names collected from very old films (released from the 1910s to the 1940s).

Vail
Vail was a character played by actress Vivian Rich in the short film Via Cabaret (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Vail.

Val
Val Lorraine was a character played by actress Evelyn Brent in the film Attorney for the Defense (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Val.

Valda
Valda Valkyrien was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Iceland in 1894. Her birth name was Adele Eleonore Freed.

  • Usage of the baby name Valda.

Vale
Vale Harvey was a character played by actress Shirley Mason in the film My Husband’s Wives (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Vale.

Valentine
Valentine Grant was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Indiana in 1881.

Valeska
Valeska Suratt was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Indiana in 1882. Valeska was also a character name in multiple films, including For a Woman’s Honor (1919) and Broadway Scandals (1929).

Valette
Valette Bedford was a character played by actress Margaret Sullavan in the film So Red the Rose (1935).

Valia
Valia Venitshaya, often credited simply as Valia, was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in England in 1899.

  • Usage of the baby name Valia.

Vallery
Vallery Grove was a character played by actress Dolores Costello in the film Second Choice (1930).

Valli
Valli Valli was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Germany in 1882. Her birth name was Valli Knust. Alida Valli, often credited simply as Valli, was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 2000s. She was born in Italy (now Croatia) in 1921. Valli was also a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film What a Widow! (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Valli.

Vallie
Vallie Martin was a character played by actress Marin Sais in the short film The Man in Irons (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Vallie.

Vanda
Vanda Muroff was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film Danger in Paris (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Vanda.

Vanina
Vanina Vanini was a character played by actress Alida Valli in the film Passione (1940).

Vanna
Vanna was a character name in multiple films, including The Romance of a Movie Star (1920) and Vanity’s Price (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Vanna.

Vantine
Vantine was a character played by actress Jean Harlow in the film Red Dust (1932).

Varda
Varda Ropers was a character played by actress Claire Du Brey in the film A Man and His Money (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Varda.

Varlia
Varlia Lloyd was a character played by actress Helen Vinson in the film Transatlantic Tunnel (1935).

Varvara
Princess Varvara was a character played by actress Dorothy Revier in the film The Red Dance (1928).

Vashti
Vashti was a character played by actress Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen in the film Duel in the Sun (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Vashti.

Vedah
Vedah Bertram was an actress who appeared in films in the early 1910s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1891. Her birth name was Adele Buck.

  • Vedah, who died of appendicitis at the age of 20 in 1912, “became the first noted film player to be mourned by the movie-going public.” According to the San Francisco Call, her East Coast family had not been aware of her film career. “Hoping to keep her actions from her friends and relatives, she assumed the name under which she has been acting.”

Vee
Vee Newell was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Hello Sister (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Vee.

Veeda
Veeda was a character played by actress Lois Collier in the film Cobra Woman (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Veeda.

Veerah
Veerah Vale was a character played by actress Mary Thurman in the film Love of Women (1924).

Vee-Vee
Vee-Vee was a character played by actress Nora Swinburne in the film A Girl of London (1925).

Velda
Velda was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film The Inseparables (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Velda.

Velma
Velma Whitman was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Velma was also a character name in multiple films, including The Greatest Menace (1923) and The Lone Wolf’s Daughter (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Velma.

Velvet
Velvet Brown was a character played by actress Elizabeth Taylor in the film National Velvet (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Velvet.

Venetia
Venetia was a character name in multiple films, including The Story of the Rosary (1920) and Week Ends Only (1932).

Venice
Venice was a character name in multiple films, including Lady with a Past (1932) and Outcast Lady (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Venice.

Vera-Ellen
Vera-Ellen was an actress who appeared in films in the 1940s and 1950s. She was born in Ohio in 1921.

Verbena
Verbena was a character name in multiple films, including A Darktown Wooing (short, 1914) and Should Sailors Marry? (short, 1925).

Verebel
Verebel Featherstone was a character played by the actress Dorothy Christy in the film Sierra Sue (1941).

Vergie
Vergie was a character name in multiple films, including The Impalement (short, 1910) and Heaven on Earth (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Vergie.

Vermuda
Vermuda was a character played by actress Martha Sleeper in the short film Sure-Mike! (1925).

Verna
Verna Mersereau was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in 1894. Verna was also a character name in multiple films, including His Temporary Wife (1920) and Here Comes Carter (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Verna.

Verne
Verne Drake was a character played by actress Iris Adrian in the film I Killed That Man (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Verne.

Vernie
Vernie was a character played by actress Anna Q. Nilsson in the film Babe Comes Home (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Vernie.

Verona
Verona Babbitt was a character played by actress Maxine Elliott Hicks in the film Babbitt (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Verona.

Veronique
Veronique Sauviat was a character played by actress Louise Vale in the short film The Country Parson (1915).

Verree
Verree Teasdale was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Washington in 1903.

  • Usage of the baby name Verree.

Vesta
Vesta Tilley was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1910s. She was born in England in 1864. Her birth name was Matilda Alice Powles. Vesta was also a character name in multiple films, including The House in Suburbia (short, 1913) and The Duke of Chimney Butte (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Vesta.

Veya
Countess Veya was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film The Climbers (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Veya.

Vianna
Vianna Courtleigh was a character played by the actress Ruth Clifford in the film Mothers-in-Law (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Vianna.

Vicki
Vicki was a character name in multiple films, including I Loved You Wednesday (1933) and A Star Is Born (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Vicki.

Victoire
Victoire was a character name in multiple films, including Arsene Lupin (1917) and Just Married (1928).

Victorine
Victorine was a character name in multiple films, including Paris at Midnight (1926) and After the Ball (1932).

Vilda
Vilda was a character name in multiple films, including The Return of the Riddle Rider (1927) and Timothy’s Quest (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Vilda.

Vilma
Vilma Banky was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) in 1898. Vilma was also a character name in multiple films, including Federal Agent (1936) and Meet the Boy Friend (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Vilma.

Vima
Countess Vima Walden was a character played by actress Madge Evans in the film Heartbreak (1931).

Vincenza
Vincenza was a character played by actress Rose Tapley in the short film An Infernal Tangle (1913).

Viney
Viney was a character name in multiple films, including The Last of the Hargroves (short, 1914) and The Overland Stage (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Viney.

Vinnie
Vinnie was a character played by actress Irene Dunne in the film Life with Father (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Vinnie.

Vinuella
Vinuella was a character played by actress Anita Hendrie in the short film The Road to the Heart (1909).

Violante
Violante was a character played by actress Mrs. A. C. Marston in the short film The Ring and the Book (1914).

Violantha
Violantha Zureich was a character played by actress Henny Porten in the film Violantha (1928).

Violey
Violey was a character played by Loretta Weaver in multiple films, including Jeepers Creepers (1939) and Grand Ole Opry (1940).

Virgie
Virgie was a character name in multiple films, including Lend Me Your Husband (1935) and The Littlest Rebel (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Virgie.

Virginie
Virginie Harbrok was a character played by actress Marguerite Courtot in the film The Unbeliever (1918).

Visakha
Visakha was a character played by actress Lotus Liu in the film The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938).

Vittoria
Vittoria was a character played by actress Gladys Hulette in the film Enemies of Women (1923).

Viva
Viva Hamilton was a character played by actress Edna Flugrath in the film A Dear Fool (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Viva.

Viveca
Viveca Lindfors was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1990s. She was born in Sweden in 1920.

  • Usage of the baby name Viveca.

Vivette
Vivette was a character played by actress Evelyn Dumo in the film The Strange Story of Sylvia Gray (1914).

Viviette
Viviette was a character played by actress Vivian Martin in the film Viviette (1918).

Vola
Vola Vale was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1897. Her birth name was Violet Irene Smith.

  • Usage of the baby name Vola.

Vonia
Vonia was a character played by actress Eva Novak in the film The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1922).

Vonnie
Vonnie was a character played by actress Minna Gombell in the film Sob Sister (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Vonnie.

Vroni
Vroni was a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film Betrayal (1929).

Vultura
Vultura was a character played by actress Lorna Gray in the film Perils of Nyoka (1942).

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

Sources:

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

Popular Baby Names in Austria, 2015

According to data released in December of 2016 by Statistics Austria, the most popular baby names in the country in 2015 were Anna (and variants) and Lukas (and variants).

Here are Austria’s top 10 girl name-groups and top 10 boy name-groups of 2015:

Girl Names
1. Anna (21 variants, including Ann, Hannah, Yahna)
2. Sophie (12 variants, including Sophia)
3. Maria (36 variants, including Merry, Moira, Miriam)
4. Emilia (14 variants)
5. Elena (40 variants, including Elaine, Helen, Ilijana)
6. Emma (1 variant)
7. Lena (8 variants)
8. Sarah (9 variants)
9. Mia (2 variants)
10. Laura (1 variant)

Boy Names
1. Lukas (11 variants, including Luc)
2. David (12 variants)
3. Jakob (20 variants, including Giacomo, Jaime, Tiago)
4. Elias (31 variants, including Ilian)
5. Maximilian (9 variants)
6. Alexander (32 variants, including Alejandro, Alistair, Iskender)
7. Jonas (12 variants)
8. Paul (7 variants, including Pablo)
9. Tobias (3 variants)
10. Leon (7 variants, including Levon)

The #1 name-groups were the same in 2014. There are no new entries on either top 10 list.

Source: Anna und Lukas sind die beliebtesten Babynamen 2015 (found via Popularity of Names in Austria, 2015)

Top Baby Names in Nova Scotia, 1914

Speaking of popular baby names Nova Scotia…did you know that the province’s Open Data site includes birth registration records from the mid-1800s and from the early 1900s? I isolated the records from 1914 — the most recent year in the data — and came up with baby name rankings for about a century ago:

Top Girl Names, 1914
1. Mary (close to 700 girls)
2. Margaret
3. Annie
4. Marie
5. Helen
6. Dorothy
7. Florence
8. Elizabeth
9. Catherine (over 100 girls)
10. Alice

Top Boy Names, 1914
1. John (close to 600 boys)
2. Joseph
3. James
4. William
5. George
6. Charles
7. Robert
8. Arthur
9. Donald
10. Edward (over 100 boys)

The rankings represent about about 6,700 baby girls and about 6,800 baby boys born in Nova Scotia in 1914. I’m not sure how many babies were born that year overall, but it looks like the province’s total population in 1914 was roughly 500,000 people.

Hundreds of the names were used just once. Here are some examples:

Unique Girl names Unique Boy names
Adalta, Adayala, Ailsa, Amilene, Anarina, Aniela, Attavilla, Birdina, Buema, Burance, Caletta, Cattine, Celesta, Claviettee, Deltina, Elta, Erdina, Ethelda, Eudavilla, Evhausine, Fauleen, Genneffa, Gennesta, Heuldia, Hughenia, Iselda, Ivenho, Lanza, Lebina, Lelerta, Loa, Lougreta, Manattie, Meloa, Milnina, Minira, Namoia, Naza, Neitha, Neruda, Olava, Oressa, Prenetta, Ramza, Ruzena, Sophique, Stanislawa, Taudulta, Udorah, Velena, Vola, Vonia, Waldtraut, Willina, Yuddis Albenie, Alpine, Alywin, Alyre, Armenious, Bayzil, Bernthorne, Briercliffe, Carefield, Cicero, Colomba, Craigen, Desire, DeWilton, Docithee, Edly, Enzile, Ethelberth, Ewart, Exivir, Fernwood, Firth, Florincon, Glidden, Gureen, Haliberton, Haslam, Hibberts, Irad, Kertland, Kinsman, Kitchener, Langille, Lemerchan, Lockie, Lubins, Meurland, Murl, Neddy, Nevaus, Niron, Odillon, Olding, Phine, Rexfrid, Roseville, Saber, Sifroi, Sprat, Stannage, Venanties, Waitstill, Wardlo, Wentworth, Wibbert

I also spotted one boy with the first and middle names “Earl Gray” (delicious!) and another with the first and middle names “Kermit Roosevelt” (the name of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s six children).

Sources: Open Data Nova Scotia (specifically, Birth Registrations 1864-1877, 1908-1914), Nova Scotia – Population urban and rural, by province and territory (via Wayback)