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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Heloise

Number of Babies Named Heloise

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Heloise

Name Quotes #50: Rocket, Lenore, Heloise

clueless, quote, cher, dionne

Clueless character Cher on the similarity between her name and that of her best friend Dionne:

We were both named after great singers of the past who now do infomercials.

(Dionne’s name comes from Dionne Warwick.)

From a 2007 interview in People with film director Robert Rodriguez (whose kids are named Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon):

Asked about his children’s unusual names, Robert attributes them to side effects he sustained from his college years when he subjected himself to medical tests to make extra money.

“Rocket is the first one. And once you name your first kid Rocket, you can’t name your next kid Marty. Racer, Rebel, Rogue…I’m just gonna blame this on the medical experiments. But they do have regular middle names in case they don’t want to start their own wrestling team.”

(An Australian celebrity named Lara Bingle has two sons named Rocket and Racer…perhaps in homage to Robert Rodriguez?)

From Incomplete birth certificates create a bureaucratic morass by Andrew Ryan in the Boston Globe:

A generation ago — when more families had six or more children — babies without official first names were surprisingly common. Overwhelmed new parents would leave the hospital without completing birth certificate paperwork.

But what once seemed like a quaint oddity becomes a serious inconvenience in a world of identity theft and terrorism. Today, governments demand birth certificates.

As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, vital statistics offices — including at Boston City Hall — continue to receive a trickle of people whose birth certificates carry no first name. Boston officials estimated that in the 1950s, roughly 1 of every 25 birth certificates lacked a first name.

From the 1970 obituary of actress Lenore Ulric in the New York Times:

Born in the little town of New Ulm, Minn., in 1892, the daughter of Franz Xavier Ulrich, an Army hospital steward, Miss Ulric (she dropped the H from her last name) used to say that she was predestined for the stage. Her father gave her the name of Lenore because of his fondness for Poe’s poem, “The Raven,” and her childhood was devoted to theatrical yearnings.

(She played Wetona on stage in 1916.)

Name expert Kunio Makino, as quoted in What to call baby? by Tomoko Otake in The Japan Times:

“I think people who come up with bizarre names for their children tend to feel that they couldn’t live the life they wanted to, and they feel that they have been hindered by many rules and restrictions. The only freedom they have at their disposal, they think, is the right to name their child.”

From Hi, My Name Is Héloïse by Héloïse Chung (formerly Kathy Bryant):

I leaned toward names made of calm, feminine sounds that never sounded like someone was yelling at you. The harsh K in Kathy conjured up my mother’s words for me: kigibe, keoji, shikkeuro. Korean for girl, beggar, and shut up. But I still wasn’t ready. I switched from Kathy to “Kate,” which felt like a small step, but not one nearly big enough.

[…]

Once the universe gave me the OK, a little space seemed to open up for the name to find me. And so it was that Héloïse fluttered into my head one day, devastatingly perfect. I’m not sure exactly where it came from. Perhaps some derivation of Luisita (a friend) or Elio (a boy I used to babysit). I guess I have a thing for L names. I honed it, trying it with and without the H and with and without the diacritics. I didn’t want them to be an affectation. Is it gauche to use French spelling if you don’t even speak French? Eff it, I went with the French.

From Why and how Ontarians change their names in the 21st century by Eric Andrew-Gee in The Globe and Mail:

Some change their names by truncation, some by hyphenation, others by amalgamation, others by invention. Some changes are banal, done for everyday reasons – a divorce, a marriage, a mistransliteration (an imprecise conversion from one alphabet to another) – while others are poignant, playful, even poetic.

When I asked people about their choice while reporting this story, virtually no one was glib. Many would go on and on, grateful to talk about a decision that cuts to the marrow of who they are. Others became tearful and, in some cases, shuddered audibly at the sound of their birth names. Some even declined to discuss the subject.

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.


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.

Female Names in the Domesday Book

Female Names in the Domesday Book

We looked at names from King Henry III’s fine rolls (13th century) a couple of weeks ago, so now let’s go back a bit further and look at names from the Domesday Book (11th century).

What is the Domesday Book?

It’s a land survey, compiled in 1086, that covered much of England and parts of Wales.

The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey – the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday.

The book is held at The National Archives in London, but its contents are available online at Open Domesday.

Most of the names in the Domesday Book are male, as most landowners were men. So, to be different (and to make things easier!) I thought I’d focus on the women.

The female names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (Multiple mentions don’t necessarily speak to name popularity, as this is not a representative sample of 11th-century people. Also, some individuals are simply mentioned in the book more than once.)

A

  • Adelaide
  • Adelina (2)
  • Adeliza
  • Aeldiet
  • Aeleva (3)
  • Aelfeva (9)
  • Aelfgyth (4)
  • Aelfrun
  • Aelfthryth
  • Aelgeat
  • Aelgyth
  • Aelrun
  • Aethelfled
  • Aethelgyth
  • Agnes (2)
  • Ailhilla
  • Aldeva
  • Aldgyth (13)
  • Aldhild
  • Aldwif
  • Aleifr
  • Aleva
  • Alfhild (3)
  • Alfled (3)
  • Alswith
  • Althryth
  • Alware
  • Alweis
  • Alwynn (2)
  • Asa
  • Asmoth
  • Azelina

B

  • Beatrix
  • Bothild
  • Bricteva (8)
  • Brictfled
  • Brictgyth

C

  • Christina
  • Cwenhild
  • Cwenleofu
  • Cwenthryth

D

  • Deorwynn
  • Dove

E

  • Edeva (8)
  • Edhild
  • Edith (5)
  • Edlufu
  • Egelfride
  • Emma (7)
  • Estrild
  • Eva

G

  • Goda (6)
  • Gode (2)
  • Godelind
  • Godesa
  • Godgyth (4)
  • Goldhild
  • Godhyse
  • Godiva (7)
  • Godrun
  • Goldeva
  • Goldrun
  • Gudhridh
  • Gunild (2)
  • Gunwor
  • Guthrun
  • Gytha (4)

H

  • Heloise (2)
  • Hawise

I

  • Ida
  • Ingifrith
  • Ingrith
  • Isolde

J

  • Judith

L

  • Lefleda
  • Leodfled
  • Leofcwen
  • Leofeva (9)
  • Leoffled (4)
  • Leofgyth
  • Leofhild
  • Leofrun
  • Leofsidu
  • Leofswith
  • Leofwaru
  • Leohteva

M

  • Matilda (3)
  • Mawa
  • Menleva
  • Mereswith
  • Merwynn
  • Mild
  • Modeva
  • Molleva
  • Muriel

O

  • Odfrida
  • Odil
  • Odolina
  • Oia
  • Olova
  • Oseva

Q

  • Queneva

R

  • Regnild
  • Rohais (2)

S

  • Saegyth
  • Saehild
  • Saelufu
  • Saewaru
  • Saieva
  • Sigrith
  • Skialdfrith
  • Stanfled
  • Sunneva

T

  • Tela
  • Thorild
  • Thorlogh
  • Tova
  • Tovild
  • Turorne
  • Tutfled

W

  • Wigfled
  • Wulfeva (9)
  • Wulffled (2)
  • Wulfgyth
  • Wulfrun
  • Wulfwaru (2)
  • Wulfwynn (2)

See anything you like?

Also, did you notice the names of Scandinavian origin (e.g., Guthrun, Ingrith, Sigrith)? “These names are most numerous in the eastern half of the country, particularly Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This is precisely where, as we know from other evidence, there was a substantial settlement of Scandinavian immigrants.”

UPDATE: Here are the Male Names in the Domesday Book.

Sources:

Image: National Archives (UK)

Girl Names that Can Be Shortened to Izzy?

A friend of mine announced her pregnancy a few weeks ago (congrats, E!). She doesn’t know the gender of the baby yet, but if it’s a girl, she thinks she’d like to use the name Isabella.

The problem? Isabella has been one of the most popular baby names in the nation for almost a decade now. My friend is still prepared to use it, but she’s also wondering what else is out there.

What she likes most about Isabella is the nickname Izzy, so I thought I’d help her out by coming up other girl names that can be shortened to Izzy. Some of these may be a stretch, but this is a brainstorm so anything goes. :)

Isabel/Isabelle
Part of the same name-family, but not as popular as Isabella.

Isidora/Isadora
Isabella and Isidora aren’t related (the former is based on Elizabeth, the latter on Isis) but they sound like they could be.

Elizabeth or Lizette
Why not lop the L off Lizzy and make it Izzy?

Giselle
French name that can be traced back to a Germanic word meaning “pledge.” Popularized recently by model Gisele, but still outside the top 100.

Desiree (Désirée)
French name meaning “desired.”

Zipporah (Tzipora, Tzipporah, etc.)
Hebrew name meaning “bird.”

Cosima
Italian name derived from the ancient Greek word for “order.”

Louisa or Louise
Derived from Ludwig, comprised of elements meaning “fame” and “war.”

Eloise (Éloïse) or Heloise (Héloïse)
Might come from the Germanic name Helewidis, comprised of elements meaning “hale” and either “wide” or “wood.”

Therese (Thérèse)
Unknown etymology, though perhaps based on the name of a Greek island.

Aziza
Arabic name meaning “powerful.”

Aliza
Hebrew name meaning “joyful.”

Can you think of any other girl names that can be shortened to Izzy?

Do You Like Matchy-Matchy Names for Twins?

Have you ever read the newspaper column “Hints From Heloise”? I recently learned a few facts about the original Heloise that reminded me of the Lydia/Sylvia debate from a few days ago.

Heloise was born with the name Eloise. (The H was added for the sake of the column.) Eloise had a twin sister with a very similar name: Louise. And it doesn’t stop there. Eloise’s mother Amelia also had a female twin. The twin’s name? Ophelia.

Giving twins matchy-matchy names continues to be popular, if the SSA’s list of popular twin names is any indication. The top names for twin girls last year included Gabriella/Isabella, Madison/Morgan, Ella/Emma and Makayla/Makenzie.

Do you like it when twins (or siblings that are close in age) have similar names? Why or why not?

UPDATE, 2013: Give Your Twins Unique Names is a more recent post on this topic.