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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jelani

Number of Babies Named Jelani

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Jelani

Mystery Baby Names – Open Cases

I’m a baby name blogger, but sometimes I feel more like a baby name detective. Because so much of my blogging time is spent doing detective work: trying to figure out where a particular baby name comes from, or why a name saw a sudden jump (or drop) in usage during a particular year.

If a name itself doesn’t make the answer obvious (e.g., Lindbergh) and a simple Google search hasn’t helped, my first bit of detective work involves scanning the baby name charts. I’ve learned that many search-resistant baby names (like Deatra) are merely alternative spellings of more common names (Deirdre).

If that doesn’t do it, I go back to Google for some advanced-level ninja searching, to help me zero in on specific types of historical or pop culture events. This is how I traced Irmalee back to a character in a short story in a very old issue of the once-popular McCall’s Magazine.

But if I haven’t gotten anywhere after a few rounds of ninja searching, I officially give up and turn the mystery baby name over to you guys. Together we’ve cracked a couple of cases (yay!) but, unfortunately, most of the mystery baby names I’ve blogged about are still big fat mysteries.

Here’s the current list of open cases:

  • Wanza, girl name, debuted in 1915.
  • Nerine, girl name, debuted in 1917.
  • Laquita, girl name, debuted in 1930.
  • Norita, girl name, spiked (for the 2nd time) in 1937.
  • Delphine, girl name, spiked in 1958.
  • Leshia, girl name, debuted in 1960.
  • Lavoris, girl name, debuted in 1961.
  • Djuna, girl name, debuted in 1964.
  • Latrenda, girl name, debuted in 1965.
  • Ondina, girl name, debuted in 1968.
  • Khari, boy name, debuted in 1971.
  • Jelani, boy name, debuted in 1973.
  • Toshiba, girl name, debuted in 1974.
  • Brieanna, girl name, debuted in 1979.
  • Sumiko, girl name, spiked in 1980.
  • Tou, boy name, debuted in 1980.
  • Marquita, girl name, spiked in 1983.
  • Caelan, boy name, debuted in 1992.
  • Deyonta, boy name, debuted in 1993.
  • Trayvond, boy name, debuted in 1994.
  • Zeandre, boy name, debuted in 1997.
  • Yatzari, girl name, debuted in 2000.
  • Itzae, boy name, debuted in 2011.

If you enjoy sleuthing, please give some of the above a shot! I’d love to knock one or two off the list before I start adding more mystery names in the coming weeks…

Update, 1/23/15: Forgot to add Avenir from the distinctive baby names, state by state list (see Oregon & Washington). It debuted as a boy name in 2002.

Update, 7/13/16: More still-open cases from the Mystery Monday series last summer: Theta, Memory, Treasure, Clione, Trenace, Bisceglia, Genghis and Temujin.


Biggest Baby Name Debuts of All Time: Boys, 50 to 41

biggest baby name debuts of all time, boy names, 50 to 41

This week let’s finish checking out the top baby name debuts of all time.

I’ll be counting down the 50 most popular boy name debuts in five posts, from today until Friday. (I did the top girl name debuts a couple of weeks ago.) I didn’t break any ties, so this “top 50” list actually has 93 names.

I came up with explanations for as many names as I could, but I’m still stumped on a few of them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

Here’s 50 to 41:

Cordaryl, Devaunte, Jeffren, Naksh, Sanjaya, Tige & Trysten, 7-way tie for #50

  • Cordaryl debuted with 28 baby boys in 1986.
    Inspired by Cordero Roberts, a character on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
  • Devaunte debuted with 28 baby boys in 1992.
    Inspired by singer DeVante Swing, a member of Jodeci.
  • Jeffren debuted with 28 baby boys in 2010.
    Inspired by soccer player Jeffren Suarez.
  • Naksh debuted with 28 baby boys in 2012.
    Inspired by Naksh, a character on the Indian TV show “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.”
  • Sanjaya debuted with 28 baby boys in 2007.
    Inspired by Sanjaya Malakar, a contestant on the TV singing competition “American Idol.”
  • Tige debuted with 28 baby boys in 1969.
    Inspired by Tige Andrews, an actor on the TV show “The Mod Squad.”
  • Trysten debuted with 28 baby boys in 1995.
    Inspired by Tristan Ludlow, a character in the movie Legends of the Fall.

Ajee, Baylee, Itzae & Kwamaine, 4-way tie for #49

  • Ajee debuted with 29 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by the Revlon perfume Ajee.
  • Baylee debuted with 29 baby boys in 1995.
    Inspired by baby Baylee Almon, victim of the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Itzae debuted with 29 baby boys in 2011.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Kwamaine debuted with 29 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by rapper Kwame Holland.

Alize, Broderick, Diamante, Hoby, Jevante, Kwamane, Larenz & Savalas, 8-way tie for #48

  • Alize debuted with 30 baby boys in 1995.
    Inspired by the liqueur Alize.
  • Broderick debuted with 30 baby boys in 1950.
    Inspired by Broderick Crawford, an actor in the movie All the King’s Men.
  • Diamante debuted with 30 baby boys in 1991.
    Inspired by the Mitsubishi Diamante (car).
  • Hoby debuted with 30 baby boys in 1958.
    Inspired by Hoby Gilman, a character on the TV western “Trackdown.”
  • Jevante debuted with 30 baby boys in 1992.
    Inspired by DeVante Swing as well.
  • Kwamane debuted with 30 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by Kwame Holland as well.
  • Larenz debuted with 30 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by Larenz Tate, an actor in the movie Menace II Society.
  • Savalas debuted with 30 baby boys in 1974.
    Inspired by Telly Savalas, an actor on the TV show “Kojak.”

Cully, Omarian & Yul, 3-way tie for #47

  • Cully debuted with 31 baby boys in 1960.
    Inspired by Cully Wilson, a character on the TV show “Lassie.”
  • Omarian debuted with 31 baby boys in 2002.
    Inspired by singer Omarion.
  • Yul debuted with 31 baby boys in 1957.
    Inspired by Yul Brenner, an actor in the movie The Ten Commandments.

Cauy, Kesan, Khari, Kinta, Maverick, Roemello & Shaquel, 7-way tie for #46

  • Cauy debuted with 32 baby boys in 1999.
    Inspired by professional bull rider Cauy Hudson.
  • Kesan debuted with 32 baby boys in 2008.
    Inspired by Kesan, a contestant on the reality TV show “From G’s to Gents.”
  • Khari debuted with 32 baby boys in 1971.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Kinta debuted with 32 baby boys in 1977.
    Inspired by Kunta Kinte, a character on the TV miniseries “Roots.”
  • Maverick debuted with 32 baby boys in 1957.
    Inspired by Bret Maverick, a character on the TV western “Maverick.”
  • Roemello debuted with 32 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by Roemello Skuggs, a character in the movie Sugar Hill.
  • Shaquel debuted with 32 baby boys in 1993.
    Inspired by basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.

Tou, #45

  • Tou debuted with 33 baby boys in 1980.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Hmong immigration. (Thanks, Christina!)

Caelan, Caillou, Daren, Illya, Kiefer & Quamaine, 6-way tie for #44

  • Caelan debuted with 35 baby boys in 1992.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Caillou debuted with 35 baby boys in 2001.
    Inspired by Caillou, a character on the children’s TV show “Caillou.”
  • Daren debuted with 35 baby boys in 1922.
    Inspired by Daren Lane, a character in the Zane Grey book “The Day of the Beast.”
  • Illya debuted with 35 baby boys in 1965.
    Inspired by Illya Kuryakin, a character on the TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
  • Kiefer debuted with 35 baby boys in 1988.
    Inspired by Kiefer Sutherland, an actor in the movie Young Guns.
  • Quamaine debuted with 35 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by Kwame Holland as well.

Argenis, Corderro, Jelani, Kareen & Livan, 5-way tie for #43

  • Argenis debuted with 36 baby boys in 1981.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Argenis Carruyo, Venezuelan singer.
  • Corderro debuted with 36 baby boys in 1986.
    Inspired by Cordero Roberts, a character on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
  • Jelani debuted with 36 baby boys in 1973.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Kareen debuted with 36 baby boys in 1972.
    Inspired by basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • Livan debuted with 36 baby boys in 1997.
    Inspired by baseball player Livan Hernandez.

Deyonta, Tahj & Zeandre, 3-way tie for #42

  • Deyonta debuted with 37 baby boys in 1993.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Tahj debuted with 37 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by singer Tajh Abdulsamad, a member of The Boys.
  • Zeandre debuted with 37 baby boys in 1997.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.

Hobson, #41

Do you have any ideas about where Zeandre, Deyonta, Jelani, Caelan, Tou, Khari, or Itzae might have come from?

If you want to make guesses about the names higher up on the list, these posts will help:

*The Top 50 Baby Name Debuts for Boys: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1*

First and Last Names that Start with the Same Letter

Yesterday I read an article about this year’s college football prospects. Three of the top ten have first and last names that start with the same letter: Bryce Brown (#1), Rueben Randle (#2) and Jelani Jenkins (#10).

That seemed like a rather high concentration…so I checked out the entire top 100 for similar names. I found six more: Janzen Jackson (#17), Garrett Gilbert (#18), Shayne Skov (#45), Morgan Moses (#49), Patrick Patterson (#50) and Jarvis Jones (#72).

Nine out of 100…nearly 10%. (Could this be representative of the entire population?) At this point I was curious enough to scan all of the archived rankings:

  • 8 in ’08: Julio Jones, Armond Armstead, Janoris Jenkins, Garrett Goebel, Joshua Jarboe, Brendan Beal, Brice Butler, Brandon Beachum
  • 6 in ’07: Terrance Toliver, Chris Culliver, Tyrod Taylor, Armando Allen, Bryan Bulaga, Gary Gray
  • 6 in ’06: Mitch Mustain, Robert Rose, Tim Tebow, Stephen Schilling, Michael Morgan, Dorin Dickerson
  • 7 in ’05: Ryan Reynolds, Dan Doering, Mohamed Massaquoi, Mario Manningham, Curtis Crouch, Avery Atkins, Terrance Taylor
  • 9 in ’04: Willie Williams, Cameron Colvin, Lance Leggett, Brandon Barrett, Brandon Braxton, Josh Johnson, Brian Brohm, Tony Temple (maybe), Doug Dutch
  • 6 in ’03: Steve Smith, Dennis Dixon, Mike Mason, Donovan Davis, Jason Jack, Craig Chambers
  • 2 in ’02: Julian Jenkins, Doug Datish

So it seems there are more of these names than normal this year. Still, though, I’m curious to know just how many people in the U.S. have first names that start with the same letters as their surnames. (I also wonder whether the Name-Letter Effect has skewed the number upward at all.)

One-Hit Wonder Baby Names from the 1990s

Many unusual baby names popped up during the 1990s — here are the one-hit wonders from that decade:

Girls

  • Adilene – ranked 984th in 1994
  • Alannah – ranked 936th in 1990 – influence: singer Alannah Myles
  • Baylie – ranked 989th in 1997
  • Brianda – ranked 777th in 1992
  • Clarisa – ranked 665th in 1994 – influence: tv show Clarissa Explains it All
  • Coraima – ranked 874th in 1993 – influence: actress Coraima Torres
  • Crysta – ranked 965th in 1993
  • Daijah – ranked 976th in 1996
  • Deyanira – ranked 947th in 1993
  • Ieshia – ranked 718th in 1991
  • Iridian – ranked 889th in 1995
  • Jasmyne – ranked 991st in 1993
  • Jaycie – ranked 963rd in 1996 – influence: gymnast Jaycie Phelps
  • Julisa – ranked 731st in 1997 – influence: variant of Julissa
  • Kalene – ranked 927th in 1993
  • Kanesha – ranked 951st in 1990
  • Kaylene – ranked 967th in 1993
  • Keanna – ranked 910th in 1995
  • Kyara – ranked 928th in in 1999
  • Meranda – ranked 1000th in 1994
  • Micayla – ranked 950th in 1997
  • Miesha – ranked 998th in 1991
  • Miriah – ranked 948th in 1991
  • Nohely – ranked 896th in 1994
  • Shae – ranked 925th in 1998
  • Shaniece – ranked 937th in 1992
  • Shannen – ranked 893rd in 1993
  • Shaquana – ranked 919th in 1991
  • Shawnee – ranked 871st in 1992
  • Tatyanna – ranked 952nd in in 1999
  • Tiesha – ranked 925th in 1991
  • Yamilex – ranked 707th in 1996 – influence: telenovela Como tu, ninguna
  • Yulisa – ranked 988th in 1997 – influence: variant of Julissa
  • Yulissa – ranked 424th in 1997 – influence: variant of Julissa

Boys

  • Arman – ranked 980th in 1999
  • Christion – ranked 988th in 1998
  • Coleton – ranked 907th in 1997
  • Colter – ranked 997th in 1992
  • Damarcus – ranked 995th in 1995
  • Davonta – ranked 918th in 1992
  • Devaughn – ranked 924th in 1993
  • Dijon – ranked 916th in 1991
  • Dustyn – ranked 1000th in 1995
  • Jacquez – ranked 864th in 1998
  • Jajuan – ranked 983rd in 1997
  • Jelani – ranked 932nd in 1998 – influence: basketball player Jelani McCoy
  • Keandre – ranked 957th in 1997
  • Keifer – ranked 924th in 1991 – influence: Kiefer Sutherland
  • Keion – ranked 870th in 1996
  • Kenan – ranked 968th in 1997
  • Khari – ranked 853rd in 1994
  • Miguelangel – ranked 965th in 1998
  • Mykel – ranked 869th in 1990
  • Raquan – ranked 879th in 1996
  • Rashaan – ranked 938th in 1995
  • Shyheim – ranked 817th in 1994 – influence: rapper/actor Shyheim
  • Tavian – ranked 862nd in 1998
  • Tyreese – ranked 892nd in 1999 – influence: singer Tyrese
  • Tyreke – ranked 739th in 1999
  • Tyrik – ranked 895th in 1998
  • Tyrin – ranked 942nd in 1994

All one-hit wonder lists: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s.