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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kathryn

Number of Babies Named Kathryn

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Kathryn

The Mystery of Essfa

baby name essfa mysteryThis might not be a mystery. It might just be my imagination running away with me. But I’ll put it out there anyway.

We all know there are flaws with the SSA data. Data scientist David Taylor made a slide deck illustrating several issues with the SSA data a few years ago, and I’ve blogged specifically about the baby name glitch of 1989 and the Korea-Kansas mis-codes.

So my question is this: Could Essfa, a one-hit wonder from 1921, be another flaw?

According to the SSA data, the name Essfa was given to 6 babies in 1921, and all 6 of these babies were born in Vermont.

But when we look for these Essfas in the SSDI, we get…nothing. Not a single Essfa from anywhere, born in any year.

This doesn’t prove anything, but it is very curious.

Then there’s the fact that all these Essfas were born in Vermont, a relatively small state not known for adventurous baby-naming. The SSA’s Vermont-specific data from 1921 puts oddball Essfa on par with classics like Emma and Julia:

All baby names given to 6 babies
in VT in 1921, according to SSA
VT,F,1921,Emma,6
VT,F,1921,Essfa,6
VT,F,1921,Germaine,6
VT,F,1921,Glenna,6
VT,F,1921,Gloria,6
VT,F,1921,Harriett,6
VT,F,1921,Julia,6
VT,F,1921,Kathryn,6
VT,F,1921,Mae,6
VT,F,1921,Margery,6
VT,F,1921,Wilma,6

Again, very curious.

After doing more research, I was only able to find a single person named Essfa who was born in Vermont in 1921. The intriguing part? She had multiple identities:

  • She was born Essfa Estella Bickford Vermont on May 7, 1921.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis upon marrying William Earl Davis in Vermont in 1937.
  • She became Essfa E. Millette upon marrying Rupert Frank Millette in New Hampshire in 1941.
  • She became Essfa E. Walker upon marrying Howard C. Walker in New Hampshire in 1953.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis (again) upon marrying Arthur I. Davis in Connecticut in 1964, and passed away in 1976 as a Davis.

And I found a sixth alias — in Billboard magazine, oddly enough. For decades Billboard operated a mail-forwarding service for traveling performers. The name “Essfa E. White” appeared regularly on their Letter List from 1945 until 1948. (She was also listed under the surname Millette once, in 1946.)

So we know for sure that one Essfa was born in Vermont in 1921, and that this Essfa used at least six different names (if you count Davis twice) throughout her lifetime.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether this particular Essfa was counted 6 different times in the SSA data somehow.

What do you think?

Source: Billboard – Wikipedia


Baby Boys Named Twig?

Back when I was writing about the baby name Twiggy I happened upon the one-hit wonder baby name Twig:

  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: 5 baby boys named Twig [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

Where did it come from? A short-lived TV sitcom called Professional Father, which aired on CBS from January to July, 1955. The central characters were Tom Wilson, his wife Helen, and their kids “Twig” (Thomas) and “Kit” (Kathryn).

The show was a mid-season replacement for another sitcom called That’s My Boy. It was replaced in the fall by Gunsmoke, which went on to become the longest-running western in TV history.

What do you think of the baby name Twig? (How about “Twig” as a nickname for Thomas?)

Source: Professional Father – Wikipedia

Starlet Names from the Early 1900s

Ever heard of the WAMPAS Baby Stars?

They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.

WAMPAS baby stars 1928

About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).

Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).

I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).

  • 7: Dorothy
  • 6: Helen
  • 4: Elizabeth
  • 3: Frances, Ruth, Virginia
  • 2: Anita, Ann, Barbara, Betty, Clara, Doris, Dorothea, Eleanor, Evelyn, Gladys, Gwendolyn, Hazel, Jacqueline, Katherine, Laura, Louise, Lucille, Margaret, Maria, Marian, Marie, Marion, Mary, Patricia, Violet
  • 1: Adamae, Alberta, Alma, Anne, Audrey, Augusta, Blanche, Carmelita, Caryl, Constance, Derelys, Dolores, Duane, Edna, Eleanor, Ena, Enriqueta, Ethel, Ethlyne, Evalyn, Flora, Gisela, Gloria, Gretchen, Hattie, Helene, Ina, Ingeborg, Jacquiline, Jean, Joan, Jobyna, Josephine, Juanita, Julanne, Kathleen, Kathryn, Kitty, Launa, Laurette, Lena, Lenore, Lilian, Lola, Lu Ann, Lucile, Madeline, Marceline, Martha, Mildred, Myrna, Natalia, Natalie, Nellie, Neoma, Olive, Olivia, Patsy, Rita, Rochelle, Rose, Sally, Suzanne, Sidney, Toshia, Vera, Vina

And here are the leftover stage names:

  • 5: Sally
  • 4: Mary
  • 3: Joan, June
  • 2: Betty, Jean, Judith, Pauline
  • 1: Alice, Bessie, Boots, Claire, Colleen, Dolores, Dorothy, Elinor, Evelyn, Fay, Frances, Gigi, Ginger, Gladys, Gloria, Gwen, Iris, Janet, Joyce, Julie, Karen, Kathleen, Lila, Lina, Lois, Lona, Loretta, Lucille, Lupe, Marian, Molly, Mona, Natalie, Patricia, Sue

(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)

Finally, a few interesting details:

  • Jobyna is Jobyna Ralston, named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
  • Derelys is Derelys Perdue. “Perdue’s boss, future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy, insisted on changing her name to the more palatable Ann Perdue.” She sued, but lost, and her career never recovered. Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
  • Sidney is Sidney Fox, a female who had the name Sidney/Sydney long before the name became trendy for girls.
  • Lina is Lina Basquette, who I mentioned in last week’s name quote post.
  • One of the Marys is Mary Astor, who went on to give her daughter a Hawaiian name.

Which of the above names do you like best? Why?

Source: Derelys Perdue – Biography – Movies & TV – NYTimes.com

Popular Baby Names on Prince Edward Island, 2013

Prince Edward Island’s top baby names of 2013 were announced recently.

According to provisional data from PEI’s vital statistics office, the most popular baby names in the province are Brooklyn and Liam.

Between January 1 and December 6, a total of 1,255 babies were born on the island and 746 different baby names were registered. Here are several hundred of those names, grouped by usage:

Girl Names Boy Names
  • Given to 9 baby girls: Brooklyn (#1)
  • 8: Olivia
  • 7: Ellie, Madison
  • 6: Claire, Ella, Emma, Lydia, Sophia
  • 5: Alexis, Callie, Julia, Lauren, Mackenzie, Sophie
  • 4: Abigail, Amelia, Ava, Charlotte, Layla, Lily, Sadie, Summer, Victoria
  • 3: Alexa, Anna, Annie, Aria, Aubree, Danica, Elizabeth, Felicity, Grace, Hannah, Harper, Jessica, Jordyn, Keira, Kinsley, Lexi, Lucy, Madelyn, Molly, Mya, Paisley, Peyton, Piper, Quinn, Sarah, Scarlett, Stella, Tessa, Violet
  • 2: Aaralyn, Adalyn, Aleah, Alice, Alyson, Amy, Anabelle, Averie, Avery, Ayla, Brooke, Brooklynn, Casey, Charlie, Elle, Elly, Emersyn, Evelyn, Fiona, Georgia, Gracie, Hailey, Isabella, Isla, Izabella, Jaelyn, Kate, Katherine, Kathryn, Kayla, Kyleigh, Leah, Lylah, Macie, Maggie, Marley, Mary, Meredith, Mila, Nevaeh, Paige, Rebekah, Ruby, Ryleigh, Samantha, Savannah, Selena, Serena, Serenity, Taylor, Zoey
  • 1 (a small selection): Adalay, Aislinn, Arista, Avalon, Avurri, Bonnie, Brae-Lynn, Brantley, Breagh, Brenya, Carling, Daelynn, Dawsyn, Ellavine, Elliet, Ellowyn, Erda, Felix, Georgie, Iola, Iona, Ivy, Jayla, Jozee, Keiannah, Khloey, Lewyn, Maeryn, Mataya, Meah, Merleah, Misk, Myrissa, Nahala, Naiomee, Penny, Primrose, Reenie, Rilynn, Ronnie, Rora, Soraya, Theia, Zadie
  • Given to 11 baby boys: Liam (#1)
  • 10: Hunter
  • 9: Connor, Jack
  • 8: Cohen, Jaxon, John
  • 7: Landon, Owen, William
  • 6: Benjamin, Caleb, Henry, Lucas, Mason, Noah
  • 5: Alex, Alexander, Carter, Charlie, David, Jackson, James, Jase, Joseph, Wyatt
  • 4: Austin, Camden, Cameron, Emmett, Griffin, Harrison, Hudson, Jace, Jonah, Kingston, Lincoln, Marcus, Nash, Nathan, Oliver, Parker, Ryan, Ryder, Seth, Xavier
  • 3: Charles, Clark, Cooper, Daniel, Drake, Dylan, Edward, Eli, Elijah, Emerson, Evan, Felix, Gabriel, Gavin, Gus, Isaac, Isaiah, Jacob, Jax, Jonathan, Joshua, Kai, Kaiden, Malcolm, Michael, Nathaniel, Riley, Sawyer, Thomas, Tristan
  • 2: Antonio, Beau, Beckett, Brayden, Caden, Casey, Cash, Clarke, Dawson, Declan, Dominic, Drew, Elliot, Elliott, Ethan, Ezra, Gage, Grayson, Hayden, Jaxson, Jayden, Kole, Levi, Logan, Luke, Matthew, Morgan, Nate, Nicholas, Nolan, Peter, Ryker, Rylan, Sebastian, Simon, Tanner, Taylor, Theo, Turner, Ty, Tye
  • 1 (a small selection): Abel, Aeros, Attwood, Blaiz, Boe, Canaan, Clive, Davud, Draeson, Fynn, Hadwin, Haitao, Jaece, Jedrek, Kessel, Montgomery, Neeko, Odell, Reethym, Rigon, Sudta, Toffer, Tylan, Wesdon, Zyler

I’m not sure when the finalized version of PEI’s 2013 list will be released, but I’ll be on the lookout for it. (Update, 1/8/2015: The 2014 list for PEI just came out, and it included a link to the 2013 data…which is exactly the same as the above. So it looks like PEI doesn’t release finalized lists.)

Sources: Brooklyn, Liam 2013’s most popular baby names in Prince Edward Island, The Most Popular Baby Names in P.E.I. for 2013

Baby Name Needed – Brother of Kathryn and Nicholas

A reader named Shannon is expecting a baby boy at the end of the month. She currently has two children — twins named Kathryn (Kate) Rose and Nicholas (Nick) James. She writes:

We like Jonathan and Joshua, but are having trouble with a middle name. My husband’s name is James Nelson, and we are considering Nelson as a middle name, but are not totally sold on it. I like Cole, Luke, and maybe David. My husband will only consider more traditional/classic names.

Shannon would ideally like to find a middle for Jonathan or Joshua. (Other names they’ve thought about but probably won’t use are Arthur and Calvin, both family names.)

She’d also consider alternative first names that go with either the middle name Nelson or the surname Di Pietro.*

Let’s look at middle names for Jonathan and Joshua first:

I think Joshua Nelson sounds great. I’m not as enthusiastic about Jonathan Nelson, though, because the names blend. It’s hard to tell if “Jonathan Nelson” is Jonathan Nelson or Jonathan Elson if you don’t see the name in written form.

Luke and Cole both sound good to me as middles. I don’t care for the way David sounds next to Di Pietro, though, so I’d probably skip that one.

Here are some other middle names that I think might work:

Adam (with Jonathan)
Andrew (with Jonathan)
Blake
Charles
Grant
Henry
Mark
Matthew
Michael
Nathan (with Joshua)
Neil (with Joshua)
Paul
Philip
Ryan
Samuel
Tate

I’m partial to the one-syllable options, to match with the middle names Rose and James. I especially like Neil because it’s actually the basis of the surname Nelson, so it retains that connection to Dad’s name, which is cool.

And now let’s look at first names that could work with Nelson and Di Pietro:

Alexander (Alex)
Anthony (Tony)
Jacob (Jake)
Joseph (Joe)
Lucas (Luke)
Marcus (Mark)
Martin (Marty)
Michael (Mike)
Samuel (Sam)
Thomas (Tom)
Victor (Vic)
William (Will; Bill)

My favorite from this group is Joseph, because it’s a J-name like the current favorites Joshua and Jonathan, but it sounds more “classic” to me than Jacob does. (Maybe because Jacob is so popular right now.)

Do you like any of the ideas above? What other middle and first names would you suggest to Shannon?

*Not their actual surname, but close.

Update: The baby has arrived! Scroll down to see the first and middle names Shannon chose.

Baby Name Safe List – Amelia, Calvin, Grace, Preston, Rebecca, Wesley

Not sure what to name your baby?

Maybe you should go with a classic. The following names have been popular in the U.S. since at least 1880 (when data on baby names was first collected). None of the male names have ever been out of the top 400, and none of the female names have ever been out of the top 500.

So, if you’re stumped, simply close your eyes and point. Just remember to veer to the left if you’re having a boy, to the right if you’re having a girl…

Aaron
Albert
Alex
Alexander
Allen
Andrew
Andy
Anthony
Antonio
Arthur
Benjamin
Calvin
Charles
Christopher
Clayton
Curtis
Daniel
David
Dennis
Donald
Edgar
Edward
Edwin
Felix
Frank
George
Grant
Henry
Isaac
Jack
Jacob
James
Jay
Jerry
Jesse
Joe
Joel
John
Jose
Joseph
Juan
Julian
Kenneth
Louis
Manuel
Marcus
Mark
Martin
Marvin
Matthew
Michael
Nathan
Nathaniel
Nicholas
Oscar
Patrick
Paul
Peter
Philip
Phillip
Preston
Raymond
Richard
Robert
Ruben
Samuel
Stephen
Theodore
Thomas
Timothy
Tony
Victor
Vincent
Walter
Wesley
William
Alice
Amanda
Amelia
Amy
Anna
Anne
Annie
Caroline
Catherine
Cecilia
Charlotte
Christina
Christine
Claudia
Cynthia
Elizabeth
Emily
Emma
Esther
Eva
Evelyn
Grace
Helen
Jane
Josephine
Julia
Katherine
Kathleen
Kathryn
Katie
Laura
Leah
Lillian
Linda
Lydia
Margaret
Maria
Mary
Miriam
Molly
Nancy
Naomi
Nina
Priscilla
Rachel
Rebecca
Rose
Rosa
Ruby
Ruth
Sara
Sarah
Veronica

Honorable Mentions: Douglas, Eddie, Ivan, Lawrence, Mitchell and Russell were each out of the top 400 only once, and Nora was out of the top 500 only once.