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

Name Quotes #47 – Hiroko, Jaxon, Joule

Welcome to this month’s quote post!

From “Modern baby names have gone too far” (in the Telegraph) by Tom Ough:

Yes: Jaxon. This name is a bad name — an atrocious name. It is an elision of “Jack’s” and “son”, the join clumsily Sellotaped by an X which would find a better home in a bad action film than in a child’s name. (Young readers called Xerxes: forgive me, then promise never to watch your parents’ copy of 300.)

The babies lumbered with ‘Jaxon’ are victims of poor taste rather than sons of men called Jack: if any name is a bastardisation, this is it.

From “The untold stories of Japanese war brides” (in the Washington Post) by Kathryn Tolbert:

They either tried, or were pressured, to give up their Japanese identities to become more fully American. A first step was often adopting the American nicknames given them when their Japanese names were deemed too hard to pronounce or remember. Chikako became Peggy; Kiyoko became Barbara. Not too much thought went into those choices, names sometimes imposed in an instant by a U.S. officer organizing his pool of typists. My mother, Hiroko Furukawa, became Susie.

How did it feel to be renamed for someone in the man’s past, a distant relative or former girlfriend? My mother said she didn’t mind, and others said it made their lives easier to have an American name.

On the origin of the name “Lolo” from the Lolo National Forest website:

“Lolo” probably evolved from “Lou-Lou”, a pronunciation of “Lawrence,” a French-Canadian fur trapper killed by a grizzly bear and buried at Grave Creek.

The first written evidence of the name “Lolo” appears in 1831 when fur trader John Work refers in his journal to Lolo Creek as “Lou Lou.”

In an 1853 railroad survey and map, Lieutenant John Mullan spelled the creek and trail “Lou Lou.” However, by 1865 the name was shortened to Lolo and is currently the name of a national forest, town, creek, mountain peak, mountain pass and historic trail in west central Montana.

From an article about historical name trends in England:

The establishment of the Church of England coincided with the publication in 1535 of the first modern English translation of both the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible. The Protestant reform movement stressed the central importance of the Bible, and the new English translations meant that many more people could read the Bible themselves. In turn, it also meant that they had access to the large stock of names from the Old Testament – from Aaron to Zechariah, and Abigail to Zipporah. These names had the added attraction that they were much less associated with Catholicism than many New Testament names. As a result, Old Testament names became much more common during the late-16th century and 17th century, especially among girls.

NPR writer Lateefah Torrence on the name of her daughter Dalia Joule Braun-Torrence:

Post-delivery, Frank and I were still unsure of her name. In the few days before her birth, we had narrowed our girl name list down to Aziza and Dalia.

[…]

We looked into her tiny face and asked, “Dalia?” Our little girl stared at us inquisitively. I think she may have been thinking, “Obviously.” We then asked, “Aziza?” — she turned away from us, and we knew our Dalia was here.

From the book Cajun Country (1991) by Barry Jean Ancelet, Jay Dearborn Edwards, and Glen Pitre:

[A] few years ago the Lafourche Daily Comet ran an obituary for eighty-two-year-old Winnie Grabert Breaux. The article listed Winnie’s brothers and sisters, living and dead: Wiltz, Wilda, Wenise, Witnese, William, Willie, Wilfred, Wilson, Weldon, Ernest, Norris, Darris, Dave, Inez and Lena.

(According to Winnie’s Find a Grave profile, “Wiltz” is Wilson, “Witnese” is Witness and “Weldon” is Wildon. Here’s a recent post on Cajun nicknames.)

From “JFK’s legacy in Bogotá lives on 55-years later” (in The City Paper) by Andy East:

It was Dec. 17, 1961, and nearly one-third of Bogotá’s 1.5 million inhabitants had turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon for one reason: to catch a glimpse of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The massive outpouring was the largest reception the U.S. leader ever had.

[…]

The historic visit, which lasted only 14 hours, would change the lives of thousands of families and have a profound impact on the city that is still visible 55 years later.

[…]

In the immediate years after Kennedy’s visit, the most popular baby names registered at baptisms in Ciudad Kennedy were John, Fitzgerald (Kennedy’s middle name), Jacqueline and Kennedy.

(Here’s a recent post about U.S. babies named for JFK.)

From “Old people names of the future” by Sara Chodosh:

Perhaps the strongest trend in recent years hasn’t been certain names, it’s been a diversity of names. […] The plethora of names has weakened individual trends; we haven’t had a strong female name trend since the ’90s. And without a significant number of babies with a particular name, we may stop associating certain names with certain generations.

For more, check out the name quotes category.


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?

twig, professional father, 1955
Twig, played by Ted Marc

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 Kathryn, known as “Kit,” and Tom Jr., known as “Twig.”

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