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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kelsey

Number of Babies Named Kelsey

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Kelsey

Inspiring Namesake for Kelsey (or Frances)

Frances Kelsey, President Kennedy, 1962Dr. Frances Kelsey, who lived to 101, would have turned 102 this year on August 7th.

She was the FDA pharmacologist and physician who kept the sedative Thalidomide off the U.S. market in 1960 and 1961, despite pressure from the drug’s manufacturer.

Suspicious about the “glowing” claims made by the manufacturer, Dr. Kelsey was concerned that Thalidomide, which was being used in Europe to alleviate morning sickness, could have unknown side effects.

The link between Thalidomide and severe birth defects (such as phocomelia) emerged in late 1961. Thousands of European babies ended up with Thalidomide-related birth defects. Many of these babies did not survive infancy.

In July of 1962, Washington Post reporter Morton Mintz broke the Thalidomide story with an article entitled, “‘Heroine’ of FDA Keeps Bad Drug Off Market.” It opened,

This is the story of how the skepticism and stubbornness of a Government physician prevented what could have been an appalling American tragedy, the birth of hundreds or indeed thousands of armless and legless children.

The next month, Dr. Kelsey received the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service from John F. Kennedy.

Later the same year, amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that “required drug manufacturers to prove scientifically that a medication was not only safe, but effective” was signed into law.

Dr. Frances Kelsey’s first name comes from the Late Latin name Franciscus, meaning “Frankish” or “Frenchman.” Her surname, originally a place name, is made up of two parts: the Old English byname Cenel (from cene, meaning “bold” or “valiant”) and the Old English word eg, meaning “island.” Frances was trendiest in the 1910s, while Kelsey was at peak popularity in the early 1990s.

Sources: Changing the Face of Medicine | Dr. Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey, “Autobiographical Reflections” by Frances Oldham Kelsey, Ph.D., M.D. (PDF), Kefauver-Harris Amendments Revolutionized Drug Development, Kelsey – Behind the Name


Most Common Names of D.C. Voters, by Party

capitol building DC

A couple of weeks ago, reader Becca sent me a link to a Washington Post graphic showing the 10 most common names of registered voters within each of Washington D.C.’s four main political parties — Statehood Green, Democratic, Republican and Libertarian.

Here’s the info from the graphic:

Statehood Green Democratic Republican Libertarian
1. Jon
2. Jesse
3. Barry
4. Darnell
5. Ian
6. Juan
7. Jordan
8. Jerry
9. Corey
10. Tyrone
1. Lillie
2. Laverne
3. Ella
4. Bernice
5. Mildred
6. Peggy
7. Betty
8. Ethel
9. Toni
10. Geraldine
1. Tyler
2. Bradley
3. Kelsey
4. Lindsey
5. Kristina
6. Meredith
7. Caroline
8. Kyle
9. Kelly
10. Taylor
1. Jared
2. Jon
3. Brendan
4. Derek
5. Joy
6. Kyle
7. Brooke
8. Julian
9. Nicholas
10. Chelsea

The graphic didn’t mention the disparity between the sizes of these groups, though, so let’s throw that in too. The lists were based on data from mid-June, 2015, so here are the D.C. voter registration statistics from June 30th:

  • Statehood Green: 3,820 registered voters (0.82% of all registered voters in D.C.)
  • Democrats: 350,684 (75.58%)
  • Republicans: 28,560 (6.16%)
  • Libertarians: 779 (0.17%)

The Democrats outnumber the Libertarians by more than 450 to 1, in other words.

Here are the lists individually. After each name is the gender it’s most closely associated with and the year of peak usage as a baby name (in terms of percentage of births) since 1900.

Statehood Green (0.82% of registered voters):

  1. Jon, male, peak usage in 1968
  2. Jesse, male, 1981
  3. Barry, male, 1962
  4. Darnell, male, 1984
  5. Ian, male, 2003
  6. Juan, male, 1999
  7. Jordan, male, 1997
  8. Jerry, male, 1941
  9. Corey, male, 1977
  10. Tyrone, male, 1970

The top Statehood Green names are 100% male, and most saw peak usage during the last four decades of the 20th century.

Democrat (75.58% of registered voters):

  1. Lillie, female, peak usage in 1900
  2. Laverne, female, 1928
  3. Ella, female, 2012
  4. Bernice, female, 1921
  5. Mildred, female, 1920
  6. Peggy, female, 1937
  7. Betty, female, 1934
  8. Ethel, female, 1900
  9. Toni, female, 1968
  10. Geraldine, female, 1931

The top Democrat names are 100% female, and most saw peak usage in the first half of the 20th century, especially the ’20s and ’30s.

Republican (6.16% of registered voters):

  1. Tyler, male, peak usage in 1994
  2. Bradley, male, 1979
  3. Kelsey, female, 1992
  4. Lindsey, female, 1984
  5. Kristina, female, 1985
  6. Meredith, female, 1981
  7. Caroline, female, 2014
  8. Kyle, male, 1990
  9. Kelly, female, 1977
  10. Taylor, female, 1996

The top Republican names are 70% female and 30% male, and most saw peak usage during the last three decades of the 20th century, especially the ’90s.

Libertarian (0.17% of registered voters):

  1. Jared, male, peak usage in 1998
  2. Jon, male, 1968
  3. Brendan, male, 1999
  4. Derek, male, 1982
  5. Joy, female, 1974
  6. Kyle, male, 1990
  7. Brooke, female, 2003
  8. Julian, male, 2014
  9. Nicholas, male, 1999
  10. Chelsea, female, 1992

The top Libertarian names are 70% male and 30% female, and most saw peak usage during the last few decades of the 20th century, especially the ’90s.

*

It was interesting to see just how feminine and old-fashioned the top Democrat names are. But the thing that most surprised was that the Green party’s list included zero female names. I would have guessed that, if any list here was going to be 100% male, it’d be the Libertarian party — definitely not the Green party.

What are your thoughts on these lists?

Sources: Identity Politics, Washington Post, December 2015; Voter Registration Statistics – DC Board of Elections; Popular Baby Names – SSA
Image: NPS

P.S. Thank you, Becca!

How Do You Like Your Name, Kelsey?

Today’s name interview is with Kelsey, a 25-year-old from Tennessee.

What’s the story behind her name?

My name was going to be Lydia, but another couple at my parents’ church named their baby that shortly before I was born. They didn’t want to confuse nursery workers so they decided to come up with a different name. Some missionaries came to visit the church and had a daughter named Kelsey and my parents decided they liked the name.

What does she like most about her name?

I’m really struggling to come up with an answer for this one.

What does she like least about her name?

What I hate about it now, may make me like it in a few years, but as of now I hate how young it makes me sound. In the workplace, I think it makes it obvious that I am much younger than my coworkers Sheila, Pam, Suzanne, etc. I think this is a disadvantage when it comes to career growth.

This is such an interesting response. I rarely hear people with young-sounding names complain about name-based ageism in the workplace. Typically it’s the people with older-sounding names (Pam and Suzanne and the like).

While we’re on the topic…Kelsey’s name is young-sounding for good reason. Kelsey was rarely bestowed before 1980, but it shot into the top 100 in 1987. Usage peaked in the early 1990s:

  • 1994: 9,751 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 29th)
  • 1993: 11,376 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 24th)
  • 1992: 11,714 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 23rd)
  • 1991: 11,430 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 26th)
  • 1990: 9,494 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 32nd)

But the popularity didn’t last. Kelsey dropped out of the top 100 in 2002 and the name has been sinking ever since.

Final question: would Kelsey recommend that her name be given to babies today?

No, I don’t think it ages well. I believe this has to with the “ee” sound ending.

Thanks, Kelsey!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

Family in England with 13 Children

Recently I’ve written about the 16-child Radford family and the 14-child Watson family.

Here’s one more for you: the 13-child Shaw family, “the largest [family] in the UK where all the kids have the same parents and are in the same home.”

Tom and Stacy Shaw live in Nottingham with their 13 kids, named…

  1. Shannon, 16
  2. Adam, 15
  3. Ryan, 14
  4. Kelsey, 13
  5. Franky, 11
  6. Leo, 10
  7. Laura, 9
  8. Keenan, 8
  9. Cody, 7
  10. Madison, 6
  11. Kaydn, 5
  12. Tyler, 3
  13. Keavy, 2

Which of the 13 names is your favorite?

Source: Meet Britain’s Biggest Family

Baby Names No Longer Needed – Ione, Joye, Miles, Samson

We helped seven readers brainstorm for baby names in August of 2009.

So far, I’ve heard back from three of those seven. Kendra picked Joye, Kim selected Miles, and Estelle chose Samson, Surya, Ione and Vela.

I have yet to hear from Tiffany, Kelsey, Claudia and Angela.