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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ken

Number of Babies Named Ken

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Ken

Ferlin from the Fifties

Ferlin Husky, album, 1957We’ve talked about Faron, so now let’s talk about Ferlin — a similar name that debuted for a similar reason during the very same decade.

  • 1959: 22 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1958: 26 baby boys named Ferlin (peak)
  • 1957: 15 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1956: 17 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1955: 9 baby boys named Ferlin
  • 1954: 7 baby boys named Ferlin [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted

The name Ferlin was inspired by American country singer Ferlin Husky. His 1953 singles “A Dear John Letter” and “Forgive Me, John” — both duets with Jean Shepard — are what put him, and his name, on the map.

But the name Ferlin would never have come to anyone’s attention if Ferlin Husky had stuck with the stage name Terry Preston, which he’d been using since the late ’40s. Some sources say he began using a stage name because he felt his real name “sounded too rural.” He was convinced by record producer Ken Nelson to revert to his birth name in the early ’50s:

[Nelson] pushed Terry Preston to drop his stage name and use his given name, Ferlin Husky. “I thought, ‘Oh, my god, Terry Preston, my goodness’ sake’ — it sounded too sweet for a country singer. So I said, ‘Ferlin, why don’t you use your right name? It’s a good masculine name, and it’s an unusual name.’ And he didn’t want to do it. One day, he and his father and I were riding in the car, and I mentioned it to his father, and his father said, ‘Ferlin, you’re never gonna be a success until you use your right name.'”

Ironically, Ferlin’s “right name” was invented by a wrong spelling. His father had intended to name him Ferland after a friend, but the name was misspelled “Ferlin” on the birth certificate.

Do you like the name Ferlin? Do you like it more or less than Faron?

Sources:


A Smattering of Mormon Baby Names

Jessie Jensen published her annual Mormon baby names post a few weeks ago. Some highlights:

  • Dallin/Dallen, tied for “Most Mormon name.” Dallin H. Oaks is a prominent member of the LDS church and a former president of BYU.
  • Rexalyn: “Ask your doctor if Rexalyn™ is right for you.”
  • Roczen, which has popped up in Australia recently as well. The influence is probably German motorcycle racer Ken Roczen.
  • Tannin, the “Absolute Worst Name This Year” thanks to the Biblical sea monster association. (For what it’s worth, I thought Zoei was worse.)

One commenter mentioned the historical Malan family of Ogden, Utah. Most of the 16 children were given alphabetical names:

  • Alexis Bartholomew (b. 1873)
  • Claudius Daniel (b. 1875)
  • Ernest Francis (b. 1876)
  • Jeremiah (b. 1878)
  • Gideon Highly (b. 1879)
  • Inez Jane (b. 1881)
  • Kit (b. 1883)
  • Lawrence Maxwell (b. 1884)
  • Nahum Oscar (b. 1886)
  • Parley Quince (b. 1888)
  • Ray Stephen (b. 1890)
  • Teresa Una (b. 1890)
  • Verna Winona (b. 1893)
  • X Y Zella (b. 1895)
  • Benjamin (b. 1896)
  • Louise Pauline (b. 1898)

Another commenter mentioned an aunt “named OE, it was pronounced oh-EEE, just like the letters,” who was born in Utah in early 1900s. (Reminds me of Io.)

Have you come across any interesting Mormon names lately?

Babies Named after Oprah’s Boyfriend?

StedmanAccording to Wikipedia, Stedman Graham is an “educator, author, businessman and speaker.” But without Wikipedia’s help, how would you describe Stedman? That’s right: “Oprah’s boyfriend.”

Oprah began dating Stedman in mid-1986, a few months before The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered. We’ve already seen how the baby name Oprah debuted on the national list that year, but did you know that the talk show gave the baby name Stedman a boost as well?

  • 1991: 28 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1990: 38 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1989: 82 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1988: 29 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1987: 20 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1986: unlisted

Not only did Stedman reappear on the national baby name list in 1987 after a 48-year absence, but the variant names Steadman, Stedmen, Stedmon and Stedmond all followed suit in 1988.

Stedman on Oprah, 1989
Stedman on Oprah, 1989
And what accounts for the Stedman spike of 1989?

In February of that year, Stedman appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time. The episode was about “men who marry or date famous women, and how they cope with it.” The other guests were actress Susan Lucci and her husband Helmut, and singer Barbara Mandrell and her husband Ken. (Here’s the episode, if you want to watch.)

While usage of the name Stedman has tapered off since 1989, the relationship between Oprah and Stedman is still going strong nearly 3 decades later. They attended the Oscars together last month, in fact.

Stedman is one several “significant other” baby names I’ve spotted on the SSA’s baby name list so far. Others include Josanne, Movita and Tarita (all associated with Marlon Brando), Syreeta and Londie (both associated with Stevie Wonder), Loray and Altovise (both associated with Sammy Davis, Jr.), Kayatana (girlfriend of Flip Wilson), Marva (first wife of Joe Louis) and Sonji (first wife of Muhammad Ali). Stedman is unique, though, in that it’s a male name that was popularized by a famous female — not a common scenario, it seems.

Sources: Stedman Graham – Wikipedia, Oprah’s Beau Drops In Her Main Squeeze Meets Star’s Tv ‘Family’

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name for Twin Sister

A reader named Ayelet is expecting twins. She and her husband won’t be finding out the babies’ genders ahead of time, so they’d like to be prepared with two boy names and two girl names.

So far they’ve got August and Dominic for the boy names and Celia for one of the girl names. Once they select a second girl name they’ll be all set.

They’d like something that isn’t common (i.e. outside of the top 500). They’re considering Aliyah, Angelie, Aurelia, Eva, Isla, Juliet and Valentina, but Aliena is the current favorite:

The name we love is Aliena. She is a character in Ken Follett’s novel “The Pillars of the Earth,” which is set in twelfth-century England. But we can’t get past the “alien” in the name. I have an Alienor in my family tree, so I thought about going the Eleanor route, but I don’t like that spelling; I think I’m in love with that “Ali” sequence.

The baby’s surname will start and end with the letter n, like Nelson.

First, about Aliena. It’s a pretty name, but I’d also be worried about that “alien” association. I don’t know if I’d risk it as a first name, but it might work well as a middle.

The only alternative I can come up with is Eliana, which is an (unrelated) anagram of Aliena. But it’s ranked 193rd and climbing, so it might be a bit too popular.

Here are some other possibilities. None of these are currently in the top 500, and the ones with asterisks have a-l-i sequences.

Adina
Antonia
Amity
Adele/Adeline
Anneliese
Beatrice
Catalina*
Callista
Coralie*
Corinna
Davina
Estella
Elsa
Eloise
Esme
Flavia
Ginevra
Gwendolyn
Helena
Irina
Isadora
Judith/Judy
Leona
Lavinia
Marina
Martina
Mara
Olive
Oriana
Odette
Paulina
Regina
Rosalie*
Rosaline*
Theresa
Vera
Viola
Verity
Venetia
Zinnia

Finally, there’s the option of simply feminizing one of the boy names. August could become Augusta or Augustina; Dominic could become Dominique or Dominica.

Which of the above girl names do you like best with August, Dominic and/or Celia? What other girl names would you suggest to Ayelet?