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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kerry

Number of Babies Named Kerry

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Kerry

What Popularized the Baby Name Deneen?

mystery name deneen

Deneen is the million-dollar baby name mystery. It saw a massive spike in usage in 1964, and I had no idea why for years. Only recently have I stumbled upon a plausible explanation.

But first let’s check out the numbers. Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Deneen (or a variant) from 1963 to 1966, sorted by 1964 levels of usage:

Name 1963 1964 1965 1966
Deneen 22 1,604 421 223
Denine 17 133 101 71
Daneen 29 132 85 70
Dineen 10 68 43 35
Denene 7 66 38 31
Denean 7 58 61 40
Danine 7 29 23 31
Danene 12 24 18 11
Deneane 24* 11 9
Deneene 24* 13 14
Danean 14* 14 6
Deeneen 12**
Doneen 7 11 9
Dennine 10* 7 7
Deneena 7**
Deniene 7*
Dennen 7**
Donene 7
Deaneen 5**
Deneem 5**
Dinene 7**
TOTALS 118 2,247 842 557

*Debut, **One-hit wonder

According to the state-by-state data, Deneen usage tended to be highest in the most populous states. This isn’t much of a clue, but it does tell us that the influence was national (e.g., movie, music) and not regional (e.g., college sports, local politician).

For a long time my only guess on Deneen was the same guess Hilary Parker made in her poisoned baby names post: musical duo August & Deneen. But their hit single “We Go Together” came out in 1968 — long after the 1964 baby name spike. So August & Deneen clearly isn’t the answer.

About a month ago I tried another Deneen search. This time around I found a recent thread on Deneen at the Baby Name Wizard forum. According to intel gathered by forum members, Deneen could have been popularized by a ’60s commercial for Ivory dishwashing liquid.

At first I wasn’t so sure. The only vintage Ivory commercials I could find online were for Ivory Snow laundry detergent and, while many of these did feature names (e.g., Allison, Betsy, Bonnie, Debbie, Esther, Joy, Kerry, Kimberly, Michelle, Terry) the names were never on-screen. You don’t get a spelling-specific name spike if the influence is audio-only.

Then I noticed, lower down in the thread, that someone included a link to a single Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial from 1962. The spot featured a mother-daughter pair, “Mrs. Bernard Pugar and Dana,” and their names were indeed shown on-screen for several seconds. Now this looked promising.

I’ve since tracked down a similar Ivory commercial featuring “Mrs. Blake Clark” and her daughter Nicky, though Nicky’s name was never shown on-screen. No luck finding a Deneen version yet.

So I’ll just sit tight and hope that, one day, someone uploads the commercial in question and puts this whole Deneen baby name mystery to rest. :)

In the meanwhile, some questions:

  • If you were watching TV in the ’60s, do you happen recall an Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial featuring the name Deneen? (Long shot, I know.)
  • What do you think of the name Deneen? Which spelling do you like best?

P.S. Djuna popped up on the baby name charts in 1964 as well. I’m declaring 1964 the year of the mysteriously trendy D-names.

Name Quotes for the Weekend #25

elton john quote about the name reginald

From an interview with Elton John on Larry King Live:

Well, I was making a record, and I had to choose a name, because they said, you know, you can’t make a record under the name of Reg Dwight, because it’s never going to — you know, it’s not attractive enough. And I agreed with that, and I couldn’t wait to change my name anyway, because I’m not too fond of the name of Reginald. It’s a very kind of ’50s English name.

So I picked Elton because there wasn’t — nobody seemed to have the name Elton. And I picked John to go with it. And it was — it was done on a bus going from London Heathrow back into the city. And it was done very quickly. So I said, oh, Elton John. That’s fine.

From The Life of William Shakespeare: A Critical Biography by Lois Potte:

Though contemporary sonneteers populated their world with lovers called Astrophil, Parthenophil, Stella, Delia, and Idea, the only names that appear in Shakespeare’s sonnets are Adonis, Helen, Mars, Saturn, Philomel, Eve, Cupid, Diana, and Time — and the one non-mythological figure, the author, “Will.”

From An Apology to Every (White) Girl Named Becky by Dara T. Mathis:

Black people commonly use the term “Becky” when referring to generic white women. It has a slight negative connotation (airheadedness), but white women don’t have to do anything to deserve the title.

Clearly, this is as problematic as sexual stereotypes against any demographic of people. Women fight on a daily basis not to be objectified, but this portrayal takes it further and assigns white women a role to which they may not ascribe.

Despite my dislike for using a proper name as a slur, it took an actual person to bring it home to me. After my tweet, a white colleague nicknamed Becky told me about how she’s been forced to use Rebecca instead. A group of black men were catcalling her down a sidewalk and she was doing her best to ignore them. One of them yelled out, “Hey Becky!” That’s her name: she automatically swung her head around. But this had the opposite effect of validating the men’s impression that she was a Becky, not a woman named Becky. They laughed. She laughed, too, because…it is kinda funny.

But I stopped laughing quickly. I had never thought about the implications of people using your name as a stereotype against you. Where can you run to escape that?

From a post about unusual personal names at Futility Closet:

A memo to every parent who’s ever lived: Giving your kid a special name does not make him special. It never has. It never will.

You know what I mean. It’s one thing to give yourself a screwy moniker. Body-modification enthusiasts have changed their names to Swirly Wanx Sinatra, Grenade Bee of Death, and RooRaaah Mew Crumbs, among other things, and there’s a U.S. Army Ohio National Guard firefighter who named himself Optimus Prime. That’s fine, you’re the one who has to live with it.

It’s worse when you inflict a harebrained epithet on a newborn, who will have to drag it through life like a neon hairshirt.

From a post about Ameribella cheese at Cheese Notes:

Originally named Arabella, this cheese underwent a slight name change recently; as Leslie told me, it’s always been named after Matthew’s great grandmother, whose name was America Arabella. To honor her, they combined her two names and came up with the Ameribella, which also has the unique quality of honoring this cheese’s American terroir and Italian origins.

(I discovered Ameribella via the Baby Name Pondering post Cheesy Baby Names.)

From an article by Kerry Parnell in The Daily Telegraph:

[W]hen I was born and my parents proudly announced my name to the family, my great-grandma was disgusted and informed them Kerry was a dog’s name.

She never wavered from this conviction until one day, when I was about five, we visited her to see her new poodle puppy.

“What’s his name?” I asked. “Kerry,” she replied, stony faced. There was a long, awkward silence and no one ever mentioned it again.

Ironically, great-grandma went by the name of “Pete”, which, unless I am very much mistaken, is a man’s name.

One day, I vow, I will get a dog just so I can call it Pete, for revenge.

Have you read anything interesting about names lately? Please send me the link so I can add it to a future quote post! Email me, Tweet me, or just leave a comment below.

35 Most Unisex Baby Names in the U.S.

Last month, FlowingData crunched some numbers to come up with the 35 most unisex baby names in the U.S. since 1930. Here’s their list:

  1. Jessie
  2. Marion
  3. Jackie
  4. Alva
  5. Ollie
  6. Jody
  7. Cleo
  8. Kerry
  9. Frankie
  10. Guadalupe
  11. Carey
  12. Tommie
  13. Angel
  14. Hollis
  15. Sammie
  16. Jamie
  17. Kris
  18. Robbie
  19. Tracy
  20. Merrill
  21. Noel
  22. Rene
  23. Johnnie
  24. Ariel
  25. Jan
  26. Devon
  27. Cruz
  28. Michel
  29. Gale
  30. Robin
  31. Dorian
  32. Casey
  33. Dana
  34. Kim**
  35. Shannon

I’m not sure exactly what criteria were used to create the rankings, but it looks like the top unisex names on this list were the top-1,000 names that “stuck around that 50-50 split” the longest from 1930 to 2012.

(In contrast, my unisex baby names page lists any name on the full list to fall within the 25-75 to 75-25 range, but only in the most recent year on record.)

The FlowingData post also mentions that, though the data is pretty noisy, there might be “a mild upward trend” over the years in the number of babies with a unisex name.

**In 1957, Johnny Carson’s 5-year-old son Kim had his name changed to Richard because he’d been having “a little trouble over his name being mistaken for a girl’s.”

Source: The most unisex names in US history

[Update: Changed Michael to Michel, 11/7]

Popular Baby Names in Jamaica, 2008

Here are the most popular baby names in Jamaica for 2008:

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Daniel
2. Joshua
3. Jordan
4. Ricardo
5. Anthony
1. Brihanna
2. Rhianna
3. Ashley
4. Gabrielle
5. Abigail

Why 2008? Well, the the Jamaican Government’s Naming Your Child the Jamaican Way page hasn’t been updated for a few years, so that’s all I’ve got.

But it does contain a few interesting (if outdated) facts. For instance, I didn’t know that adding “Ann” to girl names was so popular in Jamaica:

In studying the naming patterns of Jamaicans, information from the RGD’s database reveal that more families between the period 1950’s to the mid 90’s gave their children traditional Anglo-Saxon names. It should be noted however that most of these female names included the name Ann.

For instance in the United States and the UK where Lisa, Nicole, Kimberly and Carrie are names which dominated the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, the Jamaican twist to these names are Nicole-Ann, Kerry Ann and Lisa Ann.

The page also mentions babies named Usain after Usain Bolt, Obama after the U.S. President, Charlie after Hurricane Charlie (1951), and Gilbert after Hurricane Gilbert (1988).

Huge List of Anagram Baby Names

anagram baby names

Looking for baby names with something in common? Perhaps for a set of twins or triplets? I’ve collected hundreds of anagram baby names for you.

2-Letter Anagram Baby Names

3-Letter Anagram Baby Names

4-Letter Anagram Baby Names

5-Letter Anagram Baby Names

6-Letter Anagram Baby Names

7-Letter Anagram Baby Names

8-Letter Anagram Baby Names

9-Letter Anagram Baby Names

10-Letter Anagram Baby Names

If you like the idea of anagrams but want to avoid sound-alike sets, I recommend anagrams with different numbers of syllables. Pairs like “Etta and Tate” and “Clay and Lacy” are a far more subtle than pairs like “Enzo and Zeno” and “Mary and Myra.”

(Here are some palindromic names from last month.)