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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lee

Number of Babies Named Lee

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Lee

Names in the News: Lee, Sun Way, Frank, Jigme

Four recent baby name stories out of Asia:

  • Lee Kuan Yew: In March of 2015, a baby boy was born in India on the same day that Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, died. The baby was named Lee Kuan Yew.
  • Sun Way: In September of 2015, a baby boy was born at the entrance to the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall in Malaysia. A month later, at his full moon celebration, he was named Sun Way.
  • Frank Peters: In early 2016 (?), a baby boy born in Bangladesh was named Frank Peters Azad Ali after activist Sir Frank Peters, who has been working to end corporal punishment in Bangladeshi schools. This is the third Bangladeshi baby named in his honor; the first two were born in 2010 and 2013.
    Frank Peters Azad Ali
    Frank Peters Azad Ali © Frank Peters
  • Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck: In February of 2016, the prince of Bhutan was born. In April, at his naming ceremony, he was named Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck. Here’s how the King (whose name is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck) explained the meaning behind each name:

    Jigme means fearless. It symbolizes great courage to overcome any challenge that he may confront in future as he serves our country.

    Namgyel means victorious in all directions and victory over all obstacles. It is a name taken from the revered Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who enabled the Dharma to flourish in all directions as prophesied by Guru Rinpoche.

    Wangchuck is the name of the royal lineage and dynasty.

Here’s an earlier “names in the news” post featuring baby names from India specifically.

Updated, 7/3/2016: Thank you to Frank Peters’ private secretary Joanne for sending me the photo of baby Frank Peters Azad Ali.

Sources: Dad in India names baby after Lee Kuan Yew, Sunway Pyramid baby named after mall, 3rd Bangladeshi baby named ‘Frank Peters’, Bhutan’s King and Queen Announce Name for Their Son, The Naming Ceremony of His Royal Highness

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2014

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the most popular baby names in England and Wales last year were Amelia and Oliver.

Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Amelia, 5,327 baby girls
2. Olivia, 4,724
3. Isla, 4,012
4. Emily, 3,991
5. Poppy, 3,273
6. Ava, 3,171
7. Isabella, 3,022
8. Jessica, 2,995
9. Lily, 2,965
10. Sophie, 2,905
1. Oliver, 6,649 baby boys
2. Jack, 5,804
3. Harry, 5,379
4. Jacob, 5,050
5. Charlie, 4,642
6. Thomas, 4,405
7. George, 4,320
8. Oscar, 4,269
9. James, 4,167
10. William, 4,134

In the girls’ top 10, Lily replaces Mia (now 13th). The boys’ top 10 includes the same names in a different order.

The ONS report also highlighted a few seasonal favorites, such as…

  • Holly, which ranked 5th in December but 70th in June. Overall, it was 39th.
  • Summer, which ranked 25th in June but 105th in December. Overall, it was 58th.

Here are some of last year’s rare baby names, each given to either 3, 4 or 5 babies:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Ambreen, Angharad, Arinola, Arzoo, Astala, Boux, Cagla, Cliodhna, Darasimi, Delyth, Dolsie, Elliw, Eslem, Flourish, Harper-Lee, Heulwen, Heyabel, Honeysuckle, Ilinca, Io, Iris-Rose, Jedidiah, Kitty-Rose, Lili-Haf, Loveday, Luul, L’Wren, Makatendeka, Maxima, Moksha, Morsal, Nainsi, Peach, Poppy-Willow, Ritaj, Sailor, Shailene, Tavleen, Topsy, Tuppence, Uxia, Vaneeza, Venba, Zennor, Ziggy Aldion, Alias, Archimedes, Bevon, Boycie, Bright, Buzz, Caelum, Calix, Cloud, Coast, Cove, Crispin, Denley, Diesel, Dipson, Grantas, Gwern, Hanzala, Harrington, Jensen-James, Jolyon, Jonjoe, Jorel, Kebba, Keita, Khattab, Klaidas, Marceau, Metodi, Oaklen, Osazee, Peregrine, Refoel, Re’Kai, Romarni, Sanchez, Seweryn, Sheriff, Stanleigh, Swayley, Timurs, Ugnius, Vasco, Velizar, Ynyr

Finally, here are all of my previous posts on baby names in England and Wales: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2014 – ONS

Where Did Lido “Lee” Iacocca Get His Name?

Lido "Lee" IacoccaBusinessman Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca was born in Pennsylvania in 1924 to Italian immigrants Nicola “Nick” Iacocca and Antonietta Perrotta. Lee Iacocca went on to become the president of Ford Motor Company from 1970 to 1978 and the CEO of Chrysler Corporation from 1978 to 1992.

Where did the first name Lido come from?

Before his marriage, Nick and one of Antoinette’s brothers had visited Venice, Italy, enjoying the grand and beautiful Lido Beach. To Nick, the spot was perfect. So was his new son, hence the name Lido.

And what drove Lido Iacocca to shorten his already-short first name to “Lee”?

Early on in his career…

“As part of my job, I had to make a lot of long-distance calls. In those days, there was no direct dialing, so that you always had to go through operators. They’d ask for my name, and I’d say “Iacocca.” Of course, they had no idea how to spell it, so that was always a struggle to get that right. Then they’d ask for my first name and when I said “Lido,” they’d break out laughing. Finally I said to myself: “Who needs it?” and I started calling myself Lee.”

Which name do you prefer, Lido or Lee?


  • Collins, David R. Lee Iacocca: Chrysler’s Good Fortune. Ada, OK: Garrett Educational Corp, 1992.
  • Iacocca, Lee and William Novak. “Iacocca: An Autobiography”
    Reader’s Digest Jul. 1985: 79.

The Baby Name Saford, a Hillbilly One-Hit Wonder

In 1941, Saford debuted on the U.S. baby name charts with 11 baby boys — enough to make it the top boy name debut of the year.

Clayton and Saford Hall in in 1940
Clayton and Saford Hall in 1940
Never to be seen on the list again, Saford was also the top one-hit wonder name of 1941, and it’s tied for 9th on the list of most popular one-hit wonder boy names of all time.

So what’s the story behind this mysterious name?

The state-by-state data offers a big clue about the origin of Saford:

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 11 baby boys named Saford
    • 9 born in Virginia specifically
  • 1940: unlisted

The name Saford was inspired by Saford Hall, a member of the pre-bluegrass musical duo the Hall Twins. The other member was Saford’s identical twin brother, Clayton. Saford played the fiddle, Clayton played the banjo, and both boys could sing.

Clayton and Saford were born in rural Patrick County, Virginia, in 1919. They were the last of 10 children. Their older siblings were named Lee, Roxie, Thamon, Mack, Romie, Samson, Simon and Asa.

Ralph Berrier, Jr. — a journalist who happens to be Clayton’s grandson — wrote about the twins in his book If Trouble Don’t Kill Me. Here’s how he describes them on his website (which also includes recordings of several performances from the early ’40s):

The Hall twins rose from mountain-bred poverty to pickin’ and yodelin’ all over the airwaves of the South in the 1930s and 1940s, opening shows for the Carter Family, Roy Rogers, the Sons of the Pioneers, and even playing the most coveted stage of all: the Grand Ole Opry.

They played the Grand Ole Opry twice, in 1941 and in 1942, as part of Roy Hall and His Blue Ridge Entertainers. (They weren’t related to Roy.)

This is exactly when we see the unusual name Saford pop up on the baby name charts for the first and only time. I’ve even found a Virginia baby named Saford Clayton, though he wasn’t born until 1944.

The name Clayton was already being given to hundreds of U.S. babies per year in the early ’40s, but usage does seem to rise in both Virginia and North Carolina in 1942.

Just as their musical careers were beginning to take off, though, the brothers were drafted. Saford was sent to North Africa and Europe, and Clayton was sent to the South Pacific.

The Hall twins survived WWII, and they continued playing music after returning to the States, but they were never able to achieve the same level of musical success. Saford passed away in 1999, Clayton in 2003.


Kilcher Names – Atz, Farenorth, Jewel, Q’orianka

I don’t normally watch television, but I’m visiting my Dad right now and he’s got his TV on all the time, so I haven’t been able to help it lately. :)

Yule Farenorth Kilcher
Yule Farenorth Kilcher
The other day I was walking past the TV set and heard the word ‘Alaska’ — a place I’ve long wanted to visit. So I stopped to see what was on. Soon I was hearing names like Atz, Atz Lee and Otto.

Who were these people? Where did they get such interesting names?

Turns out it was a reality show called Alaska: The Last Frontier, and the cast members were part of the locally famous Kilcher family.

Atz and Otto are the sons of homesteaders Yule Farenorth Kilcher (b. 1913) and Ruth Kilcher (b. 1920). Yule and Ruth left Switzerland for Alaska in the early 1940s. Yule went on to serve in the Alaska State Senate during the 1960s.

Yule wasn’t born “Yule Farenorth.” He was originally Julius Jakob [YOO-lee-us YAH-kob] but he changed his first and middle names after immigrating.

Yule and Ruth had a total of eight children — two boys and six girls. Here are the names:

  1. Mairiis
  2. Wurtila Dora (Wurzy)
  3. Linda Fay
  4. Attila Kuno (Atz)
  5. Sunrise Diana Irene
  6. Edwin Otto
  7. Stella Vera Septina (Bonnie)
  8. Catkin Melody

Many of the above also gave their own children distinctive names, such as Cornelius, Davin, Ecaterina, Gawan, Olga and Saskia.

One of Atz’s children is pop singer Jewel Kilcher, a.k.a. Jewel. Her popularity in the mid-1990s helped push the baby name Jewel back into the U.S. top 1,000 in 1997:

  • 1999: 453 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 557th]
  • 1998: 490 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 516th]
  • 1997: 330 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 665th]
  • 1996: 168 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 1,098th]
  • 1995: 154 baby girls named Jewel [ranked 1,141st]

And, moving forward another generation, one of Wurzy’s grandchildren is actress Q’orianka Kilcher, whose appearance in the movie The New World (2005) made Qorianka a one-hit wonder on the baby name charts in 2006.

(Q’orianka told the press that her name means “golden eagle” in Quechua, and it does seem to be based on the Quechua words for “gold,” quri, and “eagle,” anca, but I’m not sure whether it’s a legit Quechua name or a modern invention.)

So do any of you guys watch Alaska: The Last Frontier regularly? Have I missed any other good Kilcher names?

Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, E/W, 2013

Here’s another “biggest changes” analysis, but this one is for the England and Wales boy names. (We looked at the girl names yesterday.)

The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.

Biggest Increases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Oscar, +1,222 babies
  2. Muhammad, +338
  3. Henry, +320
  4. Joey, +288
  5. Oliver, +280
  6. Teddy, +276
  7. Arthur, +249
  8. Archie, +203
  9. Edward, +185
  10. Theodore, +167
  1. Greyson, +1388 spots
  2. Harvey-Lee, +898
  3. Salahuddin, +759
  4. Bernard, +715
  5. Camden, +686
  6. Kayson, +583
  7. Raife, +531
  8. Buster and Abubakr [tie], +517
  9. Jeffrey and Brax [tie], +499
  10. Emre, +492

I think the rise of Oscar can be attributed, at least in part, to Oscar Pistorius. Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (I’d especially like to know what gave Buster a boost.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Riley, -1,703 babies
  2. Harry, -1,280
  3. Tyler, -1,104
  4. Alfie, -705
  5. Ethan, -649
  6. Charlie, -532
  7. Joshua, -471
  8. Callum, -467
  9. Ryan, -441
  10. Dylan, -407
  1. Rylan, -577 spots
  2. Ray, -339
  3. Rylie, -277
  4. Jeevan, -276
  5. Darren, -255
  6. Codey, -252
  7. Chace, -242
  8. Dorian, -239
  9. Kaelan, -231
  10. Riley-Jay, -228

A lot of Ry- and Ri- names took hits last year. Is the sound falling out of the favor? What do you think?

Top Debut Name


Fewer than 3 baby boys got the name in 2012, but 12 baby boys were named Gurfateh in 2013. (But keep in mind that I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007.)

Here are the U.S. boy names that changed the most in popularity in 2013, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide