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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lu

Number of Babies Named Lu

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Lu

Five-Name Friday: Formal Girl Name for Nickname “Lu”

five name friday, baby name request, girl name

Welcome to Five-Name Friday! Here’s today’s baby name request (condensed a bit from the original):

We’re expecting a girl and love “Lu” as a nickname, so we’d like a first name that can logically give rise to the nickname Lu.

Can you come up with five great baby name ideas for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Choose your five names before checking out anybody else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. These should be names you’d have no problem recommending to someone in real life.
  • Five names only. If your comment includes more than five names, I’ll have to do some deleting. This includes nickname suggestions!

Which five baby names are you going to recommend?

[You can also comment on previous Five-Name Friday posts, or send me your own 2-sentence baby name request using the contact form.]


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

19% of Americans Say It’s OK for Judges to Re-Name Children on Religious Grounds

Speaking of Tennessee…a few weeks after Tennessee judge Lu Ann Ballew attempted to change a 7‑month‑old’s first name from Messiah to Martin, Nashville-based Christian organization LifeWay Research asked 1,001 Americans a couple of questions about religious baby names.

Here are the two statements LifeWay asked respondents to either agree or disagree with, plus the survey results.

Q: “Judges should be allowed to change the name parents give their children if there are religious implications to those names that some people might find offensive.”

  • 08% strongly agree
  • 11% somewhat agree
  • 15% somewhat disagree
  • 61% strongly disagree
  • 06% don’t know/not sure

Q: “Parents should be allowed to select names for their children such as Messiah or Christ, even if those names have religious meaning to some people.”

  • 53% strongly agree
  • 21% somewhat agree
  • 11% somewhat disagree
  • 10% strongly disagree
  • 05% don’t know/not sure

So, 19% of respondents think government-appointed judges should have the right to change children’s names on religious grounds, and 21% think parents should not be allowed to choose certain religious names for their children. I find these numbers slightly disturbing, but they’re not as high as I would have guessed, given the religiosity of many Americans (e.g., 46% of Americans are creationists).

What do you think?

Source: Naming a Baby “Messiah” is Fine with Most Americans

Religious Judge Orders Baby “Messiah” Renamed

Last week in Tennessee, the parents of 7-month-old Messiah DeShawn Martin went to court. They wanted to settle a dispute over their son’s surname.

While they were there, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew took it upon herself to change the child’s first name as well as his surname.

Why?

Because, in Ballew’s mind, “Messiah” is an off-limits baby name.

She told a Knoxville TV station that “the word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

By Bellow’s order, the baby is now named Martin DeShawn McCullough.

And his parents are not happy about it.

Nor is Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, who said that Judge Ballew’s religious beliefs ought to remain private.

“She does not have the right to impose that faith on others,” said Weinberg. “And that is what she did.”

Not only is Ballew overstepping her authority, but she’s also clearly not keeping up with the latest baby name trends.

Thousands of U.S. babies have been named Messiah since the turn of the century, and the name became especially trendy just last year, thanks to reality TV.

The baby’s mom is appealing Ballew’s order. The ACLU has reached out to offer assistance.

What are your thoughts on the case?

Sources: ACLU says TN judge can’t ban “Messiah” baby name, Judge Orders Baby’s Name Changed From ‘Messiah’

Name Quotes for the Weekend #11

From an article in The Independent about filmmaker Lu Lu:

Lu Lu is no stranger to a language gap. Even her name is a constant source of confusion in America. “They ask me my first name. I say ‘Lu.’ Then they ask me for my last name, and I say ‘Lu.’ They think I misunderstood them.” In Chinese, the characters, while pronounced the same, are written differently. In English, though, Lu Lu’s first and last name are identical. She laughs, being frank, “My name in Chinese is ordinary, but when I came to the US, people think it is interesting.”

From a New York Times article about hipsters:

While waiting at the cash register, I picked up a pair of argyle wool socks from a nearby wicker basket and asked, “Are your socks local?” The salesman self-consciously said no. I returned the socks like an organic farmer who has learned that a friend has named her child Monsanto.

From Momo Fali’s about page:

When my son was an infant I created an on-line account with the user name “momofali” (read: Mom of Ali) and when my best friend saw the site, she sent me an e-mail asking, “Who’s Momo Fali?” I’ve been Momo ever since. As a matter of fact, most people have trouble calling me Diane anymore.

From a Scotsman.com article about surnames:

Looking to the future, a resurgence in the popularity of traditional Scottish forenames in recent years is likely to combat Anglicisation, said Hough.

“Far more Gaelic and Celtic-derived personal names are being chosen by parents in Scotland, which can be a way of affirming national identity,” she says. “Gaelic-derived forenames that are in the top 100 names in Scotland at the moment include Aiden, Callum and Finlay. Cameron is originally a clan name, and Lewis, Evan and Isla are all place names.”

Frank Dixon, statistician for the National Records of Scotland, which compiles the top 100 baby names, says that whilst Jack and Sophie are the most popular forenames, middle names are increasingly being used to showcase a sense of national identity.

From the Allmusic.com profile of Blues/R&B pianist Ivory Joe Hunter (b. 1914):

An accomplished tunesmith, he played around the Gulf Coast region, hosting his own radio program for a time in Beaumont before migrating to California in 1942. It was a wise move since Hunter — whose real name was Ivory Joe, incidentally (perhaps his folks were psychic!) — found plenty of work pounding out blues and ballads in wartime California.

From an interview with photographer Peter Belanger in The Verge:

What’s your favorite movie, period?

True Romance is one of my favorites. There is an intensity of passion. It showed the extent people will go for those they love, blurred the lines between right and wrong, and had some great lines as well. I wanted to name our first child Alabama after the main character, but my wife vetoed it.

From a letter to the editor in the Casper Star-Tribune:

OK, once again I had to laugh at Tuesday’s paper.

The biggest front page news article, sporting a full banner headline in the place of honor just below the masthead was: “Liam and Emma Most Popular Names for Babies in Wyoming in 2012”

Baby names beat out the meteor sighting and the loss of a popular airline route.

Baby names beat out coverage of Israel’s air strikes on Syria.

Baby names beat out the passage of the Internet sales tax bill, sponsored by Wyoming’s Sen. Mike Enzi. That piece of news didn’t even make the front page.

Now, if the Casper Star-Tribune were a supermarket tabloid or a neighborhood weekly I wouldn’t say a thing. Is that what Wyoming’s only statewide newspaper is trying to be? I thought that the Casper Star Tribune was a real newspaper. Real newspapers carry news on the front page and publish baby name surveys in the home-and-family section.

From a post at Appellation Mountain:

Despite that data, here’s my theory: part of the increasing volatility in baby names is due to conversations like this one. The parents agree on Olive for their daughter’s name, but they’re seriously considering using something else for fear that Olive is going to become too popular. I think Anna gives her excellent advice, and some low-key encouragement to use Olive anyhow. But if we’re thinking this way, that means that we’re discarding names as “too popular” before they’re even popular. All of this crystal-ball gazing pushes us towards more and more unusual names, and growing diversity in given names.

And three in a row from an article in The Atlatnic about the names of NPR reporters

1:

But perhaps no reporter’s name is more beloved than Sylvia Poggioli, NPR’s Italian correspondent. Sylvia has had a cow in Cambodia named after her, and a restaurant in Salem, Oregon. “Every time Sylvia says her name,” the restaurateur said, “I envision Italy, I see and smell good food.”

2:

Neda Ulaby’s first name means “dew” and is fairly common in Syria. (“It’s also the name of the heroine of an opera called Pagliacci who is literally killed by a clown,” she told me over email.)

[…]

A few years ago, a pair of hardcore NPR listeners invited Neda Ulaby to their wedding, sending along a picture of their car’s license plate, which reads “OOLABEE.” “Apparently they’d developed the creepy habit of referring to each other as ‘my little Ulaby.’ So I became a mating call,” she explained.

3:

Robert Smith of Planet Money told me by email that the only reason to change his name “would be so that I could be more famous. You would remember it better if I ended by reports with, ‘I’m Mobius Tutti.'” But at the same time, he says, “I’m in this business to tell other people’s stories, and not to promote myself or my own name. Being a Robert Smith is always a good reminder that you aren’t that different than the people you cover.”