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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Mae

Number of Babies Named Mae

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Mae

Baby Named for Slain Amish Schoolgirl

On the morning of October 2, 2006, a gunman took ten girls (aged 6 to 13) hostage in a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding the other five, before committing suicide.

One of the victims was 7-year-old Naomi Rose Ebersol. Earlier during the incident — before the gunman had ordered the adult women and the boys to leave — Naomi had been comforted by a pregnant woman named Lydia Mae Zook:

[Lydia] reached over and patted the frightened child on the back.

“It’s going to be all right,” she assured the little girl.

On October 10, Lydia gave birth to her baby girl three weeks early. She named the baby Naomi Rose.

(The other little girls who lost their lives were named Anna, Lena, Marian, and Mary.)

Source: Dribben, Melissa. “In Amish survivor’s baby, hope lives “Shattered, but strong”: Woman who escaped death relates her story.” Philadelphia Inquirer 22 Oct. 2006.


Popular Baby Names in Sonoma County, CA, 2015

Sonoma_County
According to Sonoma County’s data site SoCo Data, the most popular baby names in 2015 were Ava and Olivia (tie) and Mateo and Daniel (tie).

Here are the county’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Ava and Olivia (tie), 28 baby girls
2. Camila, 25
3. Isabella, Mia and Emma (3-way tie), 23
4. Charlotte and Sophia (tie), 21
5. Alexa, 20
1. Mateo and Daniel (tie), 28 baby boys
2. Jackson, 27
3. Sebastian, 25
4. Benjamin, 24
5. Julian, Jayden and Noah (3-way tie), 22

In 2014, the top names in the county were Emma and Logan.

Of the 1,204 girl names bestowed last year, 811 (67%) were used just once. A smaller proportion of the 919 boy names — 549 (60%) — were bestowed once. Here are a few of those single-use names:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Amarilla, Antimony, Edelweiss, Ember, Fanny, Lluvia, Lovely Estrella, Mae Pearl, Magnolia, Nkirote, Reminisce, Rosalene, Rurapenthe*, Summit Attimus, Banyan, Cypress, Cyprus, Destry, Ernestor, Fogatia, Iknav, Montgomery, Mercury, Orion, Quintil, Thornhill, Zinley

*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).

Source: SoCo Data

The Mystery of Essfa

baby name essfa mysteryThis might not be a mystery. It might just be my imagination running away with me. But I’ll put it out there anyway.

We all know there are flaws with the SSA data. Data scientist David Taylor made a slide deck illustrating several issues with the SSA data a few years ago, and I’ve blogged specifically about the baby name glitch of 1989 and the Korea-Kansas mis-codes.

So my question is this: Could Essfa, a one-hit wonder from 1921, be another flaw?

According to the SSA data, the name Essfa was given to 6 babies in 1921, and all 6 of these babies were born in Vermont.

But when we look for these Essfas in the SSDI, we get…nothing. Not a single Essfa from anywhere, born in any year.

This doesn’t prove anything, but it is very curious.

Then there’s the fact that all these Essfas were born in Vermont, a relatively small state not known for adventurous baby-naming. The SSA’s Vermont-specific data from 1921 puts oddball Essfa on par with classics like Emma and Julia:

All baby names given to 6 babies
in VT in 1921, according to SSA
VT,F,1921,Emma,6
VT,F,1921,Essfa,6
VT,F,1921,Germaine,6
VT,F,1921,Glenna,6
VT,F,1921,Gloria,6
VT,F,1921,Harriett,6
VT,F,1921,Julia,6
VT,F,1921,Kathryn,6
VT,F,1921,Mae,6
VT,F,1921,Margery,6
VT,F,1921,Wilma,6

Again, very curious.

After doing more research, I was only able to find a single person named Essfa who was born in Vermont in 1921. The intriguing part? She had multiple identities:

  • She was born Essfa Estella Bickford Vermont on May 7, 1921.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis upon marrying William Earl Davis in Vermont in 1937.
  • She became Essfa E. Millette upon marrying Rupert Frank Millette in New Hampshire in 1941.
  • She became Essfa E. Walker upon marrying Howard C. Walker in New Hampshire in 1953.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis (again) upon marrying Arthur I. Davis in Connecticut in 1964, and passed away in 1976 as a Davis.

And I found a sixth alias — in Billboard magazine, oddly enough. For decades Billboard operated a mail-forwarding service for traveling performers. The name “Essfa E. White” appeared regularly on their Letter List from 1945 until 1948. (She was also listed under the surname Millette once, in 1946.)

So we know for sure that one Essfa was born in Vermont in 1921, and that this Essfa used at least six different names (if you count Davis twice) throughout her lifetime.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether this particular Essfa was counted 6 different times in the SSA data somehow.

What do you think?

Source: Billboard – Wikipedia

Baby Names from Early Beauty Queens

Garnelle HaleyIn 1921, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper held a beauty contest.

About 7,000 girls from across the U.S. entered the contest by sending in their photographs.

These entrants were split up into 4 “districts” depending on where they were from — the city of St. Louis, the state of Missouri, the state of Illinois, or anywhere else in the United States.

Several dozen finalists were asked to come to St. Louis for in-person judging, and ultimately a first ($1,000), second ($500), and third ($100) place winner was chosen for each district.

I’m not sure who won 1st place in the city of St. Louis, but here are the other three first-place winners:

  • Illinois: Leola Aikman, 18 years old, from Salem, Illinois
  • Missouri: Garnelle Haley, 17 years old, from Moberly, Missouri
  • United States: Edith Mae Patterson, 19 years old, from Pine Bluff, Arkansas

As it turns out, two of these winners had a small influence on U.S. baby names…

Garnelle

Garnelle Haley’s photo was featured on the front page of several Missouri newspapers after her win.

That year, the baby name Garnelle debuted on the SSA’s baby name list with 11 baby girls — five born in Missouri specifically.

  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 11 baby girls named Garnelle [debut]
  • 1920: unlisted

Garnelle never appeared on the list again, but its debut was impressive enough to make Garnelle the top one-hit wonder baby name of 1921.

The name Garnell also debuted on the girls’ list in 1921.

Edithmae

Edith Mae Patterson wasn’t just a district winner, but also the grand prize winner. Her title was “The Most Beautiful Girl in the United States,” and she received an added $2,500.00.

Right on cue, the baby name Edithmae made its debut on the national list in 1921:

  • 1924: unlisted
  • 1923: 5 baby girls named Edithmae
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 5 baby girls named Edithmae [debut]
  • 1920: unlisted

It made the list again in 1923, perhaps because Patterson remained in the public eye for several more years, “cross[ing] the country in the capacity of everything from civic-club speaker to fashion model to aspiring Hollywood actress.” She gave it all up in the mid-1920s, though, after a religious conversion.

Which name do you like more, Garnelle or Edithmae? Why?

Sources:

  • “Egyptian Girl is Handsomest.” Marion Semi-Weekly Leader 30 Sept. 1921: 1.
  • Full Gospel Temple Plant of Renown, Inc. Founder
  • Lindsey, William D. and Mark Silk. Religion and Public Life in the Southern Crossroads: Showdown States. Walnut Creek, CA: Rowman Altamira, 2005.
  • “Miss Garnelle Haley.” Mansfield Mirror 22 Sept. 1921: 1.
  • “A Moberly Girl Wins.” Chariton Courier 23 Sept. 1921: 1.
  • Pennington, Edith Mae. “From the Foot-Lights to the Foot of the Cross.” Latter Rain Evangel Aug. 1931: 16.

5 Curious Names – Darcy, Iyla, Manahil, Ruzgar, Tulisa

This is my last post on the 2013 England and Wales baby name list, I promise.

Here are five names from the list that made me curious enough to do some digging…

Darcy

Darcy just keeps rising, doesn’t it? Wonder how high it will go. Two variants of the name are now in the top 100, and a third is just three spots away:

  • Darcey (651 baby girls) – ranks 84th
  • Darcy (588) – ranks 93rd
  • Darcie (540) – ranks 103rd

Lower down on the list there are 22 more variants (I’m including compound names here):

  • Darci (56), D’arcy (11), Darcee (9)
  • Darcie-Mae (22), Darcy-Mae (13), Darcie-Mai (11), Darcy-May (9), Darcie-May (7), Darcey-Mai (5), Darcey-Mae (4), Darcey-May (3), Darci-Mae (3)
  • Darcie-Rae (12), Darcey-Rae (3), Darcy-Rae (3)
  • Darcy-Leigh (9), Darcie-Leigh (8), Darcey-Leigh (4)
  • Darcey-Rose (6), Darcie-Rose (6), Darcy-Rose (3)
  • Darcie-Louise (3)

In total, 1,989 baby girls share these 25 versions of Darcy. If we could rank the entire group, it would fall between #24 Phoebe and #25 Millie on the 2013 list.

As Lou of Mer de Noms noted in a post about female names on the rise, dancer Darcey Bussell became a judge on the TV show Strictly Come Dancing in 2012. This explains why Darcey overtook the more traditional spelling Darcy that year.

And the name is still being used for boys, at least for now. Last year, more than 2 dozen baby boys were named Darcy.

Iyla

The 5th most popular girl name in England and Wales right now is Isla, which is pronounced EYE-la. The –s– is silent, the same way the –s– is silent in the word “isle.”

But more and more parents are opting to simplify the name by respelling it Iyla. Watch how the number of baby girls named Iyla has been rising in the shadow of skyrocketing Isla:

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Isla 964 1,599 1,908 2,384 2,849 3,501 3,526
Iyla 9 22 33 46 72 118 137

I doubt Iyla will ever overtake the traditional version of the name, but you never know, alternative spellings sometimes catch on. Darcey is now ahead of Darcy, after all, and Zoey has been more popular than Zoe here in the U.S. since 2011.

Manahil

Last year, two variants of this name entered the girls’ top 1,000 for the first time:

  • Manahil (52 baby girls) – ranks 750th
  • Minahil (47) – ranks 813th
  • Menahil (4)

And I found a fourth variant, Minaahil, on the list from 2012.

Manahil is an Arabic name that means “springs, fountains.” It’s the plural form of the word Manhal.

Ruzgar

Ruzgar, given to 20 baby boys last year, comes from the Turkish word rüzgâr, meaning “wind.” You can hear the proper pronunciation of Rüzgâr at Forvo.

Tulisa

Usage of the name Tulisa plummeted last year, but that’s only part of the story. The name also increased in popularity markedly from 2009 to 2012:

  • 2013: 33 baby girls named Tulisa [out of the top 1,000 again]
  • 2012: 126 baby girls named Tulisa [ranked 375th]
  • 2011: 86 baby girls named Tulisa [ranked 494th]
  • 2010: 34 baby girls named Tulisa [ranked 988th]
  • 2009: 6 baby girls named Tulisa [debut]
  • 2008: unlisted

What accounts for the steep rise and the even steeper drop?

English singer and television personality Tulisa (born Tula Paulinea Contostavlos). She became famous as a member of the hip hop group N-Dubz (2000-2011) and was a judge on the TV show The X Factor (2011-2012).

But 2013 was not a good year for Tulisa. First, she left television. Second, she was arrested on drug charges. These two things were enough to knock the baby name Tulisa out of the top 1,000.

Though the stage name is pronounced tu-lee-sa, her name was originally pronounced tu-litz-a and was used to distinguish her from her grandmother (and namesake) Tula. The Greek name Tula/Toula is a short form of any Greek feminine name ending with the diminutive –toula such as Aretoula, Fotoula, Kostoula, Kritoula, Margaritoula, Panagiotoula or Stamatoula.

…More?

Have you had a chance to scan the list? Which of the baby names there made you curious?

Sources:

  • Gandhi, Maneka, and Ozair Husain. The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names. New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2004.
  • Smith, Sean. Tulisa. London: Simon & Schuster UK, 2012.

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

I’ve got a post on the top names in England and Wales scheduled for Monday, but until then here are a couple of “biggest changes” analyses. We’ll do the girl names today and the boy names tomorrow.

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. Sienna, +586 babies
  2. Scarlett, +395
  3. Elsie, +293
  4. Sofia, +274
  5. Thea, +241
  6. Ivy, +234
  7. Poppy, +219
  8. Evelyn, +193
  9. Willow, +182
  10. Alice, +172
  1. Reeva, +4951 spots
  2. Esmay, +844
  3. Bea, +761
  4. Khaleesi, +711
  5. Neriah, +703
  6. Keeva, +690
  7. Siyana, +650
  8. Milan, +643
  9. Isla-Mae, +574
  10. Dahlia, +566

Eleanor “Elea” Nickerson of British Baby Names mentioned the rise of Reeva yesterday on Facebook, attributing it to Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend Oscar Pistorius allegedly murdered. That sounds like a good explanation to me. In fact, the murder early last year (and the ongoing news coverage) might explain why Oscar itself saw such a big increase in 2013.

Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (Well, besides Khaleesi. I think we all know where that one comes from at this point.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Amelia, -1491 babies
  2. Lily, -919
  3. Jessica, -658
  4. Mia, -531
  5. Evie, -513
  6. Sophie, -483
  7. Lola, -436
  8. Maisie, -393
  9. Holly, -391
  10. Grace, -389
  1. Gemma, -402 spots
  2. Lilly-Mai, -364
  3. Krystal, -360
  4. Star, -320
  5. Sian, -297
  6. Tayla, -286
  7. Bo, -271
  8. Veronica, -256
  9. Zaina, -246
  10. Tahlia, -240

Top Debut Name

Everly.

Fewer than 3 baby girls got the name in 2012, but 21 baby girls were named Everly in 2013. Everley, Everleigh and Everlyn have been on the list before, but never Everly. (I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007, though.)

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

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

1940s Family with 24 Kids – Largest Family in U.S.?

In 1946, the National Father’s Day Committee declared 63-year-old New Yorker George N. Davis the father with the largest family in the United States.

largest family 1940s
The Davis family of New York, 1946

Whether or not his family really was “the largest family in the United States” at that time I don’t know, but I can tell you that he had a total of 24 children (though only 20 were still living in 1946). He had seven with his first wife, Lillian, and the rest with his second wife, Anna.

Here are the names of all 24, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alice
  2. Anna
  3. Arthur
  4. Beulah
  5. Blanche
  6. Brayton
  7. Clark
  8. Charles (died in infancy)
  9. Derwood
  10. Emma Jean
  11. Geneva
  12. George
  13. Irving
  14. Isaac (died in infancy)
  15. Isaac
  16. Joyce Mae (died in infancy)
  17. Laura (died as an adult)
  18. Lena
  19. Lovisa
  20. Raymond
  21. Rupert
  22. Viva
  23. Wallace
  24. Winrick

According to the 1920 Census, he also had a stepdaughter named Ella.

Out of the 24 names on the list, which girl and boy names do you like best?

Source: George N. Davis, Father of the Year

P.S. Here’s a short newsreel movie [vid] about the family.