This month’s mystery isn’t a name, but a name group.
The group saw its highest-ever usage in circa 2009, thanks to presidential daughter Malia Obama, but it also saw a strong rise in usage back in the mid-1950s. Why? I don’t know!
From 1954 to 1956, not only did the rare names Malia and Melia re-emerge in the data and see peak in usage (up to that point), but eight new variants of Malia/Melia surfaced:
*Debuts in the data.
Usage of these names was relatively high in several states. Of the 88 Malias born in 1955, for instance, 33 were born across six states: Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Alabama, Kansas, and North Carolina.
And the SSA data doesn’t account for the many baby girls who got Malia-related middles during that time period. One semi-famous example is JFK niece Sydney Maleia Kennedy, born in California in 1956.
The variety of spellings makes me think the source was audio, e.g., radio, music, cinema, television. (But it wasn’t the lady who played Vampira — that was a Maila, not a Malia.)
What are your thoughts on this one?