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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Maria

Number of Babies Named Maria

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Maria

Double Whammy Baby Names: Pier & Angeli

pier angeli, life magazine, 1956
Pier Angeli on the cover of LIFE in 1956

While Cyd Charisse gave both her first and last name a boost on the baby name charts, those debuts didn’t happen in the same year.

In the case of Italian-born television and film actress Pier Angeli, though, both Pier and Angeli popped up in the data in 1953:

Year # Piers # Angelis
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
18 baby girls
25 baby girls
8 baby girls (& 5 baby boys)
11 baby girls [debut]
x
12 baby girls
x
x
14 baby girls [debut]
x

In fact, the name Angeli was the 3rd-highest debut name of the year (after Trenace and Caster).

Pier Angeli was born Anna Maria Pierangeli in Sardinia, Italy, in 1932. Before she launched her U.S. film career, her name was changed:

The movie moguls decided that her name Anna Maria Pierangeli was too long for the lights over a marquee, so it was abridged to Pier Angeli simply by dividing her surname. She didn’t like it, complaining that it was “a boy’s name” which of course it was in Italy, and never used it in private life. Her friends always called her Anna.

Pier Angeli’s first American film Teresa (1951). Her performance impressed critics; she won a Golden Globe Award in 1952 for “Most Promising Newcomer.” And the year after that, her names double-debuted in the U.S. baby name data.

Nowadays, dozens of baby girls are named Angeli every year. Pier is still used as well, but mostly as a boy name. Which name do you prefer?

Which name do you prefer for a baby girl, Pier or Angeli?

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Source: Allen, Jane. Pier Angeli: A Fragile Life. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2002.

P.S. Speaking of dividing a surname to create a stage name…two people who divided a first name to come up with a professional name were actor Kal Penn (born Kalpen Modi) and lyricist Kal Mann (born Kalman Cohen).


Double Whammy Baby Names: Cyd & Charisse

cyd charisse, movie, dancer, 1940s, baby name, cyd, charisse

As far as I can tell, the very first person to boost both a first name and a last name into the baby name data was dancer and movie star Cyd Charisse. Charisse debuted in 1946, and Cyd followed a year later:

Year # Cyds # Charisses
1950
1949
1948
1947
1946
1945
14 baby girls
20 baby girls
6 baby girls
8 baby girls [debut]
x
x
17 baby girls
14 baby girls
19 baby girls
10 baby girls
5 baby girls [debut]
x

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) was what propelled Charisse to stardom, but in the late ’40s she had minor dancing parts in various musicals, and these appearances must have given her name enough exposure to influence expectant parents.

But she wasn’t born with the name Cyd Charisse. Her birth name was Tula Ellice (ee-leese) Finklea. Here’s how one name morphed into the other:

My real name was Tula Ellice, it was not Cyd. But my brother was only a year older than myself and he couldn’t pronounce Tula Ellice, so he started calling me Sid as a nickname, for sister. And it stuck with me and all my life I’ve been called Sid. But when I went to MGM, Arthur Freed did not like the spelling of S-i-d, which is a boys’ name. And he changed the spelling to C-y-d — a little more glamorous.

And of course Charisse was my first husband’s name, Nico Charisse. So actually Cyd Charisse you could say is my real name.

But there’s actually more to the story, as she went through several stage names before settling on “Cyd Charisse”:

Before I went to MGM, I had danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. And, of course, joining a Russian ballet company in those days, you were supposed to have a Russian name. So Colonel de Basil, who was the regisseur of the ballet at that time, he first named me Felia Siderova. And after a couple of months he decided he would change it to Maria Istomana. Two names.

Then when I wound up back in California, before I went to MGM, I met another Russian director. And he decided that my name should be Lily Norwood.

So finally, when I got to MGM, and Arthur Freed said “We have to change your name,” I said “No please, I’ve had my name changed so many times. Let me just be Sid Charisse.” And that’s when he changed the spelling to C-y-d. And finally I had my own name.

These days, American parents still bestow the name Charisse occasionally, but they rarely go for Cyd. Which name do you prefer?

Which name do you prefer for a baby girl, Cyd or Charisse?

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Sources: SSA, Cyd Charisse Interview [vid]
Image from Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: T (part 2)

tira, 1933, mae west, i'm no angel, movie, name

Looking for a rare girl name with a retro feel? Here are dozens of ideas. All came straight from very old films that were released from the 1910s to the 1940s.

This post is part of a series of posts featuring female names from early cinema. I’m going backwards, so the other lists so far are U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. The names below are the second half of the T-list (Ti- to Ty-). The first half has the Ta- to Th- names. Enjoy!

Tiare
Tiare was a character name in multiple films, including The Leopardess (1923) and The Moon and Sixpence (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tiare.

Tibbie
Aunt Tibbie was a character played by actress Jessie Ralph in the film St. Louis Blues (1939).

Tibby
Tibby was a character name in multiple films, including Dangerous Females (short, 1929) and Bad Man from Red Butte (1940).

Tika
Queen Tika was a character played by actress Dorothy Christy in the film The Phantom Empire (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Tika.

Tilah
Tilah was a character played by actress Margaret Morris in the film Beasts of Paradise (1923).

Tildy
Tildy was a character played by actress Alice Terry in the short film The Brief Debut of Tildy (1918).

Tilga
Tilga was a character played by actress Louise Emmons in the film The Last Egyptian (1914).

Timka
Timka was a character played by actress Jean Parker in the film Caravan (1934).

Timmins
Timmins was a character played by actress Zasu Pitts in the film Her Private Life (1929).

Tira
Tira was a character played by actress Mae West in the film I’m No Angel (1933). Her name was pronounced TIE-rah.

  • Usage of the baby name Tira.

Tisa
Tisa Kepes was a character played by actress Lilli Palmer in the film My Girl Tisa (1948).

  • Usage of the baby name Tisa (which debuted in the data the year that My Girl Tisa came out).

Tish
Letitia “Tish” Carberry was a character played by actress Marjorie Main in the film Tish (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tish.

Tisha
Tisha was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film The Wanderer (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Tisha.

Titania
Titania was a character name in multiple films, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1909) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935).

Tito
Tito was a character played by actress Dorothy Janis in the film The Pagan (1929).

Tituba
Tituba was a character played by actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan in the film Maid of Salem (1937).

Tiza
Tiza Torreon was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film Turn Back the Hours (1928).

Tocati
Tocati was a character played by actress Julie Suedo in the film Afterwards (1928).

Toddy
Toddy was a character name in multiple films, including Cain and Mabel (1936) and Youth Runs Wild (1944).

Tohana
Tohana was a character played by actress Inez Palange in the film One Million B.C. (1940).

Toinette
Toinette was a character name in multiple films, including A Love Sublime (1917) and Rainbow on the River (1936).

Tokiwa
Tokiwa was a character played by actress Margaret Gibson in the short film The Love of Tokiwa (1914).

Tollea
Tollea was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film Cobra Woman (1944).

Tommie
Tommie Lou Pember was a character played by actress Colleen Moore in the film The Perfect Flapper (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Tommie.

Tommy
Tommy Smith was a character played by actress Dorothy Devore in the film The Tomboy (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Tommy.

Tondelayo
Tondelayo was a character played by actress Hedy Lamarr in the film White Cargo (1942).

Tonia
Tonia was a character name in multiple films, including In Old Arizona (1928) and Young Buffalo Bill (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonia.

Tonie
Tonie was a character name in multiple films, including Hold That Girl (1934) and Flight for Freedom (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonie.

Tonita
Tonita was a character name in multiple films, including Border Law (1931) and The Fighting Ranger (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonita.

Tonoma
Tonoma was a character played by actress Eugenie Besserer in the short film A Child of the Wilderness (1912).

Tootie
Tootie Smith was a character played by actress Margaret O’Brien in the film Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Tootie (a one-hit wonder in 1958, thanks to a news item that year).

Tootsie
Tootsie Brown was a character played by actress Muriel Ostriche in the film Leap to Fame (1918).

Toppie
Toppie Westmacott was a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film The Little French Girl (1925).

Topsy
Topsy was a character name in multiple films, including The Gold Diggers (1923) and Topsy and Eva (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Topsy.

Torchy
Torchy Blane was a character played by various actresses in a series of 9 Torchy Blane films (1937-1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Torchy.

Toru
Toru was a character played by actress Rosita Marstini in the film A Prisoner in the Harem (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Toru.

Toshia
Toshia Mori was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Japan in 1912.

  • Usage of the baby name Toshia.

Toton
Toton was a character played by actress Olive Thomas in the film Toton the Apache (1919).

Towana
Towana was a character played by actress Movita in the film Wolf Call (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Towana (which debuted in the data the year after Wolf Call came out).

Toyo
Toyo Haynes was a character played by actress Lupe Velez in the film Where East Is East (1929).

Trafalgar
Trafalgar was a character name in multiple films, including Trelawny of the Wells (1916) and The Actress (1928).

Trece
Trece was a character played by actress Gertrude Astor in the film Hit of the Show (1928).

Trenna
Trenna Plaice was a character played by actress Virginia Bruce in the film Shadow of Doubt (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Trenna.

Tressie
Tressie Harlow was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film Danger Ahead (1921).

Trilby
Trilby was a character name in multiple films, including Trilby (1914) and Svengali (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Trilby.

Trina
Trina was a character name in multiple films, including His Sweetheart (1917) and Man’s Castle (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Trina.

Trini
Trini was a character played by actress Paulette Duval in the film Twelve Miles Out (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Trini.

Trixi
Trixi Du Bray was a character played by actress Seena Owen in the film Officer Thirteen (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Trixi.

Trixie
Trixie Friganza was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Kansas in 1871. Her birth name was Delia O’Callahan. Trixie was also a character name in multiple films, including Falling Leaves (short, 1912) and The Good Bad Girl (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Trixie.

Trommy
Trommy was a character played by actress Eula Guy in the film Expensive Husbands (1937).

Truda
Truda was a character played by actress Hedda Nova in the film By the World Forgot (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Truda.

Trudi
Trudi Hovland was a character played by actress Sonja Henie in the film Second Fiddle (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudi.

Trudie
Trudie Morrow was a character played by actress Lila Lee in the film The Night of June 13 (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudie.

Trudy
Trudy was a character name in multiple films, including You Can’t Beat Love (1937) and She Married a Cop (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudy.

Truly
Truly Shattuck was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1876. Her birth name was Clarice Etrulia de Burcharde.

  • Usage of the baby name Truly.

Trusia
Trusia was a character played by actress June Marlowe in the film Don Juan (1926).

Truth
Truth Eldridge was a character played by actress Belle Bennett in the film Flesh and Spirit (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Truth.

Tryphena
Tryphena Winter was a character played by actress Helen Gardner in the short film Underneath the Paint (1914).

Tsakran
Tsakran was a character played by actress May Robson in the film Turkish Delight (1927).

Tsuru
Tsuru Aoki was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Japan in 1892.

Tui
Tui Bow was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1980s. She was born in New Zealand in 1906. Her birth name was Mary Lorraine Tui.

Tuila
Tuila was a character played by actress Conchita Montenegro in the film La Melodia Prohibida (1933).

Tula
Tula Belle was a child actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Norway in 1906. Her birth name was Borgny Erna Bull Høegh. Tula was also a character name in multiple films, including The Vengeance of Najerra (short, 1914) and Kongo (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Tula.

Tuptim
Tuptim was a character played by actress Linda Darnell in the film Anna and the King of Siam (1946).

Tura
Tura in the film character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Her Jungle Love (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Tura.

Tweeny
Tweeny was a character played by actress Lila Lee in the film Male and Female (1919).

Tylette
Tylette was a character played by actress Gale Sondergaard in the film The Blue Bird (1940).

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

The 24 Children of Isaac Singer

isaac singer
Isaac Singer: businessman & baby-daddy
A reader got in touch recently to ask about several unusual names. One of them was “Vouletti,” which belonged to a daughter of Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875).

Isaac Singer is best remembered for his successful sewing machine manufacturing company, founded in 1851 and still going strong today. Also notable, though, is the fact that he had a total of 24 children with five different wives and mistresses.

With Maria Haley, he had two children:

  • William Adam (b. 1834)
  • Lillian C. (b. 1837)

With Mary Ann Sponsler, he had ten children:

  • Isaac Augustus (b. 1837)
  • Vouletti Theresa (b. 1840)
  • Fanny Elizabeth (b. 1841)
  • John Albert (b. circa 1843)
  • Jasper Hamet (b. 1846)
  • Julia Ann (b. circa 1847)
  • Mary Olivia (b. 1848)
  • Charles Alexander (1850-1852)
  • Caroline Virginia (b. 1857)
  • …plus one more

With Mary McGonigal, he had five children:

  • Ruth
  • Clara
  • Florence
  • Margaret
  • Charles Alexander (b. 1859)

With Mary E. Walters, he had one child:

  • Alice Eastwood (b. 1852)

With Isabella Eugenie Boyer (of France), he had six children:

  • Adam Mortimer (b. 1863)
  • Winnaretta Eugenie (b. 1865)
  • Washington Merritt Grant (b. 1866)
  • Paris Eugene (b. 1867) – Palm Beach developer, namesake of Singer Island
  • Isabelle Blanche (b. 1869)
  • Franklin Morse (b. 1870)

These are traditional names for the most part, which makes “Vouletti” all the more intriguing.

Vouletti Singer was born in 1840, married William Proctor in 1862, had three children, and died in 1913. Though her name was definitely spelled Vouletti — that’s the spelling passed down to various descendants, and the one used by her friend Mercedes de Acosta in the poem “To Vouletti” — I found it misspelled a lot: “Voulitti” on the 1855 New York State Census, “Voulettie” on the 1900 U.S. Census, “Voulettie” again in a Saturday Evening Post article from 1951.

So…where does it come from?

I have no clue. I can’t find a single person with the given name Vouletti who predates Vouletti Singer. I also can’t find anyone with the surname Vouletti. (There was a vaudevillian with the stage name “Eva Vouletti,” but she doesn’t pop up until the early 1900s.)

Theater could be a possibility, as Isaac Singer was an actor in his younger days. Perhaps Vouletti was a character name he was familiar with?

My only other idea is the Italian word violetti, which means “violet.” Her parents might have coined the name with this word in mind.

Do you have any thoughts/theories about the unusual name Vouletti?

Baby Names Inspired by M&M’S

M&M'S baby names, candy baby names

What’s the best thing about Halloween? If you said the costumes, or the parties, or the history, or the carving of very elaborate jack-o’-lanterns…you’d be wrong. Because the correct answer is: the candy.

But, as funny as I think it would be to meet a kid named Twizzler, I don’t want people taking names from candy wrappers and putting them onto birth certificates. So let’s look at candy-inspired baby names in a slightly different way by focusing on a single brand with a simple name: M&M’S.

Did you know that M&M’S are the top-selling Halloween candy in California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.? They’re the second-best seller in eight other states, and the third-best seller in three more.

More important for our purposes, though, is the fact that the brand name is essentially the same letter twice. So let’s check out baby names that similarly have two M’s, but two separate M’s. Because, if the candies won’t melt in your hand, the M’s shouldn’t meld in a name.

So here are over 20 baby names with two audibly distinct M’s, just like M&M’S candies:

  • Amram (m) – “exalted nation” in Hebrew.
  • Chrysanthemum (f) – flower name, from the ancient Greek words for “gold” and “flower.”
  • Jemima (f) – “dove” in Hebrew.
  • Kimimila (f) – “butterfly” in Lakota.
  • Leimomi (f) – “pearl lei” or “pearl child” in Hawaiian.
  • Malcolm (m) – “disciple of Saint Columba” in Scottish.
  • Mamie (f) – pet form of Mary or Margaret.
  • Maram (f) – “wish, desire” in Arabic.
  • Maximus, Maxima, Maximilian, etc. (m/f)- “greatest” in Latin.
  • Megumi (f) – Japanese name with various possible meanings, including “love, affection.”
  • Memphis (m/f) – “his beauty” in Egyptian.
  • Menachem (m) – “comforter” in Hebrew.
  • Mimi (f) – pet form of M-names like Mary and Maria.
  • Miriam (f) – original Hebrew form of Mary.
  • Maryam (f) – Arabic form of Maria.
  • Momoka (f) – Japanese name with various possible meanings, including “peach” + “fragrance.”
  • Montgomery (m) – English surname, from Norman French, meaning “Gumarich’s mountain.”
  • Mortimer (m) – English surname, from Old French, meaning “still water.”
  • Muhammad (m) – “praiseworthy” in Arabic.
  • Tomomi (f) – Japanese name with various possible meanings, including “friend” + “beautiful.”

Which of the M+M names above do you like best?

And, are you curious to know what the M’s in “M&M’S” actually stand for? Mars and Murrie, the surnames of Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie, the businessmen who created M&M’S back in the early 1940s. Forrest was the sons of Frank C. Mars (founder of Mars, Incorporated) and Bruce was the son of William F. R. Murrie (president of Hershey’s).

Sources: Top Halloween Candy by State [Interactive Map] – CandyStore.com, Memphis – Online Etymology Dictionary, Behind the Name