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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Raven


Posts that Mention the Name Raven

Our First Taste of Taffy…

taffy, baby name, comic
Taffy Tucker

…in the baby name data!

Taffy isn’t just a type of candy — it’s also a name, and it debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1943:

  • 1947: 12 baby girls named Taffy
  • 1946: 6 baby girls named Taffy
  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: 5 baby girls named Taffy
  • 1943: 6 baby girls named Taffy [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

Why?

Because of Taffy Tucker, a new character introduced in the Terry and the Pirates comic strip during 1942.

Titular character Terry Lee joined the military in 1942, and there he met new people, including Taffy Tucker, an Army nurse, and Flip Corkin, an Army flight instructor (who was also Taffy’s boyfriend).

Taffy Tucker was a “spunky, dedicated nurse, hardworking and tireless, cheerful and caring and always feminine.”

At one point in the storyline, Taffy was kidnapped by a Japanese agent. She was beaten up and left for dead deep in the interior of China. Thankfully, she was eventually rescued by Terry and Flip.

It took cartoonist Milton Caniff about three months to create the character:

[He] spent several days just worrying about a name for Taffy. Since he visualized her as a pert, snub-nosed girl from Georgia, he wanted a name with a typically Old South sound. He finally settled on Guinevere Marianne Tucker, nicknamed Taffy because of her candy-colored hair. She had to be short, because she was scheduled to fall in love with Flip Corkin, who is short, and she had to be blond [sic] for contrast with Flip, who is dark.

Caniff had modeled Taffy after a photo of real-life WWII military nurse Bernice Taylor of Kansas.

What do you think of Taffy as a baby name?

Sources:

P.S. The name Taffy got a slight boost around 1949 thanks to the film The Doctor and the Girl, in which the young Dr. Corday has a love interest named Evelyn “Taffy” Heldon who operates a taffy machine in a candy store.

P.P.S. Other Terry and the Pirates-inspired baby names include Normandie, Merrily, and Raven.

The Baby Name “Raven”

comic, terry and the pirates, 1941, raven sherman, baby name
The death of Raven Sherman (1941)

The name Raven has been given to babies of both genders for decades, but I find its female usage particularly interesting because girl-name Raven has gotten three distinct boosts from popular culture so far.

The first boost happened in 1941, when Raven debuted as a girl name in the data. (It had already popped up a few times as a boy name.)

Year Female usage Male usage
1943 5 babies 7 babies
1942 5 babies 5 babies
1941 6 babies [debut] .
1940 . .

In October of that year, in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates by Milton Caniff, a female character named Raven Sherman died in a dramatic and memorable sequence.

Raven, “a WASP clearly modeled on Katharine Hepburn” according to one source, was an American heiress who was working at a camp for war refugees in China. She was pushed off a moving truck, died of her injuries, and was buried on an isolated Chinese hillside. “Caniff was flooded with flower deliveries, mock memorial services, petitions of condolence signed by disparate groups as factory workers and entire colleges, as well as a lot of irate letters.”

(Terry and the Pirates also influenced the names Normandie and Merrily.)

The second pop culture boost happened in the 1970s:

Year Female usage Male usage
1978 342 babies
[rank: 533rd]
25 babies
1977 299 babies
[rank: 579th]
20 babies
1976 100 babies 10 babies
1975 17 babies 9 babies
1974 15 babies 12 babies

In 1976, the soap opera The Edge of Night introduced a female character named Raven Swift (first played by Juanin Clay, then played by Sharon Gabet). She was described as “the show’s delightful young vixen-heroine” in The Soap Opera Encyclopedia. The character remained on the show until it was canceled in 1984.

(The soap also influenced the names Teal and Laurieann.)

And the most recent (and biggest) pop culture boost happened in the early 1990s:

Year Female usage Male usage
1992 2,016 babies
[rank: 152nd]
89 babies
1991 2,026 babies
[rank: 150th]
53 babies
1990 1,758 babies
[rank: 166th]
62 babies
1989 476 babies
[rank: 495th]
27 babies
1988 327 babies
[rank: 612th]
19 babies

It went on to peak at 139th in 1993.

The reason? Actress Raven-Symoné, who first found fame as a four year old when she started playing Olivia (Denise’s step-daughter) on the The Cosby Show in 1989. The compound name Ravensymone debuted in the data in 1990, and the spelling variant Ravensimone followed in 1991. (Her Disney Channel show That’s So Raven didn’t come along until much later.)

What are your thoughts on the name Raven? Would you use it?

Sources:

Baby Names from “The Edge of Night”

edge of night, soap opera, teal ames, 1950s, 1960s
Sara, Laurie Ann, and Mike Karr
(characters on The Edge of Night)

The Edge of Night (1956-1984) was a television soap opera with heavy crime drama elements (e.g., courtroom scenes). It was based directly on the radio drama Perry Mason (1943-1955). In fact, the central character of EoN — a police officer/lawyer named Mike Karr — was played by actor John Larkin, who had been the voice of Perry during the last eight years of the radio show.

EoN was a popular soap, ranking anywhere from 2nd to 6th from its inception until the early 1970s. More importantly, though, several EoN characters/actors ended up influencing the U.S. baby name charts.

First we have Teal, which debuted in the data in 1957:

  • 1962: 24 baby girls named Teal
  • 1961: 35 baby girls named Teal
  • 1960: 28 baby girls named Teal
  • 1959: 21 baby girls named Teal
  • 1958: 28 baby girls named Teal
  • 1957: 14 baby girls named Teal [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

Teal was inspired by actress Teal Ames, who played Mike’s girlfriend/wife Sara Karr on the show from 1956 to 1961. When Teal decided to quit show business, the character was killed off Edge of Night in a car crash. “CBS received so many anxious and hysterical calls after this episode that actress Teal Ames had to go on the air the following day to assure her fans that she was still very much alive.”

(That said, another potential influence on the name was Japanese-American jazz singer Teal Joy — real name Elsie Itashiki — who put out an album and started appearing on TV in late 1957.)

Next is Laurieann, which debuted in 1959. (And, a year later, the similar name Laurieanne popped up.)

  • 1964: 25 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1963: 39 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1962: 35 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1961: 23 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1960: 21 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1959: 5 baby girls named Laurieann [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted

No doubt Laurieann and Laurieanne were given a nudge by Laurie, which was at peak popularity in the early ’60s (perhaps thanks to Piper Laurie). But the more direct influence was fictional Laurie Ann Karr, Mike and Sara’s only daughter, who was born in the storyline in September of 1959.

Ratings for EoN weren’t as good from the mid-1970s onward, but by then the show was becoming known for something entirely different: unusual character names. These included Taffy, Lobo, Morlock, Cookie, Gunther, Didi, Smiley, Raven, and Schuyler. (Raven and Sky were a couple, of course.) And several of these unusual names got a boost in real life, thanks to the show.

For instance, character Draper Scott was featured in the storyline from 1975 to 1981. The baby name Draper re-emerged in the SSA data in 1976 and saw peak usage in 1980:

  • 1981: 40 baby boys named Draper
  • 1980: 46 baby boys named Draper
  • 1979: 39 baby boys named Draper
  • 1978: 36 baby boys named Draper
  • 1977: 35 baby boys named Draper
  • 1976: 15 baby boys named Draper
  • 1975: unlisted

And female character Winter Austin, who was on the show from 1978 to 1979, pushed the baby name Winter into the top 1,000 for the first time in the late ’70s:

  • 1980: 140 baby girls named Winter
  • 1979: 241 baby girls named Winter [rank: 705th]
  • 1978: 137 baby girls named Winter [rank: 1,000th]
  • 1977: 29 baby girls named Winter

Were you a regular viewer of The Edge of Night? Did you have any opinions on the character names?

Sources:

Image: from TV Radio Mirror, July 1961

P.S. Here’s a post with a bunch more soap opera-inspired baby names.

Numerology & Baby Names: Number 6

baby names that add up to 6, numerologically

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “6.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “6” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “6,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

6

The following baby names add up to 6.

  • “6” girl names: Ada
  • “6” boy names: Abba

6 via 15

The following baby names add up to 15, which reduces to six (1+5=6).

  • “15” girl names: Aida, Adia, Alaa, An, Ama, Aala, Daia, Adai, Abcde
  • “15” boy names: Jad, Gabe, Aadi, An, Ej, Alaa

6 via 24

The following baby names add up to 24, which reduces to six (2+4=6).

  • “24” girl names: Ava, Nia, Maia, Alaia, Hana, Amia, Rae, Dara, Kaci, Edna
  • “24” boy names: Ian, Dean, Aden, Dane, Kage, Kal, Abdel, Blade, Edan, Ahan

6 via 33

The following baby names add up to 33, which reduces to six (3+3=6).

  • “33” girl names: Kali, Mabel, Anahi, Mara, Alena, Shea, Aimee, Andie, Arie, Elana
  • “33” boy names: Aiden, Isaac, Wade, Fabian, Kobe, Sam, Abdiel, Amar, Shea, Don

6 via 42

The following baby names add up to 42, which reduces to six (4+2=6).

  • “42” girl names: Eliana, Maria, Cecilia, Callie, Elaina, Lilah, Maggie, Amira, Amari, Anaya
  • “42” boy names: Evan, Axel, Damian, Alex, Joel, Nash, Amari, Andre, Odin, Deacon

6 via 51

The following baby names add up to 51, which reduces to six (5+1=6).

  • “51” girl names: Layla, Lydia, Delilah, Khloe, Myla, Camilla, Phoebe, Haley, Charli, Greta
  • “51” boy names: Michael, Asher, Hugo, Raiden, Issac, Jamir, Boone, Gary, Lachlan, Deandre

6 via 60

The following baby names add up to 60, which reduces to six (6+0=6).

  • “60” girl names: Hailey, Millie, Kehlani, Miranda, Nylah, Raven, Averie, Skye, Wren, Emely
  • “60” boy names: Landon, Kayden, Silas, Grant, Thiago, Enzo, Bryan, Ibrahim, Kason, Ruben

6 via 69

The following baby names add up to 69, which reduces to six (6+9=15; 1+5=6).

  • “69” girl names: Riley, Lillian, Stella, Parker, Harley, Giselle, Rylie, Addilyn, Oakley, Maliyah
  • “69” boy names: Jeremiah, Cameron, Brayden, Parker, Jasper, Griffin, Riley, Hector, Conner, Malcolm

6 via 78

The following baby names add up to 78, which reduces to six (7+8=15; 1+5=6).

  • “78” girl names: Genesis, Kennedy, Melissa, Madilyn, Esmeralda, Scarlet, Viviana, Kayleigh, Oaklyn, Julieta
  • “78” boy names: Robert, Tucker, Patrick, Emiliano, Karson, Daxton, Troy, Dominick, Colson, Vicente

6 via 87

The following baby names add up to 87, which reduces to six (8+7=15; 1+5=6).

  • “87” girl names: Paisley, Everly, Mackenzie, Veronica, Justice, Journi, Marisol, Marlowe, Blessing, Tallulah
  • “87” boy names: Vincent, Victor, Stephen, Joaquin, Kolton, Dustin, Braylon, Justice, Layton, Sonny

6 via 96

The following baby names add up to 96, which reduces to six (9+6=15; 1+5=6).

  • “96” girl names: Destiny, Mallory, Kristen, Vivianne, Shirley, Ellisyn, Kirsten, Maddilynn, Blakelynn, Journii
  • “96” boy names: Weston, Stanley, Ernesto, Turner, Jayvion, Pierson, Knowledge, Townes, Triton, Rexton

6 via 105

The following baby names add up to 105, which reduces to six (1+0+5=6).

  • “105” girl names: Wynter, Dorothy, Christine, Esperanza, Viktoria, Kristine, Alysson, Jessalyn, Huntley, Cypress
  • “105” boy names: Lorenzo, Maximilian, Gustavo, Tristen, Xzavier, Johnathon, Tytus, Huntley, Cypress, Giovonni

6 via 114

The following baby names add up to 114, which reduces to six (1+1+4=6).

  • “114” girl names: Rosemary, Jazzlyn, Josslyn, Brynnleigh, Joselynn, Vittoria, Waylynn, Treazure, Austynn, Alyssandra
  • “114” boy names: Winston, Princeton, Demetrius, Juancarlos, Townsend, Stavros, Waylynn, Sovereign, Leanthony, Moustapha

6 via 123

The following baby names add up to 123, which reduces to six (1+2+3=6).

  • “123” girl names: Monserrat, Antoinette, Riverlyn, Kimberlynn, Quetzalli, Preslynn, Joycelynn, Maryfrances, Starlynn, Rosealynn
  • “123” boy names: Maxamillion, Johnthomas, Timmothy, Greyston, Alexzavier, Grizzly, Lovensky, Cordarious

6 via 132

The following baby names add up to 132, which reduces to six (1+3+2=6).

  • “132” girl names: Westlynn, Timberlynn, Ramatoulaye
  • “132” boy names: Maximilliano, Bartholomew, Marcanthony, Apostolos, Ellsworth, Truxton, Alexanderjames, Josedejesus

6 via 141

The following baby names add up to 141, which reduces to six (1+4+1=6).

  • “141” girl names: Livingston
  • “141” boy names: Youssouf, Livingston, Fiyinfoluwa, Trystyn

6 via 150

The following baby names add up to 150, which reduces to six (1+5+0=6).

  • “150” girl names: Kourtlynn, Morireoluwa, Ibukunoluwa, Montzerrat
  • “150” boy names: Ibukunoluwa, Luisenrique, Morireoluwa, Oluwamayowa

6 via 159

The following baby names add up to 159, which reduces to six (1+5+9=15; 1+5=6).

  • “159” girl names: Krystalynn, Charlotterose

6 via 168

The following baby names add up to 168, which reduces to six (1+6+8=15; 1+5=6).

  • “168” girl names: Oluwasemilore, Chrysanthemum
  • “168” boy names: Quintavious, Oluwasemilore

6 via 177

The girl name Oluwajomiloju adds up to 177, which reduces to six (1+7+7=15; 1+5=6).

What Does “6” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “6” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “6” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“6” (the hexad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “They rightly call it ‘reconciliation’: for it weaves together male and female by blending, and not by juxtaposition as the pentad does. And it is plausibly called ‘peace,’ and a much earlier name for it, based on the fact that it organizes things, was ‘universe’: for the universe, like 6, is often seen as composed of opposites in harmony”
  • “They also called it ‘health’ and ‘anvil’ (as it were, the unwearying one), because it is reasonable to think that the most fundamental triangles of the elements of the universe partake in it, since each triangle is six, if it is divided by three perpendiculars”
  • “It arises out of the first even and first odd numbers, male and female, as a product and by multiplication; hence it is called ‘androgynous.'”
  • “It is also called ‘marriage,’ in the strict sense that it arises not by addition, as the pentad does, but by multiplication. Moreover, it is called ‘marriage’ because it is equal to its own parts, and it is the function of marriage to make offspring similar to parents.”
  • “They also called it…’measurer of time in twos’ because of the distribution of all time, which is accomplished by a hexad of zodiacal signs over the Earth and another under the Earth, or because time, since it has three parts [past, present, future], is assimilated to the triad, and the hexad arises from two threes.”
  • “It is also called ‘Thaleia’ [etym. Greek, “the plentiful one”] because of its harmonizing different things, and ‘panacea,’ either because of its connection with health…or as it were self-sufficiency, because it has been furnished with parts sufficient for wholeness.”

“6” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “Six – the strength of a three, with a helpful influence” (reading 261-14).
  • “Six being the changes that have been made in the double strength of three” (reading 261-15).
  • “Six – again makes for the beauty and the symmetrical forces of all numbers, making for strength” (reading 5751-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “6” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 33, 42, 96, 123) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which highlights the number 42.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 6, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).

Baby Names Inspired by the Solar Eclipse

baby names, solar eclipse

On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have — or conceive! — a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that isn’t as audacious as Eclipse itself). So what are your options?

Names with “celestial” associations

A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…

“Sun” names Helios, Elio, Sunny, Sol, Solange, Soleil, Solaris, Ravi, Samson, Surya, Sunniva, Haruko, Hinata
“Star” names Star, Stella, Estelle, Starla, Astra, Seren, Tara, Citlali, Hoshi
“Moon” names Luna, Moon, Selene, Selena, Chandra, Mahina, Qamar, Dawa
“Earth” names Eartha, Gaia, Tierra, Tlaloc, Avani
“Sky” names Sky, Skyla, Skylar, Lani, Miku, Akash, Alya, Celeste, Celestine, Ciel, Sora

Names with “dark” associations

The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…

“Shadow” names Shade, Umbra, Shadow, Zillah
“Dark” or “Black” names Melanie, Duff, Dubhan, Ciar, Ciara, Ciaran, Sullivan*, Krishna, Charna, Jett, Raven
“Night” names Nisha, Layla, Nyx, Lilith, Miyako, Rajnish

*Sullivan essentially means “descendant of the little dark eye” in Irish — weirdly appropriate for a solar eclipse baby name, don’t you think?

Name combos with both “celestial” and “dark” associations

You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…

  • Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
  • Jett Samson: “black” and “sun”
  • Ciaran Sol: “black” and “sun”
  • Melanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
  • Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)

Names (or name combos) featuring the letters “S” and “E”

This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…

Seeta
Sela
Selene (“moon” in Greek)
Selma
Seraphina
Seren (“star” in Welsh)
Serenity
Sean
Sebastian
Sefton
Sergio
Seth
Severino
Seymour

Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…

Sally Esther
Scarlett Eve
Sophia Eloise
Susanna Elizabeth
Samuel Elijah
Shane Everett
Stanley Edward
Sylvester Ellis

Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?

Sources: When & Where to See the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, Two Minutes Of Darkness With 20,000 Strangers

Update, 5/15/2018: The baby name Eclipse debuted in the 2017 SSA data!