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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rhiannon

Number of Babies Named Rhiannon

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Rhiannon

The Musical Baby Name Anona

anona, sheet music, 1903Music has introduced dozens of new names (like Rhiannon, Monalisa, and Alize) to the baby name charts.

I believed for a long time that Dardanella was the first of these introduced-by-song names. It bounded onto the charts in 1920 — before the widespread usage of radio and record players, impressively. This must make it one-of-a-kind, right?

Nope. I’ve since gone back over the early name lists and discovered a musical name that debuted on the charts a whopping 17 years earlier, in 1903. That name is Anona:

  • 1908: 8 baby girls named Anona
  • 1907: 6 baby girls named Anona
  • 1906: 12 baby girls named Anona
  • 1905: 22 baby girls named Anona
  • 1904: 22 baby girls named Anona
  • 1903: 7 baby girls named Anona [debut]
  • 1902: unlisted

The SSA’s early name lists are relatively unreliable, so here are the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) numbers for the same time-span:

  • 1908: 24 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1907: 24 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1906: 38 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1905: 48 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1904: 57 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1903: 18 baby girls named Anona (SSDI)
  • 1902: 1 baby girl named Anona (SSDI)

The song “Anona” was published in mid-1903. It was written by Vivian Grey, which was a pseudonym for either presidential niece Mabel McKinley or prolific songwriter Robert A. King, sources don’t agree.

The song became very popular and was recorded multiple times. (Here’s Henry Burr’s version, for instance.) This is the chorus:

My sweet Anona, in Arizona,
There is no other maid I’d serenade;
By camp-fires gleaming, of you I’m dreaming,
Anona, my sweet Indian maid.

So-called “Indian love songs” were becoming trendy around this time, thanks to the success of the song “Hiawatha” (1902). Here are a few more that, like “Anona,” have titles that were also used as female names in the songs:

  • “Kick-apoo” (1904)
  • “Oneonta” (1904)
  • “Tammany” (1905)
  • “Silverheels” (1905)
  • “Iola” (1906)
  • “Arrah Wanna” (1906)
    • Dozens of babies were named Arrahwanna, Arrah-Wanna, and Arrah Wanna after this song was published.
  • “Sitka” (1909)
  • “Ogalalla” (1909)

What do you think of the baby name Anona? Would you ever consider using it?

Source: Native Americans: The Noble Savage: The Indian Princess

The 10 Children of Lady Charlotte Guest

Charlotte Guest
Charlotte Guest
A couple of days ago, in my post about Rhiannon, I mentioned the Mabinogion.

The first person to translate this collection of medieval tales into English was Lady Charlotte Guest (1812-1885). She wasn’t a native Welsh speaker, but learned the language after marrying Welsh businessman John Josiah Guest at the age of 21 and moving to Wales.

That marriage produced 10 children. Here are the names:

  1. Charlotte Maria (b. 1834)
  2. Ivor Bertie (b. 1835)
  3. Katherine Gwladys (b. 1837)
  4. Thomas Merthyr (b. 1838)
  5. Montague John (b. 1839)
  6. Augustus Frederick (b. 1840)
  7. Arthur Edward (b. 1841)
  8. Mary Enid Evelyn (b. 1843)
  9. Constance Rhiannon (b. 1844)
  10. Blanche Vere (b. 1847)

Many of the above, including Bertie, Montagu (without the e) and Vere, are family names on Charlotte’s side. Charlotte’s father Albemarle got another interesting family name.

Here are definitions for the four Welsh names:

  • Gwladys – A form of the the old Welsh name Gwladus. It might be based on the Welsh word gwlad, meaning “country.”
  • Merthyr – From the Welsh word merthyr, which means “martyr.” Records show that Thomas was born in the town of Merthyr Tydfil.
  • Enid – Found in the the Welsh legend of Geraint and Enid. It might be based on the Welsh word enaid, meaning “soul.”
  • Rhiannon – Found in the Mabinogion. It might mean “divine goddess” or “maid of Annwfn.”

If you could add an 11th name (first + middle) to this set, what combination would you choose and why? Gender is up to you.

Source: Lady Charlotte Guest – Wikipedia

The Baby Name Rhiannon

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night, and wouldn’t you love to” …know a little more about her name?

The Welsh name Rhiannon comes to us via the Mabinogion, a famous collection of medieval Welsh tales that was written during the 1300s (or possibly earlier).

What’s the etymology? Here are two theories:

Rhiannon’s persona is much older than the medieval text, however. She appears to be derived from the pre-Christian goddess hypothesized as Rigantona and also Epona, the horse goddess. Her pedigree within the Mabinogi also implies supernatural status as she is thought to be the daughter of the king of Annwfn, the otherworld; her name may mean maid of Annwfn.

Song of Rhiannon (book)The reconstructed proto-Celtic name Rigantona means “divine goddess.” The definition “maid of Annwfn,” on the other hand, would come from combining the word rhiain, meaning “maid,” with the place name Annwfn.

Before the 1970s, the name Rhiannon was rarely used as a name for newborns. The few babies that got the name tended to have a direct connection to Wales (i.e., either they were born there or their parents were).

Then two novels featuring the name came out: Song of Rhiannon (1972) by Evangeline Walton and Triad (1973) by Mary Leader. The first was based directly on the Mabinogion; the second was not.

Both books probably played a part in putting Rhiannon on the map in 1974:

  • 1975: 15 baby girls named Rhiannon
  • 1974: 5 baby girls named Rhiannon [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted

The first book might have been the one with the word “song” in the title, but it was the second book that inspired a young Stevie Nicks to write her hit song “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win).” Here’s how Stevie tells the story:

I got the name from a novel, I think I bought in an airport just before a long flight; it was called Triad, and it was about a girl named Rhiannon and her sister and mother, or something like that. I just thought the name was so pretty that I wanted to write something about a girl named Rhiannon. I wrote it about three months before I joined Fleetwood Mac, in about 1974.

The song was first released on Fleetwood Mac’s album Fleetwood Mac in mid-1975. It was then re-released a single in February of 1976, and, four months later, peaked at #11 on the Billboard charts.

Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)

The single is what made an impact on the baby name charts. Hundreds of baby girls were named Rhiannon in 1976, and the name entered the top 1,000 for the first time at an impressive 593rd. A year later it peaked at 418th.

Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Rhiannon (or a variant) from 1973 to 1980, sorted by 1977 levels of usage:

Name 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980
Rhiannon 5* 15 272 491 460 422 409
Rhianna 56* 97 79 89 93
Reanna 7 65 90 87 86 90
Riann 76* 37 22 10
Rhiana 33* 38 27 16 24
Rheanna 24* 34 23 30 31
Rianne 25* 9 17 12
Rheannon 6* 20 16 15 20
Rianna 10* 19 29 27 30
Rhianon 7* 13 25 9 16
Riannon 11* 8 8
Reannon 12* 10 7 16 17
Rhian 9* 7 7
Reannan 6**
Rhia 5* 5 5
Reana 8 8 6 13
Reanne 7 5 9
Rheanne 5*
Rhiannan 7* 6
Rheana 7*
Rhyan 6* 7 10
Reann 6 10
Rhianne 5*

**One-hit wonder

Usage cooled off after that, but rose again in the late ’90s and early 2000s, probably thanks to Fleetwood Mac’s successful 1997 tour The Dance and resulting live album, which features an extended version of “Rhiannon.”

The song was voted one of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stone in 2004, but by then the name Rhiannon was falling out of fashion. In 2008, it dropped out of the top 1,000. In 2013, only 106 baby girls got the name.

Regardless, Rhiannon will always be one of my favorite uniquely ’70s baby names. :)


  • Bishop, Stephen. Songs in the Rough. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996.
  • MacKillop, James. Myths and Legends of the Celts. London: Penguin UK, 2005.
  • Rees, Dafydd and Luke Crampton. Rock Movers & Shakers. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1991.

Biggest Baby Name Debuts of All Time: Girls, 40 to 31

biggest baby name debuts of all time, girl names, 40 to 31

Time for baby name debuts, part 2! (Part deux?)

From 40 to 31:

Leshia & Riann, 2-way tie for #40

  • Leshia debuted with 76 baby girls in 1960.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Riann debuted with 76 baby girls in 1977.
    Inspired by the song “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac.

Jalesa, #39

  • Jalesa debuted with 77 baby girls in 1988.
    Inspired by Jaleesa Vinson, a character on the TV sitcom “A Different World.”

Chimere & Naidelyn, 2-way tie for #38

  • Chimere debuted with 78 baby girls in 1979.
    Inspired by the Prince Matchabelli perfume Chimere.
  • Naidelyn debuted with 78 baby girls in 1998.
    Inspired by Naidelyn Navarrete, an actress on the telenovela “Maria Isabel.”

Joyel & Tynisa, 2-way tie for #37

  • Joyel debuted with 79 baby girls in 1975.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Joyelle, a character on the soap opera “How to Survive a Marriage.” (Thank you C in DC!)
  • Tynisa debuted with 79 baby girls in 1976.
    Inspired by the song “Tynisa (Goddess of Love)” by Major Harris.

Audreanna, #36

  • Audreanna debuted with 80 baby girls in 1989.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Adriana, a character on the soap opera “Santa Barbara.” (Thank you C in DC!)

Leilene, #35

  • Leilene debuted with 81 baby girls in 2007.
    Inspired by Leilene Ondrade, a contestant on the reality TV show “Flavor of Love.”

Evolet, #34

  • Evolet debuted with 82 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Evolet, a character in the movie 10,000 BC.

Joyelle & Trenyce, 2-way tie for #33

  • Joyelle debuted with 88 baby girls in 1975.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Same reason as #37.
  • Trenyce debuted with 88 baby girls in 2003.
    Inspired by singer Trenyce.

Irania & Shelva, 2-way tie for #32

  • Irania debuted with 89 baby girls in 1995.
    Inspired by Irania Paniagua, a character on the telenovela “Maria Celeste.”
  • Shelva debuted with 89 baby girls in 1936.
    Inspired by Shelby Barret, a character in the movie The Woman in Red.

Latrenda, #31

Do you have any thoughts on Latrenda, Audreanna, Joyelle/Joyel or Leshia?

*The Top 50 Baby Name Debuts for Girls: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1*

My 10 Favorite Uniquely ’70s Baby Names

70s baby names (willona vs darth)

Love 1970s pop culture? Love names? Then check out this list!

Out of the more than 12,000 baby names that debuted on the charts during the ’70s, here are 10 (well, 11) that are particularly symbolic of the decade. All are legit baby names!

  1. Darth. The baby name Darth, inspired by movie villain Darth Vader, debuted on the baby name charts in 1977.
  2. Travolta. The baby name Travolta, inspired by actor John Travolta, debuted on the baby name charts in 1978.
  3. Shaft. The baby name Shaft, inspired by movie character Shaft, debuted on the baby name charts in 1971.
  4. Willona. The baby name Willona, inspired by TV character Willona Woods, debuted on the baby name charts in 1974.
  5. Jorel. The baby name Jorel, inspired by movie character Jor-El, debuted on the baby name charts in 1979.
  6. Rhiannon. The baby name Rhiannon, popularized by Fleetwood Mac song “Rhiannon,” debuted on the baby name charts in 1974.
  7. Starsky & Hutch. The baby names Starsky and Hutch, inspired by the TV show Starsky & Hutch, both debuted on the baby name charts in 1975.
  8. Comaneci. The baby name Comaneci, inspired by gymnast Nadia Comaneci, debuted on the baby name charts in 1976.
  9. Uhura. The baby name Uhura, inspired by TV character Lt. Uhura, debuted on the baby name charts in 1971.
  10. Atari. The baby name Atari, inspired by the Atari game console, debuted on the boys’ side of the baby name charts in 1979. (This one’s actually a borderline case, as it debuted for girls in 1980.)

Not-very-honorable mention goes to my least favorite uniquely ’70s name, Yarnell. She’s the mime lady who haunts my dreams…

Do YOU have any favorite ’70s baby names?

P.S. Here are my 10 favorite uniquely ’80s and ’90s baby names.

Note: Updated in March of 2015.

The Mysterious Baby Name LaQuita

When the popularity of a particular baby name spikes, there’s always an explanation.

Most of the time, the explanation isn’t hard to come up with. Hundreds of baby girls were named Rhiannon after Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon was released in 1976, dozens of baby boys were named Rambo after the Rambo movies started coming out in the early 1980s, and so forth.

Sometimes, the explanation isn’t as conspicuous. I didn’t immediately see the connection between the name Aquanette and B-movie actress Burnu Acquanetta, for instance. Only after mulling it over for a while was I able to link the name Kasara to a long-forgotten Lisa Lisa song.

Today’s name belongs in that latter group. In fact, the explanation for today’s name is *so* inconspicuous that I haven’t been able to piece it together, even after months of trying.

So I’m giving up. I’m just going to post what I know and hope that some wise soul leaves a comment that helps me unravel the mystery. :)

The name is Laquita. (It’s often written LaQuita in obituaries.) It debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1930, coming out of nowhere to be given to an impressive 68 baby girls that year.

Now, the number 68 might seem trivial. Today’s most popular names are given to tens of thousands of babies each, after all. As far as newbie names go, though, 68 is huge. Especially when you’re talking about the early 20th century. Here’s some context:

  • Top debut names of 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 15
  • Top debut names of 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • Top debut names of 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • Top debut names of 1929: Jeannene, 26; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • Top debut names of 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • Top debut names of 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • Top debut names of 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • Top debut names of 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • Top debut names of 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9

Laquita jumped into the top 1,000 right away, ranking 874th. It remained there for the next three years.

Here’s a final fact that could be helpful. Of the 25 1930-Laquitas listed in the SSDI so far, most were born during the last half of the year — 2 in May, 3 in June, 3 in July, 5 in August, 5 in September, 3 in October, 1 in November, 3 in December. This may mean that a mid-year event triggered the spike.


Baby Name Needed for the Sister of Brynnlee

A reader named Raychel has a daughter named Brynnlee Rose. She’s expecting her second daughter in early December, and would like some help choosing a name. Here’s what she says:

My husband’s name begins with Bry, mine with Ray so we’d like it to contain one of those or a combo Bray. No lee, li, lie, ley, leigh endings. If possible we’d like to also honor my Nani, whose name is Delores (Dee), but that could be moved to MN position.

So far we’ve considered Auraylia, Brayslin, Bryar, Bryonie, Rayenne, Abryelle, Bryenne/Brayenne, Esmeray, Deloray, Araya/h (though I have cousin named Raya & I’m afraid that might be too close!) Rayanna and Rayannon (Rhiannon) are also out because of family! And I can’t stand the other typical Ray names, Rayna, Rayleen, Raynelle, etc.

And MN of Nanalie, Derora, Deeana, Delora, Esdee, Delwen, Nanice, Deegen, Delaine (My MN is Elaine) to honor my Nana OR Briar, Evangeline, Scarlett, Rinslett, Liliana.

Lots to think about here! Let’s do first names first, middle names second.

I’m partial to first names that are familiar and easy to spell, so many of the above aren’t really up my alley. I understand why they include bry and ray, and I do love it when a baby name has a family connection, but I’m also wary about unusual names and/or names that are unnecessarily complicated. Names like these can turn into a headache for the child. I mean, none of the above are as difficult as Addtakizz, but someone named Abryelle or Brayslin or Rayannon will still have to spell her name out for people on a regular basis. And if that can be avoided, well…why not avoid it?

Here are some other first name possibilities:

Sabrina, but with a y instead of an i.

Grace with an extra letter.

Aubrey’s -brey isn’t bray, but it’s similar.

Does not have bry or ray, but does include all of those letters (a, b, r, y).

Avery, Crystal
Both contain the letters of ray (a, r, y).

Robyn, Ruby
Both contain the letters of bry (b, r, y).

Middle names aren’t used as often as first names, so I think people can get away with a lot more when it comes to middles. I really like Delaine (two family names for the price of one!). Delora is also cute. I’m not too keen on the Nana-based names Nanalie and Nanice, though. Especially when you consider that the Nana in question isn’t the child’s Nana.

Here are a few other middle name ideas, all of which contain the del of Delores:


I wonder–was “Dee” by itself ever considered for the middle spot? It would be a direct connection to Raychel’s Nana, and also reminiscent of Brynnlee’s middle name (in the sense that both are monosyllabic).

Which of the above names do you like best for the sister of Brynnlee Rose? What other name suggestions would you offer to Raychel?