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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Roy

Number of Babies Named Roy

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Roy

The Baby Name Saford, a Hillbilly One-Hit Wonder

In 1941, Saford debuted on the U.S. baby name charts with 11 baby boys — enough to make it the top boy name debut of the year.

Clayton and Saford Hall in in 1940
Clayton and Saford Hall in 1940
Never to be seen on the list again, Saford was also the top one-hit wonder name of 1941, and it’s tied for 9th on the list of most popular one-hit wonder boy names of all time.

So what’s the story behind this mysterious name?

The state-by-state data offers a big clue about the origin of Saford:

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 11 baby boys named Saford
    • 9 born in Virginia specifically
  • 1940: unlisted

The name Saford was inspired by Saford Hall, a member of the pre-bluegrass musical duo the Hall Twins. The other member was Saford’s identical twin brother, Clayton. Saford played the fiddle, Clayton played the banjo, and both boys could sing.

Clayton and Saford were born in rural Patrick County, Virginia, in 1919. They were the last of 10 children. Their older siblings were named Lee, Roxie, Thamon, Mack, Romie, Samson, Simon and Asa.

Ralph Berrier, Jr. — a journalist who happens to be Clayton’s grandson — wrote about the twins in his book If Trouble Don’t Kill Me. Here’s how he describes them on his website (which also includes recordings of several performances from the early ’40s):

The Hall twins rose from mountain-bred poverty to pickin’ and yodelin’ all over the airwaves of the South in the 1930s and 1940s, opening shows for the Carter Family, Roy Rogers, the Sons of the Pioneers, and even playing the most coveted stage of all: the Grand Ole Opry.

They played the Grand Ole Opry twice, in 1941 and in 1942, as part of Roy Hall and His Blue Ridge Entertainers. (They weren’t related to Roy.)

This is exactly when we see the unusual name Saford pop up on the baby name charts for the first and only time. I’ve even found a Virginia baby named Saford Clayton, though he wasn’t born until 1944.

The name Clayton was already being given to hundreds of U.S. babies per year in the early ’40s, but usage does seem to rise in both Virginia and North Carolina in 1942.

Just as their musical careers were beginning to take off, though, the brothers were drafted. Saford was sent to North Africa and Europe, and Clayton was sent to the South Pacific.

The Hall twins survived WWII, and they continued playing music after returning to the States, but they were never able to achieve the same level of musical success. Saford passed away in 1999, Clayton in 2003.


Stickers with Names from the ’60s

In 1969, dozens of “Mod Generation” stickers — each of which featured a drawing of a young person and a name — were distributed inside packs of Topps chewing gum.

(The outfits and hairstyles seem a lot more hippie than mod to me, but oh well.)

Female names used on the stickers include Alice, Ann, Barbara, Betty, Connie, Diane, Donna, Dotty, Ellen, Esther, Fay, Frances, Gloria, Helen, Jackie, Joan, Judy, Lois, Marie, Mary, Millie, Minda, Nancy, Natalie, Phyllis, Rose, Shelly and Susan.

Mod Generation Sticker BettyMod Generation Sticker DonnaMod Generation Sticker Minda

Male names used on the stickers include Barry, Bert, Bill, Charlie, Chris, Dave, Don, Fred, George, Herb, Irv, Jerry, Joe, John, Larry, Louis, Michael, Paul, Pete, Ray, Richard, Roy, Teddy and Tony.

Mod Generation Sticker IrvMod Generation Sticker LarryMod Generation Sticker Terry

While of these female and male names do you like most? How about least?

Source: 1969: “Mod Generation” Stickers, Mod Generation – 1969

Klondike, the Gold Rush Baby Name

Klondikers, 1898 - Klondike Gold RushAll this recent interest in mining Bitcoin is making me think of a gold rush.

And that reminds me…I have yet to talk about the many dozens of babies named after the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899).

Here are some examples of people named Klondike:

  • Klondike Counsell, born in Utah in May, 1897
  • Klondike Winters, born in Michigan in May, 1897
  • Harry Klondike Hayes, born in Washington in June, 1897
  • Klondyke Alaska Slaughter, born in Kentucky in July, 1897
  • Klondike McKinley Smith born in Oregon in August, 1897
  • Klondike A. Bogardeus, born in Ohio in August, 1897
  • Harold Klondike Hathaway, born in Massachusetts in August, 1897
  • Klondike P. Flint, born in Ohio in September, 1897
  • Klondike DeMoss Tucker, born in Indiana in September, 1897
  • Klondike Goldy Kelly, born in Ohio in October, 1897
  • Goldy Klondike Fletcher, born in Nebraska in December, 1897
  • Pearl Klondike Lincoln, born in Pennsylvania in December, 1897
  • Kittie Klondike Hughes, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Klondyke Dodd, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Klondike D. Ator, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Loren Klondike Philleo, born in Washington in January, 1898
  • Dewey Klondike Livingston, born in Oklahoma in February, 1898
  • Klondyke Kirkendall, born in West Virginia in March, 1898
  • Vannie Klondyke Smith, born in West Virginia in June, 1898
  • Earl Klondike Kinahan, born in Illinois in June, 1898
  • Joseph Klondike Dawson, born in Tennessee in September, 1898
  • Roy Klondike Temple, born in Oregon in September, 1898
  • John Klondike Griffith, born in Massachusetts in October, 1898
  • Klondike Dewey Sengelmann, born in Texas in December, 1898

Some of the above take the Klondike theme even further with names like “Goldy” and “Alaska.” Others commemorate war hero Commodore George Dewey or 25th U.S. President William McKinley.

The baby name Klondike has never appeared on any SSA list, but I think it could (should?) have in 1897 and 1898, if a complete set of data had been collected those years.

Where does the word Klondike come from? The Klondike River was originally called Tr’ondëk in the Hän language. Tr’ondëk means “hammerstone water,” as the people who originally inhabited the area would “hammer stakes into the riverbed and weave branches between them to create weirs that guided fish into carefully set basket traps.”

So…think we’ll be seeing any babies named Bitcoin soon? ;)

Sources: Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency, Dawson City Museum South Gallery

Pennsylvania Family with 20 Children

In October of 1952, Irma Griser of Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, welcomed her fifth set of twins — her 19th and 20th children.

In the most recent article I could find about Irma, she hadn’t yet named her most recent twins (a girl and a boy), so here are the names of her 18 older children:

  • Agnes, 17
  • Arthur, 15
  • Sarah, 13
  • Edward, 11
  • Delores and John, 10
  • Harvey, 9
  • Dorothy and Robert, 8
  • Mary and David, 6
  • James and Joseph, 5
  • Tommy, 4
  • Richard, Roy and Joan, 3
  • Sharon, nearly 2

What would you have named the twins?

And, which of the 18 names above is your favorite?

Source: “Fifth Set of Twins Makes 20 Children in Pitcairn Family.” Pittsburgh Press 2 Oct. 1952: 1.

Baby Name Inspired by Sales Tax

pennyIn 1933, the state of Utah adopted a sales tax.

On November 20, 1936, Anne and Roy Tygesen of Utah welcomed a baby boy.

Mr. Tygesen brought “a cigar box full of coin” to the hospital in Salt Lake City.


“This is to pay for the hospital room,” he announced.

“Every time we paid a sales tax we put the change in this box.”

Hospital attaches counted 69 dimes, 320 nickels and 1,302 pennies.

Mr. and Mrs. Tygesen are searching for a name suggestive of Utah’s 2 per cent sales tax.

They name they chose was Penny, but it was only a nickname. The baby’s official first and middle names were Jasper Penroy — “Penroy” evidently a combination of Penny and Roy. (Two of Penny’s four siblings also had Roy in their names: Roy, Jr., and RoyAnne.)

Penroy went on to have at least six children, one of whom was a girl named Penny.


  • “Obituaries.” Daily Herald [Provo] 6 Aug. 1973: 4.
  • “‘Sales Tax’ Baby Is Born in Utah.” St. Petersburg Times 21 Nov. 1936: 10.
  • “‘Sales Tax’ Baby Named.” St. Joseph News-Press 22 Nov. 1936: 12A.

Image: Wheat Penny by finn

Baby Boys Named Tab

American actor Tab Hunter isn’t really named Tab Hunter. His real name is Arthur Gelien. According to Tab’s autobiography, his unique stage name was coined by Hollywood agent Henry Willson.*

Exasperated, Henry finally said, “C’mon, we’ve got to tab him something.” He thought…for about two more seconds. “Hey, that’s not bad,” he announced. “Tab.”

As soon as Tab Hunter’s acting career started taking off in the early 1950s, parents began naming their sons Tab:

  • 1962: 44 baby boys named Tab
  • 1961: 52 baby boys named Tab
  • 1960: 66 baby boys named Tab (ranked 937th)
  • 1959: 89 baby boys named Tab (ranked 813th)
  • 1958: 82 baby boys named Tab (ranked 831st)
  • 1957: 120 baby boys named Tab (ranked 698th)
  • 1956: 68 baby boys named Tab (ranked 907th)
  • 1955: 43 baby boys named Tab
  • 1954: 13 baby boys named Tab
  • 1953: 6 baby boys named Tab [debut]
  • 1952: unlisted

That spike in ’57 can likely be attributed to a song — Tab’s version of “Young Love,” which hit the #1 spot on several different Billboard charts in 1957.

The soft drink TaB was introduced in 1963, but the drink wasn’t named for the actor, and its introduction didn’t seem to affect the usage of Tab as a baby name.

Dozens of babies continued to be named Tab every year until the early ’70s. The name last appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in the ’90s.

*Henry Willson also represented Rock Hudson, originally known as Roy Fitzgerald. Rock’s stage name was inspired by the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.


  • Hunter, Tab and Eddie Muller. Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2006.
  • Hofler, Robert. The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2006.

Baby Named After Ship’s Doctor and Captain

The SS La Guardia left New York on 30 May 1950 for a month-long trip to the Mediterranean under the command of Capt. Hugh L. Switzer. About a week before it returned to New York, Mrs. Gertrude Segelman of Spring Valley, NY, gave birth to a baby boy with the help of the ship’s surgeon, Dr. Roy Littlehale. The baby was named Roy Hugh, after both the doctor and the captain.

(Interesting surname for a doctor, no? Too bad the “hale” in Littlehale refers to a hollow and not to health.)

Source: “Ship Ends Eventful Trip.” New York Times 29 Jun. 1950: 59.