How popular is the baby name Saford 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 Saford.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Saford


Posts that Mention the Name Saford

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

1890s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

Where did the baby name Jefre come from?

jefre, baby name, 1960s, newspapers

Early in the 2010s, I published a list of the top debut names per year. In the middle of the 2010s, I published a list of the top one-hit wonder names per year and noted that four names made both lists: Narice, Saford, Gevan, and Jefre.

A few months after putting up the second list, I covered Saford. But I didn’t write about any of the other names until last week’s post on Gevan. After that one, I decided that it was time to finally post about the other two, so today we’ll do one and next week we’ll look at the other.

Out of the four names, Jefre had the most impressive debut:

  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: 21 baby boys named Jefre
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

It appeared right around the time the name Jeffrey was at peak usage, so it would be easy to write off Jefre as a spelling variant of then-stylish Jeffrey.

But there’s more to the story.

Actor Jeremy Slate (birth name: Robert Bullard Perham) was one of the stars of the short-lived TV show The Aquanauts (1960-1961), about a pair of divers in Southern California.

One Sunday in mid-July, 1961, newspapers across the country ran a story about the swimming habits of Jeremy’s young family, which consisted of his wife Beverly and their four children: Jamie (girl), Jason, Jeremy Jr., and Jefre. It wasn’t long — just two pages — but it included two big photographs, both featuring eight-year-old Jefre.

Ironically, the piece came out about a month and a half after the very last episode of The Aquanauts aired. (And it wasn’t even being called The Aquanauts at that point; a few months before being canceled, the series was re-titled Malibu Run.)

So that explains the sudden appearance/disappearance of “Jefre” in the U.S. baby name data. What are your thoughts about this name? Do you like it, or do you prefer a more common spelling?

Sources:

The Hillbilly Baby Name Saford

Clayton and Saford Hall in in 1940
Clayton and Saford Hall in 1940

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

It was never to be seen in the data again, though. This made Saford 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:

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

The name Saford was inspired by Virginia fiddler Saford Hall. Saford and his identical twin brother Clayton (who played the banjo) 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.)

In the late ’30s, the boys formed their first band: the Hall Twins.

In 1939, the twins joined Roy Hall (no relation) and His Blue Ridge Entertainers. The band had a radio show that started out in Winston-Salem (WAIR), but saw much more success after moving to Roanoke (WDBJ) in April of 1940. The show consisted of musical numbers and comedy skits. In fact, Saford and Clayton had a comedy segment in which they played hillbilly characters named Monk and Gibb.

And while Saford and Clayton were radio stars in Roanoke, Saford’s name emerged in the U.S. baby name data — thanks to strong usage in Virginia. Clayton‘s name was already being given to hundreds of U.S. babies per year by the early ’40s, but usage in both Virginia and North Carolina was higher than expected in 1942. I even found a Virginia baby named Saford Clayton! (He wasn’t born until 1944, though.)

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 the Blue Ridge Entertainers.)

But just as their musical careers were beginning to take off, 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.

Sources:

Most Popular One-Hit Wonder Baby Names: Boys

one hit wonder baby names

Here are some of the top one-hit wonder boy names of all time, from 1880 to 2012:

  1. Christop, 1,082 baby boys in 1989.
  2. Christia, 82 baby boys in 1989.
  3. Jometh, 23 baby boys in 2008.
  4. Jefre, 21 baby boys in 1961.
  5. Eriksson, 15 baby boys in 2008.
    • Alfy, 15 baby boys in 1966.
    • Andamo, 15 baby boys in 1960.
  6. Coopar, 14 baby boys in 2010.
  7. Ardan, 13 baby boys in 2012.
  8. Ramzee, 12 baby boys in 2006.
  9. Brettly, 11 baby boys in 2012.
  10. Aaro, 10 baby boys in 2012.

If we ignore the glitchy 1989 names, the real #1 one-hit wonder becomes Jometh.

Here’s what I can tell you about some of the above: Jometh and Elionaid were inspired by the TV show Objectivo Fama; Andamo was inspired by the TV show Mr. Lucky; Maurkice was inspired by football player Maurkice Pouncey; Kimario was inspired by a mention in Ebony magazine; Willkie was inspired by politician Wendell Willkie; Amareion was inspired by singer Omarion; Ebay was inspired by the TV show Good Times; Brettly was inspired by the TV show American Restoration; Vadir was inspired by actor Vadhir Derbez; Travolta was inspired by actor John Travolta; Macarther was inspired by Douglas MacArthur; Schley was inspired by Winfield Scott Schley.

Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?

The Top One-Hit Wonder Baby Names Since 1880

one-hit wonders, baby names, history

The Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list only includes names given to 5 or more U.S. babies, of either one gender or the other, per year.

Most rare names never make the list, but a select group have appeared a single time. I like to call these the one-hit wonder baby names.

One-hit wonders tend to pop up with a relatively low number of babies — 5 or 6 — but a handful are given to dozens of babies…only to disappear again the next year! Intriguing, no?

Below are the highest-charting, gender-specific, one-hit wonder names for every year on record before 2013. (We won’t know which 2013 names are one-hit wonders until later lists come out.) The format is: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.”

  • 1880: none; Merida, 5
  • 1881: Zilpah, 9; Roll, 5
  • 1882: none; none
  • 1883: none; none
  • 1884: none; none
  • 1885: Lelie, 5; Ng & Sip, 5
  • 1886: Ottillie, 5; none
  • 1887: none; Pembroke, 5
  • 1888: Etelka & Pantha, 5; Bengiman, 5
  • 1889: Litta & Roxa, 5; Edw & Profit, 5
  • 1890: Modeste, 8; none
  • 1891: Dorilla & Euphemie, 5; Navajo, 5
  • 1892: none; Whitelaw & Wint, 5
  • 1893: Hedwige, 7; Pomp, 5
  • 1894: Onezia, 5; Bess, 5
  • 1895: Isal, 7; none
  • 1896: Phenie, 5; none
  • 1897: Phronie, 5; Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Maine, 9; Schley, 10
  • 1899: Pellie, 5; none
  • 1900: Henrettia & Ursule, 6; Bruster, 5
  • 1901: Kinnie, 5; none
  • 1902: Azema & Lelea, 5; none
  • 1903: Pheobie, 7; none
  • 1904: Berthal, 6; none
  • 1905: Mintha, 5; Pioet, 5
  • 1906: Nellda, Ocey & Clevia, 5; none
  • 1907: Leecy, Odra & Oklahoma, 5; Lanham, 6
  • 1908: Artena, Essye, Malvie & Oshie, 5; none
  • 1909: Argatha, 5; none
  • 1910: Leneve, 7; Capus, 5
  • 1911: Gaither, 6; Caro & Lavette, 5
  • 1912: Gustina, Iras, Leavy & Senona, 6; Edlow, 7
  • 1913: Nixola & Oleane, 6; Gaillard & Rumsey, 6
  • 1914: Vica, 8; Secondo, 9
  • 1915: Desda & Vonie, 8; Zygmond, 10
  • 1916: Alvene, Bleeker, Cloteen, Deelda, Duffie, Iota, Maggielean, Matrona, Mealie, Mishie, Ortrude, Sirkka, Truma, Valasta, Valesta, Valrea & Ysobel, 6; Hafford, 9
  • 1917: Florenz & Lutrelle, 9; Annis, Clermont, Loddie, Onslow, Rosswell & Runar, 7
  • 1918: Theophila, 10; Hobby, 9
  • 1919: Johnniemae, 9; Lorrain, 10
  • 1920: Dardenella, 9; Mosby, 9
  • 1921: Garnelle, 11; Ive, 9
  • 1922: Donaldine, 12; Crafton, 9
  • 1923: Giovina & Varena, 8; Arbon, Birchel & Wolcott, 7
  • 1924: Klyda, 10; Modell, 9
  • 1925: Ivaline & Valoyce, 8; Evell & Walford, 8
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Lafon & Nola, 9
  • 1927: Genena, Milarain & Seroba, 8; Dalhart, Junor, Maclyn & Mutsuo, 8
  • 1928: Boneva, Geane, Lenard, Loeda & Louvene, 7; Dormon, Hearman, Hover & Shoso, 7
  • 1929: Miladeen, 9; Edsol, 8
  • 1930: Earnease, Lunelle, Magnola & Rhoena, 6; Elice, 7
  • 1931: Dixianna & Vergean, 7; Leroyce, 7
  • 1932: Dolorese, 9; Mannon, 7
  • 1933: Garnieta, 8; Vondal, 7
  • 1934: Delaris, Derene, Ervene, Myrline & Rheata, 6; Cardis, Carloss, Cleophes, Dockie, Exie, Pettus & Shelvie, 6
  • 1935: Nerita, 14; Deuel, 8
  • 1936: Arolyn & Verilea, 7; Rolyn, 8
  • 1937: Noreda, 17; Seavy, 6
  • 1938: Clione, 16; Dall & Vallee, 6
  • 1939: Melsa, 9; Karrol, 7
  • 1940: Lindola, 13; Willkie, 13
  • 1941: Shirey, 7; Saford, 11
  • 1942: Arvina, Floranne, Kaaran & Roine, 6; Macarther, 10
  • 1943: Jerdine, 7; Deming, Dilworth, Eugne, Keener, Rhodell, Rothwell & Sammul, 5
  • 1944: Carolsue, 11; Condy, Hennry, Lemmon & Persell, 5
  • 1945: Diedri, 10; Kermon, 6
  • 1946: Darlia, 13; Cotis, Dowl, Lohn, Rouldph, Royace, Sherryl, Speedy & Trudy, 5
  • 1947: Junellen, 12; Brookie; 7
  • 1948: Gwyned, 9; Beasley, 6
  • 1949: Jerrilyne, 9; Bradbury, Bradfield, Buckey, Hubie, Jubentino, Kurth, Nickola, Varnum & Waynne, 5
  • 1950: Gladystine, 9; Cresenciano, Frosty & Thurnell, 6
  • 1951: Glenalee & Lynnis, 9; Bronnie & Marvine, 8
  • 1952: Charliss, 7; Gevan, 12
  • 1953: Judalon, 11; Credell, Larrey & Uldis, 7
  • 1954: Lilette & Ufemia, 7; Corneall, Danail, Derf, Luann & Michie, 6
  • 1955: Dainette, 14; Christophel, 9
  • 1956: Tirrell, 13; Auddie & Naymon, 7
  • 1957: Theonita, 17; Melivn, 7
  • 1958: Deedy & Lanor, 8; Brete, 7
  • 1959: Carmelyn, 8; Tomm, 8
  • 1960: Devy, 27; Andamo, 15
  • 1961: Shurla, 17; Jefre, 21
  • 1962: Perette, 16; Daphne & Schell, 7
  • 1963: Chrysanne, 12; Darrayl & Daryell, 8
  • 1964: Deeneen, 12; Deneen & Kenndy, 7
  • 1965: Timolyn, 9; Alfonson & Marichal, 8
  • 1966: Agena, 15; Alfy, 15
  • 1967: Malette, 20; Antal, 8
  • 1968: Ondina, 15; Berto, Christoopher, Deith, Mardi, Redginald & Yoram, 6
  • 1969: Dameron, 15; Shoan, 9
  • 1970: Dardi, 14; Cosmos, 9
  • 1971: Anjanet, 9; Demea, 12
  • 1972: Tyhessia, 17; Christerphor, 8
  • 1973: Desheila, 18; Chandar, 13
  • 1974: Charnissa, 32; Sirica, 8
  • 1975: Russchelle, 24; Darweshi, Tchalla & Unborn, 8
  • 1976: Norlisha, 16; Lebrone, 8
  • 1977: Kashka, 16; Ebay, 12
  • 1978: Kushana, 23; Quarterrio & Travolta, 11
  • 1979: Kitzie, 27; Dilanjan & Terdell, 13
  • 1980: Nykeba, 26; Kimario, 13
  • 1981: Tijwana, 18; Cetric & Dharmesh, 8
  • 1982: Ebelina, 11; Chachi & Chezarae, 9
  • 1983: Shadava, 25; Tio, 12
  • 1984: Meghaan, 36; Quisto & Ragene, 9
  • 1985: Miceala, 16; Sophan, 8
  • 1986: Shaquenta, 13; Sarith, 11
  • 1987: Condola & Shayeeda, 12; Calbe, 9
  • 1988: Armisha, 16; Nattiel, 10
  • 1989:
    • Alexandr, 301; Christop, 1082 (glitch names)
    • Cesilie, 10; Madeleine, 10 (non-glitch names)
  • 1990: Jakkia & Shawnic, 16; Pajtim, 13
  • 1991: Deangelis & Jeniqua, 13; Quaysean, 11
  • 1992: Caleesha, 17; Kendrae, 11
  • 1993: Solmaira, 15; Shanquille, 9
  • 1994: Mccaela, 20; Dontonio, 11
  • 1995: Shieda, 14; Jamiroquan, 13
  • 1996: Sidea, 13; Jervontae, 12
  • 1997: Jachai, 10; Asbiel & Daytwon, 9
  • 1998: Rosisela, 14; Tamija, 14
  • 1999: Ukari, 16; Tyreace, 9
  • 2000: Daebreon & Jadakiss, 13; Zaykeese, 13
  • 2001: Joharis, 12; Kya, 13
  • 2002: Eshanti, 27; Albieri, 12
  • 2003: Saribel, 22; Amareion, 12
  • 2004: Janayra, 12; Mikayla & Quanye, 11
  • 2005: Milenka, 13; Johnbenedict, 14
  • 2006: Sarela, 26; Sunel, 14
  • 2007: Aidsa & Madelis, 30; Joset, 11
  • 2008: Yaindhi, 29; Jometh, 23
  • 2009: Shastelyn, 34; Tyten, 11
  • 2010: Rossibell, 17; Coopar, 14
  • 2011: Jocell, 31; Maurkice, 13
  • 2012: Jeiza, 12; Chander, Drexton, Dristan, Elimelec, Hadeed, Khodee & Vardhan, 8
  • 2013: Jennicka, 15; Jaiceion, 11
  • 2014: Hannaley, 21; Zacardi, 11
  • 2015: Nadyalee, 17; Jersen, 21

See anything interesting?

Some of the above — Narice (1926), Saford (1941), Gevan (1952) and Jefre (1961) — are also on the top debuts list.

Lists of the most popular one-hit girl names and one-hit boy names of all time are coming tomorrow and Wednesday…

Update, 5/24/16 – Just revised the 2012 names and added the 2013 and 2014 names.

Update, 5/24/17 – Made some revisions and added the 2015 names.