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, see baby names similar to Saford and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Saford.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Saford

Number of Babies Named Saford

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Saford

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.

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?

Top One-Hit Wonder Baby Names Since 1880

top one-hit wonder baby names of all time

The Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list only includes names given to 5 or more U.S. baby girls (or baby boys) 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 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: Rapunzel, 9; 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: Dessiah & Jachai, 10; Versace, 10
  • 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, Eyian, Hadeed, Khodee, Syir & Vardhan, 8
  • 2013: Jennicka, 15; Jru, 12
  • 2014: Hannaley, 21; Alisher & Zacardi, 11

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.

The Top Baby Name Debuts, 1881 to Today

the top U.S. baby name debuts

Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So not only is this a list of names, but it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

  • 1937: Deeann, 18; Gaynell, 11
  • 1938: Sonjia, 19; Daivd, 9
  • 1939: Thanna, 17; Brenda, 19
  • 1940: Sierra, 32; Willkie, 13
  • 1941: Jerilynn, 56; Saford, 11
  • 1942: Dwala, Gerilyn & Rise, 15; Mcarther, 23
  • 1943: Sharelle, 28; Howie, 10
  • 1944: Deatra, 29; Kipp, 9
  • 1945: Sherida, 26; Vickie, 10
  • 1946: Suzzette, 17; Sung & Tyronne, 8
  • 1947: Rory, 41; Eliezer, 11
  • 1948: Vickii, 30; Ridge, 10
  • 1949: Rainelle, 46; Ezzard, 21
  • 1950: Monalisa, 35; Broderick, 30
  • 1951: Debralee, 19; Cregg, 10
  • 1952: Terria, 17; Faron & Gevan, 12
  • 1953: Trenace, 32; Caster, 21
  • 1954: Corby, 39; Durk, 17
  • 1955: Shevawn, 36; Anothony & Erol, 10
  • 1956: Siobhan, 58; Trace, 17
  • 1957: Tierney, 46; Maverick, 32
  • 1958: Tamre, 63; Hoby, 30
  • 1959: Torey, 102; Rowdy, 22
  • 1960: Leshia, 76; Cully, 31
  • 1961: Lavoris, 36; Jefre, 21
  • 1962: Lafondra, 30; Thadd, 10
  • 1963: Phaedra, 70; Medgar, 25
  • 1964: Djuna, 198; Janssen, 16
  • 1965: Latrenda, 89; Illya, 35
  • 1966: Indira, 43; Jarred, 17
  • 1967: Cinnamon, 40; Clayt, 13
  • 1968: Laryssa, 67; Jemal, 47
  • 1969: Omayra, 42; Tige, 28
  • 1970: Shilo, 38; Toriano, 62
  • 1971: Ayanna, 194; Diallo, 54
  • 1972: Cotina, 109; Jabbar, 77
  • 1973: Yajaira, 55; Yohance, 44
  • 1974: Shalawn, 70; Nakia, 611
  • 1975: Azure, 121; Viet, 23
  • 1976: Tynisa, 79; Delvecchio, 27
  • 1977: Kizzy, 1,115; Levar, 523
  • 1978: Enjoli, 35; Mychal, 59
  • 1979: Chimere, 78; Jorel, 22
  • 1980: Lerin, 35; Tou, 33
  • 1981: Fallon, 232; Taurean, 90
  • 1982: Tyechia, 71; Eder, 48
  • 1983: Mallori, 35; Jonerik & Marquita, 20
  • 1984: Nastassja, 40; Eldra, 17
  • 1985: Sade, 392; Rishawn, 25
  • 1986: Myleka, 38; Cordero, 173
  • 1987: Jaleesa, 116; Teyon, 25
  • 1988: Jalesa, 77; Kadeem, 52
  • 1989: Alexandr*, 301; Christop*, 1,082 [Audreanna, 80; Khiry, 158]
  • 1990: Isamar, 446; Dajour, 26
  • 1991: Emilce, 30; Quayshaun, 93
  • 1992: Akeiba, 49; Devanta, 41
  • 1993: Rosangelica, 91; Deyonta, 37
  • 1994: Ajee, 185; Shyheim, 168
  • 1995: Yamilex, 130; Alize, 30
  • 1996: Moesha, 426; Quindon, 67
  • 1997: Erykah, 279; Cross, 43
  • 1998: Naidelyn, 78; Zyshonne, 26
  • 1999: Verania, 62; Cauy, 32
  • 2000: Kelis, 108; Rithik, 22
  • 2001: Yaire, 184; Jahiem, 155
  • 2002: Kaydence, 70; Omarian, 31
  • 2003: Trenyce, 88; Pharrell, 67
  • 2004: Eshal, 38; Jkwon, 100
  • 2005: Yarisbel, 30; Jayceon, 48
  • 2006: Lizania, 35; Balian, 24
  • 2007: Leilene, 81; Yurem, 206
  • 2008: Aideliz, 91; Yosgart, 72
  • 2009: Greidys, 186; Jeremih, 87
  • 2010: Tynlee, 42; Vadhir, 55
  • 2011: Magaby, 50; Jionni, 62
  • 2012: Kimbella, 52; Naksh, 28
  • 2013: Vanellope, 63; Jaceyon, 89
  • 2014: Dalary, 215; Llewyn, 38
  • 2015: Kehlani, 48; Gotham, 46

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

*If you ignore the Great Baby Name Glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.