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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sheila

Number of Babies Named Sheila

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sheila

The Many Names in Dobie Gillis

The baby name Dobie debuted in the US baby name data in 1960.

Girl-crazy teenager Dobie Gillis was a character created by writer Max Shulman in the 1940s. He was first brought to life in the movie The Affairs of Dobie Gillis in 1953, but the most memorable portrayal of Dobie was by Dwayne Hickman in the four-season TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which premiered in September of 1959.

Dobie Gillis is notable for being “the first prime-time series to consistently privilege teenage characters, activities, and spaces over those associated with family shows.”

It was also known for the unusual character names. Dobie (pronounced doh-bee, rhymes with Toby) had friends with names like:

  • Maynard (a beatnik played by Bob Denver, who later portrayed Gilligan)
  • Zelda (a brainiac played by Sheila James Kuehl, sister of Jeri Lou)
  • Thalia Menninger (a rich girl played by Tuesday Weld)

These “uncommon first names [were] evidently meant to seem vaguely silly in their failure to conform with ’50s norms.”

The show ended up influencing the usage of several baby names. First of all, it was behind the debut of the name Dobie in 1960:

  • 1964: 9 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: 6 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1961: 8 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1960: 9 baby boys named Dobie [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

The name Thalia also saw a spike in usage in 1960, which makes sense because all but two of the episodes featuring Thalia Menninger were first-season (1959-1960) episodes. Dobie pronounced Thalia’s name thale-ya.

  • 1964: 46 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1963: 42 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1962: 42 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1961: 46 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1960: 90 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1959: 30 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1958: 24 baby girls named Thalia

Finally, the name Zelda saw elevated usage in the early ’60s:

  • 1964: 133 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1963: 171 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1962: 178 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1961: 168 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1960: 136 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1959: 142 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1958: 131 baby girls named Zelda

Fun fact: Zelda — who pursued Dobie as ardently as Dobie pursued all other females — once convinced a girl named Phyllis to break it off with Dobie by warning her that her married name would be “Phyllis Gillis.”

Many of the secondary and single-episode characters had unusual names as well. Here are some examples:

Aphrodite
Arabella
Aristede
Blossom
Bruno
Bubbles
Chatsworth
Clothilde
Clydene
Drusilla
Esmond
Glynis
Imogene
Jethro
Kermit
Laurabelle
Leander
Maribelle
Mignonne
Poppy
Riff

Do you like any of the above Dobie Gillis names? How about the name “Dobie” itself?

Sources:

  • Kearney, Mary C. “Teenagers and Television in the United States.” Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television, ed. by Horace Newcomb, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 2276-2281.
  • Sterritt, David. Mad to be Saved: The Beats, the ’50s, and Film. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998.
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV Series 1959–1963) – IMDb

The Debut of Jeri Lou

jeri lou, racket squad, television, 1950s
Jeri Lou James in a 1952 episode of Racket Squad
The name Jerilou appeared for the first and only time in the SSA’s baby name data in 1953:

  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 9 baby girls named Jerilou [debut]
  • 1952: unlisted

(The SSA omits spaces, hyphens, and apostrophes, so “Jerilou” here includes Jeri Lou, Jeri-Lou, and other potential renderings.)

Where did Jerilou come from?

Child actor Jeri Lou James, who was on TV primarily during the first half of the 1950s.

She was born Jerilyn Louise Kuehl in California in 1945. (Her birth name may have been inspired by celebrity baby Jerilyn Jessel.)

Jeri Lou guest starred on various TV shows, but the one show she appeared on regularly was The Dennis Day Show, which aired on NBC from 1953 to 1954. No doubt this is what gave Jeri Lou’s name enough visibility to see a temporary rise in usage.

These days, Jeri Lou James is Hon. Jerilyn L. Borack, a family law judge on the Sacramento Superior Court.

Both her acting career and her law career were inspired by the acting and law careers of her older sister, Sheila James (b. Sheila Ann Kuehl in 1941), whose best-remembered TV role was that of Zelda on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963). Today Sheila Kuehl is a politician in California.

Which name do you like better, Jerilyn or Jerilou?

Sources:

The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Final Round

80s name-song tournament, final round

We’re down to the final 2 songs!

You can vote in the ultimate round of the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament from now until Saturday, but you can only pick one song this time, so choose wisely!

I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 6th.

Early ’80s Finalist: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

  • “Come on Eileen” reached #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in April, 1982.
  • In this tournament, “Come on Eileen” beat “Gloria,” “Jack and Diane,” “Rosanna” and “Valerie” in Round 1a and semi-finalists “Bette Davis Eyes,” “Billie Jean” and “Oh Sherrie” in Round 2.

Late ’80s Finalist: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

  • “Rock Me Amadeus” reached #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in March, 1986.
  • In this tournament, “Rock Me Amadeus” beat “Sara,” “Oh Sheila,” “Nikita” and “Suzanne” in Round 1b and semi-finalists “You Can Call Me Al,” “Luka” and “Veronica” in Round 2.

Which of these songs should be crowned the Ultimate '80s Name-Song?

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (60%, 12 Votes)
  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (40%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Round 1b

80s name-song tournament, round 1b

Round 1a is over, so now it’s time for Round 1b! Which of the songs below are awesome enough to advance in the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament?

This round ends on Saturday, so you have exactly 5 days to submit your answers.

The four winning songs from this week and last week will compete against each other in round 2, which starts next Monday.

Let the battles begin!

The battles are over! Check below for the winners.

Battle 5

WINNER: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

The contestants:

  • Sara” (1985) by Starship
    • Sara, Sara, storms are brewin’ in your eyes
  • Oh Sheila” (1985) by Ready for the World
    • Oh oh Sheila, let me love you till the morning comes
  • Nikita” (1986) by Elton John
    • Hey Nikita is it cold, in your little corner of the world
  • Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco
    • Come and rock me Amadeus
  • Suzanne” (1986) by Journey
    • Remember Suzanne, those summer nights with me

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (33%, 10 Votes)
  • "Sara" (1985) by Starship (20%, 6 Votes)
  • "Nikita" (1986) by Elton John (20%, 6 Votes)
  • "Oh Sheila" (1985) by Ready for the World (13%, 4 Votes)
  • "Suzanne" (1986) by Journey (13%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Battle 6

WINNER: “You Can Call Me Al” (1986) by Paul Simon

The contestants:

  • Venus” (1986) by Bananarama
    • I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, at your desire
  • Jimmy Jimmy” (1986) by Madonna
    • Where you goin’ boy, I see your legs twitchin’, Jimmy Jimmy, oh Jimmy Jimmy
  • Who’s Johnny” (1986) by El DeBarge
    • Who’s Johnny, she said, and smiled in her special way
  • For Rosanna” (1986) by Chris de Burgh
    • This is for Rosanna, sweet girl of mine, a song for the baby who changed my life
  • You Can Call Me Al” (1986) by Paul Simon
    • I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "You Can Call Me Al" (1986) by Paul Simon (38%, 12 Votes)
  • "Venus" (1986) by Bananarama (34%, 11 Votes)
  • "For Rosanna" (1986) by Chris de Burgh (13%, 4 Votes)
  • "Jimmy Jimmy" (1986) by Madonna (9%, 3 Votes)
  • "Who's Johnny" (1986) by El DeBarge (6%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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Battle 7

WINNER: “Luka” (1987) by Suzanne Vega

The contestants:

  • Amanda” (1986) by Boston
    • I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize, Amanda
  • Carrie” (1987) by Europe
    • Carrie, Carrie, things they change my friend
  • Luka” (1987) by Suzanne Vega
    • My name is Luka, I live on the second floor
  • Sheila Take a Bow” (1987) by The Smiths
    • Sheila take a, Sheila take a bow, boot the grime of this world in the crotch, dear
  • Dirty Diana” (1988) by Michael Jackson
    • Dirty Diana, let me be!

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Luka" (1987) by Suzanne Vega (41%, 12 Votes)
  • "Amanda" (1986) by Boston (21%, 6 Votes)
  • "Dirty Diana" (1988) by Michael Jackson (21%, 6 Votes)
  • "Carrie" (1987) by Europe (10%, 3 Votes)
  • "Sheila Take a Bow" (1987) by The Smiths (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Battle 8

WINNER: “Veronica” (1989) by Elvis Costello

The contestants:

  • Lucretia, My Reflection” (1988) by The Sisters of Mercy
    • Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me
  • Roni” (1988) by Bobby Brown
    • The truth about Roni, she’s a sweet little girl
  • The Ballad of Jayne” (1989) by L.A. Guns
    • What a shame, what happened to Jayne
  • Veronica” (1989) by Elvis Costello
    • These days I’m afraid she’s not even sure if her name is Veronica
  • Angelia” (1989) by Richard Marx
    • Angelia, where you running to now

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Veronica" (1989) by Elvis Costello (52%, 12 Votes)
  • "Lucretia, My Reflection" (1988) by The Sisters of Mercy (22%, 5 Votes)
  • "Angelia" (1989) by Richard Marx (17%, 4 Votes)
  • "Roni" (1988) by Bobby Brown (4%, 1 Votes)
  • "The Ballad of Jayne" (1989) by L.A. Guns (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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If you’re having fun voting in this tournament, please spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thanks!

How Do You Like Your Name, Kelsey?

Today’s name interview is with Kelsey, a 25-year-old from Tennessee.

What’s the story behind her name?

My name was going to be Lydia, but another couple at my parents’ church named their baby that shortly before I was born. They didn’t want to confuse nursery workers so they decided to come up with a different name. Some missionaries came to visit the church and had a daughter named Kelsey and my parents decided they liked the name.

What does she like most about her name?

I’m really struggling to come up with an answer for this one.

What does she like least about her name?

What I hate about it now, may make me like it in a few years, but as of now I hate how young it makes me sound. In the workplace, I think it makes it obvious that I am much younger than my coworkers Sheila, Pam, Suzanne, etc. I think this is a disadvantage when it comes to career growth.

This is such an interesting response. I rarely hear people with young-sounding names complain about name-based ageism in the workplace. Typically it’s the people with older-sounding names (Pam and Suzanne and the like).

While we’re on the topic…Kelsey’s name is young-sounding for good reason. Kelsey was rarely bestowed before 1980, but it shot into the top 100 in 1987. Usage peaked in the early 1990s:

  • 1994: 9,751 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 29th)
  • 1993: 11,376 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 24th)
  • 1992: 11,714 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 23rd)
  • 1991: 11,430 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 26th)
  • 1990: 9,494 baby girls named Kelsey (rank: 32nd)

But the popularity didn’t last. Kelsey dropped out of the top 100 in 2002 and the name has been sinking ever since.

Final question: would Kelsey recommend that her name be given to babies today?

No, I don’t think it ages well. I believe this has to with the “ee” sound ending.

Thanks, Kelsey!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]