How popular is the baby name Shelva 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 Shelva.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Shelva


Posts that Mention the Name Shelva

Dasani: Baby Name from Bottled Water

dasani, water, baby name, 1990sBottled water became increasingly trendy in the U.S. during the final decades of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the mid-to-late ’90s, though, that major players in the beverage industry finally hopped on the bandwagon: Pepsi launched Aquafina in 1994, and Coca-Cola followed with Dasani in 1999.

While I’ve never* seen “Aquafina” used as a human name, Dasani popped up in the U.S. baby name data right on cue in 1999. In fact, in was a rare dual-gender** debut that year:

  • 2004: 63 baby girls + 19 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2003: 67 baby girls + 18 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2002: 105 baby girls + 28 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2001: 94 baby girls + 60 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2000: 58 baby girls + 37 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1999: 9 baby girls + 9 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: unlisted

The name, which saw peak usage in the early 2000s, also gave rise to a bunch of variants (Dasany, Dasanii, Desani) and soundalikes (Asani, Masani, Jasani, Tasani, Kasani, Sani).

What does the word Dasani mean? Here’s the official answer, straight from the 1999 version of the Dasani website (archived via the Wayback Machine):

People are having a lot of fun guessing the origin of the name DASANI. One Coca-Cola executive jokingly said it sounded like a “Roman god of water.” Actually, the name DASANI is an original creation. Consumer testing showed that the name is relaxing and suggests pureness and replenishment.

Similarly, an article from early 1999 explained that “the name Dasani isn’t derived from any existing word, English or foreign, but is meant to evoke the idea of freshness and purity.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Dasani?

*I’ve seen Aquafina used as a stage name, though: Awkwafina (born Nora Lum).

**Other dual-gender debuts include Chaffee, Dondi, Rikishi, Shelva, and Sundown.

Sources:

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. Inspired by Lisha Steele, a character on the soap opera Young Doctor Malone. (Thank you m4yb3_daijirou!)
  • 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*

The Baby Names Shelva and Shelby

baby names, 1930s, movie, shelby, shelva

The interesting name Shelva debuted in the U.S. baby data for both girls and boys in 1936. In fact it was the highest-hitting debut name for both genders that year, which is very impressive. It also became the new highest-ever girl-name debut (breaking Laquita’s record from 1930) and remained so throughout the ’40s and ’50s.

Here are the numbers:

  • 1939: 100 baby girls named Shelva [rank: 680th]
  • 1938: 163 baby girls named Shelva [rank: 533rd]
  • 1937: 194 baby girls named Shelva [rank: 471st]
  • 1936: 89 baby girls named Shelva [rank: 710th]
    • 9 baby boys named Shelva as well
  • 1935: unlisted
  • 1934: unlisted

So where did the name Shelva come from?

It took me forever to figure this one out, but the answer is that it’s a variant of the name Shelby.

Turns out that a whole bunch Shelby-like names — Shelbie, Shelba, Shelbia, Shelvie, Shelvy, Shelvey, Shelva, Shelvia, Shelda — debuted in the data (as girl names) in 1935/1936, right around the time that that Shelby — previously more of a boy name — became popular for girls:

Year Girls named Shelby Boys named Shelby
1939 1,165 [rank: 170th] 206 boys [rank: 396th]
1938 1,713 [rank: 142nd] 214 [rank: 386th]
1937 1,997 [rank: 119th] 203 [rank: 389th]
1936 1,071 [rank: 178th] 151 [rank: 458th]
1935 67 [rank: 848th] 121 [rank: 527th]
1934 17 133 [rank: 500th]

Why the spike and the sex-change for Shelby circa 1936?

The 1935 movie The Woman in Red starring Barbara Stanwyck. Stanwyck played professional equestrienne Shelby Barret, who was being wooed by two men before she decided to marry Johnny Wyatt, a polo player from a once-wealthy (but still snobby) family.

Mrs. Wyatt eventually finds herself in a position where she either may remain quiet and permit a friend to be convicted of murder or, by admitting she was the mysterious woman in red who was on his yacht (however innocently) on the fatal night, clear him but risk the wreckage of her marriage.

The movie was based on the 1932 book North Shore by Wallace Irwin. His story was also serialized in the newspapers under the title Dangerous Waters in 1933-1934.

Which name would you be more likely to use for a baby girl today: Shelby or Shelva?

Source: “At the Roxy.” New York Times 23 Mar. 1935.

[Latest update to this post: Feb. 2019]

The Top Baby Name Debuts, 1881 to Today

baby names, debut names, name list

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 this is more than a list of names — 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:

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.