How popular is the baby name Sierra 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 Sierra.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sierra


Posts that Mention the Name Sierra

Babies Named for Instagram Filters?

instagram, filters, baby names

I started posting on Instagram recently. Though I haven’t used the filters much, seeing them in the app reminded me of something: Babycenter.com claimed, back in late 2015, that Instagram filter names were influencing baby names. And the clickbaity claim was (of course) picked up by various media outlets: Time, People, Vanity Fair, US Weekly, TechCrunch, Mashable, etc.

But the BabyCenter.com folks (who still think Gollum is a baby name, amazingly) weren’t basing their claims on any sort of real-life baby name usage data. They were apparently just making assumptions based on their own website metrics.

In any case…it’s now 2019, and we do have access to usage data for 2015 (not to mention 2016, and 2017). So let’s use this data to determine whether or not their claim is true.

I analyzed the data for 44 names in total: 43 from filters — most current, several retired — plus the name “Lux,” which technically refers to a photo enhancement tool, not a filter. Zeroing in on usage from 2010 (the year Instagram was launched) to 2017, I noticed that…

  • 28 filter names did not see higher usage as baby names:
    • 20 had no SSA data to work with (1977, Crema, Charmes, Clarendon, Dogpatch, Early Bird, Gingham, Ginza, Hefe, Inkwell, Lo-Fi, Mayfair, Nashville, Poprocket, Skyline, Slumber, Stinson, Sutro, Toaster, X-Pro II)
    • 6 saw a decrease in usage (Aden, Brannan, Brooklyn, Kelvin, Reyes, Sierra)
    • 2 saw little/no change in usage (Ludwig, Rise)
  • 16 filter names did see higher usage as baby names:

So which, if any, of the 16 names above increased in usage because of Instagram?

Some of them, like trendy Hudson and Willow, were already on the rise by 2010. So it’s hard to know if these names were influenced at all by recent pop culture, let alone the app specifically. (Though that Juno-jump does seem significant.)

Others are associated with more than just a filter. Vesper was a Bond Girl, for instance, and Juno was a movie. So, even if Instagram was a factor, it was one of several. (BabyCenter.com’s original write-up from 2015 doesn’t even acknowledge this, e.g., “The Instagram-inspired name Lux…”)

In terms of filters actually influencing names, I think the strongest case can be made for Amaro. It wasn’t already on the rise in 2010, it did become more popular in the Instagram era, and the filter itself (as opposed to the Italian liqueur after which the filter was named) does seem to be the primary pop culture association these days.

On the other hand, Clarendon — despite being the first filter you see inside the app and, accordingly, the most-used filter overall — saw no corresponding uptick in usage on birth certificates, which is telling. (Though perhaps “Amaro” hits a stylistic sweet spot that “Clarendon” misses.)

My verdict? I’d say it’s possible that a handful of Instagram filters influenced real-life baby name usage…but I definitely wouldn’t declare that naming babies after filters was/is some sort of “hot trend,” as BabyCenter.com did.

What are your thoughts on all this? Have you ever met a baby named after an Instagram filter?

Sources: Hottest baby name trends of 2015, Photoshop Actions for Instagram’s “Lost” filters, Five New Filters – Instagram, Instagram adds new Lark, Reyes, and Juno filters, Instagram Introduces New Filter, The 10 Most Used Instagram Filters, Study: The most popular Instagram filters from around the world

Names in the News: Alie, Italo, Khongolose

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Alie: A baby girl born in New York in December of 2018 was named Alie in honor of the Long Island Expressway (called the “L-I-E”), where she was born in a minivan on the side of the road. (Queens Daily Eagle)

Bale: A baby boy born in Wales in November of 2016 was named Bale in honor of Welsh soccer player Gareth Bale. Another boy born in Wales a month later was also named Bale for the same reason. (Wales Online; Wales Online)

Griezmann Mbappe: A baby boy born in France in November of 2018 was named Griezmann Mbappe in honor of French soccer players Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe. (Deadspin)

Italo: The first baby born in Rome in 2019 was named Italo, in honor of Italy. (His parents are Sri Lankan.) (Daily Mirror)

James Daniel: A baby boy born in Essex, England, in December of 2018 was named James Daniel after police officers James Ireland and Dan Bellingham, who’d helped the parents reach the hospital in time for the birth. (ITV)

Kongolose: A baby boy born in South Africa on January 8, 2018 (the 107th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress political party) was named Siko Luka Khongolose — the second middle name being a “colloquial Zulu term for the African National Congress.” (TimesLIVE)

Liberty: A baby girl born in Texas in October of 2018 was named Liberty in honor of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. (The Gazette)

Mickey: A baby girl born in California in December of 2018 was named Zoele Mickey — middle name in honor of paramedic Mickey Huber, who’d helped her mother escape a wildfire and reach a medical center to give birth. (KRCR)

Mikkael: A baby boy born in Ohio in November of 2018 was named Henry Mikkael — middle name in honor of Dr. Mikkael Sekeres, who’d helped his mother overcome leukemia in 2012. (Fox)

Sierra: A baby girl born in Tennessee in November of 2018 was named Isabella Sierra-Marie — middle name in honor of Sierra Reprogal, the police officer who’d helped deliver her in a car on the side of the road. (Yahoo! News)

Skrot (rejected): A baby boy born in Sweden in September of 2018 was almost named Bjørn Skrot, but the Swedish government rejected the middle name (which means “scrap”) because it might “cause discomfort for the bearer.” (The Local)

Snow: The first baby born in Baltimore in 2019 was named Snow Violet Taylor. (WBAL)

Name Quotes #66: Brenton, Jacob, Gene Autry

It’s the last batch of name quotes for 2018!

Let’s start with a line from the Blake Shelton country song “I’ll Name The Dogs”:

You name the babies and I’ll name the dogs

From an article about dog names in New Orleans:

New Orleans dogs are often the namesakes of the cuisine (Gumbo, Roux, Beignet, Po-Boy, Boudin); the Saints (Brees, Payton, Deuce); music (Toussaint, Jazz, Satchmo); streets (Clio, Tchoupitoulas, Calliope); neighborhoods (Pearl, Touro, Gert) and Mardi Gras krewes (Zulu, Rex, Bacchus).

From an article about the names of Scottish salt trucks (“gritters”):

At any given moment, the trucks are working away to keep Scotland’s roads safe, with their progress available for all to see on an online map [the Trunk Road Gritter Tracker], which updates in real time. But a closer look at this map, with its jaunty yellow vehicles, reveals something still more charming: An awful lot of these salt trucks have very, very good names. Gritty Gritty Bang Bang is putting in the hard yards near Aberuthven. Dynamic duo Ice Buster and Ice Destroyer are making themselves useful near Glasgow and Loch Lomond. Three trucks apparently hold knighthoods–Sir Salter Scott, Sir Andy Flurry, Sir Grits-a-Lot. At least two (Ice Queen and Mrs. McGritter) are female. Every one is excellent.

(Some of the other gritter names are: For Your Ice Only, Grits-n-Pieces, Grittalica, Grittie McVittie, Luke Snowalker, Plougher O’ Scotland, Ready Spready Go, Salty Tom, and Sprinkles.)

From an article about the name Brenton being trendy in Adelaide in the 1980s (found via Clare of Name News):

No doubt the popularity of the name Brenton interstate and in the US is down to the paddleboat TV drama All the Rivers Run, which starred John Waters as captain Brenton Edwards and Sigrid Thornton as Philadelphia Gordon.

The miniseries first ran on Australian television in October 1983 and was later broadcast on the American channel HBO in January 1984.

From an article about baby-naming in New South Wales:

Once upon a time the list of top 100 names in a year used to capture nearly 90 per cent of the boys born, and three-quarters of girls. Now it’s less than half of either gender.

The reason is an explosion in variety, with multiculturalism and parents’ desire for individuality seeing the pool of baby names grow from 4252 in 1957 to 16,676 today. That’s 300% more names for only 30% more babies being born.

Professor Jo Lindsay from Monash University has researched naming practices in Australia and said parents today had more freedom and fewer family expectations than previous generations.

From an article about the 16-child Sullivan family of North Carolina:

They were, in order, Cretta in 1910, Leland in 1912, Rosa in 1913, Woodrow in 1916, Wilmar in 1918, Joseph in 1919, Dorothy in 1921 and Virginia in 1923.

The second wave included Irving in 1924, Blanche in 1925, C.D. in 1927, Geraldine in 1928, Marverine in 1930, Billy in 1932, Tom in 1934 and Gene in 1938.

[…]

Gene Autry Sullivan, the youngest of the children and the one who organizes the reunion each year, said he was told he was named after legendary cowboy movie star Gene Autry “because his parents had run out of names by then.”

(The post about Sierra includes a photo of Gene Autry.)

From an article about the challenges of growing up with an unfamiliar name:

Recently I was asked to give a talk to students at a mostly white school. I’d been in back-and-forth email contact with one of the teachers for ages. My full name, Bilal Harry Khan, comes up in email communication. I’d signed off all our emails as Bilal and introduced myself to him that way too. He had been addressing me as Bilal in these emails the entire time. But as he got up to introduce me to a whole assembly hall of teachers and students, he suddenly said, “Everyone, this is Harry.”

From an article about a college football team full of Jacobs (Jacob was the #1 name in the US from 1999 to 2012):

Preparing for the fall season, the offensive coordinator for University of Washington’s football team realized his team had a small problem. It went by the name Jacob.

The Pac-12 Huskies had four quarterbacks named Jacob or Jake (plus a linebacker named Jake and a tight end named Jacob).

From an article about Sweden’s even-stricter baby-naming laws:

The number of baby names rejected by Swedish authorities has risen since last summer, when the regulations were tightened.

The new law made it easier to go through a legal name change in some ways, including by lifting a ban on double-barrelled surnames, but regulations around permitted first names were tightened.

Some of the restrictions include names that are misleading (such as titles), have “extreme spelling”, or resemble a surname.

To see more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

The Start of Sierra

The baby name Sierra debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1940.

Back in 1940, the baby name Sierra debuted in the U.S. baby name data rather impressively. It was the top newbie name of the year, in fact.

  • 1942: 13 baby girls named Sierra
  • 1941: 24 baby girls named Sierra
  • 1940: 32 baby girls named Sierra [debut]
  • 1939: unlisted
  • 1938: unlisted

What was behind the debut?

“Sierra Sue,” a song that was a #1 hit in 1940 for Bing Crosby. A version by The Glenn Miller Orchestra also charted the same year.

The song was actually an updated version of an older song written by Joseph B. Carey (a “blind San Francisco organist”) in 1916. Carey died in 1930, and in 1939 the Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. sheet music company secured the rights to the song from Carey’s widow. The song “was probably revived because of the popularity of other western-style songs in the late ’30s.”

And, yes, a large number of the babies named Sierra in 1940 also had the middle name “Sue.” :) Here’s a Sierra Sue who was born in Kansas in 1940.

The Spanish word sierra, which refers to a mountain range, can be traced back to the Latin word serra, meaning “saw.”

In November of the next year, a movie called Sierra Sue starring Gene Autry was released. Here’s the scene in which Gene sings the title song:

Decades later, in 1985, usage of the name began to rise rapidly thanks to soap opera character Sierra Estaban from As the World Turns. Sierra was a top-100 name from 1993 to 2004, peaking in 1999 at 49th (just below Jordan, just above Sara).

Do you like the name Sierra?

Sources:

Baby Named After Dodge Pickup Truck

In late January, Nika Guilbault of British Columbia, Canada, gave birth to twins — a girl and a boy — in a Dodge pickup truck while she and her husband Chris were driving to the hospital.

The baby girl was born mid-drive, and the baby boy was born in the hospital’s parking lot.

The girl was named Nevada Sierra. The boy got the first name Henry or Hunter (sources disagree) and the middle name Dodge, a tribute to his unusual birthplace.

(He’s the second baby boy I know of to get the middle name Dodge after being born in a Dodge pickup truck.)

Did you know that dozens of U.S. baby boys are named Dodge every year? I wonder how many of them have parents who own Dodge vehicles.

Source: Pickup delivers twins named Dodge and Sierra, to hospital in B.C. (discovered via Appellation Mountain)