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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tara

Number of Babies Named Tara

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Tara

Unusual Irish Name: Breifne

Here’s an Irish name you might not know about: Breifne.

Just like Tara, Breifne is an old Irish place name. The medieval kingdom of Bréifne was where the ancestors of today’s O’Reilly and O’Rourke families lived. The kingdom later split into West Bréifne and East Bréifne, which eventually became County Leitrim and County Cavan (roughly).

The etymology of Breifne is uncertain, but that hasn’t stopped people with Irish roots from using it as a personal name, either in its original form or spelled various other ways. So far I’ve seen records for people named Breffne, Breffney, Breffni, Breffnie, Breffny, Brefney, Brefni, and Brefnie.

Some famous examples:

  • Brefni O’Rorke (1889–1946), Irish actor.
  • Breifne O’Brien, called “Ireland’s Bernie Madoff”
  • Breifne O’Reilly, Irish ambassador to Switzerland

And some not-so-famous examples:

Most of the historical usage I’ve seen is masculine, but I think modern Americans would be more likely to view it as feminine. Like an Irish answer to Daphne. :)

Do you like this name? Would you ever be tempted to use it?

Baby Names Inspired by the Solar Eclipse

baby names, solar eclipse

On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have — or conceive! — a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that isn’t as audacious as Eclipse itself). So what are your options?

Names with “celestial” associations

A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…

“Sun” names Helios, Elio, Sunny, Sol, Solange, Soleil, Solaris, Ravi, Samson, Surya, Sunniva, Haruko, Hinata
“Star” names Star, Stella, Estelle, Starla, Astra, Seren, Tara, Citlali, Hoshi
“Moon” names Luna, Moon, Selene, Selena, Chandra, Mahina, Qamar, Dawa
“Earth” names Eartha, Gaia, Tierra, Tlaloc, Avani
“Sky” names Sky, Skyla, Skylar, Lani, Miku, Akash, Alya, Celeste, Celestine, Ciel, Sora

Names with “dark” associations

The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…

“Shadow” names Shade, Umbra, Shadow, Zillah
“Dark” or “Black” names Melanie, Duff, Dubhan, Ciar, Ciara, Ciaran, Sullivan*, Krishna, Charna, Jett, Raven
“Night” names Nisha, Layla, Nyx, Lilith, Miyako, Rajnish

*Sullivan essentially means “descendant of the little dark eye” in Irish — weirdly appropriate for a solar eclipse baby name, don’t you think?

Name combos with both “celestial” and “dark” associations

You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…

  • Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
  • Jett Samson: “black” and “sun”
  • Ciaran Sol: “black” and “sun”
  • Melanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
  • Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)

Names (or name combos) featuring the letters “S” and “E”

This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…

Seeta
Sela
Selene (“moon” in Greek)
Selma
Seraphina
Seren (“star” in Welsh)
Serenity
Sean
Sebastian
Sefton
Sergio
Seth
Severino
Seymour

Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…

Sally Esther
Scarlett Eve
Sophia Eloise
Susanna Elizabeth
Samuel Elijah
Shane Everett
Stanley Edward
Sylvester Ellis

Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?

Sources: When & Where to See the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, Two Minutes Of Darkness With 20,000 Strangers

Update, 5/15/2018: The baby name Eclipse debuted in the 2017 SSA data!

The Baby Names Shevawn and Siobhan

siobhan mckenna, 1956, life, magazine
Siobhán McKenna on the cover of LIFE
Tara, Maeve, and many of the other Irish names used in the U.S. today weren’t popularized by Irish immigrants. Instead, they gained traction after being introduced to the public via movies, television, and other types of pop culture.

Siobhan is no different. But it’s also a special case, because Americans heard about the name before they saw it written down. The result? The Irish spelling made a splash on the U.S. baby name charts…but only after a phonetic respelling made a similar splash. In fact, the misspelled version and the correctly spelled version were consecutive top girl name debuts in the mid-1950s.

So who’s the person behind the launch of Siobhan? Irish actress Siobhán McKenna (1923-1986).

In 1955, McKenna was nominated for a Tony for her role as Miss Madrigal in the play The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold (who had written National Velvet two decades earlier). The same year, the name Shevawn debuted in the U.S. data:

  • 1960: 5 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 9 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1956: 24 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1955: 36 baby girls named Shevawn [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

The spellings Shevon, Shevonne, Chavonne, and Chevonne also debuted in ’55.

The next year, Siobhán McKenna impressed audiences with her portrayal of Joan of Arc in the George Bernard Shaw play Saint Joan. Her popularity in this role earned her the cover of LIFE magazine in September. Next to her image was her name, Siobhan, spelled correctly (but missing the fada). Right on cue, the name Siobhan debuted in the data:

  • 1960: 90 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1959: 85 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1958: 54 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1957: 67 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1956: 58 baby girls named Siobhan [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

Once U.S. parents learned how to spell “Siobhan,” the alternative spellings became less common, though they remained in use.

Siobhan was boosted into the top 1,000 in 1979 and remained popular during the 1980s thanks to the soap opera Ryan’s Hope, which introduced a character named Siobhan in 1978.

It’s rather fitting that Siobhán McKenna was best known for playing Saint Joan, as both “Siobhán” and “Joan” were derived from the name Jeanne, which is French feminine form of John (meaning “Yahweh is gracious”).

How do you feel about the name Siobhan? If you were going to use it, how would you spell it?

Sources: Siobhán McKenna – Wikipedia, SSA
Image: © 1956 Life

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2013

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2013

Ireland’s top baby names of 2013 were announced a few days ago.

According to data from the Central Statistics Office, the most popular baby names are Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily
2. Emma
3. Sophie
4. Ella
5. Amelia
6. Aoife
7. Ava
8. Lucy
9. Grace
10. Sarah
11. Mia
12. Anna
13. Chloe
14. Hannah
15. Kate
16. Ruby
17. Lily
18. Katie
19. Caoimhe
20. Sophia
21. Lauren
22. Saoirse
23. Ellie
24. Holly
25. Leah
26. Amy
27. Olivia
28. Jessica
29. Ciara
30. Zoe
31. Isabelle
32. Niamh
33. Molly
34. Julia
35. Robyn
36. Erin
37. Roisin
38. Freya
39. Laura
40. Cara
41. Sofia
42. Eva
43. Rachel
44. Isabella
45. Kayla
46. Abbie
47. Charlotte [tie]
47. Millie [tie]
49. Faye
50. Clodagh
51. Aisling
52. Alice [tie]
52. Eabha [tie]
54. Abigail
55. Ellen
56. Lexi
57. Aoibhinn
58. Layla
59. Eve [tie]
59. Zara [tie]
61. Alannah
62. Aine
63. Maria [tie]
63. Megan [tie]
65. Rebecca
66. Nicole
67. Sadhbh
68. Clara
69. Elizabeth
70. Maya
71. Maja
72. Emilia
73. Caitlin
74. Rose
75. Isabel
76. Aoibheann
77. Sadie
78. Lena
79. Hollie
80. Sienna
81. Mary
82. Fiadh
83. Zuzanna
84. Aimee [tie]
84. Tara [tie]
86. Hanna [tie]
86. Katelyn [tie]
86. Lilly [tie]
86. Ruth [tie]
90. Alexandra [tie]
90. Poppy [tie]
92. Amber [tie]
92. Mollie [tie]
92. Victoria [tie]
95. Lara
96. Sara
97. Brooke
98. Aoibhe [tie]
98. Laoise [tie]
100. Kayleigh
1. Jack
2. James
3. Daniel
4. Conor
5. Sean
6. Adam
7. Ryan
8. Michael
9. Harry
10. Noah
11. Thomas
12. Alex
13. Luke
14. Oisin
15. Charlie
16. Patrick
17. Cian
18. Liam [tie]
18. Darragh [tie]
20. Dylan
21. Jamie
22. Matthew
23. Cillian
24. Aaron
25. Fionn
26. Jake
27. John
28. David
29. Ben
30. Finn
31. Nathan
32. Kyle
33. Samuel
34. Evan
35. Max
36. Ethan
37. Rian
38. Joseph
39. Alexander
40. Mason
41. Oliver
42. Joshua
43. William
44. Eoin
45. Jayden
46. Oscar
47. Callum
48. Aidan
49. Tom
50. Robert
51. Sam [tie]
51. Tadhg [tie]
53. Jacob
54. Cathal
55. Shane
56. Leon
57. Mark
58. Senan
59. Bobby
60. Ronan [tie]
60. Andrew [tie]
62. Eoghan
63. Leo
64. Lucas
65. Rory
66. Alfie
67. Tyler
68. Benjamin [tie]
68. Cormac [tie]
70. Scott
71. Christopher
72. Odhran
73. Kevin
74. Ciaran
75. Dara
76. Shay [tie]
76. Alan [tie]
78. Tommy
79. Logan [tie]
79. Anthony [tie]
81. Jakub
82. Rhys
83. Tomas
84. Donnacha
85. Kai
86. Stephen
87. Killian
88. Niall
89. Jason
90. Josh
91. Kayden
92. Martin [tie]
92. Ruairi [tie]
92. Brian [tie]
95. Isaac
96. Danny [tie]
96. Edward [tie]
98. Oran [tie]
98. Sebastian [tie]
98. Hugh [tie]

New to the top 100 are Sadie, Sienna, Fiadh and Poppy for girls and Kai and Kayden for boys.

(Names that were new on the 2012 list but that have since dropped out of the top 100 are Amelie, Evie and Maisie.)

Of all the girl names in the current top 100, these five saw the biggest increases from 2012 to 2013 in terms of rank change:

  1. Fiadh, +64 (146th to 82nd)
  2. Sadie, +62 (139th to 77th)
  3. Poppy, +46 (136th to 90th)
  4. Lexi, +33 (89th to 56th)
  5. Sienna, +32 (112th to 80th)

And these five saw the biggest increases in terms of number of babies:

  1. Anna, +56 (296 babies to 352 babies)
  2. Lexi, +54 (127 babies to 73 babies)
  3. Sofia, +50 (155 babies to 105 babies)
  4. Sadie, +42 (84 babies to 42 babies)
  5. Fiadh, +39 (78 babies to 39 babies)

Of all the boy names in the current top 100, these five saw the biggest increases from 2012 to 2013 in terms of rank change:

  1. Kayden, +44 (135th to 91st)
  2. Shay, +27 (103rd to 76th)
  3. Kai, +24 (109th to 85th)
  4. Leo, +21 (84th to 63rd)
  5. Anthony, +20 (99th to 79th)

And these five saw the biggest increases in terms of number of babies:

  1. Oliver, +44 (199 babies to 155 babies)
  2. Mason, +42 (201 babies to 159 babies)
  3. Alexander, +41 (202 babies to 161 babies)
  4. Leo, +35 (131 babies to 96 babies)
  5. Shay, +35 (104 babies to 69 babies)

Source: Irish Babies’ Names 2013
Image: Adapted from Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ireland by Giuseppe Milo under CC BY 2.0.

Unique Name: Tara Gabriel Galaxy Gramophone Getty

Most of us have heard of J. Paul Getty, who was one of the wealthiest people in America during his lifetime. But most of us have probably not heard that one of his grandchildren was named “Gramophone.”

This particular grandchild was the son of Eugene Paul Getty, who later went by John Paul Getty II, and his second wife, Dutch model Talitha Pol.

The couple were the toast of Europe’s glamour-hippie set, jetting to exotic spots with the likes of Mick Jagger. “J. P. II’s whole young-adult life,” says Evey, “was Marrakech and the Rolling Stones.”

Here’s how French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent described the scene:

Like F. Scott Fitzgerald, I love a dying frenzy. […] In my own life, I’ve seen the last afterglow of the sumptuous Paris of before the war. The balls of the fifties and the splendor of the vigorous haute couture. And then I knew the youthfulness of the sixties: Talitha and Paul Getty lying on a starlit terrace in Marrakesh, beautiful and damned, and a whole generation assembled as if for eternity where the curtain of the past seemed to life before an extraordinary future.

In 1968, Paul and Talitha couple welcomed their only child, a son.

They named him Tara Gabriel Gramophone Galaxy Getty.

Talitha and Tara
Talitha and Tara

In 1971, Talitha died of a heroin overdose. Her death occurred “in the 12-month period that also saw the deaths of Edie Sedgwick, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin.”

(Tragedy struck John Paul II’s family again in 1973 when his eldest son, John Paul III, was kidnapped by the Calabrian mafia.)

Tara Gabriel Galaxy Gramophone Getty has long since dropped both “Gramophone” and “Galaxy” from his full name.

Today, he and his wife Jessica live in South Africa on the Phinda Game Reserve. They have three kids named Orlando, Caspar, and Talitha.

Sources:

***

In case you’re curious, here are the (first) names of all the kids and grand-kids of J. Paul Getty:

  • With first wife Jeannette Dumont (m. 1923) he had one son, George. George went on to have three daughters: Ann, Claire and Caroline.
  • With third wife Adolphine Helme (m. 1928) he had one son, Jean. Jean went on to have four kids: Christopher, Stephanie, Cecile and Christina.
  • With fourth wife Ann Rork (m. 1932) he had two sons, Eugene (JPII) and Gordon. Eugene/JP went on to have five kids: Jean, Aileen, Mark, Ariadne and Tara. Gordon went on to have seven kids: Gordon, Andrew, John, William, Nicolette, Kendalle and Alexandra.
  • With fifth wife Louise “Teddy” Lynch (m. 1930) he had one son, Timothy.