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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Theda

Number of Babies Named Theda

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Theda

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: T (part 1)

theda bara, 1915, actress, cinemaHere’s the next installment of rare female names collected from very old films (1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s).

There were a lot of T-names, so I split the list into two posts. The second half will be up in a few weeks.

Taffy
Taffy was a character name in multiple films, including Penthouse Rhythm (1945) and Springtime in the Sierras (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Taffy.

Tahama
Tahama was a character played by actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan in the film King of the Zombies (1941).

Tahia
Tahia was a character name in multiple films, including White Savage (1943) and Call of the South Seas (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Tahia.

Tahona
Tahona was a character played by actress Margaret Loomis in the film The Hidden Pearls (1918).

Taisie
Taisie Lockhart was a character played by actress Fay Wray in the film The Conquering Horde (1931).

Takla
Takla was a character played by actress Gilda Gray in the film The Devil Dancer (1927).

Talapa
Talapa was a character played by actress Margaret Loomis in the film Told in the Hills (1919).

Talithy
Talithy Millicuddy was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film The Blazing Trail (1921).

Talma
Madame Talma was a character played by actress Edna May Oliver in the film The Great Jasper (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Talma.

Talu
Talu was a character played by actress Lenore Ulric in the film Frozen Justice (1929).

Taluta
Taluta was a character played by actress Ann Little in the short film The Outcast (1912).

Tama
Tama was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tama.

Tamandra
Tamandra was a character played by actress Ormi Hawley in the short film Tamandra, the Gypsy (1913).

Tamarah
Tamarah was a character played by actress Fern Andra in the film Lotus Lady (1930).

Tamarind
Tamarind Brook was a character played by actress Gloria Swanson in the film What a Widow! (1930).

Tambourina
Tambourina was a character played by actress Carrie Clark Ward in the film The Paliser Case (1920).

Tamea
Tamea was a character name in multiple films, including Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925) and Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Tamea.

Tana
Tana was a character name in multiple films, including The Devil Dancer (1927) and The Forest Rangers (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tana.

Tanaka
Tanaka was a character played by actress Laska Winter in the film Fashion Madness (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tanaka.

Tanis
Tanis was a character name in multiple films, including Babbitt (1924) and Babbitt (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Tanis.

Tanit
Tanit Zerga was a character played by actress Milada Mladova in the film Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Tannie
Tannie Edison was a character played by actress Virginia Weidler in the film Young Tom Edison (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Tannie.

Tansy
Tansy Firle was a character played by actress Alma Taylor in the film Tansy (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Tansy.

Tanyusha
Tanyusha was a character played by actress Nancy Carroll in the film Scarlet Dawn (1932).

Tarusa
Tarusa was a character played by actress Esther Dale in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1941).

Tarzana
Tarzana was a character played by actress Raquel Torres in the film So This Is Africa (1933).

Tasia
Tasia was a character played by actress Dolores del Rio in the film The Red Dance (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tasia.

Tatiane
Tatiane Shebanoff was a character played by actress Jacqueline Gadsden in the film His Hour (1924).

Tatuka
Tatuka was a character played by actress Velma Whitman in the short film As the Twig Is Bent (1915).

Taula
Taula was a character played by actress Ernestine Gaines in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1926).

Taupou
Taupou was a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film The Brute Master (1920).

Taxi Belle
Taxi Belle Hooper was a character played by actress Rita La Roy in the film Blonde Venus (1932).

Tautinei
Tautinei was a character played by actress Grace Lord in the film The Lure of the South Seas (1929).

Teala
Teala Loring was an actress who appeared in films primarily in the 1940s. She was born in Colorado in 1922. Her birth name was Marcia Eloise Griffin.

  • Usage of the baby name Teala.

Teazie
Bessie “Teazie” Williams was a character played by actress Mae Marsh in the film The White Rose (1923).

Tecolote
Tecolote was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Captive God (1916).

Tecza
Tecza was a character played by actress Geraldine Farrar in the film The Woman God Forgot (1917).

Teddy
Teddy Sampson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1895. Teddy was also a character name in multiple films, including Vultures of Society (1916) and Having Wonderful Time (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Teddy.

Tee-hee-nay
Tee-Hee-Nay was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film The Legend of the Lost Arrow (1912).

Teena
Teena Johnson was a character played by actress Sally O’Neil in the film Hardboiled (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Teena.

Teenie
Teenie McPherson was a character played by actress Renee Houston in the film Fine Feathers (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Teenie.

Tehani
Tehani was a character played by actress Movita in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Tehani.

Tehura
Tehura was a character played by actress Jacqueline Logan in the film Ebb Tide (1922).

Teita
Teita was a character played by actress Bessie Love in the film Soul-Fire (1925).

Tela
Tela Tchaï was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s and 1940s. She was born in France in 1909.

  • Usage of the baby name Tela.

Teleia
Teleia Van Schreeven was a character played by actress Adele Mara in the film Wake of the Red Witch (1948).

Temata
Temata was a character played by actress Hilo Hattie in the film Tahiti Nights (1944).

Tempe
Tempe Pigott was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in England in 1884.

  • Usage of the baby name Tempe.

Tempest
Tempest Cody was a character played by actress Marie Walcamp in a series of Tempest Cody short films in 1919.

Temple
Temple Drake was a character played by actress Miriam Hopkins in the film The Story of Temple Drake (1933). The film was based on the novel Sanctuary (1931) by William Faulkner.

  • Usage of the baby name Temple.

Tempy
Aunt Tempy was a character played by actress Hattie McDaniel in the film Song of the South (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Tempy.

Teodora
Teodora was a character played by actress Alma Rubens in the film The World and His Wife (1920).

Teola
Teola was a character played by various actresses in the various film adaptations of Tess of the Storm Country.

  • Usage of the baby name Teola.

Teresina
Teresina was a character played by actress Nina Campana in the film Tortilla Flat (1942).

Terpsichore
Terpsichore was a character played by actress Rita Hayworth in the film Down to Earth (1947).

Tesha
Tesha was a character played by actress Maria Corda in the film A Woman in the Night (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tesha.

Tessibel
Tessibel was a character played by various actresses in the various film adaptations of Tess of the Storm Country.

Tessie
Tessie was a character name in multiple films, including Tessie (1925) and Make Me a Star (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Tessie.

Texas
Texas Guinan was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Texas in 1884. Texas was also a character played by actress Dot Farley in the film Lady Be Good (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Texas.

Thais
Thais Merton was a character played by actress Adda Gleason in the film One Traveler Returns (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Thais.

Thalie
Thalie was a character played by actress Dagmar Godowsky in the film The Trap (1922).

Thania
Princess Thania was a character played by actress Frances Drake in the film The Lone Wolf in Paris (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Thania.

Thanya
Thanya was a character played by actress Kitty Gordon in the film The Crucial Test (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Thanya.

Tharon
Tharon Last was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Crimson Challenge (1922). The film was based on the novel Tharon of Lost Valley (1919) by Vingetta “Vingie” Roe.

  • Usage of the baby name Tharon.

Theda
Theda Bara was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Her birth name was Theodosia Burr Goodman.

  • Usage of the baby name Theda.

Thel
Thel Harris was a character played by actress Lottie Briscoe in the short film Honor Thy Father (1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Thel.

Thelda
Thelda Kenvin was an actress who appeared in one film in 1926. She was born (with the first name Ethelda) in Pennsylvania in 1899. Thelda was also a character played by actress Greta Granstedt in the film There Goes My Heart (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Thelda.

Thelma
Thelma Todd was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1906. Thelma Salter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1908. Thelma was also a character name in multiple films, including A Modern Thelma (1916) and A Broadway Butterfly (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Thelma.

Themar
Themar was a character played by actress Barbara La Marr in the film Arabian Love (1922).

Theo
Theo Scofield West was a character played by actress Lana Turner in the film Marriage is a Private Affair (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Theo.

Theodosia
Sister Theodosia was a character played by actress Sarah Padden in the film The Zero Hour (1939).

Thera
Thera Dufre was a character played by actress Gretchen Lederer in the short film Under a Shadow (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Thera.

Thirza
Thirza Tapper was a character played by actress Viola Lyel in the film The Farmer’s Wife (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Thirza.

Thomsine
Thomsine Musgrove was a character played by actress Dorothy Mackaill in the film The Fighting Blade (1923).

Thora
Thora was a character name in multiple films, including The Face of the World (1921) and The Winking Idol (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Thora.

Thorhild
Thorhild was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the film The Viking (1928).

Thurya
Thurya was a character played by actress Dorothy Janis in the film Fleetwing (1928).

Thymian
Thymian was a character played by actress Louise Brooks in the film Diary of a Lost Girl (1929).

Thyra
Thyra was a character played by actress Eleanor Boardman in the film The Only Thing (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Thyra.

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

In the video I pronounced Teala as “tee-AH-lah,” but I now think Teala Loring actually pronounced her name “TEE-lah.” Of course I didn’t find this out until after the video was created. :)


Thedy, a Hitchcock-Inspired Baby Name

thedy sue hill, hitchcock

Here’s a baby name with ties to Ray Bradbury, Alfred Hitchcock, and decapitation! What fun.

The name is Thedy, and it appeared for the first and only time on the Social Security Administration’s baby name list in 1964:

  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 10 baby girls named Thedy [debut]
  • 1963: unlisted

Where did it come from?

It came from Thedy Sue Hill, a character in an early 1964 episode of the The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called “The Jar.” The episode aired on Valentine’s day, actually, which is ironic given the content…

thedy sue hill, charlie, the jarThe story is set in Louisiana, and the protagonist is Thedy Sue’s husband, Charlie, who goes to a carnival and purchases a large jar containing a weird, fleshy mass submersed in murky fluid.

Thedy Sue — a “cunning, self-involved young wife” who has been unfaithful to Charlie — insists that Charlie get rid of the jar. He refuses, as the jar has “brought him notoriety and respect in the community. People come from miles to gather in his parlor and look at the jar and the obscure contents which represent something different to each of them.”

Fed-up Thedy goes back to the carnival to learn what’s really inside the jar. Turns out, not much — a wire frame, paper, doll parts, etc.

But does this stop a humiliated Charlie from continuing to displaying the jar for his neighbors? Nope. But the next time they gather to start at the fleshy mass inside, guess what they see:

thedy sue, hitchcock,

Lovely, right?

Not only did the name Thedy become a one-hit wonder on the charts the same year the episode aired, but I’ve found four people named “Thedy Sue” specifically, including Thedy Sue Hess (b. 1964 in Kentucky) and Thedy Sue Scott (b. 1967 in Illinois).

“The Jar” was based on a short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in the November 1944 issue of fantasy/horror pulp magazine Weird Tales. In the original story, the character’s name was simply Thedy, no “Sue.”

I’m not sure how Bradbury came up with the name — perhaps it’s based on Theda [THEE-da], Theodora, or Theodosia — but I do know that the story was inspired by his childhood memory of seeing preserved embryos in jars at a carnival sideshow.

The actress who played Thedy Sue Hill also had an interesting name: Collin Wilcox. Her parents, confident they were getting a baby boy, picked out the name Collin ahead of time in honor of an uncle.

What do you think of the baby name Thedy? (Do you like it more or less than Theda?)

Sources: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Jar – TV.com, ‘The Jar’ – The Cosmicomicon, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour – Bradbury Media, An Interview with Collin Wilcox – The Classic TV History Blog

The Under-the-Radar Baby Name Francelia

Francelia Billington, 1914
Francelia Billington in Photoplay, 1914
Here’s a rare, old-fashioned name that’s been given two distinct pop culture boosts over the years — one from the movies, one from the weather.

The movie connection is especially interesting because, as far as I can tell, this is probably the first name to debut on the charts thanks to an actress.

Usage of the name Francelia (fran-SEE-lee-ah) goes back to at least the 1700s. The name was most popular in the mid-1800s, especially in the Northeastern U.S. (New York state in particular). It seems to be an elaborated form of Frances (“Frenchman”) influenced by either Celia (“sky, heaven”) or Cecilia (“blind”), or both.

Francelia debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1912, probably thanks to early silent film actress Francelia Billington, who was born in Texas in 1895 and appeared in silent films from 1912 until the mid-1920s (and in a single talkie in 1930).

Francelia Billington wasn’t the first silent film actress to become famous, but she was the first whose name debuted on the national baby name list while she was famous. Several other silent film actresses of the 1910s also had distinctive names (e.g., Alla Nazimova, Theda Bara, Kathlyn Williams) but their names had all been listed since the late 1800s.

The SSA data from the 1910s isn’t super-reliable, so I’ve put both the SSA and the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) numbers side-by-side below. For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Francelia as a first name, not as a middle.

Year SSA SSDI
1908 x 8 Francelias
1909 x 5 Francelias
1910 x 4 Francelias
1911 x 2 Francelias
1912 5 Francelias [debut] 10 Francelias
1913 10 Francelias 10 Francelias
1914 x 5 Francelias
1915 6 Francelias 5 Francelias
1916 14 Francelias 15 Francelias
1917 15 Francelias 12 Francelias
1918 5 Francelias 6 Francelias
1919 5 Francelias 4 Francelias

One of the Francelias above was children’s literature scholar/writer Francelia Butler (née McWilliams) who was born in Ohio in 1913.

The name Francelia has remained rare in the U.S. ever since, though it did see a spike in usage in 1969 thanks to the news of Hurricane Francelia, which hit Central America in early September.

  • 1971: 5 baby girls named Francelia
  • 1970: 10 baby girls named Francelia
  • 1969: 23 baby girls named Francelia (and 8 more named Francellia)
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 7 baby girls named Francelia

Francelia’s last appearance on the SSA’s list was in 1998, with just 7 baby girls. (To be included on the list, a name needs to be given to at least 5 babies.)

Do you like the name Francelia? Would you consider using it for a baby girl?

Road Trip Roundup: Mattie, Ellery & Theda

There weren’t many names to be seen/heard among the geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone

But I did spot something interesting while flipping though a book at the gift shop near Old Faithful.

The book mentioned the grave of Mattie Culver (1856-1889). It’s one of the few graves located inside the park.

Mattie Culver grave

Mattie, born Martha Jane Shipley, was the tubercular wife of Ellery Channing Culver, the winter caretaker of the Firehole Hotel for the 1888-1889 season. Ellery had hoped the mountain air might improve Mattie’s condition but, unfortunately, it did not. Mattie passed away on March 2, 1889.

What really interested me was the name of their baby girl, Theda (b. 1887). When I saw it, I wondered: was she one of the many Thedas named for silent film star Theda Bara?

Nope, not even close.

Theodosia Goodman, later Theda Bara, was virtually the same age as Theda Culver.

Bara was born in 1885, and didn’t start appearing in films until 1914. The height of her popularity — and, hence, the popularity of her name — came in the late 1910s:

  • 1913: 17 baby girls named Theda
  • 1914: 33 baby girls named Theda
  • 1915: 124 baby girls named Theda
  • 1916: 315 baby girls named Theda
  • 1917: 334 baby girls named Theda
  • 1918: 354 baby girls named Theda
  • 1919: 356 baby girls named Theda
  • 1920: 290 baby girls named Theda
  • 1921: 293 baby girls named Theda
  • 1922: 202 baby girls named Theda

Nowadays, very few babies are named Theda.

Do you think the name will ever make a comeback?

[What’s this road trip all about?]

Names Spotted on Road Trip thru Wild West

I recently got back from a 2-week road trip through South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming:

Nancy's 2012 Roadtrip

(We set off on this one just two days after getting back from Toronto. Why? Insanity, I suppose.)

I spotted a bunch of interesting names on this trip, but instead of one massive post, I thought I’d break it all up into a series of smaller posts.

Here are some of the names I’ll be talking about:

SOUTH DAKOTA

NORTH DAKOTA

MONTANA

WYOMING

I’ll come back and add links as the posts are published. Hope you enjoy!