How popular is the baby name Tiril in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Tiril and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Tiril.
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That image is a piece of a larger infographic showing the most popular baby names in each Norwegian county. In two counties, Oppland and Aust-Agder, the top girl name last year was the intriguing Tiril. Tiril seems to have no specific meaning; it may have been derived from the (nonsense?) word tirilil from the 19th century poem “Lokkende Toner” by Johan Sebastian Welhaven.
(A similar name we talked about recently was Tirrell.)
I forgot to post Norway’s 2015 rankings, but in 2014 the top names were Nora/Norah and Lucas/Lukas.
The name Tirrell has been used regularly for baby boys since the ’70s — no doubt thanks to the popularity of the similar name Terrell — but it first appeared in the baby name data as a girl name in the 1950s:
1956: 13 baby girls named Tirrell [debut]
While it only ever charted once for girls, the spike in usage that year was high enough to make Tirrell the top one-hit wonder girl name of 1956.
So where did the name come from?
Looks like the inspiration was child actress Tirrell Barbery. She’s best remembered for playing the role of Carol on the TV soap opera Love of Life for four years in the mid-1950s. Various adults on the show vied for custody of Carol, who was actually went mute for a time after witnessing a murder. (She began speaking again after the murderer confessed.)
I can’t pinpoint the reason why usage of the name Tirrell suddenly spiked in 1956, though. Perhaps the character had more airtime in 1955 or 1956?
Regardless, I can tell you that Tirrell, who went by the nickname Terry, was born in the mid-1940s to Aldo and Elizabeth Barbieri. She and her older brother Christopher, also a child actor, grew up in New Jersey. Both kids appeared on TV throughout the 1950s, and both used the Anglicized surname Barbery.
While I couldn’t find a good photo of young Tirrell, I did find a shot of her brother Chris trying out for the role of Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island in 1952. (He didn’t get the part.)
[Update: Managed to find a photo! Came from the October 1956 issue of Radio-TV Mirror.]
Tirrell’s first name appears to be based on the English/Irish surname Tirrell, a variant of Tyrrell, which may have been derived from a Norman nickname for a stubborn person. Another theory is that it was derived from the personal name Thurold (Thor + “rule” in Old Norse).
Tirrell Barbieri went on to graduate from Vassar College, get married, and move to California. While she never returned to acting, evidence of her brief acting career will always be preserved on the baby name charts…
Hanks, Patrick, Kate Hardcastle and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of First Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
“Shore Area Engagements Told.” Asbury Park Press 19 Jul. 1967: 26.