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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Treasure

Number of Babies Named Treasure

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Treasure

The Rise of Risë (ree-sah)

rise stevens, carmen, opera, the met
Risë Stevens as Carmen

This one took me years to figure out.

The curious name Rise debuted in the Social Security Administration data in 1942:

  • 1944: 13 baby girls named Rise
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Rise
  • 1942: 15 baby girls named Rise [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted

“Rise”? Huh.

Rise was the 4th-most-popular debut name that year, and not far behind (in 7th place) was the somewhat similar Risa:

  • 1944: 12 baby girls named Risa
  • 1943: 5 baby girls named Risa
  • 1942: 12 baby girls named Risa [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted

Later in the ’40s, names like Reesa and Rissa popped up. And in the ’50s, names like Riesa and Reisa appeared. So there was definitely a minor Ris– trend going on in the mid-20th century, with “Rise” being the unlikely top variant.

But because “Rise” is also a vocabulary word, I had no luck pinning down the source. (It’s ridiculously hard to research word-names on the internet. I’m still stumped on Memory and Treasure.) Eventually I gave up.

Years later, as I was grabbing an image for the Finesse post, the answer landed right in front of me in the form of a cigarette ad:

Risë Stevens, Camels cigarettes, advertisement, 1953
Risë Stevens in a Camels ad © LIFE 1953

The full-page advertisement for Camels from a 1953 issue of LIFE magazine featured a “lovely star of the Metropolitan Opera” named Risë Stevens. I knew right away that this glamorous-looking lady — and her umlaut! — was the solution to the “Rise” puzzle.

Mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens was born Risë Steenberg in New York City in 1913. Her first name is pronounced “REE-sah” or “REE-suh.” Here’s how she explained it:

“It’s Norwegian; it was my grandmother’s name and my great-grandmother’s name. In school I was called everything but Rise; I was called Rose; I was called Rise {rhyming with “eyes”}; I was called Risé {rhyming with “play”}; even Teresa. In school, it was terrible; I would have arguments with the teachers. I would say, ‘I should know how to pronounce my own name.'”

One source suggested that Risë is related to the Latin word risus, meaning “laughter.”

So what was an opera singer doing in an national advertising campaign? Shouldn’t those be reserved for Hollywood stars? Well, turns out she was a Hollywood star — at least for time. She sang professionally from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, but in the early 1940s she gave acting a shot.

Her first film, released in late 1941, was the musical The Chocolate Soldier. Notice how her umlaut was left off the movie poster:

chocolate soldier, musical, film, 1941, rise stevens

This film accounts for the 1942 debut of both “Rise” and the phonetic respelling Risa.

Risë Stevens ultimately left Hollywood and returned to the opera — and she managed to bring at least a portion of her movie audience with her:

“I probably would never have reached that vast public had I not done films,” she said. “At least, I won a lot of people over to opera.”

This explains why Risë Stevens, often called the greatest Carmen of her generation, was being featured in advertisements and on television talk shows more than a decade later. And why her unique name therefore saw peak usage in the 1950s.

If you want to know more about Risë (and hear her sing!) here’s a Risë Stevens Tribute video created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

P.S. Risë Stevens had a granddaughter named Marisa — a combination of the names of her grandmothers, Maria and Risë. Risë Stevens’ son told her that he went with the -a ending instead of the ending because he was “not going to put her through what you’ve been through.”

Sources:


Five-Name Friday: Girl Name with “Zh” Sound

five-name friday, girl name

You’re standing on the sidewalk with a small crowd of people, waiting for the walk signal. Next to you is a friendly woman who happens to be pregnant. As the two of you chat, she mentions the type of baby name she’s searching for:

I am absolutely set on finding a name for my daughter that includes the zh/ž sound. I’m looking for something less obviously Slavic than Nadezhda or Anzhelika, and more “namey” than Beige or Treasure.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions. But the light just changed, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions while you cross the street together. (After that, the two of you head off in different directions.)

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with, you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

I am absolutely set on finding a name for my daughter that includes the zh/ž sound. I’m looking for something less obviously Slavic than Nadezhda or Anzhelika, and more “namey” than Beige or Treasure.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]

Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Treasure

The baby name Treasure debuted on the charts in 1935:

  • 1938: 7 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1937: 6 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1936: 18 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1935: 16 baby girls named Treasure [debut]
  • 1934: unlisted

Treasure was the top debut name that year, in fact.

And yet, because Treasure (like Memory) is also a vocabulary word, figuring out where it must have been used as a girl name circa 1935 is tricky.

There are a lot of possibilities in the 1930s, actually — movies, literature, radio, comic strips, etc.

Any thoughts on this one?

(And, I wonder whether a baby name alluding the riches wouldn’t have been especially appealing during the era of the Depression. Hm.)

Update, 2/2017: Mystery solved! Check the comments…

Mystery Baby Names – Open Cases

I’m a baby name blogger, but sometimes I feel more like a baby name detective. Because so much of my blogging time is spent doing detective work: trying to figure out where a particular baby name comes from, or why a name saw a sudden jump (or drop) in usage during a particular year.

If a name itself doesn’t make the answer obvious (e.g., Lindbergh) and a simple Google search hasn’t helped, my first bit of detective work involves scanning the baby name charts. I’ve learned that many search-resistant baby names (like Deatra) are merely alternative spellings of more common names (Deirdre).

If that doesn’t do it, I go back to Google for some advanced-level ninja searching, to help me zero in on specific types of historical or pop culture events. This is how I traced Irmalee back to a character in a short story in a very old issue of the once-popular McCall’s Magazine.

But if I haven’t gotten anywhere after a few rounds of ninja searching, I officially give up and turn the mystery baby name over to you guys. Together we’ve cracked a couple of cases (yay!) but, unfortunately, most of the mystery baby names I’ve blogged about are still big fat mysteries.

Here’s the current list of open cases:

  • Wanza, girl name, debuted in 1915.
  • Nerine, girl name, debuted in 1917.
  • Laquita, girl name, debuted in 1930.
  • Norita, girl name, spiked (for the 2nd time) in 1937.
  • Delphine, girl name, spiked in 1958.
  • Leshia, girl name, debuted in 1960.
  • Lavoris, girl name, debuted in 1961.
  • Djuna, girl name, debuted in 1964.
  • Latrenda, girl name, debuted in 1965.
  • Ondina, girl name, debuted in 1968.
  • Khari, boy name, debuted in 1971.
  • Jelani, boy name, debuted in 1973.
  • Toshiba, girl name, debuted in 1974.
  • Brieanna, girl name, debuted in 1979.
  • Sumiko, girl name, spiked in 1980.
  • Tou, boy name, debuted in 1980.
  • Marquita, girl name, spiked in 1983.
  • Caelan, boy name, debuted in 1992.
  • Deyonta, boy name, debuted in 1993.
  • Trayvond, boy name, debuted in 1994.
  • Zeandre, boy name, debuted in 1997.
  • Yatzari, girl name, debuted in 2000.
  • Itzae, boy name, debuted in 2011.

If you enjoy sleuthing, please give some of the above a shot! I’d love to knock one or two off the list before I start adding more mystery names in the coming weeks…

Update, 1/23/15: Forgot to add Avenir from the distinctive baby names, state by state list (see Oregon & Washington). It debuted as a boy name in 2002.

Update, 7/13/16: More still-open cases from the Mystery Monday series last summer: Theta, Memory, Treasure, Clione, Trenace, Bisceglia, Genghis and Temujin.

Unique Baby Names in Quebec, 2012

One thing I love about Quebec? Their yearly baby name list includes all baby names.

Not just names given to 5 or more babies, like the U.S. list. Not just names given to 3 or more babies, like the England and Wales list.

Every single name. Regardless of whether the name was given to hundreds of babies or just one.

Privacy: Who needs it! :)

Here are some stats on all those Quebec names:

  • 7,921 boy names total
    • 6,107 (77%) of them were given to 1 baby boy
    • 7121 (90%) of them were given to 1, 2, 3 or 4 baby boys*
  • 9,074 girl names total
    • 6,686 (74%) of them were given to 1 baby girl
    • 8058 (89%) of them were given to 1, 2, 3 or 4 baby girls*

*So, if the names given to 5+ babies in Quebec account for only about 10% of the names on the full list, and we assume baby name distribution in the U.S. is similar, the “full” U.S. lists should contain over 140,000 boy names and over 190,000 girl names.

Here are some of Quebec’s unique names (used only once):

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
Aghogho Elise
Alphee
Aoua
Apphia
Arnautilik Louisa
Aupale
Auphelie
Ayagutaq
Becky Tillikasak
Berlidia
Brunette
Cloud
Cloudine Mae
Cocolo
Delphine Eleonore
Desneiges
Euphelie
Evodine Ntshila
Feenix
Felixia
Fella
Fenixia
Feriel Nouara
Fihagarra
Flechanne
Flechelle
Fleurange
Franstevia
Fritzmaelle Deborah
Garrissa
Grace Nono Dipita
Iakohontsiio
Iakoteraswiioshton
Iaohseranawen
Ibtihel
Ichnekanoron
Idonia
Iehwatsirahnira’ts
Ietohrhuostha
Iotenhariio
Ipena Alexa
Iphigenie
Itohan
Justinique
Katsitsenhawitha
Kayla de la Caridad
Kelo-Meteore
Knoxia
Lady-Snider
Latt Hemlyss
Livia Mbombo
Ludgy
Lumen Pascale
Lyora Lyssandre
Maatiwaaytaabinukwaa
Maisie Inuusiq
Maniphone
Maori
Mar Mar
Mardochee Widlyka
Mavourneen
Mavrixe
Mennishkuess
Mewefca
Myrianna Pishumuss
Myrrhielle
Nancy Silaggi
Necerine
Nephthalia Elani
Oriana
Oriella
Orlanel Keriane Elsa
Orlguine
Ossossohou
Ouassila
Ouerdia
Paglianie Stacy
Perpetua
Prielle Tehora
Qilabuk
Qiluqi
Qods
Qullik
Qupanuaq
Ralphine
Roldyanna
Romance
Rosemaelle-Esperance
San San Jessica
Scotia
Sevim
Shellsea
Shyness
Sila Grey
Sombriddy
Stephanie Daystar
Stevia
Stherlyn’s
Sublime
Tally-Ann Uapikuniss
Teiakotshennonnihat
Teieronhiathe Tha
Teietsitsen Tons
Thalia Sgrolma
Thaliamenie
Thea Daphnee
Tiewennaie Na’s
Tillikasak
Trickcy
Tsubaki-Constance
Vinuki Sethlini
Vithusha
Vithushana
Wazberly
Wildana
Willfalya Gladaelle
Wilthalia
Windflower
Woodaelle
Wylianna
Xxxxxxxalaniq O’oka
Yvedianah
Zaely Hyacinthia
Agape Enrique
Aws
Brudginel-Bryan
Chedly
Chivens
Christian Braveheart
Chromeo
Cliffordson
Darling Jose
Darvens Moteler
Davinnsly
Delivrance
Dykxon
Ecclesiaste
Enbo
Fackel
Favour-Fane
Folly
Fougnigue
Fred-Eden
Ghemsley Nollens
Gia-Uy
Godly Christian
Heaven Theophile
Hichembentaiba
Ittulaaq
Judley
Kahrhata’kehshon
Kendley-Wilgenson
Kenny S. Phacoly
Klyf
Kylliam
Lafleche William
Lamartiniere Junior
Lewandowski
Lord-Lee Treasure
Manhattan-Zola
Manic
Mardochee
Milliam
Mortadha
Neo-Phoenix
Nyrlberson
Olmo Centeotl
Pat-Leo
Perseus Koperqualuk
Po Bing
Polycarpe Riley
Quincy-Herby
Quindlley
Rahontsawaks
Rahontsiiostha
Raiden Jethro
Ra’kerenhat’atie
Rakhmondzhon
Rallendi
Ramzi Nizar
Rani’ Konhra Katste
Raniehtenha Wi
Rarennisa’s
Rarennonni
Ratanakpich
Ricci Smily
Rocky Junior
Rolmerson
Ronikonrahniron
Roolens
Roque
Roweniente
Salomon Ghandi
Sebastian Berry-D
Shaquille-Shanqi
Shelby-Christ
Success
Sunny Skye
Sunny-James
Tchy
Tebly
Thominhdy
Tiesto
Toly-Jos
Tristar
Trooper
Tsikahnawakeniate H
Uqitatuq
Uqittuk
Utshimass
Victor-Sam Ikuagasak
Vuyolwethu
Wa’kenhrawakon
Widolph-Tristan
William-Promedi
Winner
Wynn Oscar
X-Zaylen
Yanga
Ylai Santiago
Yohann Tresors
Ywisnavin
Zack Browndly
Zion-Lee Eliott

I had my eye out for Inuit names in particular.

Among the girl names given to two babies last year, I spotted both Chaya Mushka and Katniss.

P.S. Here are the Most Popular Baby Names in Quebec for 2012.