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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ursula

Number of Babies Named Ursula

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Ursula

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: U

una trevelyn, actressHere’s the next installment of rare female names used by either the actresses or characters in very old films (1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s).

Uana
Uana was a character played by actress Yona Landowska in the short film The Cry of the First Born (1915).

Uarda
Princess Uarda was a character played by actress Carmen Phillips in the film serial Under the Crescent (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Uarda.

Ukana
Ukana was a character played by actress Mona Darkfeather in the short film None So Blind (1916).

Ulah
Ulah was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film The Jungle Princess (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Ulah.

Ulitka
Ulitka was a character played by actress Dale Fuller in the film The Cossacks (1928).

Ulrica
Ulrica was a character name in multiple films, including The House Next Door (1914) and The Lady of the Cyclamen (short, 1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Ulrica.

Una
Una Merkel was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Kentucky in 1903. Una Trevelyn was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s and 1920s. She was born in Tennessee in 1896. Una was also a character name in multiple films, including Paradise Garden (1917) and Bonds of Love (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Una.

Unca
Unca was a character played by actress Mona Darkfeather in the film The Cave of Death (1914).

Undine
Undine was a character name in multiple films, including The Galloping Fish (1924) and The Emperor Jones (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Undine.

Unity
Unity was a character name in multiple films, including The Girl Without a Soul (1917) and Stella Maris (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Unity.

Ursula
Ursula was a character name in multiple films, including and Thirteen Women (1932) and The Perfect Clue (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Ursula.

Userti
Userti was a character played by actress Arlette Marchal in the film The Moon of Israel (1924). The film was based on the novel Moon of Israel (1918) by H. Rider Haggard.

Ustane
Ustane was a character played by actress Miriam Fouche in the film She (1917) and by Mary Odette in She (1925). The films were based on the novel She: A History of Adventure (1887) by H. Rider Haggard.

…So which list of U-names do you prefer, this one or the 7 Usable U-Names from a few weeks ago?


Just Beyond Julia: Lulia, Sulia, Tulia, Zulia…

julia variants, baby names

Remember that “Julia Guglia” punchline from The Wedding Singer? It came up in conversation the other day, and it made me wonder: what other -ulia names are out there?

I don’t mean familiar Julia-variants like Giulia, Yulia, and Iulia. We already know that these exist. I mean new names coined by adding a different first letter to the tail -ulia — the same way all those different -ayden names cropped up during the -ayden craze.

So have there been -ulia names that aren’t related to Julia? Sure have. Here are the ones I found in the SSA data:

  • Eulia. Eulia pops up most often in the 1920s, which is when Eu- names like Eunice, Eugenia, Eula and Eulalia were relatively popular.
  • Kulia. This one is a borderline case. Kulia is technically a Julia-variant, being a Hawaiian form of Julia, but the initial sound is totally different. (There’s no J-sound in Hawaiian.)
  • Lulia. Like Eulia, Lulia saw usage in the early 1900s when similar names like Lula and Lulu were common. Unlike Eulia, Lulia has since returned to the charts, no doubt thanks to the current trendiness of Lily and the like. This name is also a Hawaiian form of Lydia.
  • Sulia. Sulia, which reminds me of Sula, short for Ursula, popped up once in 1991.
  • Tulia. Tulia, which reminds me of Tulip, has been on the charts several times since turn of the century.
  • Zulia. Like Sulia, Zulia has only appeared in the data once so far.

Ulia by itself has also been used as a name before, though it’s never been in the data. Going back to Hawai’i one last time, Ulia is both a Hawaiian form of Uriah and a Hawaiian word meaning “accident.”

Which of the above -ulia names above do you like best?

…And if you want to hear about even more -ulia names, here’s a video with dozens of obscure-but-real variants collected from the census:

Names mentioned in the video include Aulia, Blulia, Brulia, Bulia, Chulia, Clulia, Crulia, Culia, Drulia, Dulia, Flulia, Frulia, Fulia, Ghulia, Glulia, Grulia, Gulia, Hulia, Llulia, Mulia, Nulia, Oulia, Phulia, Plulia, Prulia, Pulia, Qulia, Rulia, Schulia, Sculia, Shulia, Smulia, Snulia, Spulia, Stulia, Thrulia, Thulia, Trulia, Uulia, Vulia, Whulia, Wulia, Xhulia, Xulia, and Zhulia.

What’s Wrong with U? (7 Usable U-Names)

u names, ursa, upton, upson, umber, ukiah, unity, union

What’s wrong with U?

No, I don’t mean you. I mean the letter U.

If 1 is the loneliest number, then U is definitely the loneliest letter. Because, ever since I started looking at first letter frequency in baby names, U has always been the least-used.

Currently just four U-names are in in the boys’ top 1,000, and exactly zero are in the girls’ top 1,000. And those four boy names — Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, and Urijah — make up a sizable chunk of what little U-usage there happens to be.

Does this anti-U trend signify something about modern society, do you think?

We’re more individualistic than ever before — some say more narcissistic. And we do see this individualism reflected in the rise of unusual names, particularly ones that glorify the self, like Amazing, Awesome, Celebrity, Epic, Famous, Gorgeous, Handsome, King, Messiah, President, and Prodigy.

So is this individualism also being reflected in first the letters/sounds we choose? After all, a handful of I-names (Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel, Isla, Isaac, Isaiah) have become prominent lately. So have a pair of “me” names (Mia, Mila).

Meanwhile, the humble U remains at the bottom of the heap. Is it because no one wants to open a name with a letter that reminds them of “you”?

Hm…

If you’re interested in giving U-names a boost, here are 7 under-the-radar options to consider:

Ursa

We’re all familiar with Ursula. She’s a sea-witch, a Bond girl, and a Catholic saint. In other words, Ursula has some strong associations.

Not so with Ursa, the word upon which Ursula was based. Ursa doesn’t have any strong human/character associations — just a couple of celestial ones: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Ursa is based on the Latin word ursus, meaning “bear.” (Bear is itself a trendy choice among celebs these days.) And even though four-letter, vowel-bounded girl names (like Emma, Ella, Aria, Isla, Ayla, and Elsa) are trendy right now, Ursa remains rare.

Upton & Upson

Many toponymic surnames — from Milton and Clifton 100 years ago to Easton and Ashton today — have gone on to become popular baby names. But not Upton and Upson, which are uncommon despite their optimistic sound (up!).

The surnames stem from any of several similar place names that, in most cases, can be traced back to a pair of Old English words meaning “upper, above” (in terms of either altitude or status) and “farm, settlement.”

The most famous Upton was muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, whose best-known work, a 1906 exposé of the meatpacking industry called The Jungle, led to the passage of both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (which, eventually, gave rise to the FDA).

Umber

We all know an Amber. Maybe even an Ember. But how many of us know an Umber? Probably not many of us, as the name is so rare that it’s only appeared in the SSA data one time (in 1995, when 5 baby girls were named Umber).

You know how ombre hair color is fashionable right now? The words ombre and umber are related — both can be traced back to the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.”

Along with Ochre and Sienna, Umber is an “earth pigment” — a naturally occurring mineral used by humans since prehistoric times (i.e., for coloring cave walls, clothing, tools, even skin). The color ranges from brown to reddish-brown. Many famous historical artists, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt, used umber in their paintings.

Ukiah

(yoo-KYE-uh)

Uriah is a Biblical name. So are Josiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and many other names with that telltale “-iah” ending. Sounds like Ukiah should be part of this group, right? But it isn’t.

Ukiah is the name of a place in California. It’s based on Yokaya, which comes from Rancho Yokaya — the name of the mid-19th century Mexican land grant that encompassed what is now the Ukiah Valley. The word yokaya means “south valley” in the language of the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the region.

In 1973, the California-based band The Doobie Brothers released a song about Ukiah.

Though Ukiah has always been rare as a baby name, usage has picked up slightly since the turn of the century.

Unity & Union

Unique is the most self-focused U-name I’m aware of. And now that thousands of people have been named Unique, well, the name just isn’t very unique anymore.

Want to really stand out in the world of baby names today? Choose a name that emphasizes the oneness of the whole as opposed to the oneness of the self.

The names Unity and Union could be seen as opposites of the name Unique. And yet all three are ultimately derived from the same Latin word: unus, meaning “one.”

Unity is given to a couple dozen baby girls per year these days, but Union hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since the 1920s.

*

Do you like any of the U-names above? What other U-names would you recommend?

Sources: Upston – Surname DB, Ukiah, California – Wikipedia

Names from Boston Burials – Huamy, Waitstill, Mehitable

Husband and I got back from Boston nearly a week ago, but I wanted to mention one more thing about the trip…

A few days after riding in a duck boat, a group of us walked Boston’s Freedom Trail, which includes two historical cemeteries.

I could have spent the entire day in either one, but only got about 10 minutes in each. (My 5-year-old nieces didn’t have much interest in a field full of dead people. Go figure.)

The only bizarre name I managed to spot was Huamy in King’s Chapel Burying Ground (est. 1630).

Huamy headstone at Kings Chapel Burying Ground

Half of her stone is underground, but a mid-19th century book called Memorials of the Dead in Boston offers the full inscription:

Huamy Edridge Martin, died 1721 at 32 years old

Curiously, there was something between the “hu” and the “amy” on the stone — it could have been damage/wear, but it did look a lot like a hyphen. (Could “Hu-Amy” have been short for something? Huldah-Amy?)

The book also included all of the other King’s Chapel inscriptions, which was great, as I got to see so few of them while there.

According to the Memorials of the Dead in Boston, most of the people buried in King’s Chapel had names you’d expect: John, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, Nathaniel, Hannah, Samuel, Martha, etc.

But a handful others were named Eliather, Elishua, Freelove, Gilam, Grizzelle, Hopestill, Obadiah, Relief and Waitstill. (There’s also a Goderee that wasn’t listed in the book.)

I counted 6 women named Mehetabel, though the biblical spelling wasn’t used on any of the inscriptions. Instead, their names were written “Mehetable,” “Mehitable” or “Mehitabel.”

Speaking of variant spellings, I also spotted a Millesent, a Bartholomey, a Ledia, a Returne, and an Urssileur (Ursula).

…And that’s all I’ve got for King’s Chapel. At some point I’ll also post about the names at the Old Granary Burial Ground (the Freedom Trail’s other graveyard) but for now I’ll leave you with this gratuitous shot of one of my impish nieces:

niece scraping mud off headstone
My niece scraping mud off a headstone.

Source: Bridgman, Thomas. Memorials of the Dead in Boston. Boston: Benjamin B. Mussey & Co., 1853.

26 Girl Names from 1916

In early 1916, Photoplay Magazine came up with a list of potential titles for serial films using the formula established by The Perils of Pauline (1914), The Exploits of Elaine (1914), and The Hazards of Helen (1914).

Not-Yet Serials, Photoplay Magazine, January 1916

(Just a few months after the above was published, The Mysteries of Myra came out.)

Which of those 26 names — Abigail, Bertha, Calpurnia, Delilah, Evangeline, Florence, Garnet, Hazel, Imogene, Jezebel, Kitty, Lizzie, Margaret, Nancy, Orillia, Priscilla, Queenie, Roberta, Sibyl, Theodosia, Ursula, Victoria, Winifred, Xanthippe, Yetta or Zira — do you like best?

And, which of those serials would you be most likely to watch? :)