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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Wilbur

Number of Babies Named Wilbur

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Wilbur

Name Quotes #46 – Chloe, Lucille, Iowa

toni morrison, toni, chloe, chloe wofford, books, quote, quotation

From a New York Magazine article about author Toni Morrison, born Chloe Wofford, who “deeply regrets” not putting her birth name on her books:

“Wasn’t that stupid?” she says. “I feel ruined!” Here she is, fount of indelible names (Sula, Beloved, Pilate, Milkman, First Corinthians, and the star of her new novel, the Korean War veteran Frank Money), and she can’t own hers. “Oh God! It sounds like some teenager–what is that?” She wheeze-laughs, theatrically sucks her teeth. “But Chloe.” She grows expansive. “That’s a Greek name. People who call me Chloe are the people who know me best,” she says. “Chloe writes the books.” Toni Morrison does the tours, the interviews, the “legacy and all of that.”

From the Amazon bio of author Caitlin Moran:

Caitlin isn’t really her name. She was christened ‘Catherine.’ But she saw ‘Caitlin’ in a Jilly Cooper novel when she was thirteen and thought it looked exciting. That’s why she pronounces it incorrectly: ‘Catlin.’ It causes trouble for everyone.

From the book Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me by Marlon Brando and Robert Lindsey:

I have been told that I was born one hour before midnight, April 3, 1924, in the Omaha Maternity Hospital. […] My mother, Dorothy Pennebaker Brando, was 27; my father, Marlon Brando Sr., was 29. I rounded out the family and made it complete: My sister Jocelyn was almost 5 when I was born, my other sister Frances almost 2. Each of us had nicknames: My mother’s was Dodie; my father’s Bowie, although he was Pop to me and Poppa to my sisters; Jocelyn was Tiddy; Frances was Frannie; and I was Bud.

(Here’s more about the name Brando.)

From Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990):

The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

From an NPR article about the naming of B. B. King’s guitar Lucille:

I used to play a place in Arkansas called Twist, Ark., and they used to have a little nightclub there that we played quite often. […] Well, it used to get quite cold in Twist, and they used to take something look like a big garbage pail and set it in the middle of the floor, half-fill it with kerosene. They would light that fuel, and that’s what we used for heat. And generally, the people would dance around it, you know, never disturb this container. But this particular night, two guys start to fight and then one of them knocked the other one over on this container, and when they did, it spilled on the floor. Now it was already burning, so when it spilled, it looked like a river of fire, and everybody ran for the front door, including yours truly. But when I got on the outside, then I realized that I’d left my guitar inside. I went back for it. The building was a wooden building, and it was burning so fast when I got my guitar, it started to collapse around me. So I almost lost my life trying to save the guitar. But the next morning, we found that these two guys who was fighting was fighting about a lady. I never did meet the lady, but I learned that her name was Lucille. So I named my guitar Lucille and reminded me not to do a thing like that again.

(B. B. King’s birth name is Riley; “B. B.” stands for “Blues Boy.”)

From an article about roller derby skate names:

Some other things we noticed: 10 percent of the list falls into the “Tech & Geek” category, which includes names inspired by Computing (“Paige Not Found,” “Syntax Terror,” “Ctrl Alt Defeat”) fonts (“Crimes New Roman,” “Give ‘Em Hell Vetica”); Chemistry (“Carmen Die Oxide,” “ChLauraform”); and Philosophy (“Blockem’s Razor”).

From an interview with David Lisson, registrar-general of Northern Territory, Australia:

“I once had parents that came in with 11 given names for their baby,” Mr Lisson said.

“We had a long talk with them to explain how difficult it would be to fill out forms.

“They had an answer for basically all of them, as they were from a diverse cultural background. Each name had a significance. After some hard bargaining, we got them down to nine.”

From a 1909 article in Hampton’s Magazine about Woman’s Relief Corps president Jennie Iowa Berry (1866-1951):

Mrs. Berry is a native of Iowa. Her father is Wilbur Riley Peet, a soldier of the Sixties, who was born in Iowa when it was still a territory, his people having been among the pioneer settlers. His love for his State is indicated by the second name of his daughter.

(The name Iowa last appeared in the SSA data in 1921.)

Want to see more? Here’s the name quotes category.


Five-Name Friday: Girl Name for Wilbur’s Sister

five name friday, girl names

The new year is almost here! You’re at the liquor store stocking up on some extra champagne for the small get-together you’ll be hosting tomorrow night. (Your friends will be very impressed by your wreath!)

As you shop, you chat with a friendly lady who says she wishes she could do the champagne toast this year, but she can’t because she’s pregnant. You congratulate her, and as you gather up the last of the bottles, she mentions the type of baby name she’s searching for:

Wilbur’s little sister needs an uncommon name with history. Names that we love but can’t use are Sylvie, Lenore and Albertine.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions. But these bottles are getting heavy, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before you lumber over to the register.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) 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 the store?
  • 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:

Wilbur’s little sister needs an uncommon name with history. Names that we love but can’t use are Sylvie, Lenore and Albertine.

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 Baby Name – Wilba

In the early 1900s, the baby name Wilba popped up on the SSA’s baby name list for the first time:

  • 1915: 7 baby girls named Wilba
  • 1914: 7 baby girls named Wilba
  • 1913: 18 baby girls named Wilba [debut]
  • 1912: unlisted
  • 1911: unlisted

It was the top debut name of 1913, along with Vilas. But SSA numbers from the early 1900s aren’t too reliable, so let’s see how many Wilbas are in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for the same time period:

  • 1915: 8 people named Wilba
  • 1914: 7 people named Wilba
  • 1913: 32 people named Wilba
  • 1912: 3 people named Wilba
  • 1911: 4 people named Wilba

The SSA data shows that several wil- names were on the rise during these years, but this doesn’t explain the sudden appearance of Wilba.

Name 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915
Wilba 18 7 7
Wilberta 7 6 5 6
Wilbur (f) 7 5 8
Wilda 89 137 133 177 261
Willow 6 12 11 23
Wilma 914 1241 1469 1787 2773
Wilna 9 9 17 23 18

Neither set of data shows a strong tie to any specific location, though the SSDI data suggests that Wilba was used more often in the south than in the north.

Any idea where this one could have come from?

80+ Hidden Gems: Rare Baby Boy Names

gemstoneWant a boy name that’s not common, but also not crazy?

I looked through all the names at the bottom of SSA’s 2011 mega-list and found a bunch of hidden gems:

  1. Alaric (48 baby boys)
  2. Alban (12)
  3. Aldous (11)
  4. Aldric (7)
  5. Alphonse (20)
  6. Archibald (14)
  7. Astor (5)
  8. Augustin (50)
  9. Balthazar (13)
  10. Barclay (6)
  11. Barnabas (8)
  12. Bartholomew (19)
  13. Booker (22)
  14. Chadwick (34)
  15. Cyril (41)
  16. Clancy (14)
  17. Claude (44)
  18. Clement (34)
  19. Crispin (21)
  20. Darcy (15)
  21. Dirk (40)
  22. Doyle (10)
  23. Ernst (6)
  24. Ferdinand (20)
  25. Garrick (42)
  26. Giles (20)
  27. Gregor (14)
  28. Griffith (18)
  29. Grover (9)
  30. Gustaf (7); Gustav (29)
  31. Horatio (10)
  32. Hubert (46)
  33. Ignatius (49)
  34. Isidore (7)
  35. Kermit (6)
  36. Lambert (6)
  37. Laird (17)
  38. Laurence (48)
  39. Laurent (9)
  40. Leander (48)
  41. Leith (7)
  42. Lemuel (50)
  43. Lowell (29)
  44. Maxfield (22)
  45. Newton (14)
  46. Nicanor (8)
  47. Norbert (9)
  48. Norris (21)
  49. Ogden (13)
  50. Orson (33)
  51. Osborn (5); Osborne (7)
  52. Oswald (18)
  53. Pascal (25)
  54. Percival (13)
  55. Peregrine (9)
  56. Piers (16)
  57. Regis (10)
  58. Remis (11)
  59. Roscoe (47)
  60. Rudolph (44)
  61. Rufus (39)
  62. Rupert (8)
  63. Sanford (6)
  64. Seymour (6)
  65. Sherman (40)
  66. Sinclair (8)
  67. Tavish (16)
  68. Thane (48)
  69. Tobiah (14)
  70. Walton (14)
  71. Warner (48)
  72. Watson (42)
  73. Webster (8)
  74. Weldon (27)
  75. Werner (11)
  76. Wilbert (42)
  77. Wilbur (20)
  78. Winfield (7)
  79. Winfred (7)
  80. Winslow (10)
  81. York (5)
  82. Zebulon (25)
  83. Zeno (13)

(In some cases, a different spelling of the name is more popular than what’s shown here. For instance, Laurence is rare, but Lawrence is moderately popular.)

Like any of these?

Spot any other good names at the end of the list?

See the girls’ list, or check out the Rare Baby Names page.

Namestorm #5 – Baby Names for Aviation Enthusiasts

planeLove to fly the friendly skies? Then this list may be for you. Here are some names from early 20th-century aviation history:

Wilbur and Orville
American brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright built and flew the world’s first airplane in December of 1903.

Louis
French aviator Louis Blériot was the first to fly a plane across the English Channel (from France to England) in July of 1909.

Elise
French aviatrix Elise Raymonde Deroche was the first woman to receive a pilot’s license, in March of 1910.

Henri
French aviator and inventor Henri Fabre designed and flew the world’s first seaplane, also in March of 1910.

Harriet
American aviatrix Harriet Quimby was the first woman to fly across the English Channel (from England to France) in April of 1912 — one day after the sinking of the Titanic. Harriet was also the first U.S. woman to receive a pilot’s license.

John and Arthur
British aviators John Alcock (pilot) and Arthur Whitten Brown (navigator) made the first nonstop transatlantic flight (from Canada to Ireland) in June of 1919.

John and Oakley
American aviators John Macready and Oakley Kelley made the first nonstop transcontinental flight (from New York to San Diego) in May of 1923.

Charles

  • American aviator Charles Lindbergh was the first American and the first solo pilot to fly across the Atlantic (from the U.S. to France) in May of 1927.
  • American aviator Charles Yeager was the first pilot to travel faster than sound, in October of 1947.

Dieudonné and Joseph
French aviators Dieudonné Costes (pilot) and Joseph Le Brix (navigator) made the first nonstop crossing of the south Atlantic (from Senegal to Brazil) in October of 1927.

Hugh and Clyde
Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn made the first nonstop transpacific flight (from Japan to the U.S.) in October of 1931.

Amelia
American aviatrix Amelia Earhart was the first woman to make a solo flight across Atlantic (from Canada to Northern Ireland) in May of 1932.

Wiley (and Winnie)
American aviator Wiley Post made the first solo round-the-world flight in July of 1933. The trip took over a week to complete. (His plane, the Winnie Mae, was named after the daughter of the plane’s original owner.)

Amy
English aviatrix Amy Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia, in May of 1930.

I concentrated on airplanes, but the history of aviation goes back hundreds of years and covers kites, gliders, balloons, blimps, airships, helicopters, and so forth. What other aviation names can you come up with (from any era, using any aircraft)?

Sources: Famous Firsts in Aviation, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Wikipedia