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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Will

Number of Babies Named Will

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Will

It’s Time for More Cowbell

will ferrell, SNL, more cowbell
Will Ferrell as cowbell player “Gene Frenkle” on SNL, 4/8/00

You probably already know this, but today marks the 16th anniversary of the cowbell-centric Saturday Night Live sketch “Behind the Music: Blue Öyster Cult.”

So if you’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell, I think I can help you out.

Because today I’ve got two people who were apparently named cowbell.

First up is CowBelle Debradt. In 1940 she was 39 years old and living in Ohio with her husband and four sons. She was originally from Pennsylvania.

Cow Belle Debradt, U.S. Census 1940

Second we have CowBelle M. Willis. In 1940 she was 12 years old and living in Montana with her parents and sister.

Cowbelle Willis, U.S. Census 1940

I’ve spotted other Cowbell(e)s as well, but don’t yet have screenshots of the source documents as proof, so I’ll leave them off the list for now.

What are your thoughts on Cowbelle as a modern female name? Is it ridiculous, or could it be some intentionally ironic hipster alternative to -belle names like Annabelle and Isabelle?

Source: 1940 U.S. Census

Jean-Luc – Another Star Trek-Inspired Baby Name

Jean-Luc Picard, Early Grey Tea
“Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” -Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
© CBS Studios Inc.
The name Jean-Luc debuted on the SSA’s list in 1987, and peak usage was in 1992:

  • 1993: 63 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1992: 65 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1991: 46 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1990: 26 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1989: 21 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1988: 14 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1987: 8 baby boys named Jean-Luc [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted

The inspiration?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise.

Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, was the central character in the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, which premiered in late 1987 and ran until mid-1994.

The character, though born and raised in 24th-century France, was a native English speaker. How? According to the show, French had become an obscure language by the 2300s. And yet, interestingly, the people of English-speaking future-France were still getting very traditional French names. Picard’s parents were named Maurice and Yvette, for instance. (Do you think this is a believable scenario?)

The names Geordi and Riker also debuted during the years TNG was on the air. They were likely inspired by the characters Will Riker (first officer) and Geordi La Forge (chief engineer, played by LeVar Burton).

The only other Star Trek name I’ve blogged about so far is Uhura, but there are more coming up…

In the meanwhile, what do you think of the name Jean-Luc?

Image: Star Trek Earl Grey Tea

Name Quotes for the Weekend #25

elton john quote about the name reginald

From an interview with Elton John on Larry King Live:

Well, I was making a record, and I had to choose a name, because they said, you know, you can’t make a record under the name of Reg Dwight, because it’s never going to — you know, it’s not attractive enough. And I agreed with that, and I couldn’t wait to change my name anyway, because I’m not too fond of the name of Reginald. It’s a very kind of ’50s English name.

So I picked Elton because there wasn’t — nobody seemed to have the name Elton. And I picked John to go with it. And it was — it was done on a bus going from London Heathrow back into the city. And it was done very quickly. So I said, oh, Elton John. That’s fine.

From The Life of William Shakespeare: A Critical Biography by Lois Potte:

Though contemporary sonneteers populated their world with lovers called Astrophil, Parthenophil, Stella, Delia, and Idea, the only names that appear in Shakespeare’s sonnets are Adonis, Helen, Mars, Saturn, Philomel, Eve, Cupid, Diana, and Time — and the one non-mythological figure, the author, “Will.”

From An Apology to Every (White) Girl Named Becky by Dara T. Mathis:

Black people commonly use the term “Becky” when referring to generic white women. It has a slight negative connotation (airheadedness), but white women don’t have to do anything to deserve the title.

Clearly, this is as problematic as sexual stereotypes against any demographic of people. Women fight on a daily basis not to be objectified, but this portrayal takes it further and assigns white women a role to which they may not ascribe.

Despite my dislike for using a proper name as a slur, it took an actual person to bring it home to me. After my tweet, a white colleague nicknamed Becky told me about how she’s been forced to use Rebecca instead. A group of black men were catcalling her down a sidewalk and she was doing her best to ignore them. One of them yelled out, “Hey Becky!” That’s her name: she automatically swung her head around. But this had the opposite effect of validating the men’s impression that she was a Becky, not a woman named Becky. They laughed. She laughed, too, because…it is kinda funny.

But I stopped laughing quickly. I had never thought about the implications of people using your name as a stereotype against you. Where can you run to escape that?

From a post about unusual personal names at Futility Closet:

A memo to every parent who’s ever lived: Giving your kid a special name does not make him special. It never has. It never will.

You know what I mean. It’s one thing to give yourself a screwy moniker. Body-modification enthusiasts have changed their names to Swirly Wanx Sinatra, Grenade Bee of Death, and RooRaaah Mew Crumbs, among other things, and there’s a U.S. Army Ohio National Guard firefighter who named himself Optimus Prime. That’s fine, you’re the one who has to live with it.

It’s worse when you inflict a harebrained epithet on a newborn, who will have to drag it through life like a neon hairshirt.

From a post about Ameribella cheese at Cheese Notes:

Originally named Arabella, this cheese underwent a slight name change recently; as Leslie told me, it’s always been named after Matthew’s great grandmother, whose name was America Arabella. To honor her, they combined her two names and came up with the Ameribella, which also has the unique quality of honoring this cheese’s American terroir and Italian origins.

(I discovered Ameribella via the Baby Name Pondering post Cheesy Baby Names.)

From an article by Kerry Parnell in The Daily Telegraph:

[W]hen I was born and my parents proudly announced my name to the family, my great-grandma was disgusted and informed them Kerry was a dog’s name.

She never wavered from this conviction until one day, when I was about five, we visited her to see her new poodle puppy.

“What’s his name?” I asked. “Kerry,” she replied, stony faced. There was a long, awkward silence and no one ever mentioned it again.

Ironically, great-grandma went by the name of “Pete”, which, unless I am very much mistaken, is a man’s name.

One day, I vow, I will get a dog just so I can call it Pete, for revenge.

Have you read anything interesting about names lately? Please send me the link so I can add it to a future quote post! Email me, Tweet me, or just leave a comment below.

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

Vegas Quints All Get D-Names

Last month, Deon and Evonne Derrico of Las Vegas welcomed quintuplets.

Each of their four older children has a D-name, so they kept with tradition and gave the quints D-names as well:

  • Deniko (boy)
  • Dariz (boy)
  • Deonee (girl)
  • Daician (girl)
  • Daiten (girl)

Other name patterns we’ve seen with quints so far are alphabetical names (Anna, Brody, Ciara, David, Ella) and first letters that spell a word (Gabrielle, Riley, Addison, Cooper, Emerson). We’ve also seen two sets of quints without name patterns: the Jones quints (Will, David, Marcie, Seth, Grace) and the Bieber quints (Kate, Samuel, Troy, Auden, Shiloh).

And now some fun questions for you: If you had to name a set of quintuplets, and all the names had to start with the same letter, which letter would you choose? Why? And, what names would you choose? (Let’s say there are 2 boys and 3 girls, just like the Derrico quints.)

Source: Births of quintuplets bless, humble Las Vegas family

Waiting for the Royal Baby Name…

I didn’t want to break up this week’s debut names series, but royal births don’t happen very often, and I thought this was too interesting to ignore.

Will and Kate’s baby, who hasn’t even been born yet, is already influencing how babies are being named in the UK.

A company called has surveyed 400 moms-to-be and discovered that “more than ten per cent (42 mums) said they were hoping to postpone having to name their offspring until they heard the royal name.”

One heavily pregnant mum-to-be commented: “My husband and I have decided to wait to see what the royal baby is called before naming ours.

“We have thought of quite a few names but we both decided it would be lovely to see what Will and Kate choose first. I love the name Alexandra so if we have a girl then it may well be the most straight forward decision we have to make.”


A third mum-to-be said: “My baby is due before the royal baby, but I already know I definitely want it to have the same name. The birth of Will and Kate’s baby is such a monumental event that is going to be remembered forever, just like the royal wedding. Giving my baby the same name is my personal way of celebrating.”

I wonder how many of the “waiting” moms are waiting so they can choose the same name, and how many are waiting so they can choose a different name.

Which camp would you be in?

Source: Babies Go Unnamed As Parents Await Royal News

Baby Name Predictions – Cypher, Elon, Macklemore

Here are some names that might catch on this year:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have had a lot of luck with their singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” during the first half of 2013.

Cypher & Kitai
Cypher Raige & Kitai Raige (played by Will Smith & Jaden Smith) are characters in the movie After Earth, released a week or so ago.

Armand “Armie” Hammer co-stars with Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger, coming out next month. (He inherited his unusual name from great-grandpa Armand Hammer.)

Tesla & Elon
The Tesla Roadster and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk (also known for PayPal & SpaceX) seem to be popping up in the news more and more lately.

Speaking of names in the news…NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been a fixture in the news for a couple of weeks now.

What other names would you add to this list?