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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Wilma

Number of Babies Named Wilma

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Wilma

Round-up of Multiples from 1944

The Badgett Quadruplets in 1944
Jeraldine, Joan, Jean, and Janet Badgett © LIFE

Oodles of multiples — eight sets of twins, one set of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, and one set of quintuplets — were featured in an early 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Most of these multiples had been born in the 1920s and 1930s.

Curious about the names? I knew you would be! Here they are, along with ages and other details.

Twins:

  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan, 19.
  • Lois and Lucille Barnes, 21.
  • Betty and Lenore Wade, early 20s.
  • Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy” Mauch, 22.
    • They had starred in the 1937 movie The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Blaine and Wayne Rideout, 27.
    • They had been track stars at the University of North Texas in the late 1930s along with another set of twins, Elmer and Delmer Brown.
  • Charles and Horace Hildreth, 41.
    • Horace was elected Governor of Maine later the same year.
  • Ivan and Malvin Albright, 47.
  • Auguste and Jean Piccard, 60.
    • “Honors as the world’s most distinguished pair of twins must go to Jean and Auguste Piccard, stratosphere balloonists, who are so identical that not everyone realizes there are two of them.”

Triplets:

  • Diane Carol, Elizabeth Ann, and Karen Lynn Quist, 11 months.

Quadruplets:

  • Claire (boy), Cleo (boy), Clayton (boy), and Connie (girl) Brown, 3.
  • Janet, Jean, Jeraldine, and Joan Badgett, 5.
    • “The customary alliteration in multiple names accounts for the “J” in Jeraldine.”
  • Felix (boy), Ferdinand (boy), Frances (girl), and Frank (boy) Kasper, 7.
  • James (boy), Jay (boy), Jean (girl), and Joan (girl) Schense, 13.
  • Edna, Wilma, Sarah, and Helen Morlok — the Morlok Quads — 13.
  • Anthony, Bernard, Carl, and Donald Perricone, 14.
    • “Their Beaumont neighbors call them “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” for short.”

Quintuplets:

  • Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie, and Yvonne Dionne — the Dionne Quints — 9.

Which of these sets of names do you like best? Why?

Source: “Twins: Accident of Their Birth Sets Them Apart from Other People.” LIFE 6 Mar. 1944: 91-99.


The Mystery of Essfa

baby name essfa mysteryThis might not be a mystery. It might just be my imagination running away with me. But I’ll put it out there anyway.

We all know there are flaws with the SSA data. Data scientist David Taylor made a slide deck illustrating several issues with the SSA data a few years ago, and I’ve blogged specifically about the baby name glitch of 1989 and the Korea-Kansas mis-codes.

So my question is this: Could Essfa, a one-hit wonder from 1921, be another flaw?

According to the SSA data, the name Essfa was given to 6 babies in 1921, and all 6 of these babies were born in Vermont.

But when we look for these Essfas in the SSDI, we get…nothing. Not a single Essfa from anywhere, born in any year.

This doesn’t prove anything, but it is very curious.

Then there’s the fact that all these Essfas were born in Vermont, a relatively small state not known for adventurous baby-naming. The SSA’s Vermont-specific data from 1921 puts oddball Essfa on par with classics like Emma and Julia:

All baby names given to 6 babies
in VT in 1921, according to SSA
VT,F,1921,Emma,6
VT,F,1921,Essfa,6
VT,F,1921,Germaine,6
VT,F,1921,Glenna,6
VT,F,1921,Gloria,6
VT,F,1921,Harriett,6
VT,F,1921,Julia,6
VT,F,1921,Kathryn,6
VT,F,1921,Mae,6
VT,F,1921,Margery,6
VT,F,1921,Wilma,6

Again, very curious.

After doing more research, I was only able to find a single person named Essfa who was born in Vermont in 1921. The intriguing part? She had multiple identities:

  • She was born Essfa Estella Bickford Vermont on May 7, 1921.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis upon marrying William Earl Davis in Vermont in 1937.
  • She became Essfa E. Millette upon marrying Rupert Frank Millette in New Hampshire in 1941.
  • She became Essfa E. Walker upon marrying Howard C. Walker in New Hampshire in 1953.
  • She became Essfa E. Davis (again) upon marrying Arthur I. Davis in Connecticut in 1964, and passed away in 1976 as a Davis.

And I found a sixth alias — in Billboard magazine, oddly enough. For decades Billboard operated a mail-forwarding service for traveling performers. The name “Essfa E. White” appeared regularly on their Letter List from 1945 until 1948. (She was also listed under the surname Millette once, in 1946.)

So we know for sure that one Essfa was born in Vermont in 1921, and that this Essfa used at least six different names (if you count Davis twice) throughout her lifetime.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether this particular Essfa was counted 6 different times in the SSA data somehow.

What do you think?

Source: Billboard – Wikipedia

Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2015

According to data from Statistics Sweden, the most popular baby names in Sweden in 2015 were Elsa and William.

Here are Sweden’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Elsa, 872 baby girls
2. Alice, 847
3. Maja, 674
4. Saga, 671
5. Ella, 627
6. Lilly, 613
7. Olivia, 583
8. Ebba, 576
9. Wilma, 757
10. Julia, 574
1. William, 977 baby boys
2. Lucas, 802
3. Liam, 752
4. Oscar, 737
5. Elias, 732
6. Hugo, 711
7. Oliver, 709
8. Charlie, 664
9. Axel, 627
10. Vincent, 602

In the boys’ top 10, Axel replaces Alexander.

In the girls’ top 10, Saga, Ella and Wilma replace Agnes, Molly and Linnea.

The names in the top 100 that rose the fastest were:

  • Lo, Saga, Hedvig, Julie, and Ronja for girls, and
  • Kian, Henry, Love, Algot and Sam for boys.

The names in the top 100 that fell the fastest were:

  • Hilda, Cornelia, Elvira, Felicia and Linn for girls, and
  • Linus, Elvin, Rasmus, Felix and Jack for boys.

The sudden rise of Saga (from 21st to 4th) could be due to the popular Scandinavian TV show “The Bridge,” which features a character named Saga. But, as Maybe it is Daijirō (aka Maks) notes, the show has been around since 2011. Saga’s usage stayed relatively flat until 2014.

Also in 2015, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PVR) received 1,942 applications for adult name changes — a new national record. Znövit (Snow White), Lejontass (Lion paw) and Grön (green) were three of the new names requested last year. Sweden may be strict about names for babies, but name changes for adults are approved around 99% of the time.

Sources: Name statistics – Statistics Sweden, Swedes rush to ditch classic Nordic names

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?

Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2013

Sweden’s top baby names of 2013 were announced recently.

According to data from Statistics Sweden (SCB), the country’s most popular baby names last year were Alice and Lucas.

Here are Sweden’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Alice, 903 baby girls
2. Maja, 767
3. Elsa, 766
4. Ella, 700
5. Julia, 687
6. Ebba, 663
7. Alicia, 625
8. Olivia, 616
9. Alva, 607
10. Wilma, 600
1. Lucas, 935 baby boys
2. William, 915
3. Oscar, 901
4. Oliver, 800
5. Hugo, 749
6. Charlie, 716
7. Liam, 708
8. Alexander, 694
9. Axel, 677
10. Elias, 676

Names that made the girls’ top 100 for the very first time were Hilma, Ellinor, Sally, Melina, and Nicole. New to the boys’ top 100 were Louie and Tor.

The top names of 2012 were Alice and William.

Source: Sweden’s most popular baby names revealed

Most Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2012

The most popular baby names in Sweden were announced a couple of days ago.

According to Statistics Sweden, the country’s top names are William for boys and Alice for girls.

Here are the top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2012:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Alice
2. Elsa
3. Julia
4. Ella
5. Maja
6. Ebba
7. Emma
8. Linnea
9. Molly
10. Alva
11. Wilma
12. Agnes
13. Klara [tie]
13. Nellie [tie]
15. Isabelle
16. Olivia
17. Alicia
18. Ellen
19. Lily
20. Stella
1. William
2. Oscar
3. Lucas
4. Hugo
5. Elias
6. Alexander
7. Liam
8. Charlie
9. Oliver
10. Filip
11. Leo
12. Viktor
13. Vincent
14. Emil
15. Axel
16. Anton
17. Erik
18. Olle
19. Theo
20. Ludvig

Did you know that, back in 1888, Ebba was the top newbie baby name in the US?

But let’s get back to Sweden.

Which Swedish names saw the biggest popularity boosts from 2011 to 2012?

Going up:

Rising Girl Names Rising Boy Names
1. Sigrid
2. Majken
3. Elise
4. Alicia
5. Lykke
6. Ronja
7. Juni
8. Svea
9. Siri [tie]
9. Melissa [tie]
1. Ebbe
2. Henry
3. Elvin
4. Charlie
5. Julian
6. Valter [tie]
6. Matteo [tie]
8. Elton
9. Edward
10. Mohamed

And which names decreased the most in popularity?

Going down:

Falling Girl Names Falling Boy Names
1. Minna
2. Tove
3. Elin
4. Evelina
5. Thea
6. Tindra
7. Filippa
8. Linnea
9. Tilde
10. Amanda
1. Ville
2. Linus
3. Neo
4. Rasmus
5. Carl
6. Jonathan
7. Simon
8. Viggo [tie]
8. Tim [tie]
10. Joel

Finally, here are the top baby names in Sweden from a couple of years ago.

Sources: Name Statistics – Statistics Sweden, William, Alice top Swedish baby names

What’s in a Name? (poem)

By the Ogden Nash-like poet Richard Armour:

What shall we name the baby?
What name if a boy, if a girl?
If a girl, maybe Molly or Merla,
If a boy, maybe Erik or Earl.

Name if after a wealthy uncle,
And hope for a change in his will.
Will, in fact, might promote the suggestion,
Or Wilma might fill the bill.

Better still, call it Eks or Zero,
A just-for-the-present name.
Let it later choose what it wishes,
And thus you’ll escape the blame.

Other name-related poems I’ve posted: The Substitute, How They Named the Baby.

Source: “What’s in a Name?” Lakeland Ledger 29 Apr. 1979, Family Weekly section: 27.