The Baby Name Wetona

heart of wetona, norma talmadge, silent film, 1919

Here’s a curious one: Wetona. The name started appearing in the baby name data during the second half of the 1910s:

  • 1922: 10 baby girls named Wetona
  • 1921: 6 baby girls named Wetona
  • 1920: 12 baby girls named Wetona [peak]
  • 1919: 9 baby girls named Wetona
  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: 5 baby girls named Wetona [debut]
  • 1915: unlisted

The SSA data from that far back isn’t terribly reliable, though, so here’s SSDI data for the same time period:

  • 1922: 6 Wetonas
  • 1921: 4 Wetonas
  • 1920: 9 Wetonas and 1 Wetonah
  • 1919: 10 Wetonas, 1 Wetonah, and 1 person with the middle name Wetona
  • 1918: 1 Wetona
  • 1917: 1 Wetona
  • 1916: 1 Wetona and 1 Wetonah
  • 1915: none

What put Wetona (and Wetonah) on the map in 1916? The play The Heart of Wetona, which was written by George Scarborough and performed on Broadway from February to May, 1916. It starred actress Lenore Ulric as the “Indian princess” Wetona.

How did Scarborough come up with the name Wetona? I’m not sure that he did. “The play was originally called Oklahoma and focused on problems of religious leaders in the new state.” It was then rewritten by theatrical producer/playwright David Belasco, who “changed some of the characters to Indians and the locale to a reservation.”

A few years later, in 1919, two things happened. First, the play was turned into a silent film starring Norma Talmadge. Second, the song “Heart of Wetona” — which was “inspired by and dedicated to Norma Talmadge” — was published. These two things together account for the increased usage of the name Wetona that year.

Do you like the name Wetona? Do you think it’s usable nowadays?

Sources:


Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2016

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2016!

As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.

On to the names…

Luna, +849

  • Up from 2,796 baby girls in 2015 to 3,645 in 2016.
  • 6th-highest raw-number increase on the girls’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Luna Simone, daughter of singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen.

Camila, +765

Greyson, +704

  • Up from 3,591 baby boys in 2015 to 4,295 in 2016.
  • 8th-highest raw-number increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Adonis, +443

Kehlani, +272

Wade, +232

  • Up from 553 baby boys in 2015 to 785 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Prince, +187

  • Up from 820 baby boys in 2015 to 1,007 in 2016.
  • The name Princess also saw a jump in usage: 268 baby girls in 2015 to 369 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Prince.

Lyanna, +154

  • Up from 62 baby girls in 2015 to 216 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Game of Thrones.

Alessia, +130

Wilder, +122

  • Up from 215 baby boys in 2015 to 337 in 2016.
  • 9th-highest ranking increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Wilder also saw higher usage among baby girls: 22 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Gene Wilder.

Canaan, +99

  • Up from 283 baby boys in 2015 to 382 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: son of Oprah Winfrey (she announced this name in late 2015).
    • According to a 2010 biography, Winfrey’s son’s legal first name was Vincent.

Cyrus, +91

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2015 to 722 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Creed, +78

Bowie, +77

  • Up from 53 baby boys in 2015 to 130 in 2016.
  • Bowie also saw higher usage among baby girls: 43 in 2015 to 75 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of David Bowie.

Muhammad, +77

  • Up from 881 baby boys in 2015 to 958 in 2016.
  • The name Muhammadali also saw a jump in usage: 12 baby boys in 2015 to 24 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Ivanka, +74

  • Up from 37 baby girls in 2015 to 111 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Cohen, +68

  • Up from 1,017 baby boys in 2015 to 1,085 in 2016.
  • Cohen also saw higher usage among baby girls: 12 in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Leonard Cohen.

Queen, +49

  • Up from 148 baby girls in 2015 to 197 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: the TV show Queen Sugar (2016-) and the movie Queen of Katwe (2016).

Melania, +41

  • Up from 90 baby girls in 2015 to 131 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s wife Melania.

Moana, +38

  • Up from 18 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Jupiter, +36

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 78 in 2016.
  • Jupiter also saw higher usage among baby boys: 25 in 2015 to 41 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Hillary, +34

Simone, +33

  • Up from 340 baby girls in 2015 to 373 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and celebrity baby Luna Simone.

Doris, +32

  • Up from 85 baby girls in 2015 to 117 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016).

Dream, +30

  • Up from 98 baby _s in 2015 to 128 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Kardashian baby Dream Renée.

Rio, +29

  • Up from 103 baby boys in 2015 to 132 in 2016.
  • Rio also saw higher usage among baby girls: 38 in 2015 to 61 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Malachi, +27

  • Up from 2,558 baby boys in 2015 to 2,585 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Ali, +23

  • Up from 1,060 baby boys in 2015 to 1,083 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Barron, +20

  • Up from 74 baby boys in 2015 to 94 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s son Barron.

Miesha, +19

  • Up from 13 baby girls in 2015 to 32 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: MMA fighter Miesha Tate.

Onyx, +18

  • Up from 38 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Onyx saw an even higher jump in usage among baby boys: 118 in 2015 to 172 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Onyx Solace, daughter of Alanis Morissette.

Francis, +17

  • Up from 619 baby boys in 2015 to 636 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Merrick, +17

  • Up from 191 baby boys in 2015 to 208 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Judge Merrick Garland.

Ajax, +16

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 33 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Juno, +13

  • Up from 86 baby girls in 2015 to 99 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Keanu, +13

  • Up from 197 baby boys in 2015 to 210 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Keanu (2016).

Halsey, re-entered with 12

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 12 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Halsey (born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane).

Valor, +12

  • Up from 78 baby boys in 2015 to 90 in 2016.
  • Valor also saw higher usage among baby girls: 6 in 2015 to 14 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Hamilton, +11

  • Up from 86 baby boys in 2015 to 97 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Sanders, +11

  • Up from 12 baby boys in 2015 to 23 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, +10

  • Up from 11 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Omran, +10

  • Up from 7 baby boys in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh.

Elle, +9

  • Up from 816 baby girls in 2015 to 825 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Elle King.

Teresa, +9

  • Up from 426 baby girls in 2015 to 435 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: canonization of Mother Teresa.

Dak, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NFL player Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott.

Wrigley, +8

  • Up from 22 baby boys in 2015 to 30 in 2016.
  • Wrigley also saw higher usage among baby girls: 15 in 2015 to 18 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Chicago Cubs’ World Series win.

Boomer, +7

  • Up from 5 baby boys in 2015 to 12 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Boomer Robert, son of Michael Phelps.

Dory, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Finding Dory (2016).

Maui, re-entered with 5

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 5 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Wilson, +5

  • Up from 433 baby boys in 2015 to 438 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Sully, +4

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Sully (2016).

Teyana, +3

  • Up from 47 baby girls in 2015 to 50 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Teyana Taylor.

Draymond, +2

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2015 to 8 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NBA player Draymond Green.

Daya, +1

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 43 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Daya (born Grace Martine Tandon).

Names that went down in usage from 2015 to 2016:

Names not in the SSA data in either 2015 or 2016:

  • Angel Dust
  • Aroldis
  • Bison
  • Broncs
  • Cubby
  • Curiosity
  • Dopinder
  • Eleven
  • Emayatzy
  • E’myri
  • Esperanto
  • Hermine
  • Ingwen
  • Jikan
  • Jonbenet
  • Lorca
  • Kunta
  • Laremy
  • Linmanuel
  • Maga
  • MacGyver
  • Mountain
  • Moushumi
  • Ode
  • Phiona
  • Regé-Jean
  • Rykiel
  • Trump
  • Usain
  • Voltron
  • Zobrist

Some initial reactions…

I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.

I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?

usain bolt, race, 100m, rio, olympics
© 2016 Cameron Spencer/Getty

Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.

Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…

How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2015 Pop Culture Baby Name Game that have started/continued to do well: Adaline, Arlo, Bjorn, Bryshere, Finn, Furiosa, Gigi, Hakeem, Jedi, Joy, Kylo, Lagertha, Lucious, Margot, Mars, Rey, Saint, and Sullivan. Even more interesting is Atticus, which saw a drop in usage in 2016 after rising steadily for years. (Here’s more about Atticus and the Go Set a Watchman debacle.) The usage of Becky decreased as well — could Beyoncé’s song “Sorry” have anything to do with it?

Top Boy Name Debuts of 2016

boy names, baby names, debut names, 2016

Yuvin was the boy name that debuted most impressively on the U.S. charts in 2016.

In order for a rare baby name to debut on the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list, it has to be given to at least 5 babies of either one gender or the other within a given year.

Of all the boy names that debuted in 2016, the following were the most popular:

1. Yuvin, 34 baby boys
2. Kaulder, 32
3. Negan, 24
4. Anuel, 19
5. Noxx, 16
6. Huckson, 14
7. Shivaay, 13
8. Bento, 12
9. Eizan, 12
10. Kasiah, 12

Other boy names that debuted were Eadric, Barkot, Dansby, Bexar, Calcifer, Maccabee, Naz, Grizzly, Hirving, Isco, Mox, Rizzo, Astro, Crown, December, Krash, October, Olivander, Pinny, Range, Chrisander, Hux, Kloud, Klutch, Luffy, Nexus, Ocelotl, Ozlo, Quigley, and Wilco.

Where do these names come from? Here are a few explanations/guesses:

  • Kaulder – from the movie The Last Witch Hunter.
  • Negan – from the TV show The Walking Dead.
  • Shivaay – from the movie Shivaay.
  • Dansby – from baseball player Dansby Swanson.
  • Calcifer – from the book/movie character created by author Diana Wynne Jones…?
  • Hirving – from Mexican footballer Hirving Lozano.
  • Isco – from Spanish footballer Isco (real name Francisco Alarcón Suárez).
  • Wilco – from the ’90s alt-rock band…?

Do you know what events/people might have inspired the others? (I’m especially curious about Bento. It’s making me hungry…)

Here are the top boy name debuts of 2015.

Top Girl Name Debuts of 2016

girl names, baby names, debut names, 2016

Movie-inspired Rey was the girl name that debuted most impressively on the U.S. charts in 2016.

In order for a rare baby name to debut on the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list, it has to be given to at least 5 babies of either one gender or the other within a given year.

Of all the girl names that debuted in 2016, the following were the most popular:

1. Rey, 63 baby girls
2. Khelani, 29
3. Yurany, 18
4. Eretria, 17
5. Cirilla, 16
6. Mehlani, 16
7. Osinachi, 16
8. Ahitana, 14
9. Iselis, 14
10. Shivanya, 13

Other girl names that debuted were Hathaway, Dashly, Thatcher, Riverly, Wrenlee, Skaii, Yaz, Zyva, Furiosa, Kylo, Lagertha, Brilliance, Finely, Liss, Million, Tafari, Amaranth, Artist, Blessence, Caliber, Ceridwen, Curie, Flourish, Linux, Pryor, Versailles, and Veruca.

Where do these names come from? Here are a few explanations:

  • Rey – from the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • Khelani – variant of Kehlani, last year’s top debut name.
  • Eretria – from the TV show The Shannara Chronicles.
  • Cirilla – from the video game The Witcher.
  • Iselis – from the reality TV show Gran Hermano (USA version).
  • Shivanya – from the TV show Naagin.
  • Furiosa – from the movie Mad Max.

Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?

Here are the top girl name debuts of 2015.

The Return of Rousey?

ronda rousey, ufc, mma
© 2015 Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News
Though I’m talking about the baby name and not the UFC fighter, the two are inextricably linked.

In 2015, California-born mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey was at the peak of her fame. How do I know this? Just look at Google’s 2015 search rankings. She was the most searched-for athlete, the 3rd most searched-for person, and the 5th most searched-for term overall in the U.S.

The same year, the name Rousey debuted in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 2015: 6 baby girls named Rousey [debut]
  • 2014: unlisted

While 2016 started out pretty well for Rousey (she hosted Saturday Night Live in January, for instance) the year ended with her second UFC defeat, along with talk of her retiring from MMA altogether. Even more telling, Ronda Rousey was nowhere to be found among the top search terms of 2016.

So will her surname be back on the baby name charts in 2016? How about 2017? What do you think?

P.S. Here are some of the other girl names that debuted in 2015.