Popular Baby Names in Norway, 2016

According to data released back in January by Statistics Norway, the most popular baby names in Norway in 2016 were Nora/Norah and Lucas/Lukas.

Here are Norway’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

norway, girl names, 2016Girl Names
1. Nora/Norah/Noora, 551 baby girls
2. Emma, 410
3. Sara/Sarah/Zara, 379
4. Sofie/Sophie, 367
5. Sofia/Sophia, 340
6. Maja/Maia/Maya, 324
7. Olivia, 323
8. Ella, 313
9. Ingrid/Ingerid/Ingri, 310
10. Emilie, 309

Boy Names
1. William, 498 baby boys
2. Oskar/Oscar, 420
3. Lucas/Lukas, 408
4. Mathias/Matias, 397
5. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip, 396
6. Oliver, 385
7. Jakob/Jacob, 378
8. Emil, 369
9. Noah/Noa, 362
10. Aksel/Axel, 359

That image is a piece of a larger infographic showing the most popular baby names in each Norwegian county. In two counties, Oppland and Aust-Agder, the top girl name last year was the intriguing Tiril. Tiril seems to have no specific meaning; it may have been derived from the (nonsense?) word tirilil from the 19th century poem “Lokkende Toner” by Johan Sebastian Welhaven.

(A similar name we talked about recently was Tirrell.)

I forgot to post Norway’s 2015 rankings, but in 2014 the top names were Nora/Norah and Lucas/Lukas.

Sources: Navn – SSB, Tiril – Nordic Names

Mystery Monday: Quinetta & Quinette

Here are two curiously similar Quin- names that popped up in the data around the same time. So far, I haven’t been able to figure out where either one came from.

The first is Quinetta, which appeared in 1955:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: 12 baby girls named Quinetta [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

It dropped back below the 5-baby threshold the next year and didn’t reappear in the data until 1963.

The second is Quinette, which debuted in 1957:

  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Quinette
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Quinette [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

Girl names with -ette and -etta endings (like Annette and Loretta) were popular mid-century, but girl names starting with Quin- (like Quintina and Quintella) were rare, making the sudden appearance of a pair of Quin- names pretty noteworthy.

I doubt that Burnu Acquanetta was an influence here, but I also can’t rule her out.

Do you guys have any ideas?

Five-Name Friday: Boy Name Like Seth, Not Like John

five name friday, boy name, seth, isaac, thomas, leo

Welcome to Five Name Friday! Here’s today’s baby name request:

Our last name is Jones and we’d like a simple, traditional boy name for our son, but not something that’s ever been very common, like John. Names that we like are Seth, Isaac, Thomas, and Leo.

Can you come up with five great baby name suggestions for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Pick your five names before looking at anybody else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you suggest these five names to somebody in real life?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be deleted.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[You can also comment on previous Five-Name Friday posts, or send me your own 2-sentence baby name request using the contact form.]

Baby Named for Judge Who Granted Divorce

In 1928, the Aberdeen Journal mentioned a London woman who had been granted a separation from her husband by London Magistrate Basil B. Watson.

She was apparently very pleased about the decision, because when she later gave birth to a baby boy, she named him “Basil Watson Ratcliffe.”

(I checked the records — a Basil Watson Ratcliffe was indeed born in London in 1927.)

Source: What’s in a Name? Choosing a Name for a Baby

The Baby Name Tirrell

television, actress, tirrell barbery, soap opera
9-year-old Tirrell Barbery in 1956

The name Tirrell has been used regularly for baby boys since the ’70s — no doubt thanks to the popularity of the similar name Terrell — but it first appeared in the baby name data as a girl name in the 1950s:

  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 13 baby girls named Tirrell [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted

While it only ever charted once for girls, the spike in usage that year was high enough to make Tirrell the top one-hit wonder girl name of 1956.

So where did the name come from?

Looks like the inspiration was child actress Tirrell Barbery. She’s best remembered for playing the role of Carol on the TV soap opera Love of Life for four years in the mid-1950s. Various adults on the show vied for custody of Carol, who was actually went mute for a time after witnessing a murder. (She began speaking again after the murderer confessed.)

chris barbery, 1952
Chris Barbery in LIFE
I can’t pinpoint the reason why usage of the name Tirrell suddenly spiked in 1956, though. Perhaps the character had more airtime in 1955 or 1956?

Regardless, I can tell you that Tirrell, who went by the nickname Terry, was born in the mid-1940s to Aldo and Elizabeth Barbieri. She and her older brother Christopher, also a child actor, grew up in New Jersey. Both kids appeared on TV throughout the 1950s, and both used the Anglicized surname Barbery.

While I couldn’t find a good photo of young Tirrell, I did find a shot of her brother Chris trying out for the role of Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island in 1952. (He didn’t get the part.)

[Update: Managed to find a photo! Came from the October 1956 issue of Radio-TV Mirror.]

Tirrell’s first name appears to be based on the English/Irish surname Tirrell, a variant of Tyrrell, which may have been derived from a Norman nickname for a stubborn person. Another theory is that it was derived from the personal name Thurold (Thor + “rule” in Old Norse).

Tirrell Barbieri went on to graduate from Vassar College, get married, and move to California. While she never returned to acting, evidence of her brief acting career will always be preserved on the baby name charts…


  • Hanks, Patrick, Kate Hardcastle and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of First Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • “Shore Area Engagements Told.” Asbury Park Press 19 Jul. 1967: 26.
  • “Speaking of Pictures…” Life 19 May 1952: 22.
  • Tirrell B. “Terry” Graham bio (1998) – Smart Voter

P.S. Did you know about the Norwegian name Tiril?