Baby name story: Wilfred

The Wilf Carter album "I'm Ragged but I'm Right" (1959)
Wilf Carter album

On October 11, 1933, a baby boy was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Elder.

He was born while the family was listening to a radio broadcast featuring Canada’s first country music star, Wilfred Carter, “the yodeling cowboy.”

And so what was the baby named? Wilfred Charles Elder.

Mrs. Elder wrote a letter to Wilf Carter to let him know about her son’s name. Here’s an excerpt:

We listen to your program every night and we surely do enjoy them and wish they were longer. On October 11, while all the rest in the house were listening to your delightful singing I gave birth to a lovely nine-pound boy and it was suggested then that we should name him after you and so we did and I only hope that when he grows up he will be as talented as you.

What does the name Wilfred mean?

It’s the modern version of the Old English name Wilfrith (or Wilfrið), which is made up of the elements wil, meaning “will” or “desire,” and frið, meaning “peace.” Other Anglo-Saxon names with “frith” as a second element include Alfrith, Ingifrith, Ketilfrith and Osfrith. (These are male and female names listed in the Domesday book.)

In the U.S., the baby name Wilfred was most popular in the 1910s and 1920s.


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