Babies named for the Klondike Gold Rush

Klondikers ascending to the summit of Chilkoot Pass in Alaska in 1898.
Klondikers on Chilkoot Pass

Did you know that many dozens of U.S. babies were given names inspired by the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899)?

Though the baby name Klondike has never appeared in the U.S. baby name data, it certainly would have (in both 1897 and 1898) had complete sets of data been collected during those years.

Here’s a list of many of the Klondikes (and Klondykes) I was able to find in the records. Most of the below were born in the U.S., but I threw in a couple of Canadians as well. :)

  • Klondyke A. Applegate, b. 1897 in Kansas
  • Klondike D. Ator, b. 1898 in Texas
  • Lorenson Klondike Bandy, b. 1898 in Illinois
  • Walter Klondike Boehm, b. 1897 in Missouri
  • Klondike Earl Bogardeus, b. 1897 in Ohio
  • Klondyke Gold Brown, b. 1897 in Ontario
  • Klondyke Buckles, b. 1897 in Oklahoma
  • Walter Klondike Carter, b. 1897 in Maine
  • Goda Klondike Clark, b. 1897 in Missouri
  • Clyde Klondike Counsell, b. 1897 in Utah
  • Klondike T. Crowley, b. 1897 in Yukon
  • Joseph Klondike Dawson, b. 1898 in Tennessee
  • Rufus Klondyke Derry, b. 1897 in Iowa
  • Klondike J. Dodd, b. 1898 in Texas
  • Mabel Klondike Elkins, b. 1897 in West Virginia
  • Goldy Klondike Fletcher, b. 1897 in Nebraska
  • Klondike P. Flint, b. 1897 in Ohio
  • Klondike Gray, b. 1896 in North Carolina
  • John Klondike Griffith, b. 1898 in Massachusetts
  • Klondyke Hardin, b. 1897 in Ohio
  • Harold Klondike Hathaway, b. 1897 in Massachusetts
  • Harry Klondike Hayes, b. 1897 in Washington
  • Kittie Klondike Hughes, b. 1898 in Texas
  • Klondike Goldy Kelly, b. 1897 in Ohio
  • Earl Klondike Kinahan, b. 1898 in Illinois
  • Klondyke Kirkendall, b. 1898 in West Virginia
  • Pearl Klondike Lincoln, b. 1897 in Pennsylvania
  • Chester Klondike Lindsay, b. 1897 in Missouri
  • Dewey Klondike Livingston, b. 1898 in Oklahoma
  • George Klondike Lynch, b. 1897 in Texas
  • Klondyke Moore, b. 1897 in California
  • Loren Klondike Philleo, b. 1898 in Washington
  • Klondike Schneider, b. 1897 in Illinois
  • Klondike Dewey Sengelmann, b. 1898 in Texas
  • Jack Klondyke Shriver, b. 1897 in Kansas
  • Klondyke Alaska Slaughter, b. 1897 in Kentucky
  • Klondike McKinley Smith, b. 1897 in Oregon
  • Vannie Klondyke Smith, b. 1898 in West Virginia
  • Roy Klondike Temple, b. 1898 in Oregon
  • Klondike McKinley Thomas, b. 1897 in Vermont
  • Klondike DeMoss Tucker, b. 1897 in Indiana
  • Klondike Van Horn, b. 1897 in Arkansas
  • Klondike B. Winter, b. 1897 in Michigan
  • Klondike Wymore, b. 1897 in Nebraska

I love how some parents took the theme even further with additional given names like “Goldy” and “Alaska.” Others decided to commemorate war hero George Dewey or U.S. President William McKinley.

The alternative spelling, Klondyke, was almost as prevalent in the records as the standard spelling. No doubt the newspapers — which regularly spelled the word with a “y” for some reason — were an influence here.

"Klondyke" headlines from the San Francisco Call (Aug. 1897) and the Los Angeles Herald (Jul. 1898).
Pair of “Klondyke” newspaper headlines (late 1890s)

So, how did the Klondike River — after which Klondike Gold Rush is named — come to be called “Klondike”?

The word is derived from the river’s original name: Tr’ondëk in the Hän language. Tr’ondëk means “hammerstone,” which refers to the large stones used to hammer stakes into the riverbed to create fishing weirs (which trapped fish such as salmon).

What are your thoughts on the name Klondike?

Sources: The Dawson City Museum – South Gallery, SSA, FamilySearch.org
Image: from the Eric A. Hegg collection at the University of Washington Libraries

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