Mystery baby name: Theta

Graph of the usage of the baby name Theta in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Theta

Back in 1907, the baby name Theta debuted in the U.S. baby name data, making the top 1,000 for the first and only time:

  • 1909: 7 baby girls named Theta
  • 1908: 6 baby girls named Theta
  • 1907: 20 baby girls named Theta (rank: 868th) [debut]
  • 1906: unlisted
  • 1905: unlisted

Theta was not only the top debut name that year, but it was also one of the top debut names of the entire decade (tied with Rosevelt, a misspelling of Roosevelt that debuted in 1900 with 20 baby boys).

Here are the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Social Security Death Index (SSDI) numbers side by side:

Girls named Theta (SSA)Girls named Theta (SSDI)
*Debut, †Peak usage

While neither set of data is perfect, both indicate that Theta saw increased usage in 1907. I can’t figure out why, though. Literature is often a good bet for this time period, but so far I’ve been unable to link Theta to a particular book or story.

Do you have any idea where Theta came from?

P.S. If you’d like to try a search and want to eliminate all the other Greek letters from your results, add this to your search string:

-alpha -beta -gamma -delta -epsilon -zeta -eta -iota -kappa -lambda -mu -nu -xi -omicron -pi -rho -sigma -tau -upsilon -phi -chi -psi -omega

2 thoughts on “Mystery baby name: Theta

  1. Hi,

    I actually think it may be connected to Greek letters. Alpha, Iota and Delta all had a spike in 1916, and Eta in 1922. Perhaps it was the first graduates of college fraternities, or something similar that caused all these names to become popular at a similar time?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.