How popular is the baby name Alla in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Alla.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alla


Posts that Mention the Name Alla

Babies named for Alla Nazimova

Actress Alla Nazimova in the movie "A Doll's House" (1922).
Alla Nazimova in “A Doll’s House

Russian-American silent film actress Alla Nazimova (pronounced nah-ZEE-moh-vah) was most popular in the U.S. in the late 1910s and early 1920s.

After becoming a theater star in Russia in the early 1900s, she moved to New York and made her Broadway debut in 1906. Then she successfully transitioned from stage to screen:

In the 1910s Nazimova became one of the first Broadway actresses to match and even surpass her stage success when she became a screen star, reportedly drawing the highest salary in Hollywood from Metro, and creating the type of European exotic with which Pola Negri and, in a different way, Garbo and Deitrich would later become identified.

She was often credited simply as “Nazimova.” Her film company, founded in 1917, was also named Nazimova:

"A Nazimova Production"

The name Nazimova has never surfaced in the U.S. baby name data, but I’ve found several dozen U.S. females named Nazimova. Most were born around the time the actress was at the height of her fame. Some examples…

  • Nazimova Ratleff (née Bordenave), b. 1917 in Louisiana
  • Nazimova Marvine Gatwood (née Edwards), b. 1919 in Ohio
  • Nazimova McKinley (née Hastings), b. 1920 in Indiana
  • Nazimova Goodale (née Hatcher), b. 1920 in Iowa
  • Nazimova Smith, b. circa 1920 in Louisiana
  • Nazimova Davis (née Ebright), b. circa 1920 in Louisiana
  • Nazimova Williams (née Tolbert), b. 1921 in Mississippi
  • Nazimova Dean (née Moore), b. 1921 in Oklahoma
  • Nazimova Sweeney (née Brunson), b. 1921 in Indiana
  • Nazimova Perry, b. 1922 in Pennsylvania
  • Dorothy Nazimova Shaffer (née Montgomery), b. 1922 in Texas
  • Nazimova Regina Fleming (née Jeanfreau), b. 1922 in Louisiana
  • Nazimova Cathrine Naleilehua Katz, b. 1922 in Hawaii
  • Nazimova Brunious (née Santiago), b. 1923 in Louisiana
  • Nazimova Lee (née Holland), b. 1923 in Georgia
  • Nazimova Mae Niedermeyer (née Beckett), b. 1924 in Iowa
  • Nazimova Anderson, b. 1925 in Texas

Alla Nazimova was born in Yalta in the late 1870s. Her birth name was Mariam Edez Adelaida “Alla” Leventon. Her stage surname, Nazimova, is said to have been inspired by the character Nadezhda Nazimova from a Russian novel called Children of the Streets.

What are your thoughts on Nazimova as a given name?

P.S. Nazimova’s goddaughter, Anne Frances “Nancy” Robbins, also became an actress — under the name Nancy Davis. Nancy married fellow actor Ronald Reagan in 1952, and went on to serve as First Lady of the United States during most of the 1980s.

Sources:

Where did the baby name Francelia come from?

Actress Francelia Billington (1895-1934)
Francelia Billington

Here’s a rare, old-fashioned name that’s been given two distinct pop culture boosts over the years — one from the movies, one from the weather.

The movie connection is especially interesting because, as far as I can tell, this is probably the first name to debut on the charts thanks to an actress.

Usage of the name Francelia (pronounced fran-SEE-lee-ah) goes back to at least the 1700s. The name was most popular in the mid-1800s, especially in the Northeastern U.S. (New York state in particular). It seems to be an elaborated form of Frances (“Frenchman”) influenced by either Celia (“sky, heaven”) or Cecilia (“blind”), or both.

Francelia debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1912, probably thanks to early silent film actress Francelia Billington, who was born in Texas in 1895 and appeared in silent films from 1912 until the mid-1920s (and in a single talkie in 1930).

Francelia Billington wasn’t the first silent film actress to become famous, but she was the first whose name debuted on the national baby name list while she was famous. Several other silent film actresses of the 1910s also had distinctive names (e.g., Alla Nazimova, Theda Bara, Kathlyn Williams) but their names had all been listed since the late 1800s.

The SSA data from the 1910s isn’t super-reliable, so I’ve put both the SSA and the Social Security Death Index numbers side-by-side below. For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Francelia as a first name, not as a middle.

Francelia usage (SSA)Francelia usage (SSDI)
19156 baby girls5 people
1914.5 people
191310 baby girls10 people
19125 baby girls [debut]10 people
1911.2 people
1910.4 people
1909.5 people

One of the Francelias above was children’s literature scholar/writer Francelia Butler (née McWilliams) who was born in Ohio in 1913.

The name Francelia has remained rare in the U.S. ever since, though it did see a spike in usage in 1969 thanks to the news of Hurricane Francelia, which hit Central America in early September.

  • 1971: 5 baby girls named Francelia
  • 1970: 10 baby girls named Francelia
  • 1969: 23 baby girls named Francelia (and 8 more named Francellia)
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 7 baby girls named Francelia

Francelia’s last appearance on the SSA’s list was in 1998, with just 7 baby girls. (To be included on the list, a name needs to be given to at least 5 babies.)

Do you like the name Francelia? Would you consider using it for a baby girl?

Sources: SSA, SSDI

Like Symmetry? Try Palindromic Baby Names

palindromic baby names

Did you know that a handful of baby names happen to be palindromes? Here are some names that can be read the same way in either direction (i.e. both forwards and backwards):

Two of these, Hannah and Ava, happen to be very popular for baby girls at the moment.

Need two names? You could consider a pair of names that become a palindrome when written side-by-side (i.e., names that are anagrams of one another):

Aidan & Nadia
Aileen & Neelia
Alan & Nala
Allan & Nalla
Allen & Nella
Amin & Nima
Ariel & Leira
Arik & Kira
Aron & Nora
Avram & Marva
Axel & Lexa
Aydan & Nadya
Ari & Ira
Cam & Mac
Eliah & Haile
Eliam & Maile
Ellen & Nelle
Etan & Nate
Flor & Rolf
Gem & Meg
Iris & Siri
Leon & Noel
Linus & Sunil
Miles & Selim
Nazar & Razan
Nero & Oren

It’s also possible to come up with your own palindromic pairs by flipping traditional names to create brand new names. For instance, I’ve seem James, Kevin, Manuel and Ramon flipped to become Semaj, Nivek, Leunam and Nomar.