How popular is the baby name Belle in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Belle.

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Popularity of the baby name Belle

Posts that mention the name Belle

What gave the baby name Kermit a boost in 1901?

Presidential son Kermit Roosevelt (1889-1943)
Kermit Roosevelt (in 1902)

In November of 1900, Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the U.S. presidential election.

In September of 1901, less than a year later, President McKinley was assassinated and succeeded by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt’s second son, Kermit, had turned 11 a month before the election, and was still 11 when his father became president of the United States.

His rare first name, Kermit, debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1900 and saw a sizeable boost in usage the very next year. In fact, Kermit was the fastest-rising baby name of 1901 (in terms of relative increase).

  • 1903: 12 baby boys named Kermit [rank: 679th]
  • 1902: 16 baby boys named Kermit [rank: 547th]
  • 1901: 17 baby boys named Kermit [rank: 481st]
  • 1900: 6 baby boys named Kermit
  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: unlisted

The earliest decades of the SSA data tend to under-count actual usage, so, for comparison, here’s data from the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for the same period of time:

  • 1903: 107 people with the first name Kermit
  • 1902: 118 people with the first name Kermit
  • 1901: 64 people with the first name Kermit
  • 1900: 12 people with the first name Kermit
  • 1899: 1 person
  • 1898: 2 people

But there’s more to the story than that, because later spikes in the name’s usage also seem to line up with events in Kermit Roosevelt’s life.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Kermit in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Kermit (SSA data)

From March 1909 to June 1910, Kermit accompanied his father on an expedition to Africa. Various photos of Kermit (including the one below) ran in the newspapers both before and during the trip. The SSA data indicates that the name ranked 175th and 193rd, respectively, in 1909 and 1910 — the only two times it’s ever placed inside the boys’ top 200.

Kermit Roosevelt's photo in a newspaper (Sept. 1908)
Newspaper photo of Kermit (Sept. 1908)

In June of 1914, Kermit married Belle Wyatt Willard, the daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain. (Kermit and his father had also just returned from a perilous five-month trip to the Amazon basin, but the newspapers didn’t seem as interested in the second expedition as they were in the wedding.) The same year, the name nearly doubled in usage.

In July of 1918, Kermit’s youngest brother, Quentin, was killed in combat during WWI. Months later, in January of 1919, his famous father died suddenly in his sleep. The name Kermit saw a steep rise in usage in 1918, followed by peak usage (in terms of absolute numbers of babies) in 1919.

(Incidentally, dozens of baby boys were named either “Quentin Kermit” or, more often, “Kermit Quentin” during the first decades of the 1900s. One example: Kermit Quentin Turner, born in Oklahoma in 1919.)

For seven months during 1925, Kermit and his eldest brother, Ted, went on an expedition to the Himalayas. The newspapers (again) seemed only moderately interested in the trip, but the name Kermit did see slightly higher usage in the mid-1920s.

And it saw another uptick in 1943, the year that Kermit Roosevelt — who, during the 1930s, had been hit hard by the Great Depression and also became an alcoholic — committed suicide in Alaska after being medically discharged from the U.S. Army.

Kermit’s name — which was also the middle name of his mother, Edith Kermit Carow — ultimately honored Edith’s uncle, merchant and shipowner Robert Kermit.

The surname Kermit is an Anglicized form of the Manx surname Kermode, which in turn is a form of the Irish surname Mac Diarmada. The Irish surname is derived from the Irish personal name Diarmaid, which is of unknown etymology.

What are your thoughts on the name Kermit?


Images: Kermit Roosevelt and Jack, the dog (LOC); “Kermit Roosevelt” in the Warren Sheaf (Sept. 3, 1908)

Where did the baby name Fola come from in 1911?

Actress and activist Fola La Follette (1882-1970)
Fola La Follette

The simple name Fola has only appeared in the U.S. baby name data twice:

  • 1913: unlisted
  • 1912: 7 baby girls named Fola
  • 1911: 6 baby girls named Fola [debut]
  • 1910: unlisted
  • 1909: unlisted

What put it there?

My guess is Flora “Fola” La Follette (1882-1970), the daughter of well-known Wisconsin politician Robert La Follette and his wife, women’s suffrage leader Isabelle “Belle” Case La Follette.

Fola La Follette, who had embarked upon a career as a stage actress in 1903, was getting extra attention around 1911 for a couple of reasons:

  • First, the news of her engagement and marriage to playwright George Middleton in October of 1911.
  • Second, her efforts as a suffragist. (She started performing the one-woman play How the Vote was Won in 1910, for instance.)
Fola La Follette pictured in a newspaper
Fola in the papers

It looks like baby girls were being named after Fola La Follette earlier than 1911, though. Here’s some data from the Social Security Death Index:

  • 1913: 4 people named Fola (1 died in Wisconsin)
  • 1912: 7 people named Fola
  • 1911: 12 people named Fola (1 died in WI)
  • 1910: 4 people named Fola (1 died in WI)
  • 1909: 3 people named Fola (1 died in WI)
  • 1908: 5 people named Fola (1 died in WI)
  • 1907: 2 people named Fola (1 died in WI)
  • 1906: 3 people named Fola (1 died in WI)
  • 1905: 4 people named Fola
  • 1904: 6 people named Fola (2 died in WI)
  • 1903: 2 people named Fola
  • 1902: 0 people named Fola
  • 1901: 0 people named Fola
  • 1900: 0 people named Fola

Not only does it show a similar spike in usage, but it suggests that interest in “Fola” picked up around the time Fola La Follette began performing, and also reveals that a disproportionate number of these Folas died in Wisconsin — suggesting that many of them were also born in Wisconsin. (Fola Norton, for example, was born in Wisconsin in 1910 and died there in 1999.)

I even found three females with “Fola La Follette” as their first and middle names, including Fola La Follette Kessler (née Sheaffer), born in Iowa in 1905.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Fola? (Do you like it more or less than Flora?)


Popular baby names in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1868

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

Years ago, I discovered three documents with relatively complete lists of births for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868. I’ve already created Providence’s baby name rankings for 1866 and 1867 using the first two documents, and today (finally!) I’ve got the third set of rankings for you.

Let’s start with some stats:

  • 1,762 babies were born in Providence in 1868, by my count. According to the introduction of the document I’m using a source, however, the total number is 1,866. I don’t know how to account for this discrepancy.
  • 1,617 of these babies (791 girls and 826 boys) had names that were known at the time of publication. The other 145 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps these babies died young and never received a name.
  • 284 unique names (143 girl names and 141 boy names) were shared among these 1,617 babies.

And now, on to the names!

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Sarah
4. Ellen
5. Margaret
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 39
  3. Sarah, 38
  4. Ellen, 31
  5. Margaret, 28
  6. Elizabeth, 25
  7. Alice, 24
  8. Anna, 20
  9. Ann, 16
  10. Emma, 14
  11. Eliza, 13
  12. Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
  13. Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
  14. Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
  15. Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
  17. Anne, Carrie, Hattie, Ida, Mabel & Nellie, 6 each (6-way tie)
  18. Eva, Joanna, Lydia & Rosanna, 5 each (4-way tie)
  19. Abby, Charlotte, Emily, Jessie, Josephine, Lillian, Lizzie, Louisa, Louise, Marion, Phebe, Rosella & Theresa, 4 each (13-way tie)
  20. Anastasia, Bertha, Edith, Gertrude, Isabella, Nettie, Pearl, Rebecca & Susanna, 3 each (9-way tie)
  21. Ada, Almira, Edna, Fannie, Flora, Frances, Helen, Henrietta, Inez, Laura, Lelia, Lillie, Lottie, Maud, Priscilla & Virginia, 2 each (16-way tie)
  22. Addie, Adelaide, Adelicia, Adeline, Agatha, Allene, Amanda, Amy, Angelica, Antoinette, Arabella, Augusta, Aurelia, B.*, Belle, Bessie, Betsey, Catharine, Celia, Claudia, Della, Eleanor, Eleanora, Estella, Estelle, Esther, Eudavelia, Eulalie, Evelyn, Francenia, Genevieve, Georgia, Honora, Imogene, Jesse, Juliette, Kate, Leonora, Lilla, Lillias, Lorena, Luella, Luetta, Magdalena, Marian, Marietta, Matilda, Mercy, Minerva, Miriam, Myra, Myrtis, Nanoan, Nora, Pauline, Reberta, Rhoda, Roberta, Rosa, Rose, Ruth, Sabrina, Sophia, Stella & Winifred, 1 each (65-way tie)

*What do you think the “B.” might have stood for?

All Boy Names

  1. John, 112 baby boys
  2. William, 68
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 52
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 37
  7. Frederick, 25
  8. Henry, 23
  9. Joseph, 22
  10. Edward, 19
  11. Daniel & Patrick, 18 each (tie)
  12. Robert, 17
  13. Frank, 16
  14. Francis, 15
  15. Walter, 13
  16. Michael, 11
  17. Albert, 10
  18. Arthur, 9
  19. Benjamin, Peter & Samuel, 7 each (3-way tie)
  20. Freddie, Harry, Herbert & Stephen, 6 each (4-way tie)
  21. Edwin, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin & Timothy, 5 each (5-way tie)
  22. Bernard, Edmund, Eugene, Louis, Philip & Richard, 4 each (6-way tie)
  23. Alfred, Augustus, Christopher, Eben, Horace, Howard, Hugh, Jeremiah, Matthew & Willard, 3 each (10-way tie)
  24. Abel, Barney, Byron, Dennis, Edgar, Ferdinand, Gilbert, Luke, Max, Nathaniel, Owen, Roger, Solomon & Victor, 2 each (14-way tie)
  25. Alden, Alexis, Allen, Alrick, Amos, Andrew, Ansel, Anson, Archibald, Asa, Ashby, Bartholomew, Calvin, Carlos, Clarence, Clark, Clarke, Clement, Clifford, Collyer, Crolander, Darius, David, Earl, Elisha, Ellis, Eri, Ernest, Erwin, Eusebe, Everett, Felix, Forrest, Foster, Franklin, Fred, Gardner, Jacob, Jason, Jerome, Jireh, Joaneto, Josiah, Jubal, Justin, Lawson, Lodovic, Louis, Lucien, Lyman, Major, Malachi, Manuel, Melbourne, Monroe, Morey, Morris, Myron, Nelson, Nicholas, Olney, Orville, Oscar, Pendleton, Ralph, Reuben, Rolfe, Rowland, Rufus, Simeon, Simon, Steven, Stewart, Theodore, Ulysses*, Volney, Warren, Whiting, Willie & Winchester, 1 each (80-way tie)

*Ulysses was likely named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected president in 1868.


Finally, nineteen sets of twins were born in Providence in 1868. (All of these twin names are accounted for in the rankings above.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twins
Caroline & Harriet
Lucy & Lydia
Mary & Rosanna
Margaret & Mary
Lizzie & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Anne & Thomas
Emma & Charles
Florence & William
Hannah & Josiah
Ida & John
Isabella & John
Jennie & Horace
Charles & William
Francis & Robert
George & John
James & John
James & Stephen
(blank) & (blank)

Have any thoughts about these rankings, or about any of the specific names above?

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number three. Providence: Millard & Harker, 1870.

Popular baby names in Prince Edward Island (Canada), 2021

According to Prince Edward Island’s Vital Statistics Office, the most popular baby names on the island in 2021 were Alice and Oliver.

Here are PEI’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Alice, 9 baby girls
  2. Scarlett, 8
  3. Grace, Isla & Ivy, 6 each (3-way tie)
  4. Amelia, Anna, Annie, Ava, Charlotte, Ella, Ellie, Everly, Isabella, Lexi, Lucy, Maeve, Olivia, Sophia, Sophie & Willow, 5 each (16-way tie)
  5. Adeline, Eliza, Eloise, Evelyn, Georgia, Katherine, Kinsley, Nova* & Sadie, 4 each (9-way tie)
  6. Abigail, Adalyn, Addison, Brynlee, Claire, Clara, Emery, Iris, Lydia, Lyla, Nina, Sarah & Skylar, 3 each (13-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 13 baby boys
  2. Jack & Theo, 11 each (tie)
  3. Liam, 9
  4. Austin, Ezra, Jackson, Leo & Noah, 8 each (5-way tie)
  5. Benjamin, Emmett, Ethan, Lucas* & Theodore, 7 each (5-way tie)
  6. Charlie, Henry, Luca & William, 6 each (4-way tie)
  7. Gavin, Hudson, James, Owen & Rowan, 5 each (5-way tie)
  8. Arlo, Beau, Bennett, Elijah, Elliot, Everett, Finn, Levi, Lincoln, Max, Remy, Ryker, Sawyer, Simon, Walter & Weston, 4 each (16-way tie)

These rankings are based on data covering the year up to December 13th. By that date, 619 baby girls and 704 baby boys had been born on the island.

Unexpectedly, PEI released a complete — albeit provisional — list of baby names this time around. So this year we get to check out some of the rare names bestowed just once on the island last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Anamika, Athaliah, Brayleigh, Cloud Jrai, Drienne, Élodie, Fearyn, Gray, Haddow, Ishani, Jorie, Kasia, Lorriel, Meekhal, Morayo, Neeltje, Olive-Belle, Paloma, Rilla, Ruthy, Seren, Sudisha, Tomi, Valeah, ZeraAbdul-Rahman, Bane, Berrick, Chivir, Draven, Elon, Felix, Grayden, Hanzebriel, Ibaad, Jordy, Kelton, Leonidas, Maniriho, Marchbank, Najid, Oaks, Porter, Ranaridh, Revel, Sulla, Tully, Wyndham, Yanick, Zeyang

The boy name Bane may have been inspired by the DC Comics supervillain Bane, and the boy name Ranaridh is similar to the name of former Cambodian prime minister Norodom Ranariddh, who died in late 2021.

Finally, in 2020, the top baby names on the island were Nora/Charlotte (tie) and Hudson.

*Nova and Lucas might actually be 4th-place names. My source included conflicting information.

Source: Alice, Oliver most popular P.E.I. baby names in 2021 (12/29)