How popular is the baby name Friedrich 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 Friedrich.

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Popularity of the baby name Friedrich


Posts that mention the name Friedrich

Where did the baby name Liesl come from in 1965?

The character Liesl von Trapp from the movie "The Sound of Music" (1965)
Liesl von Trapp from “The Sound of Music

The German name Liesl (pronounced LEE-zl), which is related to Elizabeth, first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1965:

  • 1967: 96 baby girls named Liesl
  • 1966: 100 baby girls named Liesl
  • 1965: 24 baby girls named Liesl [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

This was the year the Oscar-winning movie musical The Sound of Music was released. Set in Austria in the late 1930s, the film told the story of singing governess Maria (played by Julie Andrews) and featured the seven children of the von Trapp family: Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl.

Eldest child Liesl (played by Charmian Carr) was “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” as she explains in the song:

The movie was modeled after the Tony award-winning musical of the same name, which was ultimately based upon the 1949 memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp. (Maria ended up marrying the children’s widowed father, Georg, and thereby becoming a von Trapp herself.)

In real life, the seven von Trapp children were named Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna, and Martina. Later, Georg and Maria welcomed three more: Rosmarie, Eleonore (nn “Lorli”), and Johannes.

Sources: The Sound of Music – Wikipedia, SSA

Babies named for Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher

Prussian military leader Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742-1819)
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher

At the age of 71, retired Prussian military leader Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher returned to active service after war broke out (again) between Prussia and France in early 1813.

Later the same year, he was one of the victors in the Battle of Leipzig (the “largest military engagement in 19th-century Europe”), and, in mid-1815, he became an important contributor to the Allied defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

Many dozens of babies were named for Blücher in the early 1800s. Most of them were born in Germany and England, but others were born in the U.S. and elsewhere. Here’s a sampling…

  • Frederick Von Blucher Scrutton, b. 1814 in England
  • John Christoph Blucher Ehringhaus, b. 1814 in the U.S. (North Carolina)
  • William Blucher Dolton, b. 1814 in England
  • Christian Gebhard Lebrecht Karup, b. 1814 in Denmark
  • Blucher Wellington Macan, b. 1815 in England
  • Gebhard Leberecht Friedrich Wilhelm Klammrott, b. 1815 in Germany
  • Wellington Blucher Peirce, b. 1815 in the U.S. (Vermont)
  • Friedrich Gebhard Leberecht Conrad, b. circa 1815 in Germany
  • Henry Wellington Blucher Haggis, b 1816 in England
  • Blücher Wellington Bülow Leopold Herrmann, b. circa 1816 in Germany
    • His third given name no doubt refers to Bülow. :)
  • Franz Blücher Wellington Victor Fischer, b. 1816 in Prussia
  • Gebhard Lebrecht Weltzein, b. 1816 in Germany
  • Blucher Ingham, b. circa 1817 in England
  • Paul Gebhard Lebrecht Riebow, b. 1818 in Germany
  • Nelson Wellington Blucher Jefferys, b. 1819 in England
  • Wellington Blucher Fisher, b. 1819 in the U.S. (West Virginia)
  • Picton Blucher Liddle, b. circa 1820 in England
    • His first name refers to Gen. Thomas Picton, who was killed at Waterloo.
  • Marshall Blucher Dumford, b. circa 1821 in the U.S. (Ohio)
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Gebhard Leberecht Büttner, b. 1822 in Germany

A handful of German baby girls got feminized versions of the name, such as Blücherdine, Blücherine, Blüchertine, and Blücherhilde (hilde means “battle, war”).

Blücher’s middle name, Leberecht, was a relatively recent Protestant coinage made up of the German words lebe, “live,” and recht, “right.”

Sources:

20 Baby names from flowers: Kalmia, Magnolia, Plumeria, Zinnia

plumeria flowers

Spring is here! Let’s celebrate with some flower names.

But let’s do something a little different. Instead of the same old suggestions, like Lily and Rose, let’s check out some relatively modern flower names that ultimately come from Latinized surnames (via genus names).

Here’s a list of 20. Most of these are rarely used for humans, so if you’re looking for an unexpected nature name for a baby girl, this could be a good place to start.

Abelia

Pronunciation: ah-BEEL-ee-uh

Abelia flowers are white or pink, and usually scented. The genus Abelia is part of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). Abelia was named for British surgeon and naturalist Clarke Abel (1780-1826). Clarke’s version of the surname Abel is likely based on the Hebrew name Abel, meaning “breath.” An identical German surname is based on a pet form of Albrecht, made up of elements meaning “noble” and “bright.”

Allamanda

Pronunciation: ah-lah-MAHN-duh

Allamanda flowers are typically yellow, though some are pink. The genus Allamanda is part of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae). Allamanda was named for Swiss botanist Frédéric-Louis Allamand (1736-1803). This French surname is based on the Middle French word meaning “German.”

Begonia

Pronunciation: beh-GOHN-yuh

Begonia flowers come in a wide range of colors: white, pink, peach, salmon, red, orange, yellow, etc. With close to 1,500 species, Begonia is the 6th-largest genus of flowering plants. Begonia was named for French office-holder and plant collector Michel Bégon (1638-1710).

Camellia

Pronunciation: kah-MEEL-ee-uh

Camellia flowers are white, pink, red, and sometimes yellow. The genus Camellia is part of the Theaceae family. Leaves of the species Camellia sinensis are used to produce tea. Camellia was named for Czech Jesuit missionary and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706). The surname Kamel is derived from a word meaning “camel.” Camels are not endemic to Europe, but they were commonly used on house signs in central Europe during the later Middle Ages.

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Camellia.

Cattleya

Pronunciation: KAT-lee-uh

Cattleya flowers come in a range of colors: purple, orange, white, yellow, etc. The genus Cattleya is part of the orchid family (Orchidaceae). Cattleya was named for English merchant and horticulturist William Cattley (1788-1835). The first element of the English surname Cattley is based on either Catta, a personal name, or a word meaning “(wild) cat.” The second comes from the Old English word leah, meaning “woodland; clearing.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Cattleya. (It was very rare until a character named Cataleya was featured in the 2011 movie Columbiana. The character’s name was based on the genus name.)

Clintonia

Pronunciation: klin-TOHN-ee-uh

Clintonia flowers are white, red, or green-yellow. The genus Clintonia is part of the lily family (Liliaceae). Clintonia was named for U.S. politician and botanist De Witt Clinton (1769-1828). The English surname Clinton is based on one of two different place names. One place name was derived from Old English words meaning “enclosure, fence” + “settlement,” while the other means “Glyme (river)” + “settlement.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Clintonia.

Dahlia

Pronunciation: DAL-yuh (first syllable can rhyme with “gal”, “doll,” or “dale”)

Dahlia flowers come in a wide range of colors. The genus Dahlia is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae).

Dahlia was named for Swedish botanist Anders Dahl (1751-1789). The Swedish surname Dahl is based on the Old Norse word dalr, meaning “dale, valley.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Dahlia.

Forsythia

Pronunciation: for-SITH-ee-uh (or for-SIETH-ee-uh, chiefly in British English)

Forsythia flowers are bright yellow. The genus Forsythia is part of the olive family (Oleaceae). Forsythia was named for Scottish botanist William Forsyth (1737-1804). The surname Forsyth is based on Fearsithe, a Gaelic personal name made up of the Gaelic words fear, meaning “man,” and sith, meaning “peace.”

Freesia

Pronunciation: FREE-zhuh, FREE-zhee-uh

Fragrant freesia flowers are white, yellow, pink, red, or blue-mauve. The genus Freesia is part of the iris family (Iridaceae). Freesia was named for German botanist and doctor Friedrich Freese (1794-1878). The German surname Freese is based on an ethnic name for someone from Friesland.

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Freesia.

Gardenia

Pronunciation: gar-DEEN-yuh

Gardenia flowers are white or pale yellow and strongly scented. The genus Gardenia is part of the coffee family (Rubiaceae).

Gardenia was named for Scottish-born American naturalist Alexander Garden (1730-1791). The English surname Garden is based on an occupational name for a gardener. It ultimately comes from the Old Norman French word gardin, meaning “garden.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Gardenia.

Gazania

Pronunciation: gah-ZAY-nee-uh

Gazania flowers are shades of yellow and orange. The genus Gazania is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae), like Dahlia. Gazania was named for Greek humanist Theodorus Gaza (1398-1475).

Gloxinia

Pronunciation: glok-SIN-ee-uh

Gloxinia flowers are white, pink, red, blue or purple. The genus Gloxinia is part of the Gesneriaceae family. Gloxinia was named for German physician and botanical writer Benjamin Peter Gloxin (1765–1794).

Here’s a post about the name Gloxinia.

Kalmia

Pronunciation: KAHL-mee-uh

Kalmia flowers are white, pink or purple. The genus Kalmia is part of the heather family (Ericaceae). Kalmia was named for Swedish-Finnish botanist Pehr Kalm (1716-1779).

Years ago, one of my readers mentioned that he’d named his daughter Kalmia.

Kerria

Pronunciation: KER-ee-uh

Kerria flowers are bright yellow. The genus Kerria is part of the rose family (Rosaceae). Kerria was named for Scottish gardener and plant hunter William Kerr (d. 1814). The Scottish surname Kerr is a topographic name referring to a patch of wet ground overgrown with brushwood. It ultimately comes from the Old Norse word kjarr, meaning “copsewood, brushwood, thicket.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Kerria.

Lobelia

Pronunciation: loh-BEEL-ee-uh

Lobelia flowers are purple, pink, white or blue. The genus Lobelia is part of the bellflower family (Campanulaceae). Lobelia was named for Flemsih botanist Matthias de L’Obel (1538-1616).

Magnolia

Pronunciation: mag-NOHL-ee-uh

Magnolia flowers are fragrant and come in white, pink, red, purple or yellow. Because they predate bees and butterflies, they’re typically pollinated by beetles. The genus Magnolia was named for French botanist Pierre Magnol (1638-1715). The French surname Magnol may be based on either the Latin word magnus, meaning “great,” or on a French place name of uncertain derivation.

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Magnolia.

Monarda

Pronunciation: moh-NAR-duh

Monarda flowers are various shades of red, pink, and purple, and highly scented. The genus Monarda is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Monarda was named for Spanish physician and botanist Nicolás Monardes (1493-1588).

Plumeria

Pronunciation: ploo-MEER-ee-uh

Plumeria flowers (also known as frangipani) are very fragrant and come in several colors. The genus Plumeria is part of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), like Allamanda. Plumeria was named for French botanist Charles Plumier (1646-1704). The French surname Plumier is based on an occupational name for either a feather dresser or a plumber. The former occupational name ultimately comes from the Latin word plumarius, meaning “embroidered with feathers,” while the latter comes from the Latin word plumbum, meaning “lead.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Plumeria.

Wisteria

Pronunciation: wis-TEER-ee-uh

Wisteria flowers are are purple, violet, pink or white, and often scented. The genus Wisteria is part of the bean family (Fabaceae). Wisteria was named for American physician and anatomist Caspar Wistar (1761–1818). Caspar’s surname is a modified form of the German surname Wüster.

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Wisteria.

Zinnia

Pronunciation: ZIN-ee-uh

Zinnia flowers come in a wide range of colors (red, purple, orange, buff, yellow, etc.) and shapes. The genus Zinnia is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae), like Dahlia and Gazania. Zinnia was named for German anatomist and botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759). The German/Jewish surname Zinn is based on an occupational name for a pewter worker or tinsmith. It ultimately comes from the Germanic word zin, meaning “tin, pewter.”

Here’s the popularity graph for the baby name Zinnia.


What other surname-derived flower names would you add to this list?

Source: Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Image: Adapted from Plumeria by Dmitri Popov under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Where did the baby name Undine come from in 1912?

A while back we talked about a bunch of actress-inspired name debuts from the 1910s (Francelia, Ormi, Seena, Allyn). So far, though, we haven’t talked much about movie-inspired baby name debuts from the decade — even though there are over a dozen of them (including Zudora).

The earliest one I’ve seen so far? Undine.

Scene from short film "Undine" (1912) from Moving Picture World
Scene from the short film “Undine” (1912)

The name Undine comes directly from the word undine, which is a type of water nymph found in European folklore. The mythological creature was originally dubbed undina by Swiss-German physician Paracelsus during the 16th century. He’d based the name on the Latin word unda, meaning “wave.”

Undines later began making appearances in the arts — first in the German novella Undine, eine Erzählung (1811) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, then in operas and plays, then in paintings and sculptures.

Eventually, Undine started seeing occasional usage as a female name. But the baby name Undine didn’t appear in the U.S. baby name data until 1912 — the same year the Social Security Death Index showed a spike in the number of people with the first name Undine.

Girls named UndinePeople named Undine (SSDI)
191568
1914.1
1913.9
19129*17
1911.6
1910.10
1909.8
*Debut

What was the cause?

Well, we have two films to choose from: Undine and Neptune’s Daughter.

Both were short, silent, black-and-white films based on the German novella and released in September of 1912.

  • In Undine, put out by Thanhouser, Undine was played by actress Florence La Badie (whose untimely death in late 1917 may have caused the 1918 spike in the usage of Florence).
  • In Neptune’s Daughter, put out by Essanay, Undine was played by actress Martha Russell.

My guess is that Undine had a greater influence on baby names than Neptune’s Daughter did, simply because it features the name in the title.

(The Edith Wharton novel The Custom of the Country, which was serialized in Scribner’s Magazine during the first half of 1913, features a protagonist named Undine Spragg. I wonder if Wharton wasn’t influenced by these movies as well…?)

What do you think of the name Undine? Do you like this version of the name, or do you prefer one of the other forms (like Ondine or Undina)?

Sources: Undine (Character) – IMDB, Undine – Wikipedia, How Much Did Edith Wharton Revise The Custom of the Country?, SSA