How popular is the baby name Hal 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 Hal.

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Popularity of the baby name Hal


Posts that mention the name Hal

What gave the baby name Tal a boost in 1963?

The character Tal Garrett from the TV series "Empire" (1962-1963).
Tal Garrett from “Empire

According to the U.S. baby name data, the simple name Tal saw peak usage in 1963:

  • 1965: 28 baby boys named Tal
  • 1964: 48 baby boys named Tal
  • 1963: 87 baby boys named Tal [rank: 817th]
  • 1962: 12 baby boys named Tal
  • 1961: 7 baby boys named Tal

That year, Tal was one of the fastest-rising boy names in the country, and it managed to reach the top 1,000 for the first and only time.

What was influencing it?

The single-season TV western Empire (1962-63), which featured a character named Tal.

Empire was set on a modern-day ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The main character was ranch foreman Jim Redigo (played by Richard Egan), but one of the other important characters was Tal Garrett (played by Ryan O’Neal), the adult son of the owner of the ranch.

I don’t know if Tal’s name was short for something more formal, like Talmadge or Talbot, but it rhymed with similarly spelled names, such as Cal and Hal.

Ryan O’Neal’s recurring role on Empire also gave a nudge to the baby name Ryan in 1963:

  • 1964: 515 baby boys named Ryan
  • 1963: 647 baby boys named Ryan
  • 1962: 397 baby boys named Ryan

What are your thoughts on the name Tal? Would you use it as-is, or only as a nickname?

Sources: Empire (1962 TV series) – Wikipedia, SSA

Image: Screenshot of Empire

What turned Valiant into a baby name in the 1940s?

The characters Prince Valiant and Aleta (in 1945) from the comic strip "Prince Valiant" (1937-)
Prince Valiant and Aleta (in 1945)

Names like Brave and Warrior have surfaced in the U.S. baby name data over the last couple of decades, but Valiant first appeared way back in the 1940s:

  • 1949: 7 baby boys named Valiant
  • 1948: 5 baby boys named Valiant
  • 1947: 6 baby boys named Valiant [debut]
  • 1946: unlisted
  • 1945: unlisted

Why?

My best guess is comic strip character Prince Valiant, who’d been familiar to newspaper readers for a decade by 1947.

Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur by Nova Scotian artist Harold “Hal” Foster is an action-adventure comic strip set in sixth-century England.

It is difficult to imagine the impact Foster’s “Prince Valiant” had on 1930s and 1940s popular culture. When “Prince Valiant” began, Superman’s debut in “Action Comics No. 1” was still over a year away. […] “Swipes” of Foster’s art can be found in the origin of Batman and in comics drawn by Jack Kirby, the co-creator of many of today’s movie heroes, including Captain America, the Avengers, the X-Men and Thor.

Other characters from the strip also influenced U.S. baby names.

The earliest example I’ve found is that of the maid Ilene, Prince Valiant’s first love. During 1938, Val fought rival suitor Prince Arn of Ord for her. The same year, the baby name Ilene saw a spike in usage:

  • 1940: 227 baby girls named Ilene [rank: 451st]
  • 1939: 283 baby girls named Ilene [rank: 397th]
  • 1938: 343 baby girls named Ilene [rank: 347th]
  • 1937: 248 baby girls named Ilene [rank: 412th]
  • 1936: 263 baby girls named Ilene [rank: 392nd]

Turns out neither suitor won — Ilene died in a shipwreck — but Arn and Val did end up becoming good friends.

Several years later, Valiant met Aleta, the grey-eyed queen of the Misty Isles. She became a central part of the storyline in the mid-1940s, and the characters finally got married in October of 1946.

As a result, the baby name Aleta saw a steep rise in usage from 1945 to 1947:

  • 1948: 227 baby girls named Aleta [rank: 551st]
  • 1947: 262 baby girls named Aleta [rank: 511th] – peak usage
  • 1946: 171 baby girls named Aleta [rank: 606th]
  • 1945: 102 baby girls named Aleta [rank: 737th]
  • 1944: 38 baby girls named Aleta
Graph of the usage of the baby name Aleta in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Aleta

Val and Aleta went on to welcome five children, 3 boys and 2 girls:

  1. Arn (who was named after Prince Arn of Ord) in 1947
  2. Karen (twin) in 1951
  3. Valeta (twin) in 1951
  4. Galan in 1962
  5. Nathan in 1982

The name Arn debuted in the data in 1949, and the name Valeta saw peak usage in 1952.

Interestingly, the three middle children were all named via contest:

After Val and Aleta’s twin girls were born, King Features held a contest to name them, but Foster reserved the right to select the winning entry. A young girl, Cindy Lou Hermann, sent in the winning names “Karen” and “Valeta” and visited Hal in Connecticut. For Val and Aleta’s fourth child, a boy who would become the king of the Misty Isles, John Hall won the competition with “Galen” after the Greek physician, Claudius Galen.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Valiant? (Would you use it?)

Sources:

Contrarian baby names: Cliff, Janet, Steve, Wanda…

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“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.

If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.

But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.

If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.

Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.

Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.

Contrarian Baby Names: Girls

Alberta
Anita
Ann
Annetta
Annette
Bambi
Becky
Benita
Bertha
Bessie
Beth
Betty
Beverley
Beverly
Blanche
Bobbie
Bobby
Bonita
Candy
Caren
Carlene
Carol
Carole
Cary
Caryn
Cathleen
Cathy
Charla
Charlene
Charmaine
Cheri
Cherie
Cheryl
Chris
Christi
Cindy
Claudette
Coleen
Colleen
Connie
Dale
Danette
Danita
Darlene
Dawn
Dawna
Deanne
Debbie
Debora
Debra
Deirdre
Delores
Denice
Denise
Diane
Dianna
Dianne
Dollie
Dolores
Dona
Donna
Doreen
Dori
Doris
Dorthy
Eddie
Edwina
Ernestine
Ethel
Gail
Gayle
Gena
Geralyn
Germaine
Gilda
Glenda
Glenna
Harriett
Jackie
Janet
Janice
Janis
Jayne
Jean
Jeanette
Jeanie
Jeanine
Jeanne
Jeannette
Jeannie
Jeannine
Jeri
Jerri
Jerry
Jill
Jimmie
Jo
Joan
Joann
Joanne
Jodi
Jody
Joellen
Joni
Juanita
Judi
Judy
Juli
Kandi
Karin
Kathie
Kathy
Kay
Kaye
Kerrie
Kerry
Kim
Kimberley
Kitty
Kris
Kristi
Ladonna
Laureen
Lauretta
Laurie
Lavonne
Lee
Leesa
Lois
Lorene
Lori
Lorie
Lorinda
Lorna
Lorraine
Lorrie
Lou
Louann
Lu
Luann
Luanne
Lucretia
Lupe
Lyn
Lynda
Lynn
Lynne
Madonna
Marcia
Marcy
Margie
Mariann
Marianne
Marla
Marsha
Maryjo
Maureen
Meg
Melba
Melinda
Melva
Michele
Migdalia
Mitzi
Myrna
Nanette
Nelda
Nicki
Nita
Norma
Pamela
Patrice
Patsy
Patti
Patty
Pauline
Peggy
Pennie
Phyllis
Randy
Reba
Rene
Rhonda
Rita
Robbie
Robbin
Roberta
Robin
Rochelle
Ronda
Rosanne
Roseann
Roxane
Roxann
Sandy
Saundra
Sharon
Sheila
Shelia
Shelley
Shelly
Sheri
Sherri
Sherry
Sheryl
Shirley
Sondra
Sue
Susanne
Suzan
Suzanne
Tammie
Tammy
Tena
Teri
Terri
Terry
Thelma
Theresa
Therese
Tina
Tonia
Tonya
Tracey
Traci
Tracie
Tracy
Treva
Trina
Trudy
Velma
Verna
Vicki
Vickie
Vicky
Wanda
Wendy
Willie
Wilma
Yolanda
Yvonne

Contrarian Baby Names: Boys

Adolph
Al
Alford
Alphonso
Arne
Arnie
Arnold
Artie
Barry
Barton
Bennie
Bernard
Bernie
Bert
Bill
Billie
Bob
Bobbie
Brad
Bradford
Brent
Bret
Britt
Bud
Buddy
Burl
Burt
Butch
Carey
Carleton
Carlton
Carmen
Carroll
Cary
Cecil
Chester
Chuck
Clarence
Claude
Cletus
Cleveland
Cliff
Clifford
Clifton
Columbus
Curt
Curtiss
Dale
Dan
Dana
Dannie
Darrel
Darryl
Daryl
Dave
Davie
Del
Delbert
Dell
Delmer
Denny
Derwin
Dewey
Dirk
Don
Donnie
Donny
Doug
Douglass
Doyle
Duane
Dudley
Duwayne
Dwain
Dwaine
Dwane
Dwight
Earl
Earnest
Ed
Edsel
Elbert
Ernie
Farrell
Floyd
Fred
Freddie
Fredric
Gale
Garland
Garry
Garth
Gene
Geoffrey
Gerard
Gerry
Gilbert
Glen
Glenn
Greg
Gregg
Greggory
Grover
Guy
Hal
Haywood
Herbert
Herman
Homer
Horace
Howell
Hubert
Irwin
Jackie
Jame
Jeff
Jefferey
Jeffry
Jerald
Jerold
Jess
Jim
Jimmie
Jodie
Jody
Johnie
Johnnie
Karl
Kelly
Ken
Kenney
Kennith
Kent
Kermit
Kerry
Kim
Kirk
Kraig
Kurt
Laurence
Lawrance
Len
Lenard
Lennie
Les
Leslie
Lester
Lindell
Lindsay
Lindsey
Linwood
Lloyd
Lonnie
Lonny
Loren
Lorin
Lowell
Loyd
Lynn
Marion
Marty
Matt
Maxie
Mel
Merle
Merrill
Mickel
Mickey
Millard
Milton
Mitch
Mitchel
Monty
Neal
Ned
Nicky
Norbert
Norman
Norris
Orville
Perry
Pete
Phil
Ralph
Randal
Randel
Randell
Randolph
Rayford
Rick
Rickey
Rickie
Rob
Robby
Robin
Rock
Rodger
Rogers
Rojelio
Rolf
Ron
Roosevelt
Rudolfo
Rudolph
Rufus
Russ
Rusty
Sal
Sammie
Sandy
Sanford
Scot
Sherman
Sherwood
Skip
Stan
Stanford
Steve
Stevie
Stewart
Stuart
Sylvester
Tad
Ted
Terence
Thurman
Tim
Timmothy
Timmy
Tod
Todd
Tom
Tommie
Toney
Tracey
Tracy
Val
Vernell
Vernon
Waymon
Wendell
Wilbert
Wilbur
Wilford
Wilfred
Willard
Willis
Winfred
Woody

Interestingly, thirteen of the names above — Bobbie, Cary, Dale, Jackie, Jimmie, Jody, Kerry, Kim, Lynn, Robin, Sandy, Tracey, Tracy — managed to make both lists.

Now some questions for you…

Do you like any of these names? Would you be willing to use any of them on a modern-day baby? Why or why not?

Where did the baby name Kalin come from in 1959?

Kalin Twins EP
Kalin Twins EP

The name Kalin first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1950s:

  • 1961: 6 baby boys named Kalin
  • 1960: 5 baby boys named Kalin
  • 1959: 7 baby boys named Kalin [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted

Why?

Because of pop music duo The Kalin Twins — twin brothers Harold “Hal” Kalin and Herbert “Herb” Kalin — who recorded during the late ’50s and early ’60s.

Their catchy song “When” [vid] peaked at #5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in August of 1958.

Though today they’re considered a one-hit wonder, a second song, “Forget Me Not,” did reach #12 a few months later.

The brothers didn’t see much chart success after that, but “Kalin” has been a regular on the baby name charts ever since. In fact, its highest usage came in the mid-1990s, around the time of the O.J. Simpson trial, which featured memorable witness Kato Kaelin.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Kalin?

Sources: The Kalin Twins – AllMusic, Kalin Twins – Billboard