How popular is the baby name Harold 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 Harold.

The graph will take a few moments to load. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take 9 months!) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Harold


Posts that Mention the Name Harold

The Inskipp family of England

Trafalgar Square, London, 1839

In 1835, Charles Inskipp, a portrait painter who lived in southeast England, married Sarah Anne Baker. The couple went on to welcome at least six children:

  1. Emily, b. 1836
  2. Harold, b. 1837
  3. Napoleon Tristram Shandy, b. 1839
  4. Corregio [sic] Quinton, b. 1841
  5. Rembrandt Claude, b. 1844
  6. Boadicea Mary, b. 1848

Their last four children were evidently named after…

  • French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte & the English novel Tristram Shandy,
  • Italian painter Correggio (in full: Antonio Allegri da Correggio),
  • Dutch painter Rembrandt (in full: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn), and
  • British queen Boadicea (who led a rebellion against the Romans circa 60 A.D.).

I’m not sure why Charles and Sarah switched to conspicuously famous names after their second baby, but, given Charles’ occupation, I’m not surprised that two of those names refer to painters.

What are your thoughts on this sibset?

Sources: Eccentric Inskip Names – Inskip One-Name Study Blog, FamilySearch

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:

Baby born in the Farallon Islands, named Farallon

Houses on Southeast Farallon Island

Located 28 miles off the coast of California, the Farallon Islands (or “Farallones”) are “211 acres of rocky islets that are home to 28% of California’s sea birds.” Their name — assigned by Spanish explorers during the early 1600s — comes from the Spanish word farallón, meaning “sea cliff” or “sea stack.”

They islands have always been sparsely populated, but a lighthouse was built on Southeast Farallon in 1855 and a series of lighthouse keepers (four at a time) lived on that particular island — often with their families — from the 1850s until the 1940s.

The first of several babies born on the island during that time period was the daughter of keeper Cyrus J. Cain and his wife Mary Ellen. The baby girl arrived in April 8, 1898, and was named Farallon Wilhelmina Cain, after her birthplace.

(She was the seventh of nine children. The sibling names I know of are Catherine, George, Cecil, Harold, Charley, and Loretta.)

Sources:

Image: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

[Related posts: Ida Lewis, Avalon]

What gave the baby name Harolyn a boost in 1945?

Harolyn, 1945

The baby name Harolyn saw peak usage in the U.S. in 1945:

  • 1947: 28 baby girls named Harolyn
  • 1946: 19 baby girls named Harolyn
  • 1945: 45 baby girls named Harolyn
    • 13 born in New York
    • 6 born in Pennsylvania
  • 1944: 12 baby girls named Harolyn
  • 1943: 13 baby girls named Harolyn

Why?

Because of a pint-sized beauty queen from New Jersey named Harolyn Cheryl Meyer.

It all started the year before, in May of 1944, when the men aboard the USS New Jersey (at that time involved in WWII and stationed near the Philippines) decided to hold a beauty contest. The crew “wrote to the New Jersey state Chamber of Commerce proposing a pinup contest among girls from the state whose pictures would be posted on the battleship’s bulletin boards.”

On May 17th, the request was published in the Newark Evening News. The crew soon ended up with about 75 entrants. All of them were young women…except for one. The odd one out was a smiling 5-month-old baby in her birthday suit.

That was baby Harolyn Meyer, born in December of 1943. The photo had been taken for her father, Army Air Forces pilot Lieutenant Harold Meyer, who hadn’t yet seen her. Harold’s Flying Fortress had recently been shot down over Europe, and he was being held as a prisoner of war in Germany.

The photo was submitted by Harolyn’s mother’s mother, who thought entering the baby’s picture in a pin-up contest as a joke would lift her daughter’s spirits.

The crew of the USS New Jersey took a vote in November, and, surprisingly, Harolyn won the contest with 555 out of 1,376 votes. One crewmember later suggested that “his fellow seamen may have been captivated by the photograph of the infant because she reminded them of home and family.”

In December, Mrs. Meyer was notified by letter that Harolyn had become the ship’s official pin-up girl. The win was also announced in the papers.

More importantly, though, an updated photo of Harolyn — now 15 months old — ran on the front pages of various newspapers starting in March of 1945. (The photo appeared as late as July in some papers.) It showed Harolyn and her mother meeting with New Jersey governor Walter E. Edge, who was presenting Harolyn with $3,200 in War Bonds “through donations by the crew of the USS New Jersey for use in obtaining her future education.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Harolyn?

Sources:

  • Journal Page 7b – Battleship USS New Jersey BB-62
  • “Bonds for Pin-up Baby.” Record [Hackensack, New Jersey] 16 Mar. 1945: 1.
  • “Pinup Baby Given War Bonds” Mount Dora Topic 17 May 1945: 1.
  • “Pin-up Girl Poses in Birthday Suit.” News-Press [Fort Myers, FL] 14 Dec. 1944: 2.

P.S. A secondary influence on this name may have been Harolyn (b. 1943), the daughter of Dorothy Dandridge and Harold Nicholas.

P.P.S. Harolyn’s middle name, Cheryl, was very on-trend for the mid-1940s.

Fastest-rising U.S. baby names (absolute increase), 1881 to today

arrow, increase

Having déjà vu?

A couple of months ago, we looked at a long, year-by-year list of the top baby name rises. A month after that, we saw the corresponding list of top drops.

On that second post, Frank B. left a comment in which he asked about absolute rises and drops — because the lists only covered relative movement within the data. So I thought two more posts were in order: top raw-number rises, and top raw-number drops.

We’ll start with the rises again. Just keep in mind that the SSA numbers don’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t quite reflect reality.

Here’s the format: Girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the numbers represent single-year rises in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, the usage of the girl name Ethel increased by 155 babies and the usage of the boy name Chester increased by 106 babies.

  • 1881: Ethel, +155; Chester, +106
  • 1882: Mary, +1,229; John, +788
  • 1883: Bertha, +173; Grover, +71
  • 1884: Mary, +1,205; Grover, +675
  • 1885: Helen, +148; Willie, +36
  • 1886: Mary, +762; John, +270
  • 1887: Ethel, +208; Harold, +55
  • 1888: Mary, +1,866; William, +1,235
  • 1889: Ruth, +223; Russell, +52
  • 1890: Mary, +430; Charlie, +112
  • 1891: Ruth, +662; Theodore & Herbert, +34 (tie)
  • 1892: Mary, +1,471; John, +1,358
  • 1893: Esther, +558; Claude, +41
  • 1894: Marie, +437; John, +189
  • 1895: Anna, +385; James, +225
  • 1896: Helen, +369; William, +470
  • 1897: Thelma, +159; Dewey, +95
  • 1898: Mary, +994; Dewey, +957
  • 1899: Mildred, +188; Kenneth, +24
  • 1900: Mary, +3536; John, +2,840
  • 1901: Retha, +25; Theodore, +21
  • 1902: Mary, +1,350; John, +1,009
  • 1903: Dorothy, +371; Jack, +88
  • 1904: Mary, +687; John, +499
  • 1905: Mary, +1,105; Charles, +201
  • 1906: Alice, +581; Robert, +225
  • 1907: Mary, +1,211; James, +799
  • 1908: Mary, +1,085; William, +622
  • 1909: Helen, +813; James, +582
  • 1910: Mary, +3,589; John, +1,860
  • 1911: Dorothy, +1,551; John, +1,995
  • 1912: Mary, +7,910; John, +11,140
  • 1913: Mary, +4,342; John, +4,738
  • 1914: Mary, +8,705; John, +8,621
  • 1915: Mary, +12,842; John, +9,634
  • 1916: Mary, +3,246; Robert, +3,004
  • 1917: Mary, +2,847; Robert, +3,474
  • 1918: Dorothy, +3,179; Robert, +5,409
  • 1919: Betty, +1,304; Willie, +409
  • 1920: Mary, +5,141; Robert, +7,656
  • 1921: Betty, +3,618; Robert, +4,096
  • 1922: Betty, +3,259; Richard, +1,165
  • 1923: Betty, +5,097; Robert, +2,300
  • 1924: Betty, +4,605; Robert, +4,685
  • 1925: Gloria, +2,835; Richard, +2,034
  • 1926: Barbara, +1,917; Richard, +1,864
  • 1927: Mary, +2,787; Donald, +2,935
  • 1928: Dolores, +2,843; Herbert, +3,049
  • 1929: Joan, +3,806; Donald, +1,456
  • 1930: Joan, +3,812; Richard, +2,602
  • 1931: Joan, +3,633; Ronald, +1,086
  • 1932: Barbara, +4,514; Ronald, +4,411
  • 1933: Carol, +1,650; Franklin, +2,603
  • 1934: Shirley, +8,523; James, +3,124
  • 1935: Shirley, +19,514; David, +1,664
  • 1936: Carol, +2,785; Robert, +1,968

(From the SSA: “Note that many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.”)

  • 1937: Barbara, +3,230; David, +3,493
  • 1938: Judith, +4,729; James, +2,526
  • 1939: Judith, +5,748; David, +2,366
  • 1940: Linda, +7,657; John, +3,739
  • 1941: Linda, +5,355; James, +4,262
  • 1942: Linda, +7,882; James, +10,450
  • 1943: Linda, +6,831; James, +3,072
  • 1944: Cheryl, +5,092; Gary, +2,192
  • 1945: Linda, +3,065; Michael, +3,179
  • 1946: Linda, +11,239; Robert, +14,194
  • 1947: Linda, +46,978; David, +11,381
  • 1948: Deborah, +5,409; Mark, +2,503
  • 1949: Deborah, +7,953; Michael, +7,417
  • 1950: Deborah, +9,877; Michael, +5,220
  • 1951: Deborah, +12,954; Michael, +7,531
  • 1952: Debra, +9,782; David, +7,043
  • 1953: Debra, +10,015; Michael, +5,172
  • 1954: Debra, +9,029; Mark, +6,899
  • 1955: Debra, +4,653; David, +6,653
  • 1956: Karen, +6,843; Mark, +6,596
  • 1957: Cindy, +10,268; Mark, +4,020
  • 1958: Tammy, +5,618; Timothy, +4,011
  • 1959: Donna, +9,517; Mark, +4,260
  • 1960: Lisa, +8,013; Jeffrey, +2,564
  • 1961: Lisa, +8,983; Todd, +4,005
  • 1962: Lisa, +3,394; Scott, +6,790
  • 1963: Lisa, +9,951; Paul, +2,884
  • 1964: Dawn, +4,196; John, +3,900
  • 1965: Lisa, +5,990; Rodney, +5,013
  • 1966: Michelle, +10,937; Christopher, +3,228
  • 1967: Melissa, +4,114; Matthew, +2,778
  • 1968: Jennifer, +8,612; Matthew, +2,253
  • 1969: Jennifer, +6,858; Jason, +9,346
  • 1970: Jennifer, +12,455; Jason, +10,788
  • 1971: Jennifer, +10,626; Jason, +6,897
  • 1972: Jennifer, +6,820; Christopher, +3,954
  • 1973: Heather, +3,032; Jason, +9,236
  • 1974: Heather, +3,836; Jason, +8,082
  • 1975: Amanda, +5,177; Joshua, +2,968
  • 1976: Jamie, +8,306; Jeremy, +4,940
  • 1977: Jessica, +6,467; Joshua, +5,205
  • 1978: Crystal, +2,865; Nicholas, +10,274
  • 1979: Amanda, +11,406; Joshua, +5,921
  • 1980: Tiffany, +6,614; Justin, +9,355
  • 1981: Jessica, +8,602; Brandon, +6,048
  • 1982: Ashley, +5,971; Christopher, +8,995
  • 1983: Ashley, +18,435; Kyle, +4,161
  • 1984: Ashley, +5,478; Joshua, +3,551
  • 1985: Ashley, +8,242; Andrew, +4,252
  • 1986: Whitney, +5,699; Andrew, +3,682
  • 1987: Kayla, +5,917; Justin, +4,874
  • 1988: Brittany, +4,594; Justin, +3,545
  • 1989: Brittany, +10,969; Ethan, +3,162
  • 1990: Taylor, +3,188; Jordan, +5,257
  • 1991: Shelby, +6,703; Dylan, +5,349
  • 1992: Taylor, +4,696; Dylan, +5,298
  • 1993: Taylor, +6,318; Austin, +6,125
  • 1994: Alexis, +2,208; Austin, +5,616
  • 1995: Madison, +3,516; Austin, +2,714
  • 1996: Madison, +3,632; Noah, +3,360
  • 1997: Hannah, +1,993; Jacob, +2,237
  • 1998: Emma, +2,700; Noah, +4,137
  • 1999: Grace, +3,460; Seth, +1,718
  • 2000: Trinity, +2,803; Ethan, +3,783
  • 2001: Isabella, +2,587; Logan, +2,973
  • 2002: Isabella, +3,334; Ethan, +4,143
  • 2003: Emma, +6,170; Aidan, +3,108
  • 2004: Ava, +2,364; Aiden, +1,472
  • 2005: Ava, +4,959; Landon, +2,070
  • 2006: Addison, +4,595; Aiden, +2,492
  • 2007: Addison, +4,328; Jayden, +5,596
  • 2008: Peyton, +1,954; Aiden, +2,472
  • 2009: Isabella, +3,667; Liam, +2,582
  • 2010: Sophia, +3,680; Mason, +4,139
  • 2011: Harper, +2,032; Mason, +4,650
  • 2012: Harper, +2,496; Liam, +3,286
  • 2013: Sadie, +2,031; Jase, +3,410
  • 2014: Olivia, +1,308; Oliver, +2,116
  • 2015: Alexa, +1,786; Oliver, +2,181
  • 2016: Adeline, +1,700; Mateo, +1,516
  • 2017: Luna, +1,657; Logan, +2,748
  • 2018: Mila, +2,162; Theodore, +1,070
  • 2019: Alaia, +1,072; Brooks, +1,114
  • 2020: Gianna, +4,414; Kobe, +998
  • 2021: Isla, +950; Luca, +2,031

Some of these names I’ve written about already, and others I plan to write about in the future. If you can give explanations for any of those others right now, though, feel free! Just leave a comment…

Update, 4/22: Here are the corresponding drops