How popular is the baby name Keith 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 Keith.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Keith


Posts that Mention the Name Keith

What gave the baby name Angie a boost in 1974?

The song "Angie" (1973) by the Rolling Stones
“Angie” by The Rolling Stones

After peaking in the mid-1960s, usage of the baby name Angie began to decline. But this decline was interrupted when, in 1974, usage suddenly shot up again, and the name reached a new peak in 1975:

  • 1977: 1,390 baby girls named Angie [rank: 191st]
  • 1976: 1,709 baby girls named Angie [rank: 153rd]
  • 1975: 1,947 baby girls named Angie [rank: 140th] – peak usage
  • 1974: 1,590 baby girls named Angie [rank: 170th]
  • 1973: 986 baby girls named Angie [rank: 255th]
  • 1972: 1,016 baby girls named Angie [rank: 260th]
  • 1971: 1,263 baby girls named Angie [rank: 236th]

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Angie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Angie

What caused the revival?

The Rolling Stones song “Angie,” which was released in August of 1973. The acoustic ballad reached #1 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” chart two months later. In fact, it reached #1 in many different countries, making it a worldwide hit.

In his 2010 memoir Life, guitarist Keith Richards described how he wrote the song while he was staying at a drug clinic in Switzerland. Specifically, he wrote it around the time his girlfriend, model Anita Pallenberg, “was down the road having our daughter, Angela” (born in April of 1972).

Interestingly, though, the song was not named with the newborn in mind — the choice of name was pure coincidence:

Once I came out of the usual trauma, I had a guitar with me and I wrote “Angie” in an afternoon, sitting in bed, because I could finally move my fingers and put them in the right place again […]. I just went, “Angie, Angie.” It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like, “ohhh, Diana.” I didn’t know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote “Angie.” In those days you didn’t know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out. In fact, Anita named her Dandelion. She was only given the added name Angela because she was born in a Catholic hospital where they insisted that a “proper” name be added.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Angie? Would you use it as a legal name, or would you prefer it as a nickname (for Angela, Angelica, Angelina, etc.)?

P.S. As soon as Dandelion Angela Richards “grew up a little bit,” she decided to go by her middle name, Angela, instead of her first name.

Sources:

How did “The Big Valley” influence baby names?

Title of the TV series "The Big Valley" (1965-1969)

TV western The Big Valley (1965-1969) was set in California’s San Joaquin Valley in the 1870s.

It followed the wealthy, ranch-owning Barkley family, which was headed by widowed matriarch Victoria (played by Barbara Stanwyck).

Victoria had five adult children — Jarrod, Nick, Audra, Heath, and Eugene* — and three of the five ended up having a big influence on U.S. baby names…

big valley, baby name, jarrod, 1960s

Jarrod Barkley, Victoria’s eldest son, was a respected attorney. The name Jarrod debuted in the baby name data in 1965, and by 1966 usage had increased by more than a factor of 10:

  • 1969: 318 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 443rd)
  • 1968: 353 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 410th)
  • 1967: 263 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 469th)
  • 1966: 219 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 511th)
  • 1965: 21 baby boys named Jarrod [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted

Other forms of the name also got a boost, from the traditional spelling (Jared) to several other brand-new spellings (including Jerrid, Jarrad, and Jarred — the highest-debuting male name of 1966).

big valley, baby name, heath, 1960s

Heath Barkley was the illegitimate son of Victoria’s late husband. (Victoria eventually accepted him as her own.) The name Heath entered the top 1,000 in 1966:

  • 1969: 524 baby boys named Heath (rank: 344th)
  • 1968: 548 baby boys named Heath (rank: 326th)
  • 1967: 516 baby boys named Heath (rank: 329th)
  • 1966: 433 baby boys named Heath (rank: 361st)
  • 1965: 37 baby boys named Heath
  • 1964: 10 baby boys named Heath

One variant, Heith, emerged in the data in 1966. (Not surprising, given the popularity of Keith at the time.)

big valley, baby name, audra, 1960s

Audra Barkley was Victoria’s only daughter. The name Audra entered the top 1,000 in 1966 and saw peak usage in 1967:

  • 1969: 844 baby girls named Audra (rank: 310th)
  • 1968: 997 baby girls named Audra (rank: 273rd)
  • 1967: 1152 baby girls named Audra (rank: 246th) [peak]
  • 1966: 892 baby girls named Audra (rank: 283rd)
  • 1965: 90 baby girls named Audra
  • 1964: 15 baby girls named Audra

Finally, while neither Nick nor Eugene (who was on the series during the first season only) had much influence upon their respective names, at least one single-episode character made an impact.

Layle Johnson (played by Leslie Parrish) — a love-interest for Nick — appeared on the episode “Bounty on a Barkley,” which aired in February of 1968. The name Layle, which had appeared in the data once before as a boy name, returned that year as a girl name:

  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: 6 baby girls named Layle [debut for girls]
  • 1967: unlisted

Which of these Big Valley names do you like best?

Sources: The Big Valley – Wikipedia, “Bounty on a Barkley” – The Big Valley – IMDb

Name quotes #96: Walker, Huascar, Keith

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Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the NPS booklet Bears of Brooks River 2018 (PDF):

Bears at Brooks River are assigned numbers for monitoring, management, and identification purposes. Inevitably, some bears acquire nicknames from staff and these nicknames are included in this book, but naming wild animals is not without controversy. Is it appropriate to name wild animals?

[…]

Names also carry meaning, intentionally or not. What stigmas would you attach to a young bear nicknamed Fluffy versus a large male bear named Killer? How would those stigmas alter your experience when watching that animal?

[The booklet also included the nicknames of various Katmai bears, including “Walker” (whose “large dark eye rings” were reminiscent of zombie eyes) and “Evander” (who was missing part of an ear, much like Evander Holyfield after his 1997 fight with Mike Tyson).]

Bear 151, aka “Walker,” in 2016 (NPS)

From the 2011 book Children in the Roman Empire by Christian Laes:

A first important moment in the lives of newborns was the day of naming, or dies lustricus, when the family celebrated not only the purification and naming of the young child, but also his or her entry into social life. […] On this day of naming, the ninth day after birth for boys and the eighth day for girls, the baby underwent purification rites and was ‘born socially’ as it were. Only after the naming was the child recognised by the state. […] Prior to the dies lustricus, an infant was considered to be ‘more like a plant than an animal’.

From the 1812 book A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels (Vol. 4), edited by Robert Kerr:

When the eldest son of Huana Capac was born, he ordered a prodigious chain or cable of gold to be made, so large and heavy that two hundred men were hardly able to lift it. In remembrance of this circumstance, the infant was named Huascar, which signifies a cable or large rope, as the Peruvians have no word in their language signifying a chain. To this name of Huascar was added the surname Inca, belonging to all their kings, just as Augustus was given to all the Roman emperors.

[The name Huascar was a one-hit wonder in the SSA data in 1997, incidentally.]

From the Scary Mommy essay “I Regret My Kids’ Religious Names” by Alicia Mosby:

So I’m not blanket-condemning religious names. It’s about a problem we have with the religion: we left it. At the time we named our sons, we believed they needed to have religious names, and we named them accordingly. Now I don’t believe it, and I wish I had takebacks. You can’t say “well, you should have thought of that before,” because no one thinks they’re going to leave their religion, especially that one [Catholicism]. It’s not a contingency you plan for. In fact, when we did leave it, we were stunned and lost for a very long time.

[…]

Right now, I’m regretting the hold this religion exercised on my children’s names. No more and no less. It told me to give my kids religious names. So I gave them all very, very religious names.

From a People interview with Mindy Kaling (whose two children are named Katherine Swati and Spencer Avu):

“I don’t trust my own judgment with those kinds of names,” she admits. “If I name my son River, that connotes a certain kind of person who is very go with the flow, artsy. But what if he’s not like that at all? Will he be furious with me?”

“I just tried to pick classic names that felt like they would have to work really hard to get mad at me about later,” Kaling says, with a laugh.

From a Daily Mail article about nominative determinism:

And now, a man called Keith Weed has been appointed president of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Of course he has. Especially when you hear that his father’s name was Weed and his mother’s name was Hedges.

‘If a Weed gets together with a Hedges, I think they’re going to give birth to the president of the RHS,’ said Mr Weed, 59, who lives near RHS Wisley in Surrey.

What gave the baby name Krystal a boost in 1951?

The Rosebush quads: Kenneth, Krystal, Keith, and Kristine.
Kenneth, Krystal, Keith, and Kristine in late 1956.

The baby name Krystal saw a steep rise in usage in 1951. In fact, it was one of the fastest-rising baby names that year:

  • 1953: 40 baby girls named Krystal
    • 11 (27.5%) in MI
  • 1952: 59 baby girls named Krystal
    • 15 (25.4%) in MI
  • 1951: 55 baby girls named Krystal
    • 18 (32.7%) in MI
  • 1950: 8 baby girls named Krystal
  • 1949: 9 baby girls named Krystal

As you can see, much of the usage was in the state of Michigan specifically.

What was the influence?

A set of quadruplets — Krystal, Kristine, Keith, and Kenneth — born to Kenneth and Ann Rosebush of Oakwood, Michigan, on January 10, 1951. They lived in hospital incubators for several weeks before being allowed to go home.

Photos of the K-named quads regularly appeared in the papers during the early 1950s.

It’s hard to tell whether they had any influence on the names Keith and Kenneth, which were already on the rise in the early 1950s, but it does look like the name Kristine (which was sometimes misspelled Kristene in the papers) was affected:

  • 1953: 1247 baby girls named Kristine
    • 113 (9.0%) in MI
  • 1952: 1885 baby girls named Kristine
    • 206 (10.9%) in MI
  • 1951: 1755 baby girls named Kristine
    • 186 (10.6%) in MI
  • 1950: 1247 baby girls named Kristine
    • 110 (8.8%) in MI
  • 1949: 1174 baby girls named Kristine
    • 94 (8.0%) in MI

The Rosebush family also included four older children, all girls, named Dorothy (Dottie), Jacquelyn, Barbara, and Joann.

Sources:

Name quotes #88: Booker, Beyoncé, Beatrice

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From an interview with Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson — the youngest of seven siblings — on the podcast In My Head:

A lot of people don’t know that Beyoncé is my last name. It’s my maiden name. My name was Celestine Beyoncé, which, at that time, was not a cool thing, to have that weird name.

[…]

But, all of us have a different spelling. I think me and my brother, Skip, were the only two that had B-E-Y-O-N-C-E.

And, it’s interesting — and it shows you the times — because we asked my mother when I was grown, I was like, ‘Why is my brother’s name spelled B-E-Y-I-N-C-E?’

[…]

[M]y mom’s reply to me was like, ‘That’s what they put on your birth certificate.’

So I said, ‘Well, why didn’t you argue and make them correct it?’

She said, ‘I did one time, the first time, and I was told: ‘Be happy that you’re getting a birth certificate.” Because, at one time, Black people didn’t get birth certificates. They didn’t even have a birth certificate. Because it meant that you really didn’t exist, you know, you weren’t important. It was that subliminal message.

And so I understood that that must have been horrible for her, not to even be able to have her children’s names spelled correctly.

So it was an odd name, it was a weird name, and they were like, ‘How dare you have a French name.’ Like, ‘We’re gonna screw this up real good for you.’ And that’s what they did. So we all have different spellings.

From an Express article that reveals the Queen’s preference for the name Beatrice over the name Annabel:

The names of royal babies are traditionally approved by the Queen. But the monarch is said to have rejected the Duke and Duchess of York’s choice of Annabel for their first child.

The Queen found Annabel too “yuppie”, The Sun reported, and instead suggested Beatrice.

The name Beatrice was royal enough for the head of state but unusual enough to please Sarah, according to the newspaper.

Two quotes from an article in which the author argues that distinctively black names in America emerged long before the civil rights movement:

[I]n the 1920 census, 99% of all men with the first name of Booker were black, as were 80% of all men named Perlie or its variations. We found that the fraction of blacks holding a distinctively black name in the early 1900s is comparable to the fraction holding a distinctively black name at the end of the 20th century, around 3%.

…and second:

[W]e found that names like Alonzo, Israel, Presley and Titus were popular both before and after emancipation among blacks. We also learned found that roughly 3% of black Americans had black names in the antebellum period – about the same percentage as did in the period after the Civil War.

But what was most striking is the trend over time during enslavement. We found that the share of black Americans with black names increased over the antebellum era while the share of white Americans with these same names declined, from more than 3% at the time of the American Revolution to less than 1% by 1860.

From an article in Time about middle names:

Middle names provide an opportunity for people to shift identities throughout their life: the author George Sand wrote that her mother, who had “three baptismal names,” used each of them at various points throughout her life. Pablo Picasso was baptized with a string of more than a dozen names and though, like many people with multiple names, he wasn’t known by all of them, he did test out different combinations: initially signing paintings as P. Ruiz, then trying P. Ruiz Picasso before sticking with Picasso.

From the 2004 book Uqalurait: An Oral History of Nunavut:

Three essential parts made a human in the Inuit view: body, soul, and name. A nameless child was not fully human; giving it a name, whether before or after birth, made it whole. Inuit did not have family surnames. Instead, each person’s name linked him or her to a deceased relative or family friend.

[…]

Is this reincarnation? Elders point out that it is not, for it is not the soul, but rather the spiritual element that is the name — the name-soul — that joins the child, remaining with him and protecting him throughout his life.

(The word in the book’s title, uqalurait, refers to a type of snowdrift with a tip that resembles a tongue (uqaq). It’s a pun because the word for “tongue” in inuttitut (the Canadian dialect of inuktitut) is also the word for “language” — very fitting for a book of oral history.)

From a Bon Appetit article about a particular dijon mustard product:

I mostly love Rich Country because…it’s called Rich Country, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a pretty unnecessarily epic name for a condiment. It sounds like the next great Rick Ross album. Or a Keith Urban-themed Southern waterpark. Or a new bourbon endorsed by a retired pro-wrestler. But it’s not! It’s mustard. And it’s helped to clarify for me that I want my condiments to do more than simply enhance the taste of food I’m preparing—I want them to enhance my life, to spark joy every time I pull them out of the fridge. Indeed, every time I reach for my new favorite mustard, I can’t help but whisper the name aloud as if I were starring in a commercial for it—R-r-r-r-iiiiiiich Coooooountry—and laugh out loud while I’m making lunch. (This could be the quarantine brain talking, but still. It’s the little things, people.)

(Speaking of dijon mustard…)