How popular is the baby name Kenneth 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 Kenneth.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kenneth


Posts that Mention the Name Kenneth

Where did the baby name Nyree come from?

actress Nyree Dawn Porter as character Irene Heron in the TV miniseries "The Forsyte Saga" (1967).
Nyree Dawn Porter in “The Forsyte Saga

The baby names Jolyon and Nyree both debuted in the U.S. baby name data 1970:

Usage of JolyonUsage of Nyree
19735 baby boys157 baby girls
19725 baby boys26 baby girls
1971.7 baby girls
19709 baby boys [debut]10 baby girls [debut]
1969..
1968..

They both came from the same source: The Forsyte Saga, a 26-part, Emmy-nominated BBC miniseries that followed several generations of the nouveau riche Forsyte family of London from the 1870s to the 1930s.

It first aired on U.S. public television from October of 1969 to March of 1970. (It originally aired in UK during first half of 1967.)

The Forsyte Saga was based on a book series of the same name written during the early 1900s by Nobel Prize-winning English author John Galsworthy.


At the start of the TV miniseries, the Forsyte family was nominally headed by Jolyon Forsyte (played by Joseph O’Conor), who had a son also named Jolyon (played by Kenneth More). The father was called “Old Jolyon” and the son was called “Young Jolyon.” Their shared first name was pronounced joe-leon.

Later on in the series, Young Jolyon had a son named Jolyon, nicknamed “Jolly.” Later still, with a different woman, he had another son named Jolyon, this one nicknamed “Jon.”

The name Jolyon is usually said to be a medieval form of Julian, but it could also come from a byname that meant “jolly Jan.”


Another character in the series was Irene Heron (played by Nyree Dawn Porter). She was introduced in the second episode, and she married into the Forsyte family during the time that elapsed between the third and fourth episodes.

That initial marriage didn’t last, though, and Irene ultimately ended up with Young Jolyon, becoming the mother of Jon.

New Zealand-born British actress Nyree Dawn Porter was named Ngaire at birth. For her stage name, she used the Anglicized spelling of her Maori first name.

The name Ngaire (pronounced NY-ree) is based on the Maori word ngaere, which may refer to a swamp or wetland.

(The usage of Nyree swelled in the mid-1970s. This could be due to the British show The Protectors (1972-1974), which co-starred Porter and also aired on U.S. television. The name of Nyree’s character, Contessa, more than doubled in usage from 1972 to 1973.)

Sources: The Forsyte Saga – IMDb, Nyree Dawn Porter – Wikipedia, Namehunt: Jolyon | Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, ngaere – Maori Dictionary

Baby Name Story: Dania

In the fall of 1976, Los Angeles couple Kenneth and Kathryn Champlin visited south Florida.

The following spring, they welcomed a baby girl.

“Remember that little city we drove through?” Champlin asked his wife. She did. And they are now parents of Dania Ann Champlin.

The director of Dania’s Chamber of Commerce responded: “This is an honor…I know they wouldn’t have named her Fort Lauderdale.”

So how did the city of Dania (pronounced DAYN-yah) get its name?

Initially, the settlement was known as Modello, because it was platted in the late 1800s by a civil engineer working for the Model Land Company (of which “Modello” is a contraction). But early settlers — primarily Danish immigrants recruited from northern states (Illinois and Wisconsin) — chose to change the name to Dania when the town was incorporated in November of 1904.

The city has since lengthened its name to Dania Beach, but many still refer to it simply as “Dania.”

Sources:

Where did the baby name Landis come from?

Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944).
Ken Landis

Yesterday’s post told the story behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis‘ unique name. But there’s even more to the story…

In 1895, Kenesaw Landis returned to Chicago and founded a law firm with two other lawyers

A decade later, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him a U.S. District Judge for Northern Illinois.

His “involvement in [various] high profile cases, combined with his flair for theatrics, brought his decisions and behavior to national attention. After Standard Oil [in 1907], Landis was dubbed the “most talked of persona in America.”

So he was already a well-known public figure by the time he became the first commissioner of professional baseball in late 1920 (which was not long after news of the Black Sox scandal broke).

Why am I getting into all this detail about Kenesaw Landis?

Because, once he became relatively famous, he began acquiring namesakes of his own!

The name Landis, for instance, debuted in the baby data in 1907 and nearly doubled in usage in 1920:

  • 1922: 17 baby boys named Landis
  • 1921: 18 baby boys named Landis
  • 1920: 23 baby boys named Landis
  • 1919: 12 baby boys named Landis
  • 1918: 13 baby boys named Landis
  • 1917: 14 baby boys named Landis
  • 1916: 17 baby boys named Landis
  • 1915: 13 baby boys named Landis
  • 1914: 7 baby boys named Landis
  • 1913: 7 baby boys named Landis
  • 1912: 6 baby boys named Landis
  • 1911: unlisted
  • 1910: 5 baby boys named Landis
  • 1909: unlisted
  • 1908: unlisted
  • 1907: 6 baby boys named Landis [debut]
  • 1906: unlisted
  • 1905: unlisted

The German surname Landis was derived from the Middle High German word landoese, “landless,” which was originally a “nickname for a highwayman or for someone who lays waste to the land.”

Even more interesting, though, are the dozens of boys who got other permutations of his name, such as…

Plus there’s Kenesaw Mountain Landis II — Ken’s own nephew, born in 1910 in Indiana to his younger brother Frederick.

Sources:

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 #80: Jamie, Imogen, John

Time for the latest batch of name-related quotations!

From a 1997 article in Jet magazine about how Jamie Foxx (born Eric Bishop) found success in comedy after changing his name:

Foxx, who was determined to make it as a stand-up comedian, went to Santa Monica “where nobody really knew who I was,” he reveals, “and changed my name to Jamie Foxx.” He remembers, “Three girls would show up and 22 guys would show up [at Amateur Night]. They had to put all the girls on who were on the list to break up the monotony. So when they look up and they see Tracey Green, Tracey Brown, and these unisex names I had written on the list, they picked Jamie Foxx. ‘Is she here?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Brother, right over here man,'” Foxx said in a deep, macho voice. “I’d go up and do my thing with the Cosby and Tyson (impersonations), and they were like ‘Who is this Jamie Foxx kid?'”

From an opinion piece asking scientists to stop naming species after awful people:

There’s even a beetle named after Adolf Hitler, and specimens have become a collectible item among neo-Nazis to the point that it’s actually affecting wild populations of the species.

From an Eater article about the delicious pork product Spam:

Although lore behind the name Spam varies, [George A.] Hormel himself claimed the product was named for a combination of the words “spice” and “ham,” despite the fact that neither ingredient appears in Spam. The confusion has led some to speculate that Spam is an acronym for “Shoulder of Pork And Ham,” but company line gives Kenneth Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel VP, credit for naming the product. As Hormel tells it, he launched a naming contest for the new product during a New Year’s Eve party, when Daigneau spit out “Spam” as if “it were nothing at all,” Hormel told Gill. “I knew then and there that the name was perfect.”

From an article about Amazon Alexa’s influence on the baby name Alexa:

About 4,250 Alexas are turning five in the U.S. this year. One of them is Amazon’s.

The voice-computing technology that can now control more than 85,000 different devices debuted Nov. 6, 2014.

[…]

In 2015, the year after Amazon Alexa debuted, Alexa was the 32nd most popular female baby name in the U.S., bestowed upon 6,052 newborns that year, according to Social Security Administration data.

Alexa as a baby name has since declined in popularity.

From a DMNES blog post announcing the publication of “Names Shakespeare Didn’t Invent“:

In this article, we revisit three names which are often listed as coinages of Shakespeare’s and show that this received wisdom, though oft-repeated, is in fact incorrect. The three names are Imogen, the heroine of Cymbeline; and Olivia and Viola, the heroines of Twelfth Night. All three of these names pre-date Shakespeare’s use. Further, we show in two of the three cases that it is plausible that Shakespeare was familiar with this earlier usage.

From an article about a surname mash-up in Australia:

Sydney couple Courtney Cassar, 31, and Laura Sheldon, 29, welcomed daughter Lyla Jill last month, but rather than using a hyphen between their family names, they bestowed the ‘mashed-up’ moniker ‘Casseldon’ on their baby girl instead.

From a Fader article about musician/rapper (and snappy dresser) Fonzworth Bentley:

That man was Derek Watkins, but he’d become known to millions as Fonzworth Bentley. His moniker was inspired in part by Bootney Lee Farnsworth, the underdog boxer from the 1975 Sidney Poitier-directed movie Let’s Do It Again.

From an article about the most common names among students at Michigan’s conservative Hillsdale College, which has about 1,500 undergraduates:

The most popular names at Hillsdale are John, with 22 carrying the name; Hannah, appearing 20 times; and Andrew, Emma, and Jacob, which all appear 19 times. Other popular names include Jacob [sic], Michael, Joseph, Matthew, Nicholas, Sarah, and Emily.

Several of these names are popular nationwide, but Hillsdale bucks certain national trends. Many of these students are namesakes to biblical or family figures. 

[…]

The majority of Hillsdale students are between the ages of 18 and 22, with a large portion born in the early 2000s.