How popular is the baby name Oona 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 Oona.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Oona


Posts that Mention the Name Oona

Where did the baby name Oona come from in 1942?

Oona O'Neill in a soap advertisement (March, 1943)
Oona O’Neill

The Irish name Oona first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the 1940s:

  • 1944: 5 baby girls named Oona
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Oona
  • 1942: 5 baby girls named Oona [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

Why?

It was thanks to Oona O’Neill, daughter of Eugene and Agnes O’Neill, both writers. Oona was born in Bermuda in 1925, five years after her father won his first Pulitzer Prize.

In the early 1940s, Oona was a teenage socialite with famous friends. And in April of 1942, when the 16-year-old debutante was selected as the top “glamour girl” of New York society at the Stork Club, she became famous.

Oona got offers from film studios, and if she had gone in that direction, her name might have become more popular during the 1940s. Instead, she became the wife of Charlie Chaplin in June of 1943, when she was 18 and he was 54. Not long after that, her name dropped back off the charts.

(Oona and Charlie went on to have eight children, named: Geraldine, Michael, Josephine, Victoria, Eugene, Jane, Annette, and Christopher. Geraldine’s daughter Oona Chaplin played the part of Talisa Maegyr on Game of Thrones a few years ago.)

These days, the name Oona (which is actually a spelling variant of Úna) is relatively close to the U.S. top 1,000:

  • 2017: 93 baby girls named Oona [rank: 2,085th]
  • 2016: 111 baby girls named Oona [rank: 1,856th]
  • 2015: 131 baby girls named Oona [rank: 1,634th]
  • 2014: 63 baby girls named Oona [rank: 2,761st]
  • 2013: 38 baby girls named Oona [rank: 3,977th]

Do you think it will ever get there?

What are your thoughts on the baby name Oona?

P.S. “Oona” was back in the baby name data in 1954, the year a character named Oona could be seen on the big screen in the movie Taza, Son of Cochise.

P.P.S. I also mentioned Charlie Chaplin in this post about the name Cherrill.

Source: Oona O’Neill – Wikipedia
Image: from a Woodbury soap advertisement in Life magazine (March 8, 1943)

Popular Baby Names in British Columbia, 2016

According to British Columbia’s Vital Statistics Agency, the most popular baby names in the province in 2016 were Olivia and Lucas.

Here are British Columbia’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 265 baby girls
2. Emma, 218
3. Charlotte, 194
4. Ava, 185
5. Sophia, 175
6. Chloe, 164
7. Emily, 155
8. Abigail, 152
9. Amelia, 141
10. Evelyn, 138

Boy Names
1. Lucas, 231 baby boys
2. Benjamin, 222
3. Ethan, 213
4. Oliver, 210
5. Liam, 200
6. Noah, 199
7. James, 189
8. William, 186
9. Jacob, 176
10. Owen, 174

In the girls’ top 10, Evelyn replaced Ella.

In the boys’ top 10, Noah, James, and Owen replaced Alexander, Mason, and Hunter.

Names at the other end of the spectrum — used just five times each in 2016 — include:

  • Althea, Blaire, Daya, Emberly, Felicity, Genesis, Hallie, Jaskirat, Lisa, Melissa, Naira, Oona, Patricia, Remy, Silver, Taryn, Uma, Violette, Whitney (girl names)
  • Augustus, Brixton, Cristiano, Duncan, Emilio, Finnian, Gibson, Hassan, Jared, Koa, London, Mantaj, Noel, Rayden, Shea, Tony, Umar, Willem, Zian (boy names)

The top names in 2015 were Emma and Oliver.

According to preliminary 2017 data (covering January 1st to December 15th) the top two names of the current year are likely Olivia and Benjamin.

Sources: Baby’s Most Chosen Names in British Columbia, 2016, British Columbia’s top baby names (prelim. 2017)

What popularized the baby name Brenda in 1939?

brenda diana duff frazier, life magazine cover, November 1938

Brenda Diana Duff Frazier (1921-1982) was an American debutante who rose to fame toward the end of the Great Depression. She wasn’t from an old-money family, but she did have a $4 million trust fund, thanks to her paternal grandfather.

“By the time Frazier was ready to make her debut, most of the established charity group balls and cotillions — even the more down-market ones — rejected her application.” So Brenda’s overbearing, “embarrassingly nouveau riche” mother planned an extravagant coming-out party. It was held at the Ritz-Carlton in December of 1938, and it attracted a remarkable amount of media attention. In anticipation of the event, LIFE made Brenda a cover girl in mid-November.

The baby name Brenda had already been on the rise, but all the buzz around Brenda Frazier kicked the name into high gear in 1939:

  • 1942: 7,237 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1941: 6,332 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1940: 5,442 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1939: 2,756 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1938: 677 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1937: 232 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1936: 164 baby girls named Brenda
  • 1935: 132 baby girls named Brenda

(This was also the year that gossip columnist Walter Winchell, inspired by Fraser’s “ubiquity, her hustle, her fame,” coined the term celebutante — a portmanteau of celebrity and debutante — to describe Brenda specifically.)

“Brenda” went on to become one of the most popular baby names of the mid-20th century.

By that time, though, Brenda Frazier’s popularity had long since waned. She went on to suffer from eating disorders, become addicted to drugs and alcohol, divorce twice and attempt suicide multiple times before passing away “a virtual recluse” in 1982.

In 2007, New York Magazine ranked the top 20 socialites of all time. Frazier came in 16th.

Sources:

More debutantes: Cobina Wright, Jr., Deyanne O’Neil Farrell, Oona O’Neill, Sharman Douglas, Theonita Cox, Gamble Benedict

Baby Name Needed: Girl Name for Maeve’s Sister

A reader named Kelly is expecting her second daughter in May, and she’d appreciate a few name suggestions. She writes:

Our first daughter, Maeve, was named really easily, and we grow to love the name more and more. However, we are having an exceptionally difficult time finding a second girl’s name that we like as much. I especially like Gaelic/Celtic names, but am willing to consider other options as well.

Here are some names that I think could work with Maeve:

Beatrix
Bevin
Blythe
Bree/Brígh
Bridget
Brynn
Caitlin
Carys
Chloe
Clio
Darcy
Deirdre
Eileen
Fiona
Freya
Gemma
Greta
Gwen
Hazel
Iona
Isla*
Ivy
Lorna
Lucy
Lyra
Miriam
Moira
Nora
Oona
Opal
Orla/Orlagh
Phoebe
Piper
Quinn
Rhona
Riona
Stella
Sylvie
Tamar
Tatum
Tegan
Tess
Tirzah
Zelda

*Pronounced EYE-la, but happens to looks just like the Spanish word for island, isla, pronounced EES-la.

Which of the above do you like best for Maeve’s little sister? What other names would you suggest to Kelly?