How popular is the baby name Rhoda 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 Rhoda.

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Popularity of the baby name Rhoda


Posts that mention the name Rhoda

Popular and unique baby names in each U.S. state, 2022

USA topographic map

Which baby names were the most popular in each U.S. state in 2022?

And which names appeared in the data for just one state last year?

Here are all the answers! (Any unique name that also popped up in last year’s post is in boldface.)

Alabama (AL)

  • Alabama’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Alabama’s top boy name: William
  • Alabama’s 5 unique girl names: Justyce, Adleigh, Crimson, Kamori, Khylee
    • The University of Alabama’s football team is called the Crimson Tide.
  • Alabama’s 5 unique boy names: Bankston, Chapman, Chipper, Treyvon, Wheeler

Alaska (AK)

  • Alaska’s top girl name: Aurora/Charlotte (tie)
  • Alaska’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • Alaska’s 1 unique boy name: Paxson

Arizona (AZ)

  • Arizona’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Arizona’s top boy name: Liam
  • Arizona’s 5 unique girl names: Zo, Payson, Ariza, Naelani, Neema
  • Arizona’s 1 unique boy name: Payson
    • Payson (used for both genders above) could be a reference to the Arizona town of Payson.

Arkansas (AR)

  • Arkansas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Arkansas’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Arkansas’s 1 unique girl name: Camari
  • No unique boy names.

California

  • California’s top girl name: Olivia
  • California’s top boy name: Liam
  • California’s top 10 unique girl names: Mehar, Quetzalli, Emiko, Nare, Yamila, Mei, Mannat, Rayleen, Ajooni, Caia (total of 535)
  • California’s top 10 unique boy names: Arjan, Narek, Lino, Maceo, Zenith, Tigran, Pranav, Sahib, Ashot, Sayed (total of 391)

Colorado

  • Colorado’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Colorado’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Colorado’s 1 unique girl name: Ezmae
  • Colorado’s 1 unique boy name: Cale
    • Professional hockey player Cale Makar plays for the Colorado Avalanche (and won the Stanley Cup with them in mid-2022).

Connecticut

  • Connecticut’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Connecticut’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Delaware

  • Delaware’s top girl name: Sophia
  • Delaware’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

District of Columbia

  • D.C.’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • D.C.’s top boy name: Henry
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Florida

  • Florida’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Florida’s top boy name: Liam
  • Florida’s top 10 unique girl names: Abigaelle, Ainoa, Keisha, Anaelle, Alysha, Jamia, Jehlani, Mariangel, Taraji, Aaleyah (total of 123)
  • Florida’s top 10 unique boy names: Piero, Kenley, Kensley, Kion, Romel, Royale, Promise, Adams, Imani, Jahkai (total of 110)

Georgia

  • Georgia’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Georgia’s top boy name: Noah
  • Georgia’s top 10 unique girl names: Yari, Choyce, Janova, Aloni, Kelli, Sarabi, Serayah, Zakiyah, Cai, Candelaria (total of 33)
  • Georgia’s top 10 unique boy names: Deuce, Walton, Jamario, Lawton, Jeb, Kanon, Masyn, Peace, Pearce, Robel (total of 29)

Hawaii

  • Hawaii’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Hawaii’s top boy name: Noah
  • Hawaii’s 5 unique girl names: Lilinoe, Mahealani, Kelia, Mehana, Mele
  • Hawaii’s top 10 unique boy names: Ikaika, Ryzen, Kainalu, Kaeo, Kaikoa, Kawika, Makani, Hayzen, Kalai, Kiai (total of 11)

Idaho

  • Idaho’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Idaho’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Illinois

  • Illinois’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Illinois’s top boy name: Noah
  • Illinois’s top 10 unique girl names: Kinzie, Zuzanna, Maleyah, Miliani, Novella, Ozzie, Colleen, Iga, Kamira, Kamoura (total of 15)
  • Illinois’s top 10 unique boy names: Vuk, Aleksandar, Andrej, Michal, Nikodem, Teodor, Lazar, Namir, Nyaire, Abdurrahman (total of 22)

Indiana

  • Indiana’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Indiana’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Indiana’s 10 unique girl names: Israel, Brenlee, Talaya, Arionna, Dalayah, Islay, Jacklynn, Laiana, Saylah, Wrigley
  • Indiana’s 6 unique boy names: Maciah, Brayton, Jentry, Jordon, Menno, Olyver

Iowa

  • Iowa’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Iowa’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Kansas

  • Kansas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Kansas’s top boy name: Liam
  • Kansas’s 1 unique girl name: Breckyn
  • Kansas’s 1 unique boy name: Calan

Kentucky

  • Kentucky’s top girl name: Harper
  • Kentucky’s top boy name: Liam
  • Kentucky’s 2 unique girl names: Rosetta, Tinslee
  • Kentucky’s 2 unique boy names: Jansen, Taytum

Louisiana

  • Louisiana’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Louisiana’s top boy name: Liam
  • Louisiana’s 9 unique girl names: Kamyri, Jaylei, Juri, Kemani, Ellarie, Jaisley, Kaleigha, Kenslei, Weslyn
  • Louisiana’s top 10 unique boy names: Khyzer, Kennon, Aysen, Denym, Brylon, Caisen, Dedrick, Mahzi, Tory, Treylin (total of 11)

Maine (ME)

  • Maine’s top girl name: Evelyn
  • Maine’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Maine’s 1 unique girl name: Acadia
    • Acadia National Park is located in Maine.
  • No unique boy names.

Maryland (MD)

  • Maryland’s top girl name: Ava
  • Maryland’s top boy name: Liam
  • Maryland’s 6 unique girl names: Nature, Arsema, Loyal, Ayomide, Eniola, Hasset
  • Maryland’s 4 unique boy names: Record, Tavon, Ezana, Kymere

Massachusetts (MA)

  • Massachusetts’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Massachusetts’s top boy name: Noah
  • Massachusetts’s 8 unique girl names: Emilly, Marialuiza, Mariaclara, Aylla, Emanuelly, Hellena, Eloa, Isabelly
  • Massachusetts’s 2 unique boy names: Eoghan, Murilo

Michigan (MI)

  • Michigan’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Michigan’s top boy name: Noah
  • Michigan’s top 10 unique girl names: Reema, Zahraa, Germany, Rital, Areej, Harlym, Kamylah, Layal, Zyaire, Elloise (total of 17)
  • Michigan’s top 10 unique boy names: Floyd, Renley, Mohsen, Stuart, Wissam, Amaree, Delon, Husayn, Ishaaq, Joud (total of 12)

Minnesota (MN)

  • Minnesota’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Minnesota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Minnesota’s top 10 unique girl names: Maryama, Siham, Ahlam, Manal, Mumtaz, Rayan, Ikhlas, Nawal, Afnan, Maiza (total of 34)
  • Minnesota’s top 10 unique boy names: Yahye, Muhsin, Mohamedamin, Munasar, Nels, Sudais, Amaar, Brekken, Hanad, Majid (total of 29)

Mississippi (MS)

  • Mississippi’s top girl name: Ava
  • Mississippi’s top boy name: James
  • Mississippi’s 5 unique girl names: Rivers, Kaisleigh, Rhyleigh, Kulture, Mills
  • Mississippi’s 1 unique boy name: Khyler

Missouri (MO)

  • Missouri’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Missouri’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Missouri’s 5 unique girl names: Quinley, Rilee, Taylynn, Sekani, Teddy
  • Missouri’s 6 unique boy names: Petie, Tennessee, Devontae, Kolsyn, Maclin, Weslee

Montana (MT)

  • Montana’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Montana’s top boy name: William
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Nebraska

  • Nebraska’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Nebraska’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Nebraska’s 1 unique girl name: Eh
  • Nebraska’s 1 unique boy name: Creighton
    • Creighton University is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nevada

  • Nevada’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Nevada’s top boy name: Liam
  • Nevada’s 1 unique girl name: Hemen
  • No unique boy names.

New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • New Hampshire’s top boy name: Theodore
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey’s top girl name: Emma
  • New Jersey’s top boy name: Liam
  • New Jersey’s top 10 unique girl names: Tzivia, Shulamis, Ita, Debra, Fay, Sheva, Dena, Esti, Giorgia, Mattea (total of 11)
  • New Jersey’s top 10 unique boy names: Gershon, Boruch, Michoel, Yechezkel, Pinchos, Avigdor, Ahsan, Betzalel, Ibn, Nesanel (total of 15)

New Mexico

  • New Mexico’s top girl name: Sophia
  • New Mexico’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • New Mexico’s 1 unique boy name: Cruzito

New York

  • New York’s top girl name: Olivia
  • New York’s top boy name: Liam
  • New York’s top 10 unique girl names: Faigy, Gitty, Yitty, Raizy, Goldy, Shaindy, Blima, Henny, Pessy, Hinda (total of 197)
  • New York’s top 10 unique boy names: Shaya, Mendy, Usher, Yitzchak, Avrum, Yossi, Hershel, Elimelech, Shloma, Yida (total of 179)

North Carolina

  • North Carolina’s top girl name: Olivia
  • North Carolina’s top boy name: Liam
  • North Carolina’s top 10 unique girl names: Huntleigh, Makinley, Meylin, Talayah, Adair, Alaura, Avacyn, Bryelle, Emersen, Goddess (total of 18)
  • North Carolina’s top 10 unique boy names: Darrius, Shelton, Sheppard, Ward, Waylan, Zeb, Chasen, Clarke, Kaysin, Kori (total of 22)

North Dakota

  • North Dakota’s top girl name: Olivia
  • North Dakota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • North Dakota’s 1 unique girl name: Girl (a placeholder name)
  • No unique boy names.

Ohio

  • Ohio’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Ohio’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Ohio’s top 10 unique girl names: Kierra, Lamiyah, Paizlee, Dempsey, Myonna, Annamae, Iyonna, Jaila, Jamyah, Khori (total of 29)
  • Ohio’s top 10 unique boy names: Bennet, Cylas, Merlin, Abdallah, Wayde, Atlee, Bashir, Blessing, Bryden, Cylus (total of 19)

Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Oklahoma’s top boy name: Liam
  • Oklahoma’s 4 unique girl names: Lakota, Huxley, Lun, Raelee
  • Oklahoma’s 2 unique boy names: Thang, Ripken

Oregon

  • Oregon’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Oregon’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Pennsylvania’s top boy name: Liam
  • Pennsylvania’s top 10 unique girl names: Barbie, Verna, Lavina, Alahna, Allure, Gionna, Laela, Lovina, Giavonna, Jennica (total of 25)
  • Pennsylvania’s top 10 unique boy names: Benuel, Enos, Arlan, Penn, Munir, Welles, Kendry, Koleson, Tyreek, Ahsaan (total of 25)

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Rhode Island’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

South Carolina

  • South Carolina’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • South Carolina’s top boy name: Noah
  • No unique girl names.
  • South Carolina’s 4 unique boy names: Rashaun, Tillman, Keylan, Tyquan

South Dakota

  • South Dakota’s top girl name: Evelyn
  • South Dakota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • South Dakota’s 1 unique girl name: Kimimila (from the Lakota word kimímila, meaning “butterfly”)
  • No unique boy names.

Tennessee

  • Tennessee’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Tennessee’s top boy name: Liam
  • Tennessee’s top 10 unique girl names: Neely, Annsley, Elleanor, Kimberlynn, Whitlee, Alasia, Brenley, Brylie, Copper, Enslee (total of 15)
  • Tennessee’s top 10 unique boys names: Neyland, Holston, Opie, Hatcher, Kevon, Randal, Ryman, Aleczander, Dekari, Kaven (total of 14)
    • The University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium was named after former athletic director/coach Robert Neyland.
    • Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium was named after Nashville businessman Thomas Ryman.

Texas

  • Texas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Texas’s top boy name: Liam
  • Texas’s top 10 unique girl names: Landrie, Devany, Darianna, Atalie, Conley, Eliane, Leddy, Aitanna, Darely, Heiress (total of 501)
  • Texas’s top 10 unique boy names: Riggin, Witten, Job, Weldon, Cutter, Judge, Stratton, Blayze, Cross, Ferran (total of 310)

Utah

  • Utah’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Utah’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Utah’s 9 unique girl names: Alta, Liesl, Swayzee, Indica, Manaia, Nayvie, Quincey, Rorie, Savvy
  • Utah’s 10 unique boy names: Stockton, Ammon, Dallin, Cache, Kimball, Tyce, Hudsen, Niels, Quin, Talmage
    • Former professional basketball player John Stockton spent his entire NBA career with the Utah Jazz.
    • Dallin H. Oaks is one of the leaders of the LDS Church.
    • James E. Talmage was one of the leaders of the LDS Church in the early 1900s.

Vermont

  • Vermont’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Vermont’s top boy name: Henry
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Virginia

  • Virginia’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Virginia’s top boy name: Liam
  • Virginia’s 2 unique girl names: Cameran, Menna
  • Virginia’s 5 unique boy names: Amnen, Arkan, Athens, Kani, Khylen

(Here are the top baby names in Virginia, and within each of Virginia’s largest ethnic groups, according to the state itself.)

Washington

  • Washington’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Washington’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Washington’s 10 unique girl names: Mishika, Simona, Angelika, Hermela, Masina, Meklit, Shelly, Skadi, Soliana, Zakia
  • Washington’s top 10 unique boy names: Ruvim, Leul, Nazar, Orrin, Eldon, Ilya, Odysseus, Roscoe, Ryett, Tavish (total of 11)

West Virginia

  • West Virginia’s top girl name: Amelia
  • West Virginia’s top boy name: Asher
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Wisconsin’s top boy name: Henry
  • Wisconsin’s 3 unique girl names: Lorene, Luann, Maevis
  • Wisconsin’s 3 unique boy names: Lavern, Wilbur, Willem

Wyoming

  • Wyoming’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Wyoming’s top boy name: Noah
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

(Here are the top baby names in Wyoming according to the state itself.)


Many of the unique names above can be attributed to large religious/ethnic groups within certain states, such as the Amish in Pennsylvania/Ohio/Indiana, the Jews in New York/New Jersey, the Mormons in Utah/Idaho, and the Somali in Minnesota.

In fact, some of the names that appeared in the data for two states can be attributed to usage within these groups as well. Examples include…

  • Hyrum, Utah & Idaho
  • Mckay, Utah & Idaho
  • Mordechai, New York & New Jersey
  • Malka, New York & New Jersey
  • Rhoda, Ohio & Pennsylvania

Do you have any thoughts about the single-state names above? Or about any of the other names in the 2022 state-by-state data? If so, please leave a comment!

(One thought I had: The most interesting top-5 this time around has to be West Virginia’s boys’ list: Asher, Grayson, Waylon, Oliver, and Liam. And sixth place is a tie between Maverick and Noah.)

Source: Popular Names by State – SSA

Image: Topographical Map of the USA by NOAA

Popular baby names in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1868

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

Years ago, I discovered three documents with relatively complete lists of births for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868. I’ve already created Providence’s baby name rankings for 1866 and 1867 using the first two documents, and today (finally!) I’ve got the third set of rankings for you.

Let’s start with some stats:

  • 1,762 babies were born in Providence in 1868, by my count. According to the introduction of the document I’m using a source, however, the total number is 1,866. I don’t know how to account for this discrepancy.
  • 1,617 of these babies (791 girls and 826 boys) had names that were known at the time of publication. The other 145 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps these babies died young and never received a name.
  • 284 unique names (143 girl names and 141 boy names) were shared among these 1,617 babies.

And now, on to the names!

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Sarah
4. Ellen
5. Margaret
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 39
  3. Sarah, 38
  4. Ellen, 31
  5. Margaret, 28
  6. Elizabeth, 25
  7. Alice, 24
  8. Anna, 20
  9. Ann, 16
  10. Emma, 14
  11. Eliza, 13
  12. Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
  13. Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
  14. Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
  15. Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
  17. Anne, Carrie, Hattie, Ida, Mabel & Nellie, 6 each (6-way tie)
  18. Eva, Joanna, Lydia & Rosanna, 5 each (4-way tie)
  19. Abby, Charlotte, Emily, Jessie, Josephine, Lillian, Lizzie, Louisa, Louise, Marion, Phebe, Rosella & Theresa, 4 each (13-way tie)
  20. Anastasia, Bertha, Edith, Gertrude, Isabella, Nettie, Pearl, Rebecca & Susanna, 3 each (9-way tie)
  21. Ada, Almira, Edna, Fannie, Flora, Frances, Helen, Henrietta, Inez, Laura, Lelia, Lillie, Lottie, Maud, Priscilla & Virginia, 2 each (16-way tie)
  22. Addie, Adelaide, Adelicia, Adeline, Agatha, Allene, Amanda, Amy, Angelica, Antoinette, Arabella, Augusta, Aurelia, B.*, Belle, Bessie, Betsey, Catharine, Celia, Claudia, Della, Eleanor, Eleanora, Estella, Estelle, Esther, Eudavelia, Eulalie, Evelyn, Francenia, Genevieve, Georgia, Honora, Imogene, Jesse, Juliette, Kate, Leonora, Lilla, Lillias, Lorena, Luella, Luetta, Magdalena, Marian, Marietta, Matilda, Mercy, Minerva, Miriam, Myra, Myrtis, Nanoan, Nora, Pauline, Reberta, Rhoda, Roberta, Rosa, Rose, Ruth, Sabrina, Sophia, Stella & Winifred, 1 each (65-way tie)

*What do you think the “B.” might have stood for?

All Boy Names

  1. John, 112 baby boys
  2. William, 68
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 52
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 37
  7. Frederick, 25
  8. Henry, 23
  9. Joseph, 22
  10. Edward, 19
  11. Daniel & Patrick, 18 each (tie)
  12. Robert, 17
  13. Frank, 16
  14. Francis, 15
  15. Walter, 13
  16. Michael, 11
  17. Albert, 10
  18. Arthur, 9
  19. Benjamin, Peter & Samuel, 7 each (3-way tie)
  20. Freddie, Harry, Herbert & Stephen, 6 each (4-way tie)
  21. Edwin, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin & Timothy, 5 each (5-way tie)
  22. Bernard, Edmund, Eugene, Louis, Philip & Richard, 4 each (6-way tie)
  23. Alfred, Augustus, Christopher, Eben, Horace, Howard, Hugh, Jeremiah, Matthew & Willard, 3 each (10-way tie)
  24. Abel, Barney, Byron, Dennis, Edgar, Ferdinand, Gilbert, Luke, Max, Nathaniel, Owen, Roger, Solomon & Victor, 2 each (14-way tie)
  25. Alden, Alexis, Allen, Alrick, Amos, Andrew, Ansel, Anson, Archibald, Asa, Ashby, Bartholomew, Calvin, Carlos, Clarence, Clark, Clarke, Clement, Clifford, Collyer, Crolander, Darius, David, Earl, Elisha, Ellis, Eri, Ernest, Erwin, Eusebe, Everett, Felix, Forrest, Foster, Franklin, Fred, Gardner, Jacob, Jason, Jerome, Jireh, Joaneto, Josiah, Jubal, Justin, Lawson, Lodovic, Louis, Lucien, Lyman, Major, Malachi, Manuel, Melbourne, Monroe, Morey, Morris, Myron, Nelson, Nicholas, Olney, Orville, Oscar, Pendleton, Ralph, Reuben, Rolfe, Rowland, Rufus, Simeon, Simon, Steven, Stewart, Theodore, Ulysses*, Volney, Warren, Whiting, Willie & Winchester, 1 each (80-way tie)

*Ulysses was likely named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected president in 1868.

Twins

Finally, nineteen sets of twins were born in Providence in 1868. (All of these twin names are accounted for in the rankings above.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twins
Caroline & Harriet
Lucy & Lydia
Mary & Rosanna
Margaret & Mary
Lizzie & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Anne & Thomas
Emma & Charles
Florence & William
Hannah & Josiah
Ida & John
Isabella & John
Jennie & Horace
Charles & William
Francis & Robert
George & John
James & John
James & Stephen
(blank) & (blank)

Have any thoughts about these rankings, or about any of the specific names above?

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number three. Providence: Millard & Harker, 1870.

Where did the baby name Loey come from in 1970?

The character Loey in the TV movie "Ritual of Evil" (1970).
Loey in “Ritual of Evil”

It’s almost Halloween! So let’s look at the curious girl name Loey, which debuted in the U.S. baby name data at the start of the ’70s:

  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: 11 baby girls named Loey [debut]
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted

What put it there?

A character from the TV horror movie Ritual of Evil, which premiered in February of 1970. It was a sequel to the 1969 TV movie Fear No Evil, and so it featured the same main character: psychiatrist David Sorrell.

In Ritual of Evil, Dr. Sorrell investigated the death of one of his patients, a young heiress. Turns out she was killed by a Satanic cult, and her little sister Loey (played by Belinda Montgomery) was now in danger as well.

In the film, the name “Loey” was pronounced to rhyme with Chloe and Zoe.

What are your thoughts on the name Loey?

Source: Ritual of Evil (1970) – Movies and Mania

P.S. Other horror-filled names we’ve discussed before include Tippi, Pleshette, Marnie, Annabelle, Aristede, Jamison, Josette, Angelique, Samara, Daveigh, Rhoda, and Thedy.

What popularized the baby name Samara in the early 2000s?

The character Samara Morgan (played by Daveigh Chase) in the horror movie "The Ring" (2002).
Samara Morgan from “The Ring

Halloween is a few days away, so here’s a pair of horror-imbued baby names, each of which got a boost from the same scary film.

That film was The Ring, released in October of 2002. The film’s main character was a journalist dealing with a cursed videotape (that killed anyone who watched it). But the film’s memorable character — as in all good horror films — was the villain: the vengeful spirit of a little girl named Samara (pronounced sah-MAHR-ah) Morgan. Samara was played by young actress Daveigh (pronounced dah-VAY) Chase.

The year after The Ring came out, the name Samara saw a steep rise in usage, and the name Daveigh debuted in the U.S. data:

Girls named SamaraGirls named Daveigh
2005825 (rank: 380th)12
2004857 (rank: 365th)21
2003656 (rank: 456th)22*
2002242 (rank: 929th).
2001261 (rank: 883rd).
*Debut & Peak usage

The Ring did well at the box office, and it was followed by two successful sequels: The Ring Two (released in March of 2005) and Rings (February of 2017).

Daveigh Chase was not actively involved in either sequel, so her name didn’t see any subsequent boosts in the data. But Samara Morgan was central to both films (of course) and we can see the corresponding peaks in the usage of “Samara” in 2006 and 2018:

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

(The rise that began in 2016 may have been kicked off by Australian actress Samara Weaving, who was being called a “newcomer” in Hollywood around that time.)

The Ring was a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu, which was based on the 1991 Japanese novel Ringu by Koji Suzuki. In the novel and the original film, the little girl was named Sadako Yamamura. I couldn’t find any information on why the American version of the character was renamed “Samara” specifically, but my guess is that “Samara” was chosen simply because it was a 3-syllable S-name like Sadako.

What are your thoughts on the name Samara? Would you use it (despite the horrific association)?

Source: The Ring (2002 film) – Wikipedia

P.S. Other horror-filled names we’ve discussed before include Rhoda, Thedy, Tippi, Pleshette, Marnie, Annabelle, Aristede, Jamison, Josette, and Angelique.