How popular is the baby name Shalawn 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 Shalawn.

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Popularity of the baby name Shalawn


Posts that mention the name Shalawn

What gave the baby name Levert a boost in the 1980s?

LeVert's single "Casanova" (1987).
LeVert single

The name Casanova — made famous during the 18th century by Italian adventurer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova — started popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1980s. It saw a modest increase in usage a few years later:

  • 1989: unlisted
  • 1988: 14 baby boys named Casanova
  • 1987: 11 baby boys named Casanova
  • 1986: unlisted

The spelling variant Cassanova debuted around the same time, in 1987.

What was influencing these names?

The catchy song “Casanova” by R&B vocal trio LeVert. It was released in mid-1987 and peaked at #5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. Though the group had multiple songs reach #1 on the R&B chart, “Casanova” was their strongest showing on the pop chart.

The group consisted of brothers Gerald and Sean LeVert — sons of O’Jays lead vocalist Eddie LeVert — and a third member, Marc Gordon.

Thanks to the success of the song, the French surname LeVert also saw its highest-ever usage in the late 1980s:

  • 1989: 17 baby boys named Levert
  • 1988: 19 baby boys named Levert [peak usage]
  • 1987: 7 baby boys named Levert
  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted

(The surname is rendered “Levert” in the data because the SSA strips out internal capitalization.)

Getting back to Casanova, though…what are your thoughts on “Casanova” as a first name?

P.S. Another member of the O’Jays, Walter Williams, was behind the peak usage of Shalawn and Seandra in the mid-1970s.

Sources: LeVert – Wikpedia, SSA

Where did the baby name Shalawn come from in 1974?

Twins Shalawn and Seandra Williams (in the lap of their mother, Nancy)
Shalawn and Seandra Williams

The name Shalawn debuted very impressively in the U.S. baby name data in 1974. It was the top girl-name debut of the year, and is currently tied for 45th-highest girl name debut of all time.

Shalawn’s arrival is also linked to the reappearance of a somewhat similar name, Seandra, in the data:

Girls named ShalawnGirls named Seandra
197676
19752410
197470*†31†
1973..
1972..
*Debut, †Peak usage

So where did these two names come from?

A pair of identical twin girls!

Twins Shalawn and Seandra were born to O’Jays singer Walter Williams and his wife Nancy in early 1974. (This was about a year after the O’Jays song “Love Train” [vid] hit #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.)

Both Billboard and Jet magazines mentioned the twins in April, soon after they were born.

Jet followed up in June with a photo of the twins sitting on their mother’s lap. The caption noted that their nicknames were “Lovie” and “Dovie,” and that they had an older sister named Dawn.

I don’t know how Walter and Nancy came up with the twins’ names, but they seem to be elaborated forms of the male names Shawn and Sean (which are essentially the same name, just spelled differently).

What are your thoughts on the names Shalawn and Seandra? Which one do you prefer?

Sources:

Image: © 1974 Ebony

Top girl-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (41-50)

lotus bud

For years now I’ve been talking about baby name debuts. But one thing I keep forgetting to blog about is the biggest baby name debuts of all time.

So this week I’m going to fix that oversight.

Well, half of it.

I’ll be counting down the 50 most popular girl name debuts in five posts, from today until Friday. (The boys’ list I’ll do another week.)

You’d think this would be 50 names, right? But I decided not to break ties, so the list actually contains 67 names.

I came up with explanations for as many names as I could, though a number of them are still mysteries to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

So here’s 50 to 41:

Yatzari, #50

  • Yatzari debuted with 65 baby girls in 2000.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.

Brieanna, Fanta & Kherington, 3-way tie for #49

  • Brieanna debuted with 66 baby girls in 1979.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Fanta debuted with 66 baby girls in 1977.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Fanta, a character on the TV miniseries Roots.
  • Kherington debuted with 66 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Kherington Payne, a contestant on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

Chantay, Charde & Laryssa, 3-way tie for #48

  • Chantay debuted with 67 baby girls in 1960.
    Inspired by Chantay, a character on the TV western Lawman.
  • Charde debuted with 67 baby girls in 1985.
    Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].
  • Laryssa debuted with 67 baby girls in 1968.
    Inspired by Laryssa Lauret, an actress on the soap opera The Doctors.

Jennavecia & Laquita, 2-way tie for #47

  • Jennavecia debuted with 68 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Jennavecia Russo, a cast member on the reality TV show The Bad Girls Club.
  • Laquita debuted with 68 baby girls in 1930.
    Inspired by…I’m not sure what.

Zhane, #46

  • Zhane debuted with 69 baby girls in 1993.
    Inspired by the R&B duo Zhané.

Kaydence, Phaedra & Shalawn, 3-way tie for #45

  • Kaydence debuted with 70 baby girls in 2002.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Cadence, a character from the movie Shallow Hal. (Thank you Angela!)
  • Phaedra debuted with 70 baby girls in 1963.
    Inspired by Phaedra, a character in the movie Phaedra.
  • Shalawn debuted with 70 baby girls in 1974.
    Inspired by Shalawn (b. 1974), baby of O’Jays singer Walter Williams.

Tyechia, #44

  • Tyechia debuted with 71 baby girls in 1982.
    Inspired by orphaned toddler named Tyechia who had been in the news.

Adilene, #43

  • Adilene debuted with 72 baby girls in 1987.
    Inspired by the song “Adilene” by Los Yonics.

Leshia & Riann, 2-way tie for #42

  • Leshia debuted with 76 baby girls in 1960.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Lisha Steele, a character on the soap opera Young Doctor Malone. (Thank you m4yb3_daijirou!)
  • Riann debuted with 76 baby girls in 1977.
    Inspired by the song “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac.

Jalesa, #41

  • Jalesa debuted with 77 baby girls in 1988.
    Inspired by Jaleesa Vinson, a character on the TV sitcom A Different World.

Do you have any ideas about where Kaydence, Fanta, Brieanna, or Yatzari might have come from?

More of the top 50 baby name debuts for girls: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1

Image: Adapted from LotusBud0048a (public domain) by Frank “Fg2” Gualtieri

[Latest update: 7/2021]

Baby names that debuted most impressively in the U.S. data, 1881 to today

lotus bud

Though most of the baby names in the SSA’s annual datasets are repeats, each dataset does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the most popular debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing explanations tied to historical people/events. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8

(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.”)

  • 1990: Isamar, 446; Dajour, 26
  • 1991: Emilce, 30; Quayshaun, 93
  • 1992: Akeiba, 49; Devanta, 41
  • 1993: Rosangelica, 91; Deyonta, 37
  • 1994: Ajee, 185; Shyheim, 168
  • 1995: Yamilex, 130; Alize, 30
  • 1996: Moesha, 426; Quindon, 67
  • 1997: Erykah, 279; Cross, 43
  • 1998: Naidelyn, 78; Zyshonne, 26
  • 1999: Verania, 62; Cauy, 32
  • 2000: Kelis, 108; Rithik, 22
  • 2001: Yaire, 184; Jahiem, 155
  • 2002: Kaydence, 70; Omarian, 31
  • 2003: Trenyce, 88; Pharrell, 67
  • 2004: Eshal, 38; Jkwon, 100
  • 2005: Yarisbel, 30; Jayceon, 48
  • 2006: Lizania, 35; Balian, 24
  • 2007: Leilene, 81; Yurem, 206
  • 2008: Aideliz, 91; Yosgart, 72
  • 2009: Greidys, 186; Jeremih, 87

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

Source: U.S. SSA

Image: Adapted from LotusBud0048a (public domain) by Frank “Fg2” Gualtieri

[Latest update: May 2024]