How popular is the baby name Theda 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 Theda.

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Theda


Posts that Mention the Name Theda

Old-fashioned double names: Loladean, Ivylee, Effielou

old-fashioned double names

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.

So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.

I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.

I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).

Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).

The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).

*

-Ann(e)

Abbyanne, Agnesann, Aliceanne, Bessanne, Bettyann/Bettyanne, Cassanne, Claraanne, Coraanne, Dellaanne, Dollyanne, Dorisann, Dorothyann, Doveanne, Ethelanne, Faeanne, Floyanne, Franceanne, Gayanne, Georgeann/Georgeanne, Gracyanne, Gustyanne, Helenann, Hopeanne, Idaanne, Ivaanne, Jeanann, Jessanne, Joyanne, Judyanne, Katyanne, Lizanne, Lizzyanne, Loisann, Louann/Louanne, Louisaanne, Maeanne, Margaretann, Metaanne, Mollyanne, Nancyann, Nellyanne, Oliveanne, Opalann, Patsyanne, Pattyanne, Phyllisann, Pollyann, Prudyanne, Rayanne, Roseann/Roseanne, Rosyanne, Roxieanne, Royanne, Rueanne, Ruthann/Ruthanne, Shirleyann, Sallyann, Sueanne, Susyanne, Tobyanne, Tommyanne

-Bell(e)

Adabelle, Addiebelle, Altabelle, Anjabell, Annebelle, Anniebell/Anniebelle, Archiebell, Artybelle, Augustabelle, Beckybell, Berthabelle, Bessybell, Bettybell, Beulahbelle, Birdiebelle, Bonniebell, Cassbelle, Clairbelle, Clarabell/Clarabelle, Claybelle, Cleobelle, Conniebell, Corabell/Corabelle, Cordiebell, Corybelle, Danniebell, Dolliebelle, Donnabell/Donnabelle, Dottiebell, Eddybelle, Ednabell, Edrisbell, Effiebelle, Elizabelle, Ellenbelle, Elsiebelle, Essiebell, Esterbelle, Ethelbelle, Ettabelle, Evabelle, Fannybelle, Faybelle, Fernbell, Florabell/Florabelle, Florbell, Flossiebell, Floybell, Frankiebell, Fredybell, Gaybell, Geniebell, Georgiabell, Georgiebelle, Glennabelle, Goldenbell, Gradybelle, Hattybelle, Hazelbell, Hughbell, Idabell/Idabelle, Inezbelle, Indiabelle, Ingabelle, Iscahbell, Ivybelle, Janiebelle, Jaybelle, Jessbell, Jessiebelle, Jewelbell, Jodiebell, Joebell, Johnybell, Jonibell, Jorybelle, Josiebell, Joybell, Junebell, Kaybelle, Kittybelle, Kizzybell, Ladybell, Leahbelle, Leebelle, Lenabelle, Leonabell, Leotabell, Lettybelle, Lizzybelle, Loubelle, Lulabell/Lulabelle, Lulubelle, Lydabell, Lydiabelle, Madgebell, Maebell/Maebelle/Maybell/Maybelle, Maggybell, Mamiebell, Mandybell, Marabelle, Marthabell, Marybell/Marybelle/Maribell/Maribelle, Mattybell, Maudebell, Meadowbelle, Minniebell, Monabell, Myrtlebelle, Nanniebell, Nelliebelle, Nettybell, Nevabelle, Ninabelle, Nitabell, Norabelle, Novabell, Pinkiebell, Pollybelle, Odiebelle, Olabell, Olivebelle, Olliebelle, Orabell/Orabelle, Orphabelle, Queeniebelle, Raybelle, Rebabelle, Rheabelle, Rhodabelle, Ritabelle, Romabelle, Rosabell/Rosabelle, Rosebell/Rosebelle, Rosiebell, Rossbelle, Roybelle, Rudybell, Ruebelle, Sadiebelle, Sallybell, Suebell, Tenniebell, Tessabelle, Tessiebelle, Theabell, Theobelle, Troybell, Trudybell, Verabelle, Verdabell, Vernabelle, Vonniebelle, Wendybell, Wilbabell, Willabell/Willabelle, Willowbell, Willybell, Winniebelle

(…and don’t forget Cowbelle!)

-Bess

Adabess, Anitabess, Annabess, Anniebess, Clarabess, Cristabess, Donnabess, Drewbess, Ellebess, Euniebess, Florabess, Hallibess, Henribess, Hildabess, Idabess, Ilabess, Inabess, Jeanebess, Lanibess, Larabess, Laydebess, Leebess, Lelabess, Lonabess, Lulabess, Lurabess, Maebess, Malabess, Mamebess, Maribess, Marionbess, Marthabess, Maybess, Minabess, Nonabess, Norabess, Orabess, Rosebess, Sarabess, Theobess, Willabess, Zellebess

-Dean

Adadean, Albadean, Almadean, Alphadean, Altadean, Altheadean, Arizadean, Belvadean, Bertadean, Berthadean, Claradean, Claredean, Claydean, Cleatadean, Delladean, Deltadean, Dessadean, Doradean, Ellendean, Elvadean, Ermadean, Ettadean, Evadean, Evedean, Faydean, Floydean, Glendadean, Glendean, Glennadean, Gloriadean, Idadean, Irmadean, Ivadean, Jessadean, Jeweldean, Joydean, Leedean, Leliadean, Loladean, Loradean, Loudean, Luradean, Maedean/Maydean, Maradean, Marthadean, Marvadean, Melbadean, Melvadean, Nedradean, Nelladean, Nettydean, Noladean, Normadean, Olgadean, Oradean, Orbadean, Ouidadean, Rebadean, Rheadean, Rosadean, Rubydean, Ruedean, Suedean, Thelmadean, Velmadean, Vernadean, Veradean, Vivadean, Wandadean, Willadean, Williedean, Willowdean, Wilmadean, Zelmadean

-Dell(e)

Abbiedell, Adadell, Alicedell, Annadell, Anniedell, Archiedell, Barbiedell, Bertdell, Berthadell, Bonniedell, Chloedell, Christadell, Claradelle, Corydell, Deedell, Earthadell, Edithdell, Effiedell, Elizadell, Ermadell, Essiedell, Esterdell, Euradell, Evadell, Evedell, Faydelle, Ferndell, Flodell, Floydell, Frankiedell, Fredadell, Gaydell, Glorydell, Hannahdell, Hattiedell, Hazeldell, Hessiedell, Hopedell, Hughdell, Idadell, Irmadell, Ivadell/Ivadelle, Ivydell, Jessiedell, Jimidell, Joedell, Joydell, Junedell, Katedell, Katydell, Leahdelle, Ledadell, Leedell, Leniedell, Lizdell, Lizziedelle, Loudell, Luludell, Maedell/Maedelle/Maydell/Maydelle, Mamiedelle, Mardgedell, Margiedell, Marthadell, Marydell/Maridell, Minniedell, Moedell, Noradell, Ociedell, Odadell, Oladell, Olgadell, Olivedell, Olliedell, Opaldell, Oradell, Ouidadell, Patriciadell, Raydell, Rosadell, Rubiedell, Ruedell, Ruthdell, Ruthiedell, Suedell, Vaughndell, Vidadell, Walterdelle, Wandadelle, Winniedell, Zoedell

-Donna

Alphadonna, Altadonna, Auradonna, Belledonna, Bonadonna, Claydonna, Cleodonna, Faedonna, Frandonna, Freydonna, Gaydonna, Glendonna, Irisdonna, Joedonna, Leadonna, Leedonna, Loudonna, Maedonna, Maridonna, Mariedonna, Marydonna, Maydonna, Myradonna, Raydonna, Roydonna, Rubydonna, Thoradonna

-Gay(e)

Alliegay, Almagay, Annagay, Anniegay, Ardiegay, Billiegay, Claragay, Ermagay, Floragay, Halliegay, Hildagay, Leilagay, Lunagay, Lydagay, Marygay, Milliegay, Nelliegay, Nevagay, Nidagay, Olagay, Olligay, Ornagay, Ozellagay, Roxygay, Stellagay, Velmagay, Verlagay, Wandagay, Williegay

-Jean

Abbiejean, Albajean, Alicejean, Almajean, Alphajean, Annajean, Beaulahjean, Beckyjean, Belvajean, Berniejean, Berthajean, Bessiejean, Bettyjean, Bobbiejean, Bonniejean, Caroljean, Clydajean, Corajean, Darajean, Daviejean, Donnajean, Eddyjean, Edithjean, Effiejean, Elsajean, Ermajean, Ettajean, Eulahjean, Evajean, Evejean, Fayejean, Florajean, Floyjean, Glennajean, Harlyjean, Hildajean, Idajean, Ivajean, Josiejean, Katejean, Kayjean, Leahjean, Leejean, Lilajean, Loisjean, Lottiejean, Loujean, Lurajean, Maejean, Marahjean, Margyjean, Marthajean, Martiejean, Maryjean/Marijean, Maudejean, Melbajean, Mickeyjean, Missiejean, Mirajean, Molliejean, Myrajean, Neldajean, Nelliejean, Normajean, Novajean, Nylajean, Olgajean, Olivejean, Olliejean, Orajean, Raejean, Rebajean, Rheajean, Ritajean, Romajean, Rosejean, Rubyjean, Ruthjean, Shirleyjean, Suejean, Thedajean, Thelmajean, Unajean, Vedajean, Velmajean, Verajean, Vernajean, Vestajean, Wandajean, Willajean, Willowjean, Wilmajean, Winniejean

-Lee

Almalee, Andylee, Annalee, Annielee, Artylee, Asalee, Avalee, Bertalee, Berthalee, Besslee, Berthalee, Bettylee, Claylee, Coralee, Cordylee, Danylee, Davylee, Dellalee, Dollylee, Doralee, Dorislee, Effylee, Elmalee, Ermalee, Ethellee, Eulalee, Evalee, Fannylee, Fayelee, Floralee, Flossielee, Floylee, Georgialee, Glendalee, Glorialee, Gustalee, Harvylee, Hopelee, Idalee, Ingalee, Irmalee, Ivalee, Ivylee, Jesslee, Joylee, Junelee, Kathylee, Katylee, Maelee, Maralee, Margylee, Marthalee, Marylee, Mattielee, Melbalee, Mildredlee, Minalee, Minnielee, Miriamlee, Myrtlelee, Nancylee, Nolalee, Noralee, Normalee, Omalee, Onalee, Oralee, Orphalee, Ovalee, Patsylee, Pattylee, Percylee, Pollylee, Pruelee, Raelee, Rebalee, Rosalee, Roselee, Roseylee, Rosielee/Rosilee, Roxylee, Roylee, Rubylee, Ruelee, Ruthlee, Sallylee, Thelmalee, Trilbylee, Velmalee, Veralee, Verbalee, Vernalee, Vernelee, Virgielee, Virginialee, Wandalee, Willowlee, Winnylee, Zelmalee

-Lou

Addylou, Albalou, Andylou, Annalou, Annielou, Archielou, Bertalou, Berthalou, Bessielou, Bettelou, Bettylou, Billylou, Birdielou, Bonnielou, Daralou, Dellalou, Dixielou, Doralou, Dulcialou, Eddielou, Ednalou, Effielou, Eliselou, Emmylou, Essielou, Ettalou, Evalou, Evielou, Fannielou, Floralou, Frankielou, Genelou, Gerdylou, Gracielou, Gretalou, Gussielou, Hannalou, Hattielou, Idalou, Iralou, Irmalou, Ivalou, Ivylou, Janelou, Jennalou, Jesselou, Jimmielou, Joelou, Johnnielou, Joylou, Katelou, Lannylou, Leelou, Lindylou, Lizzielou, Lolalou, Maelou, Mamielou, Maralou, Margylou, Marjorielou, Marthalou, Marylou/Marilou, Mattielou, Maxielou, Minnielou, Myralou, Myrtlelou, Nannielou, Nellielou, Nettielou, Nitalou, Noralou, Oralou, Patsylou, Pattilou, Paulalou, Phoebelou, Rebalou, Rhealou, Ritalou, Robertalou, Rosalou, Roselou, Sallylou, Shirleylou, Suelou, Thoralou, Tomielou, Vernalou, Victorinelou, Wanzalou, Willalou, Willilou, Willowlou, Winnielou, Zettalou

-Mae

Addiemae, Alicemae, Algymae, Alicemae, Alphamae, Altamae, Altheamae, Anitamae, Annamae, Anniemae, Artymae, Audymae, Bellemae, Berthamae, Bertiemae, Bessmae, Bessymae, Bettymae, Biddymae, Billiemae, Birdyemae, Carlamae, Chloemae, Clairemae, Claramae, Claymae, Clydamae, Coramae, Cordymae, Corrimae, Davymae, Dellamae, Dinamae, Dolliemae, Donnamae, Doramae, Dorothymae, Eddiemae, Ednamae, Effiemae, Elizamae, Elodymae, Elsiemae, Ermamae, Essiemae, Esthermae, Ethelmae, Ettamae, Eulamae, Evamae, Evemae, Fanniemae, Faymae, Floramae, Flossiemae, Floymae, Fredimae, Friedamae, Genemae, Georgiamae, Gertiemae, Glorymae, Goldymae, Gussymae, Hattiemae, Heddymae, Helenmae, Henrymae, Hollimae, Idamae, Irmamae, Ivymae, Jennymae, Jerrymae, Jessamae, Jessmae, Jessiemae, Joemae, Johnniemae, Jonimae, Joymae, Junemae, Katheemae, Ladymae, Leemae, Lenamae, Leotamae, Lilamae, Lizamae, Lizziemae, Loismae, Lolamae, Lorettamae, Lottiemae, Lulamae, Lulumae, Luramae, Lydiamae, Mandymae, Margymae, Marymae, Mattimae, Melbamae, Mollymae, Myrtlemae, Neldamae, Nelliemae, Nettiemae, Nolamae, Normamae, Olamae, Olgamae, Olivemae, Olliemae, Oramae, Panzymae, Peggymae, Phebemae, Raymae, Rebamae, Rheamae, Rhodamae, Ritamae, Rosamae, Rosemae, Roymae, Rubimae, Ruemae, Ruthiemae, Ruthmae, Shirleymae, Suemae, Sulamae, Susiemae, Sylviamae, Templemae, Theamae, Tommimae, Trilbymae, Trudymae, Veramae, Vermamae, Vernamae, Vestamae, Vidamae, Violamae, Virginiamae, Wandamae, Wilbamae, Willamae, Williemae, Winniemae, Willowmae, Zaidamae, Zellamae

-Nell(e)

Adanell, Albanell, Angienell, Annanelle, Annienell, Archienell, Asanell, Avanell/Avanelle, Bessienell, Berthanell, Bethnell, Birdnell, Claranell, Clarenelle, Claudianell, Cloranell, Deenell, Dessanell, Dovienell, Druenell, Ermanell, Ernienell, Esternell, Eudanell, Evanell/Evanelle, Evenell, Faynell, Floranell, Florencenell, Flonell, Fredanell, Gaynell/Gaynelle, Genenell, Glorianell, Gracenell, Gusternell, Hassienell, Idanell, Ineznell, Ivanell/Ivanelle, Jaenell, Janenell, Jessienell, Jimmienell, Joenell, Johnnienell, Juvianell, Kathienell, Leahnell, Leenell, Lennienell, Liznell, Lounell, Maenell, Maranell, Margienell, Marinelle, Marjorienell, Marthanell, Marynell, Mattienell, Maxinlle, Mayenell, Melbanell, Monanell, Myranell, Nettienell, Noranell, Oranell, Ouidanell, Ovianell, Patsyenell, Raenell, Raynelle, Rebanell, Ritanell, Robbienell, Rosanell, Rosenelle, Rosienell, Rossnell, Roznell, Ruenelle, Ruthnell, Sammienell, Suenell, Thedanell, Tommienell, Tressienell, Verbanell, Verdanell, Verdianell, Vergienell, Wandanell, Wanzanell, Willienell, Willownell, Winnienell, Zoenell

-Rose

Adarose, Albarose, Alicerose, Althearose, Anitarose, Annarose, Ardithrose, Arvarose, Bellerose, Bertharose, Betseyrose, Bettyrose, Billyrose, Cathrose, Clararose, Corarose, Deerose, Delrose, Dollyrose, Dorarose, Dorisrose, Elsarose, Elsierose, Emmyrose, Ermarose, Ethelrose, Ettarose, Eulalirose, Evarose, Everose, Fannyrose, Fayrose, Florarose, Francisrose, Fridarose, Generose, Gladysrose, Glenrose, Glennarose, Goldarose, Hattierose, Hildarose, Huldarose, Idarose, Inezrose, Irmarose, Ivarose, Juneorse, Leerose, Leorose, Louiserose, Lydarose, Maerose/Mayrose, Mardirose, Margirose, Martharose, Maryrose, Melbarose, Melvarose, Minarose, Minnierose, Moerose, Myrnarose, Nellyrose, Nelrose, Neldarose, Nellierose, Nettarose, Nitarose, Oliverose, Ollierose, Patsyrose, Peggyrose, Phillirose, Phoeberose, Rhearose, Ritarose, Robbierose, Rubyrose, Ruthrose, Shirleyrose, Suerose, Thearose, Thelmarose, Tommyrose, Unarose, Velmarose, Verarose, Vernarose, Virdiarose, Wildarose, Willirose, Wylmarose, Zelmarose, Zetarose

-Ruth

Abbyruth, Adaruth, Adeleruth, Aggieruth, Agnesruth, Aliceruth, Almaruth, Alpharuth, Altaruth, Andieruth, Annieruth, Asterruth, Belleruth, Bertaruth, Bessieruth, Bettieruth, Bettyruth, Billieruth, Bonnieruth, Clararuth, Clareruth, Dellaruth, Dollyruth, Donnaruth, Doraruth, Dorisruth, Dorothyruth, Eddieruth, Ednaruth, Effieruth, Eliseruth, Ellenruth, Elvaruth, Estelleruth, Ettaruth, Evaruth, Fayruth, Floraruth, Francesruth, Fridaruth, Georgiaruth, Gladysruth, Gretaruth, Hazelruth, Helenruth, Hildaruth, Idaruth, Irmaruth, Ivaruth, Janeruth, Jeanruth, Jennieruth, Jennyruth, Jesseruth, Jimmiruth, Joeruth, Johnieruth, Joyruth, Judyruth, Juneruth, Katyruth, Kayruth, Ledaruth, Leeruth, Leonaruth, Lilaruth, Loisruth, Louruth, Lucyruth, Mabelruth, Maeruth, Mamieruth, Mararuth, Margieruth, Maryruth, Maxiruth, Mazieruth, Millieruth, Minnieruth, Mollyruth, Monaruth, Myraruth, Nannieruth, Naomiruth, Nellruth, Ninaruth, Nomaruth, Noraruth, Nydaruth, Olgaruth, Omegaruth, Oraruth, Ornaruth, Patsyruth, Pattieruth, Pollyruth, Raeruth, Ritaruth, Roseruth, Rubyruth, Sadieruth, Sueruth, Velmaruth, Veraruth, Verdaruth, Vernaruth, Virginiaruth, Vivianruth, Wandaruth, Wildaruth, Willaruth, Willieruth, Woodieruth

(…and here’s a double name followed by a triple name: Sueruth Ettajoanne Lavell, born in 1927 in California.)

-Sue

Abbysue, Annasue, Annysue, Arnisue, Benniesue, Bertasue, Bessiesue, Bethsue, Bettinasue, Bettisue, Bettysue, Billysue, Birdiesue, Bonniesue, Cathrynsue, Clairsue, Clarasue, Claysue, Clemiesue, Corasue, Danasue, Dellasue, Delsue, Donniesue, Eddysue, Edensue, Eddiesue, Ednasue, Effiesue, Ellysue, Ethelsue, Evasue, Fannysue, Faysue, Fransue, Fredasue, Genesue, Glendasue, Hannasue, Helensue, Hestersue, Homersue, Idasue, Indasue, Irasue, Ivasue, Jennasue, Jensue, Jillisue, Johnsue, Jonisue, Joysue, Karlasue, Katiesue, Kittysue, Linnisue, Lornasue, Lousue, Lydiasue, Marthasue, Marysue, Maysue, Mattisue, Merlesue, Mildredsue, Millisue, Molliesue, Monasue, Myrasue, Nancysue, Nansue, Nellisue, Nevasue, Ninasue, Normsue, Olliesue, Orasue, Orvasue, Patsysue, Pattiesue, Petrasue, Phillipsue, Ramonasue, Rheasue, Rhodasue, Robsue, Rubysue, Valdasue, Verasue, Vernasue, Vinasue, Virginiasue, Vyrlasue, Wandasue, Wendysue, Wildasue, Willasue, Williesue, Winisue, Zadasue

Make Your Own!

I spotted plenty of other combinations that just didn’t happen to be written as single names in the records, so here’s a handy dandy little table to cover some of the other existing combinations…

First Name Second Name
Abbie/Abby, Ada, Addie/Addy, Aggie, Agnes, Alba, Alice, Alma, Alpha, Alta, Andie/Andy, Anna/Annie, Belle, Berta/Bertha, Bessie/Bessy, Betsy, Bettie/Betty, Billie/Billy, Birdie, Bonnie, Clair/Clare, Clara, Clio/Cleo, Cora, Dee, Della, Dolly/Dollie, Dora, Doris, Dorothy, Eddie/Eddy, Edna, Effie, Eliza, Ellen, Elsie, Elva, Estelle, Ethel, Etta, Eula, Eva, Eve, Fae/Fay(e), Fanny/Fannie, Floy, Flora, Frances, Frida/Freda, Freddie, Gene, Georgia, Gladys, Glenda, Glenna, Glory, Golda, Goldie, Greta, Hattie/Hatty, Hazel, Helen, Hilda, Ida, Inez, Irma/Erma, Iva, Jane, Jean, Jennie/Jenny, Jesse/Jessie, Jimmie/Jimmy, Joe, Johnnie, Joy, Judy, June, Kate, Katie/Katy, Kay(e), Kitty/Kittie, Leda, Lee, Lena, Leona, Lila, Liz/Lizzie, Lois, Lola, Lou, Lula, Lydia, Mabel, Mae/May(e), Maisie/Mazie, Mamie, Mara, Margie, Martha, Mattie, Maxie, Melba, Millie, Minnie, Molly/Mollie, Mona, Myra, Myrna, Nannie, Nell(e), Nellie/Nelly, Nettie, Nita, Nola, Nora, Norma, Nyda, Ola, Olga, Olive, Ollie, Omega, Ora, Patsy/Patsie, Patty/Pattie, Polly, Rae/Ray(e), Reba, Rhea, Rhoda, Rita, Rosa, Rose, Rosie, Roxie, Ruth, Sadie, Sally, Shirley, Sue, Theda, Thelma, Tommie/Tommy, Velma, Vera, Verda, Verna, Wanda, Wanza, Wendy, Wilda, Willa, Willie/Willy, Willow, Wilma, Winnie, Zada, Zelma Ann(e)
Bell(e)
Bess
Dean
Dell(e)
Donna
Gay(e)
Jean
Lee
Lou
Mae
Nell(e)
Rose
Ruth
Sue

Which old-fashioned double name do you like best? Would you consider using any of the pairings above for a modern-day baby?

P.S. I’ll follow this up in a few weeks with some old-fashioned double names for boys

Where did the baby name Thedy come from in 1964?

thedy sue hill, hitchcock

Here’s a baby name with ties to Ray Bradbury, Alfred Hitchcock, and decapitation! What fun.

The name is Thedy, and it appeared for the first and only time in the U.S. baby name data in 1964:

  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 10 baby girls named Thedy [debut]
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted

Where did it come from?

It came from Thedy Sue Hill, a character in an early 1964 episode of the The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called “The Jar.” The episode aired on Valentine’s day, actually, which is ironic given the content…

thedy sue hill, charlie, the jar

The story is set in Louisiana, and the protagonist is Thedy Sue’s husband, Charlie, who goes to a carnival and purchases a large jar containing a weird, fleshy mass submersed in murky fluid.

Thedy Sue — a “cunning, self-involved young wife” who has been unfaithful to Charlie — insists that Charlie get rid of the jar. He refuses, as the jar has “brought him notoriety and respect in the community. People come from miles to gather in his parlor and look at the jar and the obscure contents which represent something different to each of them.”

Fed-up Thedy goes back to the carnival to learn what’s really inside the jar. Turns out, not much — a wire frame, paper, doll parts, etc.

But does this stop a humiliated Charlie from continuing to displaying the jar for his neighbors? Nope. But the next time they gather to start at the fleshy mass inside, guess what they see:

thedy sue, hitchcock,

Lovely, right?

Not only did the name Thedy become a one-hit wonder on the charts the same year the episode aired, but I’ve found four people named “Thedy Sue” specifically, including Thedy Sue Hess (b. 1964 in Kentucky) and Thedy Sue Scott (b. 1967 in Illinois).

“The Jar” was based on a short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in the November 1944 issue of fantasy/horror pulp magazine Weird Tales. In the original story, the character’s name was simply Thedy, no “Sue.”

I’m not sure how Bradbury came up with the name — perhaps it’s based on Theda (pronounced THEE-da), Theodora, or Theodosia — but I do know that the story was inspired by his childhood memory of seeing preserved embryos in jars at a carnival sideshow.

The actress who played Thedy Sue Hill also had an interesting name: Collin Wilcox. Her parents, confident they were getting a baby boy, picked out the name Collin ahead of time to honor an uncle.

What do you think of the baby name Thedy? (Do you like it more or less than Theda?)

Sources: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Jar – TV.com, ‘The Jar’ – The Cosmicomicon, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour – Bradbury Media, An Interview with Collin Wilcox – The Classic TV History Blog

Where did the baby name Francelia come from?

Actress Francelia Billington (1895-1934)
Francelia Billington

Here’s a rare, old-fashioned name that’s been given two distinct pop culture boosts over the years — one from the movies, one from the weather.

The movie connection is especially interesting because, as far as I can tell, this is probably the first name to debut on the charts thanks to an actress.

Usage of the name Francelia (pronounced fran-SEE-lee-ah) goes back to at least the 1700s. The name was most popular in the mid-1800s, especially in the Northeastern U.S. (New York state in particular). It seems to be an elaborated form of Frances (“Frenchman”) influenced by either Celia (“sky, heaven”) or Cecilia (“blind”), or both.

Francelia debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1912, probably thanks to early silent film actress Francelia Billington, who was born in Texas in 1895 and appeared in silent films from 1912 until the mid-1920s (and in a single talkie in 1930).

Francelia Billington wasn’t the first silent film actress to become famous, but she was the first whose name debuted on the national baby name list while she was famous. Several other silent film actresses of the 1910s also had distinctive names (e.g., Alla Nazimova, Theda Bara, Kathlyn Williams) but their names had all been listed since the late 1800s.

The SSA data from the 1910s isn’t super-reliable, so I’ve put both the SSA and the Social Security Death Index numbers side-by-side below. For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Francelia as a first name, not as a middle.

Francelia usage (SSA)Francelia usage (SSDI)
19156 baby girls5 people
1914.5 people
191310 baby girls10 people
19125 baby girls [debut]10 people
1911.2 people
1910.4 people
1909.5 people

One of the Francelias above was children’s literature scholar/writer Francelia Butler (née McWilliams) who was born in Ohio in 1913.

The name Francelia has remained rare in the U.S. ever since, though it did see a spike in usage in 1969 thanks to the news of Hurricane Francelia, which hit Central America in early September.

  • 1971: 5 baby girls named Francelia
  • 1970: 10 baby girls named Francelia
  • 1969: 23 baby girls named Francelia (and 8 more named Francellia)
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 7 baby girls named Francelia

Francelia’s last appearance on the SSA’s list was in 1998, with just 7 baby girls. (To be included on the list, a name needs to be given to at least 5 babies.)

Do you like the name Francelia? Would you consider using it for a baby girl?

Sources: SSA, SSDI

What popularized the baby name Theda in the 1910s?

Actress Theda Bara in "Salome" (1918).
Theda Bara in “Salome

The name Theda became trendy in during the second half of the 1910s, according to the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1921: 293 baby girls named Theda [rank: 395th]
  • 1920: 290 baby girls named Theda [rank: 385th]
  • 1919: 356 baby girls named Theda [rank: 337th] (peak usage)
  • 1918: 354 baby girls named Theda [rank: 351st]
  • 1917: 334 baby girls named Theda [rank: 343rd]
  • 1916: 315 baby girls named Theda [rank: 350th]
  • 1915: 124 baby girls named Theda [rank: 585th]
  • 1914: 33 baby girls named Theda
  • 1913: 17 baby girls named Theda

Why?

Because of silent film star Theda Bara (pronounced thee-da bare-a).

She was born in Ohio in 1885 with the full name Theodosia Burr Goodman. Her parents named her after Theodosia Burr (1783-1813), the ill-fated daughter of third U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr. (Theodosia Burr was lost at sea at the age of 29.)

Theda Bara was the first film star to rise overnight from anonymity into superstardom. In the fall of 1914, she was an unknown actress. Four months later she was the world’s most famous star.

The movie that launched her career, A Fool There Was, was released in January of 1915 “with an intense publicity campaign.” It was the first of many films that cast Theda Bara in the role of the vamp.

Bara ended up becoming Fox studio’s biggest star during the second half of the 1910s. During this period she made dozens of films, including Cleopatra (1917), one of her biggest hits.

She married in 1921, and, several years later, retired from acting altogether.

Nowadays, few baby girls are named Theda. Do you think the name could make a comeback someday?

Sources:

Baby name needed: Girl name for Copeland’s sister

light bulbs

A reader named Lisa is expecting her second daughter a couple of weeks and needs some name assistance. Her first daughter is Copeland Rhine. Lisa’s main predicament is this:

[H]ow do I find a strong unique vintage name for this second precious girlie that will not wilt next to a strong name like Copeland Rhine?

And here are some other questions and points Lisa brought up:

  • “Our goal is not to have their names competing for placement but complimenting each other.”
  • “We do not want to be boxed in on unisex or surname first names.”
  • “I have been gravitating towards Sojourner Bliss or Sojourner Mercy (Sophie for short) but that is all I have and my husband is not sold on it nor on a stronger masculine name.”
  • “My husband really loves Evangeline yet he is not wanting to use it because it is becoming so popular. We both love the idea of Evie as a nickname.”
  • “I really want to honor three people in my family but all three would not wish their name on anyone: Leona, Gertrude and Lorraine. Are there any derived names that I could use?” [Other family names she mentioned are Cornelia, Josephine, Ester, Rosemary, Carmelita, Trinia (Trijntje), Johannes, Sophia, Evelientje, Alice (called Ollie), Francis, Felicia and Blanche.]

The baby’s surname will be a 2-syllable name that starts with D and also includes a z-sound. It’s somewhat similar to De Souza.

So the challenge is to find “strong unique vintage” names that work with Copeland, but that won’t lock Lisa’s family into surnames or unisex names. And to try to get a family connection in there as well.

I think Evangeline is a great idea, actually. It’s strong, vintage, and neither a surname nor a unisex name. And both Lisa and her husband like the nickname Evie. Seems like the only thing holding them back is the popularity.

Yes, Evangeline has become slightly popular recently. It’s been back in the top 1,000 since 2006. But let’s put that into context. Over 2,000,000 baby girls were born last year, and only 735 of them were named Evangeline. That’s a very small percentage. (But if it’s really that bothersome, there’s always Evangelina, which is still well out of the top 1,000.)

I’m not a big fan of Sojourner. It’s strong, and unique, and not a surname…but it’s not feminine, and it’s not what I’d call vintage, even if Sojourner Truth was a well-known 19th-century woman. I’d worry about teasing, especially with a noun-middle like Bliss or Mercy. And I think naming a third child (of either gender) after Copeland and Sojourner would be tricky.

Sophie seems like it would be an awkward nickname for Sojourner. It’s so different from Sojourner that it strikes me as more of a cover-name than a nickname–as if Sojourner were just too strong or strange to work as an everyday name.

Leona, Gertrude and Lorraine…the most interesting way I could think of to combine them was to look for names that feature their first letters (L, G, L) such as Nigella, Allegra and Gillian.

Here are a few other name ideas that came to mind:

Acacia
Adelaide
Amandine
Anais
Anneliese
Antonia
Aquila
Artemis
Astrid
Augusta
Aurelia
Aurora
Damaris
Delphina
Demetria
Freya
Ginevra
Harriet
Honora
Imogen
Ione
Isadora
Leocadia
Lucasta
Lucretia
Melosa
Merit
Mehetabel
Minerva
Morgana
Muriel
Nelle
Penelope
Petra
Sophronia
Sunniva
Theodosia/Theda
Thora
Venetia
Vera

Some are related to the family names Lisa mentioned (e.g. Adelaide/Alice, Sophronia/Sophia).

Which of the above names do you like best for the sister of Copeland? What other names would you suggest to Lisa?