How popular is the baby name Thurley 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 Thurley.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Thurley


Posts that Mention the Name Thurley

Where did the baby name Thurley come from in 1911?

Thurley Ruxton

In 1911, the baby name Thurley debuted in the U.S. baby name data. It was the top female name debut of 1911, in fact.

  • 1913: 8 baby girls named Thurley
  • 1912: 14 baby girls named Thurley
  • 1911: 12 baby girls named Thurley [debut]
  • 1910: unlisted
  • 1909: unlisted

The SSA says that a dozen baby girls were named Thurley that year, but the SSDI reveals that the number could in fact be 31, or higher.

Why the Thurley spike?

A book called Thurley Ruxton, written by Philip Verrill Mighels, was published in 1911. The story was also serialized in several newspapers. Here’s how a reviewer at LibriVox describes it:

This is a rags to riches romance about an exceedingly beautiful, poor, young girl (Thurley Ruxton) who is mentored by one of New York’s elite hostesses. In order to draw them into her social circle, she allows all the famous and moneyed populous of Gotham to believe that Thurley is the princess Thurvinia hiding in New York to escape an arranged marriage.

I haven’t yet managed to find anyone named Thurvinia, though I did discover a Thurley Ruxton Matthews Zabor (1912-2009) in Ohio. Her obituary states that she was “named for the title character in a contemporary novel, “Thurley Ruxton.””

If you’d like to give the book a read/listen, here’s the text and here’s the audio.

Top debut names in the U.S. baby name data, 1881 to today

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Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting 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
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 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
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

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!

*If you ignore the baby name glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Image by kazuend from Unsplash

Where did the baby name Verilea come from in 1936?

The uncommon name Verilea was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data way back in the 1930s:

  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: unlisted
  • 1936: 7 baby girls named Verilea [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted
  • 1934: unlisted

In fact, Verilea is tied with Arolyn as the top one-hit wonder girl name of 1936.

I have yet to figure out the source of Arolyn (which looks to me like a cut-off Carolyn), but I do know the source of Verilea.

As with several other rare names from the first half of the 1900s (like Thurley, Thayle, Ortrude, Ardeth, Aletta, Joretta, Elanda, Perilla, and Lorry) the influence was a fictional story printed in the newspapers.

The tale that featured “Verilea” was Unknown Sweetheart by Anne Gardner. It was serialized during the spring of 1936 and the main character was a young woman named Verilea Davis, who began on “a dirty, grinding old bus on the hill-roads of Kentucky” and ended up in “a modernistic New York penthouse high above smart Manhattan.”

Her name may have been inspired by the vocabulary word verily, which means “truly, certainly.”

Do you like the baby name Verilea? Would you use it?

Source: “I Don’t Even Know His Name, But…I Love Him!” Des Moines Tribune 22 Oct. 1935: 9.