Once-loved baby names on the verge of extinction

May 8, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images/JulieWeiss

Every year, the Social Security Administration publishes a list of the 2,000 most popular names in the U.S. (1,000 boy names and 1,000 girl names). There is always a lot of hype about the names at the top, but what about those that don't even make the list?

Consider, for a moment, the fact that the name Collins was given to 248 boys in 2013, and it ranked a mere No. 1,000 on S.S.A.'s list. (Darien was the No. 1,000 most popular name for girls, with 195 birth certificate entries.)

The Social Security Administration doesn't even look at names that were given to fewer than five babies. Nameberry researched such names and came up with these 15 that may soon be extinct.

Truly unique baby names

Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Alpha (girl) has not appeared among the top 1,000 since 1943.

Barbra (girl) was made famous in the 1960s by Ms. Streisand, but it dropped out of the top 1,000 in 1971. With the nation's obsession over unique spellings, there may be hope: Parents may opt to differentiate their little Barbara with a retro spelling.

Claudine (girl), the feminine variant of the Roman name Claudius hasn't made the cut since 1975.

Elmo (boy) is the name of Sesame Street's most popular muppet, but it hasn't been among the top 1,000 since the 1950s.

Icarus (boy) — has anyone ever named her son Icarus?

Llewellyn (boy) is a Welsh name that disappeared from the top 1,000 in the early 1940s.

Nanette (girl) reached its greatest popularity in the mid-1950s and fell out of the top 1,000 in 1977.

Remus (boy) is the first name of werewolf Professor Lupin of Harry Potter fame. But even serious U.S. fans aren't convinced that it should become popular.

Sheba (girl) remains a popular name for pets, but only five U.S. parents opted to give the name to their daughters in 2013.

Sherwood (boy) is both a first and last name. It nearly broke into the top 500 in 1938, but only five baby boys were given the name in 2013.

Sondra (girl) sounds just like the more popular Sandra, but it's definitely not a modern-day pick. It enjoyed its highest rank in 1939.

Thisbe (girl), a mythological name, never made the S.S.A.'s annual list.

Waldo (boy) is a name of German origin that found its way onto a mere five birth certificates in 2013.

Zelma (girl) fell out of the top 1,000 in 1955. However, a renewed interest in Z names (Zoe, Zander, Zayden) may prevent this antique gem from becoming extinct.

More on baby name popularity

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