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Ask Baby Names

Baby name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder of BabyNames.com. Have a question for Jennifer? E-mail it to question@babynames.com

Did we invent Charlene?

I’ve noticed the name Charlene is becoming popular and got curious…I checked to see if the name had been used before 1938. My dad and mom named my sister Charlene as a combination of their names Charles and Ethelene. My sister was born January 11, 1938. Sadly she passed away in the summer of 1948 from the aftereffects of rheumatic fever. She was born in Mansfield, Ohio. I was born at home, but don’t know if she was.

I thought you might be interested and I was curious to know if my mom and dad were the ones to introduce the name to society.

Sincerely
Lovina May Stinehour Dunham

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Dear Lovina (great name, BTW!),

According to the U.S. Social Security name database, the name Charlene was already in existence in 1907, ranking at #876. So the answer would be no, your parents didn’t make up the name, but they did help popularize it!

The name Charlene was most popular in the years 1946-1952 where it actually hit the top 100 in 1949. Famous Charlenes include actress Charlene Tilton (Dallas) and Princess Charlene Lynette Wittstock of Monaco, who married the son of Princess Grace.