The baby name Tatiana shimmers, a traditional name only discovered by native English speakers late in the twentieth century.
Thanks to Tatiana for suggesting her name as our Baby Name of the Day.
Legend tells of a Sabine king, at odds with Roman ruler Romulus in the 700s BC.
The quarrel? The Romans had kidnapped thirty women to serve as brides for the many unmarried men in the young kingdom.
Titus Tatius and Romulus did battle until the wives themselves convinced their countrymen to pursue peace instead.
Afterward, the two kings ruled jointly, though the Sabines were ultimately absorbed into Rome.
The names endured, both as the feminine Tatia, as well as family name Tatii.
The exact meaning is lost to time.
We know the name endured, because in the third century we meet Saint Tatiana. Secretly raised a Christian, she refused to denounce her faith. She was tortured and ultimately killed.
She’s always been a more significant figure in the Orthodox church – and in Eastern Europe – than in the West.
BY the NUMBERS
In fact, American parents used the name sparingly in the early twentieth century. Only a handful of women born in the US received the name. That remained true well into the 1960s and 70s.
The baby name Tatiana debuted in the US Top 1000 in 1981 at #755.
A slow, steady climb followed.
It peaked at #213 in 1999.
But it left the rankings again after 2019. As of 2020, just 217 girls born in the US received the name.
If you know your tragic princesses, the Romanov sisters probably top the list.
The last hereditary king to rule Russia was Tsar Nicholas II. He and wife Alexandra were the parents to Alexei, their fifth and youngest child, as well as four girls: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia.
They were murdered during the events of the Russian Revolution in July of 1918.
Youngest daughter Anastasia commanded the spotlight for decades. Rumors circulated that she’d somehow escaped her family’s gruesome fate.
But the Romanov family story captured imaginations.
Indeed, the baby name Anastasia rose in use during the same era.
It sounds unfathomable in 2022, but during the 1960s – during the Cold War – Russian culture became quite fashionable.
In 1963, the second James Bond movie, From Russia with Love, hit the big screen. One of the characters’ names, Tatiana Romanova, hints at descent from the ill-fated royal family.
But the real credit goes to Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel Doctor Zhivago, which became a 1965 Hollywood blockbuster.
Balalaika music – and “Lara’s Theme” – was everywhere. Chances are you’ll recognize it, even if you’ve never known it before.
Tatiana perfume was introduced by Diane von Furstenberg in 1975.
In 1976, a Doctor Zhivago-inspired look would dominate Yves Saint Laurent’s winter collection.
And while it was established in the 1920s, New York City’s Russian Tea Room became a noted restaurant in the era.
Of course, the baby name Tatiana is broadly used across Slavic-speaking countries.
The stage was set for parents to discover the baby name Tatiana.
The baby name Tatiana peaked at the very end of the 1990s.
And why not? Alexandra was in the Top 30. Anastasia was trending, too.
It’s a name that belongs to a ballerina or a scientist, a name equally pretty and serious. That’s a rare combination, a name equally beautiful and strong.
If you’re after an elaborate, feminine choice, the baby name Tatiana might suit. And though it has fallen out of favor, it never became particularly popular. That means instead of sounding dated circa 2022, it just feels pleasantly familiar.
Now that Canadian actor Tatiana Maslany has graduated from Orphan Black to She-Hulk, the name might attract a little more attention.
But if you’re after something with rich history that’s seldom heard, Tatiana qualifies.
Every girl/woman I’ve ever met with this name is a part of an alternative subculture of some kind. They are never the types of people who are trying to run with the pack but are really individual. There’s clearly something about this name that evokes strength.
It’s not traditionally “American” in that sense, but you’re right that it was quite popular in the 1990s for whatever reason. I heard it used a lot in Southern California, where I’m from.
I can see this being used today especially since there seems to be trends showing stuff from the 90s and early 2000s being fashionable again.
Nancy Chambers says
A popular Mexican entertainer who uses the single name Tatiana started her musical career in1984. She began releasing children’s albums in 1995 and hosted a children’s TV show from 1997 through 2001. I wonder if the name was used more during its peak in California and the Southwest states because of theexposure.