Spotlight on: Susanna

If you want that name everyone loves but no one uses, Susanna is your girl. Sure there is the old folk tune “Oh! Susanna…” accompanying her everywhere she goes, but that same curse hasn’t kept Freakonomics from predicting Clementine would be one of the next big breakout names.

So far Clemintine has yet to see the top 1000 since she made her exit in 1954, but let’s talk more about Susanna and the variation Susannah. Based on US Social Security statistics Susanna is the more popular spelling, but neither spelling has been extremely popular.

Amazingly, the Susannah spelling hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1978! And in fact, never spent much time in the top 1000 at all, never ranking above the 800s since 1880, the earliest year data is available. The spelling Susanna has fared slightly better, but has never been extremely popular, never ranking above the 300s, and has not seen the top 1000 since 1997.

To me, Susanna seems more popular than it really is. While combining the two spellings might up the combined ranking slightly, the result is not enough to represent Susanna’s perceived popularity.

Susanna may seem overused to some because Susanna is part of a family with once highly coveted sisters, mid-20th century hits Susan and Suzanne. There’s also Susanne, which never ranked higher than the 300s, but if combined with Suzanne would result in a sound heard widely among Baby Boomers.

Susan was the mega star, ranking at number 2 from 1957 – 1960. Suzanne peaked at 52 in 1946, and spent much of the 50’s, all of the 60’s and the very early part of the 70’s in the top 100, but when combined with Susanne, her rankings could be a little higher.

I feel the baby boomer image is why Susanna hasn’t met her potential. And she sure has potential. For girl names, a-endings and names containing Anna, such as Annabelle and Annalise are currently fashionable, making Susannah and Susanna natural modern alternatives to Susan and Suzanne.

But the Old Testament Susanna is actually older than Susan, derived from Sousanna the Greek form of the Hebrew Soshannah.

There are a couple of charming nicknames too. While Sue may seem boring to some, Susie is cute on a little girl.

But I prefer the old-fashioned Sukie, which as a nickname I feel has a certain moxie and warmth. To me Sukie stands out while still fitting in with the Ellie’s, Maggie’s, and Daisy’s, that are becoming stylish today. And for an even fresher nickname, I have heard of Zana (or Zanna) which seems sassy, sharp and smart.

If you need even more convincing, Susanna is a great way to honor many of the Susan’s and Suzanne’s who are the grandmas of many of today’s babies.

Readers: Does Susanna(h) seem more popular than it really is? Do you feel Susanna(h) seems more mid-20th century than 2011-2012? How do you feel about Susanna(h) overall?

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  1. Thank you for this post! I have a 5 month old Susanna and I loved the confirmation that it’s a great name.

  2. Laura jones says:

    Very nice read! I have a 22 month old, Susanna, and am often complimented on her “unusual” name. The old folks just love it!

  3. We have a 3 year old Susannah (Susie/Sukie) and pregnant with our third, are still struggling to find a girl’s name that we love anywhere near as much!

  4. I have an almost 10 year old little girl named Susanna. Everyone loves her name! I honestly didn’t like it at first, but I just had a feeling that she was a “Susanna,” and she is. It suits her perfectly; she’s very sweet, very beautiful, and very smart.

  5. I chose Susannah to honor my mom, Suzanne. Interesting that many have done the same!

  6. I am married to Susannah!
    She is VERY attractive and a great mother and wife.
    I love the name too.

  7. I have a 20 month old Susanna. We really liked the name, but ultimately chose it to honor her grandmother, Susan.
    We also know of a 3 year old Susanna, and other than that haven’t met another Susanna, although I’m guessing it will become more and more popular as Susan fades away.

    My daughter is known as and called Susanna, but We shorten it to Zanna in our own home. When she was a baby, we affectionately called her Zuzu but Zanna was the nickname that stuck thanks to her older brothers.


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