Name Spotlight: Rosalee


Replace the i in Rosalie with an e and you get the name that is on the rise.


This name is, as mentioned, related to Rosalie (as a variant that is likely influenced by the popular -lee ending), which, according to Mike Campbell from Behind the Name, is the French, Dutch and German form of Rosalia, itself a Late Roman name derived from Latin rosa meaning “rose.”¹


The name seems to be rather uncommon to rare and the bulk of the Rosalees were/are Americans.

It was rarely used at first but it began to pick up some steam in the 1890s and through to the early 20th century, as seen on this table:

1880s more than 29 43
1890s 142 145
1900s 270 287
1910s 954
1920s 1,603

There was a jump in usage for Rosalee in 1938 (from 539th place in the previous year to 405th), following from the jump for Rosalie in that same year which put that name in the top 100 for the first and only time, and that was a result of the release of the movie ‘Rosalie’ back on Christmas Eve 1937, which was based on a 1928 musical of the same name.
Rosalee left the top 1,000 in 1952 and would remain that way for some time, but with the growing resurgence of Rosalie (where it was ranked in 266th place last year compared to its lowest ranking of 1,677th place in 2007), Rosalee is following suit. Based on early analysis using BabyCenter data, it looks as if Rosalee could re-enter the top 1,000 this year when the SSA releases the 2016 data next May and some people may agree.
According to a poll that I conducted on Behind the Name, 48% of the 29 respondents see Rosalee as the only one of the three names (the two others being Mavis and Whitley) that is set to enter the top 1,000. Mavis got 41% while Whitley got 10%, so it was more of a close match between Rosalee and Mavis, unlike the other poll I conducted for the boys.

How’s Rosalee doing in other countries?

England and Wales There are 58 records of Rosalee in the FreeBMD Index (1837-1983)⁴, indicating that it was rarely used there. In the ONS data⁵, it was given to three babies in 1998 and 2009 and last year, 17 baby girls were named Rosalee, its highest usage yet.
British Columbia Rosalee appeared once in the data⁶, which is 2014 when it was given to 6 babies. In all other years, it was given to less than 5 babies or none at all.
Scotland Rosalee appeared three times in the data from 1974-2015⁷, in 1986, 2005 (1 baby each) and 2014 (2 babies).
South Australia 27 Rosalees were recorded in the data⁸ from 1944-2015, the bulk of whom were born in the 1950s. It was last recorded in 1991.

That’s this done for now. If you have any comments about this name or this post in general, post them in the comments section below the sources.

Behind the Name on Rosalie –¹
Social Security Administration –²
Social Security Death Index on FamilySearch –³
FreeBMD –⁴
Office for National Statistics ––england-and-wales/index.html⁵
BC Vital Statistics –⁶
National Records of Scotland –⁷
South Australian Government –⁸


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