NIAGARA FALLS, N. Y.—Giving instructions with military precision, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class told conventioneers in a Sheraton hotel function room here when to assemble for breakfast, a group photo and a trip to the falls.  


She also repeatedly implored them to don the right uniform, lest anyone forget.

“Be in your Linda shirts!,” Linda Norris said, addressing more than 40 other Lindas in the crowd.

The 65-year-old, who grew up nearby and lives in Kentucky, took charge of this year’s 35th convention of Lindas Involved in Network Development Association, or the L. I. N. D. A. Club. They formed in the Midwest in the 1980s over a sisterhood shared by many women of a certain age: the U.S. is just stuffed with Lindas. The name saw an extreme boom during the extremes of the baby boom, but also fell sharply and has yet to regain its mojo.

The women who assembled in Niagara Falls know it, from a childhood where they often had to use last initials in school, to adult years where they kept running into Lindas at work or in their neighborhoods. Also, the youngest attendee at the July convention was 57. 

“We need some younger ones, get some new blood,” Norris said.

Members pay $20 annually, raise money for charities at each convention, support a scholarship “for a person named Linda/Lynda,” get four newsletters a year, and have a nine-Linda board of directors. 

This year’s gathering included a ride on the “Maid of the Mist,” a silent auction and a skit in which the “man of the mist” suffered a curse that could only be broken by a kiss from the right Linda. Attendees often use each other’s last names to avoid confusion.

Their name’s popularity climbed in the 1930s, then eclipsed “Mary”—a biblical juggernaut—in 1947, a year when nearly 100,000 baby girls in the U.S.—or about one in every 18 born—were Lindas. There were nearly 5,000 Lyndas, too, a name the club accepts. Such dominating popularity is unheard of today, Social Security Administration data show. There were fewer than 17,000 new Olivias last year, though Olivia topped the list for girls’ names. 

Linda ranked at 807 last year, a modest improvement from 2021 but also the name’s third year in the 800 range, federal data show. The registry site Babylist scanned samples of roughly 20,000 baby registrations between the years 2018 and 2022 and found just two examples of infants named Linda.  

Linda likely rose in popularity as one of many names that originated from German names ending in “linde,” said Sherri Suzanne, founder of the naming consultancy My Name for Life. Also, it means “beautiful” in Spanish. The name got a boost by actress Linda Darnell, in the 1940s, and then turbocharged in 1946 by the Jack Lawrence song “Linda,” said many Lindas named around that time. He performed at one of their early conventions.

Old-fashioned names from great-grandparents can sound quaint and charming, helping them rebound, Suzanne said. But names of more recent vintage that are still heavily associated with parents and grandparents—Linda among them—can seem out of fashion, she said.

“I had three kids and I wanted to pay them to name their kids Linda,” said Linda Barron, who was at the convention from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It didn’t get done.”  

“I tried, didn’t work,” said Linda Hueser, from outside Madrid, Iowa. 

A baby named Linda was a joke in a 2017 episode of the sitcom “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” where one character said: “That’s not a baby name! That’s a name for an adult woman who worked in human resources.”

When Jill and Bryce Morrison were picking momish names for their vodka beverage company Mom Water, the Indiana couple, both in their mid-40s, were inspired by a YouTube clip of a 3-year-old boy saying things like “Listen Linda” while arguing with his mother over a cupcake. 

Flavor names for their canned drinks include Carol, Susan and Nancy. As for the most popular, “It’s kind of a tie right now between Karen and Linda,” Bryce Morrison said. 

Linda Nguyen, a 40-year-old photographer and content creator in North Carolina, confronted the name’s older connotations while dating before she married. “There was a theme when guys would meet me and say, ‘Oh you have the same name as my mom,’” she said.

But she also noticed many Lindas of Asian heritage from her generation. Talking to some, she learned it was a name often picked by immigrants who didn’t speak English and wanted something they felt was American-sounding and easy to pronounce. In her case, her Vietnamese-immigrant parents were inspired by a physician named Linda who frequented a Houston convenience store where they worked. 

For Linda Floyd, a 40-year-old also from a Vietnamese immigrant family, there was another inspiration: Wonder Woman Lynda Carter.

In an interview, Lynda Carter said she was born a “Linda,” too, but switched to the less-common spelling when she was a teenager. She got the idea from actress Lynda Day George’s Dove soap commercial in the 60s. 

“I changed it from an ‘i’ to a ‘y’ because there were so many Lindas around, I didn’t just want to be another Linda,” the 72-year-old said. “I went to school with a lot of Lindas.”

Linda Jack, a 17-year-old from Philadelphia, takes pride in what, to her, has been a unique moniker. “I’ve never met someone with my name that was under the age of 30,” she said.

Her mother, Terry Jack, named Linda after her own mother, Linda DiSalvo. DiSalvo, 71, was so excited she signed herself and baby Linda up for the L.I.N.D.A. Club when the newborn was just three days old. When she had to list her granddaughter’s favorite activity on a club form, DiSalvo wrote: breast-feeding. 

They have attended several conventions together, and the younger Linda remains the club’s youngest member. 

The club has drawn a line on close-but-not-quite names. “We had a couple of Lindas that had named their daughters Melinda, but it was like, sorry,” said Linda Siebert. The 78-year-old from Illinois is one of three club members—along with Lindas Cornell and Vavroch from Iowa—who have hit all 35 conventions. That includes one in Linda, Calif., several years ago. 

Club members are always on the lookout for new recruits. Many travel to conventions together, several Lindas to a van or truck, often in their T-shirts. Linda Rumppe said she has success in restaurants, where she tends to find a lot of Lindas.

“If they see our shirts some place and somebody knows a Linda, we give them a card,” said Linda Gray.

Write to Jon Kamp at


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