The Baby Name Anchor (and Anker)

During his lifetime, Anker Smith (1759-1819) was one of England’s top line engravers. Some of Anker’s engravings can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery website.

How did Anker Smith get his unusual first name? According to several 19th-century reference books he was named Anker because, as an only son, he was “regarded as the ‘anchor’ or sole hope of his parents.” (“Anker” is a legit early spelling of the word anchor.)

rusty anchorWhile the name Anker isn’t common among English-speakers (it’s more common among Danes and Norwegians) the related name Anchor may be picking up steam in the US:

  • 2012: 5 baby boys named Anchor [debut]

Anchor was used often enough in 2012 to appear on the official US baby name list for the very first time.

What do you think of the name Anchor? Do you think Anchor is a one-hit wonder, or will it be on 2013 list as well? Would you consider giving the name Anchor to your baby?

Source: Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900

Image: Rusty Anchor by Grant MacDonald

6 thoughts on “The Baby Name Anchor (and Anker)

  1. I just learned that the female names Ankarette, Achoretta (and other spellings) are anglisations of the Welsh name Angharad. They make nice precedents for Anchor/Anker, don’t they?

  2. My 5th great grandmother was named Anchor Fox (1729-1780). Family legend has it that as her parents arrived in New Jersey from England, Anchor was being born on the boat while at sea or at the harbor. She also went by “Anclie” and “Anche”. Anclie is used on the gravestone.

    Nothing can be proven as to the origin of Anchor’s name, but it’s interesting to note that the name Anchor was passed down for 5 generations after her. It was always for a girl, not a boy.

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