The Baby Name Acadia

The Baby Name Acadia

My family’s going on a camping trip this summer, and one of the places we’ll be visiting is Acadia National Park in Maine.

The park, which is nearly 100 years old, was created in 1919 as Lafayette National Park. The original name was inspired by the Marquis de Lafayette.

In 1929, the park was renamed Acadia. This name was taken from the storied French colony of Acadia (1604-1713) that included parts of Maine, Quebec, the Maritime provinces. The settlement name can likely be traced back to Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485-1528), who had used the ancient Greek place name “Arcadia” (R included) to describe the Atlantic coast of Virginia/Maryland.

Now for the big question: Has Acadia ever been used as a baby name?

Yup — the baby name Acadia has been appearing on the national baby name list since the 1980s.

Here’s how many U.S. babies have been named Acadia since the year 2000:

  • 2013: 47 baby girls named Acadia (6 in OH)
  • 2012: 45 baby girls named Acadia (6 in NY)
  • 2011: 40 baby girls named Acadia (5 in ME, 5 in MA)
  • 2010: 38 baby girls named Acadia
  • 2009: 40 baby girls named Acadia (5 in ME)
  • 2008: 37 baby girls named Acadia
  • 2007: 37 baby girls named Acadia (7 in NY)
  • 2006: 42 baby girls named Acadia (7 in NY, 5 in ME)
  • 2005: 32 baby girls named Acadia
  • 2004: 30 baby girls named Acadia (5 in ME)
  • 2003: 37 baby girls named Acadia (6 in ME)
  • 2002: 17 baby girls named Acadia
  • 2001: 22 baby girls named Acadia
  • 2000: 28 baby girls named Acadia

The state-by-state data, which is admittedly incomplete, suggests that the name is most popular in Maine. In second and third place are New York and Massachusetts.

There’s also a vehicle called the GMC Acadia, but the car’s introduction circa 2007 doesn’t seem to have affected name usage.

(These last two points remind me of the name Sedona, which has been given to a lot of Arizona babies and also happens to be a car name.)

What do you think about the name Acadia?

Sources:


6 thoughts on “The Baby Name Acadia

  1. Here’s something interesting from a PBS webpage about Acadia National Park:

    On February 26, 1919, Mount Desert Island became a national park. It was eventually named Acadia, the French word for “heaven on earth.”

    Wrong on the first count, since MDI is a patchwork of park land and private land, and also wrong on the second count regarding the meaning of Acadia.

    The region of Arcadia in ancient Greece was named for mythological figure Arcas. So that’s the original derivation.

    In the 1500s, Europeans started using the word Acadia to refer to a place of pastoral paradise, thanks to the poem “Arcadia” (1480) by Jacopo Sannazaro (and reinforced by later literature).

    This second definition isn’t quite “heaven on earth.” Even if it was, though, that’s not how the park got its name, as PBS implies. It was simply named for the historic colony/region.

    Source: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea: Parks – Acadia | PBS

  2. Such a cool website. Our little toddler is Acadia, and I’ve only ever heard of one other, who happens to live on the west coast like us and is a similar age. Crazy. But I’ve always wondered how many others there were the year she was born–and here we have it! Thanks! (For future ref, how do you find that info, Nancy? Is there a national database?)

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