How popular is the baby name Admiral in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Admiral and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Admiral.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Admiral

Number of Babies Named Admiral

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Admiral

2 Mystery Baby Names: Ardis & Irva

Not only were the girl names Ardis and Irva the dual top baby name debuts of 1899, but they were also tied for the 5th-highest debut of the late 1800s, according to SSA data:

  1. 38 baby boys: Hobson in 1898 (influence: war)
  2. 35 baby girls: Manilla in 1898 (influence: war)
  3. 25 baby boys: Admiral in 1898 (influence: war)
  4. 23 baby boys: Corbett in 1892 (influence: boxing)
  5. 19 baby girls: Ardis and Irva in 1899 (influence: ?)
  6. 18 baby girls: Ebba in 1888 (influence: royalty)

So far I haven’t been able to figure out what caused either debut, though. Maybe you guys can help me out?

Here’s what I know so far…


According to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the number of people named Ardis jumped from at least 10 in 1898 to at least 86 in 1899. (The SSDI is a better source of raw-number data than the SSA for the late 1800s and early 1900s.)

  • 1901: 47 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1900: 59 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1899: 86 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1898: 10 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1897: 15 people with the first name Ardis

The SSDI data also indicates that the usage of Ardis was highest during three successive months: July (12 births), August (17 births), and September (12 births).

Getting back to the SSA data…when Ardis was at peak popularity from the 1910s through the 1940s, it was particularly trendy in the Midwest (especially Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin). This regional preference may have existed in 1899 as well, though it’s hard to tell.

Finally, a novel with the name Ardis in the title — Frank R. Stockton’s Ardis Claverden — existed in 1899. It had been published in 1890, though, so it probably didn’t cause the debut. (Unless it was serialized in the newspapers a decade later…?)


The SSDI shows that the number of people named Irva jumped from at least 7 in 1898 to at least 64 in 1899:

  • 1901: 14 people with the first name Irva
  • 1900: 18 people with the first name Irva
  • 1899: 64 people with the first name Irva
  • 1898: 7 people with the first name Irva
  • 1897: 5 people with the first name Irva

The name Erva also debuted in 1899. Alternative spellings sometimes point to an audio influence like talkies or television, but the debuts of Irva and Erva predate most of these technologies.

So does anyone out there have any theories on either Ardis or Irva?

(And if you like doing baby name detective work, check out these other open cases!)

Babies Named for “Gentleman Jim” Corbett

James Corbett, BoxerI’d say the first impressive baby name debut on the SSA’s list was Corbett in 1892.

Corbett was the highest debut on the SSA’s list until 1898 rolled around with the names Manilla, Hobson, and Admiral (all inspired by the Spanish-American War).

According to SSA data, at least 23 baby boys were named Corbett in 1892:

  • 1897: 14 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1896: 10 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1895: 11 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1894: 20 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1893: 15 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1892: 23 baby boys named Corbett [debut]
  • 1891: unlisted

But the actual number was much higher. The SSDI indicates that at least 59 Corbetts were born in 1892:

  • 1897: 27 people named Corbett (SSDI)
  • 1896: 30 people named Corbett (SSDI)
  • 1895: 51 people named Corbett (SSDI)
  • 1894: 67 people named Corbett (SSDI)
  • 1893: 48 people named Corbett (SSDI)
  • 1892: 59 people named Corbett (SSDI)
  • 1891: 5 people named Corbett

What gave Corbett a boost that year?

Sports. In September of 1892, boxer James “Gentleman Jim” Corbett defeated John L. Sullivan to win the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Even if he hadn’t won, though, the press leading up to the match would have popularized the name enough for it to make a splash. More than half of those Corbetts — 31 out of 59 — were born before the match even took place.

Usage of the name increased again in 1894, which is the year Corbett defended his title against boxer Charley Mitchell.

Corbett ultimately lost the title to Bob Fitzsimmons in 1897.

(Sullivan, Corbett and Fitzsimmons are the first three middle names of the girl with 25 heavyweight boxing champion-inspired middle names.)

Source: James J. Corbett – Wikipedia
Image: James John Corbett circa 1893, Library of Congress

Baby Names Inspired by the Spanish-American War

U.S.S. Maine sinking in Havana harbor
The U.S.S. Maine sinking in Havana harbor, 1898

The brief Spanish-American War (1898), which began in April and ended in August, inspired hundreds of patriotic parents in the U.S. to choose war-inspired baby names. Here are some examples:

Maine & Havana

One of the events that led to war was the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Cuba’s Havana Harbor on February 15. The explosion killed more than 260 men. Many people in the U.S. blamed the explosion on Spain.

The baby names Maine and Havana both debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1898.

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 9 baby girls named Maine [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

Maine was a one-hit wonder on the list — a rarity that never returned — but Havana has been on the list dozens of times since (and regularly since 1995).

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 8 baby girls named Havana [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

The SSDI tells a more complete story (though it doesn’t offer information on gender). It indicates that 25 babies were named Maine and 12 were named Havana in 1898.

Dewey & Manila

War was formally declared on April 25. On May 1, the Battle of Manila Bay took place in the Philippines. The U.S. fleet, under the command of Commodore George Dewey, defeated Spain.

Usage of the name Dewey spiked in 1898, both for boys and for girls:

  • 1901: 137 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1900: 345 baby boys and 9 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1899: 499 baby boys and 24 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1898: 1,115 baby boys and 104 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1897: 158 baby boys and 13 baby girls named Dewey
  • 1896: 63 baby boys named Dewey
  • 1895: 28 baby boys named Dewey

In terms of rankings, Dewey hit 19th (!) for boys and 305th for girls in 1898. Also that year, the spelling variants Dewie and Dewy debuted.

Going back to the SSDI, we see even higher numbers — 6,708 babies named Dewey, 36 named Dewie, and 1 named Dewy in 1898.

We even see evidence of Dewey’s spike on the U.S. Census of 1920:

  • 1910s: over 4,300 people named Dewey were born
  • 1900s: over 11,000 people named Dewey were born
  • 1890s: over 12,100 people named Dewey were born
  • 1880s: over 200 people named Dewey were born
  • 1870s: over 100 people named Dewey were born

An article in the Reading Eagle in 1899 listed ten local babies named for George Dewey, and another article I spotted from decades later joked about starting a George Dewey namesake club.

We see a similar (though less pronounced) spike of in the usage of Manila for baby girls:

  • 1900: 10 baby girls named Manila
  • 1899: 34 baby girls named Manila
  • 1898: 104 baby girls named Manila
  • 1897: 7 baby girls named Manila [debut]
  • 1896: unlisted

Also that year, the spelling variant Manilla debuted. (Manilla was the top girl name debut of the year, in fact.) Manila ranked 306th and Manilla ranked 536th nationally in 1898.

Again, the SSDI’s numbers are even higher — 195 babies were named Manila and 118 were named Manilla in 1898.

Hobson, Admiral, Shafter, Maceo, Schley & Philippina

Here are six more war-related names that debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1898.

The baby name Hobson was inspired by Richmond Pearson Hobson, prisoner of war in Cuba. (Hobson was the top boy name debut of 1898, in fact.)

  • 1899: 15 baby boys named Hobson
  • 1898: 38 baby boys named Hobson [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 161 babies were named Hobson that year.

The baby name Admiral was the rank of many of the men (e.g. Admiral Dewey, Admiral Sampson, Admiral Schley) who played a part in the war — Dewey especially.

  • 1899: 13 baby boys named Admiral
  • 1898: 25 baby boys named Admiral [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 154 babies were named Admiral.

The baby name Shafter was inspired by army general William Rufus Shafter.

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 14 baby boys named Shafter [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 58 babies were named Shafter.

The baby name Maceo was inspired by Cuban revolutionary Antonio Maceo, “one of the outstanding guerrilla leaders in nineteenth century Latin America. (He died in late 1896, actually.)

  • 1899: 9 baby boys named Maceo
  • 1898: 13 baby boys named Maceo [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 34 babies were named Maceo.

The baby name Schley was inspired by Winfield Scott Schley, hero of the Battle of Santiago Bay.

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 10 baby boys named Schley [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 39 babies were named Schley.

Finally, the baby name Philippina, possibly inspired by the Philippines, was a one-hit wonder the year of the war:

  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 5 baby girls named Philippina [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted

Interestingly, only one Philippina is accounted for in the SSDI data.