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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Adolf

Number of Babies Named Adolf

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Adolf

Sicilian Baby Named for Uncle Sam During WWII

Uncle Sam army posterOn July 9, 1943, the Allies invaded the island of Sicily. Within six weeks they had expelled the Axis entirely, opening up Mediterranean sea lanes for Allied ships and setting the stage for the invasion of mainland Italy.

But before the battle was over, in early August, two American servicemen — 1st Lt. Lawrence Taylor (who was a doctor) and Sgt. Milton Spelman — helped a Sicilian woman give birth a baby boy amid the chaos.

As a thank-you to the American doctor, she decided to name the baby Sam after Uncle Sam.

“The shells were landing all about,” Taylor recalled, “but we got through the delivery okay. The mother, who lived in New York once, told us her husband was with an Italian combat unit near Rome and believed in fascism. But she didn’t. Spelman and I became little Sam’s god-fathers.”

So how did Uncle Sam get his name? The Library of Congress says that the origin of the term “Uncle Sam” is obscure, but “[h]istorical sources attribute the name to a meat packer who supplied meat to the army during the War of 1812” — Samuel Wilson (1766-1854) of Troy, New York. According to the story, the soldiers who knew of “Uncle Sam” Wilson began to associate his nickname with the “U.S.” stamp on packaged meats, and over time the nickname simply became associated with anything marked “U.S.”

The name Samuel comes from the Hebrew name Shemuel/Shmuel and is typically defined as “name of God” (shem + el). Another possible definition is “heard of God” (shama + el).

Sources:

More WWII baby names: Adolf Hitler, Dorie, Fifinella, Hai-Hu, Irene, Jesse Roper, Linda Ann, Linda Vista, Roger, Tunisia, Vee


NYC Baby Named “Adolf Hitler” Promptly Renamed

Remember when 3-year-old birthday boy Adolf Hitler Campbell caught everyone’s attention back in 2008 for being named after the most infamous dictator of all time?

Believe it or not, a similar thing happened way back in 1943 — right in the middle of WWII.

Adolf Hitler Mittel, born in 1943 in QueensJoseph and Bertha Mittel of Astoria, Queens, welcomed their seventh child in January of 1943 and decided to name him Adolf Hitler Mittel.

Joseph said that “the whole thing started as a joke. Before the baby was born, I bet my wife that she would have triplets and that if she didn’t I’d name the baby Adolf Hitler. And I did.”

Bertha didn’t care for the name, “but [she] named the other kids and [she] thought he ought to have his say this once.”

Adolf Hitler Mittel became front-page news across the country. Here’s some of what Joseph told the press:

“Yes, sir, the baby’s name is Adolf Hitler and it’s not a joke.” declared the father, an unemployed woodworker.

“The real Adolf Hitler doesn’t mean anything to me, but I’m of German-Austrian descent and that’s one reason why I picked the name. I don’t think the name will be a handicap, because after all there are lots of people named after persons in the same class as Hitler, such as Napoleon, Caesar and others.

“He’ll grow up and be a good man despite the name.”

Needless to say, the public was not supportive.

And, almost immediately, Joseph announced that he was willing to change it. “I certainly don’t want to hurt the little guy’s future. Judging from the riding the papers and the public are giving us, the only thing to do is to find him another name.”

That new name? The very patriotic Theodore Roosevelt Mittel.

Mother Mittel said she always liked the name Theodore; Father Mittel said she always admired Theodore Roosevelt–and they filed the name forthwith with the Jamaica office of the board of health.

Dr. Ernest L. Stebbins, New York City’s Commissioner of Health at the time, called the name change a “humanitarian move.”

Sources:

  • “Dad Willing to Change Name of Son, ‘Adolf Hitler’ Mittel.” Evening News [Tonawanda, NY] 10 Feb. 1943: 6.
  • “Now It’s Theodore Roosevelt, Not Adolf H.” Deseret News 10 Feb. 1943: 3.
  • “This World We Live In.” Prescott Evening Courier 10 Feb. 1943: 1.

The Colorful Names of Meghalaya, India

meghalaya. indiaThe small, remote Indian state of Meghalaya has long been known for the colorful names of its residents.

The state typically makes international headlines during election years. Actual candidate names have included…

  • Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak
  • Billy Kid A. Sangma
  • Boldness Nongum
  • Bombersingh Hynniewta
  • Clever Marak
  • Darling Wavel Lamare
  • Fairly Bert Kharrngi
  • Field Marshal Mawphniang
  • Frankenstein W. Momin
  • Friday Lyngdoh
  • H. Britain War Dan
  • Highlander Kharmalki
  • Hilarious Dhkar
  • Hispreachering Son Shylla
  • Hopingstone Lyngdoh
  • J. Ulysses Nongrum (He has sisters named England, New Zealand, Finland and Switzerland.)
  • Jhim Carter Sangma
  • John Manner Marak
  • Kenedy Marak
  • Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem
  • Laborious Manik S. Syiem
  • Moonlight Pariat
  • Oral Syngkli
  • Process T. Sawkmie
  • Rain Augustine Lyngdoh
  • Rockfeller Momin
  • Romeo Phira Rani
  • Sevenson Dhar
  • Stafing Jove Langpen Pdahkasiej
  • Teilang Star Blah
  • Tony Curtis Lyngdoh
  • VeecareNicia Lamare
  • Zenith M. Sangma

Here’s what Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak had to say about his name:

“Maybe my parents liked the name and hence christened me Hitler,” he recently told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“I am happy with my name, although I don’t have any dictatorial tendencies.”

Reporters have been writing about the names in Meghalaya for at least a decade, but the strange names have been around a lot longer than that. “My erstwhile escort explained that Khasi parents are fond of naming children after great personalities of the West,” said the author of a 1956 article about Meghalaya’s names. (The article also mentioned Khasi sisters named Million, Billion and Trillion.)

So, why are strange names the norm in Meghalaya? I’ve found various explanations.

One travel article suggests the roots are religious. The names are the “legacy of the missionaries’ work,” it says, though “children now are just as likely to be named after the latest gadget as a saint.” (About 70% of the state is Christian, which is notable, as India overall is only about 2% Christian.)

Another source blames Britain:

The region’s unusual names stem from the state’s close historical links with Britain, explains Agence France-Presse: in colonial times, missionaries and soldiers would visit the hilly state’s capital Shillong, known as the “Scotland of the East,” to escape the overbearing heat of much of the country, and its residents began naming their children with random English words as a nod to that influence.

“Often they don’t know the background of the names. They get attracted to these names for their quest of modernity,” Sanjeeb Kakoty, a history professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, told AFP.

Yet another source adds two more possibilities. First, that people try to “sound knowledgeable by naming their children after great leaders.” Second, that the names are “part of a culture where laughter is considered important.”

Meghalaya’s three major tribes, the Khasis, the Garos and Jaintias all have Laugh Clubs. Giving their children whacky [sic] names is part of the fun.

“We share the most brazen of jokes at these clubs,” says local historian Milton Sangma.

Which might explain why one of the candidates is Tony Curtis, better known as a Hollywood legend.

“We believe if we laugh heartily at least once or twice a day, we will live long.”

(Laughter clubs have only been around since the mid-1990s.)

Which of the names on the list above do you like best?

Sources:

Image: Seema Agarwal

Related post: Soviet-Inspired Baby Names in Kerala, India

Types of Bad Baby Names

Nancy Friedman of Fritinancy wrote a great post the other day called What Makes a Bad Name Bad?

It’s about company and product names, but her four “badness patterns” can be found in baby names as well.

Some examples…

Can you think of any other bad baby names that fall into one (or more) of the above categories?

German Couple Names Baby Hitlerike

In 1931, a couple in Hilden, Germany, tried to name their baby girl Hitlerike in honor of Adolf Hitler.

The registrar rejected the name.

The father sued.

The court ruled in favor of the father, noting that similar political names such as Bolshewika (for Bolshevik) and Stahlhelmina (for the Stahlhelm) had been accepted in the past.

Source: “Court Approves Political Names of Reich Babies.” Milwaukee Journal 7 Mar. 1931: 1.