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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alanson

Number of Babies Named Alanson

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Alanson

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1866

providenceLast month we looked at the top Providence names of 1867, so today let’s check out the rankings from the year before — 1866.

First, some stats:

  • 1,633 babies were babies were born in Providence in 1866, by my count. (The number given by the author of the document is 1,632.)
  • 1,457 of these babies (707 girls and 750 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 176 babies got blank spaces.
  • 234 unique names (123 girl names and 108 boy names) were shared among these 1,457 babies.

And here’s some extra information I forgot to mention in the last post: In 1860, the city of Providence was home to 29.0% of Rhode Island’s population. In 1870, it was home to 31.7% of the population. So each of these 3 sets of rankings (1866, 1867, 1868) ought to account for roughly 30% of the residents of the state.

Now, on to the names…

Top 5

The top 5 girl names and boy names of 1866 were, unsurprisingly, very similar to the top names of 1867.

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. George
5. Thomas

The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.

Girl Names

As expected, Mary was the front-runner by a huge margin. And, while there were dozens of Catherines, and a single Catharine, there weren’t any Katherines.

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 43
  3. Ellen, 40
  4. Margaret, 37
  5. Sarah, 36
  6. Elizabeth, 32
  7. Alice, 18
  8. Annie, 15
  9. Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
  10. Clara, 13
  11. Ann, 11
  12. Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
  13. Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
  14. Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
  15. Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)
  17. Amelia, Bridget, Ella, Frances, Hattie, Lydia, Nellie & Theresa, 4 each (8-way tie)
  18. Abby, Emily, Florence, Josephine, Laura, Lillian, Lizzie, Louise & Marion, 3 each (9-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amy, Augusta, Deborah, Edith, Etta, Eva, Fannie, Georgianna, Hannah, Henrietta, Honora, Isabel, Isabella, Lottie, Lucy, Mabel, Marietta, Maud & Teresa, 2 each (20-way tie)
  20. Almira, Annette, Bertha, Catharine, Cedelia, Celia, Christina, Delia, Diana, Dora, Dorcas, Eldora, Eleanor, Elsie, Emeline, Etherine, Eugenie, Evangeline, Fanny, Flora, Geneva, Georgia, Gracie, Helen, Helena, Imogene, Janette, Jessie, Kate, Lena, Louisa, Lucia, Lucinda, Madelina, Marian, Marsalin, May, Millie, Mina, Mini, Minna, Neatah, Nettie, Phebe, Rebecca, Rosa, Roselia, Rosetta, Ruth, Sophia, Stella, Susanna, Susannah, Tillie & Winnifred, 1 each (55-way tie)

Boy Names

John had an even more commanding lead in 1866 than in 1867.

  1. John, 109 baby boys
  2. William, 78
  3. James, 62
  4. George, 44
  5. Thomas, 41
  6. Charles, 36
  7. Edward, 28
  8. Joseph, 27
  9. Frederick, 20
  10. Henry, 18
  11. Frank, 17
  12. Michael, 15
  13. Francis, 14
  14. Daniel, 13
  15. Albert, Patrick & Robert, 12 each (3-way tie)
  16. Walter, 11
  17. Arthur, Peter & Samuel, 8 each (3-way tie)
  18. Alfred, Harry, Louis & Stephen, 7 each (4-way tie)
  19. Martin, 6
  20. Matthew, 5
  21. Christopher, Clarence, Herbert, Howard & Hugh, 4 each (5-way tie)
  22. Benjamin, Eugene, Ira & Jeremiah, 3 each (4-way tie)
  23. Aaron, Alvin, Arnold, Earl, Edgar, Elisha, Freddie, Harrison, Lewis, Marcus, Nicholas, Philip, Richard & Timothy, 2 each (14-way tie)
  24. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Alanson, Alden, Ambrose, Antonio, August, Augustavus*, Augustus, Bartholomew, Bernard, Bradford, Byron, Chauncey, Clinton, David, Duncan, Eben, Ebenezer, Edwin, Elias, Elliott, Ethan, Everett, Ezra, Ferdinand, Frederic, Fullerton, Gilbert, Gwynn, Harold, Herman, Isaac, Jesse, Josiah, Lauriston, Luther, Manuel, Marks, Maurice, Miles, Mortimer, Oliver, Olney, Oscar, Otto, Rana, Rectol, Salisbury, Shamball, Simon, Terence, Theodore, Victor, Willard, Willie & Wilton, 1 each (58-way tie)

(I didn’t combine any variant spellings, but I did lump the abbreviated names Chas., Benj., and Fred’k in with Charles, Benjamin and Frederick.)

*Does Augustavus = Augustus + Gustav, I wonder?


I counted 19 pairs of twins born in Providence in 1866. I didn’t notice any triplets this year. (All of these names have already been accounted for above.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g)
Edgar & Oscar
Edward & James
Francis & James
James & John
John & Thomas
(blank) & (blank)
Frederick & Alice
John & Alice
Samuel & Sarah
Stephen & Annie
(blank) & Catherine
Agnes & Anna
Eldora & Ellen
Eliza & Mary
Elizabeth & Julia
Frances & Mary
Josephine & Mary
Mary & Sarah
Theresa & (blank)

I’ll try to finish/post the final set of rankings before the end of the year.

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence During the Year 1866. Providence: Hammond, Angell & Co., 1867.

Tifft, the One-Named Man

Alanson H. Tifft (1843-1903) and his wife Esther (1848-1922) of Brooklyn, NY, had three children. Their first, a baby girl born in 1868, was named Kittie. Their second, a baby girl born in 1873, was named Mary. Their third and last was a baby boy, born in 1878.

What was he named?

He wasn’t. He didn’t get a first name.

He was simply known as “Tifft” or “Mr. Tifft” throughout his life.

Said Tifft: “My father, Alanson Herbert Tifft, never liked his first name. Most people called him Herbert. When I was born, he and my mother couldn’t agree on a name for me. So father suggested that the matter of choosing a name be left up to me.”

But he never did choose a first name for himself. “I grew up without a first name, and I’ve never felt like appropriating one. Seems to me that I’ve gotten along just as well without one.”

His lack of a first name made headlines periodically. For instance, his marriage was announced in TIME:

Married. Mr. Tifft, paper box manufacturer of Brooklyn, N. Y., and one Ruth Esther Petersonn, of Fryburg, Me.; in South Berwick, Maine. A parental tiff over names left Mr. Tifft first nameless; he remains so, is listed in the telephone book as TIFFT.

(He called his manufacturing company “Tifft Bros.,” even though he had no brother.)

His mononym sometimes gave him trouble–when it came time to vote, for instance–but overall he was pleased with it. “You can sum it up this way: I’ve never been miffed at just being Tifft.”

He even managed to acquire a nickname; his wife called him “Tiff-it.”

But he didn’t carry on the tradition with his two sons, Robert Lincoln and Alanson Herbert. “I rather regret that now. We could have just called him Tifft II.” All of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren have first and middle names as well.


  • “Man with no given name declares he is quite satisfied.” Niagara Falls Gazette 20 Jul. 1939: 27.
  • Milestones.” TIME Magazine 21 Jan. 1929.
  • “Retired Lumber Dealer Lives 78 Years Without First Name.” Tonawanda News 12 Dec. 1956: 6.
  • “Tifft Is Only Name He Has, But It Goes Well on Checks; He Never Had a First Name.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle 23 Dec. 1923: 16 D.
  • Tifft, Maria E. A partial record of the descendants of John Tefft, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and the nearly complete record of the descendants of John Tifft, of Nassau, New York. Buffalo, NY: The Peter Paul Book Company, 1896.