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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alva

Number of Babies Named Alva

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Alva

Name Quotes for the Weekend #38

Another quote post! This installment includes a record number of ellipses. Very exciting.

From The Clintons ruined the name ‘Hillary’ for new parents by Christopher Ingraham:

It…looks like the popularity of first ladies’ names falls more sharply than the popularity of presidents’ names during their time in office. But again, it’s not clear just from these charts if that’s a true presidential spouse effect, or just a reflection of the natural long-term trajectory of those names.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary.

From Keith Ng’s My last name sounds Chinese, in response to the erroneous claim by New Zealand politician Phil Twyford that Chinese people are buying up property in Auckland:

The subtext of this story is that people with Chinese-sounding names are foreigners full of cash who are buying all our houses and chasing hardworking Kiwis out of their homes. This is straight-up scapegoating, placing the blame for a complex, emotive problem at the feet of an ethnic group.

[…]

Phil Twyford, Labour, and the Herald – you are fueling racial division in this country. You are encouraging people to question whether ethnically Chinese people ought to be able to buy houses. You are saying that people with “Chinese-sounding names” are dangerous foreigners who will destroy the Kiwi way of life with real estate purchases.

From Royal Caribbean’s press release asking James Hand to name the next Royal Caribbean ship:

“The people of the United Kingdom know the name of a great ship when they see it,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship.”

The “name our next ship” part is an April Fools’ Day joke, but (as far as I can tell) the offer to send Hand on a free cruise is legit.

NERC’s Name Our Ship campaign ends tomorrow, btw.

From the Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. page of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park website:

Thomas Alva, Junior, was born on January 10, 1876. Since his sister Marion was nicknamed “Dot,” he was nicknamed “Dash.”

[…]

After selling the use of his name to advertise “quack” medicines and dubious inventions, his father asked Tom Junior to change his name. This he did, briefly going by the name of Thomas Willard.

The nicknames “Dot” and “Dash” are references to Morse Code.

From Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’? by Joanne McNeil (found via Nancy Friedman’s January Linkfest):

Imagine if the plug-in devices that made housework more efficient were, like Alexa, sold with women’s names and talked about with female pronouns. “Could you hand me the Amanda? She’s in the hall closet.”

[…]

I used Julie [a “virtual inbox assistant”] only once, sending an email to a friend, copying the app email, with a time and date to meet for coffee. Julie emailed back promptly confirming the appointment, and it added the meeting to my calendar. The product is an interesting idea and easy to use, but interacting with a fake woman assistant just feels too weird. So I shut “her” off. This Stepford app, designed to make my work more efficient, only reminds me of the gendered division of labor that I’m trying to escape.

From the abstract of the paper Unfortunate First Names: Effects of Name-Based Relational Devaluation and Interpersonal Neglect by Jochen E. Gebauer, Mark R. Leary and Wiebke Neberich:

Can negative first names cause interpersonal neglect? Study 1 (N = 968) compared extremely negatively named online-daters with extremely positively named online-daters. Study 2 (N = 4,070) compared less extreme groups—namely, online-daters with somewhat unattractive versus somewhat attractive first names. Study 3 (N = 6,775) compared online-daters with currently popular versus currently less popular first names, while controlling for name-popularity at birth. Across all studies, negatively named individuals were more neglected by other online-daters, as indicated by fewer first visits to their dating profiles. This form of neglect arguably mirrors a name-based life history of neglect, discrimination, prejudice, or even ostracism.

From What’s in a Necronym? by Jeannie Vanasco (found via Longreads):

I remember the day I first learned about her. I was eight. My father was in his chair, holding a small white box. As my mother explained that he had a dead daughter named Jeanne, pronounced the same as my name, “without an i,” he opened the box and looked away. Inside was a medal Jeanne had received from a church “for being a good person,” my mother said. My father said nothing. I said nothing. I stared at the medal.

[…]

Parsed from the Greek, necronym literally translates as “death name.” It usually means a name shared with a dead sibling. Until the late nineteenth century, necronyms were not uncommon among Americans and Europeans. If a child died in infancy, his or her name was often given to the next child, a natural consequence of high birth rates and high infant mortality rates.

The second Notwithstanding Griswold, born in 1764, was named for her deceased older sister.

A post about Union Banner Hunt by Andy Osterdahl of The Strangest Names In American Political History:

Union Banner Hunt was born in Randolph County on September 2, 1864, the son of Joshua Parker and Rachel Howell Hunt. His full birth name is listed as “Union Banner Basil Morton Hunt”, and the 1914 work Past and Present of Randolph County gives some interesting anecdotes as to how his unusual name came about: “At the time of his birth his brother was confined in the Confederate Prison in Andersonville, Ga., having been captured at the Battle of Chickamauga. Hence the name “Union Banner”. Basil (pronounced “Bazil”) is an old family name, and “Morton” is for the great war Governor of Indiana.” This same book mentions that Hunt was “not responsible” for his unusual name and “neither is he ashamed of it.”

That “great war Governor” was Oliver P. Morton.

From an interview with Winona Ryder by Celia Walden:

Ryder’s unconventional childhood has been exhaustively documented and occasionally used to explain the more disturbing events in her life, but the actress — christened Winona Laura Horowitz and named after the Minnesota city in which she was born — speaks fondly of the four years she spent in a commune in Elk, Northern California, from the age of seven.

Winona’s younger brother Uri, born in the 1970s, was named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Have you come across any interesting name-related quotes lately? Let me know!


The Baby Name Omoo

Omoo by MelvilleHerman Melville’s best-known book is Moby Dick (1851), but he did write other books. One of those other books is the semi-autobiographical Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847).

What does “Omoo” mean? Melville defines it in the preface, saying it “is borrowed from the dialect of the Marquesas Islands, where, among other uses, the word signifies a rover, or rather, a person wandering from one island to another, like some of the natives, known among their countrymen as “Taboo kannakers.””

Believe it or not, I’ve found a handful of people with the given name Omoo. All were born post-1847. (I’ve also found some boats and one horse with the name.)

The earliest Omoo-baby I know of is Omoo Jenkins, a boy born in Massachusetts in 1849.

And Pennsylvania was home to a pocket of female Omoos, starting with Omoo Lamira Mack (née Decker):

Omoo, one of 10 children of Mr. and Mrs. Alva Decker, was born July 8, 1883, near Deposit, Pennsylvania, and named by the midwife who delivered her.

After her came Omoo Slocum (b. 1897), Laura Omoo Slocum (b. 1917), and Omoo Lamira Chase (b. 1921), who was Mack’s niece.

What do you think of the name Omoo? Does anyone in your family tree have the name?

Sources:

  • Acker, Clark. “Senior member reads Bible faithfully.” Visitor Magazine 15 Oct. 1986: 11.
  • Melville, Herman. Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas. 6th ed. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1852.

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2013

Sweden’s top baby names of 2013 were announced recently.

According to data from Statistics Sweden (SCB), the country’s most popular baby names last year were Alice and Lucas.

Here are Sweden’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Alice, 903 baby girls
2. Maja, 767
3. Elsa, 766
4. Ella, 700
5. Julia, 687
6. Ebba, 663
7. Alicia, 625
8. Olivia, 616
9. Alva, 607
10. Wilma, 600
1. Lucas, 935 baby boys
2. William, 915
3. Oscar, 901
4. Oliver, 800
5. Hugo, 749
6. Charlie, 716
7. Liam, 708
8. Alexander, 694
9. Axel, 677
10. Elias, 676

Names that made the girls’ top 100 for the very first time were Hilma, Ellinor, Sally, Melina, and Nicole. New to the boys’ top 100 were Louie and Tor.

The top names of 2012 were Alice and William.

Source: Sweden’s most popular baby names revealed

35 Most Unisex Baby Names in the U.S.

Last month, FlowingData crunched some numbers to come up with the 35 most unisex baby names in the U.S. since 1930. Here’s their list:

  1. Jessie
  2. Marion
  3. Jackie
  4. Alva
  5. Ollie
  6. Jody
  7. Cleo
  8. Kerry
  9. Frankie
  10. Guadalupe
  11. Carey
  12. Tommie
  13. Angel
  14. Hollis
  15. Sammie
  16. Jamie
  17. Kris
  18. Robbie
  19. Tracy
  20. Merrill
  21. Noel
  22. Rene
  23. Johnnie
  24. Ariel
  25. Jan
  26. Devon
  27. Cruz
  28. Michel
  29. Gale
  30. Robin
  31. Dorian
  32. Casey
  33. Dana
  34. Kim**
  35. Shannon

I’m not sure exactly what criteria were used to create the rankings, but it looks like the top unisex names on this list were the top-1,000 names that “stuck around that 50-50 split” the longest from 1930 to 2012.

(In contrast, my unisex baby names page lists any name on the full list to fall within the 25-75 to 75-25 range, but only in the most recent year on record.)

The FlowingData post also mentions that, though the data is pretty noisy, there might be “a mild upward trend” over the years in the number of babies with a unisex name.

**In 1957, Johnny Carson’s 5-year-old son Kim had his name changed to Richard because he’d been having “a little trouble over his name being mistaken for a girl’s.”

Source: The most unisex names in US history

[Update: Changed Michael to Michel, 11/7]

Most Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2012

The most popular baby names in Sweden were announced a couple of days ago.

According to Statistics Sweden, the country’s top names are William for boys and Alice for girls.

Here are the top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2012:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Alice
2. Elsa
3. Julia
4. Ella
5. Maja
6. Ebba
7. Emma
8. Linnea
9. Molly
10. Alva
11. Wilma
12. Agnes
13. Klara [tie]
13. Nellie [tie]
15. Isabelle
16. Olivia
17. Alicia
18. Ellen
19. Lily
20. Stella
1. William
2. Oscar
3. Lucas
4. Hugo
5. Elias
6. Alexander
7. Liam
8. Charlie
9. Oliver
10. Filip
11. Leo
12. Viktor
13. Vincent
14. Emil
15. Axel
16. Anton
17. Erik
18. Olle
19. Theo
20. Ludvig

Did you know that, back in 1888, Ebba was the top newbie baby name in the US?

But let’s get back to Sweden.

Which Swedish names saw the biggest popularity boosts from 2011 to 2012?

Going up:

Rising Girl Names Rising Boy Names
1. Sigrid
2. Majken
3. Elise
4. Alicia
5. Lykke
6. Ronja
7. Juni
8. Svea
9. Siri [tie]
9. Melissa [tie]
1. Ebbe
2. Henry
3. Elvin
4. Charlie
5. Julian
6. Valter [tie]
6. Matteo [tie]
8. Elton
9. Edward
10. Mohamed

And which names decreased the most in popularity?

Going down:

Falling Girl Names Falling Boy Names
1. Minna
2. Tove
3. Elin
4. Evelina
5. Thea
6. Tindra
7. Filippa
8. Linnea
9. Tilde
10. Amanda
1. Ville
2. Linus
3. Neo
4. Rasmus
5. Carl
6. Jonathan
7. Simon
8. Viggo [tie]
8. Tim [tie]
10. Joel

Finally, here are the top baby names in Sweden from a couple of years ago.

Sources: Name Statistics – Statistics Sweden, William, Alice top Swedish baby names

Most Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2010

Sweden’s top baby names have been released. The winners are Oscar and Maja (which is pronounced like Maia/Maya).

Here are the top ten boy names:

  1. Oscar (1,108 baby boys) – nearly 1.9% of all baby boys
  2. William (1,032)
  3. Lucas (1,026) – former #1
  4. Elias (888)
  5. Alexander (887)
  6. Hugo (873)
  7. Oliver (810)
  8. Theo (804) – new to the top 10
  9. Liam (782) – new to the top 10
  10. Leo (764) – new to the top 10

The three names that dropped out of the boys’ top ten were Erik, Victor, and Axel.

Newbies to the top 100 were Frank, Ebbe, Elvin, Julian and Ivar. Drop-outs were Dante, Mattias, Jesper, Dennis and Ruben.

The boy names that made the biggest jumps from 2009 to 2010 were Frank, Elvin and Milo. Those suffering the biggest drops were Carl, Marcus and Jonathan.

And here are the top ten girl names:

  1. Maja (895 baby girls) – 1.6% of all baby girls
  2. Alice (867) – former #1
  3. Julia (823)
  4. Linnéa (750)
  5. Wilma (742)
  6. Ella (737)
  7. Elsa (724)
  8. Emma (722)
  9. Alva (711)
  10. Olivia (703) – new to the top 10

The one name that dropped out of the girls’ top ten was Ebba.

Newbies to the top 100 were Tove, Minna, Majken, Annie, Juni, Hedvig and Novalie. Drops-outs were Malva, Victoria, Fanny, Alexandra, Rut, Miranda and Johanna.

The girl names that made the biggest jumps from 2009 to 2010 were Tove, Minna and Novalie. Those suffering the biggest drops were Kajsa, Emelie and Cornelia.

Source: Oscar and Maja most popular names in 2010 (StatisticsSweden press release)