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

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Popularity of the Baby Name America

Number of Babies Named America

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name America

Siblings Named Asia, Africa, Europe, America

Moses Shattuck and Naomi Weatherbee of Brookline, New Hampshire, were married in 1802 and had a total of 6 children:

  1. Roxanna, b. 1803
  2. Asia, b. 1804
  3. Africa, b. 1807
  4. Europe, b. 1809
  5. America, b. 1810
  6. Mary, b. 1812

All the continent-children are boys.

In fact, I believe all four names — Asia, Africa, Europe and America — cover the known world of 1802. At that time Australia was considered part of Asia, America hadn’t yet been split into North and South, and Antarctica wouldn’t be discovered for another couple of decades.

These days continent names are considered girl names, not boy names. Asia and America see heavy yearly usage, Africa and Australia are uncommon but not unheard of, and Europe and Antarctica are nearly non-existent.

Source: Shattuck, Lemuel. Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck. Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1855.


Rare Names in Early Boston (1630-1805)

Embroidered by Rooksby Creese
Embroidered by Rooksby Creese, 1700s
Yesterday we looked at popular baby names in early Boston, so today let’s check out some rare names.

Those two books I discovered with the early Boston birth records also included lists of Boston baptisms, marriages and deaths. I scanned all of these lists to come up with the names below:

A: Admonition, Aftar, America, Amiable, Amorel/Amorill, Androse, Aniball, Angola, Annice, Anstis, Apfier, Archdale, Arimnel, Atterlanta, Avery, Avise, Azor

  • America, full name America House, was born in 1660. Could she have been the very first New World baby named America? I can’t find anything earlier…
  • Avery was a baby girl born in 1645. This could be the earliest girl-Avery I know of.

B: Bagwell, Bagworth, Bant, Barbary, Belcher, Benaniwell, Betteris, Bezaliell, Bickford, Blish, Bossenger, Boylston, Bozoun/Bozoon/Bozoune/Bozon/Boozone, Brattle, Broughton, Budd, Bulkely, Buny, Buttalph/Buttolph, Byfield

  • Bagworth‘s full name was the Hobbit-like Bagworth Endicutt.
  • One of the Belchers had the unfortunate full name Belcher Noyes.
  • The Bozoun-group refers mainly to one person: Capt. Bozoun Allen (d. 1652), an immigrant from England who was active in early Boston politics.

C: Caylance, Cazneau, Cerston, Chanterlin, Chuzziah, Civil, Cletord, Clorinda, Coneniah, Consider, Constancy, Cord, Crumil, Cumbey/Cumby, Custin/Custine, Cutting

  • Could Chuzziah be a version of Josiah?
  • Cord‘s full name was Cord Cordis.
  • Cutting‘s full name was Cutting Bean.

D: Decline, Delicia, Derlow, Dermin, Desire ye Truth, Dickery, Digory, Dinisha, Dionysia, Dixe, Dosithea, Dowsabell, Drewry

  • Desire ye Truth gave her daughter the exact same name in 1666. The “ye” here would have been pronounced “the,” as the letter y actually represents the letter thorn.
  • Here’s more on the derivation of Digory.
  • Dionysia‘s full name was the very romantic Dionysia Savage Ravenscroft. (Savage was her maiden name; Ravenscroft was her married name.)

E: Electa, Eleshaway, Eliphall/Elliphall, Ellener, Emmin, Emmorold, Estick, Ethlan, Evos, Exercise

  • Exercise‘s full name was Exercise Blackleech.

F: Fairbanck, Fathergone, Faur, Fearnot/Fearnott, Febee, Ffitz-John, Foreland, Fortescue, Fortune, Freeborn, Freegrace, Freelove, Frizzel

  • Here’s the story behind Fathergone.
  • Fearnot is a Puritan name that needs to make a comeback, I think.

G: Gartright, Gatliffe, Gedny, Gee, Gier, Goodith, Grafton, Gravingham, Griffyn, Grimstone, Grindall, Grizzel/Grizzell

  • Gartright could be a version of Gertrude.
  • Goodith is probably Judith.
  • Grimstone! I love any name that features the word “grim.” I remember Grimsley popping up in Idaho a few years back…

H: Habbakuck/Habbakuk, Habbiah, Hananeel, Hanniball, Harborne, Harbottle, Hazelelponi, Hazelpanah, Heiborne, Hennerina, Hopefor/Hoptfor, Huldy, Humilis, Humility, Huxtable

I: Ibroke, Indego, Ireland, Isanna

J: Jaleham, Jamina, Jarratt, Jeffs, Jehosebath/Johoshabeath/Josabeth/Joshabeth, Jolley, Jolliff, Joylieffe/Joyliffe

K: Kellon, Kinsman, Knight

L: Laomi, Lately, Leech, Lettysse, Lilingston, Love, Lucrana, Lucresia, Ludwick

M: Macartey, Mackworth, Mauditt, Maverick, Maybe, Meddlecot, Mehalaliell/Mahalaleel, Melatiah, Meribah, Metsathiell, Milam, Milcha, Mindwell, Minot, Mordica, Moremercy, Mungo

  • Maverick, born at the end of the 1600s, got his mother’s surname as a first name.

N: Nabby, Nebery, Neezer, Neverson, Newgrace, Niot/Nyott

  • I’m guessing Neezer was derived from Ebenezer.
  • Nyott‘s full name was Nyott Doubt.

O: Onner, Opportunity, Orchard, Oulando, Oxenbridge

  • Opportunity‘s full name was Opportunity Lane.

P: Palfrey, Palsgrove, Palti, Parnell, Parthenia, Pepperrell, Perciful, Perring, Phaline, Phesant, Philadelphia, Philippe/Philippi/Philippy/Phillipee/Phillippi, Pilgrim, Pittie, Pool, Posthumus, Pouning, Preserved, Pyam

  • Perciful looks like Percival under the influence of “merciful.”
  • A number of women had names like Phillippi, which is curious…
  • Posthumus was once kinda trendy.
  • Pilgrim, despite his name, had nothing to do with the Mayflower Pilgrims. (He’s buried at Granary, btw.)

R: Ranis/Ragnis, Recompense, Redemption, Redigon/Redgon/Reddigan/Redigun, Reforme, Rely, Rich-Grace, Ronas, Rooksby/Rooksbey/Rooksbee/Rookby, Roop/Roope, Ryal

  • The Redigon group represents one person (female).
  • The Rooksby group represents several people, all female. You can see embroidered chair seats sewn one of them, Rooksby Creese (1703-1742), at the MFA in Boston.

S: Salmagrave, Salphin, Sarahjah, Satisfaction, Savel/Savell/Savil, Scarborough, Scissilla, Seaborne, Secunda/Secundas, Sendall/Sendell, Shippie, Shoreborne, Shove, Shrimpton, Sibbella/Sibla, Sivil/Sivill, Skinner, Skipper, Smyth, Snell, Spiller, Story, Strange, Sucky, Supply, Sweet

  • Sucky is an regrettable rendering of Sukey, a diminutive of Susanna.

T: Tacey, Teasant, Torshel, Tregoweth, Tremble, Trine, Tristram, Trueworthy, Turfry, Tuttle

  • Tacey has the same root as Tacita: the Latin verb tacere, meaning “to be silent.”
  • Torshel was the twin of Harborne (see above).

U: Union, Unite

V: Verrin, Vigilant, Vsal

W: Waitawhile/Wayte-a-while, Wentworth, Wheelwright, Wigglesworth/Wigleworth, Winborn, Woodbery, Woodmansie, Woodward

  • Waitawhile (female) had the birth name Waitawhile Makepeace. Sounds like a 2-step process for conflict resolution, doesn’t it?

Y: Yelverton

Z: Zerubbabel, Zibiah, Zuriell/Zuryell, Zurishaddai

…So, which of the above names intrigue you the most?

Sources: Boston births, baptisms, marriages and deaths, 1630-1699, Boston births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800

Name Quotes for the Weekend #25

elton john quote about the name reginald

From an interview with Elton John on Larry King Live:

Well, I was making a record, and I had to choose a name, because they said, you know, you can’t make a record under the name of Reg Dwight, because it’s never going to — you know, it’s not attractive enough. And I agreed with that, and I couldn’t wait to change my name anyway, because I’m not too fond of the name of Reginald. It’s a very kind of ’50s English name.

So I picked Elton because there wasn’t — nobody seemed to have the name Elton. And I picked John to go with it. And it was — it was done on a bus going from London Heathrow back into the city. And it was done very quickly. So I said, oh, Elton John. That’s fine.

From The Life of William Shakespeare: A Critical Biography by Lois Potte:

Though contemporary sonneteers populated their world with lovers called Astrophil, Parthenophil, Stella, Delia, and Idea, the only names that appear in Shakespeare’s sonnets are Adonis, Helen, Mars, Saturn, Philomel, Eve, Cupid, Diana, and Time — and the one non-mythological figure, the author, “Will.”

From An Apology to Every (White) Girl Named Becky by Dara T. Mathis:

Black people commonly use the term “Becky” when referring to generic white women. It has a slight negative connotation (airheadedness), but white women don’t have to do anything to deserve the title.

Clearly, this is as problematic as sexual stereotypes against any demographic of people. Women fight on a daily basis not to be objectified, but this portrayal takes it further and assigns white women a role to which they may not ascribe.

Despite my dislike for using a proper name as a slur, it took an actual person to bring it home to me. After my tweet, a white colleague nicknamed Becky told me about how she’s been forced to use Rebecca instead. A group of black men were catcalling her down a sidewalk and she was doing her best to ignore them. One of them yelled out, “Hey Becky!” That’s her name: she automatically swung her head around. But this had the opposite effect of validating the men’s impression that she was a Becky, not a woman named Becky. They laughed. She laughed, too, because…it is kinda funny.

But I stopped laughing quickly. I had never thought about the implications of people using your name as a stereotype against you. Where can you run to escape that?

From a post about unusual personal names at Futility Closet:

A memo to every parent who’s ever lived: Giving your kid a special name does not make him special. It never has. It never will.

You know what I mean. It’s one thing to give yourself a screwy moniker. Body-modification enthusiasts have changed their names to Swirly Wanx Sinatra, Grenade Bee of Death, and RooRaaah Mew Crumbs, among other things, and there’s a U.S. Army Ohio National Guard firefighter who named himself Optimus Prime. That’s fine, you’re the one who has to live with it.

It’s worse when you inflict a harebrained epithet on a newborn, who will have to drag it through life like a neon hairshirt.

From a post about Ameribella cheese at Cheese Notes:

Originally named Arabella, this cheese underwent a slight name change recently; as Leslie told me, it’s always been named after Matthew’s great grandmother, whose name was America Arabella. To honor her, they combined her two names and came up with the Ameribella, which also has the unique quality of honoring this cheese’s American terroir and Italian origins.

(I discovered Ameribella via the Baby Name Pondering post Cheesy Baby Names.)

From an article by Kerry Parnell in The Daily Telegraph:

[W]hen I was born and my parents proudly announced my name to the family, my great-grandma was disgusted and informed them Kerry was a dog’s name.

She never wavered from this conviction until one day, when I was about five, we visited her to see her new poodle puppy.

“What’s his name?” I asked. “Kerry,” she replied, stony faced. There was a long, awkward silence and no one ever mentioned it again.

Ironically, great-grandma went by the name of “Pete”, which, unless I am very much mistaken, is a man’s name.

One day, I vow, I will get a dog just so I can call it Pete, for revenge.

Have you read anything interesting about names lately? Please send me the link so I can add it to a future quote post! Email me, Tweet me, or just leave a comment below.

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

The 4 Most Patriotic Names of All Time?

patriotic baby names

Happy 4th! To celebrate this year, here are the 4 most patriotic names I’ve ever come across.

1. United States America Cook
United States America CookShe was born in Ohio in 1896. I’ve found people named “United States,” and even more named “America,” but she’s the only “United States America” I’ve ever found.

2. Nephi United States Centennial Jensen
Nephi United States Centennial JensenHe was born in Utah in 1876. Similar to United States America, I’ve seen “United States” more than once, and “Centennial” was downright trendy for babies born circa 1876, but this is the only “United States Centennial” I know of.

3. Star Spangled Banner Osborne
Star Spangled Banner OsborneHe was born in Illinois in 1860. I’ve seen patriotic song titles as names before — “Yankee Doodle” included — but, as far as I can tell, he’s the only “Star Spangled Banner” that exists. In most records, he simply goes by “Banner.”

4. E Pluribus Unum Ford
E. Pluribus Unum FordShe was born in Texas in 1884. This is the only name of the four that isn’t unique; I’ve found a handful people named e pluribus unum, which is the Latin phrase meaning “out of many, one” that many consider a de facto U.S. motto.

Which one of the above would you say is the most patriotic name? Or, if you know of one that could trump these, tell us about it!

Image sources:

  1. Birth register (Belmont County, Ohio)
  2. Death certificate (Utah)
  3. 1870 U.S. Census (Winnebago, Illinois)
  4. Death certificate (Texas)