Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
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.
The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.
Moses Shattuck and Naomi Weatherbee of Brookline, New Hampshire, were married in 1802 and had a total of 6 children:
Roxanna, b. 1803
Asia, b. 1804
Africa, b. 1807
Europe, b. 1809
America, b. 1810
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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.
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
Almira / Almyra
Ann / Annie
Dorothy / Dot
Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
Happy 4th! To celebrate this year, here are the 4 most patriotic names I’ve ever come across.
1. United States America Cook
She 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
He 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
He 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
She 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!
Vicki Betts, a librarian at the University of Texas, put together a neat list of female names using the 1860 census records for Smith County, Texas.
Here’s some background information, per Vicki:
Ninety per cent of the people had emigrated to the county within the preceding ten years, 95.8% born in the states of the future Confederacy, 1.8% in the border states, 1.6% in northern states, and 0.8% in foreign countries. Therefore, these name should be fairly representative of Southern female names in general, with the exception of Alamo, Texas, Texana, etc.
And now the names! Here are the names that appeared most frequently on the 1860 Smith County census:
From March 25 to May 1, 1894, wealthy socialist politician Jacob Coxey led a group of hundreds of unemployed men — “Coxey’s Army” — on a march from Massillon, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. Their aim? To demand that the U.S. government assist the unemployed by offering a subsidized labor program.
About a month before the march began, on February 26, Coxey had welcomed a baby boy. Given his unorthodox political views, and the fact that one of his personal mottoes was “there’s nothing wrong with this country that money won’t cure,” it isn’t too surprising that he named his son Legal Tender Coxey.
Legal Tender and the rest of the Coxey family met Jacob and the protesters in Washington, D.C., but the march was ultimately unsuccessful and Jacob was arrested. The family soon returned to Ohio.
Sadly, in 1901, Legal Tender Coxey died of scarlet fever.
But his father Jacob lasted until 1951 — long enough to see FDR’s New Deal programs (like the NRA) come into existence in the early 1930s, following the Great Depression.
Though Legal Tender’s name was unusual, it wasn’t unique; so far I’ve found 20 other people with the name. Most were also born in the 1890s. Two examples: Legal Tender Wise, born in Texas in 1895, and Legal Tender Wright, born in Ohio in 1896.
(The “Coxey’s Army” march occurred during the economic depression of the 1890s, which gave rise to the Free Silver movement, which I’ll post about soon…)
“Coxey’s Son, Legal Tender, Dead.” New York Times 15 Feb 1901.