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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Avis

Number of Babies Named Avis

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Avis

Names from Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston

Another cemetery!

The most bizarre name I spotted while reading through headstone inscriptions from Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (est. 1659) was Tickleemanbeck:

Tickleemanbeck, died 1702, Boston

Is that a surname or a first name? Or, was this a mononymous person? A Native American, maybe? I have no idea.

The rest of the more unusual names weren’t all that unusual, really, given the time period. Most of these occurred just once in the records:

  • A: Achsah, Ales, Almeda, Ammi, Annis, Aquila, Archibald, Artor, Asahel, Avis
  • B: Bethesda, Buckland
  • C: Cornelius, Cotton (Cotton Mather), Christiana, Christon, Custin
  • E: Edee, Eliphal, Ellsy, Esdras
  • F: Flora, Fortesque, Furnell
  • G: Gershom, Gibbins, Goodeth
  • H: Harbottle, Hemmen, Henretta, Hephsibah, Hezekiah, Hindreh (called Henry in other records), Holland, Hopestill, Hotton
  • I: Increase (Increase Mather)
  • J: Jemimia, Job, Joses, Judet
  • K: Kathron, Kezia
  • L: Lettice/Lettuce, Love
  • M: Mehetebel/Mehitabel
  • O: Obedience
  • P: Palsgrave, Pelatiah, Philander, Prissilah
  • R: Rosetta
  • S: Seeth, Sewall, Shem (Shem Drowne), Sibella, Silvanus
  • T: Tamazen, Temperance, Theodocia, Tickleemanbeck
  • W: Willmoth

Finally, here are two earlier posts with names from two more historical Boston cemeteries: King’s Chapel (est. 1630) and Granary (est. 1660).

Sources:


List of Female Names from 1888

female names, 1888

A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.

I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”

Here’s the list:

Abigail
Ada
Adelaide
Adelle
Adeline
Addie
Aggie
Agnes
Alberta
Alecia
Aletha
Alfretta
Alice
Allie
Alma
Almeda
Almira
Alta
Althea
Alvira
Alzina
Amanda
Amelia
Amy
Ann
Anna
Annabell
Annas
Annette
Angelia
Angeline
Annie
Athaliah
Athelia
Augusta
Aura
Avis
Barbara
Beatrice
Bell
Bella
Berdie
Bertha
Bertie
Bessie
Beulah
Blanche
Bridget
Calista
Carrie
Carlotta
Cassie
Catherine
Cecilia
Cela
Celia
Celicia
Celis
Charlotte
Chloe
Christie
Christine
Clara
Clarissa
Cleanthe
Clementina
Constance
Cora
Cordelia
Corinne
Cornelia
Cynthia
Cyrena
Debbie
Delia
Della
Diana
Diantha
Dinah
Dollie
Dora
Dorcas
Dorinda
Dorothy
Edith
Edna
Effie
Ella
Eleanor
Eleanora
Electa
Ellen
Elfie
Eliza
Elma
Elsie
Emma
Emmeline
Emily
Ena
Erma
Estelle
Esther
Ethel
Ethelind
Ettie
Eugenie
Eula
Eunice
Euphemia
Euretta
Eva
Evalina
Eveline
Evelyn
Fannie
Felicia
Flora
Florence
Floss
Frances
Frank
Gay
Georgie
Georgina
Geraldine
Gertie
Gracie
Hagar
Hannah
Harriet
Hattie
Helen
Helena
Henrietta
Hulda
Ida
Irene
Isabel
Isabella
Isadora
Jane
Janet
Janie
Jeannette
Jemima
Jennet
Jennie
Jessie
Jerusha
Joanna
Josephine
Josie
Julia
Kate
Kathleen
Katie
Keziah
Lany
Laura
Leah
Leila
Lena
Lera
Lettie
Levina
Levinia
Libbie
Lida
Lilian
Lillie
Lizzie
Lola
Lora
Lorretta
Lottie
Lou
Louisa
Louise
Lucinda
Lucretia
Lucy
Luella
Lula
Lulu
Lydia
Mabel
Madelaine
Maggie
Malvina
Mamie
Marcella
Margaret
Maria
Marilla
Marion
Mary
Marsena
Martha
Mattie
Maud
Maudie
May
Melinda
Mellissa
Mercy
Mertie
Mildred
Millie
Mina
Minerva
Minnie
Mintha
Miranda
Mollie
Muriel
Myra
Myrtle
Nancy
Naomi
Nellie
Nettie
Nina
Nora
Ollie
Olive
Olivia
Ormanda
Ophelia
Pauline
Pearl
Phoebe
Phyllis
Priscilla
Prudence
Rachel
Rebecca
Rhoda
Robena
Rosa
Rosabel
Rosalie
Rosalind
Rosamond
Rose
Ruby
Ruth
Sabina
Sadie
Sally
Samantha
Sarah
Selina
Sophia
Sophronia
Stella
Susanna
Susie
Sybil
Teresa
Theodocia
Theresa
Tillie
Una
Verna
Victoria
Vida
Viola
Violet
Wilhelmina
Winifred
Zuba

Have any favorites?

Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.

BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.

Source: A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names by George J. Howson

The Original “Sweet Georgia Brown”

sweet georgia brown songbookOn August 6, 1911, Dr. George Thaddeus Brown of the Georgia House of Representatives and his wife Avis welcomed a baby girl.

The Georgia General Assembly promptly passed a resolution stating that the baby would be named Georgia after the state.

They then presented Avis with a certified copy of the resolution and a “magnificent silver loving cup” whose inscription noted that Georgia was “named by this body August 11th 1911.”

Georgia’s obituary in the Miami Herald noted that she was the inspiration behind the jazz standard “Sweet Georgia Brown” (1925):

According to family legend, it was her father who immortalized her when he met composer Ben Bernie in New York. A medical student at the time, George Brown told the composer about his family, including his youngest daughter with one brown eye and one green eye. Bernie whipped up lyrics to a melody by Kenneth Casey and Maceo Pinkard.

There’s no way to know if the story is true. (One part doesn’t quite work: Dr. Brown attended post-graduate medical school in New York in the 1890s, long before his daughter was born.) But the last line of the chorus does seem to refer to Dr. Brown’s daughter: “Georgia claimed her, Georgia named her, sweet Georgia Brown.”

A whistled version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” recorded by Brother Bones in 1949 became world-famous after it became the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters in 1952. According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), “Sweet Georgia Brown” was one of the most-performed songs of the 20th century.

Sources:

  • “First Picture of Baby Named by Georgia General Assembly.” Atlanta Constitution 24 Mar. 1912: A15E.
  • Knight, Lucian Lamar. A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians. Vol. 5. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1917.
  • Melville Carroll Brown – Obituary
  • “‘Sweet’ Georgia Brown, 90, Was the Inspiration for Song.” Miami Herald 20 Jan. 2002: 4B.
  • Zinsser, William. Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs. Jaffrey, New Hampshire: David R. Godine, 2006.

P.S. Georgia is the second baby I know of named by a state legislature.