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