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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Cordelia

Number of Babies Named Cordelia

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Cordelia

Names in the Willey Family – Alzada, Octavia, Idawalley

I wrote about Idawalley Zoradia Lewis a few years ago, but didn’t talk about the source of her unusual name.

She was named for her mother, Idawalley Zoradia Willey (1815-1879), who was born and raised in Rhode Island along with eight unusually named siblings and half-siblings — nearly all girls.

While I don’t know the names of all nine Willey children, I have tracked down these six:

  • Alzada Roslyn (her daughter was also named “Alzada Roslyn”)
  • Erasmus Darwin (apparently named for Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin)
  • Cordelia Joanna
  • Octavia Lodiska
  • Idawalley Zoradia
  • Laura E. (probably Effigenia, as her daughter was named “Laura Effigenia”)

Given the names above, what do you think the other three daughters in the Willey family might have been called?


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

Female Names in Texas, 1860

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:

Mary, 501
Sarah, 271
Martha, 247
Elizabeth, 218
Jane, 199
Ann, 198
Nancy, 176
Margaret, 98
Susan, 95
Frances, 94
Eliza, 74
Amanda, 65
Louisa, 61
Laura, 52
Lucinda, 50
Rebecca, 50
Emily, 49
Catherine, 48
Caroline, 41
Julia, 39
Anna, 31
Isabella, 28
Ellen, 26
Josephine, 25
Harriet, 24
Emmer, 22
Lucy, 22
Rachel, 22
Melissa, 18
Adeline, 17
Malinda, 17
Matilda, 16
Allice, 15
Mariah, 15
Virginia, 15
Minerva, 14
Ella, 13
Eveline, 13
Charlotte, 12
Cynthia, 10
Evaline, 10
Victoria, 10
Emeline, 9
Hannah, 9
Hellen, 9
Theodosia, 9
Angeline, 8
Eudora, 8
Eugenia, 8
Mahala, 8
Ophelia, 8
Permelia, 8
Dorotha, 7
Fannie, 7
Missouri, 7
Olive, 7
Samantha, 7
Tabitha, 7
Ada, 6
Charity, 6
Delilah, 6
Flora, 6
Georgia, 6
Tennessee, 6

Names in the 2-to-5 range:

  • 5: Clementine, Cyntha, Florence, Ida, Joannah, Narcissa, Priscilla, Serena, Texana, Texas
  • 4: Almeda, Amelia, Augusta, Celia, Clara, Cornelia, Dicy, Dora, Henrietta, Janetta, Louisiana, Louvenia, Lulah, Mollie, Parmelia, Penelope, Ruth, Susannah
  • 3: Alma, Amarillo, Angelina, Antonette, Carrie, Casandra, Christiana, Clarissa, Cora, Cordelia, Edna, Emma, Ester, Fanny, Irena, Jemima, Kesiah, Leona, Leonora, Lucretia, Lyddia, Manerva, Maranda, Morando, Mildred, Milly, Narcissus, Olevia, Piety, Rhoda, Sallie, Sefrona, Sophrona, Telulah, Zelida
  • 2: Abigal, Adaline, Adelia, Agnes, Alabama, Alcasarah, America, Amy, Annetta, Araminta, Armelia, Arrenia, Candis, Caledonia, Celina, Easter, Eller, Elvira, Epsey, Exer, Henryetta, Jaly, Judy, Leah, Luella, Madora, Malissa, Marsileet, Medorah, Melinda, Mattie, Minnie, Moranda, Nelly, Olivia, Priscella, Rhody, Roxana, Salena, Sirena, Sophia, Temperance, Viola, Willie

Finally, names that appeared only once:

Abbigal
Abi
Absaly
Adah
Adalade
Adaline
Addia
Adelade
Adella
Ader
Aimenetta
Alamanzer
Alamo
Alcisty
Alis
Allethia
Almanda
Alphine
Alsey
Althie
Alvarado
Alvira
Amarantha
Amarylles
Amazor
Ameda
Americus
Amira
Ansebell
Appy
Arabella
Arainetta
Aramintha
Aranda
Arcadia
Ardalla
Armedilla
Armel
Armelda
Arminda
Artele
Arvezene
Arvilla
Atha
Audella
Aurire
Azeline
Barbary
Belzora
Bendett
Bernessa
Bethania
Bethany
California
Callie
Camella
Camilla
Candas
Candice
Cansandra
Carrentha
Casandre
Castero
Cecily
Celistia
CerroGordo
Christana
Cicily
Claranda
Claricinda
Conzada
Darcus
Deannah
Debra
Delila
Delitha
Della
Delmar
Derinda
Deziah
Dicey
Dilla
Dilly
Disha
Dlia
Dola
Domaris
Dorothea
Dovy
Drucilla
Dulcena
Dyca
Eddie
Edith
Editha
Elander
Eleanor
Elisa
Ellenor
Elmina
Elsy
Elvy
Elwina
Elzina
Elzona
Emaline
English
Eunis
Euphema
Euphemia
Euratasa
Evy
Falby
Fenette
Fillmore
Flore
Florida
Fransina
Georgana
George Eller
Georgiana
Harmoner
Hazeltine
Heepsebeth
Heland
Hester
Hetty
Hilery
Hutoka
Idella
Imogenia
Indiana
Inez
Irine
Isabelle
Isadora
Jeannah
Jerusha
Jessie
Joana
Joicy
Joly
Judah
Judith
Juliett
June
Kasandre
Kasana
Keburah
Keturah
Lailah
Larresa
Larrissa
Laurena
Lavacca
Lela
Leora
Leuella
Levega
Levina
Lewella
Lilla
Lillian
Lilly
Lina
Livana
Livona
Lizza
Loreey
Loreta
Lourana
Lourena
Lourenia
Louretta
Louvena
Louvina
Lova
Lovena
Lucretice
Lurana
Lurena
Lutitia
Luvena
Lydda
Madella
Madosa
Malabry
Mariella
Marietta
Marinda
Marion
Marbre
Marcella
Marcena
Marg
Matta
McReudry
Medarah
Melbry
Melvina
Mercena
Milley
Millison
Minor
Missoura
Mitty
Molly
Morinua
Mouring
Mourmen
Mourning
Nannett
Narcisa
Nebraska
Neome
Neomia
Nicy
Nina
Nisse
Occo
Octavia
Oja
Oliva
Omino
Orpha
Oudelia
Paralee
Paralie
Parilee
Parolee
Parthena
Pauline
Pemelia
Pernetta
Pernisia
Petrona
Phebe
Pheby
Phereby
Philliss
Pleasant
Pope
Prascovia
Pricilla
Prudence
Recella
Resalla
Reozia
Resiah
Rhina
Rosana
Rosanna
Rosena
Sabra
Sabrina
Salina
Samaria
Saphona
Saphrona
Sareta
Sebrina
Sefrone
Seleta
Selethia
Selina
Shaby
Sharlotti
Silena
Sina
Sirena
Sobrina
Sofrona
Solona
Sonora
Sophier
Stacy
Surana
Tabetha
Taletha
Talitha
Telpha
Teressa
Texanah
Texanna
Theodora
Theressa
Tranquilla
Trephemia
Ululie
Vanburena
Vandalia
Varlinda
Vashti
Vasti
Verlinda
Vertula
Victora
Victorier
Vina
Vinolia
Violet
Vunavista
Wennyford
Wilford
Wilmouth
Wineford
Winerfred
Winnaford
Winnfred
Zarilla
Zeban
Zeleame
Zira
Zouley

See any names you like? Any that make you curious?

Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Location names were more common than I thought they’d be. Seven females named Missouri? Six named Tennessee? Huh.
  • I love that Emmer appeared 22 times, while Emma appeared a mere 3 times.
  • The Battle of Cerro Gordo (1847) inspired a handful of namesakes. Cerro gordo is Spanish for “fat hill.”
  • Hutoka: Or, The Maid of the Forest: a Tale of the Indian Wars (1846) by Osgood Bradbury inspired several hundred namesakes nationwide. The book claimed that the fictitious Native American name Hutoka meant “springing fawn.”
  • Martin Van Buren — no doubt the inspiration behind Vanburena — was president of the U.S. from 1837 to 1841.
  • I’m thinking Vunavista was based on buena vista, Spanish for “good view.”

Source: Female First Names in the 1860 Smith County, Texas, Census, via Vicki Betts

Baby Name Needed for the Sister of Brynnlee

A reader named Raychel has a daughter named Brynnlee Rose. She’s expecting her second daughter in early December, and would like some help choosing a name. Here’s what she says:

My husband’s name begins with Bry, mine with Ray so we’d like it to contain one of those or a combo Bray. No lee, li, lie, ley, leigh endings. If possible we’d like to also honor my Nani, whose name is Delores (Dee), but that could be moved to MN position.

So far we’ve considered Auraylia, Brayslin, Bryar, Bryonie, Rayenne, Abryelle, Bryenne/Brayenne, Esmeray, Deloray, Araya/h (though I have cousin named Raya & I’m afraid that might be too close!) Rayanna and Rayannon (Rhiannon) are also out because of family! And I can’t stand the other typical Ray names, Rayna, Rayleen, Raynelle, etc.

And MN of Nanalie, Derora, Deeana, Delora, Esdee, Delwen, Nanice, Deegen, Delaine (My MN is Elaine) to honor my Nana OR Briar, Evangeline, Scarlett, Rinslett, Liliana.

Lots to think about here! Let’s do first names first, middle names second.

I’m partial to first names that are familiar and easy to spell, so many of the above aren’t really up my alley. I understand why they include bry and ray, and I do love it when a baby name has a family connection, but I’m also wary about unusual names and/or names that are unnecessarily complicated. Names like these can turn into a headache for the child. I mean, none of the above are as difficult as Addtakizz, but someone named Abryelle or Brayslin or Rayannon will still have to spell her name out for people on a regular basis. And if that can be avoided, well…why not avoid it?

Here are some other first name possibilities:

Sabryna
Sabrina, but with a y instead of an i.

Grayce
Grace with an extra letter.

Aubrey
Aubrey’s -brey isn’t bray, but it’s similar.

Marybeth
Does not have bry or ray, but does include all of those letters (a, b, r, y).

Avery, Crystal
Both contain the letters of ray (a, r, y).

Robyn, Ruby
Both contain the letters of bry (b, r, y).

Middle names aren’t used as often as first names, so I think people can get away with a lot more when it comes to middles. I really like Delaine (two family names for the price of one!). Delora is also cute. I’m not too keen on the Nana-based names Nanalie and Nanice, though. Especially when you consider that the Nana in question isn’t the child’s Nana.

Here are a few other middle name ideas, all of which contain the del of Delores:

Adelaide
Adele
Adeline
Cordelia
Delia
Della

I wonder–was “Dee” by itself ever considered for the middle spot? It would be a direct connection to Raychel’s Nana, and also reminiscent of Brynnlee’s middle name (in the sense that both are monosyllabic).

Which of the above names do you like best for the sister of Brynnlee Rose? What other name suggestions would you offer to Raychel?

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name for Genevieve’s Sister

A reader named Jen has a daughter named Genevieve Grace. She’s now expecting her second daughter and she’d like some baby name ideas. She writes:

[W]e are looking for another delicate, feminine, pretty name that is not over used, is traditional, and goes well with our last name. So far we like Penelope, but I don’t know if I’m sold on that or not.

The baby’s surname starts with D and has just one syllable, so Jen would like the baby’s first name to contain at least two syllables. (And end with something other than D, probably.)

Here are some names that I think might work:

Anastasia
Angeline
Aurelia
Beatrice
Cassandra
Clarice
Claudia
Clementine
Coralie
Cordelia
Cynthia
Eleanor
Eloise
Eugenia/Eugenie
Evangeline
Frances/Francesca
Harriet
Helena/Helen
Isadora
Johanna
Josephine
Letitia
Lucinda
Lydia
Marguerite
Marianne
Marlena
Meredith
Miriam
Oriana
Sophronia
Sylvia
Tatiana
Theodora
Theresa
Valencia
Venetia
Vivienne
Wilhelmina

Which of the above do you like best with Genevieve? What other girl names would you suggest to Jen?

Don’t Commit to a Name Pattern Until You Read These 3 Tips

Humans love patterns. Just look last year’s list of popular twin names:

Jacob & Joshua
Daniel & David
Jayden & Jordan
Ethan & Evan
Taylor & Tyler
Gabriella & Isabella
Isaac & Isaiah
Madison & Morgan
Elijah & Isaiah
Ella & Emma

Eight pairs start with the same letter. Seven have the same rhythm. Another seven end with the same letter (and many of these nearly rhyme).

For twins and other multiples, sticking with a name pattern is easy. You know the number of children and their genders ahead of time.

But what if you want a name pattern for an entire sibling set? That can make things tricky. You don’t know how many children you’ll have, or what their genders will be. You also don’t know how your tastes may change over time.

If you’re thinking about a name pattern to cover all of your kids, here are three pieces of advice to consider before you begin:

Don’t lock yourself into something limiting.
Let’s say you like flowers. You have a daughter and you name her Lily. You have another daughter and name her Rose. Then another, Jasmine. And then a fourth, but…you don’t like any other flower names. Iris? Too old. Poppy? Too young. Zinnia? Too weird. Amaryllis will never be spelled correctly. And Daisy is the golden retriever down the street.

Or, let’s say you have a son named Alexander. Then you have another boy, and you decide to name him Xavier so they both have that X in common. Then baby #3–a little girl–comes along. Well, you can’t do Alexis–that’s too close to Alexander. You won’t go near Maxine because you fear maxi pad jokes. Roxanne reminds you too much of that song. Xena reminds you too much of that show. And Beatrix makes you think of rabbits.

When you play chess, you have to think ahead several moves. Look at sibling name patterns the same way. Think ahead as many kids as possible. If you can think of 10 or more usable names that fit the pattern, it’s probably a safe pattern. If you can’t, the pattern may be too limiting to be sustainable.

Consider the pros and cons of visibility.
Have you heard of the Duggars? They have nearly 20 kids, and all of those kids have a J-name. This type of name pattern is one of the easiest to spot. (Especially in large families.)

But name patterns don’t have to be obvious. Let’s say your children will have a whole bunch of aunts and uncles you’d like to honor with baby names. You make a list of their names and simply pick from this list as you have children. In this case, the pattern (aunt and uncle names) is so subtle that it’s basically a family secret.

Here are some example name patterns, ranging from blatant to barely there:

Very conspicuous: First letters (Lou, Leah, Len, Lila)
Rhyme (Aiden, Hayden, Kaeden, Graydon)
Like-sounds (Meredith, Heath, Edith, Griffith)
Theme (Indigo, Scarlet, Tawny, Cyan)
Kinda conspicuous: Alphabetical (Alfred, Bea, Chester, Diana)
Rhythm (Augustus, Miranda, Dakota, Lorenzo)
Source (Juliet, Yorick, Orlando, Cordelia)
Origin (Duncan, Angus, Una, Lachlan)
Inconspicuous: Number of letters (Jason, Frank, Kelly, Alexa)
Spread-out alphabetical (Brian, Elaine, Laura, Paul)
Letter in common (Abigail, Sebastian, Tobias, Isabella)
Chain [last letters into first letters] (Michael, Lauren, Nora, Andrew)

How can you test the visibility of a particular pattern? Make a list of names that fit the pattern. Pick two at random and give them to a friend. Ask that friend what the two names have in common. Did she get it on the first try? Was she unable to guess at all? That should give you a good idea about where the pattern would fall on the spectrum.

Avoid sets of names that have an endpoint.
Your first son is Luke. The next is Sky. The next is Walker. And then…surprise! Son #4. Now what–Anakin? Darth? Chewbacca?

If you start off with a discrete set of names, the universe will laugh at you and you will either:

  • not have enough kids, or
  • have too many kids

to match the number of names in the set. Murphy’s Law in action. So don’t tempt fate–stick with an open-ended theme that could end at two names or continue to ten.

What other suggestions would you give to parents considering name patterns?

Source: SSA

Spelling Tip for Creative Baby Names – Hard C vs. Soft C

Google tells me that there are women out there named Cimberly. Cimberly is meant to be a variant of Kimberly, but when I see it, I can’t force myself to say anything but Simberly.

That’s because the pronunciation of the letter C depends upon the letter that follows. When C is followed by E, I or Y, it’s typically soft (cell, city, cyst). Otherwise, it’s hard (cat, cot, cut).

Same with names. Carson, Cordelia and Curtis have hard C’s; Cecilia, Cindy and Cyrus have soft C’s. (The only exceptions I can come up with are Irish names like Cillian and Ciara.)

If you want to personalize a name that features the letter C, be careful. You don’t want to turn Caleb in Celeb, or Cassie into Cissie. (Caleb might like the change, but I don’t think Cassie would appreciate it.)

And if you substitute a C for a K or an S without considering what letter comes next, you run the risk of turning Kent into Cent, or Sage into Cage. Or Kimberly into Cimberly.