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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Earl

Number of Babies Named Earl

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Earl

Pennsylvania Family with 25 Children

In late 1899, multiple newspapers ran the story of Mary Swartwood of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Why? Because she had just welcomed her 25th child.

She was only in her early 40s, but had married her husband (Samuel) at the age of 14 and had welcomed her first baby at the age of 15.

Here are the names and birth years of all 25 Swartwood kids:

  1. Walter, 1872
  2. Louis, 1873
  3. Thaddeus, 1875
  4. Maud, 1876
  5. Cora, 1877
  6. Blanche, 1878
  7. Mabel, 1879
  8. Herbert, 1880
  9. Warren, 1881
  10. Elsie, 1882
  11. Samuel, 1884
  12. Daniel, 1885
  13. Ruth, 1886
  14. Alonzo, 1889 (twin)
  15. Gertrude, 1889 (twin)
  16. Elmer, 1890
  17. Calvin, 1891
  18. Florence, 1892
  19. Esther, 1893 (twin)
  20. Benjamin, 1893 (twin)
  21. Earl, 1895
  22. Jessie, 1896
  23. Edith, 1897
  24. Lottie, 1898
  25. Arthur, 1899

Out of the 25 names on the list, which girl name and which boy name do you like best?

Source: “25 Children in 27 Years.” Hartford Weekly Times 26 Oct. 1899: 6.


Babies Named Earl Grey?

teaToday happens to be International Tea Day, so, in honor of Jean-Luc Picard, let’s talk a bit about Earl Grey.

Earl Grey tea was probably named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (1764-1845), who served as British Prime Minister in from 1830 to 1834. His actual connection to the tea is unknown. Here’s one theory:

The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it. Lady Grey used it to entertain in London as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others.

So has anyone ever been named “Earl Grey”?

Yes, so far I’ve found close to 90 people with the first-middle combo “Earl Grey.” Only three were born in England (the earliest in 1831, while Charles Grey was Prime Minister). The rest were born in the U.S. and Canada, mostly in the late 1800s and early 1900s. One was born as recently as the 1980s.

Here are a bunch of the U.S. Earl Greys:

It’s impossible to know how many were named with the tea in mind, but I’m sure at least a few were. (Earl Grey tea was available commercially starting in the 1880s.)

Finally, I should mention that Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, had a whopping 16 children with his wife Mary, and that 15 of the 16 lived to adulthood. The 15 surviving children were named Louisa, Elizabeth, Caroline, Georgiana, Henry, Charles, Frederick, Mary, William, George, Thomas, John, Francis, Henry and William.

Sources: The Earl Grey Tea House – Howick Hall Gardens, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey – Wikipedia

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1866

providenceLast month we looked at the top Providence names of 1867, so today let’s check out the rankings from the year before — 1866.

First, some stats:

  • 1,633 babies were babies were born in Providence in 1866, by my count. (The number given by the author of the document is 1,632.)
  • 1,457 of these babies (707 girls and 750 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 176 babies got blank spaces.
  • 234 unique names (123 girl names and 108 boy names) were shared among these 1,457 babies.

And here’s some extra information I forgot to mention in the last post: In 1860, the city of Providence was home to 29.0% of Rhode Island’s population. In 1870, it was home to 31.7% of the population. So each of these 3 sets of rankings (1866, 1867, 1868) ought to account for roughly 30% of the residents of the state.

Now, on to the names…

Top 5

The top 5 girl names and boy names of 1866 were, unsurprisingly, very similar to the top names of 1867.

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. George
5. Thomas

The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.

Girl Names

As expected, Mary was the front-runner by a huge margin. And, while there were dozens of Catherines, and a single Catharine, there weren’t any Katherines.

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 43
  3. Ellen, 40
  4. Margaret, 37
  5. Sarah, 36
  6. Elizabeth, 32
  7. Alice, 18
  8. Annie, 15
  9. Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
  10. Clara, 13
  11. Ann, 11
  12. Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
  13. Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
  14. Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
  15. Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)
  17. Amelia, Bridget, Ella, Frances, Hattie, Lydia, Nellie & Theresa, 4 each (8-way tie)
  18. Abby, Emily, Florence, Josephine, Laura, Lillian, Lizzie, Louise & Marion, 3 each (9-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amy, Augusta, Deborah, Edith, Etta, Eva, Fannie, Georgianna, Hannah, Henrietta, Honora, Isabel, Isabella, Lottie, Lucy, Mabel, Marietta, Maud & Teresa, 2 each (20-way tie)
  20. Almira, Annette, Bertha, Catharine, Cedelia, Celia, Christina, Delia, Diana, Dora, Dorcas, Eldora, Eleanor, Elsie, Emeline, Etherine, Eugenie, Evangeline, Fanny, Flora, Geneva, Georgia, Gracie, Helen, Helena, Imogene, Janette, Jessie, Kate, Lena, Louisa, Lucia, Lucinda, Madelina, Marian, Marsalin, May, Millie, Mina, Mini, Minna, Neatah, Nettie, Phebe, Rebecca, Rosa, Roselia, Rosetta, Ruth, Sophia, Stella, Susanna, Susannah, Tillie & Winnifred, 1 each (55-way tie)

Boy Names

John had an even more commanding lead in 1866 than in 1867.

  1. John, 109 baby boys
  2. William, 78
  3. James, 62
  4. George, 44
  5. Thomas, 41
  6. Charles, 36
  7. Edward, 28
  8. Joseph, 27
  9. Frederick, 20
  10. Henry, 18
  11. Frank, 17
  12. Michael, 15
  13. Francis, 14
  14. Daniel, 13
  15. Albert, Patrick & Robert, 12 each (3-way tie)
  16. Walter, 11
  17. Arthur, Peter & Samuel, 8 each (3-way tie)
  18. Alfred, Harry, Louis & Stephen, 7 each (4-way tie)
  19. Martin, 6
  20. Matthew, 5
  21. Christopher, Clarence, Herbert, Howard & Hugh, 4 each (5-way tie)
  22. Benjamin, Eugene, Ira & Jeremiah, 3 each (4-way tie)
  23. Aaron, Alvin, Arnold, Earl, Edgar, Elisha, Freddie, Harrison, Lewis, Marcus, Nicholas, Philip, Richard & Timothy, 2 each (14-way tie)
  24. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Alanson, Alden, Ambrose, Antonio, August, Augustavus*, Augustus, Bartholomew, Bernard, Bradford, Byron, Chauncey, Clinton, David, Duncan, Eben, Ebenezer, Edwin, Elias, Elliott, Ethan, Everett, Ezra, Ferdinand, Frederic, Fullerton, Gilbert, Gwynn, Harold, Herman, Isaac, Jesse, Josiah, Lauriston, Luther, Manuel, Marks, Maurice, Miles, Mortimer, Oliver, Olney, Oscar, Otto, Rana, Rectol, Salisbury, Shamball, Simon, Terence, Theodore, Victor, Willard, Willie & Wilton, 1 each (58-way tie)

(I didn’t combine any variant spellings, but I did lump the abbreviated names Chas., Benj., and Fred’k in with Charles, Benjamin and Frederick.)

*Does Augustavus = Augustus + Gustav, I wonder?

Twins

I counted 19 pairs of twins born in Providence in 1866. I didn’t notice any triplets this year. (All of these names have already been accounted for above.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g)
Edgar & Oscar
Edward & James
Francis & James
James & John
John & Thomas
(blank) & (blank)
Frederick & Alice
John & Alice
Samuel & Sarah
Stephen & Annie
(blank) & Catherine
Agnes & Anna
Eldora & Ellen
Eliza & Mary
Elizabeth & Julia
Frances & Mary
Josephine & Mary
Mary & Sarah
Theresa & (blank)

I’ll try to finish/post the final set of rankings before the end of the year.

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence During the Year 1866. Providence: Hammond, Angell & Co., 1867.

Another Baby Name Disagreement Taken to Court

Let’s start the week with a third legal battle* involving a baby’s name. This one didn’t cause a divorce, but it was caused by a divorce.

In 1980, William and Tammi Wilcox of Illinois were expecting a baby. They’d already decided that, if the baby was a boy, he’d be named William Earl Wilcox IV.

But in August, when she was about seven months pregnant, Tammi filed for divorce. She also declared that she would name the baby whatever she wanted.

William then filed an emergency petition seeking to force Tammi to name the baby William Earl Wilcox IV if it was a boy.

In mid-October, the judge “continued the case to Nov. 19, giving himself a 50-50 chance that he [would] not have to make a ruling.”

What happened?

No ruling needed — in late October, Tammi gave birth to a baby girl. She named the baby Kirsten.

*Here are the first and second battles.

Sources:

  • “Birth of Girl Ends Lawsuit Over a Name.” Milwaukee Journal 1 Nov. 1980: Green Sheet, 2.
  • “The Judge May Have to Name This Baby.” St. Petersburg Independent 17 Oct. 1980: 11-A.

Another Baby Named After D-Day

I couple of years ago I posted about a baby, born on D-Day, named Dee Day.

Because today is the 69th anniversary of the invasion, it’s the perfect time to mention that I’ve since found one more: Earl D-Day Samuel Campbell of Montana.

Not only was be born on D-Day, but he got married on June 6, 1964 — exactly 20 years later.

Interesting fact: The “D” in D-Day may simply (and redundantly!) stand for “day,” according to PBS:

The Army began using the codes “H-hour” and “D-day” during World War I to indicate the time or date of an operation’s start. Military planners would write of events planned to occur on “H-hour” or “D-day” — long before the actual dates and times of the operations would be known, or in order to keep plans secret. And so the “D” may simply refer to the “day” of invasion.

Sources:

Klondike, the Gold Rush Baby Name

Klondikers, 1898 - Klondike Gold RushAll this recent interest in mining Bitcoin is making me think of a gold rush.

And that reminds me…I have yet to talk about the many dozens of babies named after the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899).

Here are some examples of people named Klondike:

  • Klondike Counsell, born in Utah in May, 1897
  • Klondike Winters, born in Michigan in May, 1897
  • Harry Klondike Hayes, born in Washington in June, 1897
  • Klondyke Alaska Slaughter, born in Kentucky in July, 1897
  • Klondike McKinley Smith born in Oregon in August, 1897
  • Klondike A. Bogardeus, born in Ohio in August, 1897
  • Harold Klondike Hathaway, born in Massachusetts in August, 1897
  • Klondike P. Flint, born in Ohio in September, 1897
  • Klondike DeMoss Tucker, born in Indiana in September, 1897
  • Klondike Goldy Kelly, born in Ohio in October, 1897
  • Goldy Klondike Fletcher, born in Nebraska in December, 1897
  • Pearl Klondike Lincoln, born in Pennsylvania in December, 1897
  • Kittie Klondike Hughes, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Klondyke Dodd, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Klondike D. Ator, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Loren Klondike Philleo, born in Washington in January, 1898
  • Dewey Klondike Livingston, born in Oklahoma in February, 1898
  • Klondyke Kirkendall, born in West Virginia in March, 1898
  • Vannie Klondyke Smith, born in West Virginia in June, 1898
  • Earl Klondike Kinahan, born in Illinois in June, 1898
  • Joseph Klondike Dawson, born in Tennessee in September, 1898
  • Roy Klondike Temple, born in Oregon in September, 1898
  • John Klondike Griffith, born in Massachusetts in October, 1898
  • Klondike Dewey Sengelmann, born in Texas in December, 1898

Some of the above take the Klondike theme even further with names like “Goldy” and “Alaska.” Others commemorate war hero Commodore George Dewey or 25th U.S. President William McKinley.

The baby name Klondike has never appeared on any SSA list, but I think it could (should?) have in 1897 and 1898, if a complete set of data had been collected those years.

Where does the word Klondike come from? The Klondike River was originally called Tr’ondëk in the Hän language. Tr’ondëk means “hammerstone water,” as the people who originally inhabited the area would “hammer stakes into the riverbed and weave branches between them to create weirs that guided fish into carefully set basket traps.”

So…think we’ll be seeing any babies named Bitcoin soon? ;)

Sources: Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency, Dawson City Museum South Gallery

Baby Name News (& Snark) from 1858

A great passage about “absurd” baby names, published in London’s Chambers’s Journal way back in 1858:

No names are too absurd for parents to give their children. Here are innocents stamped for life as Kidnum Toats, Lavender Marjoram, Patient Pipe, Tabitha Cumi, Fussy Gotobed, and, strangest of all, here is one called Eli Lama Sabachthani Pressnail! Other parents are more ambitious, and prematurely ennoble their children by designating them Lord, Earl, Princess Charlotte, &c.; whislt, during the Russian war, numbers of poor things were labeled Malakoff, Sebastopol, Redan, Inkermann, and Balaklava. Florence Nightingale, however, seems to have been the greatest favourite, especially amongst the poor, who have shewn their admiration for her by perpetuating her name in their families all over the country. The returns for the last two years would shew that Florence has become a much commoner name lately.

Some thoughts…

Tabitha Cumi
“And he took the damsel by the hand, and said to her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say to you, arise.” Mark 5:41

Fussy Gotobed
This could be my new favorite baby name of all time. Is it legit? I can’t find anyone named “Fussy Gotobed” specifically, but the surname Gotobed is real, and I’ve found a dozens people named Fussy, so it’s certainly plausible.

Eli Lama Sabachthani Pressnail
Jesus’s last words on the cross were “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?” meaning “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Malakoff, Sebastopol, etc.
Names inspired by the Crimean War (1853-1856):

In birth records from the mid-19th century, I’ve found all five of the above. I’ve also found variants (e.g., Balaclava, Inkerman, Sevastopol) plus a few other Crimea-inspired names (e.g., Alma, Crimea, Eupatoria).

Several locations (e.g. Inkerman in Renfrewshire, Scotland) were given Crimea-inspired names during the war as well.

Florence Nightingale
This one may be the biggest Crimean War name, in a sense. Nightingale first gained fame for treating the injured in the Crimean War. She was known as The Lady with the Lamp.

I don’t have reliable numbers for 19th-century England, but many baby girls in England were named “Florence Nightingale” between the 1850s and the early 1900s.

In the U.S., Florence became popular during the same period, quite possibly for the same reason:

Years Census of 1850 Census of 1880 Census of 1920
1801-1810 <10 Florences x x
1811-1820 <10 Florences x x
1821-1830 <10 Florences x x
1831-1840 12 Florences
(rank: ~95th)
x x
1841-1850 62 Florences
(rank: 52nd)
52 Florences
(rank: 52nd)
x
1851-1860 x 240 Florences
(rank: 33rd)
x
1861-1870 x 416 Florences
(rank: 29th)
x
1871-1880 x 746 Florences
(rank: 19th)
584 Florences
(rank: 18th)
1881-1890 x x 931 Florences
(rank: 13th)
1891-1900 x x 1,428 Florences
(rank: 9th)
1901-1910 x x 1,464 Florences
(rank: 11th)
1911-1920 x x 1,366 Florences
(rank: 17th)

P.S. That paragraph from 1858 is the second-oldest bit of baby name news I’ve been able to scrounge up so far. The oldest is from 1853.

Sources:

  • Chambers, William and Robert Chambers. “Births, Deaths, and Marriages.” Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Arts 6 Mar. 1858: 156.
  • Popular Given Names, US, 1801-1999