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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Evangeline

Number of Babies Named Evangeline

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Evangeline

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?


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.

Ziegfeld Follies Baby Names – Allyn & Avonne

Ziegfeld Follies, which appeared on Broadway almost every year from 1907 until 1931, was an extravagant production that included music, dance and comedy.

The biggest draw, though, was the bevy of beautiful showgirls.

It became a popular sport to guess which one would break out and become the next big star, like onetime showgirls Barbara Stanwyck, Paulette Goddard, Gypsy Rose Lee, Josephine Baker, and of course, Marilyn Miller.

Several Follies girls went on to enjoy successful careers in entertainment, but only two — Allyn King and Avonne Taylor — inspired baby name debuts.

In fact, Allyn and Avonne are the 4th- and 5th-earliest actor-inspired baby name debuts that I know of (after Francelia, Ormi and Seena).


Allyn King in Picture-Play Magazine, July 1923
Allyn King in Picture-Play, Jul. 1923
Allyn King was born in North Carolina in February of 1899. It looks as though she was named after her father, Allen. (Her sister, Phoebe, had been named after their mother.)

Allyn was a Follies girl from 1916 until 1920, and the name Allyn — which was already showing up regularly on the SSA’s list as a boy name — debuted as a girl name in 1918:

  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1918: 7 baby girls named Allyn [debut]
  • 1919: unlisted
  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1921: 5 baby girls named Allyn
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1923: 7 baby girls named Allyn
  • 1924: 5 baby girls named Allyn
  • 1925: 11 baby girls named Allyn
  • 1926: 5 baby girls named Allyn

(I can’t include SSDI data for unisex names like this one because the SSDI doesn’t code for gender, making it difficult to figure out which people are male and which are female.)

Allyn King continued to appear in Broadway shows during the 1920s, and she was in one silent film in 1923.

But the pressure to achieve the skinny, boyish figure that was fashionable during the ’20s proved too much for her. Extreme dieting nearly killed her in 1927, and after spending almost two years recovering in a sanatorium, she was still so depressed in early 1930 that she jumped out of a 5th story window in New York City. She died two days later.


Avonne Taylor in Photoplay, July 1927
Avonne Taylor in Photoplay,
Jul. 1927
Avonne Taylor was born in Ohio, also in February of 1899, to parents Clifford and Diana. Her birth name was Evangeline, but she joined the Follies under the name Avonne. (I’m not sure how she came up with it.)

Avonne was a Follies girl from 1920 to 1922, and the name Avonne debuted on the SSA’s list in 1923:

1919 x 2 Avonnes
1920 x 1 Avonne
1921 x x
1922 x 4 Avonnes
1923 11 Avonnes [debut] 13 Avonnes
1924 17 Avonnes 11 Avonnes
1925 12 Avonnes 9 Avonnes
1926 6 Avonnes 2 Avonnes
1927 12 Avonnes 6 Avonnes
1928 9 Avonnes 3 Avonnes

(For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Avonne as a first name, not as a middle.)

Avonne Taylor went on to appear in a couple of films — one in 1927, the other in 1931 — and then left the entertainment industry altogether, it seems. She died in 1992 at the age of 93.


Which name do you like more, Allyn or Avonne?


26 Girl Names from 1916

In early 1916, Photoplay Magazine came up with a list of potential titles for serial films using the formula established by The Perils of Pauline (1914), The Exploits of Elaine (1914), and The Hazards of Helen (1914).

Not-Yet Serials, Photoplay Magazine, January 1916

(Just a few months after the above was published, The Mysteries of Myra came out.)

Which of those 26 names — Abigail, Bertha, Calpurnia, Delilah, Evangeline, Florence, Garnet, Hazel, Imogene, Jezebel, Kitty, Lizzie, Margaret, Nancy, Orillia, Priscilla, Queenie, Roberta, Sibyl, Theodosia, Ursula, Victoria, Winifred, Xanthippe, Yetta or Zira — do you like best?

And, which of those serials would you be most likely to watch? :)

The Baby Name Rhiannon

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night, and wouldn’t you love to” …know a little more about her name?

The Welsh name Rhiannon comes to us via the Mabinogion, a famous collection of medieval Welsh tales that was written during the 1300s (or possibly earlier).

What’s the etymology? Here are two theories:

Rhiannon’s persona is much older than the medieval text, however. She appears to be derived from the pre-Christian goddess hypothesized as Rigantona and also Epona, the horse goddess. Her pedigree within the Mabinogi also implies supernatural status as she is thought to be the daughter of the king of Annwfn, the otherworld; her name may mean maid of Annwfn.

Song of Rhiannon (book)The reconstructed proto-Celtic name Rigantona means “divine goddess.” The definition “maid of Annwfn,” on the other hand, would come from combining the word rhiain, meaning “maid,” with the place name Annwfn.

Before the 1970s, the name Rhiannon was rarely used as a name for newborns. The few babies that got the name tended to have a direct connection to Wales (i.e., either they were born there or their parents were).

Then two novels featuring the name came out: Song of Rhiannon (1972) by Evangeline Walton and Triad (1973) by Mary Leader. The first was based directly on the Mabinogion; the second was not.

Both books probably played a part in putting Rhiannon on the map in 1974:

  • 1975: 15 baby girls named Rhiannon
  • 1974: 5 baby girls named Rhiannon [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted

The first book might have been the one with the word “song” in the title, but it was the second book that inspired a young Stevie Nicks to write her hit song “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win).” Here’s how Stevie tells the story:

I got the name from a novel, I think I bought in an airport just before a long flight; it was called Triad, and it was about a girl named Rhiannon and her sister and mother, or something like that. I just thought the name was so pretty that I wanted to write something about a girl named Rhiannon. I wrote it about three months before I joined Fleetwood Mac, in about 1974.

The song was first released on Fleetwood Mac’s album Fleetwood Mac in mid-1975. It was then re-released a single in February of 1976, and, four months later, peaked at #11 on the Billboard charts.

Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)

The single is what made an impact on the baby name charts. Hundreds of baby girls were named Rhiannon in 1976, and the name entered the top 1,000 for the first time at an impressive 593rd. A year later it peaked at 418th.

Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Rhiannon (or a variant) from 1973 to 1980, sorted by 1977 levels of usage:

Name 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980
Rhiannon 5* 15 272 491 460 422 409
Rhianna 56* 97 79 89 93
Reanna 7 65 90 87 86 90
Riann 76* 37 22 10
Rhiana 33* 38 27 16 24
Rheanna 24* 34 23 30 31
Rianne 25* 9 17 12
Rheannon 6* 20 16 15 20
Rianna 10* 19 29 27 30
Rhianon 7* 13 25 9 16
Riannon 11* 8 8
Reannon 12* 10 7 16 17
Rhian 9* 7 7
Reannan 6**
Rhia 5* 5 5
Reana 8 8 6 13
Reanne 7 5 9
Rheanne 5*
Rhiannan 7* 6
Rheana 7*
Rhyan 6* 7 10
Reann 6 10
Rhianne 5*

**One-hit wonder

Usage cooled off after that, but rose again in the late ’90s and early 2000s, probably thanks to Fleetwood Mac’s successful 1997 tour The Dance and resulting live album, which features an extended version of “Rhiannon.”

The song was voted one of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stone in 2004, but by then the name Rhiannon was falling out of fashion. In 2008, it dropped out of the top 1,000. In 2013, only 106 baby girls got the name.

Regardless, Rhiannon will always be one of my favorite uniquely ’70s baby names. :)


  • Bishop, Stephen. Songs in the Rough. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996.
  • MacKillop, James. Myths and Legends of the Celts. London: Penguin UK, 2005.
  • Rees, Dafydd and Luke Crampton. Rock Movers & Shakers. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1991.

Celebrity Baby Name – Kahekili

Another celebrity has gone with a Hawaiian baby name. Helen Hunt has a daughter named Makena Lei, Lisa Bonet has a son named Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha, and now Evangeline Lilly has a son named Kahekili.

This is old news, actually. Lilly’s baby (with boyfriend Norman Kali) was born in mid-2011, and the name was revealed later that year. Kahekili means “the thunder” in Hawaiian: ka is “the” and hekili is “thunder.”

But apparently Lilly has only recently come out with the full story behind Kahekili’s name:

My son was born outside in Hawaii in the middle of a thunder and lightning storm that was so insane that we had an island-wide power outage… We were woken out of our sleep by the thunder, it was so intense, and in Hawaii they call that mana, which is like your essence or your spirit… so we had to name him after his mana.

She’d previously mentioned that the baby was born “outside in a thunderstorm.” Also, that the name wasn’t chosen right away: “My baby did not have a name for a month. It took me a month to name my child.”

A handful of other baby boys have been named Kahekili lately. In fact, over past few years, the name has popped up on the national list three times and on the Hawaii list twice:

  • 2012: 6 baby boys named Kahekili nationally
  • 2011: unlisted
  • 2010: 6 baby boys named Kahekili nationally, 5 in Hawaii
  • 2009: 5 baby boys named Kahekili nationally [debut], all 5 in Hawaii [debut]
  • 2008: unlisted

I wonder how many of these babies were born during thunderstorms.

What do you think of the name Kahekili?

Sources: Evangeline Lilly – Wikipedia, The Things They Say –, Evangeline Lilly was in labor for 30 hours (h/t elbowin, for making me look up Tauriel)

The Baby Name Louvima (a 3-in-1 Royal Tribute)

Lord Francis Knollys was a close friend of the British royal family. So close that he served as as Private Secretary to the Sovereign under both Edward VII (from 1901 to 1910) and George V (from 1910 to 1913).

It’s not too surprising, then, that both of Knollys’ children were named in honor of the royals. His daughter was named Alexandra Louvima Elizabeth (b. 1888) and his son was named Edward George William (b. 1895).

Alexandra, Elizabeth, Edward, George, William — these are all names we know.

But “Louvima”? Where did that come from?

Turns out it’s an acronym. Edward VII (who was still “Albert Edward, Prince of Wales” back in 1888) and his wife Alexandra had six children: Albert Victor, George (later George V), Louise, Victoria, Maud, and Alexander John. “Louvima” was created from the first letters of the names of Edward’s three daughters:

Louvima = Louise + Victoria + Maud

Louise (b. 1867), Maud (b. 1869) and Victoria (b. 1868)

The papers picked up on the interesting birth name right away. Here’s an article that appeared in a New Zealand newspaper in July of 1888:

Few people have noticed the second name bestowed on Sir Francis Knollys’ little daughter, who was baptised on May 5. Sir Francis, as every one knows, is the energetic and popular private secretary of the Prince of Wales, and in a torrent of grateful loyalty he has called his firstborn “Louvima,” a marvellous amalgam of the Christian names of the three young Princesses of Wales, “Louisa [sic], Victoria, Maud.” Since the expectant Mrs. Kenwigs invented the name of Morleena we have had nothing quite so good as this.

(Morleena Kenwig is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby.)

Here’s a second-hand account printed in Notes & Queries that same month:

Louvima, a new Christian Name — It is stated in the newspapers — but it may not be correct; for, as Theodore Hook said to the credulous old lady, “Those rascally newspapers will say anything” — that Sir Francis Knollys, private secretary to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, has named his first-born Louvima, which is an ingenious amalgam of the names of the three daughters of the Prince — Louise, Victoria, and Maud.

After the news of Louvima Knollys got out, the rare name Louvima was given to baby girls in England (and other English-speaking regions) considerably more often. This lasted until the late 1910s.

Here are some of the Louvimas I found:

  • Hilda Louvima Pritchard, born in 1888 in England
  • Evangeline Louvima Brumbley, born in 1888 in England
  • Louvima Perline Ann Cunningham, born in 1889 in Arkansas
  • Lilian Louvima Daisy Blake, born in 1889 in South Africa
  • Louvima Primrose Massey-Hicks, born in 1890 in South Africa
  • Nina Louvima Shann, born in 1892 in New Zealand
  • Louvima Evelina Youell, born in 1893 in England
  • Louvima Griswold, born in 1894 in Idaho
  • Annie Louvima Brooksband, born in 1895 in England
  • Rita Louvima Faulkner, born in 1898 in Canada
  • Louvima Marie Crosson, born in 1901 in Florida
  • Louvima Naylor, born in 1902 in Iowa
  • Laura Louvima McKenzie, born in 1902 in Michigan
  • Florence Louvima Major, born in 1908 in Canada

I also discovered more than a few horses and boats named Louvima during this period.

One of those horses, in fact, belonged to the royal family itself. Which makes me wonder: who came up with the name originally? Was it Francis Knollys’ invention, or did he get the idea from someone in the royal family? Maybe one of the sisters? (The Romanov sisters — Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia — referred to themselves by the acronym “OTMA.”)

Louvima Knollys grew up very close to the royal family. In the photo below, taken in 1897, she’s posing with Queen Alexandra. The Queen is dressed as Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV of France, and Louvima is dressed as a pageboy.

louvima knollys and queen alexandra

Louvima married twice, and had a son with her first husband (who died during WWI). Through her son she had four grandchildren and at least six great-grandchildren. As far as I can tell, Louvima’s unique name has not (yet) been passed down to any of her descendants.


  • Bede, Cuthbert. “Louvima, a New Christian Name.” Notes & Queries 7 Jul. 1888: 6.
  • Dutt, William Alfred. The King’s Homeland. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1904.
  • Francis Knollys, 1st Viscount Knollys – The Peerage
  • Ladies’ Gossip.” Otago Witness 6 Jul. 1888: 33.
  • Legge, Edward. King George and the Royal Family. London: Grant Richards Ltd., 1918.
  • “Society Wedding.” Straits Times 20 Dec. 1911: 7.


  • “The three daughters of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra” (1883) by Sydney Prior Hall
  • Photo of Queen Alexandra and Louvima Knollys from the National Portrait Gallery

[Does Louvima remind anyone else of Luzviminda?]

Edgar Allan Poe Names – Lenore, Ligeia, Prospero

Edgar Allan PoeEdgar Allan Poe was born 202 years ago today. To celebrate, let’s check out some of the names Poe used in his poetry, short fiction, and longer works:

Girl Names:

  • Ada
  • Alessandra
  • Annabel Lee
  • Berenice
  • Eleonora
  • Ermengarde
  • Evangeline
  • Eulalie
  • Fanny
  • Helen
  • Jacinta
  • Lalage
  • Lenore
  • Ligeia
  • Madeline
  • Morella
  • Ulalume (rhymes with tomb)

Boy names:

  • Arthur
  • Augustus
  • Baldazzar
  • Benito
  • Cornelius
  • Dirk
  • Egaeus
  • Ernest
  • Fortunato
  • Julius
  • Jupiter
  • Prospero
  • Richard
  • Rupert
  • Roderick
  • Ugo
  • William

I suppose we could include Raven and Usher as well, though technically Poe never used them as first names.