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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Hester


Posts that Mention the Name Hester

The Top Baby Name Drops, 1881 to Today

top baby name drops by year

We looked at the top baby name rises last month, so this month let’s look at the opposite: the top drops. That is, the baby names that decreased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next in the Social Security Administration’s data.

Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year slides in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Clementine dropped 68% and usage of the boy name Neil dropped 76%.)

  • 1881: Clementine, -68%; Neil, -76%
  • 1882: Malissa, -56%; Verne, -67%
  • 1883: Minna, -67%; Morton, -74%
  • 1884: Roxy, -62%; Ellsworth & Newt, -60%
  • 1885: Sina, -68%; Clarance, -74%
  • 1886: Cordia, Dicie & Johnie, -64%; Adelbert, -69%
  • 1887: Faith, -69%; Hardy, -73%
  • 1888: Diana & Hope, -63%; Connie, -55%
  • 1889: Zilpha, -71%; Wendell, -71%
  • 1890: Buena, -60%; Alvie, -69%
  • 1891: Odie, -65%; Pierce, -76%
  • 1892: Eudora, -67%; Maude, -58%
  • 1893: Lollie, -65%; Levy, -64%
  • 1894: Macy, -64%; Lindsay, -76%
  • 1895: Gina, Laurel & Pennie, -69%; Alvie & Urban, -65%
  • 1896: Dagmar, -75%; Talmage, -67%
  • 1897: Myrta & Ouida, -75%; Benton, -68%
  • 1898: Fae, -71%; Fate, -74%
  • 1899: Rosia, -80%; Fitzhugh, -79%
  • 1900: Irva, -74%; Dora, -69%
  • 1901: Leonore, -75%; Judge, -81%
  • 1902: Veva, -74%; Davis, -72%
  • 1903: Littie & Samantha, -67%; Hunter, -67%
  • 1904: Genie, -71%; Bessie & Reynold, -67%
  • 1905: Luberta, -75%; Randall, -67%
  • 1906: Dulcie, -75%; Patsy, -69%
  • 1907: Libbie, -71%; Geo, -59%
  • 1908: Aurore, -75%; Elden & Minor, -67%
  • 1909: Arnetta, -68%; Tracy, -75%
  • 1910: Lollie, -67%; Hadley, -64%
  • 1911: Nada, -72%; Shelton, -73%
  • 1912: Carla, -71%; Rosendo, -67%
  • 1913: Vassie, -67%; Auburn, -67%
  • 1914: Coy & Maryelizabeth, -64%: Hosey, -78%
  • 1915: Thomasine, -67%; Giacomo, -67%
  • 1916: Zudora, -75%; Remus, -72%
  • 1917: Athalie, -78%; Tatsuo, -82%
  • 1918: Theta, -74%; Lennis, -72%
  • 1919: Liberty, -83%; Foch, -84%
  • 1920: Veatrice, -77%; Pershing, -73%
  • 1921: Fidela & Theone, -70%; Cleven, -71%
  • 1922: Angelyn & Renata, -75%; Dail, -73%
  • 1923: Odilia, -83%; Ugo & Waino, -74%
  • 1924: Gladine, -71%; Masayuki, -72%
  • 1925: Williemae, -72%; Emitt, -72%
  • 1926: Patrice, -75%; Ann, -78%
  • 1927: Vila, -75%; Boston, -76%
  • 1928: Kazue, -79%; Shoji, -93%
  • 1929: Livia, -81%; Tatsuo, -82%
  • 1930: Ivalee, -71%; Deforest, -72%
  • 1931: Emaline, -76%; Audley, -75%
  • 1932: Zulema, -80%; Hale, -77%
  • 1933: Dessa, -78%; Burleigh, -79%
  • 1934: Nira, -81%; Overton, -71%
  • 1935: Claudean, -73%; Hester, -74%
  • 1936: Norita, -79%; Kenley, -79%
  • 1937: Adel & Berdine, -71%; Grace, -78%

The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does become more accurate in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…

  • 1938: Ever, -75%; Casimiro, -75%
  • 1939: Walda, -74%; Butler, -74%
  • 1940: Avalon & Ellouise, -75%; Jacque, -71%
  • 1941: Lassie, -71%; Faye & Lemar, -71%
  • 1942: Voncille, -75%; Meyer, -70%
  • 1943: Mahala, -76%; Ewing, -76%
  • 1944: Kyle, -77%; Griffith, -77%
  • 1945: Sherrianne, -74%; Ellwood, Kern & Pascal, -67%
  • 1946: Bettyjo, -71%; Adrien, -77%
  • 1947: Judye, -76%; Bernardino, -72%
  • 1948: Tilda, -78%; Saverio, -74%
  • 1949: Vickii, -77%; Alphonza, -75%
  • 1950: Ranelle, -78%; Agapito, -68%
  • 1951: Vallorie, -90%; Skippy, -72%
  • 1952: Laural, -76%; Edson, -74%
  • 1953: Annelle & Otilia, -72%; Gerrit, -70%
  • 1954: Trenace, -81%; Celso, -76%
  • 1955: Jyl, -79%; Garrie & Robet, -74%
  • 1956: Cerise, -79%; Orlin, -74%
  • 1957: Angelene, -77%; Ruby, -76%
  • 1958: Seneca, -80%; Darryel & Richerd, -72%
  • 1959: Elfrida, -82%; Dietrich, -75%
  • 1960: Jinny, -72%; Ardis, -74%
  • 1961: Perian, -91%; Cully, -84%
  • 1962: Chantay, -80%; Torin, -73%
  • 1963: Marnita, -82%; Isidore, -75%
  • 1964: Julann, -79%; Tandy, -75%
  • 1965: Tonjua, -90%; Jaimie, -86%
  • 1966: Charlet & Desi, -77%; Glennon, -74%
  • 1967: Jeryl, -83%; Haskell, -72%
  • 1968: Millette, -88%; Daneil, -77%
  • 1969: Lya, -81%; Athony, -73%
  • 1970: Cinamon, -77%; Aldrin, -77%
  • 1971: Chimene, -77%; Garet, -74%
  • 1972: Jurea, -83%; Rayvon, -77%
  • 1973: Dayatra, -86%; Keelan, -70%
  • 1974: Shondell, -78%; Efraim, -71%
  • 1975: Natonya, -78%; Imari, -76%
  • 1976: Okema, -87%; Nakia, -79%
  • 1977: Liberty, -79%; Tierre, -81%
  • 1978: Farrah, -78%; Quint, -77%
  • 1979: Danetta, -77%; Kinte, -84%
  • 1980: Vernee, -77%; Kendra, -75%
  • 1981: Santresa, -80%; Jerritt, -74%
  • 1982: Andres, -75%; Stavros, -78%
  • 1983: Tremaine, -81%; Nicanor, -75%
  • 1984: Tyechia, -81%; Jeris, -77%
  • 1985: Gricel, -89%; Duron, -76%
  • 1986: Celenia, -83%; Damiano, -76%
  • 1987: Tareva, -86%; Krystal, -75%
  • 1988: Jeree, -82%; Jammal, -80%
  • 1989: Neyva, -77%; Derrel, -76%
  • 1990: Catherin, -93%; Salvator, -88%
  • 1991: Tichina, -80%; Arsenio, -76%
  • 1992: Unnamed, -88%; Unnamed, -86% [2nd place: Emilce & Symba, -83%; Quayshaun, -80%]
  • 1993: Akeiba, -88%; Evelyn & Jawara, -71%
  • 1994: Kebrina, -86%; Farrell, -79%
  • 1995: Noheli, -84%; Ajee, -79%
  • 1996: Shatasha, -81%; Unknown, -77%
  • 1997: Hydia, -80%, Halston, -79%
  • 1998: Ajaysia, -77%; Jachai, -91%
  • 1999: Naidelyn, -86%; Denzil, -79%
  • 2000: Shanequa, -82%; Giovan, -75%
  • 2001: Berania, -78%; Devontre, -75%
  • 2002: Anallely, -86%; Nkosi, -72%
  • 2003: Jnaya, -88%; Tyheim, -81%
  • 2004: Nayzeth, -89%; Myzel, -75%
  • 2005: Nathaniel, -80%; Hannah, -87%
  • 2006: Babygirl, -86%; Infant, -91% [Counting legit names only: Mikalah, -82%; Jakyri, -79%]
  • 2007: Bethzy, -91%; Brasen, -83%
  • 2008: Lizania, -86%; Duvan, -79%
  • 2009: Aideliz, -88%; Kesan, -78%
  • 2010: Chastelyn, -95%; Yanixan, -87%
  • 2011: Samuel, -79%; Tiger, -80%
  • 2012: Thaily, -78%; Vadhir, -88%
  • 2013: Shanik, -88%; Oneil, -77%
  • 2014: Audris & Avalie, -80%; Sy, -73%
  • 2015: Rion, -83%; Rawley, -79%
  • 2016: Yazaira, -84%; Treysen, -79%
  • 2017: Brucha, -76%; Makana, -79%

(Did you catch the doubles? Alvie, Tatsuo, and Fae/Faye.)

Top drops aren’t quite as exciting as top rises, but certain ones become much more intriguing when you notice that they were also top rises:

  • Rose-then-dropped: Clarance, Lollie, Lindsay, Zudora, Tatsuo, Liberty, Norita, Vallorie, Krystal, Seneca, Nakia, Mikalah, Bethzy, Thaily
  • Dropped-then-rose: Clementine, Malissa, Diana, Alvie, Pierce, Judge, Rosendo

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about a few of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it — leave a comment and let us know why you think any of these names saw dropped in usage when they did.

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

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

Name Quotes for the Weekend #10

From Baby Names Beyond Parody at The Awl:

We didn’t quite believe it when we saw this on Kate Day’s Twitter, but here it is, in the Independent. Biggles George Fittleworth Jackson-Kew. And his sister. Posie Betsy Winifred Jackson-Kew. Who have an older sister. Named Tuppence.

But of course, things are crazy in England. The paper also makes note of the marriage of Peter Wood and Kitty Fox, and please let them hyphenate their names. “Hello, Mrs. Kitty Wood-Fox!”

From a Telegraph article by a UK mom with kids named Croyde, Kiki and Trixie:

My middle child may not have got through that particular net. She’s called Kiki (that alliteration thing again). I was inspired by the linguistic fact that it’s impossible to say the ‘ee’ sound without the mouth turning up into a smile. Plus, I know a sassy, smart Kiki in her thirties so I asked for her advice. “I love it” she said, “Nobody ever forgets it. But in The Philippines it means vagina so my mum’s cleaner can’t look me in the eye.” That swung it for me. I like the idea of a stealthy vagina. And it will hopefully be a deterrent to island hopping in South East Asia when she should be going to university.

From a Globe and Mail article about the death of Rehtaeh Parsons:

Rehtaeh is “Heather” spelled backwards, a name her mother thought was pretty.

From Attempting to create original baby names has repercussions in The Australian:

McCrindle Research director Mark McCrindle said many parents were now “designing” rather than choosing names, often driven by phonetics.

But he warned it could lead to a lifetime of grief for children whose names are now attached to their digital profile.

“More than ever, people are saying, ‘it’s my child’s name, I am going to give it some difference’,” he said.

“But I think sometimes parents are being a bit short-sighted in the designing of their children’s names.”

From an article on names in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“The Name Game” was a hit for Shirley Ellis in 1965. You know the song: “Shirley-Shirley-bo-burly, banana-fana-fo-furly, fee-fie-foe-murly … Shirley!” She bragged that “there isn’t any name that you can’t rhyme.” While entertaining soldiers in Vietnam, however, she discovered she couldn’t rhyme “Rich” or “Chuck.”

From a 5 Ways to Sabotage Your Baby Name Search at Upswing Baby Names:

While I don’t condone picking a name that is blatantly humorous, I would never disqualify a name just because it has remote teasing potential. For example, some parents will eliminate a name for rhyming with a funny word. But if you think long enough, you can find a funny word to rhyme with many names. Instead of trying to find the safest (most boring) name possible for your child, work on building their social skills instead.

From Betting on Baby in The Daily Beast:

Despite being a modern couple, Will and Kate are almost guaranteed to pluck a traditional moniker — like Mary, Victoria, or Elizabeth (a favorite) — from the royal bloodline, says author Phil Dampier, who has spent 27 years covering the royal family.

In mid-April, bets for the name Alexandra (Queen Elizabeth’s middle name) surged unexpectedly, causing house odds at William Hill to jump from 33/1 to 2/1. Other major betting firms also slashed their previously high odds. The profiles betting on Alexandra (new accounts, higher bets) led bookies to suspect an inside tip had leaked.

From an episode of The Mindy Project:

Mindy: “I want kids, four kids. Madison, Jayden, Bree and the little one’s Piper.”

Danny: “Are you kidding me with those names? You want a bunch of girls who work at the mall?”

From Parents Name Their Child Bane, Secure His Future Grudge Against Batman, Mumbling at The Mary Sue:

A couple from England have named their newborn baby boy, Bane. Yes, after the Batman villain last seen in The Dark Knight Rises. Rugby player Jamie Jones-Buchanan and wife Emma told The Sun they always agreed to give their children unusual names.

Oh yes, there’s more.

The couple have three other children. Two are named after Star Trek characters – Lore and Dacx [sic] – while the other is named after Highlander’s Kurgan.

From ‘Twas Ever Thus at British Baby Names:

In the late 18th and 19th century talk about names often bandied the phrase “romantic names” around. From all I can glean, it was used generally as a euphemism for any name considered slightly fanciful or outlandish, in much the same way “creative names” or “unique names” are used today.

[…]

The idea was, of course, also then picked up in essays and newspapers. Strangely, although we now tend to associate fanciful names with the aristocracy, it is the working classes who get the brunt of criticism in much of the commentary.

From British grandmother claims she was raised by monkeys at Today.com:

Marina Chapman’s book, “The Girl with No Name,” claims that she was raised by monkeys in the Colombian jungle for about five years of her childhood, adopting their behavior and eating the same food. Chapman claims that a group of capuchin monkeys became her surrogate family after she was kidnapped and abandoned in a Colombian jungle when she was 4 years old.

After living with the monkeys for several years, Chapman says she encountered hunters who tried to sell her into domestic slavery in the Colombian city of Cucuta. She then ran away and became a thieving street kid before being adopted by a loving family in Bogota as a teenager and giving herself the name Marina.

This reminds me of that isolated indigenous Brazilian man

And, finally, a bit about Quaker names from Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer:

Delaware Quakers also differed from other English-speaking people in the descent of names from one generation to the next. Unlike New England Puritans, Quakers named their first-born children after grandparents. Unlike Virginia Anglicans, they were careful to honor maternal and paternal lines in an even-handed way.

[…]

These naming choices were not invented in the New World. They were virtually identical among Quakers in England’s North Midlands and America’s Delaware Valley. Through the eighteenth century, males received the same combination of biblical and teutonic names — with John, Thomas, William, Joseph and George the leading favorites among Friends on both sides of the water. Quaker females were mostly named Mary and Sarah in English and America, with Hannah, Anne, Elizabeth, Hester, Esther and Deborah strong secondary favorites. Plain English names such as Jane, and traditional Christian favorites such as Catherine and Margaret preserved their popularity among Quakers, more so than among Puritans. Also exceptionally popular among Quakers in England and America was the name of Phebe, which rarely appeared in Puritan and Anglican families.

Baby Name Story: Return

In 1708, a baby boy named Return was born in Guilford, CT.

His parents were Janna Meigs* (1672-1739) and Hannah Willard (1674-1749), and he was the fifth of ten children: Janna, Josiah, Jehiel, Hannah, Return, Hester, Silence and Submit (twin girls), Timothy and Eunice.

There’s a story behind Return’s name. That much I know. But so many different versions of the story exist that there’s no telling which one is true.

The most common version starts with Janna proposing marriage to Hannah. She rejects him. (Many sources say this happened repeatedly.) Just as he’s about to ride off, she changes her mind and calls after him, “Return, Janna, return!” He does. They wed. And when they welcome their fifth child, they name him Return in honor of that moment.

Other versions of the story are quite different. One patriotic attempt claims the baby was born during the Battle of Concord (1775), and that “Return, Janna, return” was Hannah’s cry for her husband to come home from battle. Too bad the baby was already 67 years old at that point.

The name has since been handed down to more than a dozen of Return’s descendants, including Return’s son Return Jonathan Meigs, Sr. (1740-1823) and grandson Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr. (1764-1825).

*Either Janna or Junna, depends on the source.

Sources: