Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Howard in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Howard and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Howard.
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Looking for a surname-inspired baby name with a connection to Catholicism?
Here are more than 200 options, most of which come from Catholic Englishmen martyred during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Because the goal was to include as many realistic baby names as possible, I interpreted “surname” and “saint” liberally in some cases. Xavier is not technically a surname, for instance, and many of the folks below are not yet full-fledged saints.
The hyperlinked names will take you to popularity graphs.
In 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)
A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:
In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.
I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.
I would go about choosing the names differently, though.
Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).
But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.
The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):
Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.
And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:
To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).
What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?
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…
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
The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.
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.
Mary, 149 baby girls
Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)
The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.
I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:
1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.
And now, on to the names…
A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:
Top Baby Girl Names
Top Baby Boy Names
Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.
Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)
Abraham & George
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
Albert & Harriet
Ashel & Ida
George & Grace
James & Mary
Maurice & Ann
Annie & Fannie
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Carl, (blank) & (blank)
James, Alexander & Sarah
I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).
No doubt you’ve heard of composer Hoagy Carmichael, who wrote the music for “Georgia on My Mind,” “Stardust,” “New Orleans,” “Lazy River,” and other classic pop/jazz songs.
But do you know where his distinctive name came from?
Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael was born in Indiana in late 1899 to parents Howard Clyde and Lida Mary Carmichael. He had three sisters named Geogiana (nn Georgia), Martha, and Joanne.
Wikipedia claims Hoagy was named for a circus troupe called “The Hoaglands,” but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
According to an autobiography, right around the time Hoagland was born “[t]here was a new railroad spur being built on the Monon line near Harrodsburg, and some of the surveyors were living in our neighborhood.” One of the railroad men, Harry Hoagland, was boarding with a relative.
Mother liked the unusual and had the imagination and the temperament of a poet, or a piano player. “Well, Hoagland sounds grand!” she said.
My father didn’t mind. “Sure, we can always use my name in the middle.”
Grandma Carmichael raised her hands in horror. “Lida, dear, please don’t name him Hoagland. They’ll nickname him Hoagy for sure. And besides, I like Taylor better.” [Taylor was Grandpa Carmichael’s name.]
Lida’s choice won, and the baby’s name became Hoagland Howard Carmichael.
His grandmother’s nickname prediction did come true, but not for a couple of decades: Hoagland didn’t start going by “Hoagy” until college.
Hoagy went on to marry a woman named Ruth. They had two sons, Hoagy Bix (born in 1938) and Randy Bob (born in 1940). Hoagy Bix’s middle name honors jazz cornetist Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke, who was a big influence on Hoagy, Sr.:
Hoagy heard a young white cornetist named Bix Beiderbecke and, “it threw my judgment out of kilter.” This was a sound like nothing he’d heard before and when Hoagy played an improvised tune for Bix, the strange young man with a magical horn said, “Whyn’t you write music, Hoagy?” The rest of his life was the answer to Bix’s question.
Randy Bob’s first name was inspired by movie actor Randolph Scott, but I’m not sure where his middle name came from.
What do you think of the name Hoagland? How about Hoagy?
Carmichael, Hoagy and Stephen Longstreet. The Stardust Road & Sometimes I Wonder: The Autobiographies of Hoagy Carmichael. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 1999.
Liberty became the 585th most popular baby girl name in 1918.
It wouldn’t enter the top 1,000 again until 1976, the year of the U.S. Bicentennial.
Families with the surname Bond must have been especially tempted to name their babies Liberty in 1917 and 1918.
I’ve found records for several babies named Liberty Bond, such as Liberty Lois Bond (b. 1917, California) and Liberty C. Bond (b. 1918, Michigan).
A baby girl who ended up with the name Liberty was born to Wallace and Jenny Bond of Oklahoma in 1917:
Named “Flossie Mae” at birth, her name was changed to “Liberty” when a relative told her father that she would buy Liberty Bonds in her name if he would make the switch. (She resented the name until she got a copy of her birth certificate decades later and learned that she otherwise would have gone through life as Flossie Mae.)
In the early 1950s, Ed Sullivan wrote that actor Ridge Bond had a cousin, born during the first World War, named Liberty Bond. “She married Frank Bell, and her name became Liberty Bell.”
Liberty Bond was also used more than once as a first-middle combination.
For instance, a baby named Liberty Bond Bailey, born in New York in 1918, made national headlines:
News comes from Ithaca, N.Y., that a real, live “Liberty Bond,” weighing nine pounds, arrived in that city on the morning of April 6, simultaneously with the opening of the loan drive and the anniversary of our entrance into the great war. It wasn’t of the accustomed variety, however, but a lusty, named “Liberty Bond” Bailey by his patriotic parents, Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Bailey of 614 Utica Street. The boy’s parents were so elated by the triple significance of the day that they named the new arrival in honor of the great bond drive.
According to his wife, his name was the doctor’s idea:
“The doctor mentioned it to his mother about the bonds and as he handed (the baby) over, he said, ‘Here’s your liberty bond’,” Garetta Bailey said. “So, she named him Liberty Bond.”
And I’ve found another Liberty Bond Bailey, believe it or not, born almost exactly a year earlier in Oklahoma.
A 1918 newspaper reported that a baby boy born to Mr. and Mrs. Alex Sleime of West Virginia was named Liberty Bond.
Records suggest that around 8 other babies were also named “Liberty Bond,” including Liberty Bond Todd (b. 1917, Texas) and Liberty Bond Jones (b. 1918, North Carolina).
P.S. Another first-middle combination I spotted a handful of times was “Liberty Loan.” One example: Liberty Loan Hickman, born in Texas in 1917.
“Boy Named “Liberty Bond.”” Salt Lake Telegram 24 June 1918: 12.