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, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Howard.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Howard


Posts that Mention the Name Howard

What turned Greer into a girl name in the early 1940s?

Actress Greer Garson (1904-1996)
Greer Garson

From the 1910s to the 1930s, the rare name Greer occasionally popped in the in the U.S. baby name data as a boy name. In the early 1940s, though, it suddenly started being given to baby girls:

  • 1943: 37 baby girls and 10 baby boys named Greer
  • 1942: 15 baby girls and 6 baby boys named Greer
  • 1941: 5 baby girls named Greer
  • 1940: unlisted
  • 1939: unlisted

In fact, from 1941 onward, the name Greer has been given more often to baby girls than to baby boys:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Greer
Graph of the usage of the name Greer

What caused the switch?

Red-haired British actress Greer Garson, who was most popular in America during the early-to-mid 1940s. She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress seven times, though she won only once (for her role in the 1942 movie Mrs. Miniver).

Her birth name was Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson; Greer was her mother’s maiden name. She began going by “Greer Garson” in the early 1930s, while she was still a stage actress in England.

Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM studios, discovered Garson in 1937 while he was abroad hunting for talent. After that particular trip, he sailed back to the U.S. with Garson and several other finds:

Also on board were two Austrian actresses named Hedy Kiesler and Rose Stradner, screenwriter Walter Reisch, and two singers, Hungarian Ilona Hajmassy, and Polish Miliza Korjus. While Mayer renamed Hedy Kiesler “Hedy Lamarr” and changed Ilona Hajmassy to “Ilona Massey,” he was stumped when it came to Greer and Miliza Korjus. Ultimately, he settled with Howard Strickling [head of MGM’s publicity department] to start a publicity campaign for Korjus (“her name rhymes with gorgeous!”), and left Greer’s name alone. But for years he would continue to complain that her name was not feminine enough.

The surname Greer is related to the personal name Gregory, which means “watchful, alert.”

What are your thoughts on the name Greer? Do you like it better as a girl name or as a boy name?

Sources:

P.S. The top image of (a very bejeweled) Greer Garson comes from her appearance on the TV game show “What’s My Line?” in April of 1958.

P.P.S. At the height of her fame, Greer Garson owned two standard poodles with the rhyming names Gogo and Clicquot (pronounced klee-koh).

Popular baby names in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1868

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

Years ago, I discovered three documents with relatively complete lists of births for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868. I’ve already created Providence’s baby name rankings for 1866 and 1867 using the first two documents, and today (finally!) I’ve got the third set of rankings for you.

Let’s start with some stats:

  • 1,762 babies were born in Providence in 1868, by my count. According to the introduction of the document I’m using a source, however, the total number is 1,866. I don’t know how to account for this discrepancy.
  • 1,617 of these babies (791 girls and 826 boys) had names that were known at the time of publication. The other 145 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps these babies died young and never received a name.
  • 284 unique names (143 girl names and 141 boy names) were shared among these 1,617 babies.

And now, on to the names!

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Sarah
4. Ellen
5. Margaret
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 39
  3. Sarah, 38
  4. Ellen, 31
  5. Margaret, 28
  6. Elizabeth, 25
  7. Alice, 24
  8. Anna, 20
  9. Ann, 16
  10. Emma, 14
  11. Eliza, 13
  12. Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
  13. Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
  14. Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
  15. Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
  17. Anne, Carrie, Hattie, Ida, Mabel & Nellie, 6 each (6-way tie)
  18. Eva, Joanna, Lydia & Rosanna, 5 each (4-way tie)
  19. Abby, Charlotte, Emily, Jessie, Josephine, Lillian, Lizzie, Louisa, Louise, Marion, Phebe, Rosella & Theresa, 4 each (13-way tie)
  20. Anastasia, Bertha, Edith, Gertrude, Isabella, Nettie, Pearl, Rebecca & Susanna, 3 each (9-way tie)
  21. Ada, Almira, Edna, Fannie, Flora, Frances, Helen, Henrietta, Inez, Laura, Lelia, Lillie, Lottie, Maud, Priscilla & Virginia, 2 each (16-way tie)
  22. Addie, Adelaide, Adelicia, Adeline, Agatha, Allene, Amanda, Amy, Angelica, Antoinette, Arabella, Augusta, Aurelia, B.*, Belle, Bessie, Betsey, Catharine, Celia, Claudia, Della, Eleanor, Eleanora, Estella, Estelle, Esther, Eudavelia, Eulalie, Evelyn, Francenia, Genevieve, Georgia, Honora, Imogene, Jesse, Juliette, Kate, Leonora, Lilla, Lillias, Lorena, Luella, Luetta, Magdalena, Marian, Marietta, Matilda, Mercy, Minerva, Miriam, Myra, Myrtis, Nanoan, Nora, Pauline, Reberta, Rhoda, Roberta, Rosa, Rose, Ruth, Sabrina, Sophia, Stella & Winifred, 1 each (65-way tie)

*What do you think the “B.” might have stood for?

All Boy Names

  1. John, 112 baby boys
  2. William, 68
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 52
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 37
  7. Frederick, 25
  8. Henry, 23
  9. Joseph, 22
  10. Edward, 19
  11. Daniel & Patrick, 18 each (tie)
  12. Robert, 17
  13. Frank, 16
  14. Francis, 15
  15. Walter, 13
  16. Michael, 11
  17. Albert, 10
  18. Arthur, 9
  19. Benjamin, Peter & Samuel, 7 each (3-way tie)
  20. Freddie, Harry, Herbert & Stephen, 6 each (4-way tie)
  21. Edwin, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin & Timothy, 5 each (5-way tie)
  22. Bernard, Edmund, Eugene, Louis, Philip & Richard, 4 each (6-way tie)
  23. Alfred, Augustus, Christopher, Eben, Horace, Howard, Hugh, Jeremiah, Matthew & Willard, 3 each (10-way tie)
  24. Abel, Barney, Byron, Dennis, Edgar, Ferdinand, Gilbert, Luke, Max, Nathaniel, Owen, Roger, Solomon & Victor, 2 each (14-way tie)
  25. Alden, Alexis, Allen, Alrick, Amos, Andrew, Ansel, Anson, Archibald, Asa, Ashby, Bartholomew, Calvin, Carlos, Clarence, Clark, Clarke, Clement, Clifford, Collyer, Crolander, Darius, David, Earl, Elisha, Ellis, Eri, Ernest, Erwin, Eusebe, Everett, Felix, Forrest, Foster, Franklin, Fred, Gardner, Jacob, Jason, Jerome, Jireh, Joaneto, Josiah, Jubal, Justin, Lawson, Lodovic, Louis, Lucien, Lyman, Major, Malachi, Manuel, Melbourne, Monroe, Morey, Morris, Myron, Nelson, Nicholas, Olney, Orville, Oscar, Pendleton, Ralph, Reuben, Rolfe, Rowland, Rufus, Simeon, Simon, Steven, Stewart, Theodore, Ulysses*, Volney, Warren, Whiting, Willie & Winchester, 1 each (80-way tie)

*Ulysses was likely named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected president in 1868.

Twins

Finally, nineteen sets of twins were born in Providence in 1868. (All of these twin names are accounted for in the rankings above.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twins
Caroline & Harriet
Lucy & Lydia
Mary & Rosanna
Margaret & Mary
Lizzie & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Anne & Thomas
Emma & Charles
Florence & William
Hannah & Josiah
Ida & John
Isabella & John
Jennie & Horace
Charles & William
Francis & Robert
George & John
James & John
James & Stephen
(blank) & (blank)

Have any thoughts about these rankings, or about any of the specific names above?

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number three. Providence: Millard & Harker, 1870.

Baby Name Story: Anne

Queen Anne (reigned 1702-1714)
Queen Anne

British nobleman John Poulett, 1st Earl Poulett, and his wife Bridget had eight children in the early 1700s:

  1. Bridget (born in 1702)
  2. Catherine (b. 1706)
  3. John (b. 1708)
  4. Peregrine (b. 1708)
  5. Vere (b. 1710)
  6. Anne (b. 1711)
  7. Susannah (b. 1714)
  8. Rebecca (b. 1716)

Looks like five girls and three boys, right?

Except…Anne was a boy. (In fact, he was a member of the all-male House of Commons during the last sixteen years of his life.)

So, why did Anne have a feminine first name?

Because Queen Anne, who reigned from 1702 to 1714, just happened to be his baptismal sponsor.

(In contrast, American author Anne Rice was born with the name Howard…)

Sources: Anne Poulett – Wikipedia, John Poulett, 1st Earl Poulett – Wikipedia, John Poulett – Find A Grave

Where did the baby name Catana come from?

The character Catana Perez from the movie "Captain from Castile" (1947).
Catana Perez from “Captain from Castile

The curious name Catana* popped up in the baby name data in late 1940s:

  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: 6 baby girls named Catana
  • 1949: 7 baby girls named Catana
  • 1948: 8 baby girls named Catana [debut]
  • 1947: unlisted

Why?

Because of the historical adventure movie Captain from Castile, released in December of 1947.

The film’s protagonist was young Spanish nobleman Pedro de Vargas, who traveled to the New World to help Hernán Cortés conquer Mexico. Pedro’s love interest was Catana Perez.

Pedro was played by actor Tyrone Power (father of Romina and Taryn) and Catana by actress Jean Peters (who went on to marry Howard Hughes).

The movie was based on the 1945 book of the same name by Samuel Shellabarger. Captain from Castile was the 8th-best selling novel in the nation the year it came out.

*Not to be confused with Cortana

Popular baby names in Monroe (Michigan), 2020

A few days ago, a writer with the Monroe News (of Monroe County, Michigan) tallied up all the baby names mentioned in the paper’s 2020 birth announcements. The most frequently occurring names for girls were Abigail and Ava (tie), and for boys was Asher.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I don’t tend to post rankings from non-governmental sources. But, again, this set had a relatively high number of names (451) compared to the size of the county (about 150,000 residents), so here’s the full list…

Girl Names

4 baby girls named:

  • Abigail
  • Ava

3 baby girls named:

  • Athena
  • Charlotte
  • Emma
  • Madison
  • Paisley
  • Quinn

2 baby girls named:

  • Allie
  • Allison
  • Amelia
  • Eleanor
  • Elena
  • Elizabeth
  • Elliana
  • Evelynn
  • Everly
  • Hadleigh
  • Harper
  • Hazel
  • Isla
  • Layla
  • Mia
  • Nova
  • Ruby
  • Sadie
  • Sophia
  • Sophie
  • Violet

1 baby girl named:

Ada, Addaleigh, Addilynn-Rose, Adorabella, Alice, Alicia, Alita, Aliva, Alora, Alyssa, A’Meila, Amirah, Amiyah, Anastasia, Aranea, Arya, Ashlynn, Aubree, Aubrey, Aurora, Avery, Bailey, Bexley, Blakely, Brielle, Brooke, Brooklyn, Brylee, Brynn, Caia, Caiya, Camilleia, Caralena, Caroline, Cattleya, Charlynn, Claire, Cora, Dahlia, Da’yana, Delaney, Eliannah, Eliza, Ellanorah, Ellie, Ellison, Ember, Emersyn, Emmarie, Emory, Evangeline, Evie, Evodia, Faith, Genevieve, Georgia, Giovanni, Gracelyn, Gracie, Gwendolyn, Haisley, Harleigh, Harlow, Harmony, HaVen, Hayzlee, Illia, Inija, Isabel, Ivy, Iylah, Jade, Janie, Jessika, Jolee, Jolene, Joni, Jordynn, Josephine, Journae, Julianna, Kaisley, Kansas, Kendelyn, Kennedy, Kensly, Klara, Kolumbiia, Laney, Leia, Lexi, Lexie, Lila, Lillian, Lily, Lively, Logan, Luciana, Lucille, Lucina, Luna, Maeve, Mahogany, Marianna, Marilyn, Marissa, Maryszka, McKenna, Mercy, Mila, Moselle, Mya, Naomi, Nora, Novalee, Omora, Ophelia, Ora, Penelope, Prudence, Raelyn, Reese, Renlee, Rhythm, Riann, Ripley, River, Roise, Rosalie, Rosemary, Ryalin, Ryleigh, Scarlett, Sedona, Shawna, Shelby, Sinya, Skyla, Skylynn, Stella, Stellana, Skyla, Tiffany, Vayda, Victoria, Ziggy, Zoe, Zoey, Zuri

Notably: “The No. 1 girl name in 2019, Olivia, wasn’t reported to The News last year.”

Boy Names

5 baby boys named:

  • Asher

4 baby boys named:

  • Wesley

3 baby boys named:

  • Andrew
  • Brooks
  • Hudson
  • John
  • Liam
  • Oliver
  • Preston
  • Roman
  • William

2 baby boys named:

  • Arthur
  • Benjamin
  • Bentley
  • Brody
  • Bryson
  • Carson
  • Connor
  • Dallas
  • Declan
  • Donald
  • Easton
  • Emmett
  • Finn
  • Henry
  • Jameson
  • Jaxon
  • Joseph
  • Kai
  • Lucas
  • Nicholas
  • Parker
  • Raiden
  • Samuel
  • Travis
  • Trevor
  • Waylon
  • Wyatt

1 baby boy named:

Adrian, Amon, Anderson, Anthony, Archer, Armani, Ashton, Atlas, Axel, Beau, Blake, Bode, Bodie, Bowie, Boyd, Bradley, Brady, Braxton, Braziel, Bryant, Carl, Carnell, Carter, Cassius, Cayden, Charles, Charlie, Christopher, Clayton, Cohen, Cole, Colson, Colt, Colten, Conner, Craig, Cruz, Dakota, Darius, David, Dean, Denver, Dominick, Dylan, Edwin, Elijah, Eliott, Emanuel, Emmerich, Enzo, Erik, Eudon, Finney, Forrest, Fulton, Gabriel, Gage, Giovani, Giovanni, Greyson, Griffyn, Henrik, Howard, Hunter, Jace, Jackson, Jaden, James, Jared, Javiah, Jaxson, Jayceon, Jayden, Jensen, Jonah, Jordan, Josiyah, Julian, Kaine, Kairo, Kane, Kayden, Kaynen, Khalil, Kirk, Koda, Kolton, Kyair, Kyren, Laurence, Lawrence, Leon, Leopold, Levi, Lincoln, Logan, Luca, Lyric, Mack, Magnus, Malachi, Marshaine, Mason, Maverick, Maveryck, Maximus, Michael, Miles, Murphy, Nickolas, Owen, Patrick, Promise, Reece, Remy, Renlee, Rhett, Richard, Rockwood, Rowan, Rubin, Russell, Ryan, Ryder, Ryker, Sebastian, Senan, Silas, Skyler, Spencer, Tate, Thatcher, Theodore, Thomas, Trenton, Valentino, Vincent, Vincenzo, Wylder, Xander, Xavier, Zachary, Zaidyn, Zeppelin

Source: Monroe County’s baby names for 2020