How popular is the baby name Iona 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 Iona.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Iona


Posts that Mention the Name Iona

Brothers Reindeer & Rainbow

Around 1920, a 15-year-old Montana boy named Reindeer Coffman was in the news.

Reindeer’s baby brother had died while Reindeer was babysitting. At first, murder was suspected. Later, it was revealed that Reindeer had simply neglected the baby, who proceeded to accidentally strangle himself. (The baby’s shirt collar got caught on a protruding nail.)

One article about the case included a few lines about Reindeer’s name:

The boy’s unusual name caused [Humane Officer A. E. Decew] to make inquiries as to its genuineness. He found not only that Reindeer was called by his correct name but that there was a still more unusual name in the family. Reindeer has a brother named Rainbow.

Sure enough, both Rainbow and Reindeer (spelled “Rainder”) were listed together on the 1920 U.S. Census:

Their parents were William and Mina, and their siblings had the more common names Warren, Emery, Frances, Iona, Henry, Myrtie, Charles, and Allen.

Source: “Nail catches dress, baby is strangled, is brother’s tale.” Great Falls Daily Tribune 13 Mar. 1920: 13.

Popular and Unique Baby Names Scotland, 2018

According to National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were Olivia and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 444 baby girls
  2. Emily, 423
  3. Isla, 383
  4. Sophie, 331
  5. Amelia, 312
  6. Ella, 295
  7. Ava, 292
  8. Grace, 286
  9. Aria, 272
  10. Jessica, 262

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 422 baby boys
  2. Oliver, 330
  3. James, 323
  4. Logan, 307
  5. Leo, 300
  6. Lewis, 298
  7. Alexander, 294 (tie)
  8. Harris, 294 (tie)
  9. Noah, 284
  10. Rory, 280

In the girls’ top 10, Grace replaces Charlotte (now 11th).

In the boys’ top 10, Rory replaces Harry (now tied for 11th with Charlie).

Names inspired by Scottish islands include Arran (118 boys; ranked 47th), Iona (83 girls; ranked 56th), Ailsa (37 girls), Islay (11 girls), Coll (3 boys), Jura (3 girls), Gigha (1 girl), and Tiree (1 girl).

And here are some more baby names that, like Gigha and Tiree, were bestowed just once in Scotland last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Adora-Belle, Brora, Callumina, Cardi, Delarosa, Embla, Everlyn, Frankie-Nirvana, Gigi, Honey-Bee, Izna, Junu, Kindah, Lhotse, Milliemae, Niska, Omnia, Peculiar, Raffie, Swithy, Tiggy, Uljana, Veia, Winry, Xanthippe, Yvie, ZuzuAvrick, Baroque-Valentyne, Caisson, Camhanaich, Dome, Eck, Fitheach, Gighian, Haxton, Indio, Izzeldin, Jeddie, Kafka, Lucifer, Monder, Neelix, Ouff, Panashe, Reave, Svetozar, Thapish, Ual, Velyo, Wit, Xypher, Yogan, Zostera

Possible explanations for some of the above:

  • Cardi B, American rapper and singer
  • Embla, the first woman (according to Norse mythology)
  • Lhotse, the 4th-highest mountain in the world (means “south peak” in Tibetan)
  • Winry, a manga character from the Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Caisson, an ammunition chest or two-wheeled ammunition wagon (means “box” in French)
  • Camhanaich, the Scottish word for “break of day” or “twilight”
  • Fitheach, the Scottish word for “raven” (and also the title of a children’s adventure game show that premiered on the Scottish-language BBC Alba channel in 2018)
  • Kafka, Czech writer Franz Kafka
  • Neelix, a character from Star Trek: Voyager
  • Zostera, a type of sea grass

(I posted more of Scotland’s unique baby names over on Patreon.)

In 2017, the top two names were the same.

Sources: Most popular names in Scotland, Babies’ First Names, From A to Zidaneā€¦ unusual names of newborns revealed, 2018 baby names: Scots babies are Awesome and Adora-Belle

100+ Things Ionas Have Owned

iona peacock

The baby name Iona isn’t very popular these days, but it saw a moderate amount of usage in the early 1900s. It has several potential origins, including the Scottish island of Iona and the ancient Greek name Ione.

Beyond usage and origin, though, there’s the fascinating fact that the name Iona sounds just like the start of this sentence: “I own a…”

So have you ever wondered what all the Ionas have owned?

I was curious about this. So I checked census records, birth records, marriage records, etc., looking for Ionas who (ostensibly) owned things — that is, Ionas who had nouns as surnames. And I found lots of them.

Here are over 100 of the things that various historical Ionas have “owned,” according to their surnames:

Iona Apple
Iona Attic
Iona Axe
Iona Badger
Iona Barber
Iona Bath
Iona Beach
Iona Bear
Iona Beard
Iona Beaver
Iona Beer
Iona Bird
Iona Blazer
Iona Blunt
Iona Bone
Iona Book
Iona Boot
Iona Box
Iona Brain
Iona Broom
Iona Burger
Iona Bush
Iona Castle
Iona Cello
Iona Cherry
Iona Child
Iona Cleaver
Iona Clock
Iona Cloud
Iona Coast
Iona Coffee
Iona Compass
Iona Couch
Iona Crabb
Iona Dollar
Iona Driver
Iona Dryer
Iona Fiddle
Iona Fiddler
Iona Field
Iona Finger
Iona Fish
Iona Fogg
Iona Foot
Iona Fortune
Iona Fox
Iona Fry
Iona Fryer
Iona Garden
Iona Groom
Iona Hair
Iona Hall
Iona Hand
Iona Head
Iona Heart
Iona Hedge
Iona Hill
Iona Hippie
Iona Hooker
Iona House
Iona Husky
Iona Kettle
Iona Kidney
Iona King
Iona Kitchen
Iona Kite
Iona Kitten
Iona Knee
Iona Lamb
Iona Lamp
Iona Law
Iona Lemon
Iona Lung
Iona Manual
Iona Mitten
Iona Moon
Iona Mountain
Iona Officer
Iona Orchard
Iona Organ
Iona Outhouse
Iona Outlaw
Iona Oyster
Iona Palm
Iona Parent
Iona Partridge
Iona Passenger
Iona Peacock
Iona Peak
Iona Pearl
Iona Pebble
Iona Penny
Iona Pigg
Iona Pitcher
Iona Plant
Iona Plum
Iona Poncho
Iona Prince
Iona Puff
Iona Queen
Iona Seal
Iona Shoulder
Iona Skiff
Iona Skipper
Iona Spear
Iona Star
Iona Stone
Iona Stoner
Iona Street
Iona Stump
Iona Summit
Iona Swan
Iona Tart
Iona Vest
Iona Wall
Iona Wedding
Iona Wine
Iona Wolf

Which one of these combinations did you like best?

And, do you think the name Iona could become trendy again one day soon? (Usage of the name has been creeping upward since the 1990s.)

Finally, here’s a video with all the funny Iona combinations above, plus a few extras:

Baby Names from Pullman Cars?

pullman car, train,

Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?

So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).

Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.

Alana, Archer, ArnoldAdriatha, Arundel, Arvonia
Baxter, Becket, BradleyBantry, Bellonia, Besco
Calvin, Catalina, ClydeCadesia, Clarnie, Clymer
Dana, Deborah, DwightDarlow, Dathema, Dodona
Edith, Eileen, ElmoEdminster, Emalinda, Etherley
Finley, Flavia, FloydFithian, Flaxton, Florilla
Gary, Georgette, GraysonGavarnie, Gilia, Gloxinia
Harper, Harriet, HectorHarista, Humela, Hythe
Iona, Isabella, IvanIrvona, Isleta, Ixion
Jessica, Jordan, JuliaJacelia, Jathniel, Justitia
Kara, Keith, KennethKeinath, Kenia, Kittson
Laurel, Lewis, LindenLauveta, Leolyn, Lysander
Madison, Marco, MaudeMardonia, Mayence, Morganza
Nicola, Noel, NoraNarinda, Nasby, Norlina
Olivia, Omar, OtisOaklyn, Olanda, Oxus
Parker, Perry, PhilippaPenlyn, Pipila, Pixley
QuincyQuarren
Rebecca, Riley, RonaldRexis, Risley, Ruxton
Sarah, Scott, SusanneSalphrona, Sarver, Sibley
Thora, Tracy, TylerTascott, Tilden, Tisonia
Vanessa, Vernon, VictoriaVarick, Vinora, Vivita
Wesley, Wilson, WrenWelby, Wescott, Wexford

Which of the names above do you like best?