Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Jessie in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Jessie and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Jessie.
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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).
The name DePriest debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1929, and usage peaked in 1930:
1930: 10 baby boys named DePriest
1929: 5 baby boys named DePriest [debut]
Where did the name come from?
Chicago politician named Oscar DePriest, the first African-American from outside the southern states to be elected to Congress.
Oscar DePriest was born in Alabama in 1871. His parents, former slaves, moved the family northward to Salina, Kansas, after 7-year-old Oscar discovered a neighbor “who had been lynched and riddled with bullets.”
As a young adult, Oscar continued to move northward — first to Dayton, and finally to Chicago.
Chicago is where he met and married his wife Jessie in 1898, where he become wealthy thanks to his real estate business and investments in the stock market, and where he first got involved in politics.
Decades later, in 1928, Oscar DePriest was elected to to U.S. House of Representatives. Not only was he the first African-American from the North to be elected to Congress, but he was also the first African-American to serve in Congress during the post-Reconstruction period.
(In fact, Oscar DePriest was re-elected twice, and during all three consecutive terms he was the only African-American in Congress, becoming by default “the only voice in Congress for twelve million black Americans.”)
Needless to say, many people in the South were not big fans of Oscar DePriest.
In April of 1929, the members of the 71st Congress were sworn in all at once — as opposed to state by state, which had been the tradition up to that point — “in large part to prevent any challenges to the legality of DePriest’s seating.”
In June of 1929, DePriest’s wife Jessie made national headlines when she visited the White House to have tea with First Lady Lou Hoover. Southern journalists and politicians (including Coleman Blease) criticized the DePriests and accused the Hoovers of “defiling” the White House. The Georgia legislature, the Texas legislature, the Florida legislature, and the Mississippi legislature all passed resolutions condemning the event and the Hoovers themselves.
Here is part of Oscar’s reaction to the criticism:
“I want to thank the Democrats of the south for one thing. They were so barbaric they drove my parents to the north. If it had not been for that I wouldn’t be in Congress today. I’ve been Jim Crowed, segregated, persecuted, and I think I know how best the Negro can put a stop to being imposed upon. It is through the ballot, through organization, through eternally fighting for his rights.”
Thankfully, the DePriests also had plenty of supporters. And some of that support was expressed in the form of baby names.
More than a dozen babies were named DePriest in 1929 and 1930 (as we saw above) and more than two dozen other babies born in 1929 or the 1930s got the first-middle combination “Oscar DePriest.” Here are some examples:
Ready for a March Madness-inspired tournament that involves both names and ’80s music?
We’ll start with 40 songs from the ’80s that prominently feature given names — songs like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Oh Sherrie,” “Who’s Johnny” and “Dirty Diana” — and, over the next few weeks, we’ll whittle them down until we determine which song earns the title of Ultimate ’80s Name-Song.
Here’s the tournament schedule:
March 9-14: Round 1a. Starts with 20 songs. Ends with 4 winners.
March 16-21: Round 1b. Starts with 20 songs. Ends with 4 winners.
March 23-28: Round 2. Starts with 8 songs. Ends with 2 winners.
A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.
I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”
Here’s the list:
Have any favorites?
Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.
BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.