How popular is the baby name John 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 John.

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Popularity of the Baby Name John


Posts that Mention the Name John

Unusual Baby Name: Kenesaw Mountain

If you know Major League Baseball history, no doubt you’re familiar with Kenesaw Mountain “Ken” Landis, who served as professional baseball’s first commissioner from 1921 to 1944.

But…do you know how he got that unusual name?

In 1862 — in the middle of the Civil War — Ken’s father, Dr. Abraham Landis, left his family behind in Ohio to serve as a surgeon in the Union Army. (His family, at that time, consisted of wife Mary and five young children.)

Abraham was severely wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia on June 27, 1864. He spent many weeks in the hospital recovering before he was finally able to return home.

His sixth child, a son, arrived on November 20, 1866 — long after the war was over.

[I]t took Dr. and Mrs. Landis some time to decide on his name. In fact, the delay in providing a name prompted both family and community members to suggest a deluge of different names. Mary Landis did not like the name Abraham, so when Dr. Landis suggested calling their son “Kenesaw,” the name and alternate spelling stuck. Clearly, the site of the doctor’s personal tragedy remained in his thoughts.

The name of the mountain is an Anglicized form of the Cherokee name Gahneesah, which means “burial ground” or “place of the dead.”

(All of Ken’s eventual six siblings had more ordinary names: Katherine, Frances, Walter, Charles, John, and Frederick.)

Ken went on to pass the bar exam and attend law school (in that order) and, by the early 1890s, was practicing law in Chicago. Within a couple of years, he was offered (and accepted) a job in the federal government:

In the Union Army, Abraham Landis was under the command of Lt. Col. Walter Quinton Gresham during Sherman’s advance through Tennessee and Georgia. […] In 1893 Gresham was appointed secretary of state by President Grover Cleveland. He needed a personal secretary and he chose a 26-year-old Chicago attorney with no knowledge of foreign affairs, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

When Gresham unexpectedly died in 1895, Grover Cleveland offered Ken the post of minister to Venezuela. Ken declined this offer to return to private practice in Chicago and to get married to his fiancée, Winifred Reed.

A year later, Kenesaw and Winifred welcomed their first child, a son named Reed Gresham Landis — middle name in honor of Ken’s late boss (and his father’s former commander).

I have more to say about Kenesaw Mountain Landis, but I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. In the meanwhile, here’s a post about Malvern Hill — another unusual baby name inspired by a Civil War battle/location.

Sources:

The 23 Children of Darejan Dadiani

Painting of Darejan Dadiani

In 1750, Georgian noblewoman Darejan Dadiani married the twice-widowed Georgian king Erekle II (who, at that time, ruled the historical region of Kartli).

From the 1750s to the early 1780s, Darejan gave birth to 23 children (though some sources say it was just 19).

Here are the names of 22 of those 23 children, listed alphabetically:

  • Alexander
  • Anastasia
  • Archil (son)
  • Beri (son)
  • Ekaterine – the Georgian form of Katherine.
  • Elene – the Georgian form of Helen.
  • Ioane – the Georgian form of John.
  • Iulon
  • Ketevan (daughter) – the Georgian form of the Persian name Katayoun.
  • Khoreshan (daughter)
  • Levan – the Georgian form of Leon.
  • Luarsab (son) – the Georgian form of the Persian name Lohrasp, which is a form of Aurvataspa, which means “swift horse” in Avestan.
  • Maryam
  • Mirian (son) – the Georgian form of the Persian name Mihran/Mehran.
  • Parnaoz/Pharnaoz (son) – the Georgian form of the Persian name Farnavaz.
  • Salome
  • Solomon
  • Sophia/Sophie
  • Soslan-David – Soslan is the name of a hero/trickster god of the Nart sagas (Caucasian mythology).
  • Tekle – the Georgian form of Thekla.
  • Teimuraz (son) – the Georgian form of the Persian name Tahmuras, which is a form of Takhma Urupi, a character in the Avesta (the Zoroastrian religious text). The name means “strong body” in Avestan.
  • Vakhtang (son) – a form of the name Warkhtanag (“wolf-bodied”), a character in the Nart sagas.

(Wikipedia says the 23rd child was a boy named Aslamaz-Khan, but I can’t find any sources to back that up.)

Darejan’s own name also has an interesting history: it comes from the literary name “Nestan-Darejan,” which was coined by Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for the name of a fictional princess in his epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin (ca. 1200). The name was based on the Persian phrase nest andare jehan, meaning “unlike any other in the world” or “no such beauty in the world.” Both components — Nestan and Darejan — are now used as given names in Georgia.

Sources:

John Tyler’s 15 Children

John Tyler: 10th president & 15 children

John Tyler became the unexpected 10th president of the United States upon the sudden death of William Henry Harrison.

He wasn’t a particularly impressive commander-in-chief, but he was notable for at least one thing: having more legitimate children than any other U.S. president.

He married this first wife, Letitia Christian, in 1813. They had eight children:

  • Mary (b. 1815)
  • Robert (b. 1816)
  • John (b. 1819)
  • Letitia (b. 1821)
  • Elizabeth (b. 1823)
  • Anne Contesse (1825-1825) – John Tyler’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Contesse.
  • Alice (b. 1827)
  • Tazewell, called “Taz” (b. 1830) – He “was named by the older children after the Tyler family’s close friend, Littleton W. Tazewell.”

Letitia had a stroke in 1839, and died in 1842.

John married his second wife, Julia Gardiner, in 1844. They had seven more children:

  • David (b. 1846)
  • John (b. 1848)
  • Julia (b. 1849)
  • Lachlan (b. 1851) – Julia’s mother’s maiden name was McLachlan.
  • Lyon (b. 1853) – Probably named in honor of Julia’s ancestor Lion Gardiner.
  • Robert Fitzwalter, called “Fitz” (b. 1856) – He was “[n]amed Robert Fitzwalter in honor of Julia Tyler’s ancestor of thirteenth-century England.” (I found several contenders, but my guess is this guy.)
  • Pearl (b. 1860) – She “was originally to be named Margaret, but she was christened Pearl instead.”

The grand total? 15.

Which of the Tyler kids’ names do you like best?

Sources:

Top 1-Syllable Baby Names, 2020

Which single-syllable names were the most popular in 2020?

I scanned the 2020 rankings for one-syllable names and found these:

Girl Names

  1. Grace (ranked 28th overall)
  2. Claire (57th)
  3. Quinn (85th)
  4. Jade (97th)
  5. Rose (113th)
  6. Faith (136th)
  7. Reese (144th)
  8. Maeve (173rd)
  9. Sloane (181st)
  10. June (182nd)

Boy Names

  1. James (ranked 6th overall)
  2. Jack (21st)
  3. John (27th)
  4. Luke (31st)
  5. Brooks (91st)
  6. Kai (93rd)
  7. Jace (97th)
  8. Beau (109th)
  9. Chase (123rd)
  10. Cole (131st)

Please note that I intentionally left out names that could go either way (1-syllable or 2-syllable) depending upon one’s regional accent. I don’t think this made a difference on the girls’ side, but on the boys’ side I omitted a number of gray-area names (Owen, Wyatt, Charles, Ryan, Miles, Ian, Gael, Rowan, and Myles) that ranked higher than Cole.

For more names like these, check out the one-syllable girl names and one-syllable boy names posts.

Babies Named for Sailing Ships (K)

This one is a short one!

Here are a few people who were born aboard — and named after! — ships with K-names…

  • Kapunda:
    • Mary Kapunda McGrath, born in 1875
  • Kedar:
    • Heinreich Kedar Wurdler, born in 1869
  • Kenilworth:
    • Amy Kenilworth Jaques, born in 1873
  • Kinfauns Castle:
    • Kinfauns Halbeth, born in 1882
  • King Cerdic:
    • John Cerdic Shields, born in 1875

Do you think any of the ship names above work particularly well as human names?

Source: FamilySearch.org