How popular is the baby name Joseph 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 Joseph.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Joseph


Posts that Mention the Name Joseph

Name Quotes 80: Jamie, Imogen, John

Time for the latest batch of name-related quotations!

From a 1997 article in Jet magazine about how Jamie Foxx (born Eric Bishop) found success in comedy after changing his name:

Foxx, who was determined to make it as a stand-up comedian, went to Santa Monica “where nobody really knew who I was,” he reveals, “and changed my name to Jamie Foxx.” He remembers, “Three girls would show up and 22 guys would show up [at Amateur Night]. They had to put all the girls on who were on the list to break up the monotony. So when they look up and they see Tracey Green, Tracey Brown, and these unisex names I had written on the list, they picked Jamie Foxx. ‘Is she here?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Brother, right over here man,'” Foxx said in a deep, macho voice. “I’d go up and do my thing with the Cosby and Tyson (impersonations), and they were like ‘Who is this Jamie Foxx kid?'”

From an opinion piece asking scientists to stop naming species after awful people:

There’s even a beetle named after Adolf Hitler, and specimens have become a collectible item among neo-Nazis to the point that it’s actually affecting wild populations of the species.

From an Eater article about the delicious pork product Spam:

Although lore behind the name Spam varies, [George A.] Hormel himself claimed the product was named for a combination of the words “spice” and “ham,” despite the fact that neither ingredient appears in Spam. The confusion has led some to speculate that Spam is an acronym for “Shoulder of Pork And Ham,” but company line gives Kenneth Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel VP, credit for naming the product. As Hormel tells it, he launched a naming contest for the new product during a New Year’s Eve party, when Daigneau spit out “Spam” as if “it were nothing at all,” Hormel told Gill. “I knew then and there that the name was perfect.”

From an article about Amazon Alexa’s influence on the baby name Alexa:

About 4,250 Alexas are turning five in the U.S. this year. One of them is Amazon’s.

The voice-computing technology that can now control more than 85,000 different devices debuted Nov. 6, 2014.

[…]

In 2015, the year after Amazon Alexa debuted, Alexa was the 32nd most popular female baby name in the U.S., bestowed upon 6,052 newborns that year, according to Social Security Administration data.

Alexa as a baby name has since declined in popularity.

From a DMNES blog post announcing the publication of “Names Shakespeare Didn’t Invent“:

In this article, we revisit three names which are often listed as coinages of Shakespeare’s and show that this received wisdom, though oft-repeated, is in fact incorrect. The three names are Imogen, the heroine of Cymbeline; and Olivia and Viola, the heroines of Twelfth Night. All three of these names pre-date Shakespeare’s use. Further, we show in two of the three cases that it is plausible that Shakespeare was familiar with this earlier usage.

From an article about a surname mash-up in Australia:

Sydney couple Courtney Cassar, 31, and Laura Sheldon, 29, welcomed daughter Lyla Jill last month, but rather than using a hyphen between their family names, they bestowed the ‘mashed-up’ moniker ‘Casseldon’ on their baby girl instead.

From a Fader article about musician/rapper (and snappy dresser) Fonzworth Bentley:

That man was Derek Watkins, but he’d become known to millions as Fonzworth Bentley. His moniker was inspired in part by Bootney Lee Farnsworth, the underdog boxer from the 1975 Sidney Poitier-directed movie Let’s Do It Again.

From an article about the most common names among students at Michigan’s conservative Hillsdale College, which has about 1,500 undergraduates:

The most popular names at Hillsdale are John, with 22 carrying the name; Hannah, appearing 20 times; and Andrew, Emma, and Jacob, which all appear 19 times. Other popular names include Jacob [sic], Michael, Joseph, Matthew, Nicholas, Sarah, and Emily.

Several of these names are popular nationwide, but Hillsdale bucks certain national trends. Many of these students are namesakes to biblical or family figures. 

[…]

The majority of Hillsdale students are between the ages of 18 and 22, with a large portion born in the early 2000s.

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Unusual Baby Name: Vice President

I put together a long list of unusual name combinations a few years back, and one of my favorite names from that list was “Vice President.” It’s just so curious. (Why add the “Vice”? Why not just “President“?)

Turns out, though, that “Vice President” may not have been the boy’s legal name after all.

According to the 1920 U.S. Census, Vice President Evans was born circa 1918 in South Carolina to parents Joseph and Pearla. But I found a similar family on the 1930 Census, and the equivalent child in that family was named “Thomas.”

So my best guess at this point is that “Vice President” was a fake name the parents gave the enumerator — maybe to imply that the toddler was 2nd-in-command after his father? Who knows. Regardless, the name still makes me smile.

The First Appearance of Pepi

five fathers of pepi, ira avery, book, 1950s

The peppy name Pepi first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1956:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 5 baby boys named Pepi [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

What put it there?

“The Five Fathers of Pepi” — a mid-1956 episode of the live anthology TV show The United States Steel Hour.

The episode told the story of a group of men (Giorgio, Benozzo, Jacopo, Carlo, and Vittore) in an Italian town who were raising a war orphan named Pepi.

Pepi, a young orphan, has been adopted by five men of a town on the Italian riviera. Both the “fathers” and the boy are very happy about this arrangement, until the arrival of a wealthy American couple threatens the pleasant state of affairs. The Americans become interested in Pepi and consider adopting him themselves, legally. When they fail to be discouraged by various ruses, the “fathers” feel there is only one thing left to do and it is up to Giorgio, the “bachelor father,” to act quickly.

Giorgio was played by a young Paul Newman, described by a contemporary source as the “outstanding talent of stage, screen and television, who has skyrocketed to stardom during the past year.”

The story, written by Ira Avery, had been published in book form in mid-1955. Interestingly, though, Avery had originally created it as a television script for a 1952 episode of The Philco Television Playhouse.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Pepi? (It’s a pet form of Giuseppe, the Italian form of Joseph.)

Sources:

The Descendants of Tristram Coffyn

“Dresser in Tristram Coffin House, Newburyport, Massachusetts.”

Earlier this week we talked about the original Tristram Coffyn of Nantucket, who is known to have a massive number of descendants.

He and his wife Dionis* had five children in England, then four more after relocating to the New World. Here are the names of not only all nine of their children, but also their 76 grandchildren:

  1. Peter (b. 1631) and his wife Abigail had 11 kids:
    • Parnel, Eliphalet, Abigail, Peter, Jethro**, Tristram, Robert, Edward, Judith, Parnell, Elizabeth
  2. Tristram (b. 1632) and his wife Judith had 10 kids:
    • Judith, Deborah, Mary, James, John, Lydia, Enoch, Stephen, Peter, Nathaniel
  3. Elizabeth (b. 1634) and her husband Stephen Greenleaf had 10 kids:
    • Stephen, Sarah, Daniel, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Tristram, Edmund, Judith, Mary
  4. Stephen (b. 1637)
  5. James (b. 1640) and his wife Mary had 14 kids:
    • Experience, James, Mary, Abigail, Nathaniel, John, Dinah, Elizabeth, Deborah, Ebenezer, Joseph, Benjamin, Ruth, Jonathan
  6. Deborah (b. 1642)
  7. Mary (b. 1645) and her husband Nathaniel Starbuck had 10 kids:
    • Mary, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Jethro, Barnabas, Eunice, Priscilla, Hephzibah, Ann, Paul
  8. John (b. 1647) and his wife Deborah had 11 kids:
    • Lydia, Peter, John, Love, Enoch, Samuel, Hannah, Benjamin, Tristram, Deborah, Elizabeth
  9. Stephen (b. 1652) and his wife Mary had 10 kids:
    • Daniel, Dionis, Peter, Stephen, Judith, Susanna, Anna, Mehitable, Hepzibah, Paul

Which of the above names do you like best? Are there any you don’t like at all?

*Dionis’s name is evidently a truncated form of Dionysia, which derives from Dionysius, which originally referred to a devotee of the Greek god Dionysos. The names Dennis and Denise are also derivatives of Dionysius.

**Nantucket’s Oldest House, also called the Jethro Coffin House, was built in 1686 as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin.

Sources: Tristram Coffin, Sr. (1608-1681) – WikiTree, My Father’s Shoes – Our Coffin Story
Image from Early Settlers of Nantucket by Lydia S. Hinchman