Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Maud in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Maud and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Maud.
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Henry I, who ruled England from 1100 to 1135, was one of the sons of William the Conqueror, England’s first Norman king.
About two months after Henry was crowned king (on the interesting date 11/11/1100) he married one of the daughters of Malcolm III of Scotland and his Anglo-Saxon wife, Margaret.
Malcolm and Margaret’s daughter had been baptized with the Anglo-Saxon name Eadgyth [Edith], but when she was crowned Queen of England, she used the name Matilda.
From then on, she was known as either Matilda or Maud.
Why the name change?
Because “Matilda” was a name favored by the Normans. As historian Robert Bartlett put it, “A lot of people changed their names [following the Norman conquest] because they wanted to pass in polite society — they didn’t want to be mistaken for a peasant, marked out with an Anglo-Saxon name.”
In fact, Norman nobles liked to mock the couple by calling them Godric and Godiva, both of which are Anglo-Saxon names. “Godric and Godiva were the Jack and Jill of their period.”
Bardsley, Charles Wareing Endell. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames. London: Henry Frowde, 1901.
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)
Back in June, while planning a family camping trip, I posted about the name Acadia. Now that we’re back from that camping trip, I have a few more names to talk about.
For the first half of the trip we stayed at Prince Edward Island National Park in Canada. At our campground, the bilingual poison ivy signs emphasized the words “Caution” (in English) and “Prudence” (in French). Prudence is a vocabulary word in both languages, of course, but these signs gave me the impression that it’s more commonly used in French, which in turn made me wonder how French speakers feel about the name Prudence. Does it sound weird to them? (As weird as the name Caution would sound to English speakers?) Hm.
While doing some genealogical research in one of PEI’s many graveyards, I came across the name Sophus. It belonged to Daniel Sophus Edmonds, 1877-1900. Sophus has the same root as the super-popular Sophia. Both come from the Ancient Greek word for “wisdom.”
Halfway through the trip, while traveling back to the U.S. from Canada, we stopped at Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. As I was checking out the rock formations, I idly wondered how many people in the U.S. were named Hopewell. Not many, turns out. I found only a few dozen people named Hopewell, none born since 1980. The total might be as high as 100 if middle names are included.
For the second half of the trip we stayed at Acadia National Park in Maine. The park has hundreds of miles of hiking trails. One of the men who created and mapped these trails was Waldron Bates (1856-1909). He also developed a distinctive type of cairn, unique to Acadia, known as the Bates cairn. The name Waldron, while rare, has appeared a couple dozen times on the national baby name list.
Acadia’s Jordan Pond Gate Lodge (1932), which resembles a 16th-century French hunting lodge, was commissioned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and designed by prominent New York architect Grosvenor “Grove” Atterbury. No doubt Grove’s given name was inspired by the surname Grosvenor, which comes from the French phrase le Gros Veneur, meaning “the chief huntsman.” Rockefeller later donated the Gate Lodge — and the 45 miles of rustic carriage roads it protected — to the park.
These were probably the 5 most interesting names I spotted during the trip, but there were plenty of others. (Lucy, Maud, Montgomery, and Anne, for instance, were names I saw repeatedly at Green Gables on PEI.)
Have you taken a vacation this summer? If so, did you spot any interesting names while away?
The article also mentioned that, over the years, some names have been outpaced by their diminutive forms — Alfred by Alfie, Frederick by Freddie, Archibald by Archie, Charles by Charlie, Alexandra by Lexi, Sophia by Sophie, Eleanor by Ellie, and so forth.
*Blodwen is Welsh for “white flowers.” The Breton form is Bleuzen, in case you were wondering.
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.
Lord Francis Knollys was a close friend of the British royal family. So close that he served as as Private Secretary to the Sovereign under both Edward VII (from 1901 to 1910) and George V (from 1910 to 1913).
It’s not too surprising, then, that both of Knollys’ children were named in honor of the royals. His daughter was named Alexandra Louvima Elizabeth (b. 1888) and his son was named Edward George William (b. 1895).
Alexandra, Elizabeth, Edward, George, William — these are all names we know.
But “Louvima”? Where did that come from?
Turns out it’s an acronym. Edward VII (who was still “Albert Edward, Prince of Wales” back in 1888) and his wife Alexandra had six children: Albert Victor, George (later George V), Louise, Victoria, Maud, and Alexander John. “Louvima” was created from the first letters of the names of Edward’s three daughters:
Louvima = Louise + Victoria + Maud
The papers picked up on the interesting birth name right away. Here’s an article that appeared in a New Zealand newspaper in July of 1888:
Few people have noticed the second name bestowed on Sir Francis Knollys’ little daughter, who was baptised on May 5. Sir Francis, as every one knows, is the energetic and popular private secretary of the Prince of Wales, and in a torrent of grateful loyalty he has called his firstborn “Louvima,” a marvellous amalgam of the Christian names of the three young Princesses of Wales, “Louisa [sic], Victoria, Maud.” Since the expectant Mrs. Kenwigs invented the name of Morleena we have had nothing quite so good as this.
(Morleena Kenwig is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby.)
Here’s a second-hand account printed in Notes & Queries that same month:
Louvima, a new Christian Name — It is stated in the newspapers — but it may not be correct; for, as Theodore Hook said to the credulous old lady, “Those rascally newspapers will say anything” — that Sir Francis Knollys, private secretary to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, has named his first-born Louvima, which is an ingenious amalgam of the names of the three daughters of the Prince — Louise, Victoria, and Maud.
After the news of Louvima Knollys got out, the rare name Louvima was given to baby girls in England (and other English-speaking regions) considerably more often. This lasted until the late 1910s.
Here are some of the Louvimas I found:
Hilda Louvima Pritchard, born in 1888 in England
Evangeline Louvima Brumbley, born in 1888 in England
Louvima Perline Ann Cunningham, born in 1889 in Arkansas
Lilian Louvima Daisy Blake, born in 1889 in South Africa
Louvima Primrose Massey-Hicks, born in 1890 in South Africa
Nina Louvima Shann, born in 1892 in New Zealand
Louvima Evelina Youell, born in 1893 in England
Louvima Griswold, born in 1894 in Idaho
Annie Louvima Brooksband, born in 1895 in England
Rita Louvima Faulkner, born in 1898 in Canada
Louvima Marie Crosson, born in 1901 in Florida
Louvima Naylor, born in 1902 in Iowa
Laura Louvima McKenzie, born in 1902 in Michigan
Florence Louvima Major, born in 1908 in Canada
I also discovered more than a few horses and boats named Louvima during this period.
One of those horses, in fact, belonged to the royal family itself. Which makes me wonder: who came up with the name originally? Was it Francis Knollys’ invention, or did he get the idea from someone in the royal family? Maybe one of the sisters? (The Romanov sisters — Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia — referred to themselves by the acronym “OTMA.”)
Louvima Knollys grew up very close to the royal family. In the photo below, taken in 1897, she’s posing with Queen Alexandra. The Queen is dressed as Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV of France, and Louvima is dressed as a pageboy.
Louvima married twice, and had a son with her first husband (who died during WWI). Through her son she had four grandchildren and at least six great-grandchildren. As far as I can tell, Louvima’s unique name has not (yet) been passed down to any of her descendants.
Bede, Cuthbert. “Louvima, a New Christian Name.” Notes & Queries 7 Jul. 1888: 6.
Dutt, William Alfred. The King’s Homeland. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1904.