How popular is the baby name Milton in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Milton and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Milton.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Milton

Number of Babies Named Milton

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Milton

Sicilian Baby Named for Uncle Sam During WWII

Uncle Sam army posterOn July 9, 1943, the Allies invaded the island of Sicily. Within six weeks they had expelled the Axis entirely, opening up Mediterranean sea lanes for Allied ships and setting the stage for the invasion of mainland Italy.

But before the battle was over, in early August, two American servicemen — 1st Lt. Lawrence Taylor (who was a doctor) and Sgt. Milton Spelman — helped a Sicilian woman give birth a baby boy amid the chaos.

As a thank-you to the American doctor, she decided to name the baby Sam after Uncle Sam.

“The shells were landing all about,” Taylor recalled, “but we got through the delivery okay. The mother, who lived in New York once, told us her husband was with an Italian combat unit near Rome and believed in fascism. But she didn’t. Spelman and I became little Sam’s god-fathers.”

So how did Uncle Sam get his name? The Library of Congress says that the origin of the term “Uncle Sam” is obscure, but “[h]istorical sources attribute the name to a meat packer who supplied meat to the army during the War of 1812” — Samuel Wilson (1766-1854) of Troy, New York. According to the story, the soldiers who knew of “Uncle Sam” Wilson began to associate his nickname with the “U.S.” stamp on packaged meats, and over time the nickname simply became associated with anything marked “U.S.”

The name Samuel comes from the Hebrew name Shemuel/Shmuel and is typically defined as “name of God” (shem + el). Another possible definition is “heard of God” (shama + el).


More WWII baby names: Adolf Hitler, Dorie, Fifinella, Hai-Hu, Irene, Jesse Roper, Linda Ann, Linda Vista, Roger, Tunisia, Vee

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1867

providence baby names 1867The 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…

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

Girl Names

Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.

  1. Mary, 138 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 46
  3. Ellen, 37
  4. Margaret, 34
  5. Sarah, 31
  6. Annie, 19
  7. Elizabeth, 16
  8. Alice, 15
  9. Florence, 14
  10. Ann, Emma & Ida, 12 each (3-way tie)
  11. Minnie, 11
  12. Harriet & Julia, 9 each (2-way tie)
  13. Anna, Caroline, Carrie, Jennie, Joanna & Louisa, 8 each (6-way tie)
  14. Cora & Eliza, 7 each (2-way tie)
  15. Agnes, Clara, Edith, Rosanna & Theresa, 6 each (5-way tie)
  16. Bertha, Grace, Hannah, Hattie, Jane, Lillian, Maria, Martha, Nellie & Susan, 5 each (10-way tie)
  17. Eleanor, Fannie, Gertrude, Helen, Isabella, Lucy & Rosa, 4 each (7-way tie)
  18. Anne, Bridget, Ella, Emily, Esther, Eva, Lizzie, Mabel, Matilda & Ruth, 3 each (10-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amelia, Charlotte, Dora, Eleanora, Elvira, Henrietta, Jessie, Josephine, Kate, Louise, Lydia, Maggie & Rosella, 2 each (14-way tie)
  20. Abby, Addie, Adelaide, Adelia, Almina, Almira, Amanda, Amey, Amy, Anastasia, Angelie, Annis, Antoinette, Augusta, Aurelia, Bethiah, Cecelia, Celia, Clarissa, Clementina, Corielynn, Cornelia, Drusilla, Effie, Emeline, Estella, Ethelin, Fanny, Florentina, Frances, Gelie, Genevieve, Georgiana, Georgianna, Helena, Honora, Irene, Isabel, Issie, Juliann, Julietta, Katie, Laura, Leah, Leonora, Lillie, Lillis, Lily, Lottie, Luella, Margaretta, Margery, Margret, Marietta, Maude, May, Millie, Myra, Nelly, Phebe, Robie, Rosalthe, Rose, Selina, Sophia, Susanna, Susannah, Vienna, Viola, Vira, Virginia & Winifred, 1 each (72-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. John, 87 baby boys
  2. William, 75
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 50
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 40
  7. Joseph, 30
  8. Walter, 21
  9. Edward, 16
  10. Francis & Michael, 14 each (2-way tie)
  11. Patrick, 13
  12. Arthur & Robert, 12 each (2-way tie)
  13. Frank, Frederick & Henry, 11 each (3-way tie)
  14. Albert, 9
  15. Daniel & Peter, 8 each (2-way tie)
  16. David, Eugene, Howard & Samuel, 6 each (4-way tie)
  17. Alexander, Louis & Stephen, 5 each (3-way tie)
  18. Harry, Herbert, Hugh & Martin, 4 each (4-way tie)
  19. Carl, Edgar, Everett, Jeremiah & Willie, 3 each (5-way tie)
  20. Abraham, Alfred, Clarence, Cornelius, Dennis, Ernest, Ezra, Franklin, Freddie, Jacob, Jesse, Lewis, Luke, Nicholas, Philip, Sylvester, Theodore, Timothy, 2 each (18-way tie)
  21. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Amos, Andrew, Appleton, Archibald, Ashel, August, Benjamin, Benno, Bernard, Bertram, Burt, Byron, Clifford, Davis, Dexter, Dunlap, Edmund, Edwin, Elmer*, Embert, Forrest, Freddy, Gustav, Herman, Isaac, Jeffrey, Jerome, Josiah, Lucian, Malcolm, Matthew, Maurice, Milton, Nathan, Nehemiah, Nelson, Oren, Oscar, Otto, Owen, Paul, Ralph, Reginald, Richard, Sanford, Seth, Shirley, Sullivan, Terence, Theobald, Victor, Wanton, Warren, Weston, Wheelan, Wilford, 1 each (59-way tie)

*Elmer, who had the middle initial “E.,” was likely named after Civil War casualty Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Twins & Triplets

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.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g) Triplets
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).


Normandie, Take Two

Normandie from Terry and the Pirates (comic strip)
The elusive Normandie Drake!
Last year I guessed that the 1935 debut of Normandie on the SSA’s list was inspired by the maiden voyage of the SS Normandie.

Just a few weeks ago, though, I stumbled upon a theory that makes a lot more sense.

I was in the middle of researching the name Terrylea (a one-hit wonder from 1948 — any guesses?) when I found myself on the IMDB page for Terry and the Pirates (1940).

IMDB pages are full of names, so whenever I land on one I feel compelled to skim. And on this particular page I happened to spot the character name “Normandie Drake.”

It made me think of the baby name Normandie, of course, but the release year didn’t match up to any of the SSA data, so…dead end, right?

Well, turns out the movie was based on a popular comic strip of the same name by cartoonist Milton Caniff. The strip was first published in late 1934.

And which character was introduced in January of 1935? Normandie Drake.

Very intriguing — especially when you consider that a number of baby name debuts from that era were inspired by comic strip characters (e.g., Clovia, Dondi).

Another interesting point: Normandie Drake wasn’t featured in every storyline, and her comings and goings in the comic seem to correspond with the fluctuating usage of the name.

In 1942, for instance, she reappeared after an absence. That same year, the usage of Normandie increased:

  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: 9 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1943: 9 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1942: 14 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted
  • 1939: unlisted
  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: 11 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1936: unlisted
  • 1935: 7 baby girls named Normandie [debut]
  • 1934: unlisted

Not only that, but she brought along her young daughter Merrily* and the baby name Merrily** promptly skyrocketed into the top 1,000:

  • 1944: 71 baby girls named Merrily
  • 1943: 120 baby girls named Merrily [ranked 914th]
  • 1942: 201 baby girls named Merrily [ranked 698th]
  • 1941: 13 baby girls named Merrily [ranked 513th]
  • 1940: unlisted

A magazine interview with Milton Caniff from a few years later (1945) included a photo of two little girls named Merrily after the character. The caption also mentioned young girls named Normandie after Normandie Drake and April after another Terry character, April Kane.

So, in light of all this new information, I have to admit that my first theory was incorrect. The debut was much more likely caused by Normandie Drake than by the SS Normandie. (Although I do think the ocean liner could have been a secondary influence here.)

Sorry I didn’t have the full story on this one before posting about it initially. Better late than never, though. :)

*Milton Caniff named and modeled Merrily after Mary Lee Engli, the daughter of fellow cartoonist Frank Engli.
**The baby names Merrilee and Merrilie were also affected.


Name Son Flimptz, Suggests Brooklyn Librarian

Ever wonder how many Brooklyn Public Library patrons asked for baby name help per week during the late 1930s?

Me too! (What are the odds…)

Here’s the answer:

Aides of Dr. Milton James Ferguson, chief librarian, said yesterday that an average of 300 to 400 requests for help in naming the baby are received weekly by the Brooklyn Library and its thirty-five branches.

At that time, there were about 780 births per week in Brooklyn.

How did the librarians handle these requests? They had a system.

First they directed patrons to the baby name books.

If that didn’t work, they allowed patrons access to the 560,000 names in the library’s central registration office. Names on file included “Axford, Basline, Develia, Earline, Edellus, Emleta, Florayne, General, Gurdeon, Hency, Icelda, Linken, Meryren, Nylete, Pence, Permetta, Shulamith, Vicilla and Wyema.”

The third “extraordinary method, for emergency use only” was “coining a new name.”

This has resulted in such inspirational products as Iamboy, Glamoureen, Stottaway and Flimptz. The librarian-inventor of Flimptz suggested that it be bestowed upon “a blue-eyed boy of a rather pixie nature.”

Sadly, my source didn’t specify whether patrons ever used any of these made-up names, so if you ever meet a Brooklynite named Flimptz, please e-mail me right away.

Source: “Supplying Names for 300 to 400 Babies Taxes Ingenuity of Library Aides Each Week.” New York Times 26 Feb. 1938.

Milton Billy – First Helicopter Baby?

In January of 1959, the wife of U.S. Army sergeant William S. Nolan went into labor with the couple’s second child. Nolan was stationed in Germany at the time, and the roads were too icy for driving, so they boarded an H-34 helicopter and braved “dangerous flying conditions” in an attempt to reach the U.S. Army hospital in Nuremberg in time for the birth.

The baby boy had other plans, though. He arrived about 10 minutes before landing in what an Army spokesman called “possibly the first helicopter delivery in history.” He weighed 6 1/2 pounds, had red hair, and was named Milton Billy after two of the helicopter’s crew members: pilot 1st Lt. Milton Olsen of Idaho and crew chief PFO Billy Owen of Alabama.


  • “Bavarian Storks Have Competition.” Lodi News-Sentinel 13 Jan. 1959: 10.
  • “GI’s Wife Gives Birth to Child in Army Helicopter.” Schenectady Gazette 13 Jan. 1959: 1.

Namestorm 1 – Baby Names for Chocolate Lovers

I think that baby names that come from sources you love — your family, your values, your interests — are some of the best names going. So I thought I’d write some posts that focus on drawing usable, meaningful baby names out of interests, hobbies, pastimes and other activities that many of us have in common.

I know scores of chocolate lovers, so let’s start with chocolate. Below are names I found while researching the evolution of chocolate from the bitter Mesoamerican beverage it once was to the sweet, addictive confection it now is.

Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés was one of the first Europeans to try (and like) chocolate, circa 1519.

Ulster-Scot physician Hans Sloane (technically) invented chocolate milk while visiting Jamaica in the 1680s.

John and James
Irish immigrant John Hannon and American physician James Baker opened America’s first successful chocolate mill in Massachusetts in 1765.

Casparus and Coenraad
Dutch father-and-son chocolate makers Casparus van Houten and Coenraad van Houten developed several chocolate manufacturing techniques, including the Dutch process, in the early 1800s.

Joseph and Francis
English chocolate maker Joseph S. Fry began was the first to use a steam engine to grind cocoa beans in 1795. His son Francis Fry was head of J. S. Fry & Sons when the company introduced the first chocolate bar in 1847.

An anonymous worker at the Ghirardelli factory in San Francisco discovered the Broma process around 1865. (Italian-born Domingo Ghirardelli was originally known as Domenico.)

Daniel and Henri
Swiss chocolate maker Daniel Peter produced the first milk chocolate bar in 1875, after years of experimentation. He did so by using the powdered milk invented by German baby formula maker Henri Nestlé (originally named Heinrich).

Swiss chocolate maker Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching machine in 1879.

American confectioner Milton S. Hershey built the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant in 1905 in what is today known as Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Swiss chocolate maker Jules Séchaud invented a machine for manufacturing filled chocolates in 1913.

And now, two questions for you:

  • What other chocolate-inspired names can you come up with?
  • What other interests and activities should we namestorm about next?

Sources: A Brief History of Chocolate, Chocolate, the exhibition, The History of Chocolate, Wikipedia