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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nehemiah

Number of Babies Named Nehemiah

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Nehemiah

What’s Wrong with U? (7 Usable U-Names)

u names, ursa, upton, upson, umber, ukiah, unity, union

What’s wrong with U?

No, I don’t mean you. I mean the letter U.

If 1 is the loneliest number, then U is definitely the loneliest letter. Because, ever since I started looking at first letter frequency in baby names, U has always been the least-used.

Currently just four U-names are in in the boys’ top 1,000, and exactly zero are in the girls’ top 1,000. And those four boy names — Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, and Urijah — make up a sizable chunk of what little U-usage there happens to be.

Does this anti-U trend signify something about modern society, do you think?

We’re more individualistic than ever before — some say more narcissistic. And we do see this individualism reflected in the rise of unusual names, particularly ones that glorify the self, like Amazing, Awesome, Celebrity, Epic, Famous, Gorgeous, Handsome, King, Messiah, President, and Prodigy.

So is this individualism also being reflected in first the letters/sounds we choose? After all, a handful of I-names (Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel, Isla, Isaac, Isaiah) have become prominent lately. So have a pair of “me” names (Mia, Mila).

Meanwhile, the humble U remains at the bottom of the heap. Is it because no one wants to open a name with a letter that reminds them of “you”?

Hm…

If you’re interested in giving U-names a boost, here are 7 under-the-radar options to consider:

Ursa

We’re all familiar with Ursula. She’s a sea-witch, a Bond girl, and a Catholic saint. In other words, Ursula has some strong associations.

Not so with Ursa, the word upon which Ursula was based. Ursa doesn’t have any strong human/character associations — just a couple of celestial ones: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Ursa is based on the Latin word ursus, meaning “bear.” (Bear is itself a trendy choice among celebs these days.) And even though four-letter, vowel-bounded girl names (like Emma, Ella, Aria, Isla, Ayla, and Elsa) are trendy right now, Ursa remains rare.

Upton & Upson

Many toponymic surnames — from Milton and Clifton 100 years ago to Easton and Ashton today — have gone on to become popular baby names. But not Upton and Upson, which are uncommon despite their optimistic sound (up!).

The surnames stem from any of several similar place names that, in most cases, can be traced back to a pair of Old English words meaning “upper, above” (in terms of either altitude or status) and “farm, settlement.”

The most famous Upton was muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, whose best-known work, a 1906 exposé of the meatpacking industry called The Jungle, led to the passage of both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (which, eventually, gave rise to the FDA).

Umber

We all know an Amber. Maybe even an Ember. But how many of us know an Umber? Probably not many of us, as the name is so rare that it’s only appeared in the SSA data one time (in 1995, when 5 baby girls were named Umber).

You know how ombre hair color is fashionable right now? The words ombre and umber are related — both can be traced back to the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.”

Along with Ochre and Sienna, Umber is an “earth pigment” — a naturally occurring mineral used by humans since prehistoric times (i.e., for coloring cave walls, clothing, tools, even skin). The color ranges from brown to reddish-brown. Many famous historical artists, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt, used umber in their paintings.

Ukiah

(yoo-KYE-uh)

Uriah is a Biblical name. So are Josiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and many other names with that telltale “-iah” ending. Sounds like Ukiah should be part of this group, right? But it isn’t.

Ukiah is the name of a place in California. It’s based on Yokaya, which comes from Rancho Yokaya — the name of the mid-19th century Mexican land grant that encompassed what is now the Ukiah Valley. The word yokaya means “south valley” in the language of the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the region.

In 1973, the California-based band The Doobie Brothers released a song about Ukiah.

Though Ukiah has always been rare as a baby name, usage has picked up slightly since the turn of the century.

Unity & Union

Unique is the most self-focused U-name I’m aware of. And now that thousands of people have been named Unique, well, the name just isn’t very unique anymore.

Want to really stand out in the world of baby names today? Choose a name that emphasizes the oneness of the whole as opposed to the oneness of the self.

The names Unity and Union could be seen as opposites of the name Unique. And yet all three are ultimately derived from the same Latin word: unus, meaning “one.”

Unity is given to a couple dozen baby girls per year these days, but Union hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since the 1920s.

*

Do you like any of the U-names above? What other U-names would you recommend?

Sources: Upston – Surname DB, Ukiah, California – Wikipedia


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).

Sources:

Letter by Letter: Popular Baby Boy Names, 2013

popular baby boy names, letter by letter, in 2013

Wondering what the most popular J-names for baby boys are? How about Q-names?

Below are the 10 most popular boy names for each letter, A through Z. (The parenthetical notations show how the current rankings differ from the 2012 rankings.)

The two new #1 names that emerged in 2013 were Hunter, which replaced Henry, and Thomas, which replaced Tyler.

A-Names

1. Alexander, 14771 baby boys
2. Aiden, 13527
3. Anthony, 12164
4. Andrew, 11568
5. Aaron, 7246
6. Adrian, 6802 (was 8th)
7. Austin, 6441
8. Angel, 6320 (was 6th)
9. Ayden, 6035
10. Adam, 5193

B-Names

1. Benjamin, 13373 baby boys
2. Brayden, 7384
3. Brandon, 6180
4. Blake, 5601
5. Bentley, 5344
6. Brody, 4302
7. Bryson, 3783
8. Bryce, 3335
9. Brantley, 3171 (was 13th)
10. Braxton, 3078

Out of the top 10: Bryan, now ranked 11th.

C-Names

1. Christopher, 10765 baby boys
2. Carter, 9512 (was 4th)
3. Caleb, 9500 (was 2nd)
4. Christian, 9261 (was 3rd)
5. Connor, 7058 (was 6th)
6. Charles, 6955 (was 7th)
7. Cameron, 6809 (was 5th)
8. Colton, 6442
9. Chase, 5504
10. Cooper, 4843

D-Names

1. Daniel, 14140 baby boys
2. David, 12226
3. Dylan, 10058
4. Dominic, 6277
5. Damian, 3945
6. Declan, 3097 (was 7th)
7. Diego, 2905 (was 6th)
8. Derek, 1865 (was 9th)
9. Devin, 1828 (was 8th)
10. Damien, 1603

E-Names

1. Ethan, 16127 baby boys
2. Elijah, 13626
3. Eli, 7867
4. Evan, 7070
5. Easton, 4615
6. Elias, 3472 (was 7th)
7. Eric, 3233 (was 6th)
8. Ezra, 2708 (was 10th)
9. Edward, 2679 (was 8th)
10. Emmanuel, 2377 (was 9th)

F-Names

1. Francisco, 1688 baby boys
2. Finn, 1440 (was 3rd)
3. Fernando, 1424 (was 2nd)
4. Felix, 1171 (was 5th)
5. Fabian, 1091 (was 4th)
6. Frank, 996
7. Finnegan, 605
8. Finley, 562 (was 10th)
9. Frederick, 549
10. Franklin, 545 (was 8th)

G-Names

1. Gabriel, 11112 baby boys
2. Gavin, 7379
3. Grayson, 5500
4. Giovanni, 2964
5. Greyson, 2630 (was 9th)
6. George, 2522 (was 7th)
7. Grant, 2401 (was 6th)
8. Gael, 2296 (was 5th)
9. Gage, 2131 (was 8th)
10. Graham, 1876 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Garrett, now ranked 12th.

H-Names

1. Hunter, 8887 baby boys (was 2nd)
2. Henry, 8802 (was 1st)
3. Hudson, 4628
4. Hayden, 2933
5. Harrison, 2491
6. Hector, 1248
7. Holden, 1198
8. Hugo, 653
9. Hayes, 411 (was 13th)
10. Harvey, 399 (was 15th)

Hunter became the new #1 H-name in 2013.

Out of the top 10: Harley, now ranked 11th, and Harper, now 14th.

I-Names

1. Isaac, 10005 baby boys
2. Isaiah, 7754
3. Ian, 5374
4. Ivan, 2846
5. Iker, 1612
6. Israel, 1457
7. Ismael, 741
8. Izaiah, 634
9. Ibrahim, 631 (was 10th)
10. Issac, 585 (was 9th)

J-Names

1. Jacob, 17976 baby boys
2. Jayden, 14656
3. James, 13416
4. Jackson, 12488 (was 6th)
5. Joseph, 12095
6. Joshua, 11680 (was 4th)
7. John, 10588
8. Jack, 8506 (was 9th)
9. Jonathan, 8478 (was 8th)
10. Jaxon, 7479 (was 13th)

Out of the top 10: Jordan, now ranked 12th.

K-Names

1. Kevin, 5892 baby boys
2. Kayden, 4386
3. Kaiden, 3076 (was 6th)
4. Kaleb, 2833 (was 3rd)
5. Kaden, 2606
6. Kyle, 2563 (was 4th)
7. Kenneth, 2159
8. Kingston, 2114 (was 9th)
9. King, 2085 (was 11th)
10. Kai, 1956 (was 8th)

Out of the top 10: Keegan, now ranked 11th.

L-Names

1. Liam, 18002 baby boys
2. Logan, 12270
3. Lucas, 11451
4. Luke, 9497 (was 5th)
5. Landon, 8679 (was 4th)
6. Levi, 7339
7. Lincoln, 4010 (was 8th)
8. Luis, 3976 (was 7th)
9. Leo, 3473
10. Leonardo, 2891

M-Names

1. Mason, 17591 baby boys
2. Michael, 15366
3. Matthew, 13226
4. Micah, 3631
5. Maxwell, 3607 (was 7th)
6. Mateo, 3547 (was 9th)
7. Max, 3492 (was 5th)
8. Miles, 3385 (was 6th)
9. Miguel, 2874 (was 8th)
10. Marcus, 2497

N-Names

1. Noah, 18090 baby boys
2. Nathan, 9620
3. Nicholas, 7078
4. Nolan, 4715 (was 5th)
5. Nathaniel, 4461 (was 4th)
6. Nicolas, 2109
7. Nehemiah, 919
8. Noel, 774
9. Nash, 596 (was 10th)
10. Nico, 561 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Nikolas, now ranked 11th.

O-Names

1. Owen, 8702 baby boys
2. Oliver, 7209
3. Oscar, 2225
4. Omar, 1873
5. Orion, 743
6. Orlando, 465
7. Odin, 447
8. Otto, 338 (was 10th)
9. Omari, 318 (was 8th)
10. Oakley, 288 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Osvaldo, now ranked 11th.

P-Names

1. Parker, 5622 baby boys
2. Preston, 2636
3. Patrick, 2566
4. Paul, 2017 (was 5th)
5. Peter, 1833 (was 6th)
6. Peyton, 1833 (was 4th)
7. Paxton, 1346
8. Pedro, 922
9. Phillip, 858
10. Phoenix, 775 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Pablo, now ranked 13th.

Q-Names

1. Quinn, 875 baby boys
2. Quentin, 722
3. Quinton, 479
4. Quincy, 416
5. Quintin, 248
6. Quinten, 161
7. Quinlan, 59
8. Quade, 34 (was 15th)
9. Quadir, 32 (was 10th)
10. Quran, 31 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Quincey, now ranked 11th, and Quin, now 13th.

R-Names

1. Ryan, 9808 baby boys
2. Robert, 6641
3. Ryder, 3750
4. Roman, 2858 (was 6th)
5. Richard, 2770 (was 4th)
6. Riley, 2531 (was 5th)
7. Ryker, 2462 (was 8th)
8. Rylan, 1882 (was 7th)
9. Ricardo, 1421
10. Reid, 1364 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Raymond, now ranked 11th.

S-Names

1. Samuel, 10957 baby boys
2. Sebastian, 7495
3. Silas, 3367 (was 7th)
4. Sawyer, 3142 (was 6th)
5. Santiago, 3015 (was 4th)
6. Steven, 2850 (was 3rd)
7. Sean, 2180 (was 5th)
8. Simon, 1592 (was 12th)
9. Seth, 1578 (was 8th)
10. Spencer, 1440

Out of the top 10: Stephen, now ranked 11th.

T-Names

1. Thomas, 6708 baby boys (was 2nd)
2. Tyler, 6590 (was 1st)
3. Tristan, 3970
4. Timothy, 3016
5. Theodore, 2397 (was 7th)
6. Tucker, 2220
7. Tanner, 2029 (was 5th)
8. Travis, 1571 (was 9th)
9. Trevor, 1520 (was 8th)
10. Trenton, 1319

Thomas became the new #1 T-name in 2013.

U-Names

1. Uriel, 567 baby boys
2. Uriah, 488
3. Urijah, 298
4. Ulises, 270
5. Ulysses, 164
6. Umar, 94 (was 7th)
7. Unknown, 85 (was 6th) [not a name; used when a name is unknown]
8. Uziel, 77
9. Uzziah, 51 (was 10th)
10. Usman, 39 (was 15th)

Out of the top 10: Usher, now ranked 11th.

V-Names

1. Vincent, 3829 baby boys
2. Victor, 2715
3. Vihaan, 426
4. Valentino, 329 (was 6th)
5. Vicente, 317 (was 4th)
6. Vincenzo, 285 (was 5th)
7. Van, 252 (was 8th)
8. Vaughn, 247 (was 9th)
9. Vance, 244 (was 7th)
10. Valentin, 237

W-Names

1. William, 16495 baby boys
2. Wyatt, 8490
3. Wesley, 2819
4. Weston, 2473
5. Waylon, 1190
6. Walter, 930
7. Walker, 833
8. Warren, 577
9. Wade, 483
10. Winston, 390 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Wilson, now ranked 11th.

X-Names

1. Xavier, 4933 baby boys
2. Xander, 1687
3. Xzavier, 420
4. Xavi, 217
5. Xavion, 81
6. Xaiden, 76
7. Xavian, 63
8. Xavior, 55
9. Xayden, 53
10. Xzander, 43 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Xavien, now ranked 11th.

Y-Names

1. Yahir, 570 baby boys
2. Yusuf, 414
3. Yosef, 328
4. Yousef, 249 (was 5th)
5. Yael, 243 (was 4th)
6. Yair, 206 (was 10th)
7. Yadiel, 202 (was 8th)
8. Yisroel, 179 (was 9th)
9. Yehuda, 174 (was 6th)
10. Youssef, 173 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Yandel, now ranked 14th.

Z-Names

1. Zachary, 5685 baby boys
2. Zayden, 2097 (was 3rd)
3. Zane, 1719 (was 2nd)
4. Zander, 1586 (was 5th)
5. Zion, 1514 (was 4th)
6. Zaiden, 956
7. Zachariah, 744
8. Zayne, 576 (was 9th)
9. Zackary, 463 (was 8th)
10. Zain, 360 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Zechariah, now ranked 11th.

Here are the 2012 rankings, if you want to check them out.

U.S. Baby Names 2013: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths, Top Girl Names by Letter, Top Boy Names by Letter, Top 1-Syllable Names

Baby Boy Almost Given 26 Alphabetical Names

In late 1886, a farmer from Buckingham named Jenkins tried to have his newborn son christened with 26 alphabetical given names:

Abel Benjamin Caleb Daniel Ezra Felix Gabriel Haggai Isaac Jacob Kish Levi Manoah Nehemiah Obadiah Peter Quartus Rechab Samuel Tobiah Uzziel Variah Word Xystus Yariah Zechariah

“[O]nly with the greatest difficulty could the clergyman dissuade the farmer from laying such an incubus upon it, and get him to content himself with the first and last of the names proposed.”

(The clergyman who baptized Ann Bertha Cecelia Diana Emily Fanny Gertrude Hypatia Inez Jane Kate Louise Maud Nora Ophelia Quince Rebecca Starkey Tereza Ulysis Venus Winifred Xenophon Yetty Zeus Pepper must not have minded as much.)

Of the 26 boy names proposed by farmer Jenkins, which do you like best?

Source: “River Reports.” The Anglers’ Journal 13 Nov. 1886.

Ono Titchiner’s Curious Name

Ono Titchiner was born in south London the late 1730s. He became a carpenter, married a woman named Sarah in 1764, had several children, and passed away in 1799. He was buried somewhere on the grounds of St. Giles’ Churchyard in Camberwell.

Graves at St. Giles' Church, Camberwell
Graves at St. Giles’ Church, Camberwell

Ono’s headstone was intact at least until the mid-1880s, when, according to one source, it could be “plainly read from the public footpath which crosses the churchyard.” (I’m not sure if it’s still there.)

Nothing was written about Ono’s curious name while he was alive, but plenty has been written about it since then.

The earliest explanation for “Ono” I could find was in the 1875 book Ye Parish of Camberwell, in which a footnote explains:

Mr. Ono Titchener came by his Christian name in rather a peculiar way. When taken to be christened, the clergyman was about to make a mistake in his name, and his sponsors were proceeding to put the Rev. gentleman right, by remarking, leisurely, “Oh, no.” — “Ono,” remarked the too impetuous parson, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father,” &c.

The story was eventually picked up by the papers. Over the next few decades, it ended up traveling all over the world.

Here’s one version, published in 1885 in a New Zealand newspaper:

With reference to a note upon the subject of curious names that appeared in the St James’ Gazette recently, a correspondent writes:— Possibly there is no stranger baptismal name than one which may be seen in Camberwell churchyard on an old tombstone which is sacred to the memory of a certain Mr Titchener. There is a tradition, and I believe a well-founded one, to the effect that, at the christening of Mr Titchener, the god-parents were unable to agree upon a name for the child. One suggested one name; and another exclaimed, “O no!” and suggested another; and this kind of thing went on for so long that at last the officiating clergyman, declaring that in spite of themselves the sponsors had come to a unanimous decision, baptized the victim Ono.

Here’s another version, published in 1900 in a New York newspaper:

Ono Titchiner, of Peckham, was named under the following circumstances: On arriving at the church his name was not settled upon, and when the clergyman said: “Name this child,” one of the friends said “John,” and another said: “Oh, no,” meaning not John; and as no one else spoke the clergyman thought that was his named and baptized him Ono.

And here’s another, published in 1909 in a Utah newspaper:

“An example of a curious Christian name may be found,” says a correspondent, “nearer your offices than most of the cases you have printed. The facts are these. The father of a boy baby wished him to be christened Thomas. The mother favored the name of Robert. When they arrived at the church the matter was still undecided. The father informed the curate that the child’s name was Thomas. “Oh, no” gasped the mother distressfully. The curate regarding the woman as the ruling spirit promptly baptized the infant Ono.”

So is the “oh no” explanation legit?

It’s plausible, I suppose. Naming errors caused by confusion and miscommunication weren’t unheard of back then. (Remember the baby girl named Robert?)

But I doubt it’s legit. More likely it was just a made-up story that grew into a rumor that got twisted a bit more with every retelling (similar to what happened to Return).

The real source?

I’m guessing the Bible, in which the word “Ono” — the name of both a town and a valley — appears several times, mostly in the Book of Nehemiah.

Sources:

  • Bax, Alfred Ridley. Allegations for Marriage Licences Issued by the Commissary Court of Surrey Between 1673-1770. Norwich: Goose & Son, 1907.
  • Blanch, William Harnett. Ye Parish of Camberwell. London: E. W. Allen, 1875.
  • “Good Baptismal Stories.” Massena Observer 4 Oct. 1900: 6.
  • “How Ono Got His Name.” Deseret News 17 Mar. 1909: 4.
  • “Latest Locals.” Star [New Zealand] 7 Oct. 1885: 3.

Image: Gravestones, St Giles Churchyard by Peter Gasston