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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Obadiah

Number of Babies Named Obadiah

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Obadiah

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


Names from Boston Burials – Huamy, Waitstill, Mehitable

Husband and I got back from Boston nearly a week ago, but I wanted to mention one more thing about the trip…

A few days after riding in a duck boat, a group of us walked Boston’s Freedom Trail, which includes two historical cemeteries.

I could have spent the entire day in either one, but only got about 10 minutes in each. (My 5-year-old nieces didn’t have much interest in a field full of dead people. Go figure.)

The only bizarre name I managed to spot was Huamy in King’s Chapel Burying Ground (est. 1630).

Huamy headstone at Kings Chapel Burying Ground

Half of her stone is underground, but a mid-19th century book called Memorials of the Dead in Boston offers the full inscription:

Huamy Edridge Martin, died 1721 at 32 years old

Curiously, there was something between the “hu” and the “amy” on the stone — it could have been damage/wear, but it did look a lot like a hyphen. (Could “Hu-Amy” have been short for something? Huldah-Amy?)

The book also included all of the other King’s Chapel inscriptions, which was great, as I got to see so few of them while there.

According to the Memorials of the Dead in Boston, most of the people buried in King’s Chapel had names you’d expect: John, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, Nathaniel, Hannah, Samuel, Martha, etc.

But a handful others were named Eliather, Elishua, Freelove, Gilam, Grizzelle, Hopestill, Obadiah, Relief and Waitstill. (There’s also a Goderee that wasn’t listed in the book.)

I counted 6 women named Mehetabel, though the biblical spelling wasn’t used on any of the inscriptions. Instead, their names were written “Mehetable,” “Mehitable” or “Mehitabel.”

Speaking of variant spellings, I also spotted a Millesent, a Bartholomey, a Ledia, a Returne, and an Urssileur (Ursula).

…And that’s all I’ve got for King’s Chapel. At some point I’ll also post about the names at the Old Granary Burial Ground (the Freedom Trail’s other graveyard) but for now I’ll leave you with this gratuitous shot of one of my impish nieces:

niece scraping mud off headstone
My niece scraping mud off a headstone.

Source: Bridgman, Thomas. Memorials of the Dead in Boston. Boston: Benjamin B. Mussey & Co., 1853.

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.