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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ophelia

Number of Babies Named Ophelia

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Ophelia

Olivia Twenty, Named for $20

Children’s book author Roald Dahl, who was named after Roald Amundsen and who also created the Fifinella gremlin, was born in Wales in 1916.

He married American actress Patricia Neal in 1953 and they had a total of five children together.

Their first baby was named Olivia Twenty. Why?

Olivia Twenty was born in New York on April 20, 1955, and named after her mother’s favorite Shakespearean heroine, the date of her birth, and the fact that Roald had $20 in his pocket when he came to visit Pat in the hospital.

And their second child, originally called Chantal Sophia, ended up getting a name change:

A few days after Chantal had been christened, Roald realized her name rhymed with Dahl and renamed her Tessa.

The last three three Dahl children were named Theo Matthew, Ophelia Magdalena, and Lucy Neal. My guess is that Ophelia is another Shakespeare reference, and that Sophia and Magdalena came from Dahl’s mother, Sofie Magdalene. I’m not sure what inspired the other names.

[Sadly, Olivia Twenty died of the measles in 1962, before a reliable measles vaccine had been developed.]

Source: Sturrock, Donald. Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.


Letter by Letter: Popular Baby Girl Names, 2013

popular baby girl names, letter by letter, in 2013

Wondering what the most popular K-names for baby girls are? How about R-names?

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

The four new #1 names that emerged in 2013 were Charlotte, which replaced Chloe, Delilah, which replaced Destiny, Harper, which replaced Hannah, and Lillian, which replaced Lily.

A-Names

1. Ava, 15129 baby girls
2. Abigail, 12313
3. Avery, 9121
4. Amelia, 7979 (was 6th)
5. Aubrey, 7927
6. Addison, 7677 (was 4th)
7. Audrey, 5567 (was 11th)
8. Allison, 5405 (was 9th)
9. Anna, 5315 (was 7th)
10. Aaliyah, 5195 (was 8th)

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

B-Names

1. Brooklyn, 6837 baby girls
2. Bella, 4135 (was 3rd)
3. Brianna, 3869 (was 2nd)
4. Bailey, 2993
5. Brooke, 2736
6. Brielle, 2674
7. Brooklynn, 2140
8. Brynn, 1478
9. Brynlee, 1175 (was 11th)
10. Bianca, 1048

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

C-Names

1. Charlotte, 9232 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Chloe, 8714 (was 1st)
3. Camila, 5127 (was 4th)
4. Claire, 4626 (was 3rd)
5. Caroline, 3955
6. Cora, 2569 (was 7th)
7. Clara, 2486 (was 6th)
8. Catherine, 1840
9. Cecilia, 1430
10. Callie, 1404

Charlotte became the new #1 C-name in 2013.

D-Names

1. Delilah, 2324 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Destiny, 2277 (was 1st)
3. Daisy, 1620
4. Daniela, 1433
5. Delaney, 1265 (was 7th)
6. Danielle, 1220 (was 5th)
7. Diana, 1171 (was 6th)
8. Daniella, 1090 (was 9th)
9. Dakota, 1074 (was 8th)
10. Daphne, 770

Delilah became the new #1 D-name in 2013.

E-Names

1. Emma, 20788 baby girls
2. Emily, 13044
3. Elizabeth, 9345
4. Ella, 8370
5. Evelyn, 7616
6. Ellie, 3739
7. Eva, 3386
8. Eleanor, 2986
9. Eliana, 2584 (was 10th)
10. Elena, 2371 (was 9th)

F-Names

1. Faith, 3349 baby girls
2. Fiona, 1625
3. Finley, 1089 (was 3rd)
4. Fatima, 1036 (was 4th)
5. Francesca, 711 (was 6th)
6. Fernanda, 583 (was 5th)
7. Felicity, 493 (was 8th)
8. Farrah, 451 (was 7th)
9. Frances, 401
10. Freya, 279 (was 13th)

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

G-Names

1. Grace, 7296 baby girls
2. Gabriella, 5173
3. Genesis, 4280
4. Gianna, 3416
5. Gabrielle, 2188
6. Gracie, 1924
7. Giselle, 1559
8. Genevieve, 1445 (was 9th)
9. Gabriela, 1438 (was 8th)
10. Georgia, 1250 (was 11th)

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

H-Names

1. Harper, 8222 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Hannah, 7222 (was 1st)
3. Hailey, 4994
4. Hadley, 2807
5. Hazel, 2039
6. Hayden, 1674 (was 7th)
7. Harmony, 1602 (was 8th)
8. Haley, 1396 (was 6th)
9. Hope, 1359
10. Heaven, 982 (was 11th)

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

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

I-Names

1. Isabella, 17490 baby girls
2. Isabelle, 2729
3. Isabel, 2317
4. Ivy, 2079 (was 5th)
5. Isla, 1900 (was 6th)
6. Izabella, 1769 (was 4th)
7. Iris, 1238
8. Itzel, 697 (was 9th)
9. Imani, 622 (was 8th)
10. Isis, 496

J-Names

1. Julia, 3715 baby girls
2. Jocelyn, 3133 (was 3rd)
3. Jasmine, 3024 (was 2nd)
4. Jade, 2570
5. Jordyn, 2371
6. Juliana, 2085 (was 7th)
7. Josephine, 1996 (was 8th)
8. Jessica, 1935 (was 6th)
9. Jayla, 1822 (was 10th)
10. Julianna, 1685 (was 11th)

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

K-Names

1. Kaylee, 5079 baby girls
2. Kylie, 4003 (was 3rd)
3. Kennedy, 3932 (was 6th)
4. Katherine, 3693
5. Khloe, 3654 (was 2nd)
6. Kayla, 3236 (was 5th)
7. Kimberly, 3084
8. Kendall, 2504
9. Kaitlyn, 2361
10. Katelyn, 2126

L-Names

1. Lillian, 7017 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Lily, 6935 (was 1st)
3. Layla, 6440
4. Leah, 5554
5. Lucy, 3914
6. London, 3430 (was 7th)
7. Lauren, 3330 (was 6th)
8. Lydia, 3220
9. Liliana, 2597 (was 10th)
10. Lilly, 2586 (was 9th)

Lillian became the new #1 L-name in 2013.

M-Names

1. Mia, 13066 baby girls
2. Madison, 10529
3. Mackenzie, 3990 (was 6th)
4. Madelyn, 3908 (was 4th)
5. Maya, 3783 (was 3rd)
6. Mila, 3661 (was 13th)
7. Melanie, 3455
8. Madeline, 3348 (was 10th)
9. Makayla, 3258 (was 5th)
10. Morgan, 3094 (was 8th)

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

N-Names

1. Natalie, 7430 baby girls
2. Nevaeh, 4716
3. Nora, 3482 (was 4th)
4. Naomi, 3400 (was 3rd)
5. Nicole, 3325
6. Natalia, 2613
7. Norah, 1715
8. Nina, 1100
9. Noelle, 1066 (was 10th)
10. Nyla, 1025 (was 11th)

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

O-Names

1. Olivia, 18256 baby girls
2. Olive, 1086
3. Oakley, 272
4. Ophelia, 184
5. Opal, 123
6. Oaklee, 110 (was 9th)
7. Olyvia, 100 (was 6th)
8. Oriana, 75 (was 16th)
9. Octavia, 73 (was 8th)
10. Orianna, 68 (was 17th)

Out of the top 10: Olga, now ranked 13th, and October, now 20th.

(Oriana/Orianna probably got a boost from Ariana.)

P-Names

1. Peyton, 4539 baby girls
2. Penelope, 4258 (was 6th)
3. Paisley, 3584 (was 4th)
4. Piper, 3159 (was 2nd)
5. Payton, 2597 (was 3rd)
6. Paige, 2560 (was 5th)
7. Presley, 1619
8. Paris, 1229
9. Parker, 1195 (was 10th)
10. Phoebe, 1050 (was 9th)

Q-Names

1. Quinn, 2634 baby girls
2. Quincy, 128
3. Queen, 126
4. Queenie, 37 (was 5th)
5. Quetzalli, 36 (was 4th)
6. Quorra, 35
7. Quinley, 31 (was 9th)
8. Quinlan, 29 (was 7th)
9. Quincey, 28 (was 8th)
10. Quetzaly, 26 (was 14th)

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

R-Names

1. Riley, 4902 baby girls
2. Ruby, 3269 (was 3rd)
3. Reagan, 3020 (was 2nd)
4. Rylee, 2878
5. Rachel, 2271 (was 6th)
6. Reese, 2052 (was 5th)
7. Rebecca, 1773
8. Ryleigh, 1709
9. Rose, 1407
10. Raelynn, 1109 (was 11th)

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

S-Names

1. Sophia, 21075 baby girls
2. Sofia, 9108
3. Samantha, 6453
4. Savannah, 5192
5. Scarlett, 5031 (was 8th)
6. Sarah, 4635 (was 5th)
7. Sadie, 4614 (was 12th)
8. Serenity, 4412 (was 7th)
9. Stella, 3880
10. Skylar, 3764 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Sophie, now ranked 11th, and Sydney, now 12th.

T-Names

1. Taylor, 4108 baby girls
2. Trinity, 2895
3. Tessa, 1313
4. Teagan, 1211
5. Tatum, 970
6. Talia, 902 (was 7th)
7. Tiffany, 699 (was 6th)
8. Tatiana, 548 (was 9th)
9. Tiana, 540 (was 8th)
10. Tenley, 514

U-Names

1. Unique, 144 baby girls
2. Unknown, 57 (was 3rd) [not a name; used when a name is unknown]
3. Uma, 56 (was 2nd)
4. Una, 39
5. Uriah, 32 (was 6th)
6. Ursula, 29 (was 5th)
7. Unity, 20
8. Umaiza, 14
9. Urvi, 14 (was 12th)
10. Ulani, 12 (was 13th)

Out of the top 10: Urijah, now ranked 11th, and Uriyah, now 13th.

V-Names

1. Victoria, 7155 baby girls
2. Violet, 3895
3. Vivian, 2629 (was 4th)
4. Valentina, 2542 (was 6th)
5. Vanessa, 2085 (was 3rd)
6. Valerie, 1862 (was 7th)
7. Valeria, 1807 (was 5th)
8. Vivienne, 1124 (was 9th)
9. Veronica, 947 (was 8th)
10. Vera, 715 (was 11th)

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

W-Names

1. Willow, 2055 baby girls
2. Whitney, 477
3. Winter, 418 (was 5th)
4. Willa, 404 (was 3rd)
5. Wendy, 394 (was 4th)
6. Wren, 332
7. Wynter, 264
8. Whitley, 170
9. Waverly, 107 (was 10th)
10. Winnie, 105 (was 9th)

X-Names

1. Ximena, 1951 baby girls
2. Xiomara, 166
3. Xochitl, 115
4. Xitlali, 69
5. Xena, 67 (was 6th)
6. Xenia, 57 (was 7th)
7. Xitlaly, 47 (was 5th)
8. Xyla, 42
9. Xaria, 30 (was 10th)
10. Xoey, 26 (was 12th)

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

Y-Names

1. Yaretzi, 1044 baby girls
2. Yareli, 430
3. Yamileth, 335 (was 5th)
4. Yasmin, 326 (was 3rd)
5. Yaritza, 301 (was 4th)
6. Yesenia, 237
7. Yaretzy, 228 (was 11th)
8. Yara, 207 (was 10th)
9. Yamilet, 200 (was 14th)
10. Yoselin, 196 (was 7th)

Out of the top 10: Yuliana, now ranked 11th, and Yazmin, now 13th.

Z-Names

1. Zoey, 7187 baby girls
2. Zoe, 5920
3. Zara, 625 (was 4th)
4. Zariah, 567 (was 3rd)
5. Zuri, 563 (was 6th)
6. Zoie, 427 (was 5th)
7. Zariyah, 347 (was 8th)
8. Zaniyah, 346 (was 9th)
9. Zaria, 328 (was 10th)
10. Zion, 324 (was 7th)

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

List of Female Names from 1888

female names, 1888

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:

Abigail
Ada
Adelaide
Adelle
Adeline
Addie
Aggie
Agnes
Alberta
Alecia
Aletha
Alfretta
Alice
Allie
Alma
Almeda
Almira
Alta
Althea
Alvira
Alzina
Amanda
Amelia
Amy
Ann
Anna
Annabell
Annas
Annette
Angelia
Angeline
Annie
Athaliah
Athelia
Augusta
Aura
Avis
Barbara
Beatrice
Bell
Bella
Berdie
Bertha
Bertie
Bessie
Beulah
Blanche
Bridget
Calista
Carrie
Carlotta
Cassie
Catherine
Cecilia
Cela
Celia
Celicia
Celis
Charlotte
Chloe
Christie
Christine
Clara
Clarissa
Cleanthe
Clementina
Constance
Cora
Cordelia
Corinne
Cornelia
Cynthia
Cyrena
Debbie
Delia
Della
Diana
Diantha
Dinah
Dollie
Dora
Dorcas
Dorinda
Dorothy
Edith
Edna
Effie
Ella
Eleanor
Eleanora
Electa
Ellen
Elfie
Eliza
Elma
Elsie
Emma
Emmeline
Emily
Ena
Erma
Estelle
Esther
Ethel
Ethelind
Ettie
Eugenie
Eula
Eunice
Euphemia
Euretta
Eva
Evalina
Eveline
Evelyn
Fannie
Felicia
Flora
Florence
Floss
Frances
Frank
Gay
Georgie
Georgina
Geraldine
Gertie
Gracie
Hagar
Hannah
Harriet
Hattie
Helen
Helena
Henrietta
Hulda
Ida
Irene
Isabel
Isabella
Isadora
Jane
Janet
Janie
Jeannette
Jemima
Jennet
Jennie
Jessie
Jerusha
Joanna
Josephine
Josie
Julia
Kate
Kathleen
Katie
Keziah
Lany
Laura
Leah
Leila
Lena
Lera
Lettie
Levina
Levinia
Libbie
Lida
Lilian
Lillie
Lizzie
Lola
Lora
Lorretta
Lottie
Lou
Louisa
Louise
Lucinda
Lucretia
Lucy
Luella
Lula
Lulu
Lydia
Mabel
Madelaine
Maggie
Malvina
Mamie
Marcella
Margaret
Maria
Marilla
Marion
Mary
Marsena
Martha
Mattie
Maud
Maudie
May
Melinda
Mellissa
Mercy
Mertie
Mildred
Millie
Mina
Minerva
Minnie
Mintha
Miranda
Mollie
Muriel
Myra
Myrtle
Nancy
Naomi
Nellie
Nettie
Nina
Nora
Ollie
Olive
Olivia
Ormanda
Ophelia
Pauline
Pearl
Phoebe
Phyllis
Priscilla
Prudence
Rachel
Rebecca
Rhoda
Robena
Rosa
Rosabel
Rosalie
Rosalind
Rosamond
Rose
Ruby
Ruth
Sabina
Sadie
Sally
Samantha
Sarah
Selina
Sophia
Sophronia
Stella
Susanna
Susie
Sybil
Teresa
Theodocia
Theresa
Tillie
Una
Verna
Victoria
Vida
Viola
Violet
Wilhelmina
Winifred
Zuba

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.

Source: A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names by George J. Howson

Female Names in Texas, 1860

Vicki Betts, a librarian at the University of Texas, put together a neat list of female names using the 1860 census records for Smith County, Texas.

Here’s some background information, per Vicki:

Ninety per cent of the people had emigrated to the county within the preceding ten years, 95.8% born in the states of the future Confederacy, 1.8% in the border states, 1.6% in northern states, and 0.8% in foreign countries. Therefore, these name should be fairly representative of Southern female names in general, with the exception of Alamo, Texas, Texana, etc.

And now the names! Here are the names that appeared most frequently on the 1860 Smith County census:

Mary, 501
Sarah, 271
Martha, 247
Elizabeth, 218
Jane, 199
Ann, 198
Nancy, 176
Margaret, 98
Susan, 95
Frances, 94
Eliza, 74
Amanda, 65
Louisa, 61
Laura, 52
Lucinda, 50
Rebecca, 50
Emily, 49
Catherine, 48
Caroline, 41
Julia, 39
Anna, 31
Isabella, 28
Ellen, 26
Josephine, 25
Harriet, 24
Emmer, 22
Lucy, 22
Rachel, 22
Melissa, 18
Adeline, 17
Malinda, 17
Matilda, 16
Allice, 15
Mariah, 15
Virginia, 15
Minerva, 14
Ella, 13
Eveline, 13
Charlotte, 12
Cynthia, 10
Evaline, 10
Victoria, 10
Emeline, 9
Hannah, 9
Hellen, 9
Theodosia, 9
Angeline, 8
Eudora, 8
Eugenia, 8
Mahala, 8
Ophelia, 8
Permelia, 8
Dorotha, 7
Fannie, 7
Missouri, 7
Olive, 7
Samantha, 7
Tabitha, 7
Ada, 6
Charity, 6
Delilah, 6
Flora, 6
Georgia, 6
Tennessee, 6

Names in the 2-to-5 range:

  • 5: Clementine, Cyntha, Florence, Ida, Joannah, Narcissa, Priscilla, Serena, Texana, Texas
  • 4: Almeda, Amelia, Augusta, Celia, Clara, Cornelia, Dicy, Dora, Henrietta, Janetta, Louisiana, Louvenia, Lulah, Mollie, Parmelia, Penelope, Ruth, Susannah
  • 3: Alma, Amarillo, Angelina, Antonette, Carrie, Casandra, Christiana, Clarissa, Cora, Cordelia, Edna, Emma, Ester, Fanny, Irena, Jemima, Kesiah, Leona, Leonora, Lucretia, Lyddia, Manerva, Maranda, Morando, Mildred, Milly, Narcissus, Olevia, Piety, Rhoda, Sallie, Sefrona, Sophrona, Telulah, Zelida
  • 2: Abigal, Adaline, Adelia, Agnes, Alabama, Alcasarah, America, Amy, Annetta, Araminta, Armelia, Arrenia, Candis, Caledonia, Celina, Easter, Eller, Elvira, Epsey, Exer, Henryetta, Jaly, Judy, Leah, Luella, Madora, Malissa, Marsileet, Medorah, Melinda, Mattie, Minnie, Moranda, Nelly, Olivia, Priscella, Rhody, Roxana, Salena, Sirena, Sophia, Temperance, Viola, Willie

Finally, names that appeared only once:

Abbigal
Abi
Absaly
Adah
Adalade
Adaline
Addia
Adelade
Adella
Ader
Aimenetta
Alamanzer
Alamo
Alcisty
Alis
Allethia
Almanda
Alphine
Alsey
Althie
Alvarado
Alvira
Amarantha
Amarylles
Amazor
Ameda
Americus
Amira
Ansebell
Appy
Arabella
Arainetta
Aramintha
Aranda
Arcadia
Ardalla
Armedilla
Armel
Armelda
Arminda
Artele
Arvezene
Arvilla
Atha
Audella
Aurire
Azeline
Barbary
Belzora
Bendett
Bernessa
Bethania
Bethany
California
Callie
Camella
Camilla
Candas
Candice
Cansandra
Carrentha
Casandre
Castero
Cecily
Celistia
CerroGordo
Christana
Cicily
Claranda
Claricinda
Conzada
Darcus
Deannah
Debra
Delila
Delitha
Della
Delmar
Derinda
Deziah
Dicey
Dilla
Dilly
Disha
Dlia
Dola
Domaris
Dorothea
Dovy
Drucilla
Dulcena
Dyca
Eddie
Edith
Editha
Elander
Eleanor
Elisa
Ellenor
Elmina
Elsy
Elvy
Elwina
Elzina
Elzona
Emaline
English
Eunis
Euphema
Euphemia
Euratasa
Evy
Falby
Fenette
Fillmore
Flore
Florida
Fransina
Georgana
George Eller
Georgiana
Harmoner
Hazeltine
Heepsebeth
Heland
Hester
Hetty
Hilery
Hutoka
Idella
Imogenia
Indiana
Inez
Irine
Isabelle
Isadora
Jeannah
Jerusha
Jessie
Joana
Joicy
Joly
Judah
Judith
Juliett
June
Kasandre
Kasana
Keburah
Keturah
Lailah
Larresa
Larrissa
Laurena
Lavacca
Lela
Leora
Leuella
Levega
Levina
Lewella
Lilla
Lillian
Lilly
Lina
Livana
Livona
Lizza
Loreey
Loreta
Lourana
Lourena
Lourenia
Louretta
Louvena
Louvina
Lova
Lovena
Lucretice
Lurana
Lurena
Lutitia
Luvena
Lydda
Madella
Madosa
Malabry
Mariella
Marietta
Marinda
Marion
Marbre
Marcella
Marcena
Marg
Matta
McReudry
Medarah
Melbry
Melvina
Mercena
Milley
Millison
Minor
Missoura
Mitty
Molly
Morinua
Mouring
Mourmen
Mourning
Nannett
Narcisa
Nebraska
Neome
Neomia
Nicy
Nina
Nisse
Occo
Octavia
Oja
Oliva
Omino
Orpha
Oudelia
Paralee
Paralie
Parilee
Parolee
Parthena
Pauline
Pemelia
Pernetta
Pernisia
Petrona
Phebe
Pheby
Phereby
Philliss
Pleasant
Pope
Prascovia
Pricilla
Prudence
Recella
Resalla
Reozia
Resiah
Rhina
Rosana
Rosanna
Rosena
Sabra
Sabrina
Salina
Samaria
Saphona
Saphrona
Sareta
Sebrina
Sefrone
Seleta
Selethia
Selina
Shaby
Sharlotti
Silena
Sina
Sirena
Sobrina
Sofrona
Solona
Sonora
Sophier
Stacy
Surana
Tabetha
Taletha
Talitha
Telpha
Teressa
Texanah
Texanna
Theodora
Theressa
Tranquilla
Trephemia
Ululie
Vanburena
Vandalia
Varlinda
Vashti
Vasti
Verlinda
Vertula
Victora
Victorier
Vina
Vinolia
Violet
Vunavista
Wennyford
Wilford
Wilmouth
Wineford
Winerfred
Winnaford
Winnfred
Zarilla
Zeban
Zeleame
Zira
Zouley

See any names you like? Any that make you curious?

Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Location names were more common than I thought they’d be. Seven females named Missouri? Six named Tennessee? Huh.
  • I love that Emmer appeared 22 times, while Emma appeared a mere 3 times.
  • The Battle of Cerro Gordo (1847) inspired a handful of namesakes. Cerro gordo is Spanish for “fat hill.”
  • Hutoka: Or, The Maid of the Forest: a Tale of the Indian Wars (1846) by Osgood Bradbury inspired several hundred namesakes nationwide. The book claimed that the fictitious Native American name Hutoka meant “springing fawn.”
  • Martin Van Buren — no doubt the inspiration behind Vanburena — was president of the U.S. from 1837 to 1841.
  • I’m thinking Vunavista was based on buena vista, Spanish for “good view.”

Source: Female First Names in the 1860 Smith County, Texas, Census, via Vicki Betts

What Would You Name the Hurricanes?

hurricaneThe six-month Atlantic hurricane season begins today. Here are this year’s hurricane names: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

Gawker’s Brian Moylan “decided to take a stab at replacing this year’s list of stormy monikers with some that feel a bit more current.” Here’s what he came up with: Aiden, Belle, Cassidy, Diabolique, Egg McMuffin, Franco, Gaga, Hailey, IMDb, Jose (we’re keeping that for multicultural purposes), Kal-El, LV Louis Vuitton, Moroccan, Neruda, Oprah, Palin, Real Housewife, Snooki, Twitpic, Victory and Wintour.

If you could choose this year’s hurricane names, which names would be on the list?

(If you want to follow the NHC’s pattern properly, remember to alternate between female and male names. Otherwise, choose whatever names you like.)

Sources: National Hurricane Center, HuffPo

Baby Names Needed for the Twin Siblings of Beatrix

A reader named Marissa, who has a daughter named Beatrix Penelope (nn Bea), is expecting twins–one boy, one girl. She’s got their middle names narrowed down (Anthony or Alexander for the baby boy, Daphne or Jillian for the baby girl) but she’d like some help with their first names.

Here’s what she’s looking for in a boy name:

For the boy I’d like names that are two syllables long and start and end in a consonant. So far I like Robert, Patrick, Daniel and Fabian. The only one he likes is Fabian, but we’re still not sure.

And here’s what she’s looking for in a girl name:

For the girl I’d like names that are three or four syllables long, and start and end in a vowel. So far I like Anastasia, Ophelia, Elena and Ursula, but he likes none of them.

The babies’ last name will sound something like Thisbe.

Here are some of the boy names I came up with:

Calvin
Clement
Chester
Conrad
Curtis
David
Declan
Dexter
Duncan
Felix
Franklin
Holden
Howard
Jasper
Kenneth
Lincoln
Linus
Lucas
Malcolm
Martin
Maxwell
Miles
Mitchell
Nathan
Nelson
Nigel
Nolan
Philip
Raymond
Reuben
Roland
Roman
Silas
Simon
Stuart
Thomas
Victor
Vincent
William
Winston

And here are some ideas for the girl name:

Acantha
Adela
Adelina
Adriana
Agatha
Alexandra
Alexina
Alicia
Allegra
Althea
Amelia
Annabella
Andrea
Angela
Antonia
Arabella
Araminta
Athena
Augusta
Aurelia
Aurora
Azalea
Eleanora
Eliana
Elisa
Eloisa
Estella
Eugenia
Eulalia
Imelda
Iona
Irena/Irina
Isabella
Isidora
Octavia
Odelia
Odessa
Olivia
Olympia
Ottilia

Which of the above do you like best with Beatrix? (And which ones make the best boy/girl pairings, do you think?)

What other names would you suggest to Marissa?

Baby Name Needed – What Do You Think of Phineas?

A reader named Virginia is expecting a baby in September. For a boy, she’d selected the name Phineas. She liked “that it was unusual without being bizarre,” and that it started with ph. But now she’s not so sure about the name:

All was fine and dandy until I read an article about violence in the Bible. It vaguely mentioned Phineas as a name from the Bible used as a talisman by white supremacists. What!?!

That was a shock to me too. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Phineas Priesthood is “a violent credo of vengeance that has gained some popularity among white supremacists and other extremists in recent years.” I’d never heard of the Phineas Priesthood before–not even when Julia Roberts named her son Phinnaeus a few years ago.

Virginia doesn’t want to give up her favorite name, but she also “can’t live with such an association,” so she was hoping for some name suggestions. Other names she’s considering include Joel and Samuel (for boys) and Sigrid, Phoebe, Elisabeth, and Anne (for girls). All are family names.

First, a few thoughts:

  • I doubt many people are aware that white supremacists use Phineas as a code word. It’s an odious association, but maybe it’s also obscure enough that it’s not worth worrying about…?
  • I really like Sigrid and Phoebe–they’re both significant and unusual. Especially Sigrid. (Phoebe is being used more and more every year, so it might not be unusual for long.)

And now, name suggestions. Here are some unusual-but-not-bizarre boy names that I think Virginia might like:

Amos
Barnabas
Baxter
Ephraim
Ezra
Felix
Horatio
Humphrey
Lazarus
Matthias
Maximilian
Moses
Peregrine
Ralph
Raphael
Rufus
Silas
Simeon
Ulysses
Zephaniah

And some girl names:

Clotilde
Cybele
Daphne
Dagny
Delphine
Drusilla
Esther
Fabiola
Georgia
Josephine
Lucretia
Ophelia
Penelope
Phyllis
Ruth
Salome
Seraphina
Talulla
Tryphena
Verena

What other names would you suggest to Virginia? (And, what’s your take on the Phineas dilemma?)

Update: The baby has arrived! Click here to learn the baby’s name.