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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Paul

Number of Babies Named Paul

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Paul

The Debut of Delvecchio

delvecchio, tv show, 1970s, baby name

On the short-lived TV series Delvecchio, Los Angeles police detective Dominick Delvecchio (played by Judd Hirsch) was a cop who aspired to be a lawyer. (He’d graduated from law school, but hadn’t managed to pass the bar exam yet.) This made him more complex than the average TV detective of the era:

“What you have in Delvecchio is basically a schizoid personality. A cop is trained to assume guilt. A lawyer is trained to assume innocence and we have both of those things in the same guy. […] For that reason we have always built situations for Delvecchio where he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. […] So he lies to his bosses, he occasionally bends police procedure. He gets personally involved.”

Though the show was only on the air for a single season (1976-1977), it had a relatively strong impact on baby names.

The name Delvecchio was the top boy-name debut of 1976:

  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 44 baby boys named Delvecchio
  • 1976: 27 baby boys named Delvecchio [debut]
  • 1975: unlisted

And the surname of Delvecchio’s partner/sidekick, detective Paul Shonski (played by Charles Haid), was a one-hit wonder in the data the next year:

  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 5 baby boys named Shonski [debut]
  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: unlisted

I haven’t been able to figure out the etymology of Shonski, but the Italian surname Delvecchio is easy: del means “of the” or “from the,” and vecchio means “old” or “mature.” So one original usage would have been to denote the son or servant of an older man. The name was also “taken by various Jewish families long established in Italy (allegedly since the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70) to distinguish themselves from later arrivals who migrated there on being expelled from the Iberian Peninsula after 1492.”

What are your thoughts on Delvecchio and Shonski as first names?

Sources:

  • Vanocur, Sander. “A Non-Requiem for a Heavyweight.” Washington Post 27 Feb. 1977.
  • Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

The Baby Name Hud

hud, moive, western, 1960sThe unusual name Hud first appeared in the baby name data in 1964:

  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 6 baby boys named Hud
  • 1964: 9 baby boys named Hud [debut]
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The Western Hud (1963), which was set on a failing cattle ranch in Texas. The movie starred Paul Newman as unscrupulous Hud Bannon, son of ranch owner Homer Bannon (who, in contrast to his son, was very principled).

Hud’s character, despite being despicable, was embraced by audiences. Newman himself later said, “The kids thought he was terrific. His amorality just went right over their heads; all they saw was this Western, heroic individual.”

According to TV and film historian Christine Becker,

[T]he willingness of 1960s audiences to increasingly accept and even revel in antiheroic characters signaled a hallmark societal change as counterculture sensibilities grew across the country.

Hud was nominated for seven Academy Awards and ended up winning three — two for acting, one for cinematography.

The movie was based on the novel Horseman, Pass By (1961) by Larry McMurtry.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Hud?

Sources:

  • Becker, Christine. “Paul Newman: Superstardom and Anti-Stardom.” New Constellations: Movie Stars of the 1960s, edited by Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Rutgers University Press, 2012, pp. 14-33.
  • Hud – Wikipedia

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2018

Nearly 270 blog posts were published at Nancy’s Baby Names in 2018. Which ones were the most popular?

It’s hard to know for sure right now, because the most recent 2018 posts haven’t had much time to gain traction, but here’s the (admittedly skewed) top ten list as of today:

  1. Black Panther Baby Names: T’Challa, Shuri, Nakia (Feb.)
  2. Popular Baby Names in Finland, 2017 (June)
  3. Five-Name Friday: Girl Names Like Imogen (Jan.)
  4. Old-Fashioned Double Names: Loladean, Ivylee, Effielou (Jul.)
  5. Classics on the Decline: Rebecca, Carol, Susan (Sept.)
  6. Top Debuts, Baby Girl Names, 2017 (May)
  7. Classics on the Decline: Paul, Jesse, Frank (Sept.)
  8. Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2017 (Jan.)
  9. Initials that Spell Names (Feb.)
  10. Top First Letters of U.S. Baby Names, 2017 (May)

And since we’re talking posts…do you have any topic suggestions for 2019? Or, are there any older posts you’d like me to update (à la Abcde)? I can’t make any promises, but I always do my best to honor reader requests that come my way (via comments, email, or social media).

Popular Baby Names in Austria, 2017

According to Statistics Austria, the most popular baby names in the country in 2017 were Anna and Maximilian.

Here are Austria’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Anna, 949 baby girls
2. Emma, 825
3. Marie, 674
4. Lena, 665
5. Laura, 656
6. Sophia, 649
7. Emilia, 618
8. Mia, 574
9. Sophie, 560
10. Johanna, 553

Boy Names
1. Maximilian, 908 baby boys
2. Paul, 814
3. David, 798
4. Elias, 783 (tie)
4. Jakob, 783 (tie)
6. Lukas, 760
7. Felix, 747
8. Alexander, 742
9. Tobias, 741
10. Jonas, 726

In 2016, Austria’s top two names were Anna and David.

Austria also puts out a set of rankings that combines names with the same etymological roots. On that list, the top name groups were:

  • “Anna” (Ana, Ann, Anna, Anne, Annè, Chana, Channa, Haina, Hana, Hanah, Hanna, Hannah, Hanne, Hena, Iana, Jaana, Jana, Janah, Jannah, Yahna, Yana), and
  • “Lukas” (Luc, Luca, Lucas, Lúcás, Lucca, Luka, Lukas, Lukás, Lukáš, Lukasz, Łukasz, Luke).

Source: Anna und Maximilian waren 2017 die beliebtesten Babynamen

Name Spotting: Malancthon

sign, colorado, names
Sign inside Garden of the Gods

My dad came out to visit us in Colorado recently. He loves geology, so we made sure to take him to several different places with impressive rocks/terrain.

One place we visited was Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. In this park we spotted the above sign, which described how the park got its name back in the 1850s:

As they looked over this area of cathedral-like rock spires, one man, Malancthon Beach, commented that the spot would be a great place for a beer garden someday. His friend, a poetic young man named Rufous Cable, replied that it was a place “fit for the Gods.”

It’s a cool story, but, to me, that first name “Malancthon” is way more interesting than the origin of the park name. Where did it come from?

My best guess is that Malancthon is a tribute to 16th-century German theologian Philipp Melanchthon, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname at birth was Schwartzerd (“black earth” in German), but as a young man he Latinized his name to the classical equivalent Melanchthon (“black earth” in Greek).

Civilian Conservation Corps, new deal
CCC Company 1848

We also saw some names at Red Rocks, which is both a park and a famous amphitheater.

The amphitheater was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that existed during the Great Depression. One display included a photo of 124 of the men in the local CCC. Here are their first names, sorted by frequency:

  • 5: Joe, Raymond
  • 4: Charles
  • 3: Arthur, Clarence, Edward
  • 2: Bill, Byron, Carl, David, Earnest, Edwin, Everett, Jack, James, Leo, Maurice, William
  • 1: Aaron, Albert, Aldine, Alfonso, Allen, Alva, Amos, Ancelmo, Arleigh, Aubrey, Audrey, Barnett, Blaine, Calvin, Celestino, Charley, Claud, Claude, Clayton, Cleston, Dale, Damas, Dan, Darold, Dick, Don, Donald, Ed, Elden, Elias, Elipio, Emerson, Emilio, Eric, Ernest, Eston, Fares, Frank, Fred, Glenn, Grant, Gust, Guy, Horace, Hubert, Irvin, Jake, Jasper, Jesse, Jim, John, Jose, Kenneth, Lawrence, Leland, Leonard, Lester, Louis, Lyman, Manual, Marvin, Max, Merce, Noah, Norman, Orval, Pasqual, Paul, Pete, Richard, Rowland, Rudolfo, Russel, Russell, Sandeford, Trenton, Willard

…What interesting names have you spotted while out and about recently?