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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Peter


Posts that Mention the Name Peter

Top Male Names in England, 1560-1621

A while back, I stumbled upon a register of people associated with Oxford University in the late 1500s and early 1600s. The most interesting part? The author of the register included a chapter dedicated to first names and surnames, and that chapter featured a table of male forenames ranked by frequency of occurrence from 1560 to 1621.

The author claimed that, for several reasons, these rankings were “probably…more representative of English names than any list yet published” for that span of time. One reason was that the names represented men from “different grades of English society” — including peers, scholars, tradesmen, and servants.

Ready for the list?

  1. John, 3,826 individuals
  2. Thomas, 2,777
  3. William, 2,546
  4. Richard, 1,691
  5. Robert, 1,222
  6. Edward, 957
  7. Henry, 908
  8. George, 647
  9. Francis, 447
  10. James, 424
  11. Nicholas, 326
  12. Edmund, 298
  13. Anthony, 262
  14. Hugh, 257
  15. Christopher, 243
  16. Samuel, 227
  17. Walter, 207
  18. Roger, 195
  19. Ralph (sometimes confused with Raphael/Randall in the records), 182
  20. Peter, 175
  21. Humphrey, 168
  22. Charles, 139
  23. Philip, 137
  24. David, 129
  25. Matthew (sometimes confused with Matthias), 116
  26. Nathaniel, 112
  27. Michael, 103
  28. Alexander, 98 (tie)
  29. Arthur, 98 (tie)
  30. Laurence, 90
  31. Giles, 88
  32. Stephen, 86
  33. Simon (sometimes confused with Simeon), 83
  34. Daniel, 79
  35. Joseph, 78 (tie)
  36. Lewis, 78 (tie)
  37. Andrew, 69
  38. Roland (also Rowland), 65
  39. Griffith (also Griffin), 60
  40. Evan, 55
  41. Abraham, 54 (tie)
  42. Leonard, 54 (tie)
  43. Owen, 53
  44. Gilbert, 52
  45. Morris (sometimes confused with Maurice), 51
  46. Bartholomew, 46 (3-way tie)
  47. Oliver, 46 (3-way tie)
  48. Timothy, 46 (3-way tie)
  49. Morgan, 45
  50. Martin, 44 (tie)
  51. Rice (sometimes confused with Richard), 44 (tie)
  52. Gabriel, 41
  53. Benjamin, 40
  54. Jeffrey (also Geoffrey; sometimes confused with Godfrey), 38
  55. Ambrose, 36
  56. Adam, 35
  57. Toby (also Tobias), 34
  58. Jerome, 33
  59. Ellis, 30
  60. Paul, 29
  61. Bernard, 28 (3-way tie)
  62. Gregory (sometimes confused with George), 28 (3-way tie)
  63. Isaac, 28 (3-way tie)
  64. Jasper (also Gaspar), 26
  65. Randall (also Randle, Randolph; sometimes confused with Ralph), 26 (tie)

Did the relative popularity of any of these names surprise you?

Entries lower down on the list included Lancelot (23), Jarvis (22) Theophilus (19), Marmaduke (18), Fulke (17), and Cadwalader (9).

The author also included every other Oxford-associated name from that general time period, so here’s a sampling of the rare names that popped up in the register just once:

  • Aegeon, Arundel, Aunstey, Aymondesham
  • Bamfield, Beauforus, Bezaliel, Bulstrod
  • Cadoc, Cannanuel, Chiddiock, Cosowarth
  • Dabridgcourt, Delvus, Deodatus, Donwald
  • Erisy, Esdras
  • Fettiplace, Florice, Fogge
  • Glidd, Gourneus, Granado
  • Hattil, Hercius
  • Jarniot, Jerameel, Jeremoth, Jolliffe
  • Kelamus, Killingworth, Kingsmell
  • Leoline, Levinus, Livewell
  • Maior, Maniewe, Marchadine, Moyle
  • Nargia, Nizael, Noye
  • Ogier, Olliph
  • Peleger, Periam, Pexall, Phatnell
  • Rimprum, Rollesley, Rotheram, Rumbold
  • Scipio, Snappe
  • Thekeston, Thrasibulus, Timoleon, Tournie
  • Ulpian, Umpton, Utred
  • Wallop, Walsingham, Warian, Willgent
  • Yeldard
  • Zorobabel

Source: Register of the University of Oxford, vol. 2, part 4, edited by Andrew Clark, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889.

Name Quotes 91: Wendy, Elliot, Thorlogh

From the 2010 book Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen’s American Vision by Louis P. Masur:

Peter Knobler, a writer for Crawdaddy, got an early listen [to “Born to Run”] in Springsteen’s Long Branch house. The place was cluttered with motorcycle magazines and old 45s. Over Bruce’s bed, according to Knobler, was a poster of Peter Pan leading Wendy out the window. The detail is suggestive: “Wendy let me in, I wanna be your friend/I want to guard your dreams and visions.”

From an article called “Khmer Legends” in The Cambodia Daily:

[T]he municipality has recently erected a statue of the fabled Yeay Penh, the woman who is credited with giving Phnom Penh its landmark hill.

As the story goes, in the 1370s, Yeay Penh asked her neighbors to raise the mound in front of her home so as to build on top of it a sanctuary to house the four statues of Buddha she had found inside a floating tree trunk. That mound, or phnom, is credited with giving Phnom Penh its name.

[…]

“The problem is we have no proof,” said Ros Chantrabot, a Cambodian historian and vice president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

“In all likelihood she did exist or, at the very least, the tale is based on an actual person, since Penh’s hill, or Phnom Penh, is there for all to see,” he said.

[“Yeah Penh” is the equivalent of “Grandmother Penh.” The word yeay in Cambodian is a title used to refer to and/or address an older female.]

From a recent Instagram post by actor Elliot Page (formerly called Ellen Page):

Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.

From the essay “On Naming Women and Mountains” by Lucy Bryan Green:

My own name scratches and constricts like an ill-fitting sweater. It comforts me to be [at Yosemite National Park] with wild things that do not speak it. As I walk among Steller’s jays and Brewer’s lupine and Douglas firs, I think, you, too, wear someone else’s name. This is also true of mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes—names within names. I wonder about the people and the motivations behind these names, which I feel hesitant to say aloud.

From a post about Protestant and Puritan names in Ireland vs. England at the DMNES blog:

Tait says one might expect the saint names, pushed by the Catholic church during the Reformation, and English names, handed down to descendants of settlers, to overtake and eradicate the use of Gaelic names as it did in England (315). She found this was not the case. Irish natives and settlers each retained their own naming systems, preserving them both. In the 1660s, she finds the top 6 names used by native Irish families remained largely Gaelic– Patrick, Bryan, Hugh, Owen, Thorlogh, and Shane, while the top names used by the descendants of settlers remained largely English– John, Thomas, William, Robert, James, and Richard (316).

From the 2015 essay “The Name on My Coffee Cup” by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh:

As a frequent consumer of Starbucks…the most contentious aspect for me when ordering coffee—until now, anyway—has been the perpetual misspelling of my name on the side of the cup. The mutations have been many, and they have often been egregious—“Zal,” “Sowl,” “Sagi,” “Shi”—and then once, incredibly, three years ago, at a branch in the financial district, “Saïd,” diaeresis added, prompting me to seek out the barista, whose hand I grasped with deep feeling but who, frankly, seemed perplexed that anyone would have difficulty spelling my name. He was Latino, I think, and he told me that he had a best friend named Saïd, spelled identically, which would explain his astuteness. Never mind the backstory, I was delighted by the outcome. I photographed the cup for posterity, and then, for good measure, tweeted it for the world to see.

Other tweeted misspellings include Saíd, Syeed, Sai, Saii, Sahi, Sie, Säd, Sia, and Sam.

“Brighter Day” Baby Names

brighter day, soap opera, 1950s, television
Babby, Grayling, and Patsy in 1954

The Brighter Day was a moderately popular soap opera that ran on radio from 1948 to 1956 and on television from 1954 to 1962.

The show featured the Dennis family, which was headed by widowed father Rev. Richard Dennis. His five children were adult daughters Elizabeth (Liz) and Althea, adult son Grayling, and teenage daughters Patricia (Patsy) and Barbara (Babby).

At least four Brighter Day characters influenced U.S. baby names:

Grayling

In a 1949 article, Grayling Dennis was described as “restless, charming, spoiled. He writes poetry, plays the violin, has a long string of girl friends who adore his flashing eyes and his wonderful tennis, and drinks too much. But none of these activities has helped Gray, at twenty-three, to “find himself.””

The show was radio-only at that time — listeners would hear Grayling’s name, but never see it — so it’s not surprising that a slew of spelling variants ended up in the baby name data. In fact, the first of the group to debut was Graylin in 1949. Grayling, Grayland, and Graylon appeared in 1950, and Graylan, Graylyn, Graylen, and Greyling followed.

YearGraylinGraylingGraylandGraylon
19601436109
19592761 [987th]1115
19582855186
19572858 [997th]1516
195625471912
19551638158
1954824146
1953111167
195288.6
195178.8
19501117 [debut]5 [debut]5 [debut]
19496 [debut]...
1948....

The name Grayling reached the top 1000 twice in the late ’50s, but all variants saw decreased usage after the TV show was canceled in the early ’60s.

Althea

Dramatic daughter Althea dramatically boosted the usage of the name Althea in the late 1940s:

  • 1951: 334 baby girls named Althea (rank: 454th)
  • 1950: 309 baby girls named Althea (rank: 462nd)
  • 1949: 235 baby girls named Althea (rank: 545th)
  • 1948: 126 baby girls named Althea (rank: 761st)
  • 1947: 118 baby girls named Althea (rank: 803rd)

No doubt she was also behind the debut of the spelling Altheia in 1951.

Spring

In early 1951, Althea discovered she was pregnant. Althea was eager to become an movie actress, not a mother, and “regard[ed] the baby as an annoying interruption to her ambitions.” Regardless, she soon gave birth to a baby girl named Spring, and the baby name Spring debuted in the U.S. data the very same year:

  • 1959: 34 baby girls named Spring
  • 1958: 44 baby girls named Spring
  • 1957: 77 baby girls named Spring
  • 1956: 104 baby girls named Spring
  • 1955: 41 baby girls named Spring
  • 1954: 37 baby girls named Spring
  • 1953: 27 baby girls named Spring
  • 1952: 30 baby girls named Spring
  • 1951: 7 baby girls named Spring [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

By July of 1952, Althea’s daughter Spring was already 4 years old (a victim of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome). I’m not sure how often Spring appeared in the show overall, but she may have been featured prominently in 1956, judging by the usage of the baby name that year.

Babby

In a 1954 article, Babby Dennis was described as “eager and impulsive.” She was the baby of the family, and her nickname was consistently spelled with a “y” to reflect this fact, but TV audiences clearly preferred the spelling Babbie, which debuted in 1956 — years before Babby and Babbi finally showed up.

YearBabbieBabbyBabbi
1963...
196285.
1961189.
196020156
1959195 [debut]6 [debut]
19588..
19588..
19575..
195610 [debut]..
1955...

By 1959, Babby was a young adult and involved in a romance with a gangster named Peter Nino. (Despite being a gangster, Nino was popular with TV audiences: “Nino was to be killed off in six months, but fan mail gave him a reprieve.”)

Sources:

P.S. Three of the sources above refer to a single magazine that went through a bunch of name changes over the course of its existence (1930s to 1970s). The publisher was Macfadden, founded by Bernarr Macfadden, who knew a bit about name changes himself…

The Descendants of Tristram Coffyn

“Dresser in Tristram Coffin House, Newburyport, Massachusetts.”

Earlier this week we talked about the original Tristram Coffyn of Nantucket, who is known to have a massive number of descendants.

He and his wife Dionis* had five children in England, then four more after relocating to the New World. Here are the names of not only all nine of their children, but also their 76 grandchildren:

  1. Peter (b. 1631) and his wife Abigail had 11 kids:
    • Parnel, Eliphalet, Abigail, Peter, Jethro**, Tristram, Robert, Edward, Judith, Parnell, Elizabeth
  2. Tristram (b. 1632) and his wife Judith had 10 kids:
    • Judith, Deborah, Mary, James, John, Lydia, Enoch, Stephen, Peter, Nathaniel
  3. Elizabeth (b. 1634) and her husband Stephen Greenleaf had 10 kids:
    • Stephen, Sarah, Daniel, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Tristram, Edmund, Judith, Mary
  4. Stephen (b. 1637)
  5. James (b. 1640) and his wife Mary had 14 kids:
    • Experience, James, Mary, Abigail, Nathaniel, John, Dinah, Elizabeth, Deborah, Ebenezer, Joseph, Benjamin, Ruth, Jonathan
  6. Deborah (b. 1642)
  7. Mary (b. 1645) and her husband Nathaniel Starbuck had 10 kids:
    • Mary, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Jethro, Barnabas, Eunice, Priscilla, Hephzibah, Ann, Paul
  8. John (b. 1647) and his wife Deborah had 11 kids:
    • Lydia, Peter, John, Love, Enoch, Samuel, Hannah, Benjamin, Tristram, Deborah, Elizabeth
  9. Stephen (b. 1652) and his wife Mary had 10 kids:
    • Daniel, Dionis, Peter, Stephen, Judith, Susanna, Anna, Mehitable, Hepzibah, Paul

Which of the above names do you like best? Are there any you don’t like at all?

*Dionis’s name is evidently a truncated form of Dionysia, which derives from Dionysius, which originally referred to a devotee of the Greek god Dionysos. The names Dennis and Denise are also derivatives of Dionysius.

**Nantucket’s Oldest House, also called the Jethro Coffin House, was built in 1686 as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin.

Sources: Tristram Coffin, Sr. (1608-1681) – WikiTree, My Father’s Shoes – Our Coffin Story
Image from Early Settlers of Nantucket by Lydia S. Hinchman

Baby Names & Numerology: Number 1

baby names that add up to 1, numerologically

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “1.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “1” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “1,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

1 via 10

The following baby names add up to 10, which reduces to one (1+0=1).

  • “10” girl names: Eda, Dea, Ebba, Ade
  • “10” boy names: Ade

1 via 19

The following baby names add up to 19, which reduces to one (1+9=10; 1+0=1).

  • “19” girl names: Mae, Ema, Abbie, Alea, Acadia, Aela, Mea, Jace, Aide, Gabi
  • “19” boy names: Adam, Jace, Dan, Jed, Fahd, Bob, Ra, Beka, Amad, Addai

1 via 28

The following baby names add up to 28, which reduces to one (2+8=10; 1+0=1).

  • “28” girl names: Eva, Eden, Lana, Ari, Nala, Andi, Adalee, Dani, Vada, Jael
  • “28” boy names: Alan, Ari, Eden, Case, Mack, Ira, Jael, Ash, Om, Adin

1 via 37

The following baby names add up to 37, which reduces to one (3+7=10; 1+0=1).

  • “37” girl names: Elena, Cora, Alina, Rebecca, Kate, Ariah, Alani, Liana, Amalia, Mina
  • “37” boy names: Luca, Baker, Axl, Jamal, Coen, Van, Brice, Niam, Nick, Ajay

1 via 46

The following baby names add up to 46, which reduces to one (4+6=10; 1+0=1).

  • “46” girl names: Hannah, Zoe, Gianna, Reagan, Lucia, Daniela, Adaline, Zara, Vera, Raegan
  • “46” boy names: Elias, Ivan, Juan, Zane, Leon, Damien, Arlo, Erick, Cesar, Malik

1 via 55

The following baby names add up to 55, which reduces to one (5+5=10; 1+0=1).

  • “55” girl names: Nevaeh, Hadley, Iris, Joanna, Camille, Freya, Aspen, Gabriela, Heaven, Mariam
  • “55” boy names: Edward, Jorge, Jett, Edwin, Grady, Davis, Conrad, Kellan, Vihaan, Grey

1 via 64

The following baby names add up to 64, which reduces to one (6+4=10; 1+0=1).

  • “64” girl names: Emily, Piper, Makayla, Tessa, Sabrina, Mercy, Miley, Frankie, Natasha, Azariah
  • “64” boy names: Jaxon, Brody, Zion, Peter, Knox, Lukas, Israel, Arjun, Ronald, Roland

1 via 73

The following baby names add up to 73, which reduces to one (7+3=10; 1+0=1).

  • “73” girl names: Brynn, Carolina, Kaylani, Jazmin, Elliot, Calliope, Karter, Jurnee, Bexley, Nataly
  • “73” boy names: Jackson, Joseph, Ezekiel, Elliot, Karter, Nicolas, Jayceon, Sergio, Sincere, Alberto

1 via 82

The following baby names add up to 82, which reduces to one (8+2=10; 1+0=1).

  • “82” girl names: Allison, Julianna, Kamryn, Meredith, Addyson, Clarissa, Kaisley, Lizbeth, Kaelynn, Charlize
  • “82” boy names: Maverick, Zachary, Hendrix, Phillip, Mitchell, Crosby, Thaddeus, Kamryn, Alfonso, Dimitri

1 via 91

The following baby names add up to 91, which reduces to one (9+1=10; 1+0=1).

  • “91” girl names: Katherine, Taylor, Everleigh, Sawyer, Payton, Phoenix, Braelynn, Kensley, Liberty, Lauryn
  • “91” boy names: Sawyer, Giovanni, Phoenix, Johnathan, Matthias, Taylor, Cassius, Yousef, Payton, Agustin

1 via 100

The following baby names add up to 100, which reduces to one (1+0+0=1).

  • “100” girl names: Presley, Vivienne, Clementine, Brynleigh, Joselyn, Austyn, Yaritza, Jordynn, Temperance, Lillyanna
  • “100” boy names: Maximus, Ezequiel, Quentin, Quinten, Presley, Everette, Shivansh, Austyn, Ignatius, Yunus

1 via 109

The following baby names add up to 109, which reduces to one (1+0+9=10; 1+0=1).

  • “109” girl names: Sutton, Brittany, Raylynn, Joslynn, Zipporah, Hennessy, Sunshine, Kimberlyn, Rowynn, Faithlynn
  • “109” boy names: Kingston, Sutton, Westley, Tristin, Khristian, Rigoberto, Montrell, Rayshawn, Justyn, Stryder

1 via 118

The following baby names add up to 118, which reduces to one (1+1+8=10; 1+0=1).

  • “118” girl names: Rosalynn, Westlyn, Shaylynn, Jesslynn, Kynzley, Sharlotte, Krystiana, Christyana, Isabellarose, Timberlyn
  • “118” boy names: Demitrius, Oluwatobi, Braxxton, Anastasios, Barrington, Stanislaw, Bryxton, Braxtynn, Youness, Jatavious

1 via 127

The following baby names add up to 127, which reduces to one (1+2+7=10; 1+0=1).

  • “127” girl names: Quetzaly, Karrington, Rosselyn, Roselynne, Lillyrose, Onyinyechi, Terralynn, Annavictoria, Torilynn
  • “127” boy names: Stratton, Odysseus, Kristoffer, Maksymilian, Augustino, Ozymandias, Theophilos, Chukwuebuka, Jaxxston, Kingarthur

1 via 136

The following baby names add up to 136, which reduces to one (1+3+6=10; 1+0=1).

  • “136” girl names: Kourtlyn, Oyinkansola, Brookelynne, Rosslynn, Tanitoluwa
  • “136” boy names: Jaquavious, Xzayvion, Oreofeoluwa

1 via 145

The following baby names add up to 145, which reduces to one (1+4+5=10; 1+0=1).

  • “145” girl names: Montgomery, Maryelizabeth, Elizabethrose, Peneloperose
  • “145” boy names: Montgomery, Sylvester, Quantavius, Constantinos

1 via 154

The girl name Summerlynn adds up to 154, which reduces to one (1+5+4=10; 1+0=1).

1 via 163

The boy name Constantinos adds up to 163, which reduces to one (1+6+3=10; 1+0=1).

1 via 172

The girl name Trinityrose adds up to 172, which reduces to one (1+7+2=10; 1+0=1).

What Does “1” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “1” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “1” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“1” (the monad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “The Pythagoreans called the monad ‘intellect’ because they thought that intellect was akin to the One; for among the virtues, they likened the monad to moral wisdom; for what is correct is one. And they called it ‘being,’ ’cause of truth,’ ‘simple,’ ‘paradigm,’ ‘order,’ ‘concord,’ ‘what is equal among greater and lesser,’ ‘the mean between intensity and slackness,’ ‘moderation in plurality,’ ‘the instant now in time,’ and moreover they called it ‘ship,’ ‘chariot,’ ‘friend,’ ‘life,’ ‘happiness.'”
  • “They say that the monad is not only God, but also ‘intellect’ and ‘androgyne.’ It is called ‘intellect’ because of that aspect of God which is the most authoritative both in the creation of the universe and in general in all skill and reason”
  • “They consider it to be the seed of all, and both male and female at once”
  • “They call it ‘Chaos’ which is Hesiod’s first generator, because Chaos gives rise to everything else, as the monad does. It is also thought to be both ‘mixture’ and ‘blending,’ ‘obscurity’ and ‘darkness,’ thanks to the lack of articulation and distinction of everything which ensues from it.”
  • “They call it ‘Prometheus,’ the artificer of life, because, uniquely, it in no way outruns or departs from its own principle, nor allows anything else to do so, since it shares out its own properties.”

“1” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “One indicates strength, power, influence” (reading 261-15).
  • “All activities emanate from the one” (reading 5751-1).
  • “As in numbers…all are formations or divisions or multiples of units of one, so the universe and the expressions of all natures within same are the manifestations of that one force, one power, one spirit, one energy known as or called a Universal Force, Creative Energy, or God.” (reading 1462-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “1” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 19, 55, 64, 109) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe your favorite song is “When I’m Sixty-Four” by the Beatles, for example.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 1, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).