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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Phineas

Number of Babies Named Phineas

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Phineas

Babies Named for Jon-Erik Hexum

Jon-Erik HexumSpeaking of Erik Estrada, here’s another Erik-related pop culture name from the ’80s.

Jon-Erik Hexum was an up-and-coming actor in the early ’80s. His first role was as Phineas Bogg in the TV show Voyagers! (1982-1983), and his final role was as Mac Harper in the TV show Cover Up (1984-1985).

His career was cut short when, on the set of Cover Up in late 1984, he accidentally killed himself with one of the guns used for filming.

The compound name Jonerik debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1983 and saw peak usage in 1985, the year after Hexum died.

  • 1987: 22 baby boys named Jonerik
  • 1986: 25 baby boys named Jonerik
  • 1985: 62 baby boys named Jonerik
  • 1984: 25 baby boys named Jonerik
  • 1983: 20 baby boys named Jonerik [debut]
  • 1982: unlisted

The name Joneric followed a similar trajectory.

By the early 1990s, though, both names had fallen off the list entirely.

What do you think of the name Jon-Erik?


Unique Baby Name – Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin

Samuel and Abigail Pond of Branford, Connecticut, had 8 kids between 1705 and 1721.

The first 7 got familiar names: Samuel, Philip, Bartholomew, Josiah, Abigail, Phineas and Peter.

But the last? The last was named Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin.

Huh?

Turns out it’s Biblical. Not a Biblical name, but a Biblical phrase. It refers to the story of “the writing on the wall” in the Book of Daniel.

Here’s a summary: In the middle of a banquet being hosted by Belshazzar, King of Babylon, a disembodied hand appears and writes four Aramaic words – Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin — on the wall. (In the King James version of the Bible, the last word is transcribed as “Uphardin.”) Belshazzar calls on Daniel to interpret the words, and Daniel tells him that the words foretell the fall of Babylon.

Why would the Ponds choose a name like this? Likely for no reason at all. One of the parents probably just opened the family Bible, shut his/her eyes, and pointed. (Notwithstanding Griswold, another 18th-century Connecticut baby, was no doubt named the same way.)

One genealogist wondered if Mene’s name wasn’t “intended to commemorate the final downfall of the Stuarts, which seven years before had been assured by the succession of the House of Hanover.” This seems unlikely, though, given the 7-year gap and the fact that there’d been two previous opportunities to bestow a commemoration name (older brothers Phineas and Peter were both also born after the death of Queen Anne).

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Pond didn’t live to adulthood, but I managed to find one similarly named person who did: Mene Tekel Virgo (née Beacon) who lived in Kent, England, from 1827 to 1895.

Sources:

  • Belshazzar’s feast – Wikipedia
  • Jacobus, Donald Lines. “Early New England Nomenclature.” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Jan. 1923: 10-16.
  • Pond, Nathan Gillette. “Pond Family of Milford, Connecticut.” The Connecticut Magazine 1906: 161-176.

P.S. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin’s older brother Philip married a lady with the fantastic name Thankful Frisbie.

More Names from Boston Burials – Ziba, Buttolph, Fear

Granary, Boston
Granary Burying Ground, Boston
Last month I posted about interesting names that can be found at King’s Chapel Burying Ground, one of the two cemeteries on Boston’s Freedom Trail.

Today let’s check out interesting names that can be found at the other cemetery on the Trail, Granary Burying Ground (est. 1660).

Here’s what I spotted (using a book of inscriptions):

  • A: Azor, Appoline, Adelbart, Adino, Adna, Affia, Albion, Alfrena, Alithere (female), Alletta, Angalesa, Anjennette, Areton, Aroline, Atsey, Avid
  • B: Barachiah, Bethulia, Buttolph
  • C: Cassander, Clarenia, Collford, Cornwall, Crispus (Crispus Attucks), Cushing
  • D: Danforth, Dering, Duty (male)
  • E: Egatha, Electa, Eudoxa, Euphaime, Eustis
  • F: Fessenden, Fitzwilliam, Fear, Fidealia
  • G: Gad, Geradine, Grisell
  • J: Jacquith, Jenevie, Jennet, Jocastia
  • K: Knight
  • L: Laban, Lately, Lisley, Llewellyn, Lodusky (female), Loungo
  • M: Mahala, Malvina, Maranda, Melatiah (female), Metcalf, Moody
  • N: Nahum
  • O: Olimpia, Olander, Onesiphorus, Orinda, Ozias
  • P: Patterick, Peace (male), Pearly, Peletiah, Pepperell, Peregrin, Person, Philobeth (male), Phineas, Pilgrim, Plummer, Prosillo (female)
  • R: Rasilla, Reconcile, Roxana (“from Roxbury”)
  • S: Samartha, Seath, Seferanna, Sophronia, Stoddard, Stanhope, Sylvender
  • T: Tamer, Theophilus, Thusia, Trueman
  • W: Waitstill, Welthea, Wilhelmina, Winthrop
  • Z: Zera, Ziba (male)

All of the above were listed just once. Notable names that appeared more than once in the book include Almira/Elmira, Bathsheba, Dewitt, Doritha, Elbridge, Epes (relatives of Epes Sargent), Gamaliel, Gershom, Gillam, Increase, Jotham, Keziah, Louisiana, Mehitable/Mehetable, Nabby, Pamelia/Permelia, Persis, Rozamond/Rozamund, Silence, Sylvanus and Tamzen.

Source: Gravestone inscriptions and records of tomb burials in the Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Mass. (1918) by Ogden Codman

Baby Boy Names Outside of the Top 1,000

[UPDATE: Check out the Popular Baby Names page to see lists of the top 2,000 since 2000!]

Kelly recently clued me in to something extremely cool: the SSA has released lists of all the baby names that were given to 5+ babies in the U.S. every year since 1880. You can download the lists directly from the SSA.

I was going to publish all of the 2009 names here in a single post, but WordPress couldn’t handle it. So instead I’ll start where the top 1,000 left off and give you all the names that were given to 100+ babies last year.

Let’s start with boy names. The 1,000th most popular boy name last year was Mustafa, given to 194 babies. After Mustafa comes…

  • 193: Eddy, Edison, Jovany, Rayden, Ulysses
  • 192: Cordell, Leroy
  • 191: Brecken, Clarence, Dimitri, Immanuel, Nathanial
  • 190: Benson, Coby, Jedidiah, Joziah, Legend, Yehuda
  • 189: Kohen, Milton
  • 188: Brennon, Jayvon, Pierre, Sheldon, Simeon
  • 187: Bernard, Donavan, Taj, Thaddeus
  • 186: Eliseo
  • 185: Kamren, Kelton
  • 184: Jacobi, Rocky, Theo
  • 183: none
  • 182: Braylin, Turner
  • 181: Jaylan, Yousef
  • 180: Cristobal, Marcello, Maximillian, Santana
  • 179: Anish, Dariel, Gaven, Gordon, Lamont
  • 178: Darion, Daylen, Ephraim, Joan
  • 177: Domenic, Harvey, Javen, Major, Miller
  • 176: none
  • 175: Gibson, Iker, Johann
  • 174: Bishop, Glenn
  • 173: Cayson, Leif, Leighton, Lionel, Rishi
  • 172: Braedyn, Gonzalo, Jericho, Langston, Treyton
  • 171: Armaan, Jesiah, Lathan, Marquez, Menachem, Oswaldo, Truman
  • 170: Andreas, Estevan, Kooper, Reilly, Ryley
  • 169: Kamarion
  • 168: Coen, Eliot, Hank, Kyan, Markell, Miguelangel, Mikah, Otto
  • 167: Dion, Landry, Marques
  • 166: Anson, Geovanny, Jaedyn, Jai, Jullian, Maxton
  • 165: Aleksander, Bernardo, Channing, Darrius, Destin, Emory, Hendrix, Tayden
  • 164: Ameer, Dereck, Dwight, Enoch, Forrest, Nazir, Stephan
  • 163: Cornelius, Lucca, Mikel, Shimon, Tyce, Yisroel
  • 162: Carmine, Dontae, Jaleel, Keanu, Lennox, Shiloh
  • 161: Augustine, Dhruv, Perry
  • 160: Colter, Eamon, Thiago
  • 159: Boden, Presley, Rowen, Tegan, Treyvon
  • 158: Jan, Kenji, Zakary, Zyon
  • 157: Adin, Baron, Maksim, Nestor, Norman, Sammy
  • 156: Corban, Drayden, Ely, Mariano, Shamar, Tavion
  • 155: Arlo, Garret, Jamil, Keven, Shea, Vladimir, Zaden
  • 154: Elvin, Gannon, Guadalupe, Kavion, Kayleb, Kylen
  • 153: Camdyn, Devonte, Jael, Karim, Koby, Mayson, Nixon, Trenten
  • 152: Deshaun, Kenton, Milan, Siddharth
  • 151: Alexavier, Arman, Kannon, Lachlan, Zeke
  • 150: Abner, Arian, Efren, Jariel, Javian, Jordin
  • 149: Alexandro, Dandre, Francesco, Izaac, Kalvin, Stephon
  • 148: Amarion, Bayron, Caeden, Dewayne, Kennedy, Mordechai
  • 147: Alton, Bilal, Geoffrey, Jermiah, Kye, Lucien, Neel, Om, Tavin
  • 146: Barry, Beck, Blayne, Campbell, Ever, Gino, Haven, Ishan
  • 145: Benny, Brad, Emil
  • 144: Austen, Austyn, Briggs, Canaan, Crew, Dev, Emmitt, Guy, Jakub, Jarvis, Shannon, Trevion
  • 143: Clifford, Keller, Travon
  • 142: Kyree, Markel, Merrick
  • 141: Aarush, Ajay, Denis
  • 140: Aubrey, Daveon, Harlan, Sami, Sebastien
  • 139: Bryton, Clyde, Kelly, Khalid, Landan, Shlomo
  • 138: Bodhi, Briar, Fredy, Irving, Kalen, Rylen, Sabastian, Taven
  • 137: Baylor, Brantley, Chayse, Courtney, Cristiano, Dallin, Earl, Fidel, Jeshua, Judson, Korey, Lonnie, Marek, Oakley, Trae
  • 136: Anders, Coy
  • 135: Chevy, Cian, Don, Ewan, Jordy, Nery, Oskar, Ridge, Tatum, Vince
  • 134: Avi, Dezmond, Masen, Princeton, Syed, Tahj, Tristyn, Tylan
  • 133: Daryl, Johnpaul, Karsen, Kurt, Wilmer, Xavion
  • 132: Britton, Grayden, Rowdy, Tevin, Yahya
  • 131: Brandt, Clifton, Evin, Finnian, Gian, Kaidyn
  • 130: Coleton, Denver, Freddie, Gianluca, Jaren, Korbyn, Phineas, Yash
  • 129: Alexandre, Grey, Haden, Jakari, Leeland, Lloyd, Titan
  • 128: Alek, Aven, Ayan, Terence
  • 127: Bowen, Desean, Jeff, Jonatan, Kevon, Kollin, Lucius, Malakhi
  • 126: Demetri, Gerard, Hagen, Jaedon, Jaheim, Jeremias, Raymundo
  • 125: Avraham, Heriberto, Ira, Lester, Stetson, Tye
  • 124: Abdul, Arnold, Bodie, Broden, Canyon, Edmund, Gus, Keandre, Latrell, Rico, Shmuel
  • 123: Amar, Azariah, Braulio, Ervin, Otis
  • 122: Ayush, Brighton, Dyllan, Kent, Magnus, Myron, Nate, Nevin, Ramses, Torin
  • 121: Brysen, Daquan, Donnie, Jakai, Josef, Keyshawn, Mauro, Morris, Raheem, Rian, Rickey, Royal, Thatcher, Yaakov
  • 120: Benicio, Bryden, Colson, Emir, Fred, Izaak, Kurtis, Osmar, Sutton
  • 119: Harris, Jet, Juancarlos, Omarion, Rashawn, Treyson, Zahir
  • 118: Abhinav, Benito, Brooklyn, Leyton, Mikhail, Viktor
  • 117: Anakin, Darey, Duane, Johnnie, Kegan, Mikael, Osman, Pierson, Talen
  • 116: Azael, Dashiell, Devlin, Diesel, Dylon, Giovany, Jameer, Javien, Jaylyn, Kiran, Marion, Massimo, Obed
  • 115: Amauri, Deion, Gerson, Ishmael, Jarell, Nikita, Xavi
  • 114: Dan, Foster, Glen, Kaysen, Kyran, Rayyan, Tariq, Tiago, Tzvi
  • 113: Arya, Isidro, Kaison, Musa, Syncere, Uziel, Vihaan, Yariel
  • 112: Amani, Andrei, Carlton, Dameon, Demari, Deonte, Joseluis, Justyn, Karon, Manny, Neal, Patricio, Sahil, Shaan, Shayne, Stuart, Tobin, Vernon
  • 111: Damarcus, Darrin, Daylon, Hussein, Isac, Lazaro, Tyron, Zev
  • 110: Aayan, Angus, Benton, Brayson, Darrion, Jacorey, Kirk, Lyndon, Yurem
  • 109: Dashaun, Dayne, Jaysen, Jayven, Josias, Kaedyn, Linus, Maddix, Zephaniah
  • 108: Ahmir, Antwon, Deondre, Hans, Jahir, Khristian, Nolen, Rogan, Shia, Teegan
  • 107: Braydin, Clint, Daron, Gabe, Graysen, Jacari, Kain, Kayne, Khamari, Louie, Tavian, Trever, Westley, Zakaria
  • 106: Daylin, Eliel, Filip, Jahmir, Javonte, Kamdyn, Koda, Mykel, Rick, Zayd
  • 105: Canon, Darin, Gregorio, Kaine
  • 104: Adyn, Cadence, Chayce, Demarco, Eliyahu, Javin, Jimmie, Karsten, Ken, Travion, Xavior
  • 103: Atreyu, Ismail, Jackie, Kahlil, Marko, Paolo
  • 102: Athan, Christofer, Eleazar, Floyd, Henrik, Hyrum, Idris, Isael, Jamaal, Jelani, Kentrell, Maison
  • 101: Ashtyn, Emmet, Izak, Jaelyn, Jakobi, Jayshawn, Keshaun
  • 100: Achilles, Avrohom, Brant, Corbyn, Cormac, Imran, Javan, Kris, Osiel, Yaseen

Girl names coming soon!

Update – Here are the girl names.

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.