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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Posthumus

Number of Babies Named Posthumus

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Posthumus

Rare Names in Early Boston (1630-1805)

Embroidered by Rooksby Creese
Embroidered by Rooksby Creese, 1700s
Yesterday we looked at popular baby names in early Boston, so today let’s check out some rare names.

Those two books I discovered with the early Boston birth records also included lists of Boston baptisms, marriages and deaths. I scanned all of these lists to come up with the names below:

A: Admonition, Aftar, America, Amiable, Amorel/Amorill, Androse, Aniball, Angola, Annice, Anstis, Apfier, Archdale, Arimnel, Atterlanta, Avery, Avise, Azor

  • America, full name America House, was born in 1660. Could she have been the very first New World baby named America? I can’t find anything earlier…
  • Avery was a baby girl born in 1645. This could be the earliest girl-Avery I know of.

B: Bagwell, Bagworth, Bant, Barbary, Belcher, Benaniwell, Betteris, Bezaliell, Bickford, Blish, Bossenger, Boylston, Bozoun/Bozoon/Bozoune/Bozon/Boozone, Brattle, Broughton, Budd, Bulkely, Buny, Buttalph/Buttolph, Byfield

  • Bagworth‘s full name was the Hobbit-like Bagworth Endicutt.
  • One of the Belchers had the unfortunate full name Belcher Noyes.
  • The Bozoun-group refers mainly to one person: Capt. Bozoun Allen (d. 1652), an immigrant from England who was active in early Boston politics.

C: Caylance, Cazneau, Cerston, Chanterlin, Chuzziah, Civil, Cletord, Clorinda, Coneniah, Consider, Constancy, Cord, Crumil, Cumbey/Cumby, Custin/Custine, Cutting

  • Could Chuzziah be a version of Josiah?
  • Cord‘s full name was Cord Cordis.
  • Cutting‘s full name was Cutting Bean.

D: Decline, Delicia, Derlow, Dermin, Desire ye Truth, Dickery, Digory, Dinisha, Dionysia, Dixe, Dosithea, Dowsabell, Drewry

  • Desire ye Truth gave her daughter the exact same name in 1666. The “ye” here would have been pronounced “the,” as the letter y actually represents the letter thorn.
  • Here’s more on the derivation of Digory.
  • Dionysia‘s full name was the very romantic Dionysia Savage Ravenscroft. (Savage was her maiden name; Ravenscroft was her married name.)

E: Electa, Eleshaway, Eliphall/Elliphall, Ellener, Emmin, Emmorold, Estick, Ethlan, Evos, Exercise

  • Exercise‘s full name was Exercise Blackleech.

F: Fairbanck, Fathergone, Faur, Fearnot/Fearnott, Febee, Ffitz-John, Foreland, Fortescue, Fortune, Freeborn, Freegrace, Freelove, Frizzel

  • Here’s the story behind Fathergone.
  • Fearnot is a Puritan name that needs to make a comeback, I think.

G: Gartright, Gatliffe, Gedny, Gee, Gier, Goodith, Grafton, Gravingham, Griffyn, Grimstone, Grindall, Grizzel/Grizzell

  • Gartright could be a version of Gertrude.
  • Goodith is probably Judith.
  • Grimstone! I love any name that features the word “grim.” I remember Grimsley popping up in Idaho a few years back…

H: Habbakuck/Habbakuk, Habbiah, Hananeel, Hanniball, Harborne, Harbottle, Hazelelponi, Hazelpanah, Heiborne, Hennerina, Hopefor/Hoptfor, Huldy, Humilis, Humility, Huxtable

I: Ibroke, Indego, Ireland, Isanna

J: Jaleham, Jamina, Jarratt, Jeffs, Jehosebath/Johoshabeath/Josabeth/Joshabeth, Jolley, Jolliff, Joylieffe/Joyliffe

K: Kellon, Kinsman, Knight

L: Laomi, Lately, Leech, Lettysse, Lilingston, Love, Lucrana, Lucresia, Ludwick

M: Macartey, Mackworth, Mauditt, Maverick, Maybe, Meddlecot, Mehalaliell/Mahalaleel, Melatiah, Meribah, Metsathiell, Milam, Milcha, Mindwell, Minot, Mordica, Moremercy, Mungo

  • Maverick, born at the end of the 1600s, got his mother’s surname as a first name.

N: Nabby, Nebery, Neezer, Neverson, Newgrace, Niot/Nyott

  • I’m guessing Neezer was derived from Ebenezer.
  • Nyott‘s full name was Nyott Doubt.

O: Onner, Opportunity, Orchard, Oulando, Oxenbridge

  • Opportunity‘s full name was Opportunity Lane.

P: Palfrey, Palsgrove, Palti, Parnell, Parthenia, Pepperrell, Perciful, Perring, Phaline, Phesant, Philadelphia, Philippe/Philippi/Philippy/Phillipee/Phillippi, Pilgrim, Pittie, Pool, Posthumus, Pouning, Preserved, Pyam

  • Perciful looks like Percival under the influence of “merciful.”
  • A number of women had names like Phillippi, which is curious…
  • Posthumus was once kinda trendy.
  • Pilgrim, despite his name, had nothing to do with the Mayflower Pilgrims. (He’s buried at Granary, btw.)

R: Ranis/Ragnis, Recompense, Redemption, Redigon/Redgon/Reddigan/Redigun, Reforme, Rely, Rich-Grace, Ronas, Rooksby/Rooksbey/Rooksbee/Rookby, Roop/Roope, Ryal

  • The Redigon group represents one person (female).
  • The Rooksby group represents several people, all female. You can see embroidered chair seats sewn one of them, Rooksby Creese (1703-1742), at the MFA in Boston.

S: Salmagrave, Salphin, Sarahjah, Satisfaction, Savel/Savell/Savil, Scarborough, Scissilla, Seaborne, Secunda/Secundas, Sendall/Sendell, Shippie, Shoreborne, Shove, Shrimpton, Sibbella/Sibla, Sivil/Sivill, Skinner, Skipper, Smyth, Snell, Spiller, Story, Strange, Sucky, Supply, Sweet

  • Sucky is an regrettable rendering of Sukey, a diminutive of Susanna.

T: Tacey, Teasant, Torshel, Tregoweth, Tremble, Trine, Tristram, Trueworthy, Turfry, Tuttle

  • Tacey has the same root as Tacita: the Latin verb tacere, meaning “to be silent.”
  • Torshel was the twin of Harborne (see above).

U: Union, Unite

V: Verrin, Vigilant, Vsal

W: Waitawhile/Wayte-a-while, Wentworth, Wheelwright, Wigglesworth/Wigleworth, Winborn, Woodbery, Woodmansie, Woodward

  • Waitawhile (female) had the birth name Waitawhile Makepeace. Sounds like a 2-step process for conflict resolution, doesn’t it?

Y: Yelverton

Z: Zerubbabel, Zibiah, Zuriell/Zuryell, Zurishaddai

…So, which of the above names intrigue you the most?

Sources: Boston births, baptisms, marriages and deaths, 1630-1699, Boston births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800


The Baby Name Posthumus

gravesIn the middle of the 16th century, English babies whose fathers had died before they were born started getting names like “Postumus,” “Posthumous” and “Posthuma.”

The idea of styling a child by this name, thus connected its birth with the father’s antecedent death, seems to have touched a sympathetic chord, and the practice began to widely prevail.

Here are the earliest examples I’ve found:

  • In 1566, Thomas Posthumus Hoby was born.
  • On 10 February 1572, Posthumus, son of Robert Pownoll, was christened at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, England.
  • On 9 April 1581, Posthumus, daughter of John Strowde, was christened in Eastwell, Kent, England.
  • On 1 January 1583, Posthumus, son of Rawlf Coulton, was christened in York, England.
  • On 5 March 1597, Posthuma, daughter of John Grubbs, was christened in Little Plumstead, Norfolk, England.

Shakespeare even featured a character named Posthumus Leonatus in his Cymbeline (circa 1611).

For centuries, names like these were used as firsts and middles, for both boys and girls, in England and elsewhere (U.S. included).

The practice started winding down in the late 1800s; I’ve only found handful of babies named Posthumus born post-1900.

Source: Bardsley, Charles Wareing Endell. Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature. London: Chatto & Windus, 1897.

UPDATE, 11/2013:

Looks like the original version of the word, Postumus, was used as a given name in ancient times as well. During the years that Ancient Rome was a Republic, “the praenomen was a real personal name” (not so later on) and some of the praenomina used during this period reflected birth circumstances. One example is Postumus, “a child born after his father’s death.” Another is Vopiscus, “the sole survivor of twins.”

Source: Wilson, Stephen. The Means Of Naming: A Social History. London: UCL Press, 1998.