How popular is the baby name Prudence in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Prudence and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Prudence.
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Last year’s #1 baby names, Brooklyn and Liam, probably didn’t even make the top 5 this year. (It’s hard to know for sure, though, as the data only covers January through November.)
My source article made a big deal about there being 6 babies named Jaxon vs. just 3 with the traditional spelling Jackson, but the gap was even bigger in 2013 when there were 11 babies named Jaxon/Jaxen/Jaxsen and just 5 named Jackson.
Back in June, while planning a family camping trip, I posted about the name Acadia. Now that we’re back from that camping trip, I have a few more names to talk about.
For the first half of the trip we stayed at Prince Edward Island National Park in Canada. At our campground, the bilingual poison ivy signs emphasized the words “Caution” (in English) and “Prudence” (in French). Prudence is a vocabulary word in both languages, of course, but these signs gave me the impression that it’s more commonly used in French, which in turn made me wonder how French speakers feel about the name Prudence. Does it sound weird to them? (As weird as the name Caution would sound to English speakers?) Hm.
While doing some genealogical research in one of PEI’s many graveyards, I came across the name Sophus. It belonged to Daniel Sophus Edmonds, 1877-1900. Sophus has the same root as the super-popular Sophia. Both come from the Ancient Greek word for “wisdom.”
Halfway through the trip, while traveling back to the U.S. from Canada, we stopped at Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. As I was checking out the rock formations, I idly wondered how many people in the U.S. were named Hopewell. Not many, turns out. I found only a few dozen people named Hopewell, none born since 1980. The total might be as high as 100 if middle names are included.
For the second half of the trip we stayed at Acadia National Park in Maine. The park has hundreds of miles of hiking trails. One of the men who created and mapped these trails was Waldron Bates (1856-1909). He also developed a distinctive type of cairn, unique to Acadia, known as the Bates cairn. The name Waldron, while rare, has appeared a couple dozen times on the national baby name list.
Acadia’s Jordan Pond Gate Lodge (1932), which resembles a 16th-century French hunting lodge, was commissioned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and designed by prominent New York architect Grosvenor “Grove” Atterbury. No doubt Grove’s given name was inspired by the surname Grosvenor, which comes from the French phrase le Gros Veneur, meaning “the chief huntsman.” Rockefeller later donated the Gate Lodge — and the 45 miles of rustic carriage roads it protected — to the park.
These were probably the 5 most interesting names I spotted during the trip, but there were plenty of others. (Lucy, Maud, Montgomery, and Anne, for instance, were names I saw repeatedly at Green Gables on PEI.)
Have you taken a vacation this summer? If so, did you spot any interesting names while away?
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:
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.
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:
My husband and his first wife named their son Adam. Their Adam is 25 and lives across the country from us. Now we are having a son, and Adam is my late father’s name and grandfather’s name. I always wanted to name my son after my dad. My husband says I can’t do that because of his firstborn son, and he can’t have two sons named Adam. But mostly, because it would upset his ex-wife. I don’t think I should have to forgo naming my son after my dad because of this. We rarely see his older son, so I don’t see what the problem is. My husband got to pick the name for our daughter and it meant a lot to him. This means a lot to me. His son said it would be all right with him, but his ex is livid at the idea.
And here’s Prudie’s answer:
Only three more sons to go—all named Adam—and your husband could tie George Foreman’s record for having sons who all share the same name. I hear from a lot of people who think other family members have “stolen” a name they wanted for their child. But while it doesn’t matter if cousins have the same name, it is bizarre to give more than one of your own children the same name. You husband already has a son named Adam. The older Adam may feel so disconnected (or is so laid back) that he says he doesn’t care that he could have a younger brother also named Adam. But your husband says he doesn’t want to give both his sons the same name. I agree the wishes of the ex-wife are completely irrelevant, but maybe your husband is trying to make her the heavy. You can honor your own family name by making Adam your son’s middle name. You could even flip your father’s first and middle names for your own son. I know Adam was the first man, but there have been many since them and you need to choose another name, because in your family, Adam is taken.
Later in the chat, someone recommended using Adam with a different middle name.
Prudie stayed put: “I’m against giving two sons the same first name, period.”
Me? I totally disagree.
Prudie’s answer pissed me off, in fact.
Prudie seems to be forgetting that that the wife’s opinion and family are just as important as the husband’s. If this mom-to-be wants to honor men on her side with a baby name, she should do so. This may be her only opportunity, after all.
The husband has to realize that his new family is not merely a continuation of his old one. The ex-wife’s opinion is irrelevant (I agree on that point) and the 25-year-old Adam is largely out of the picture.
In his new family, it’s his wife’s turn to name a baby. The name she wants is a good one. It’s extremely meaningful to her. (And it will be to the baby as well.) I see no reason why she shouldn’t use Adam as her baby’s first name.
How about you — are you on Prudie’s side, or on mine?
I recently read something about the TV show Bones, which has been on the air since 2005. I’ve never seen the show, but the first names of the main characters, Seeley (male) and Temperance (female), piqued my curiosity. Has Bones been inspiring parents to use these names for their babies?
Yup, it would seem so.
Here are the numbers for Seeley since 2005:
2005 – (unlisted)
2006 – (unlisted)
2007 – 7 baby girls named Seeley
2008 – (unlisted)
2009 – 10 baby boys and 8 baby girls named Seeley
2010 – 34 baby boys and 9 baby girls named Seeley
And here are the numbers for Temperance:
2005 – 8 baby girls named Temperance
2006 – 20 baby girls named Temperance
2007 – 76 baby girls named Temperance
2008 – 88 baby girls named Temperance
2009 – 165 baby girls named Temperance
2010 – 211 baby girls named Temperance (rank: 1,148th)
I’m really surprised by Temperance. Short virtue names like Faith, Grace, Hope and Joy are alive and well, but most of the long virtue names — especially those like Temperance — are long gone. Abstinence, Experience, Deliverance, Diligence, Innocence, Obedience, Perseverance, Providence, Reliance, Repentance, Silence…only Patience, Constance and Prudence are still around. And now Temperance might be coming back.
How do you feel about this? Do you like the name Temperance? Do you think it’ll crack the top 1,000?