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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sam

Number of Babies Named Sam

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sam

Sicilian Baby Named for Uncle Sam During WWII

Uncle Sam army posterOn July 9, 1943, the Allies invaded the island of Sicily. Within six weeks they had expelled the Axis entirely, opening up Mediterranean sea lanes for Allied ships and setting the stage for the invasion of mainland Italy.

But before the battle was over, in early August, two American servicemen — 1st Lt. Lawrence Taylor (who was a doctor) and Sgt. Milton Spelman — helped a Sicilian woman give birth a baby boy amid the chaos.

As a thank-you to the American doctor, she decided to name the baby Sam after Uncle Sam.

“The shells were landing all about,” Taylor recalled, “but we got through the delivery okay. The mother, who lived in New York once, told us her husband was with an Italian combat unit near Rome and believed in fascism. But she didn’t. Spelman and I became little Sam’s god-fathers.”

So how did Uncle Sam get his name? The Library of Congress says that the origin of the term “Uncle Sam” is obscure, but “[h]istorical sources attribute the name to a meat packer who supplied meat to the army during the War of 1812” — Samuel Wilson (1766-1854) of Troy, New York. According to the story, the soldiers who knew of “Uncle Sam” Wilson began to associate his nickname with the “U.S.” stamp on packaged meats, and over time the nickname simply became associated with anything marked “U.S.”

The name Samuel comes from the Hebrew name Shemuel/Shmuel and is typically defined as “name of God” (shem + el). Another possible definition is “heard of God” (shama + el).

Sources:

More WWII baby names: Adolf Hitler, Dorie, Fifinella, Hai-Hu, Irene, Jesse Roper, Linda Ann, Linda Vista, Roger, Tunisia, Vee


Names from WHER, the First All-Female Radio Station

Dot Fisher of WHER radio station in the 1950s
Dot Fisher of WHER c. 1957 © Broadcast News
Memphis-based radio station WHER (1430 AM), which was run almost entirely by women, went on the air in October of 1955. It was billed as America’s “First All-Female Radio Station.”

The station was created and funded by legendary record producer Sam Phillips — the guy who discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, among others.

WHER’s original staff included Sam’s wife Rebecca (Becky) along with seven other women: Barbara Gurley, Donna Rae Johnson, Dorothy “Dot” Fisher, Dotty Abbott, Fay Bussell, Phyllis Stimbert, and Roberta Stout.

Six of these eight ladies were on-air personalities with their own programs, each of which emphasized “some particular subject of interest to housewives” according to a 1957 source.

Which of the original WHER names do you like best?

Which WHER name do you like best?

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(Dotty is usually a nickname for Dorothy, so I combined them in the poll.)

Vida Jane Butler, who joined WHER later in the ’50s, was known on-air as “Janie Joplin.” She’d been told that Vida “was considered too old-fashioned and too Southern for WHER,” and the data backs it up: the name Vida was indeed out of fashion and associated with the south at that time. These days, though, Vida is picking up steam — particularly in California. Janie, on the other hand, saw peak usage in the mid-20th century and has been in decline ever since.

Sources:

Some Kenyans Eschewing Tribal Baby Names

Ongoing ethnic conflict in Kenya has started to influenced the way Kenyan parents name their babies.

Late last year, several mothers in a maternity hospital in Kisumu, Kenya, talked about choosing non-tribal baby names as a way to evade tribal discrimination.

The mother of baby boy named Santa Roby Aaron Sam said:

“I have been a victim of ethnic profiling and would not wish to have my children face the same. We have decided as an extended family that we want to avoid tribal names.”

The mother of baby boy named Fidel Daniels said:

“It is common these days for people to have all Christian names and for us, it is not a fashion but a way of just avoiding the stereotypes that come with the tribal names.”

The mother of baby girl named Rhiab Emmanuela said:

“People have gone overboard with tribal names and it is time we use neutral names, which do not stir any stereotypes at first sight.”

But other Kenyans worry that abandoning tribal names will contribute to the erosion of tribal culture. Opiyo Otondi, former chair of the Luo Council of Elders, said, “No amount of frustration should make our people abandon their culture.”

And Betty Okero, a Kisumu human rights activist, noted that non-tribal names can only offer a limited amount of protection against discrimination, as people’s home villages are recorded on their national identity cards.

Source: Mothers shun ‘tribal names’ for newborns by Kevine Omollo (found via Appellation Mountain)

Popular Baby Names in Sweden, 2015

According to data from Statistics Sweden, the most popular baby names in Sweden in 2015 were Elsa and William.

Here are Sweden’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Elsa, 872 baby girls
2. Alice, 847
3. Maja, 674
4. Saga, 671
5. Ella, 627
6. Lilly, 613
7. Olivia, 583
8. Ebba, 576
9. Wilma, 757
10. Julia, 574
1. William, 977 baby boys
2. Lucas, 802
3. Liam, 752
4. Oscar, 737
5. Elias, 732
6. Hugo, 711
7. Oliver, 709
8. Charlie, 664
9. Axel, 627
10. Vincent, 602

In the boys’ top 10, Axel replaces Alexander.

In the girls’ top 10, Saga, Ella and Wilma replace Agnes, Molly and Linnea.

The names in the top 100 that rose the fastest were:

  • Lo, Saga, Hedvig, Julie, and Ronja for girls, and
  • Kian, Henry, Love, Algot and Sam for boys.

The names in the top 100 that fell the fastest were:

  • Hilda, Cornelia, Elvira, Felicia and Linn for girls, and
  • Linus, Elvin, Rasmus, Felix and Jack for boys.

The sudden rise of Saga (from 21st to 4th) could be due to the popular Scandinavian TV show “The Bridge,” which features a character named Saga. But, as Maybe it is Daijirō (aka Maks) notes, the show has been around since 2011. Saga’s usage stayed relatively flat until 2014.

Also in 2015, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PVR) received 1,942 applications for adult name changes — a new national record. Znövit (Snow White), Lejontass (Lion paw) and Grön (green) were three of the new names requested last year. Sweden may be strict about names for babies, but name changes for adults are approved around 99% of the time.

Sources: Name statistics – Statistics Sweden, Swedes rush to ditch classic Nordic names

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

Popular Baby Names in Malta, 2013

Malta’s top baby names of 2013 came out a few weeks ago.

According to data from the National Statistics Office, the most popular name-groups last year were Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella and Luke/Luca/Lucas.

Here are Malta’s top 20 girl name-groups and top 20 boy name-groups of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
  1. Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella, 106 baby girls (5.5% of all girls)
  2. Eliza/Elisa/Elizabeth/Elise, 78 (4.0%)
  3. Julia/Yulia/Julianne, 69 (3.6%)
  4. Emma/Emmanuela/Ema, 51 (2.6%)
  5. Maya/Mia/Myah, 47 (2.4%)
  6. Maria/Marija/Mariah/Marie, 42 (2.2%)
  7. Lea/Leah/Leia, 37 (1.9%)
  8. Martina/Martine, 36 (1.9%)
  9. Christina/Christa/Christabel/Krystle, 35 (1.8%)
    • Kailey/Kai/Kaleigh, 34 (1.8%)
    • Catherine/Katrina/Kate/Katya, 34 (1.8%)
    • Emilia/Emily/Emelie, 34 (1.8%)
  10. Amy/Aimee, 32 (1.6%)
  11. Anna/Hannah/Ann, 31 (1.6%)
    • Mikela/Makaila/Michelle, 27 (1.4%)
    • Alison/Alice/Alicia/Alyssa/Aly, 27 (1.4%)
  12. Sophia/Sophie, 26 (1.3%)
    • Jade/Giada, 22 (1.1%)
    • Alexandra/Alessia/Alexia/Lexi, 22 (1.1%)
  13. Aaliyah/Alaya, 21 (1.1%)
    • Chloe/Khloe, 20 (1.0%)
    • Amber/Amberley, 20 (1.0%)
    • Karla/Carla/Carly, 20 (1.0%)
    • Jasmine/Yasmine/Yasmeen, 17 (0.9%)
    • Nina, 17 (0.9%)
    • Faith, 17 (0.9%)
  14. Hailey/Hailee/Hayleigh, 16 (0.8%)
    • Nicole/Nicola/Nicky, 14 (0.7%)
    • Rachel/Raquel, 14 (0.7%)
    • Keira/Kyra, 14 (0.7%)
    • Claire/Clara/Clarisse, 14 (0.7%)
  1. Luke/Luca/Lucas, 106 baby boys (5% of all boys)
  2. Matthew/Matthias/Matteo, 93 (4.4%)
  3. Jacob/Jake, 70 (3.3%)
  4. Zachary/Zak/Zack, 56 (2.6%)
    • John/Jean/Jonathan/Juan/Gan, 53 (2.5%)
    • Michael/Miguel/Mikhail, 53 (2.5%)
  5. Andrew/Andreas/Andre/Andy, 46 (2.2%)
    • Kaiden/Kayden/Kai, 45 (2.1%)
    • Alexander/Alessandro/Alec, 45 (2.1%)
  6. Aiden/Ayden, 43 (2.0%)
  7. Liam/William, 42 (2.0%)
  8. Nicholas/Nick/Nicolai, 41 (1.9%)
  9. Benjamin/Ben, 40 (1.9%)
  10. Daniel/Dan/Danil, 33 (1.5%)
    • Isaac/Izaak, 32 (1.5%)
    • Mason/Maison, 32 (1.5%)
  11. Jack/Jackson/Jacques, 30 (1.4%)
    • Jaden/Jayden/Jadon, 29 (1.4%)
    • Thomas/Tommas/Tommy, 29 (1.4%)
  12. Nathan/Nathaniel, 28 (1.3%)
  13. Julian/Julien/Guiliano, 27 (1.3%)
    • Gabriel/Gabrijel/Gabryl, 24 (1.1%)
    • Adam, 24 (1.1%)
    • Joseph/Beppe/Giuseppe/Josef, 23 (1.1%)
    • Noah, 23 (1.1%)
    • James/Jamie/Jayme, 22 (1.0%)
    • Samuel/Sam, 22 (1.0%)
    • Keiran/Kyran, 22 (1.0%)

Some of the unusual names registered in Malta last year were Aizley, Amporn, Breeze, Chinenye, Coco, Delson, Diyas, Enonima, Freedom, Gundula, Jaceyrhaer, Kobbun, Limoni, Love, Netsrik, Summer, Symphony, Zarkareia and Zveyrone.

Malta’s 2012 list was topped by Eliza/Lisa/Elsie/Elyse/Bettina and Matthew/Matthias/Matteo.

Sources: NSO – Naming Babies: 2013, Quality and Amporn top the list of unusual names

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2013

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2013

Ireland’s top baby names of 2013 were announced a few days ago.

According to data from the Central Statistics Office, the most popular baby names are Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily
2. Emma
3. Sophie
4. Ella
5. Amelia
6. Aoife
7. Ava
8. Lucy
9. Grace
10. Sarah
11. Mia
12. Anna
13. Chloe
14. Hannah
15. Kate
16. Ruby
17. Lily
18. Katie
19. Caoimhe
20. Sophia
21. Lauren
22. Saoirse
23. Ellie
24. Holly
25. Leah
26. Amy
27. Olivia
28. Jessica
29. Ciara
30. Zoe
31. Isabelle
32. Niamh
33. Molly
34. Julia
35. Robyn
36. Erin
37. Roisin
38. Freya
39. Laura
40. Cara
41. Sofia
42. Eva
43. Rachel
44. Isabella
45. Kayla
46. Abbie
47. Charlotte [tie]
47. Millie [tie]
49. Faye
50. Clodagh
51. Aisling
52. Alice [tie]
52. Eabha [tie]
54. Abigail
55. Ellen
56. Lexi
57. Aoibhinn
58. Layla
59. Eve [tie]
59. Zara [tie]
61. Alannah
62. Aine
63. Maria [tie]
63. Megan [tie]
65. Rebecca
66. Nicole
67. Sadhbh
68. Clara
69. Elizabeth
70. Maya
71. Maja
72. Emilia
73. Caitlin
74. Rose
75. Isabel
76. Aoibheann
77. Sadie
78. Lena
79. Hollie
80. Sienna
81. Mary
82. Fiadh
83. Zuzanna
84. Aimee [tie]
84. Tara [tie]
86. Hanna [tie]
86. Katelyn [tie]
86. Lilly [tie]
86. Ruth [tie]
90. Alexandra [tie]
90. Poppy [tie]
92. Amber [tie]
92. Mollie [tie]
92. Victoria [tie]
95. Lara
96. Sara
97. Brooke
98. Aoibhe [tie]
98. Laoise [tie]
100. Kayleigh
1. Jack
2. James
3. Daniel
4. Conor
5. Sean
6. Adam
7. Ryan
8. Michael
9. Harry
10. Noah
11. Thomas
12. Alex
13. Luke
14. Oisin
15. Charlie
16. Patrick
17. Cian
18. Liam [tie]
18. Darragh [tie]
20. Dylan
21. Jamie
22. Matthew
23. Cillian
24. Aaron
25. Fionn
26. Jake
27. John
28. David
29. Ben
30. Finn
31. Nathan
32. Kyle
33. Samuel
34. Evan
35. Max
36. Ethan
37. Rian
38. Joseph
39. Alexander
40. Mason
41. Oliver
42. Joshua
43. William
44. Eoin
45. Jayden
46. Oscar
47. Callum
48. Aidan
49. Tom
50. Robert
51. Sam [tie]
51. Tadhg [tie]
53. Jacob
54. Cathal
55. Shane
56. Leon
57. Mark
58. Senan
59. Bobby
60. Ronan [tie]
60. Andrew [tie]
62. Eoghan
63. Leo
64. Lucas
65. Rory
66. Alfie
67. Tyler
68. Benjamin [tie]
68. Cormac [tie]
70. Scott
71. Christopher
72. Odhran
73. Kevin
74. Ciaran
75. Dara
76. Shay [tie]
76. Alan [tie]
78. Tommy
79. Logan [tie]
79. Anthony [tie]
81. Jakub
82. Rhys
83. Tomas
84. Donnacha
85. Kai
86. Stephen
87. Killian
88. Niall
89. Jason
90. Josh
91. Kayden
92. Martin [tie]
92. Ruairi [tie]
92. Brian [tie]
95. Isaac
96. Danny [tie]
96. Edward [tie]
98. Oran [tie]
98. Sebastian [tie]
98. Hugh [tie]

New to the top 100 are Sadie, Sienna, Fiadh and Poppy for girls and Kai and Kayden for boys.

(Names that were new on the 2012 list but that have since dropped out of the top 100 are Amelie, Evie and Maisie.)

Of all the girl names in the current top 100, these five saw the biggest increases from 2012 to 2013 in terms of rank change:

  1. Fiadh, +64 (146th to 82nd)
  2. Sadie, +62 (139th to 77th)
  3. Poppy, +46 (136th to 90th)
  4. Lexi, +33 (89th to 56th)
  5. Sienna, +32 (112th to 80th)

And these five saw the biggest increases in terms of number of babies:

  1. Anna, +56 (296 babies to 352 babies)
  2. Lexi, +54 (127 babies to 73 babies)
  3. Sofia, +50 (155 babies to 105 babies)
  4. Sadie, +42 (84 babies to 42 babies)
  5. Fiadh, +39 (78 babies to 39 babies)

Of all the boy names in the current top 100, these five saw the biggest increases from 2012 to 2013 in terms of rank change:

  1. Kayden, +44 (135th to 91st)
  2. Shay, +27 (103rd to 76th)
  3. Kai, +24 (109th to 85th)
  4. Leo, +21 (84th to 63rd)
  5. Anthony, +20 (99th to 79th)

And these five saw the biggest increases in terms of number of babies:

  1. Oliver, +44 (199 babies to 155 babies)
  2. Mason, +42 (201 babies to 159 babies)
  3. Alexander, +41 (202 babies to 161 babies)
  4. Leo, +35 (131 babies to 96 babies)
  5. Shay, +35 (104 babies to 69 babies)

Source: Irish Babies’ Names 2013
Image: Adapted from Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ireland by Giuseppe Milo under CC BY 2.0.