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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Samuel

Number of Babies Named Samuel

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Samuel

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).


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

Popular Baby Names in Northern Territory, 2015

According to the government of Northern Territory, Australia, the most popular baby names in NT in 2015 were Charlotte and Jack.

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

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Charlotte, 20 baby girls
2. Ava, 14 (tie)
3. Ella, 14 (tie)
4. Emily, 14 (tie)
5. Lucy, 14 (tie)
6. Olivia, 14 (tie)
7. Isla, 13 (tie)
8. Matilda, 13 (tie)
9. Sophie, 13 (tie)
10. Chloe, 12 (tie)
1. Jack, 24 baby boys
2. James, 22
3. William, 19
4. Thomas, 18
5. Levi, 16
6. Oliver, 15 (tie)
7. Ryan, 15 (tie)
8. Lucas, 14
9. Hunter, 13 (tie)
10. Isaac, 13 (tie)

Tied with Chloe was Evie (in 11th place), and tied with Hunter and Isaac were Lachlan, Liam and Samuel (in 11th, 12th and 13th place).

Here are Northern Territory’s 2014 rankings.

Source: Popular Names – Department of the Attorney-General and Justice

Update, 8/22/2016: Just learned that, technically, the top baby name in NT last year was “not stated.”

Why? Because parents of ninety of the nearly 4,000 babies born in 2015 weren’t able to get a name registered within NT’s 60-day naming deadline.

Most of these parents simply weren’t able to decide in time. Others did decide in time, but the names they chose were rejected by the registrar.

Source: Why ‘not stated’ tops the baby names list in the Territory

Most Popular U.S. Baby Names of 2015

According to the Social Security Administration, Emma and Noah were the most popular baby names in the United States in 2015.

Here’s the top 10:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma, 20355 baby girls
2. Olivia, 19553
3. Sophia, 17327
4. Ava, 16286
5. Isabella, 15504
6. Mia, 14820
7. Abigail, 12311
8. Emily, 11727
9. Charlotte, 11332
10. Harper, 10241
1. Noah, 19511 baby boys
2. Liam, 18281
3. Mason, 16535
4. Jacob, 15816
5. William, 15809
6. Ethan, 14991
7. James, 14705
8. Alexander, 14460
9. Michael, 14321
10. Benjamin, 13608

Emma and Noah were also the #1 names in 2014.

Harper replaces Madison in the girls’ top 10; Benjamin replaces Daniel in the boys’ top 10.

Here’s the rest of the top 50:

Girl Names Boy Names
11. Madison, 10038
12. Amelia, 9795
13. Elizabeth, 9656
14. Sofia, 9650
15. Evelyn, 9313
16. Avery, 9298
17. Chloe, 7884
18. Ella, 7852
19. Grace, 7589
20. Victoria, 7575
21. Aubrey, 7357
22. Scarlett, 7100
23. Zoey, 6900
24. Addison, 6683
25. Lily, 6617
26. Lillian, 6571
27. Natalie, 6466
28. Hannah, 6372
29. Aria, 6371
30. Layla, 6289
31. Brooklyn, 6268
32. Alexa, 6029
33. Zoe, 5995
34. Penelope, 5921
35. Riley, 5707
36. Leah, 5585
37. Audrey, 5581
38. Savannah, 5413
39. Allison, 5329
40. Samantha, 5304
41. Nora, 5301
42. Skylar, 5258
43. Camila, 5257
44. Anna, 5094
45. Paisley, 5056
46. Ariana, 4933
47. Ellie, 4838
48. Aaliyah, 4836
49. Claire, 4805
50. Violet, 4779
11. Elijah, 13511
12. Daniel, 13408
13. Aiden, 13378
14. Logan, 12862
15. Matthew, 12648
16. Lucas, 12246
17. Jackson, 12182
18. David, 11691
19. Oliver, 11592
20. Jayden, 11475
21. Joseph, 11375
22. Gabriel, 10782
23. Samuel, 10733
24. Carter, 10727
25. Anthony, 10564
26. John, 10303
27. Dylan, 10232
28. Luke, 10219
29. Henry, 10112
30. Andrew, 10027
31. Isaac, 9878
32. Christopher, 9742
33. Joshua, 9720
34. Wyatt, 9597
35. Sebastian, 9569
36. Owen, 9549
37. Caleb, 8727
38. Nathan, 8530
39. Ryan, 8474
40. Jack, 8456
41. Hunter, 8284
42. Levi, 8236
43. Christian, 8127
44. Jaxon, 8015
45. Julian, 8003
46. Landon, 7896
47. Grayson, 7852
48. Jonathan, 7577
49. Isaiah, 7528
50. Charles, 7125

In the girls’ top 50, Alexa, Paisley, Ellie and Violet replace Arianna, Gabriella, Sadie and Sarah.

In the boys’ top 50, Grayson and Charles replace Eli and Aaron.

Impressive rises:

  • Alexa rose 31 places, from 63rd to 32nd
  • Violet rose 17 places, from 67th to 50th
  • Grayson rose 16 places, from 63rd to 47th
  • Oliver rose 13 places, from 32nd to 19th
  • Riley (girl name) rose 12 places, from 47th to 35th

Impressive drops:

  • Arianna dropped 16 places, from 40th to 56th
  • Gabriella dropped 11 places, from 43rd to 54th
  • Anna dropped 10 places, from 34th to 44th

There’s much more to come! Until then, I’ll quote liberally from the SSA’s press release:

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Alaia and Riaan.

Alaia jumped 2,012 spots on the girls’ side to number 664, from number 2,676 in 2014. Perhaps this can be attributed to high fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, or maybe it is because of Alaia Baldwin, the model/daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

Riaan increased 1,360 spots for the boys, from number 2,286 in 2014 to number 926. Of Indian origin, it is also the name of the young son of a well-known Bollywood actor, Riteish Deshmukh.

The second fastest riser for girls was Meilani. If you have ever watched MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” and maybe even if you haven’t, you’ve heard of Jenni “JWoww” Farley. She gave birth to daughter Meilani in 2014. On a different American shore, out in Hawaii, is another well-known Meilani–Bethany Meilani Hamilton, the professional surfer whose story of surviving a shark attack was documented in the movie “Soul Surfer.”

For boys, it was Huxley (a brave new comeback for the late science fiction writer?).

Some other notable names in the top 10 biggest increase category, and some possible reasons for their newfound popularity:

  • Omari and Jabari for boys. Omari Hardwick is an actor, known for his roles in “Sparkle,” “The A-Team,” and BET Network’s “Being Mary Jane.” He currently stars in “Power,” a popular cable TV series. Jabari Parker is a professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Duke.
  • Adaline and Zelda for girls. “The Age of Adaline” is a 2015 fantasy film starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, and Ellen Burstyn. As for Zelda, maybe the legend continues to grow?

I’ll also note that the name Isis dropped from 705th place (398 baby girls) in 2014 to 1770th place (117 baby girls) in 2015.

Source: Emma and Noah Once Again Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2015

U.S. Baby Names 2015: Most Popular Baby Names, Top Debuts: Girl Names, Top Debuts: Boy Names, Biggest Changes in Popularity: Girl Names, Biggest Changes in Popularity: Boy Names, First Letter Popularity, Name Length Popularity

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2015

According to data from Retraite Québec, the most popular baby names in Quebec in 2015 were Emma and Thomas/William (tied).

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma, 615 baby girls
2. Léa, 535
3. Olivia, 475
4. Alice, 471
5. Florence, 460
6. Zoe, 429
7. Chloe, 398
8. Beatrice, 390
9. Charlotte, 381
10. Rosalie, 350
1. Thomas, 754 baby boys
2. William, 754 baby boys
3. Jacob, 663
4. Liam, 661
5. Félix, 638
6. Nathan, 630
7. Samuel, 583
8. Logan, 576
9. Alexis, 554
10. Noah, 537

In 2015, Emma replaced Lea as the top girl name, William joined Thomas as the top boy name, Beatrice replaced Charlie in the girls’ top 10, and Noah replaced Olivier in the boy’s top 10. (Here are the 2014 rankings.)

Of all 9,096 girl names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 74.5% of them were used a single time. Here are some of the unique girl names:

  • Allegresse – the French word allégresse means “joy, elation.”
  • Angelhephzibah
  • Brightness
  • Cathalaya-Skuessi
  • Clerilda
  • Confiance – the French word confiance means “confidence, trust.”
  • Doxalyah
  • Etky
  • Eubenice
  • Evlly
  • Exaucee – the French verb exaucer means “to grant a wish.”
  • Flory Comfort
  • Garance – the French word garance refers to a shade of red created from the root of the madder plant.
  • Glad Marie
  • Glody
  • Graytchelle Mayssa – a Gretchen + Rachel smoosh?
  • Greasy-Elizabeth
  • Happy Moussoni
  • Janiphee
  • Kalliah
  • Kzy
  • Luneve – reminds me of Leneve.
  • M Mah Bourgeois
  • Mingolou Oracle-Kidj
  • Nebraska
  • Nina-Symone
  • Nomad
  • Paphaelle – typo?
  • Poema
  • Praise Peter
  • Protegee
  • Relilah – typo?
  • Shamash-Cleodaine
  • Skodrina
  • Symphony Melody
  • Uqittuk
  • Uri Wonder
  • Winola – this one reminds me of early 20th-century America.
  • Zoalie
  • Zhya

Of all 7,920 boy names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 76.5% of them were bestowed just once. Here are some of the unique boy names:

  • Anakyn
  • Appamatta – the Pali word appamatta means “diligent, careful.”
  • Aunix
  • Axeliam
  • Bleart
  • Bradley Prague
  • Brady Bullet – this one reminds me of modern America (e.g. Shooter, Trigger).
  • Cedrick Wolynsky
  • Chrysolithe – a type of gem (a.k.a. peridot).
  • Cirrus
  • Dejgaard
  • Diamond-Heliodor – two more gems.
  • Drake Luke
  • Dublin
  • Dugaillekens
  • Elliottt – the only triple T’s in the U.S. data so far are Mattthew and Britttany. Probably typos, but you never know.
  • Eviee
  • Exauce – the masculine form of Exaucee.
  • Ezzeldeen
  • Garnet – another gem.
  • Glovacky
  • Gningnery Yoshua
  • Hervenslaire
  • Icky Neymar
  • Iola Stevie
  • Jimmy Johnny
  • Jyceton
  • Jyfr
  • Kbees
  • Keylord
  • Ludo-Vyck
  • Mathis-Adorable
  • Messy
  • Michael Antares – reminds me of an earlier Antares.
  • Napesis – the Cree word napesis means “boy” or “little boy.”
  • Nyquist
  • Perlcy
  • Rowdy Chance
  • Skogen
  • Sosereyvatanack
  • Tysaiah Jay
  • Whidjley Densly
  • Woobs Therly
  • Zogan

For more sets of rankings, check out the name rankings category.

Source: Retraite Québec – List of Baby Names

The Star Wars Baby Name You Forgot About: Cindel

Cindel, 1984
Cindel Towani and an Ewok

Various websites have been echoing’s claim that Star Wars names like Rey and Kylo are now trendy baby names. The problem? It’s all conjecture. So far, real-world data does not indicate that these names are being bestowed often enough to qualify as “trendy” (à la Nevaeh). We might have to wait a year or two (or ten) for that data, if we ever get it at all.

In the meanwhile, let’s check out the name Cindel — a Star Wars name that everyone seems to have forgotten about.

Cindel debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1984 and saw peak usage in 1986:

  • 1988: 10 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1987: 11 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1986: 25 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1985: 18 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1984: 7 baby girls named Cindel [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted

Variants Cyndel and Cyndal debuted in 1985, and the one-hit wonders Cindal, Cyndil, and Cindell appeared over the next couple of years.

Where did these names come from?

A pair of made-for-TV movies based on stories by George Lucas.

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure aired on ABC in November of 1984, and the sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, aired on the same channel one year later.

Both films feature a young human character named Cindel Towani (played by actress Aubree Miller).

In the first film, a family of humans is shipwrecked on the forest moon of Endor, home of the Ewoks. Parents Jeremitt and Catrine Towani are promptly kidnapped, and their children — brother Mace and sister Cindel — locate and rescue them, with the help of the Ewoks.

In the second film, a group of marauders kills everyone in the Towani family except for Cindel. She and several friends fight the the marauders, and in doing so obtain the star cruiser energy cell that Cindel needs to finally leave Endor.

In the book A Brief Guide to Star Wars, author Brian J. Robb notes that Mace is “a name from Lucas’s earliest Star Wars drafts later used for Samuel L. Jackson’s Jedi character in the prequels.” I can’t find any clues about how George Lucas came up with Cindel, though.

What are your thoughts on the name Cindel?


Pennsylvania Family with 25 Children

In late 1899, multiple newspapers ran the story of Mary Swartwood of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Why? Because she had just welcomed her 25th child.

She was only in her early 40s, but had married her husband (Samuel) at the age of 14 and had welcomed her first baby at the age of 15.

Here are the names and birth years of all 25 Swartwood kids:

  1. Walter, 1872
  2. Louis, 1873
  3. Thaddeus, 1875
  4. Maud, 1876
  5. Cora, 1877
  6. Blanche, 1878
  7. Mabel, 1879
  8. Herbert, 1880
  9. Warren, 1881
  10. Elsie, 1882
  11. Samuel, 1884
  12. Daniel, 1885
  13. Ruth, 1886
  14. Alonzo, 1889 (twin)
  15. Gertrude, 1889 (twin)
  16. Elmer, 1890
  17. Calvin, 1891
  18. Florence, 1892
  19. Esther, 1893 (twin)
  20. Benjamin, 1893 (twin)
  21. Earl, 1895
  22. Jessie, 1896
  23. Edith, 1897
  24. Lottie, 1898
  25. Arthur, 1899

Out of the 25 names on the list, which girl name and which boy name do you like best?

Source: “25 Children in 27 Years.” Hartford Weekly Times 26 Oct. 1899: 6.

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.


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.


  • 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.