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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Stephen


Posts that Mention the Name Stephen

The Descendants of Tristram Coffyn

“Dresser in Tristram Coffin House, Newburyport, Massachusetts.”

Earlier this week we talked about the original Tristram Coffyn of Nantucket, who is known to have a massive number of descendants.

He and his wife Dionis* had five children in England, then four more after relocating to the New World. Here are the names of not only all nine of their children, but also their 76 grandchildren:

  1. Peter (b. 1631) and his wife Abigail had 11 kids:
    • Parnel, Eliphalet, Abigail, Peter, Jethro**, Tristram, Robert, Edward, Judith, Parnell, Elizabeth
  2. Tristram (b. 1632) and his wife Judith had 10 kids:
    • Judith, Deborah, Mary, James, John, Lydia, Enoch, Stephen, Peter, Nathaniel
  3. Elizabeth (b. 1634) and her husband Stephen Greenleaf had 10 kids:
    • Stephen, Sarah, Daniel, Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Tristram, Edmund, Judith, Mary
  4. Stephen (b. 1637)
  5. James (b. 1640) and his wife Mary had 14 kids:
    • Experience, James, Mary, Abigail, Nathaniel, John, Dinah, Elizabeth, Deborah, Ebenezer, Joseph, Benjamin, Ruth, Jonathan
  6. Deborah (b. 1642)
  7. Mary (b. 1645) and her husband Nathaniel Starbuck had 10 kids:
    • Mary, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Jethro, Barnabas, Eunice, Priscilla, Hephzibah, Ann, Paul
  8. John (b. 1647) and his wife Deborah had 11 kids:
    • Lydia, Peter, John, Love, Enoch, Samuel, Hannah, Benjamin, Tristram, Deborah, Elizabeth
  9. Stephen (b. 1652) and his wife Mary had 10 kids:
    • Daniel, Dionis, Peter, Stephen, Judith, Susanna, Anna, Mehitable, Hepzibah, Paul

Which of the above names do you like best? Are there any you don’t like at all?

*Dionis’s name is evidently a truncated form of Dionysia, which derives from Dionysius, which originally referred to a devotee of the Greek god Dionysos. The names Dennis and Denise are also derivatives of Dionysius.

**Nantucket’s Oldest House, also called the Jethro Coffin House, was built in 1686 as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin.

Sources: Tristram Coffin, Sr. (1608-1681) – WikiTree, My Father’s Shoes – Our Coffin Story
Image from Early Settlers of Nantucket by Lydia S. Hinchman

The First Appearance of Fiona

fiona, movie, 1940s, baby name
Fiona in the trailer for The Gay Sisters (1942)

The name Fiona — coined during the 18th century by Scottish poet James Macpherson, who based it on the Irish word fionn (“white, fair”) — is relatively common in the U.S. these days. Rank-wise, it’s been hovering around 200th place for the last few years.

But — like Siobhan, Maeve, Bronwen, and many other Celtic names — it didn’t arrive with the immigrants. Instead, it was introduced to America later on, via pop culture.

Fiona first popped up in the data in 1942, and it stuck around for several years:

  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: 7 baby girls named Fiona
  • 1943: 19 baby girls named Fiona
  • 1942: 9 baby girls named Fiona [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted

What boosted it onto the charts that initial time?

The movie The Gay Sisters, which came out in August of 1942. The main characters were the three Gaylord sisters/heiresses: Fiona, Evelyn, and Susanna. Fiona, the eldest sister, was played by popular actress Barbara Stanwyck (birth name Ruby Catherine Stevens). The film didn’t do well at the box office, but it clearly had an impact on expectant parents.

The movie was based on the book of the same name by Stephen Longstreet. Longstreet was also the writer behind Stallion Road, which was similarly made into a movie and introduced audiences to a woman named Rory (traditionally a male name) later in the ’40s.

Do you like the name Fiona? Would you use it?

Sources:

  • The Gay Sisters – TCM
  • Hanks, Patrick, Kate Hardcastle and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of First Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2018

pop culture baby name game 2018

It’s Elvis Presley’s birthday* — that means it’s time to kick off the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

So how do you play the game? Simply brainstorm for baby names that could have gotten a boost in usage in 2018 thanks to the influence popular culture: movies, music, television, social media, video games, sports, politics, products, trends, etc.

Here are some names we can start with:

  • Araminta – movie, Crazy Rich Asians character
  • Astrid – movie, Crazy Rich Asians character
  • Avicii – music/news, the late Swedish DJ Avicii
  • Banks – celebrity baby (Hilary Duff)
  • Billion – celebrity baby (Rick Ross)
  • Braven – movie, Braven
  • Canon – celebrity baby (Stephen Curry)
  • Cardi – music, rapper Cardi B
  • Carson – sports, Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (particularly in PA)
  • Carvena – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Chadwick – movie, Black Panther actor
  • Chevel – TV, The Voice contestant
  • Chicago – celebrity baby (Kim Kardashian & Kanye West)
  • Coco – movie, Coco
  • Cress – TV, Black Lightning actor
  • Crew – celebrity baby (Chip & Joanna Gaines)
  • Cullinan – car, Rolls-Royce Cullinan
  • Doria – news, royal wedding (Doria Ragland)
  • Dua – music, singer Dua Lipa
  • Elanese – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Ella Mai – music, singer Ella Mai
  • Garrix – music, DJ Martin Garrix
  • Gio – celebrity baby (Adam Levine)
  • Grayson – news, winter storm Grayson
  • Havana – music, song “Havana”
  • Hayes – celebrity babies (both Jessica Alba and Meghan King Edmonds)
  • Joji – music, singer Joji
  • Jumanji – movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Kaavia – celebrity baby (Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union)
  • Kane – music, singer Kane Brown**
  • Karamo – TV, Queer Eye expert
  • Keala – music/movie, singer/actress Keala Settle (“This Is Me”)
  • Kiki – music/dance, “In My Feelings” challenge
  • Mahomes – sports, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
  • Majeste – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Maquia – movie, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
  • Meghan – news, royal wedding (Meghan Markle)
  • Mera – movie, Aquaman character
  • Miles – celebrity baby (John Legend & Chrissy Teigen)
  • Nafessa – TV, Black Lightning actress
  • Nakia – movie, Black Panther character
  • Osaka – sports, U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka – suggested by elbowin
  • Qira (Qi’ra) – movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story character
  • Rami – movie, Bohemian Rhapsody actor
  • Ramirez – video game, Fortnite character (female)
  • Reileen – TV, Altered Carbon character
  • Sharaya – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Shuri – movie, Black Panther character
  • Storm – movie, A Wrinkle in Time actress
  • Stormi – celebrity baby (Kylie Jenner)
  • Swae – music, rapper Swae Lee
  • Takeshi – TV, Altered Carbon character
  • T’challa – movie, Black Panther character
  • True – celebrity baby (Khloe Kardashian)
  • Tully – movie, Tully
  • Velar – car, Range Rover Velar
  • Venom – movie, Venom
  • Villanelle – TV, Killing Eve character
  • Wade – movies, both Ready Player One and Deadpool 2 characters
  • Xolo – Web TV, Cobra Kai actor
  • Yanny – news, the Yanny/Laurel audio clip – suggested by elbowin
  • Zhavia – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Zaytoven – music, producer Zaytoven
  • Zaxai – TV, The Voice contestant
  • Zazie – movie, Deadpool 2 actress

What other names should be on this list? Let me know by commenting below. And don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence!

I’ll post the game results in May of 2019, a few days after the SSA releases the 2018 baby name data.

If you don’t want to miss the results post, just subscribe to NBN in some way so that you’ll be notified once it’s out.

*Elvis would have been 84 today.
**The first baby born in Richland County, OH, in 2019 was named after Kane Brown.

Name Quotes #60: Kelvin, Reese, Nyadak

name quote, benedict cumberbatch

A Benedict Cumberbatch quote from a recent episode [vid] of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

I think England is the only place that makes people named Benedict Cumberbatch.

From an article about a Swedish woman who changed her son’s name because of a botched tattoo:

Local newspaper, Blekinge Läns Tidning, reported that 30-year-old Johanna Giselhäll Sandström had requested a tattoo of her children’s names, Nova and Kevin.

The tattoo artist didn’t ask the woman to check the spelling, which resulted in a tattoo that read: ‘Nova and Kelvin’.

[…]

After discovering the process of removing tattoos isn’t an easy one, Sandström began to realise the name was growing on her, so she opted for a less painful solution to the problem.

“We decided to rename the boy,” she said.

From a Slate essay about unusual Mormon names by Haley Swenson:

By now, I’ve heard all the jokes about Utah names, but what I haven’t heard is a unified theory of just why the Mormon people of Utah are so inclined to create them. I humbly offer two hypotheses.

The first is my historical-cultural theory—that the penchant for invented names among Mormons lies in its very foundation: It goes all the way back to its founder, Joseph Smith, who had to come up with the names of hundreds of figures to populate the faith’s foundational text that he wrote, the Book of Mormon.

[…]

My second theory is more sociological. […] [I]f you’re a Mormon kid in Utah, it can be hard to stand out from the pack. A differently spelled name or a new name altogether might be a reasonable way to firm up a sense of individuality from the first day. Why bring yet another Erin into the world when you can introduce an Aeryn, or better yet, an Aroarin?

From an article about the pregnancy of Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand:

Ardern told More FM she and partner Clarke Gayford had a list of baby names that wasn’t getting any shorter and had no favourites.

Picking a name wasn’t going well, she said.

“It’s one of those things where Clarke is absolutely convinced it will come to us as soon as it arrives.

“I think we’ll be sleep deprived and probably angry at each other so I don’t think that’s the best time to choose.”

From an article about a girl named after Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups:

When Renee Cupp became pregnant with her daughter, she toyed around with a few names. For a while, Lily was the front runner, until she and her husband had the idea to name their second child after their favorite chocolate and peanut butter candy. So, eight years ago, the couple printed the name Reese Eve Cupp on their daughter’s birth certificate.

Although the correct pronunciation of the candy is “Rees-IS,” Cupp tells PEOPLE that she has always pronounced it “Rees-EES,” which is a common inflection of the popular chocolate brand, thus the addition of her daughter’s middle initial.

From an article about drug naming trends in The Times (via ANS):

[Dr. Pascaline Faure] said that a clear trend was for names ending in “a” associated with femininity, as in “Maria”, or an “o”, which is masculine, as in “Mario”. “This is turning a drug into a sort of mate. It can be a girlfriend, with women’s attributes, or a boyfriend, with male ones,” she said.

From the essay “Why We Didn’t Name Our Son After His Grandfather, a Holocaust Survivor” by Jasmine Smith in Kveller:

I want my son, who is almost 2, to feel the history of his ancestors as something joyful and not heavy. I want him to recognize all the improbable elements that had to align; all the miracles that kept his grandfathers alive through their difficult lives long enough to create the families that would lead to his birth. I hope that, by giving him the gift of an unburdened name, he will be able to create a life that is equally as incredible as his grandfathers’ — a life that is already miraculous just by existing.

From an interview with fashion model Nyadak “Duckie” Thot:

In Melbourne, Australia, where she was born and raised in a culturally traditional Sudanese household with her mom, dad and six siblings, her peers at school couldn’t pronounce her real name, and it got to an unbearable point. […] Of course, neither name was something commonly found amongst Australian citizens. As she explains, both the words “Nyadak” and “Thot” are, in fact, Nuer, a South Sudanese language that’s native to the Nuer tribe. “Oh yeah,” she says wryly after noticing my surprised facial expression. “Many people don’t know I come from a tribe.”

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

Retro Brand Name as Baby Name: Icilma

icilma, brand, beauty, baby name
Icilma: brand name & baby name
Icilma was an English cosmetics company. Icilma products (creams, soaps, powders, etc.) were on the market from the late 1890s until the mid-1960s.

The founder of Icilma was an Englishman named Stephen Armitage who had “acquired permission from the government to exploit a natural mineral water spring [in] Algeria, which had been discovered in the 1890s by oil prospectors.” He apparently coined the word “Icilma” by combining two Arabic words meaning “flows” and “water.”

So why are we talking about a long-gone bath-and-beauty brand on a baby name blog?

Because I’ve found dozens of females with “Icilma” as either a first or middle name. They earliest examples I’ve seen were born in the early 1900s. The most recent one I spotted was born in England in 2006.

Interestingly, the first Icilmas were born not just in England, but in various parts of the British empire. I found a particularly high number of Icilmas in Jamaica, for instance. Here’s a record for Icilma Marjorie Veronica O’Connor, who was born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, in August of 1925:

icilma, baby name, brand name
Icilma O’Connor, b. 1925 in Jamaica

I also found a few living in the United States, but it looks like most/all of them were born elsewhere.

Do you like Icilma as a baby name?

Source: Icilma Co. Ltd. – Unilever Archives