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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tabitha

Number of Babies Named Tabitha

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Tabitha

40 Pairs of Baby Names for Girl-Boy Twins

girl-boy twins

A few weeks ago, The Stir posted a list of 20 pairs of baby names for girl-boy twins.

The problem with their list? Each matchy-matchy name-pair started with the same first letter.

Yes, most parents gravitate toward patterns when it comes to naming twins. This has been confirmed by at least one study and is easy to see when you peruse the (now discontinued) lists of popular twin names.

But should they?

No. Child development experts say twins should have dissimilar first names.

So I thought I’d improve upon their list by separating the pairings and giving each of the 40 names a new, non-matchy partner — different first letter, different ending, different number of syllables.

Too Matchy? Much Better!
Hazel & Hugo
Emma & Evan
Madison & Mason
Taylor & Tyler
Vivienne & Val
Ava & Alexander
Chloe & Caleb
Sophia & Samuel
Eva & Ethan
Penelope & Pax
Savannah & Sebastian
Lily & Luke
Dylan & Dean
Naomi & Noah
Imogen & Isaac
Juliette & James
Christina & Christian
Grace & Gavin
Avery & Aiden
Claire & Clive
Hazel & Benjamin
Emma & Charles
Madison & Liam
Taylor & Grant
Vivienne & Phillip
Ava & Carl
Chloe & Gabriel
Sophia & Owen
Eva & Jack
Penelope & Duncan
Savannah & Zane
Lily & Cash
Dylan & Matthias
Naomi & Joseph
Imogen & Grey
Juliette & Simon
Christina & Thomas
Grace & Dominic
Avery & Beau
Claire & Julian
Hugo & Adelaide
Evan & Sabrina
Mason & Aria
Tyler & Addison
Val & Edie
Alexander & Daphne
Caleb & Lydia
Samuel & Hannah
Ethan & Amelia
Pax & Kira
Sebastian & Gemma
Luke & Maya
Dean & Harper
Noah & Abigail
Isaac & Johanna
James & Tabitha
Christian & Veronica
Gavin & Bree
Aiden & Katrina
Clive & Odette

Not only are the pairs in the middle and on the right smarter choices in terms of child development, but they’re also less likely to cause embarrassment and/or confusion. Unlike, say, Christina and Christian.

What are your favorite non-matchy baby names for girl-boy twins?

P.S. Hate to nit-pick, but…the Stir post also included several bogus definitions. Caleb means “devotion to God”? Nope, Caleb means dog.

Source: 20 Pairs of Baby Names for Twins of the Opposite Sex
Image: Adapted from Kinley and Liam Photos (18) by love_K_photo under CC BY 2.0.


Book-Inspired Baby Name – Dorcasina

Not long after I discovered the name Malaeksa, I went off in search of other long-forgotten best-sellers with unique names in their titles, to see if any of those names had been picked up in real life as well.

The best one I found? Dorcasina.

It comes from the book Female Quixotism, Exhibited in the Romantic Opinions and Extravagant Adventures of Dorcasina Sheldon (original title) by Tabitha Gilman Tenney.

dorcasina sheldon book

At least one literary historian has said that Female Quixotism (1801) was the most popular novel written in America prior to the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

The book is “a comic, boisterous anti-romance” set in Philadelphia around the time of the revolution. The protagonist, Dorcas Sheldon, is a young romantic who decides to rename herself:

At this time Miss Dorcas became extremely dissatisfied with her unfashionable and unromantic name; but as she could not easily change it, she was determined to alter and give it a romantic termination. She, therefore, one day, after expressing great dislike to it, begged her father, in future, to call her Dorcasina.

Dorcasina was not character you’d want your child to emulate (“Dorcasina is courted, hurt, and tricked by almost everyone who crosses her path, both friends who wish to protect her and villains who wish to take advantage of her”) and yet a handful of baby girls were named Dorcasina after the book was published, mainly during the first half of the 19th century. Some examples:

  • Dorcasina Bowker, b. 1811 in Massachusetts
  • Dorcasina Hotchkiss, b. 1812 in New York
  • Dorcasina Totman, b. 1820 in Massachusetts
  • Dorcasina Wilkinson, b. 1825 in Kentucky
  • Dorcasina Harlow, b. 1826 in Massachusetts
  • Dorcasina Rolfe, b. 1840 in Michigan
  • Dorcasina Willard, b. 1855 in Massachusetts
  • Ruth Dorcasina Gill, b. 1880 in Louisiana

Other baby girls were given slightly different versions of the name, including Dorcassina and Dorcasine.

What do you think about the name Dorcasina? (Do you like it better than Dorcas?)

Sources:

Female Names in Texas, 1860

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:

Mary, 501
Sarah, 271
Martha, 247
Elizabeth, 218
Jane, 199
Ann, 198
Nancy, 176
Margaret, 98
Susan, 95
Frances, 94
Eliza, 74
Amanda, 65
Louisa, 61
Laura, 52
Lucinda, 50
Rebecca, 50
Emily, 49
Catherine, 48
Caroline, 41
Julia, 39
Anna, 31
Isabella, 28
Ellen, 26
Josephine, 25
Harriet, 24
Emmer, 22
Lucy, 22
Rachel, 22
Melissa, 18
Adeline, 17
Malinda, 17
Matilda, 16
Allice, 15
Mariah, 15
Virginia, 15
Minerva, 14
Ella, 13
Eveline, 13
Charlotte, 12
Cynthia, 10
Evaline, 10
Victoria, 10
Emeline, 9
Hannah, 9
Hellen, 9
Theodosia, 9
Angeline, 8
Eudora, 8
Eugenia, 8
Mahala, 8
Ophelia, 8
Permelia, 8
Dorotha, 7
Fannie, 7
Missouri, 7
Olive, 7
Samantha, 7
Tabitha, 7
Ada, 6
Charity, 6
Delilah, 6
Flora, 6
Georgia, 6
Tennessee, 6

Names in the 2-to-5 range:

  • 5: Clementine, Cyntha, Florence, Ida, Joannah, Narcissa, Priscilla, Serena, Texana, Texas
  • 4: Almeda, Amelia, Augusta, Celia, Clara, Cornelia, Dicy, Dora, Henrietta, Janetta, Louisiana, Louvenia, Lulah, Mollie, Parmelia, Penelope, Ruth, Susannah
  • 3: Alma, Amarillo, Angelina, Antonette, Carrie, Casandra, Christiana, Clarissa, Cora, Cordelia, Edna, Emma, Ester, Fanny, Irena, Jemima, Kesiah, Leona, Leonora, Lucretia, Lyddia, Manerva, Maranda, Morando, Mildred, Milly, Narcissus, Olevia, Piety, Rhoda, Sallie, Sefrona, Sophrona, Telulah, Zelida
  • 2: Abigal, Adaline, Adelia, Agnes, Alabama, Alcasarah, America, Amy, Annetta, Araminta, Armelia, Arrenia, Candis, Caledonia, Celina, Easter, Eller, Elvira, Epsey, Exer, Henryetta, Jaly, Judy, Leah, Luella, Madora, Malissa, Marsileet, Medorah, Melinda, Mattie, Minnie, Moranda, Nelly, Olivia, Priscella, Rhody, Roxana, Salena, Sirena, Sophia, Temperance, Viola, Willie

Finally, names that appeared only once:

Abbigal
Abi
Absaly
Adah
Adalade
Adaline
Addia
Adelade
Adella
Ader
Aimenetta
Alamanzer
Alamo
Alcisty
Alis
Allethia
Almanda
Alphine
Alsey
Althie
Alvarado
Alvira
Amarantha
Amarylles
Amazor
Ameda
Americus
Amira
Ansebell
Appy
Arabella
Arainetta
Aramintha
Aranda
Arcadia
Ardalla
Armedilla
Armel
Armelda
Arminda
Artele
Arvezene
Arvilla
Atha
Audella
Aurire
Azeline
Barbary
Belzora
Bendett
Bernessa
Bethania
Bethany
California
Callie
Camella
Camilla
Candas
Candice
Cansandra
Carrentha
Casandre
Castero
Cecily
Celistia
CerroGordo
Christana
Cicily
Claranda
Claricinda
Conzada
Darcus
Deannah
Debra
Delila
Delitha
Della
Delmar
Derinda
Deziah
Dicey
Dilla
Dilly
Disha
Dlia
Dola
Domaris
Dorothea
Dovy
Drucilla
Dulcena
Dyca
Eddie
Edith
Editha
Elander
Eleanor
Elisa
Ellenor
Elmina
Elsy
Elvy
Elwina
Elzina
Elzona
Emaline
English
Eunis
Euphema
Euphemia
Euratasa
Evy
Falby
Fenette
Fillmore
Flore
Florida
Fransina
Georgana
George Eller
Georgiana
Harmoner
Hazeltine
Heepsebeth
Heland
Hester
Hetty
Hilery
Hutoka
Idella
Imogenia
Indiana
Inez
Irine
Isabelle
Isadora
Jeannah
Jerusha
Jessie
Joana
Joicy
Joly
Judah
Judith
Juliett
June
Kasandre
Kasana
Keburah
Keturah
Lailah
Larresa
Larrissa
Laurena
Lavacca
Lela
Leora
Leuella
Levega
Levina
Lewella
Lilla
Lillian
Lilly
Lina
Livana
Livona
Lizza
Loreey
Loreta
Lourana
Lourena
Lourenia
Louretta
Louvena
Louvina
Lova
Lovena
Lucretice
Lurana
Lurena
Lutitia
Luvena
Lydda
Madella
Madosa
Malabry
Mariella
Marietta
Marinda
Marion
Marbre
Marcella
Marcena
Marg
Matta
McReudry
Medarah
Melbry
Melvina
Mercena
Milley
Millison
Minor
Missoura
Mitty
Molly
Morinua
Mouring
Mourmen
Mourning
Nannett
Narcisa
Nebraska
Neome
Neomia
Nicy
Nina
Nisse
Occo
Octavia
Oja
Oliva
Omino
Orpha
Oudelia
Paralee
Paralie
Parilee
Parolee
Parthena
Pauline
Pemelia
Pernetta
Pernisia
Petrona
Phebe
Pheby
Phereby
Philliss
Pleasant
Pope
Prascovia
Pricilla
Prudence
Recella
Resalla
Reozia
Resiah
Rhina
Rosana
Rosanna
Rosena
Sabra
Sabrina
Salina
Samaria
Saphona
Saphrona
Sareta
Sebrina
Sefrone
Seleta
Selethia
Selina
Shaby
Sharlotti
Silena
Sina
Sirena
Sobrina
Sofrona
Solona
Sonora
Sophier
Stacy
Surana
Tabetha
Taletha
Talitha
Telpha
Teressa
Texanah
Texanna
Theodora
Theressa
Tranquilla
Trephemia
Ululie
Vanburena
Vandalia
Varlinda
Vashti
Vasti
Verlinda
Vertula
Victora
Victorier
Vina
Vinolia
Violet
Vunavista
Wennyford
Wilford
Wilmouth
Wineford
Winerfred
Winnaford
Winnfred
Zarilla
Zeban
Zeleame
Zira
Zouley

See any names you like? Any that make you curious?

Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Location names were more common than I thought they’d be. Seven females named Missouri? Six named Tennessee? Huh.
  • I love that Emmer appeared 22 times, while Emma appeared a mere 3 times.
  • The Battle of Cerro Gordo (1847) inspired a handful of namesakes. Cerro gordo is Spanish for “fat hill.”
  • Hutoka: Or, The Maid of the Forest: a Tale of the Indian Wars (1846) by Osgood Bradbury inspired several hundred namesakes nationwide. The book claimed that the fictitious Native American name Hutoka meant “springing fawn.”
  • Martin Van Buren — no doubt the inspiration behind Vanburena — was president of the U.S. from 1837 to 1841.
  • I’m thinking Vunavista was based on buena vista, Spanish for “good view.”

Source: Female First Names in the 1860 Smith County, Texas, Census, via Vicki Betts

How Do You Like Your Name, Tabatha?

Tabatha, a 25-year-old from Queensland, Australia, likes that her name is “not easy to forget.”

But she doesn’t care for the nickname Tabby Cat. Or the fact that “everyone automatically thinks of Bewitched” when they hear her name.

It isn’t surprising that so many people associate the name with Bewitched, as many baby girls were named Tabatha and Tabitha after the birth of TV baby Tabatha Stephens during the second season (which aired from 1965 to 1966).

In fact, that’s exactly how Tabatha herself came to be named:

My sister named me after the TV show Bewitched.

(Interesting random fact: Bewitched also put the name Endora on the map.)

Would Tabatha recommend that kids today be given her name?

It is a very old name but it may just be confusing to people these days. Bewitched isn’t really around much. I work in childcare & all the kids find my name hard to learn & weird.

Thank you, Tabatha!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

Baby Name News (& Snark) from 1858

A great passage about “absurd” baby names, published in London’s Chambers’s Journal way back in 1858:

No names are too absurd for parents to give their children. Here are innocents stamped for life as Kidnum Toats, Lavender Marjoram, Patient Pipe, Tabitha Cumi, Fussy Gotobed, and, strangest of all, here is one called Eli Lama Sabachthani Pressnail! Other parents are more ambitious, and prematurely ennoble their children by designating them Lord, Earl, Princess Charlotte, &c.; whislt, during the Russian war, numbers of poor things were labeled Malakoff, Sebastopol, Redan, Inkermann, and Balaklava. Florence Nightingale, however, seems to have been the greatest favourite, especially amongst the poor, who have shewn their admiration for her by perpetuating her name in their families all over the country. The returns for the last two years would shew that Florence has become a much commoner name lately.

Some thoughts…

Tabitha Cumi
“And he took the damsel by the hand, and said to her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say to you, arise.” Mark 5:41

Fussy Gotobed
This could be my new favorite baby name of all time. Is it legit? I can’t find anyone named “Fussy Gotobed” specifically, but the surname Gotobed is real, and I’ve found a dozens people named Fussy, so it’s certainly plausible.

Eli Lama Sabachthani Pressnail
Jesus’s last words on the cross were “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?” meaning “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Malakoff, Sebastopol, etc.
Names inspired by the Crimean War (1853-1856):

In birth records from the mid-19th century, I’ve found all five of the above. I’ve also found variants (e.g., Balaclava, Inkerman, Sevastopol) plus a few other Crimea-inspired names (e.g., Alma, Crimea, Eupatoria).

Several locations (e.g. Inkerman in Renfrewshire, Scotland) were given Crimea-inspired names during the war as well.

Florence Nightingale
This one may be the biggest Crimean War name, in a sense. Nightingale first gained fame for treating the injured in the Crimean War. She was known as The Lady with the Lamp.

I don’t have reliable numbers for 19th-century England, but many baby girls in England were named “Florence Nightingale” between the 1850s and the early 1900s.

In the U.S., Florence became popular during the same period, quite possibly for the same reason:

Years Census of 1850 Census of 1880 Census of 1920
1801-1810 <10 Florences x x
1811-1820 <10 Florences x x
1821-1830 <10 Florences x x
1831-1840 12 Florences
(rank: ~95th)
x x
1841-1850 62 Florences
(rank: 52nd)
52 Florences
(rank: 52nd)
x
1851-1860 x 240 Florences
(rank: 33rd)
x
1861-1870 x 416 Florences
(rank: 29th)
x
1871-1880 x 746 Florences
(rank: 19th)
584 Florences
(rank: 18th)
1881-1890 x x 931 Florences
(rank: 13th)
1891-1900 x x 1,428 Florences
(rank: 9th)
1901-1910 x x 1,464 Florences
(rank: 11th)
1911-1920 x x 1,366 Florences
(rank: 17th)

P.S. That paragraph from 1858 is the second-oldest bit of baby name news I’ve been able to scrounge up so far. The oldest is from 1853.

Sources:

  • Chambers, William and Robert Chambers. “Births, Deaths, and Marriages.” Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Arts 6 Mar. 1858: 156.
  • Popular Given Names, US, 1801-1999

Baby Name Needed for 6th Baby

A reader named Juliet writes:

My husband Ralph and I have five children, and I am four months pregnant with our sixth.

We’ve always had a difficult time choosing names, but Ralph and I have always found names that we’ve both loved early on in the pregnancy (agreeing on the name was another story).

This time around, however, it seems like there are no names out there that either of us even like. Can you help us?

Our kids are:
Felix Lysander
Olive Matilda
Maeve Tallulah
Susannah Blair (she goes by Sunny)
Edward Atticus (we call him Ned)

We’re looking for names that are quirky, light, vintage-y, and that will age well and go with my other children’s.

Wow, a lot of great names there! (In fact, Juliet’s large, well-named family reminded me of Cora’s large, well-named family from a few years ago.)

For #6, here are some boy names that came to mind:

Alastair
Alfred
Arthur
Baxter
Bennett
Calvin
Clarence
Declan
George
Henry
Hugo
Lawrence
Louis
Lucian
Nigel
Nolan
Thaddeus
Thomas
Tobias
Vincent
Winston

And some girl names:

Alice
Bethany
Camilla
Cecily
Charlotte
Cora
Davina
Della
Dorothy
Harriet
Helen
Katherine
Lillian
Lydia
Penelope
Phoebe
Priscilla
Prudence
Tabitha
Willa
Victoria

I focused on first letters that aren’t already in use, only because everyone else seems to have a unique first initial. Not sure if this is something that matters to Juliet or not, though.

Which of the above do you like best with Felix, Olive, Maeve, Susannah and Edward? What other names would you suggest?

Update: It’s a boy! Scroll down or click here to learn what his name is.

Baby Name Story – Janice

Just minutes after midnight on Valentine’s Day, 2010, Tabitha Finucan of Marlboro, New Jersey, gave birth to a baby girl in the back seat of a parked Chevrolet Blazer.

She did so with the help of Marlboro police officer Janice Shewan, who said she had been “waiting [her] whole career to deliver a baby.”

The baby was named Harmony Janice, middle name in honor of Officer Shewan.

Source: Whitley, Brian. “Marlboro police officer delivers Valentine’s Day baby.” Star-Ledger [Newark, NJ] 14 Feb. 2010.