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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Zephaniah

Number of Babies Named Zephaniah

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Zephaniah

Names from Central Burying Ground in Boston

Boston’s Central Burying Ground was established in 1756, so it’s newer than the other Boston cemeteries I’ve blogged about (King’s Chapel, Granary, and Copp’s Hill). Nevertheless, it still contains some pretty interesting names:

  • A: Aderline, Alford, Alona, Alpheus, Alsendorf, Annjulett, Antice, Anstice, Arodi, Artemis, Asadel
  • B: Barstow, Barzillia, Belcher, Benaset
  • C: Calista, Christeena, Clarena, Clarentine, Cumming
  • D: Dolley
  • E: Ede, Elbridge, Elhanah, Eliakim, Emely
  • F: Fletcher, Freelove
  • G: Giles, Gilman, Gustavus
  • H: Hannahretta, Hawkes, Hepzibah, Hermione, Hezekiah, Hitty
  • I: Ichabod, Ignatius, Iphigenia
  • J: Jaazaniah, Jennet
  • K: Keziah
  • L: Lendall, Llewlwyn, Loms, Lot, Lyman
  • M: Manasseh, Mansfred, Marayanna, Marston, Mayday, Mehitable, Micajah, Milla, Mindwell, Minerva
  • N: Nabby, Nahum
  • O: Orvilla
  • P: Pamelia, Percival, Phebee, Philander, Pliny
  • R: Rodolth, Rosalinda, Rosamund, Ruhamah
  • S: Sally, Salome, Seiba, Shubael, Shubel, Sibley, Silence, Silvanus, Sophronia, Sukey, Sylvanus
  • T: Tamer, Ternon, Theophilus, Tristam, Tryphena
  • V: Vivia
  • W: Waverly, Wentworth, Worham, Winthrop
  • Z: Zabiah, Zebiah, Zeal, Zephaniah, Zilpah

I bet Vivia would appeal to modern parents looking for an alternative to Olivia and/or Vivian.

Which of the above do you like best? How about least?

Source: Gravestone Inscriptions and Records of Tomb Burials in the Central Burying Ground (1917) by Ogden Codman


Unique Name – Aldaberontophoscophornia

Abraham and Ruth Bowen of New England had at least five children — three boys and two girls:

  • John (1797-1801)
  • Amanda (1799-1826)
  • Nathan (1808)
  • Aldaberontophoscophornia (1812-1905)
  • Zephaniah (1820)

One of those names is not like the others!

Where the heck did Aldaberontophoscophornia come from?

Apparently it came from the satirical play Chrononhotonthologos. The play, written by Englishman Henry Carey and published in 1734, features a bombastic (male) character named Aldiborontiphoscophornio.

Why would a New England family name their daughter after a pompous, fictitious man in an 80-year-old English play? I have no idea. :)

It seems like Aldaberontophoscophornia wasn’t too keen on her name, as she never used the full version anywhere. Even on her headstone her name is shortened to Aldaberonto:

Aldaberonto

In other places (like various censuses) I’ve seen it written “Alda Beronto,” “Alda B.,” and simply “Alda.”

Aldaberontophoscophornia was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and is buried in Wareham, Massachusetts. She married a man named Andrew Fearing and had at least 12 children, according to the U.S. Census of 1900, though I’ve only tracked down the names of half of them: Andrew, Henry, Emelyn, William, Charles, and Frank.

So far, I haven’t seen any evidence that her unique name was passed down to any descendants.

Sources:

Unique, Strong Boy Name Needed

A reader named Kristy is expecting her first baby, a little boy, in mid-May. Kristy writes:

[W]e are now on the hunt for a baby’s name that is unique – it has to be paired with Johnston,* after all – but not so unique that it is unpronounceable! Also, being a romantic traditionalist, I am not interested in any “fad” or trendy names (i.e. No names in the current top 100 or even rapidly rising through the ranks). I am looking for a good, strong, perhaps “classic” name that will withstand the test of time without being shared with millions of others. (My husband and I both had to share our first names with many classmates growing up! I would like to avoid that plight for our child.)

*The surname isn’t Johnston, but it’s close.

My husband’s current favorite is Felix Milo. While I really like the name Felix – it’s unique and full of character, while being classic enough that there are a few notable Felix-es throughout history – it lacks the “romantic luster” that I somehow have my heart set on…

My current favorite is Zedekiah. It’s from Hebrew meaning “Jehovah/God is just”. I just love the way it sounds and that it’s Hebrew-based. He could go by nicknames of Zed, Z, Kiah, or even Zeke. Zedekiah Michael sounds lovely to me…

We also both like the name Raphael, but are really struggling with a good nickname (Rafi?) and a fitting middle name, for that matter…

They’d also like to include some family names, “but it’s been tough to get the names to mesh quite right.” Here are the family names they’re considering:

Michael Douglas
Terry Milo
Douglas Edward (see below)
Clarence Moore (he went by “Bud”)
Woodward Jay (he went by “Tom”)
Lester Raymond
Otis Clifford

Note that Edward is already taken by another grandchild, Tom’s my brother’s name, and the name “Douglas” sounds terribly dismal to me… which leaves us with a rather questionable lot… (but family’s family ;-))

Michael Douglas? :)

I really like the current shortlist. Zedekiah, Felix, Raphael…names with a lot of personality. Very cool.

I think I’d shorten Raphael to Raph, à la the Ninja Turtles. Just seems like the most logical nickname option to me.

As far as name suggestions go, the first to come to mind was Zephaniah, which is a lot like Zedekiah but has an internal ph like Raphael. Here are some other ideas:

Abraham
Alister
Arthur
Auberon
Balthazar
Damian
Evander
Fabian
Gideon
Giles
Hadrian
Hezekiah
Horatio
Ignatius
Lazarus
Lucian
Malachi
Marius
Maximilian
Nigel
Percival
Simon
Sinclair
Solomon
Sylvester
Thaddeus
Theodore
Timon
Tobias
Vincent

It’s not easy to choose a middle without a first already in place, but, of all the family names, I’m partial to Michael. You can pair Michael with nearly any first name and it will sound good. It’s like the boy-name equivalent of Marie.

Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Kristy?

Baby Name Needed – What Do You Think of Phineas?

A reader named Virginia is expecting a baby in September. For a boy, she’d selected the name Phineas. She liked “that it was unusual without being bizarre,” and that it started with ph. But now she’s not so sure about the name:

All was fine and dandy until I read an article about violence in the Bible. It vaguely mentioned Phineas as a name from the Bible used as a talisman by white supremacists. What!?!

That was a shock to me too. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Phineas Priesthood is “a violent credo of vengeance that has gained some popularity among white supremacists and other extremists in recent years.” I’d never heard of the Phineas Priesthood before–not even when Julia Roberts named her son Phinnaeus a few years ago.

Virginia doesn’t want to give up her favorite name, but she also “can’t live with such an association,” so she was hoping for some name suggestions. Other names she’s considering include Joel and Samuel (for boys) and Sigrid, Phoebe, Elisabeth, and Anne (for girls). All are family names.

First, a few thoughts:

  • I doubt many people are aware that white supremacists use Phineas as a code word. It’s an odious association, but maybe it’s also obscure enough that it’s not worth worrying about…?
  • I really like Sigrid and Phoebe–they’re both significant and unusual. Especially Sigrid. (Phoebe is being used more and more every year, so it might not be unusual for long.)

And now, name suggestions. Here are some unusual-but-not-bizarre boy names that I think Virginia might like:

Amos
Barnabas
Baxter
Ephraim
Ezra
Felix
Horatio
Humphrey
Lazarus
Matthias
Maximilian
Moses
Peregrine
Ralph
Raphael
Rufus
Silas
Simeon
Ulysses
Zephaniah

And some girl names:

Clotilde
Cybele
Daphne
Dagny
Delphine
Drusilla
Esther
Fabiola
Georgia
Josephine
Lucretia
Ophelia
Penelope
Phyllis
Ruth
Salome
Seraphina
Talulla
Tryphena
Verena

What other names would you suggest to Virginia? (And, what’s your take on the Phineas dilemma?)

Update: The baby has arrived! Click here to learn the baby’s name.