The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.
I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:
- 1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
- 1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
- 254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.
And now, on to the names…
A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:
|Top baby girl names||Top baby boy names|
All Girl Names
Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.
- Mary, 138 baby girls
- Catherine, 46
- Ellen, 37
- Margaret, 34
- Sarah, 31
- Annie, 19
- Elizabeth, 16
- Alice, 15
- Florence, 14
- Ann, Emma & Ida, 12 each (3-way tie)
- Minnie, 11
- Harriet & Julia, 9 each (2-way tie)
- Anna, Caroline, Carrie, Jennie, Joanna & Louisa, 8 each (6-way tie)
- Cora & Eliza, 7 each (2-way tie)
- Agnes, Clara, Edith, Rosanna & Theresa, 6 each (5-way tie)
- Bertha, Grace, Hannah, Hattie, Jane, Lillian, Maria, Martha, Nellie & Susan, 5 each (10-way tie)
- Eleanor, Fannie, Gertrude, Helen, Isabella, Lucy & Rosa, 4 each (7-way tie)
- Anne, Bridget, Ella, Emily, Esther, Eva, Lizzie, Mabel, Matilda & Ruth, 3 each (10-way tie)
- Ada, Amelia, Charlotte, Dora, Eleanora, Elvira, Henrietta, Jessie, Josephine, Kate, Louise, Lydia, Maggie & Rosella, 2 each (14-way tie)
- Abby, Addie, Adelaide, Adelia, Almina, Almira, Amanda, Amey, Amy, Anastasia, Angelie, Annis, Antoinette, Augusta, Aurelia, Bethiah, Cecelia, Celia, Clarissa, Clementina, Corielynn, Cornelia, Drusilla, Effie, Emeline, Estella, Ethelin, Fanny, Florentina, Frances, Gelie, Genevieve, Georgiana, Georgianna, Helena, Honora, Irene, Isabel, Issie, Juliann, Julietta, Katie, Laura, Leah, Leonora, Lillie, Lillis, Lily, Lottie, Luella, Margaretta, Margery, Margret, Marietta, Maude, May, Millie, Myra, Nelly, Phebe, Robie, Rosalthe, Rose, Selina, Sophia, Susanna, Susannah, Vienna, Viola, Vira, Virginia & Winifred, 1 each (72-way tie)
All Boy Names
- John, 87 baby boys
- William, 75
- James, 64
- Charles, 50
- George, 45
- Thomas, 40
- Joseph, 30
- Walter, 21
- Edward, 16
- Francis & Michael, 14 each (2-way tie)
- Patrick, 13
- Arthur & Robert, 12 each (2-way tie)
- Frank, Frederick & Henry, 11 each (3-way tie)
- Albert, 9
- Daniel & Peter, 8 each (2-way tie)
- David, Eugene, Howard & Samuel, 6 each (4-way tie)
- Alexander, Louis & Stephen, 5 each (3-way tie)
- Harry, Herbert, Hugh & Martin, 4 each (4-way tie)
- Carl, Edgar, Everett, Jeremiah & Willie, 3 each (5-way tie)
- Abraham, Alfred, Clarence, Cornelius, Dennis, Ernest, Ezra, Franklin, Freddie, Jacob, Jesse, Lewis, Luke, Nicholas, Philip, Sylvester, Theodore, Timothy, 2 each (18-way tie)
- Abner, Adam, Adolph, Amos, Andrew, Appleton, Archibald, Ashel, August, Benjamin, Benno, Bernard, Bertram, Burt, Byron, Clifford, Davis, Dexter, Dunlap, Edmund, Edwin, Elmer*, Embert, Forrest, Freddy, Gustav, Herman, Isaac, Jeffrey, Jerome, Josiah, Lucian, Malcolm, Matthew, Maurice, Milton, Nathan, Nehemiah, Nelson, Oren, Oscar, Otto, Owen, Paul, Ralph, Reginald, Richard, Sanford, Seth, Shirley, Sullivan, Terence, Theobald, Victor, Wanton, Warren, Weston, Wheelan, Wilford, 1 each (59-way tie)
*Elmer, who had the middle initial “E.,” was likely named after early Civil War casualty Elmer E. Ellsworth.
Twins & Triplets
Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)
|Girl-girl twins||Girl-boy twins||Boy-boy twins||Triplets|
|Annie & Fannie|
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
|Ann & Maurice|
Grace & George
Harriet & Albert
Ida & Ashel
Mary & James
|Abraham & George|
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
|Carl, (blank) & (blank)|
James, Alexander & Sarah
I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).
- Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number two. Providence: Hammond, Angell & Co., 1868.
- Dr. Edwin M. Snow – Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame
11 thoughts on “Popular baby names in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1867”
And all variations on Ann/Anne/Anna/Annie edge Catherine just out of second place.
Almost — if we counted those 4 together, looks like the total (19 + 12 + 8 + 3) would be 42, which would put the group in 3rd, a bit below Catherine.
Though, if we’re going to lump variants together, we also have to add Maria to Mary, Kate to Catherine, Helen to Ellen, Margaretta to Margaret, etc. :)
It’s surprising that there are 46 Catherines and not a single Katherine or Katharine. Or were the spellings combined? But Ann and Anne are not combined…
You’re right — 46 Catherines, but no Katherines. (And, in contrast, several babies named Kate and Katie, but none named Cate or Catie.)
I’m pretty sure Catherine was the most popular spelling for quite a while, until the K’s became trendy
I wouldn’t expect to see Cate or Catie–those have never been common spellings. Though it is a little odd, when you think about it, that the traditional short form of Catherine (with a C) is Kate (with a K). I’m still surprised there are no Katherines. The SSA doesn’t go back as far as 1867, but in 1880 it lists 688 Catherines and 502 Katherines, so they were not all that far apart in usage. Either Katherine became suddenly very popular in those 13 years, or people in Rhode Island were prejudiced against the letter K. :)
Speaking of people in RI being prejudiced against the letter K… I just checked the SSA state data for 1910 (the first year state data is available), looking at usage of Catherine vs. usage of Katherine, and guess which state came out on top for the C-spelling? Rhode Island. :)
I’ll put up a post about this tomorrow…
I suspect that the registrar applied some spelling normalisation (either as a policy or just by writing down the names in a consistent spelling).
That could be the case…but, if so, why not normalize all the other variant spellings (Amey/Amy, Ann/Anne, Fanny/Fannie, Georgiana/Georgianna, Lillie/Lily, Nellie/Nelly, Susanna/Susannah) as well?
Edit: Forgot the boys’ list — Freddie/Freddy, Louis/Lewis.