What brought the baby name Theodosia back in 2016?

Image from "Hamilton" Broadway poster
Poster for “Hamilton

The old-fashioned name Theodosia, which dropped out of the U.S. baby name data after 2006, popped back up again a decade later:

  • 2018: 11 baby girls named Theodosia
  • 2017: 11 baby girls named Theodosia
  • 2016: 6 baby girls named Theodosia
  • 2015: unlisted
  • 2014: unlisted

The fact that name Hamilton saw overall peak usage the same year leads me to believe that the influence in both cases was the hip-hop musical Hamilton, by actor/playwright/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The massively popular show opened off-Broadway in early 2015, moved to Broadway mid-year, and ended up winning 11 statuettes at the Tony Awards in mid-2016.

The musical portrayed Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, as he grew “[f]rom bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, [and] loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy.”

One of Hamilton‘s memorable songs, “Dear Theodosia” (pronounced thee-uh-DOH-zhuh), was a touching ballad performed by the characters Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton for their newborn children, Theodosia and Philip.

Here’s the song:

The lyrics begin:

Dear Theodosia, what to say to you?
You have my eyes, you have your mother’s name.

Young Theodosia Burr was indeed named after her mother, Theodosia Bartow, who was, in turn, named after her father, Theodosius Bartow. Their shared name can be traced back to the ancient Greek words theos, meaning “god,” and dosis, meaning “a giving.” (Interestingly, dosis is the root of the modern word dose, which refers to an amount of medicine taken at one time.)

What are your thoughts on the name Theodosia? Would you use it? (How about Hamilton?)

Sources: Dear Theodosia – Genius, Dear Theodosia – Wikipedia, Hamilton (musical) – Wikipedia, Hamilton – Playbill, Lin-Manuel Miranda – Britannica, Behind the Name, SSA

2 thoughts on “What brought the baby name Theodosia back in 2016?

  1. This is the name of my grandmother, who is 100 years old. We have always had a very special relationship, and I’m a fan of musical theatre who loves meaningful, “romantic-sounding” names, so the only thing that would keep me from using it would be that she made me promise years ago that I’d never saddle a child with the name she herself hated so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.