How popular is the baby name Alan 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 Alan.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alan


Posts that Mention the Name Alan

Where did the baby name Alson come from in 1888?

Politician Alson J. Streeter (1823-1901)
Alson J. Streeter

The name Alson first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1888:

  • 1890: unlisted
  • 1889: unlisted
  • 1888: 5 baby boys named Alson [debut]
  • 1887: unlisted
  • 1886: unlisted

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) data for the same window of time shows a similar increase in usage in 1888:

  • 1890: 7 people named Alson
  • 1889: 14 people named Alson
  • 1888: 14 people named Alson
  • 1887: 3 people named Alson
  • 1886: 4 people named Alson

What was the influence?

A third-party candidate in the 1888 U.S. presidential election named Alson J. Streeter.

In May of that year, Streeter — a former Illinois state senator — had won the nomination of the fledgling Union Labor Party (made up of both agricultural and industrial workers).

He ran against Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison, Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland, and several other third-party candidates, including Belva Lockwood.

Harrison won the electoral vote (and hence the election), but Cleveland won the popular vote. Prohibition candidate Clinton Fisk came in third with 2.2% of the popular vote, while Alson Streeter took fourth with 1.3%.

Support for Streeter was particularly high in the states of Kansas (where he won 11.4% of the vote), Texas (8.2%), Arkansas (6.8%), and Missouri (3.6%). So it doesn’t surprise me that the people I found named “Alson Streeter” specifically were also from these states:

In Streeter’s case, the name Alson may have come from a family surname. If so, it’s likely that Alson is a variant of the surname Allison, which would have originally referred to the son of someone with an Al-name like Alan, or Alexander.

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

Sources: 1888 United States presidential election – Wikipedia, Alson Streeter – Wikipedia, Union Labor Party – Encyclopedia of Arkansas, SSA

Popular baby names in Mexico, 2021

mexico

Mexico, the 10th-most-populated country in the world, is located in the southern part of North America.

In 2021, Mexico welcomed 1,912,178 babies. What were the most popular names among these babies? Sofia and Santiago.

Here are Mexico’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Sofia, 6,552 baby girls
  2. Maria Jose, 6,019
  3. Valentina, 5,671
  4. Regina, 5,556
  5. Camila, 5,255
  6. Valeria, 3,890
  7. Ximena, 3,794
  8. Maria Fernanda, 3,779
  9. Victoria, 3,622
  10. Renata, 3,495
  11. Romina, 3,447
  12. Isabella, 3,199
  13. Natalia, 3,036
  14. Daniela, 3,012
  15. Ana Sofia, 2,790
  16. Alexa, 2,528
  17. Fernanda, 2,515
  18. Maria Guadalupe, 2,468
  19. Samantha, 2,322
  20. Andrea, 2,275
  21. Aitana, 2,208
  22. Emily, 2,133
  23. Melissa, 2,107
  24. Guadalupe, 2,030
  25. Elizabeth, 2,002
  26. Mariana, 1,828
  27. Yamileth, 1,730 – a Latin American variant of the Arabic name Jamila
  28. Danna Sofia, 1,696
  29. Ana Victoria, 1,644
  30. Ana Paula, 1,620
  31. Alejandra, 1,581
  32. Fatima, 1,565
  33. Abigail, 1,560
  34. Julieta, 1,543
  35. Evelyn, 1,540
  36. Esmeralda, 1,407
  37. Luciana, 1,395
  38. Lucia, 1,299
  39. Estefania, 1,260
  40. Maria, 1,244
  41. Jimena, 1,227
  42. Vanessa, 1,215
  43. Ivanna, 1,201
  44. Dayana, 1,197
  45. Kimberly, 1,142
  46. Angela, 1,122
  47. Samara, 1,113
  48. Carolina, 1,102
  49. Emma, 1,098
  50. Miranda, 1,096

Boy Names

  1. Santiago, 9,963 baby boys
  2. Mateo, 8,209
  3. Sebastian, 6,381
  4. Leonardo, 5,784
  5. Matias, 4,708
  6. Emiliano, 4,541
  7. Daniel, 4,133
  8. Gael, 4,024
  9. Miguel Angel, 4,019
  10. Diego, 4,014
  11. Alexander, 3,644
  12. Alejandro, 3,640
  13. Jesus, 3,179
  14. Angel, 2,928
  15. David, 2,866
  16. Tadeo, 2,795 – the Spanish form of Thaddeus
  17. Fernando, 2,676
  18. Luis Angel, 2,632
  19. Rodrigo, 2,533
  20. Jose Angel, 2,442
  21. Maximiliano, 2,411
  22. Jose Luis, 2,374
  23. Gabriel, 2,365
  24. Eduardo, 2,357
  25. Emmanuel, 2,344
  26. Dylan, 2,325
  27. Rafael, 2,142
  28. Juan Pablo, 2,080
  29. Samuel, 2,066
  30. Juan Carlos, 2,052
  31. Jose Manuel, 2,046
  32. Nicolas, 1,989
  33. Isaac, 1,972
  34. Leonel, 1,966
  35. Elias, 1,940
  36. Damian, 1,899
  37. Liam, 1,880
  38. Axel, 1,850
  39. Emilio, 1,822
  40. Ricardo, 1,778
  41. Adrian, 1,770
  42. Jose Miguel, 1,739
  43. Jonathan, 1,710
  44. Carlos, 1,689
  45. Antonio, 1,680
  46. Francisco, 1,678
  47. Javier, 1,675
  48. Alexis, 1,672
  49. Alan, 1,657
  50. Miguel, 1,636

The girls’ top 100 included Dulce Maria (51st), Aylin (58th), Itzayana (67th), and Lucero (93rd).

The boys’ top 100 included Juan (56th), Abraham (66th), Erick (83rd), and Brayan (87th).

Compound first names tend to be shortened for everyday use (e.g, “Juan Carlos” into “Juanca”), but few of these shortened forms have evolved into popular legal names, which I find surprising. I didn’t spot any examples on the boys’ side of the rankings, and only a handful — such as Mayte/Maite, short for María Teresa, and Maribel, short for María Isabel — on the girls’ side.

Finally, here are Mexico’s 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare.

Sources: Natalidad – INEGI, Behind the Name

Name change: Bob Miller to Ben Lexcen

Winged keel of the Australia II racing yacht, winner of the 1983 America's Cup
Winged keel of the Australia II

In 1936, Robert “Bob” Miller was born in the Australian outback — “in bone-dry Boggabri, a long day’s voyage from the sea.”

So it’s intriguing that, in his teens, Miller developed an interest in sailboat design. He went on to become a professional marine architect.

In the early 1960s, Bob Miller and his friend Craig Whitworth founded a boat-building and sail-making company called Miller & Whitworth in Sydney.

Miller continued doing his own design work on the side, though. Most notably, he began collaborating with Australian millionaire Alan Bond on a series of racing yachts in the late 1960s.

The most famous of these yachts was the Australia II, which, in 1983, became the first non-American yacht to win the America’s Cup. This was the cup that Thomas Lipton had failed to win 5 times in a row, from 1899 to 1930, and that Bond and Miller themselves had also failed to win 3 times previously, from 1974 to 1980.

Except…by 1983, Bob Miller wasn’t “Bob Miller” anymore. He was Ben Lexcen.

Why the name change?

Because, in the mid-1970s, Miller and Whitworth had had a falling-out:

Miller left the firm, but found he could not take his name with him. “I had had a great design business, a fantastic business, and I lost all that,” says Lexcen. “They were advertising everywhere, and all my mail was going to them. I tried to get the post office to change it. Noooo. I just had to do something, so I changed my name. Lexcen was one of my wife’s family names from way back. I had a friend who had a computer check it against the mailing lists of the Reader’s Digest and American Express to see if there was anybody with that name, and there wasn’t, at least not in Australia.” And Ben? “I wanted the same number of letters.”

But that’s not the only version of the name-change story.

In another variation, when the time came Lexcen borrowed a word from the project he was working on at the moment — Lexan hatch covers — and added it to the name of his recently deceased dog, Benjie.

Specifics aside, Ben Lexcen (formerly Bob Miller) and the other members of the Australia II team became national heroes following their historical victory. In fact, a baby born in Melbourne around the time of the win was named Charles Australia II John Bertrand Ben Lexcen.

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Winged Keel of Americas Cup Yacht Australia II by Ken Hodge under CC BY 2.0.

Baby born to American activists, named “america”

Abbie Hoffman, Anita Kushner, and baby america Hoffman (early 1970s)
The Hoffman family

Media-savvy political activist Abbott “Abbie” Hoffman (1936-1989) and his second wife, Anita Kushner, welcomed a baby boy in mid-1971.

Abbie’s first two children (Andrew and Amy) didn’t have politicized names, but his third got the name america — deliberately spelled with a small a in order “to distinguish the child’s name from a jingoistic sentiment.”

[T]he birth of his and Anita’s son, “america,” was treated as a political statement, as an affirmation of their optimism about the future and their roots in American culture.

Anita added (years later) that they’d gone with a lower-case a “because [they] didn’t want to be pretentious.”

Another name they’d considered for their son? Tupac.

In the Hoffmans’ book To America with Love, one of the letters Anita wrote (in July of 1974) began:

I met Affeni [sic] Shakur today. What an up. She is vibrant, beautiful, wise with experience. We talked about our children a lot and the heavy history behind each. Did you know she named her son Tupac Amaru, after the last Inca prince who rebelled against the Spaniards? We had considered naming america that. Tupac’s the same age.

(Tupac’s mother’s name was actually spelled Afeni.)

Abbie Hoffman went underground in 1974 (in order to evade arrest). He remained in hiding, using the alias “Barry Freed,” for six years. During that period, Anita and america were under constant FBI surveillance. So Anita and Abbie began to call their son “Alan” as an added layer of protection.

Alan reverted back to his real name at the start of high school (in the mid-1980s), hoping that “america” would impress a “cute punk rock girl” in his class.

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Anita Hoffman with son by Leah Kushner under CC-BY-SA-4.0.