How popular is the baby name Amanda 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 Amanda.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Amanda


Posts that Mention the Name Amanda

What gave the baby name Jaycie a boost in 1996?

U.S. gymnast Jaycie Phelps at the 1996 Summer Olympics
Jaycie Phelps

The baby name Jaycie nearly quadrupled in usage from 1995 to 1996:

  • 1998: 118 baby girls named Jaycie
  • 1997: 162 baby girls named Jaycie
  • 1996: 200 baby girls named Jaycie [rank: 963rd]
  • 1995: 51 baby girls named Jaycie
  • 1994: 40 baby girls named Jaycie

In fact, it reached the top 1,000 for the first and only time in 1996.

Other spellings of the name (like Jacy, Jacey, Jaycee, and Jayci) also saw increased usage that year.

What was the influence?

U.S. gymnast Jaycie Phelps. She was part of the 1996 U.S. women’s gymnastics team — the “Magnificent Seven” — that won gold at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The U.S. gold broke Soviet Union’s decades-long winning streak in the women’s team all-around.

Jaycie Phelps, who was born and raised in Indiana, is now back in her home state running the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center.

What are your thoughts on the name Jaycie? (What spelling do you prefer?)

P.S. The other six gymnasts on the U.S. team that year were named Amanda, Amy, Dominique (2), Kerri, and Shannon.

Sources:

Popular baby names in Finland, 2021

Finland

The country of Finland is located in Northern Europe and shares land borders with Russia, Sweden and Norway.

Most of the people in Finland speak Finnish (86.5%), but the rest of the population speaks either Swedish (5.2%), Sami (0.04%), or some other language (8.3%) such as Russian, Estonian, or Arabic.

Last year, Finland welcomed over 51,000 babies. At the time the country released its baby name data, 50,547 of these babies — 24,764 girls and 25,783 boys — had been named.

And what were the most popular names overall? Olivia and Leo.

Finland’s baby name data is broken down by language group, so lets start with the Finnish speakers…

Finnish speakers

Of the 41,478 (named) babies born to Finnish speakers in Finland last year, 20,301 were girls and 21,177 were boys.

Here are the top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 312 baby girls
  2. Lilja, 274
  3. Eevi, 272
  4. Sofia, 271
  5. Venla, 254 (3-way tie)
  6. Aino, 254 (3-way tie)
  7. Isla, 254 (3-way tie)
  8. Aada, 240
  9. Emma, 233
  10. Aava, 230
  11. Helmi, 225
  12. Linnea, 214 (tie)
  13. Ellen, 214 (tie)
  14. Kerttu, 202
  15. Pihla, 201
  16. Ella, 197
  17. Viola, 195
  18. Hilla, 189
  19. Elli, 188
  20. Seela, 187
  21. Enni, 179
  22. Emilia, 178
  23. Alma, 168
  24. Livia, 160
  25. Minea, 159
  26. Matilda, 157
  27. Elsa, 154
  28. Ilona, 140 (tie)
  29. Mila, 140 (tie)
  30. Hilda, 138
  31. Amanda, 134 (tie)
  32. Alisa, 134 (tie)
  33. Elsi, 132 (tie)
  34. Alina, 132 (tie)
  35. Hilma, 125
  36. Frida, 124
  37. Mette, 120
  38. Hertta, 119 (tie)
  39. Lumi, 119 (tie)
  40. Nella, 117
  41. Aurora, 115
  42. Siiri, 113
  43. Vilma, 110
  44. Saimi, 107 (tie)
  45. Selma, 107 (tie)
  46. Viivi, 105 (tie)
  47. Iida, 105 (tie)
  48. Oona, 104
  49. Martta, 102
  50. Neela, 92

Boy Names

  1. Leo, 397 baby boys
  2. Eino, 394
  3. Oliver, 371
  4. Elias, 362
  5. Väinö, 361
  6. Onni, 301
  7. Eeli, 279
  8. Noel, 276
  9. Toivo, 259
  10. Joel, 245
  11. Aatos, 230 – a Finnish term meaning “thought”
  12. Hugo, 229
  13. Emil, 224
  14. Leevi, 218
  15. Vilho, 211
  16. Alvar, 202
  17. Eemil, 186
  18. Eetu, 179
  19. Oiva, 178 – means “splendid” in Finnish
  20. Julius, 177
  21. Viljami, 176
  22. Nooa, 172
  23. Niilo, 168
  24. Otso, 157 – means “bear” in Finnish
  25. Lenni, 153
  26. Daniel, 151
  27. Anton, 149
  28. Luka, 148
  29. Aapo, 143
  30. Kasper, 142
  31. Aarni, 140
  32. Eelis, 139 (tie)
  33. Matias, 139 (tie)
  34. Veikko, 138 (tie)
  35. Aaron, 138 (tie)
  36. Mikael, 135
  37. Edvin, 134
  38. Benjamin, 130
  39. Jasper, 127 (3-way tie)
  40. Samuel, 127 (3-way tie)
  41. Rasmus, 127 (3-way tie)
  42. Eemeli, 126 (3-way tie)
  43. Milo, 126 (3-way tie)
  44. Niklas, 126 (3-way tie)
  45. Jooa, 123
  46. Iivo, 120 (3-way tie)
  47. Veeti, 120 (3-way tie)
  48. Max, 120 (3-way tie)
  49. Lucas, 117
  50. Urho, 116

Minna Saarelma-Paukkala, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, had this to say about Finland’s unique baby names:

Many of them are nature-related, such as Havu (Sprig), Vadelma (Raspberry), Skysy (Autumn) or Tyrsky (Wave). Many new names are also created on the basis of older names, such as snow (Lumi) related ones like Lumia, Lumiina and Lumitähti.

She also noted that names trendy in Finland in the 1940s — particularly those beginning with the letter r, such as Ritva and Raimo — could be coming back. “Reino, for example, has already risen into the top 100.” (Reino is the Finnish form of Reynold.)

Swedish speakers

Of the 3,458 (named) babies born to Swedish speakers in Finland last year, 1,698 were girls and 1,760 were boys. Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Saga, 35
2. Stella, 29
3. Ellen, 27
4. Edith, 24
5. Olivia, 23
6. Astrid, 21 (tie)
7. Ebba, 21 (tie)
8. Elsa, 20
9. Selma, 19
10. Tove/Iris/Livia, 18 each (3-way tie)
1. Liam, 35
2. Oliver, 29
3. Benjamin, 28
4. William, 27
5. Alvar, 26
6. Hugo, 25
7. Theo, 23 (5-way tie)
8. Emil, 23 (5-way tie)
9. Frans, 23 (5-way tie)
10. Leon/Elias, 23 each (5-way tie)

Interestingly, Alice and Noah — the top names in Sweden — weren’t as popular among the Swedes of Finland. Alice didn’t even make the top 50. (Noah ranked 50th exactly.)

Other languages

Of the 5,611 (named) babies born in Finland last year to parents who speak something other than Finnish or Swedish, 2,765 were girls and 2,846 were boys. Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Sofia, 48
2. Maria, 24
3. Eva, 20
4. Emma, 19 (tie)
5. Mia, 19 (tie)
6. Anna, 18
7. Emilia, 17 (3-way tie)
8. Mila, 17 (3-way tie)
9. Sara, 17 (3-way tie)
10. Mira/Olivia, 16 each (tie)
1. Adam, 38
2. Elias, 35
3. Daniel, 27
4. Leo, 26
5. Muhammad, 21
6. Mark, 20
7. Oliver, 17
8. Benjamin, 15 (3-way tie)
9. Lucas, 15 (3-way tie)
10. Mikael, 15 (3-way tie)

Finally, here are Finland’s 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare last year to the year before.

Sources: Suosituimmat Etunimet | Digi- ja väestötietovirasto, Olivia and Leo Finland’s most popular baby names in 2021, Population and Society – Statistics Finland, Behind the Name

Name quotes #113: Oscar, Mackenzie, Bailey

double quotation mark

It’s time for another batch of name quotes!

From a recent Daily Mirror article about schoolteachers Lainey Clarke and Ben Hubbard, who live in Buckinghamshire with their newborn…plus two spirits named Dave and Andy:

Dave even helped them when it came to deciding baby names.

“Every name we liked we’d then remember a naughty school kid we’d taught — it was a nightmare,” laughs Ben.

“We did a spirit box session [one person asks questions and another sits blindfolded with headphones on and relays messages from the spirit world] and the word Apollo was spoken. We listened back after he was born and were stunned to find that Dave had named our baby.”

From a Today.com article published earlier this year about like-named twins who married like-named twins:

Identical twins Briana and Brittany, 35, married identical twins Josh [Joshua] and Jeremy Salyers, 37, and now they’re introducing the world to their babies, who are so genetically similar that the cousins are more like brothers.

[…]

The Salyers are parents to Jett, who turned 1 in January, and Jax, who will turn 1 in April, and the cousins share more than the same first initial. Their unique situation makes them genetic brothers.

(Many U.S twins born in the early 2000s were also given similar names.)

From an article about British politician Penelope “Penny” Mordaunt (b. 1973):

It was a position she was well cut out for, given her strong military background — her father was a parachuter and she was a member of the Royal Navy from 2010 to 2019, making her the only woman MP currently who is a navy reservist. … (Fun fact: Penny was named after the Royal Navy frigate HMS Penelope.)

American actress Amandla Stenberg on the pronunciation of her name [vid], via TikTok:

Most of the time I introduce myself as ah-man-dluh … which, a lot of Westerners, Europeans, they think, “Oh, you’re parents took Amanda and slipped an l in there.”

[…]

No, it’s ah-maan-dluh as in Amandla! Awethu!, which means “power to the people” in Zulu and Xhosa. And this was an understanding that I grew up with that this had significant weight in history, that Amandla! Awethu! was a rallying cry that was utilized during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, that amandla means “power,” and that my mom gave me this name because she wanted me to aspire towards embodying this concept, right? Which I’m so grateful for.

The thing is, she Westernized my name because she didn’t want me to struggle in school. So, she named me ah-man-dluh not ah-maan-dluh because she thought people would be able to say it more easily, and I would have to struggle less. So she kinda like, in this diasporic way, was trying to help me assimilate.

(As we learned in Name quotes #67, though, Amandla wasn’t named for the rallying cry directly. Instead, she was named for the 1989 Miles Davis album Amandla.)

From a recent Morley Kert woodworking video, part of a discussion between Morley and a male client named Mackenzie who he’d just met in-person:

Morley: “So I have something I need to tell you.”

Mackenzie: “Oh?”

Morley: “I fully assumed from your name that you were female.”

Mackenzie: “I think a lot of people do. Technically, technically, 52% of Mackenzies are female now. Which is — we’re losing the battle.”

(I’m curious where Mackenzie found that number, because the balance between male and female babies named Mackenzie hasn’t been close to 50% since the mid-1970s.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Mackenzie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Mackenzie

From a mid-October episode of the Merloni, Fauria & Mego podcast, Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (born in 1999) answering a question about whether or not his mom had a crush on Bailey Salinger from Party of Five when she chose to name him after the character:

Her and my dad I guess were together, so I can’t — I don’t think she’ll publicly say she had a crush on him. … I think she said that she liked that he was the main character, I guess she was pregnant with me at the time, so … I guess that’s how I got the name.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Common Amish names: Jacob, Malinda, Benuel, Naomi

Amish man in a buggy

Which names are the most common among the Amish?

The simplest answer is “Biblical names,” but that’s not the full answer.

Because certain Biblical names are preferred over others, and Biblical names aren’t used exclusively.

Plus, the prevalence of a name could vary depending upon the specific Amish settlement you’re talking about.

I’ve gathered about 100 of the most common Amish names below. Before we get into specifics, though, here’s a bit of background on the Amish…

Who are the Amish?

The Amish are an Anabaptist group that intentionally maintain a degree of separation from the wider world. They wear plain clothing, eschew modern conveniences (like cars), and partake in traditional occupations such as farming, carpentry, blacksmithing, and (for women) homemaking.

The Anabaptist movement began in Europe in the 1520s, at the time of the Protestant Reformation. The Anabaptists were particularly known for the practice of adult baptism. They were also opposed to war, and they believed in the separation of church and state.

Considered radicals, the Anabaptists were widely persecuted.

In 1693, the Swiss branch of the Anabaptist movement (a.k.a., the Swiss Brethren) experienced a schism. Those who followed reformer Jacob Amman came to be known as the Amish, whereas those who did not came to be known as the Mennonites (after Dutchman Menno Simons, one of the original Anabaptist leaders).

In the early 1700s, many Amish (and Mennonites) immigrated to the New World — specifically to the Province of Pennsylvania, which had been founded upon the principle of religious freedom.

Today, over 367,000 Amish live in the U.S., and roughly two-thirds of them reside in three states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

Amish men and women.

Common Amish names

The most comprehensive source of Amish names I came across was also the oldest, so let’s go through all the sources chronologically.

In 1960, researcher Elmer L. Smith published data on the most common male and female names among the Amish of southeastern Pennsylvania from 1890 to 1956.

The 1,337 Amish males in the study shared a total of just 72 different first names. Over a quarter of the males had one of the top three names (John, Amos, or Jacob), and over 81% had one of the top 20 names.

The 1,356 Amish females in the study shared even fewer first names: only 55. Over a quarter of the females had one of the top three names (Mary, Sarah, or Annie), and over 88% had a top-20 name.

According to Smith’s research, these were the 20 most common names per gender (plus their frequency of usage):

Amish female namesAmish male names
1Mary, 10.0%John, 11.9%
2Sarah, 7.9%Amos, 7.3%
3Annie, 9.1%*Jacob, 6.5%
4Katie, 7.1%David, 6.4%
5Lizzie, 6.4%Samuel, 6.2%
6Rebecca, 6.1%Christian, 6.1%
7Fannie, 5.3%Daniel, 5.5%
8Barbara, 5.1%Benjamin, 3.8%
9Rachel, 5.1%Levi, 3.7%
10Lydia, 4.9%Aaron, 3.1%
11Emma, 3.8%Jonas, 3.0%
12Malinda, 3.5%Elam, 2.8%
13Susie, 3.2%Stephen, 2.8%
14Sadie, 2.5%Isaac, 2.5%
15Leah, 1.9%Henry, 2.4%
16Hannah, 1.5%Jonathan, 1.8%
17Naomi, 1.4%Eli, 1.7%
18Mattie, 1.3%Gideon, 1.6%
19Lavina, 1.1%Moses, 1.5%
20Arie, 1.1%Joseph, 1.1%
*Annie was ranked below Sarah in the research paper, but this seems to be a typo, given the percentages.

Smith also wrote the following:

Other given names for males may reflect the important place the martyred forefathers hold in the minds of the sect members. The given name Menno is frequently found; this honors Menno Simmons [sic] an early leader of the plain sects. Ammon is also quite common, and is traced to Jacob Amman for whom the Amish sect is named; otherwise given names are from the Bible.

(Menno, a form of the Dutch name Meine, can be traced back to the Old High German word magan, meaning “strength.” The occupational surname Amman(n), which was derived from the German word amtmann, originally referred to someone employed as an official or administrator.)

A couple of years after Smith’s study came out, Dr. William Schreiber (a professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio) published a book about the Amish of east-central Ohio. In one paragraph, he mentioned some of the names he’d encountered:

One learns here that the good old biblical names are still common with the Amish but are in competition with modern or more euphonious ones. The names of the children of large families are often a study in contrasts. In one family there are, for example, Benjamin, Samuel, Isaac, Stephen, John, Israel, Christ, Barbara, Mary, Hannah, Annie, Mattie, and Lizzie. Another family has chosen these names for its children: Sarah, Lizzie, Samuel, Benjamin, John, Annie, Marie, Daniel, David, Enos, Sylvia, and Malinda. Then there are three Amish brothers named Isaac, Levi, and Elmer. One wonders how Vesta, Delila, Dena, Saloma, Drusilla, or Verba, or boys’ names like Junie, Venus, or Aquilla came into strict Christian families?

Speaking of east-central Ohio, Barbara Yoder Hall — who was born in 1940 and grew up with ten siblings in the Amish community of Holmes County — recalled in her book Born Amish (1980) the following first names:

First names for girls are usually Cora, Mattie, Annie, Lizzie, Barbara, Fannie, Katie, Mary, Naomi, Emma, Jemima, Ella, Sarah, Levina and Mandy.

First names for boys are John, Mose, Ferdinand, Dannie, Sam, Amos, Albert, Emanual, Levi, Rudy, Enos, Eli, Jacob and Joseph.

Amish men in a wagon.

Now for a pair of sources from the digital age…

The website Amish America, run by Erik Wesner (who is not Amish, but has visited Amish communities in 15 different states), lists the following names as being common among the Amish. He found many of the male names in Raber’s Almanac, which “contains a listing of Amish church ministers,” while many of the female names came from various church directories.

Common Amish female namesCommon Amish male names
Elizabeth
Emma
Fannie
Hannah
Katie
Linda
Lizzie
Lovina/Lavina
Martha
Mary
Miriam
Naomi
Rebecca
Ruby
Ruth
Sadie
Sarah
Waneta
Abram
Amos
Atlee
Eli
Elmer
Harley
Isaac
Jacob
John
Lavern
Leroy
Mark
Melvin
Mervin
Samuel
Vernon
Wayne
Willis

Some of Erik’s commentary…

  • Eli: “You see a lot of Elis among Amish, but not many Elijahs.”
  • Leroy: “Seems to be more common in Midwestern communities.”
  • Lizzie: “Lizzie is a popular form in some Pennsylvania communities.”
  • Naomi: “Amish, at least in Lancaster County, pronounce this ‘Nay-oh-mah.'”
  • Ruby: “Quite a few Rubies in northern Indiana.”
  • Vernon: “[P]retty common in places like northern Indiana and Holmes County, Ohio.”

Finally, according to the blog Amish Heritage, written by a woman named Anna (who grew up Amish in Pennsylvania), common Amish names include…

Common Amish female namesCommon Amish male names
Amanda
Anna/Annie
Barbara
Betty
Clara
Edna
Elizabeth
Esther
Fannie
Hannah
Lavina
Lena
Lydia
Malinda
Martha
Mary
Miriam
Naomi
Priscilla
Rachel
Rebecca
Ruth
Sadie
Sarah
Susie
Aaron
Abner
Abram
Amos
Benuel
Christian/Christ
Daniel
David
Eli
Elmer
Emmanuel
Henry
Isaac
Jacob
John
Jonas
Leroy
Lloyd
Mark
Melvin
Mervin
Moses
Omar
Paul
Samuel
Steven/Stephen
Vernon

Both websites noted that some Amish communities (particularly New Order Amish communities) have recently started giving their children less traditional first names.


So how do these lists square with what we’ve observed in the U.S. baby name data?

It’s hard to tell with historically popular names like Mary and John, but we can see some interesting things when we focus on relatively rare names.

For instance, the names Atlee, Benuel, Delila, Dena, Lavina, Menno, Saloma, and Willis have all been mentioned recently in my posts about names with a high degree of state specificity (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). As you’d expect, they were associated with the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and/or Indiana. (Benuel, in fact, has only ever appeared in the Pennsylvania data — going all the way back to the 1940s.)

Several of the other names — including Amos, Elam, Fannie, Malinda, and Mervin — saw higher usage in Pennsylvania than in any other state in 2021.

I was surprised that none of my sources listed the name Barbie. Most of them mentioned Barbara (one of them was even named Barbara), and all of them included nicknames (like Lizzie). But Barbara’s diminutive form was curiously absent — even though most of its usage occurs in Pennsylvania:

Girls named Barbie, U.S.Girls named Barbie, Penn.
20213722 (59%)
20202617 (65%)
20193320 (61%)
20182113 (62%)
20172916 (55%)
20162814 (50%)

Rhoda and Mahlon are two more names that I somewhat expected to see.

Ammon is a very interesting case, because the name also has significance to an entirely different religious group: the Mormons. (The Book of Mormon features two prominent figures named Ammon.) From the 1910s to the 1960s, the name Ammon — much like Benuel — only appeared in the Pennsylvania data. Since the 1980s, though, the state with the largest number of baby boys named Ammon has been Utah.


What are your thoughts on the first names used by the Amish? Which of the above do you like the most?

And, for anyone out there with close ties to an Amish family/community: What other names would you add to this list?

P.S. This post is dedicated to my delightful commenters alex and Andrea. :)

Sources:

Images by Chris Chow from Unsplash, Amyd from Pixabay, and Clark Young from Unsplash