How popular is the baby name Amy 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 Amy.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Amy


Posts that Mention the Name Amy

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.

Twins born to University of Iowa alums, named Kinnick & Carver

Kinnick Stadium, University of Iowa
Kinnick Stadium

In September of 2004, identical twin boys were born to Iowa City couple Brian and Amy Boelk, who met while attending the University of Iowa.

The boys’ names?

Kinnick and Carver — after the school’s Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Kinnick Stadium was named after Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, while Carver-Hawkeye Arena was named (in part) after Iowa philanthropist Roy J. Carver.

The name Kinnick first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 2004 — the year the twins were born, curiously. (Did news of their names have an influence on other expectant parents…?)

Unsurprisingly, most of the usage so far has been in the state of Iowa:

Boys named Kinnick, U.S.Boys named Kinnick, Iowa
20211611 (69%)
20202314 (61%)
20192214 (64%)
20181810 (56%)
20172919 (66%)
20163725 (68%)
20153428 (82%)
20143625 (69%)
20132316 (70%)
20123528 (80%)
20114939 (80%)
20104036 (90%)
20092924 (83%)
20082217 (77%)
20072725 (93%)
20062116 (76%)
2005107 (70%)
20048*7* (88%)
*Debut

Which of the two names, Kinnick or Carver, do you like more?

Source: “Twins Named after Hawkeye Buildings.” Telegraph-Herald 17 Sep. 2004: 2A.
Image by Leonardo Marchini from Pixabay

Name quotes #107: India, Arvid, Sahar

bobcat
NPS bobcat

From a recent National Park Service Instagram post:

Fun fact: The actual number of bobcats named Bob is fairly small.

Many actually prefer Robert.

From a 2020 Facebook post by The Pioneer Woman, Anne Marie “Ree” Drummond (found via Mashed):

Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law, whom I love, my own dad, whom I adore, and my husband Ladd, pictured here with our first child (who was conceived on our honeymoon, btw…sorry if that’s TMI, we almost named her Sydney but changed our mind because we didn’t want her to have to explain it her whole life).

(They ended up naming her Alex.)

A 2017 tweet by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to the daughter of South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, India Rhodes (b. 2015), who was named in honor of the country:

Happy birthday to India, from India. :)

From the 2008 essay “What’s in a name?” by Arvid Huisman in the Daily Freeman-Journal:

As a first grader I wanted to be named Johnnie or Bobbie or Billie or Tommie — just about anything except Arvid.

By the time I was a young adult I realized that a unique name can be an asset and I continue to believe that. Once people commit an uncommon name to memory they don’t soon forget and that’s a good thing in business.

From a 1935 article about baby names in a newspaper from Perth, Australia:

After Amy Johnson (Mrs. J. A. Mollison) made her wonderful flight to Australia it seemed that every baby girl was being named “Amy.” They were comparatively lucky. “Amy” is rather a nice name, but what about the unfortunate boys who were called “Lindbergh” or “Lindy” in 1927 to commemorate the young American’s lone Atlantic flight?

Amy Johnson newspaper article 1935

(I don’t have any Australian baby name data that goes back to the late 1920s — Amy Johnson‘s solo flight from England to Australia was in 1930 — but, anecdotally, most of the Australian Amys I’m seeing in the records were born decades before the flight.)

From the 2012 op-ed “Weird names leave teachers scratching their heads” at China Daily:

In the past, rural children were named after animals because poor farmers hoped they would bring up their children as cheaply as raising pigs and puppies.

From the obituary of singer (and early ’60s teen idol) Bobby Rydell at New York Daily News:

He was so popular and tied to teen culture that Rydell High School in the stage and screen musical “Grease” was named for him.

“It was so nice to know that the high school was named after me,” he told the Allentown Morning Call in 2014. “And I said, ‘Why me?’ It could have been Anka High, Presley High, Everly High, Fabian High, Avalon High. And they came up with Rydell High, and, once again, total honor.”

(Dozens of baby boys were named after Rydell as well.)

From the BBC article “Afghan women campaign for the right to reveal their names” by Mahjooba Nowrouzi (found via Clare’s Name News):

Using a woman’s name in public is frowned upon and can be considered an insult. Many Afghan men are reluctant to say the names of their sisters, wives or mothers in public. Women are generally only referred to as the mother, daughter or sister of the eldest male in their family, and Afghan law dictates that only the father’s name should be recorded on a birth certificate.

The problem starts early, when a girl is born. It takes a long time for her to be given a name. Then when a woman is married her name does not appear on her wedding invitations. When she is ill her name does not appear on her prescription, and when she dies her name does not appear on her death certificate or even her headstone.

I also liked the last two paragraphs:

Sahar, an Afghan refugee in Sweden who used to be a freelance journalist but now works in a nursing home, told the BBC she had been a distant but staunch supporter of the campaign since it began. When Sahar first heard about the idea, she decided to post a message on social media.

“I am proud to write that my name is Sahar,” she wrote. “My mother’s name is Nasimeh, my maternal grandmother’s name is Shahzadu, and my paternal grandmother’s name is Fukhraj.”

Popular baby names in Liechtenstein, 2020

liechtenstein

The tiny country of Liechtenstein — located in the Alps, between Austria and Switzerland — welcomed 188 baby girls and 165 baby boys in 2020. According to Liechtenstein’s Office for Statistics (Amt für Statistik), the most popular baby names in the German-speaking microstate were Sofia and Maximilian/Oscar (tie).

Here are Liechtenstein’s top girl names and top boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Sofia/Sophia, 7 baby girls
  2. Laura, 5
  3. Hanna/Hannah, 4
  4. Amélie/Amelie, Anna, Annika, Emma, Julia, Lina, Mia, Nina, Noemi, Nora, Sophie, and Valentina, 3 each [12-way tie]
  5. Alya, Amelia, Elena, Elisa/Eliza, Ella, Emilia, Estelle, Klara, Lara, Leonie, Letizia, Luisa, Malia/Maliyah, Mara, Melissa, Mina, Naomi, Noelia, and Paula, 2 each [19-way tie]

Boy Names

  1. Maximilian and Oscar/Oskar, 4 baby boys each [tie]
  2. Laurin, Leo, Lian/Lyan, Luis/Louis, Noah/Noa, and Theo, 3 each [6-way tie]
  3. Gustav, Henri, Ivan/Iwan, Lenny, Leon, Leopold, Matteo, Max, Muhamed/Muhammed, Nico, Nino, Noel, and Thiago/Tiago, 2 each [13-way tie]

(Lian, one of the 2nd-place boy names, is a German short form of Julian or Kilian.)

Liechtenstein also released the single-use baby names of 2020, which is very cool. All the names not accounted for above are in the table below:

Unique girl names (98)Unique boy names (113)
Adea, Adriana, Ahlam, Aitana, Alejna, Alenia, Alina, Ally, Alya-Su, Amina, Amy, Anastasia, Anely, Annalena, Anna-Rosa, Anouk, Aria, Ariana, Aslihan, Aurora, Bissan, Carolina, Cecilia, Chiara, Clea, Cora, Darija, Elenia, Elina, Elizabeta, Elizan, Elna, Eltea, Emanuela, Esîlya, Fabia, Farah, Fatima, Fjella, Georgie-Gisele, Gioia, Giulia, Helena, Ida, Ilenia, Iris, Irma, Ivy, Jamie, Joleen, Joya, Juna, Kaia, Katharina, Keysi, Ksenija, Lena, Leonor, Lilian, Liyana, Loredana, Lorena, Luana, Luena, Maeva, Malak, Maria, Maria-Luisa, Marie, Melina, Merle, Mia-Sophie, Miira, Mila, Mira, Naila, Natalia, Nayeli, Nelia, Nika, Riva, Rivanna, Romy, Ronja, Salima, Samira, Sandrina, Senada, Soley, Tajra, Teresa, Tina, Valérie, Viviana, Xoawa, Yara, Yesim, ZeynepAaron, Adrián, Aidan, Ajan, Alessandro, Alonso, Alp, Anas, Aril, Armon, Arthur, Aurel, Aurelio, Benedikt, Benjamin, Benno, Bruno, Christian, Christoph, Clark, Curdin, Cyano, Damiano, Danilo, Dante, Davide, Dominik, Eduardo, Elija, Elvis, Emanuel, Emil, Emilian, Emilio, Enes, Erian, Erion, Fabian, Federico, Finn, Gabriele, Giuliano, Hamza, Hazar, Hendrick, Jamie, Jan, Jari, Jeremias, Jérôme, Johannes, Jonah, Jonas, Jorel, Julian, Kentse, Kiano, Konstantin, Lauri, Leart, Levin, Liam, Liandro, Linus, Lio, Lionel, Lorent, Luan, Macgyver, Mahir, Majiid, Marco, Marius, Martim, Massimo, Mats, Maurice, Michael, Michele, Mike, Mikyas, Milan, Nael, Nando, Nawin, Neo, Nick, Nicolas, Niklas, Oliver, Omer, Paul, Philomeno, Pierangelo, Raffi, Ragnar, Redford, Rico, Ruben, Samuel, Sebastian, Tenzin, Tino, Tobias, Umut, Valentino, Valerio, Victor, Vito, Yakup, Yanis, Yuusuf, Zeno

Finally, since this is the first time I’m posting rankings for Liechtenstein, let’s throw in the country’s top baby names for the two previous years:

  • In 2019: Emma (9) and a four-way tie between Fabio, Leon, Matteo and Paul (4 each).
  • In 2018: Valentina (7) and a three-way tie between Ben, Leon, and Samuel (4 each).

Sources: Vornamenstatistik – Amt für Statistik (AS), Liechtenstein – Wikipedia, Behind the Name

Popular baby names in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1868

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

Years ago, I discovered three documents with relatively complete lists of births for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868. I’ve already created Providence’s baby name rankings for 1866 and 1867 using the first two documents, and today (finally!) I’ve got the third set of rankings for you.

Let’s start with some stats:

  • 1,762 babies were born in Providence in 1868, by my count. According to the introduction of the document I’m using a source, however, the total number is 1,866. I don’t know how to account for this discrepancy.
  • 1,617 of these babies (791 girls and 826 boys) had names that were known at the time of publication. The other 145 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps these babies died young and never received a name.
  • 284 unique names (143 girl names and 141 boy names) were shared among these 1,617 babies.

And now, on to the names!

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Sarah
4. Ellen
5. Margaret
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 39
  3. Sarah, 38
  4. Ellen, 31
  5. Margaret, 28
  6. Elizabeth, 25
  7. Alice, 24
  8. Anna, 20
  9. Ann, 16
  10. Emma, 14
  11. Eliza, 13
  12. Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
  13. Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
  14. Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
  15. Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
  17. Anne, Carrie, Hattie, Ida, Mabel & Nellie, 6 each (6-way tie)
  18. Eva, Joanna, Lydia & Rosanna, 5 each (4-way tie)
  19. Abby, Charlotte, Emily, Jessie, Josephine, Lillian, Lizzie, Louisa, Louise, Marion, Phebe, Rosella & Theresa, 4 each (13-way tie)
  20. Anastasia, Bertha, Edith, Gertrude, Isabella, Nettie, Pearl, Rebecca & Susanna, 3 each (9-way tie)
  21. Ada, Almira, Edna, Fannie, Flora, Frances, Helen, Henrietta, Inez, Laura, Lelia, Lillie, Lottie, Maud, Priscilla & Virginia, 2 each (16-way tie)
  22. Addie, Adelaide, Adelicia, Adeline, Agatha, Allene, Amanda, Amy, Angelica, Antoinette, Arabella, Augusta, Aurelia, B.*, Belle, Bessie, Betsey, Catharine, Celia, Claudia, Della, Eleanor, Eleanora, Estella, Estelle, Esther, Eudavelia, Eulalie, Evelyn, Francenia, Genevieve, Georgia, Honora, Imogene, Jesse, Juliette, Kate, Leonora, Lilla, Lillias, Lorena, Luella, Luetta, Magdalena, Marian, Marietta, Matilda, Mercy, Minerva, Miriam, Myra, Myrtis, Nanoan, Nora, Pauline, Reberta, Rhoda, Roberta, Rosa, Rose, Ruth, Sabrina, Sophia, Stella & Winifred, 1 each (65-way tie)

*What do you think the “B.” might have stood for?

All Boy Names

  1. John, 112 baby boys
  2. William, 68
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 52
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 37
  7. Frederick, 25
  8. Henry, 23
  9. Joseph, 22
  10. Edward, 19
  11. Daniel & Patrick, 18 each (tie)
  12. Robert, 17
  13. Frank, 16
  14. Francis, 15
  15. Walter, 13
  16. Michael, 11
  17. Albert, 10
  18. Arthur, 9
  19. Benjamin, Peter & Samuel, 7 each (3-way tie)
  20. Freddie, Harry, Herbert & Stephen, 6 each (4-way tie)
  21. Edwin, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin & Timothy, 5 each (5-way tie)
  22. Bernard, Edmund, Eugene, Louis, Philip & Richard, 4 each (6-way tie)
  23. Alfred, Augustus, Christopher, Eben, Horace, Howard, Hugh, Jeremiah, Matthew & Willard, 3 each (10-way tie)
  24. Abel, Barney, Byron, Dennis, Edgar, Ferdinand, Gilbert, Luke, Max, Nathaniel, Owen, Roger, Solomon & Victor, 2 each (14-way tie)
  25. Alden, Alexis, Allen, Alrick, Amos, Andrew, Ansel, Anson, Archibald, Asa, Ashby, Bartholomew, Calvin, Carlos, Clarence, Clark, Clarke, Clement, Clifford, Collyer, Crolander, Darius, David, Earl, Elisha, Ellis, Eri, Ernest, Erwin, Eusebe, Everett, Felix, Forrest, Foster, Franklin, Fred, Gardner, Jacob, Jason, Jerome, Jireh, Joaneto, Josiah, Jubal, Justin, Lawson, Lodovic, Louis, Lucien, Lyman, Major, Malachi, Manuel, Melbourne, Monroe, Morey, Morris, Myron, Nelson, Nicholas, Olney, Orville, Oscar, Pendleton, Ralph, Reuben, Rolfe, Rowland, Rufus, Simeon, Simon, Steven, Stewart, Theodore, Ulysses*, Volney, Warren, Whiting, Willie & Winchester, 1 each (80-way tie)

*Ulysses was likely named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected president in 1868.

Twins

Finally, nineteen sets of twins were born in Providence in 1868. (All of these twin names are accounted for in the rankings above.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twins
Caroline & Harriet
Lucy & Lydia
Mary & Rosanna
Margaret & Mary
Lizzie & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Anne & Thomas
Emma & Charles
Florence & William
Hannah & Josiah
Ida & John
Isabella & John
Jennie & Horace
Charles & William
Francis & Robert
George & John
James & John
James & Stephen
(blank) & (blank)

Have any thoughts about these rankings, or about any of the specific names above?

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number three. Providence: Millard & Harker, 1870.