How popular is the baby name Coleman 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 Coleman.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Coleman


Posts that Mention the Name Coleman

Where did the baby name DePriest come from?

Chicago politician Oscar DePriest (1871-1951).
Oscar DePriest

The name DePriest debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1929, and usage peaked in 1930:

  • 1931: unlisted
  • 1930: 10 baby boys named DePriest
  • 1929: 5 baby boys named DePriest [debut]
  • 1928: unlisted
  • 1927: unlisted

Where did the name come from?

Chicago politician Oscar DePriest, the first African-American from outside the southern states to be elected to Congress.

Oscar DePriest was born in Alabama in 1871. His parents, former slaves, moved the family northward to Salina, Kansas, after 7-year-old Oscar discovered a neighbor “who had been lynched and riddled with bullets.”

As a young adult, Oscar continued to move northward — first to Dayton, and finally to Chicago.

Chicago is where he met and married his wife Jessie in 1898, where he become wealthy thanks to his real estate business and investments in the stock market, and where he first got involved in politics.

Decades later, in November of 1928, Oscar DePriest was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This made him not only the first African-American elected to Congress in the North, but also the first African-American elected to Congress during the 20th century.

(In fact, Oscar DePriest was re-elected twice, and during all three consecutive terms he was the only African-American in Congress, becoming by default “the only voice in Congress for twelve million black Americans.”)

Needless to say, many people in the South were not big fans of Oscar DePriest.

In April of 1929, the members of the 71st Congress were sworn in all at once — as opposed to state by state, which had been the tradition up to that point — “in large part to prevent any challenges to the legality of DePriest’s seating.”

In June of 1929, DePriest’s wife Jessie made national headlines when she visited the White House to have tea with First Lady Lou Hoover. Southern journalists and politicians (including Coleman Blease) criticized the DePriests and accused the Hoovers of “defiling” the White House. The Georgia legislature, the Texas legislature, the Florida legislature, and the Mississippi legislature all passed resolutions condemning the event and the Hoovers themselves.

Here is part of Oscar’s reaction to the criticism:

“I want to thank the Democrats of the south for one thing. They were so barbaric they drove my parents to the north. If it had not been for that I wouldn’t be in Congress today. I’ve been Jim Crowed, segregated, persecuted, and I think I know how best the Negro can put a stop to being imposed upon. It is through the ballot, through organization, through eternally fighting for his rights.”

Thankfully, the DePriests also had plenty of supporters. And some of that support was expressed in the form of baby names.

More than a dozen babies were named DePriest in 1929 and 1930 (as we saw above) and more than two dozen other babies born in 1929 or the 1930s got the first-middle combination “Oscar DePriest.” Here are some examples:

And baby girls weren’t left out entirely. I found one born in Texas in 1929 with the first-middle combo “Jessie DePriest.”

Sources:

Image: Oscar DePriest, 5/8/29, Library of Congress

How did Coleman Blease influence baby names?

South Carolina politician Coleman Blease.
South Carolina politician Coleman Blease

South Carolina politician (and “unrepentant white supremacist”) Coleman “Coley” Blease held various public offices from the 1890s to the 1930s. The year he had the biggest impact on baby names, though, was the year he became governor of the state: 1911.

That year, he was behind not one but two debuts in the U.S. baby name data.

First, there’s Blease (rhymes with “please”):

  • 1913: 20 baby boys named Blease – 19 born in S.C.
  • 1912: 12 baby boys named Blease – all born in S.C.
  • 1911: 8 baby boys named Blease [debut] – all born in S.C.
  • 1910: unlisted
  • 1909: unlisted

The surname Blease is likely a variant of Blaise, which can be traced back to the Latin name Blasius, meaning “lisping.”

Second, there’s Colie:

  • 1913: 16 baby boys named Colie – 8 born in S.C.
  • 1912: 23 baby boys named Colie – 21 born in S.C.
  • 1911: 16 baby boys named Colie [debut] – 8 born in S.C.
  • 1910: unlisted
  • 1909: unlisted

This alternate spelling of the Coley was the top debut name of the year, in fact.

The names Coley and Coleman also saw higher usage — particularly in South Carolina — during the early 1910s.

Finally, a number of babies were given first-middle combos that referred unmistakably to Coley Blease. Some examples:

What are your thoughts on these names?

Sources:

Male names in the Domesday Book

I listed all the female names in the Domesday Book a while back, so today I thought I’d complete the project by listing all the male names.

The male names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (For the record, I overlooked entries in which one person’s name was used to refer to another person, e.g., “Aelfric’s uncle.”)

The most-mentioned name within each letter group is in bold.

If you make it all the way to the bottom, your reward is a top ten list. :)

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And now it’s time for the…

Top Ten Male Names

Which male were mentioned most often in the Domesday book? The #1 name was William, followed by Robert and Ralph:

1. William (166)
2. Robert (127)
3. Ralph (124)
4. Aelfric (88)
5. Alwin (76)
5. Hugh (76)
7. Roger (73)
8. Godwin (72)
9. Walter (64)
10. Godric (59)

Though the names in the book aren’t necessarily representative of name usage in England overall, it does make sense than William took the top spot. The Domesday Book was created a couple of decades after the Norman Invasion, at a time when the name William was very fashionable, thanks to William the Conqueror.

Baby name needed: Boy name similar to William

light bulbs

A reader named Ashley writes:

I have a nearly 4 year old named William Benjamin, both family names. For the next child, we are considering Gillian (with a traditional J sound) for a girl. I would like another boy name that has an L in the middle, to sound similar to Will. I’ve considered Dillon, Elliot, Nolan, Nelson, Phillip. I know there must be others out there I’m not thinking of. Which one would match well?

This is a fun question. :)

Here’s a bunch of other names with an L-sound in the middle. (I left off W-names, figuring Ashley wouldn’t be interested in those.)

Alan
Albert
Alfred
Alistair
Alvin
Caleb
Calum
Calvin
Coleman
Collin
Colvin
Cullen
Delton
Delvin
Ellis
Ellsworth
Elton
Elwood
Felix
Fuller
Galen
Gilbert
Gilford
Gilman
Halbert
Halsey
Holden
Hollis
Julian
Kellen
Kelton
Kelvin
Malcolm
Malachi
Melvin
Milburn
Milford
Milton
Millard
Miller
Raleigh
Roland
Sheldon
Solomon
Salvador
Tilman
Tolbert
Volney

The names in boldface are the ones I personally like best with William. (I also think Elliot would be a great choice.)

Which name(s) do you guys like best with William? What other names would you suggest?