How popular is the baby name Edward in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Edward.

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Popularity of the baby name Edward

Posts that mention the name Edward

Where did the baby name Hobby come from in 1918?

Texas politician William P. Hobby (1878-1964)
William P. Hobby

The curious name Hobby first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1918:

  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1919: unlisted
  • 1918: 9 baby boys named Hobby [debut]
    • All 9 born in Texas
  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: unlisted

After that, the name never returned — making it a one-hit wonder. (In fact, it was one of the top one-hit wonders of 1918.)

For comparison, here’s data from the Social Security Death Index:

  • 1920: 1 person with the first name Hobby
  • 1919: 4 people with the first name Hobby
  • 1918: 8 people with the first name Hobby
  • 1917: 1 person with the first name Hobby
  • 1916: 1 person with the first name Hobby

So, why were Texas parents naming their sons Hobby in the late 1910s?

Because of Texas politician William Pettus Hobby.

In mid-1917 — while Hobby was serving his second term as lieutenant governor of Texas — Governor James Edward Ferguson was impeached and convicted. Upon Ferguson’s removal from office, Hobby succeeded him as governor.

The following November, Hobby was elected governor in his own right. He served a full two-year term from January of 1919 until January of 1921.

Before and after his political career, Hobby was employed in the newspapers business — working his way up from circulation clerk in the 1890s to chairman of the board of the Houston Post Company in the 1950s.

What are your thoughts on the name Hobby? (Do you like it more or less than Hoby?)

P.S. Another early 20th-century Texas governor two influenced baby names was Oscar Branch Colquitt.

Sources: William P. Hobby – Wikipedia, William Pettus Hobby – Texas State Historical Association, SSA

Image: W. P. Hobby (LOC)

Popular baby names on Nantucket, 2023

Flag of Massachusetts
Flag of Massachusetts

The Massachusetts island of Nantucket, which sits about 30 miles off the coast Cape Cod, is home to over 14,000 year-round residents (though the population “swells to around 80,000 or more” during July and August).

According to the Nantucket Town Clerk’s office, a total of 158 babies were born on the island in 2023. But we only have access to the names of 108 of these babies. Why?

[B]ecause of a Massachusetts law that separates birth certificates based on the parent’s marital status. If the parents were not married at the time of the birth or the father is not named on the record, the birth certificate is considered a restricted record and is not public.

So, out of the 108 known names, which were the most popular? For girls it was a tie between Leah and Sarah (given to two babies each), and for boys it was a tie between Grayson and Lucas (also given to two babies each).

The 100 other babies were given 100 single-use names:

Archibald, Abigail, Abraham, Alejandro, Alister, Alyssa, Alvaro, Amina, Andrew, Asher, Aurora, Bayard, Beckett, Benjaminas, Brenda, Callan, Carter, Catherine, Cameron, Charlotte, Christiaan, Colin, Cole, Cooper, Curren, Damien, Daniel, Debora, Eden, Edwin, Edward, Emilia, Emma, Enzo, Evelyn, Ezra, Fabian, Fae, Fiona, Gaby, Gabriella, Greydon, Griffyn, Harbor, Henry, Israel, Jacob, Jaden, James, Jantyah, Jefferson, Joshua, Julie, Justina, Kairi, Kiara, Lakelyn, La’Klia, Larkin, Latifa, Leon, Liv, Luna, Lydia, Mabel, Madison, Marianne, Marlow, Matheus, Maverick, Max, Mia, Mila, Milo, Miles, Mukhammadyusuf, Nia, Penelope, Quinn, River, Robin, Roman, Samir, Scarlett, Sergio, Shay, Shepard, Silverio, Skye, Stephanie, Sullivan, Theodore, Therdore, Tiller, Timothy, Wilder, William, Yasna, Yvonne, Zaniyah

Tiller caught my eye — it may have come from the English surname (which originally referred to someone who tilled the soil), but, given the location, I’m hoping it was inspired by the tiller of a boat. Maybe Tiller will become the boaters’ version of Taylor/Tyler? :)

Olivia and Liam — the top names in Boston last year — are nowhere to be found on Nantucket’s list, interestingly.


Image: Adapted from Flag of Massachusetts (public domain)

Baby name story: Victoria Melita

Princess Victoria Melita (1876-1936)
Victoria Melita

In early 1874, Prince Alfred (son of Queen Victoria) married Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (daughter of Czar Alexander II) in St. Petersburg. Their wedding “directly united the British and Russian royal families for the first time.”

(To mark the occasion, a London bakery invented the Marie biscuit, also known as the Maria cookie.)

Alfred and Maria ended up having five children: Alfred, Marie, Victoria Melita, Alexandra, and Beatrice.

Their third child was born in November of 1876 while her father, a Royal Navy officer, was stationed on the island of Malta (which was then part of the British Empire). The baby girl was named Victoria after her grandmother and Melita after the national personification of Malta, her birthplace.

Where does the name Melita come from?

Most of the time, it derives from the ancient Greek word meli, meaning “honey.” In the case of the allegorical figure, however, it came from the name of an ancient Maltese city.

Melita (or Melite) was the Roman name of the city. The Romans had taken the island from the Phoenicians during the Second Punic War. The Phoenicians’ original name for the city (founded in the 8th century B.C.) was Maleth, meaning “shelter.”

What are your thoughts on the name Melita?

P.S. Victoria Melita’s older sister, Marie, went on to marry the future king of Romania. (Americans became familiar with Marie and two of her children, Nicolae and Ileana, when the three of them toured the U.S. for several weeks in late 1926.) And Victoria Melita’s paternal uncle, the future Edward VII, was the father of Louise, Victoria and Maud, a.k.a., Louvima.

Sources: Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha – Wikipedia, The marriage of Prince Alfred and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna – The Royal Collection Trust, Early Inhabitants – Visit Malta
Image: Victoria Melita autograph card

Baby born in Britain, named after royal horse

Diamond Jubilee
Diamond Jubilee

British diplomat Charles Hardinge (who served as Viceroy of India from 1910 to 1916) and his wife Winifred had a total of three children:

  • Edward, b. 1892
  • Alexander, b. 1894
  • Diamond, b. 1900

Their oldest was named after Edward, the Prince of Wales (who, in 1901, became King Edward VII).

Their middle child was named after Alexandra, the Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra).

And their youngest? She wasn’t named after a royal person, but after a royal person’s horse: Diamond Jubilee, who was owned by the Prince of Wales and won the Epsom Derby about a week before she was born. (Diamond Jubilee was foaled in 1897 — the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.)


Image: Diamond Jubilee from The New Book of the Horse (1911) by Charles Richardson