How popular is the baby name Elizabeth 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 Elizabeth.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Elizabeth


Posts that Mention the Name Elizabeth

Popular baby names in the Channel Islands, 2021

The island of Sark (one of the four main Channel Islands)
Sark (one of the Channel Islands)

The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel. They are divided into two territories — the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey — and, like the Isle of Man, they are Crown Dependencies, but not officially part of the UK. (The residents of all three regions are British citizens, though.)

The Bailiwick of Jersey includes the most-populous island, Jersey, while the Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the less-populous islands of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm.

English is the official language in both bailiwicks, but local forms of Norman French (like Jèrriais, and Guernesiais) are also spoken on certain islands.

The Channel Islands (off the coast of Normandy, France)
Channel Islands (off the coast of France)

Now, on to the names!

Jersey

Last year, Jersey welcomed a total of 890 babies — 426 girls and 464 boys. Here are the island’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Sienna
  2. Isla
  3. Olivia
  4. Willow
  5. Ellie
  6. Maria
  7. Sophia
  8. Valentina
  9. Amelia
  10. Charlotte

Boy Names

  1. Arthur
  2. Oliver
  3. Noah
  4. Freddie
  5. Alexander
  6. Lucas
  7. Toby
  8. William
  9. Henry
  10. Sebastian

Since 2014, the name Sienna has reached the girls’ top 10 only twice…but it ranked #1 both times. I can’t account for the higher usage in 2018, but the 2021 return could be attributable to the influence of royal baby Sienna Elizabeth, born in September to Princess Beatrice.

Guernsey

Last year, Guernsey welcomed a total of 527 babies — 263 girls and 264 boys. Here are the bailiwick’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 6 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 4 (6-way tie)
  3. Evie, 4 (6-way tie)
  4. Florence, 4 (6-way tie)
  5. Imogen, 4 (6-way tie)
  6. Isla, 4 (6-way tie)
  7. Penelope, 4 (6-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Luca, 6 baby boys (tie)
  2. Theodore, 6 (tie)
  3. Archie, 5 (3-way tie)
  4. Leo, 5 (3-way tie)
  5. Theo, 5 (3-way tie)
  6. Arthur, 4 (6-way tie)
  7. George, 4 (6-way tie)
  8. Max, 4 (6-way tie)
  9. Oscar, 4 (6-way tie)
  10. Thomas, 4 (6-way tie)
  11. William, 4 (6-way tie)

My source also mentioned a few other facts…

  • Isabella was given to 3 baby girls, Jessica to 2, and Isabella-Jude, Izabella, and Isabelle to 1 each.
  • Lucas was given to 3 baby boys, and Matthew, Mateus, Matheus, and James to 1 each.
  • Over 54% of the babies born in Guernsey last year were given a name that was used just once.
  • Back in 1996, the top names in Guernsey were Jessica, Lauren, and Sophie (a 3-way tie) and James.

This is the first time I’ve posted rankings for Guernsey, but I’ve been posting Jersey’s rankings for a few years — here’s 2020, for instance.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the word “bailiwick” refers to the jurisdiction of a bailiff.

Sources: Annual Statement – Office of the Superintendent Registrar – Government of Jersey (PDF), Revealed: Jersey’s most popular baby names in 2021, Olivia, Theo, and Luca most popular baby names in Guernsey

Images: Adapted from Channel Islands by Copernicus Sentinel-2, ESA under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO and from Aerial view of Sark by Phillip Capper under CC BY 2.0.

Baby born to shipwreck survivors, named after ship

A depiction of the wreck of the Netherby (1866).
The wreck of the Netherby

On July 14, 1866, a ship called the Netherby — carrying emigrants from London to Brisbane — ran aground off the coast of King Island, located in the waters between Australia and Tasmania.

All 413 passengers and 49 crew made it to shore alive. Some of the food was saved, and a source of fresh water was located…but hundreds of people were still stranded on a largely uninhabited island in the middle of winter, “with only so much covering as could be provided by the use of sails and spars.”

Two days later, on July 16, a baby girl was born on the beach to passengers William and Ellen Cubbin.

Around the same time, second officer John Parry and a handful of others trekked roughly 35 miles to the Cape Wickham lighthouse. There, they borrowed a whaleboat and, despite rough seas and high winds, managed to reach mainland Australia (about 70 nautical miles away). Parry himself then traveled an extra 26 miles on horseback to Geelong, in order to telegram authorities in Melbourne.

About a week after the wreck, two rescue ships — the Victoria, followed by the Pharos — finally arrived.

All passengers and crew ended up surviving, remarkably.

And the baby’s name?

Netherby Victoria Louisa Cubbin — first name in honor of the the wrecked ship, second name in honor of the first rescue ship, and third name in honor of Louisa Hickmott, “the lighthouse keeper’s wife who gave Mr. Parry gin in a small bottle to sustain him whilst rowing and sailing a bulky whaleboat for help in heavy seas.”

Netherby “Nettie” Cubbin was the fourth of eight children. (Her siblings were named William, Alfred, Elizabeth, John, Walter, Eleanor, and Emily.) She eventually married and welcomed three children of her own — including a daughter to whom she passed down all three of her given names.

Sources:

P.S. The Netherby‘s captain, originally from Wales, was named Owen Owens.

Baby name story: Thomas Lipton

Thomas Lipton's yacht "Shamrock"
The original Shamrock

In 1899, Scottish businessman Thomas Lipton, founder of the Lipton Tea company, sailed his racing yacht Shamrock overseas to challenge the Columbia (owned by J. P. Morgan) in the America’s Cup.

Lipton lost. And his next four America’s Cup boats — the Shamrock II, the Shamrock III, the Shamrock IV, and the Shamrock V — also lost (in 1901, 1903, 1920, and 1930, respectively).

He became the loveable [sic] loser; a man whose good-natured approach to the obstacles stacked against him turned him into a folk hero and promoted his business interests in America as well.

Scottish businessman Thomas Lipton (1848-1931)
Thomas Lipton

His repeated attempts to win the Cup also inspired one New York family to name a baby after him.

Adolph and Catherine Bergner of Tompkinsville, Staten Island, had three “shamrock babies” (as the newspapers called them).

Their first child, a boy, was born in 1899 — around the time the original Shamrock “dropped anchor off Tompkinsville after a passage across the ocean.” He was named James Adolph.

Their second child, a girl, was born in 1901 — just as Shamrock II entered American waters. She was named Helen Elizabeth.

Their third child, a boy, was born in 1903 — “on June 14, just as the steamer on which Sir Thomas came across the Atlantic arrived at Quarantine.” The Bergners decided to acknowledge the ongoing coincidences by naming this one Thomas Lipton Bergner.

They promptly wrote a letter to Thomas Lipton, to tell him about his new namesake. With his reply, Lipton “sent to each of the children a gold stickpin with a Shamrock on the face.”

Sources:

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

Baby name story: Poppet

Portrait of Poppet (cropped), painted circa 1935 by Augustus John.
Poppet John

Welsh painter Augustus John and his second wife, Dorothy (called “Dorelia”), welcomed a daughter in 1912.

They’d planned to name the baby Elizabeth Anne, but they ended up calling her Poppet. (The British English term poppet is used to refer to “a person, especially a child, that you like or love.”)

Here’s how Poppet’s older bother Romilly (b. 1906) recalled the naming process:

I remember a grand discussion in the walled-in summer-house about what she should be called — a discussion which has been going on ever since. Elizabeth Anne was the provisional choice on that occasion, but it satisfied nobody, and the baby was finally registered as ‘one female child’, pending the discovery of the ideal name. Meanwhile [half-brother] Caspar, contemplating her one day, chanced to remark: ‘What a little poppet it is!’ — and Poppet she was called from that day forward. A real name was still intended to be found for her, but we had not reckoned with the force of habit, and, in spite of intermittent consultation, and at least one attempt to revert to the original suggestion, Anne, she has continued [to be called] Poppet to this day.

I can’t find Poppet’s birth registration online, but “Poppet” is indeed the name used legally in the Marriage Registration Index (three times: 1931, 1940, and 1952) and the the Death Registration Index (1997).

Poppet’s third and final marriage was to dutch artist Willem Pol, making fashion model Talitha Pol her step-daughter. After Talitha’s death in 1971, Poppet and Willem raised Talita’s son Tara at their home in the south of France.

Sources:

P.S. Caspar John (b. 1903) ended up becoming the head of the Royal Navy in the early 1960s.