How popular is the baby name Eugene 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 Eugene.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Eugene


Posts that Mention the Name Eugene

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.

How did “The Big Valley” influence baby names in the 1960s?

Title of the TV series "The Big Valley" (1965-1969)

TV western The Big Valley (1965-1969) was set in California’s San Joaquin Valley in the 1870s.

It followed the wealthy, ranch-owning Barkley family, which was headed by widowed matriarch Victoria (played by Barbara Stanwyck).

Victoria had five adult children — Jarrod, Nick, Audra, Heath, and Eugene* — and three of the five ended up having a big influence on U.S. baby names…

big valley, baby name, jarrod, 1960s

Jarrod Barkley, Victoria’s eldest son, was a respected attorney. The name Jarrod debuted in the baby name data in 1965, and by 1966 usage had increased by more than a factor of 10:

  • 1969: 318 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 443rd)
  • 1968: 353 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 410th)
  • 1967: 263 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 469th)
  • 1966: 219 baby boys named Jarrod (rank: 511th)
  • 1965: 21 baby boys named Jarrod [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted

Other forms of the name also got a boost, from the traditional spelling (Jared) to several other brand-new spellings (including Jerrid, Jarrad, and Jarred — the highest-debuting male name of 1966).

big valley, baby name, heath, 1960s

Heath Barkley was the illegitimate son of Victoria’s late husband. (Victoria eventually accepted him as her own.) The name Heath entered the top 1,000 in 1966:

  • 1969: 524 baby boys named Heath (rank: 344th)
  • 1968: 548 baby boys named Heath (rank: 326th)
  • 1967: 516 baby boys named Heath (rank: 329th)
  • 1966: 433 baby boys named Heath (rank: 361st)
  • 1965: 37 baby boys named Heath
  • 1964: 10 baby boys named Heath

One variant, Heith, emerged in the data in 1966. (Not surprising, given the popularity of Keith at the time.)

big valley, baby name, audra, 1960s

Audra Barkley was Victoria’s only daughter. The name Audra entered the top 1,000 in 1966 and saw peak usage in 1967:

  • 1969: 844 baby girls named Audra (rank: 310th)
  • 1968: 997 baby girls named Audra (rank: 273rd)
  • 1967: 1152 baby girls named Audra (rank: 246th) [peak]
  • 1966: 892 baby girls named Audra (rank: 283rd)
  • 1965: 90 baby girls named Audra
  • 1964: 15 baby girls named Audra

Finally, while neither Nick nor Eugene (who was on the series during the first season only) had much influence upon their respective names, at least one single-episode character made an impact.

Layle Johnson (played by Leslie Parrish) — a love-interest for Nick — appeared on the episode “Bounty on a Barkley,” which aired in February of 1968. The name Layle, which had appeared in the data once before as a boy name, returned that year as a girl name:

  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: 6 baby girls named Layle [debut for girls]
  • 1967: unlisted

Which of these Big Valley names do you like best?

Sources: The Big Valley – Wikipedia, “Bounty on a Barkley” – The Big Valley – IMDb

Where did the baby name Scheherazade come from in 1948?

Scheherazade, movie, 1940s, baby name

The name Scheherazade (pronounced sheh-hehr-uh-zahd) comes to us from classic literature: Scheherazade was the wife of the sultan Shahryar in The Arabian Nights*, the collection of Middle Eastern and Indian folk tales first published in English in the early 18th century.

The name didn’t appear in the U.S. baby name data, though, until 1948:

  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: 5 baby girls named Scheherazade [debut]
  • 1947: unlisted
  • 1946: unlisted

What put it there?

My guess is the movie Song of Scheherazade, which was released in March of 1947. The main female character, Cara de Talavera (played by actress Yvonne De Carlo), moonlighted as a cabaret dancer known as Scheherazade.

(The name might have debuted earlier had the 1942 film Arabian Nights similarly featured Scheherazade’s name in the title.)

So…what does the name Scheherazade mean? Good question. Sources agree that it’s Persian, but don’t agree on the definition. One defintion I’ve found is “city-freer.” Another is “born to a good race” (which reminds of the definition of Eugene: “well-born”).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Scheherazade? Would you considering using it?

Sources:

  • Mernissi, Fatema. Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems. New York: Washington Square Press, 2001.
  • Nurse, Paul McMichael. Eastern Dreams: How The Arabian Nights Came To The World. Ontario: Penguin, 2010.
  • The Thousand and One Nights – Britannica.com

*Shahryar and Scheherazade are part of the collection’s frame story. Scheherazade — like all of the sultan’s previous wives — had been sentenced to die. (Not because of something she did; the sultan had a habit of killing his wives, because he presumed they would all be unfaithful.) So, every night, clever Scheherazade told Shahryar a story that ended with a cliffhanger. Because the sultan always wanted to hear the ending, he kept putting off Scheherazade’s execution…

Where did the baby name Petehn come from in 2017?

Pe’Tehn, age 3, early 2015

So far, the baby name Petehn has only appeared in the U.S. baby name data a single time, in 2017:

  • 2019: unlisted
  • 2018: unlisted
  • 2017: 5 baby girls named Petehn [debut]
  • 2016: unlisted
  • 2015: unlisted

What was the influence?

A little girl from Chicago named Pe’Tehn Jackson, whose first name is pronounced “pey-ten.”

In early 2015, when she was 3, she recited the poem “Hey Black Child” by Useni Eugene Perkins on local Chicago talk show Windy City Live (vid). A year later, in March of 2016, she performed the same poem for a national audience via the NBC show “Little Big Shots.” Several months later, in September, as a 5-year-old, Pe’Tehn made an appearance on Steve Harvey’s talk show to recite a poem written by her parents called “Affirmations” (vid).

What do you think of the name Pe’Tehn?

Source: Princess Pe’Tehn

Where did the baby name Mateel come from?

Kansas newspaper editor Edgar Watson “E. W.” Howe published his first novel, The Story of a Country Town, in his own newspaper, the Atchison Daily Globe, in 1883.

Encyclopedia Britannica said the novel “was the first realistic novel of Midwestern small-town life,” but an early 20th-century review said that the realism wasn’t, in fact, very realistic at all: “[T]he test of veracity fails in the unrelieved gloom of the story, which is bereft of all sunshine and joyousness, and even of all sense of relation to happier things.”

mateel, baby name, book, 1920s
Mateel Howe

One of the characters in the novel was pretty-but-shallow Mateel Shepherd, the daughter of a Methodist minister (named Rev. Goode Shepherd, naturally).

E. W. Howe must have liked the name “Mateel” quite a bit, because he named one of his children Mateel in 1883.

Readers must have like it, too, becase the number of U.S. babies named Mateel rose in the 1880s and was at its highest from the 1890s to the 1910s, judging by the records I’ve seen.

But the rare name Mateel didn’t appear in the U.S. baby name data until 1927, and it only stuck around for a single year:

  • 1929: unlisted
  • 1928: unlisted
  • 1927: 6 baby girls named Mateel [debut]
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted

Why?

Well, Mateel Howe went on to become a writer like her father. Her career seems to have peaked with her debut novel, Rebellion, which won the Dodd, Mead & Co. and Pictorial Review “First Novel Prize” of $10,000 in 1927.*

What was Rebellion about? Essentially, the book was about “the difficulties of a daughter living with a depressed, authoritative and demanding father.” (Hm…)

Though both Edgar and Mateel publicly denied that the characters and conflict were inspired by real life, Edgar cut Mateel out of his will soon after the book was published. Here’s how Time put it:

Left. By Editor-Author Ed Howe, an estate valued at $200,000; in Atchison, Kans. To Society Editor Nellie Webb of his Globe, he left $1,500. To Niece Adelaide Howe he left $50,000. To Sons Eugene Alexander and James Pomeroy he left the remainder except for $1, which went to Daughter Mateel Howe Farnham who in 1927 won a $10,000 prize for Rebellion, a novel in which she satirized her father.

Old-timey drama aside, I’m still left wondering about the name Mateel. Did E. W. Howe create it for the character, or discover it somewhere? (I do see a couple of early Mateels in Louisiana. “Cloteal” was often used for Clotilde there, so I wonder if “Mateel” arose as a form of Matilde…?)

What are your thoughts on the name Mateel?

Sources:

*The very same year, author Mazo de la Roche also won $10,000 in a novel-writing contest…