How popular is the baby name Ferdinand 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 Ferdinand.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ferdinand


Posts that Mention the Name Ferdinand

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

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 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar influence baby names?

sports, baby name, 1970s, kareem, unseld, basketball
Kareem & Wes Unseld

Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1969 to 1974 and with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1975 to 1989. And, like player Hakeem Olajuwon, he underwent a name change during his career.

Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr., in New York City in 1947. Twenty years later he was a standout player on the UCLA varsity basketball team (1967-1969). During this time period, the name Alcindor started appearing in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1970: 9 baby boys named Alcindor
  • 1969: 7 baby boys named Alcindor
  • 1968: 7 baby boys named Alcindor [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

It stuck around for four consecutive years, and might have stuck around even longer had Lew not changed his name upon converting to Islam in 1971.

In an essay about his conversion, he mentioned that “Alcindor was a French planter in the West Indies who owned my ancestors. […] Keeping the name of my family’s slave master seemed somehow to dishonor them.” So he “became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (meaning “the noble one, servant of the Almighty”).”

His name change had an immediate effect upon U.S. boy names:

KareemAbdulJabbarKareen
1974324812748
1973243852930
19723789877*36**
19714449..
19701243..
*Debut (overall), **Gender-specific debut

In 1972, the usage of all three names — Kareem, Abdul, and Jabbar — increased. In fact, Jabbar was the top debut name of the year in 1972. The name Jabarr also popped up that year. Jabar, the best-guess phonetic version, arrived a year early.

Kareen, which had been charting a girl name, debuted impressively as boy name in ’72. And, in a nice show of symmetry, boy name Kareem debuted as a girl name the same year.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the NBA for twenty years, but it wasn’t until decades later, in the 2010s, that the tribute name Abduljabbar finally emerged in the data.

Source: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Wikipedia

P.S. Ahmad Rashad, father of Condola, is another public figure who adopted an Muslim name in the early ’70s.

Popular and unique baby names in Scotland (UK), 2019

scotland

According to National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2019 were Olivia and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 394 baby girls
  2. Emily, 388
  3. Isla, 364
  4. Sophie, 308
  5. Ella, 284
  6. Ava, 278
  7. Amelia, 275
  8. Grace, 272
  9. Freya, 260
  10. Charlotte, 243

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 449 baby boys
  2. Oliver, 359
  3. James, 345
  4. Charlie, 306
  5. Harris, 304
  6. Lewis, 280
  7. Leo, 278
  8. Noah, 272
  9. Alfie, 261
  10. Rory, 258

In girls’ top 10, Freya and Charlotte replaced Jessica (now 11th) and Aria (now 15th).

In the boys’ top 10, Charlie and Alfie replaced Alexander (now 11th) and Logan (now 13th). Charlie’s rise was significant; it shot up to 4th from 13th the year before.

The NRS press release mentioned that the popular British crime drama Peaky Blinders has given a boost to the baby names Cillian, Polly and Chester. (Polly and Chester are characters in the show; Cillian refers to star Cillian Murphy.) It also noted that Ezra has become more popular thanks to English singer/songwriter George Ezra.

Of the nearly 50,000 babies born in Scotland last year, more than 5,000 — over 10% — were given a one-of-a-kind first name. Here are some of the names bestowed just once in Scotland in 2019:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Alba-Nova, Argyle, Bramble, Calanais, Delphi, Endian, Evie-Peaches, Fritha, Gnoveriti, Grey, Harper-Lee, Isla-Dee, Janiba, Kavinila, Lumi, Mazikeen, Moksha, Nirbhana, Ooliana, Pichapak, Qaria, Quaintrelle, Roux, Salvina-Liza, Sanziana, Tefta, Thistle, Uendjipa, Vaticana, Wish, Xiorra, Yaldz, ZografiaAzmi, Bobby-Dylan, Coen-Knox, Dicaprio, Enxu, Ferdinand, Gurzack, Hanzala, Harbury, Iyvhn, Jonjo, Karamo, Leicester, Malachite, Milanox, Neo-Nova, Oroghene, Otter, Phenomenal, Qusai, Roag, Scirocco, Skandan, Swift, Theodore-Bear, Torcuil, Toviel, Udhay, Valdis, Wurrd, Xubin, Yug, Zalvadorro

And here are possible explanations/associations for some of the above:

  • Bobby-Dylan, American singer Bob Dylan
  • Calanais, a Scottish village and/or the standing stones nearby
  • Dicaprio, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Harper-Lee, American writer Harper Lee
  • Karamo, American TV personality Karamo Brown
  • Leicester, an English city and (more importantly) a professional soccer team
  • Malachite, a banded green stone
  • Mazikeen, a character from the TV show Lucifer
  • Moksha, the Hindu/Buddish cycle of rebirth (it was on the Baby Names from the East list)
  • Nirbhana, apparently a Gaelic-influenced Nirvana (another name from the East)
  • Quaintrelle, “a woman who is focused on style and leisurely pastimes”
  • Roag, a Scottish hamlet on the Isle of Skye
  • Sanziana, a Romanian word for either fairies or flowers
  • Scirocco, a Mediterranean wind and (more importantly) a car made by Volkswagen
  • Theodore-Bear, apparently an elongated form of “teddy bear”
  • Thistle, the national flower of Scotland (thank you to Clare for reminding me!)

In 2018, the top two names were the same.

Sources: Full list of names for 2019, Babies’ First Names, Quaintrelle – Wiktionary

Baby names in the news: Tia, Gylfi, Bulbuli

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names (plus a funny name-change) collected from various news sites…

Bulbuli: Two baby girls born in Bangladesh during Cyclone Bulbul (Nov. 2019) were named Bulbuli after the storm. (Daily Star)

Dorian: A baby boy born in Florida during Hurricane Dorian (Sept. 2019) was named Tadashi Dorian, middle name to commemorate the storm. (CNN)

Evalina: A baby girl born with “a rare combination of life-threatening heart defects” at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in 2017 was named Evalina [sic] in honor of the care she received from hospital staff. (Mirror)

  • “The original Evelina Hospital for Sick Children opened in 1869 on Southwark Bridge Road, London. Funded by Austrian Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, it was built in memory of his wife, Evelina. Evelina had died three years earlier along with their son who was premature.” (NHS)

Gylfi: A baby boy born in Indonesia in November of 2017 was named Gylfi after Icelandic soccer player Gylfi Sigurðsson, who plays for Everton FC. (TWNews)

Kentut: In April of 2018, a 31-year-old Indonesian man legally changed his name from the single word Kentut (which means “fart”) to Ihsan Hadi. (BBC)

KVIIIlyn: A baby girl born in Queensland, Australia, circa 2016 was named KVIIIlyn — Kaitlyn, with the Roman numeral VIII (eight) in place of the “ait.” (Metro)

Malaysia: At least 74 people born in Malaysia have been named Malaysia, the earliest in 1962, “before Malaysia was officially formed,” and the most recent in 2017. (The Star)

Sambo: A baby boy born in Korea in November of 2019 — at the time of the Sambo world championships, to a father teaches martial arts — was named Sambo. (FIAS)

Sky: A baby girl born in an airport in North Carolina in November of 2019 — during what was supposed to have been a 20-minute layover between two legs of a flight from Florida to Pennsylvania — was named Sky. (WFLA; Travel+Leisure)

Tessa: A baby girl born in England in July of 2019 to Ella Mills (of Deliciously Ella) was named Skye Tessa Camilla, first middle name in honor of Ella’s late mother-in-law, Tessa Jowell. (Evening Standard)

Tia: A baby girl born in Norway in July of 2019 to Liverpool FC supporters was named Tia Louise — TIA being the acronym for “This is Anfield.” (Echo)

  • Tia’s older sister, born in early 2018, was named Ynwa Sofie — YNWA being the acronym for “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” (Echo)
  • The first Ynwa I discovered, also born in Norway, pronounces her name “yee-nwa.” The second pronounces her name “unn-wah.”