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!
A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:
Top baby girl names
Top 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
Mary, 149 baby girls
Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
The boy name Bane may have been inspired by the DC Comics supervillain Bane, and the boy name Ranaridh is similar to the name of former Cambodian prime minister Norodom Ranariddh, who died in late 2021.
Sixteenth-century Dutch nobleman William of Orange (also known as William the Silent) was the primary leader of the Dutch Revolt (1566-1648).
William had a total of 16 children with five different women (four wives, one mistress). All 16 received traditional first names, but four of his daughters were given location-inspired middle names — symbols of the political alliances between William and “the lands for which he fought.”
Here are the names of all 16:
Maria (born in 1553)
Philip William, (b. 1554)
Maria (b. 1556)
Justinus (b. 1559)
Anna (b. 1562)
Anna (b. 1563)
Maurice August Philip (b. 1564)
Maurice (b. 1567)
Emilia (b. 1569)
Louise Juliana (b. 1576)
Elisabeth (b. 1577)
Catharina Belgica (b. 1578)
Charlotte Flandrina (b. 1579)
Charlotte Brabantina (b. 1580)
Emilia Antwerpiana (b. 1581)
Frederick Henry (b. 1584)
Each of the regions/locations honored with a name responded by “bestow[ing] pensions upon the children”:
Catharina Belgica was provided with an annuity of 3,000 florins by the States General of the Dutch Republic.
This inspired other parents with connections to the House of Orange-Nassau to adopt similar naming practices. For instance, Ernst Casimir I — the Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe — named his daughter Elisabeth Friso (b. 1620). And Henri Charles de Le Trémoille — a direct descendant of William of Orange via Charlotte Brabantina — named his son Charles BelgiqueHollande (b. 1655).
Broomhall, Susan and Jacqueline Van Gent. Gender, Power and Identity in the Early Modern House of Orange-Nassau. London: Routledge, 2016.
Steen, Jasper van der. Memory Wars in the Low Countries, 1566-1700. Leiden: Brill, 2015.