How popular is the baby name Herbert 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 Herbert.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Herbert


Posts that Mention the Name Herbert

Name quotes #115: Keyden, Yizhar, Herbert

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To kick off the new year, let’s check out a new batch of name quotes!

First, the story behind Edson — the birth name of late soccer legend Pelé — from the book Why Soccer Matters (2015):

When Dondinho met my mother, Celeste, he was still performing his mandatory military service. She was in school at the time. They married when she was just fifteen; by sixteen she was pregnant with me. They gave me the name “Edson” — after Thomas Edison, because when I was born in 1940, the electric lightbulb had only recently come to their town. They were so impressed that they wanted to pay homage to its inventor. It turned out they missed a letter — but I’ve always loved the name anyway.

(“Dondinho” was the nickname of Pelé’s father, João Ramos do Nascimento.)

…and, regarding the nickname Pelé:

Growing up, I hated that damn nickname. After all, it was a garbage word that meant nothing. Plus, I was really proud of the name Edson, believing it was an honor to be named after such an important inventor.

(The nickname did come in handy, though. He “started thinking of “Pelé” almost as a separate identity” in order to cope with his sudden celebrity. “Having Pelé around helped keep Edson sane,” he said.)

From an article in The Catholic Standard about students at a Maryland high school (found via Abby):

Keyvar Smith-Herold of the class of 2022 at DeMatha Catholic High School smiled as he explained the inspiration for his name, noting that his father Vincent Smith works as a locksmith.

“That’s why ‘Key’ is in our names,” he said, shedding light on the origin of his first name and that of his twin sister, Keydra, and also their older brother Keyden, a 2018 DeMatha graduate.

From the book The Gender Challenge of Hebrew (2015) by Malka Muchnik:

Most Hebrew proper names, especially those used in recent decades, consist of existing words and therefore have specific meanings. This fact helps us see the ideas associated with male or female names, and serves as evidence of what is expected of them.

(The author listed several female names associated with flowers and gemstones — such as Rekefet, meaning “cyclamen,” and Bareket, meaning “agate” — then continued…)

Even more suggestive are female names denoting personal qualities, such as Yaffa (‘pretty’), Tova (‘good’), Aliza (‘joyful’), Adina (‘delicate’), Ahuva (‘beloved’), Metuka (‘sweet’) and Tmima (‘innocent’).

[…]

As opposed to them, we find male names which have the form of a future verb, and from this we can infer the expectations from them: Yakim (‘he will establish’), Yarim (‘he will raise’), Yaniv (‘he will produce’), Yariv (‘he will fight’), Yiftax (‘he will open’), Yig’al (‘he will redeem’), Yisgav (‘he will be great’) and Yizhar (‘he will shine’).

A name story from the recent Washington Post article “Playing the name game” by John Kelly:

Aleta Embrey’s older brother loves to say that her name came from the funny papers. And it did, specifically “Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur,” which still runs in The Washington Post.

“Queen Aleta of the Misty Isles is a major figure in the comic strip,” Aleta wrote. “My dad liked the name.”

It is a lovely name, much better than being named, say, “Olive Oyl.”

From Kenneth Whyte’s book Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (2017), which describes the naming of Herbert Hoover (who was born in 1874 to Quaker parents Jesse and Hulda Hoover):

Hulda had shown [her sister] Agnes a bureau drawer full of handmade clothes prepared for the baby, all of them suited for a girl, to be named Laura. Several decades later Agnes recalled that the newborn, a boy, was “round and plump and looked about very cordial at every body.”

Naming the child was a problem as Laura, obviously, would not do, and the mother had no alternative in mind. Another sister reminded Hulda of a favorite book, Pierre and His Family, a Sunday school martyrology set among the Protestant Waldenses of Piedmont. The hero of the story is a spirited boy named Hubert who is dedicated to his Bible and longs to become a pastor. Hulda’s sister remembered Hubert as Herbert, and the baby was called Herbert Clark Hoover. He shared his father’s middle name.

(Discovered via a Midwest National Parks Instagram post.)

And, finally, a line from a New York Post story about a baby born during an overseas flight in December:

Tamara ended up naming the baby Maximiliano, after one of the helpful passengers who was by her side to make sure she had a safe delivery.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Popular and unique baby names in Sonoma County (California), 2021

Sonoma

According to the government of Sonoma, California, the most popular baby names in the county last year were Mia and and Mateo.

Here are Sonoma’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Mia, 29 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 26
  3. Isabella, 24
  4. Luca, 22
  5. Luna, 21
  6. Gianna, 18
  7. Aurora, 17 (tie)
  8. Emma, 17 (tie)
  9. Eliana, 16 (tie)
  10. Riley, 16 (tie)
  11. Camila, 15
  12. Ava, 14 (4-way tie)
  13. Emilia, 14 (4-way tie)
  14. Madison, 14 (4-way tie)
  15. Zoe, 14 (4-way tie)
  16. Amelia, 13 (4-way tie)
  17. Charlotte, 13 (4-way tie)
  18. Chloe, 13 (4-way tie)
  19. Evelyn, 13 (4-way tie)
  20. Eleanor, 12 (6-way tie)
  21. Harper, 12 (6-way tie)
  22. Isla, 12 (6-way tie)
  23. Maya, 12 (6-way tie)
  24. Mila, 12 (6-way tie)
  25. Sofia, 12 (6-way tie)
  26. Hazel, 11 (4-way tie)
  27. Kennedy, 11 (4-way tie)
  28. Penelope, 11 (4-way tie)
  29. Quinn, 11 (4-way tie)
  30. Liliana, 10 (4-way tie)
  31. Scarlett, 10 (4-way tie)
  32. Violet, 10 (4-way tie)
  33. Ximena, 10 (4-way tie)
  34. Aria, 9 (4-way tie)
  35. Stella, 9 (4-way tie)
  36. Valentina, 9 (4-way tie)
  37. Zoey, 9 (4-way tie)
  38. Alina, 8 (5-way tie)
  39. Avery, 8 (5-way tie)
  40. Cora, 8 (5-way tie)
  41. Elena, 8 (5-way tie)
  42. Remi, 8 (5-way tie)
  43. Ayla, 7 (17-way tie)
  44. Delilah, 7 (17-way tie)
  45. Ella, 7 (17-way tie)
  46. Georgia, 7 (17-way tie)
  47. Grace, 7 (17-way tie)
  48. Josephine, 7 (17-way tie)
  49. Layla, 7 (17-way tie)
  50. Leila, 7 (17-way tie)
  51. Lillian, 7 (17-way tie)
  52. Lucia, 7 (17-way tie)
  53. Mackenzie, 7 (17-way tie)
  54. Madelyn, 7 (17-way tie)
  55. Melanie, 7 (17-way tie)
  56. Naomi, 7 (17-way tie)
  57. Sophia, 7 (17-way tie)
  58. Victoria, 7 (17-way tie)
  59. Vivian, 7 (17-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Mateo, 38 baby boys
  2. Liam, 29
  3. Noah, 28
  4. James, 23
  5. Oliver, 22
  6. Benjamin, 21
  7. Lucas, 19 (tie)
  8. Sebastian, 19 (tie)
  9. Henry, 17 (4-way tie)
  10. Jack, 17 (4-way tie)
  11. Jacob, 17 (4-way tie)
  12. Julian, 17 (4-way tie)
  13. Hudson, 16 (3-way tie)
  14. Joseph, 16 (3-way tie)
  15. Santiago, 16 (3-way tie)
  16. Gabriel, 15 (tie)
  17. Theodore, 15 (tie)
  18. Daniel, 14 (4-way tie)
  19. Dylan, 14 (4-way tie)
  20. Elijah, 14 (4-way tie)
  21. Samuel, 14 (4-way tie)
  22. Angel, 13 (3-way tie)
  23. Dominic, 13 (3-way tie)
  24. Miles, 13 (3-way tie)
  25. Alexander, 12 (7-way tie)
  26. Anthony, 12 (7-way tie)
  27. Leo, 12 (7-way tie)
  28. Logan, 12 (7-way tie)
  29. Owen, 12 (7-way tie)
  30. River, 12 (7-way tie)
  31. William, 12 (7-way tie)
  32. Adrian, 11 (6-way tie)
  33. David, 11 (6-way tie)
  34. Ethan, 11 (6-way tie)
  35. Jackson, 11 (6-way tie)
  36. Jayden, 11 (6-way tie)
  37. Maverick, 11 (6-way tie)
  38. Asher, 10 (9-way tie)
  39. Beau, 10 (9-way tie)
  40. Elias, 10 (9-way tie)
  41. Hunter, 10 (9-way tie)
  42. Jesus, 10 (9-way tie)
  43. Jose, 10 (9-way tie)
  44. Mason, 10 (9-way tie)
  45. Parker, 10 (9-way tie)
  46. Wyatt, 10 (9-way tie)
  47. Damian, 9 (8-way tie)
  48. Emiliano, 9 (8-way tie)
  49. Ezekiel, 9 (8-way tie)
  50. Finn, 9 (8-way tie)
  51. Giovanni, 9 (8-way tie)
  52. Kai, 9 (8-way tie)
  53. Matias, 9 (8-way tie)
  54. Nicholas, 9 (8-way tie)

And here are some of the baby names that were bestowed just once in Sonoma last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Ahsoka, Bowyn, Cordova, Dutton, Eivissa, Fiadh, Galdina, Hanalie, Indira, Jinora, Ketsana, Levaleah, Metzli, Nebula, Odette, Peninaiaiga, Quinnie, Rockella, Sersha, Tallulah, Umi, Vrianna, Wren, Yadelene, ZeyaAxis, Beaudin, Codiak, Delmar, Elymus, Fletcher, Gibb, Herbert, Ilumi, Jonael, Kalais, Lesinali, Maimonides, Neithan, Ozan, Perrin, Ratu, Samarth, Tonalli, Usyk, Ville, Waimea, Xavien, Yamikani, Zabdiel

Some thoughts on a few of the above…

  • Ahsoka is a character from the Star Wars universe.
  • Dutton is the surname of the family featured on the TV show Yellowstone.
  • Sersha looks like a phonetic rendering of Saoirse.
  • Maimonides refers to Moses ben Maimon, a medieval Jewish philosopher.
  • Tonalli is a Nahuatl word that refers to the warmth of the sun (among other things).

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Sonoma, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Sonoma County Baby Names

Name quotes #105: Barra, Dhani, Hellion

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From comedian Ali Wong’s 2016 stand-up special Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (vid):

I’m just waiting for the right moment to, like, become a housewife, financially, you know? I want my husband to get us to, like, a certain point financially. I wanna get to the point as a couple where I can comfortably afford sliced mango. Know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about that Whole Foods mango. That $10-a-box Whole Foods mango that was sliced by white people. That’s the kind of income bracket I’m striving for. That’s when you know you’ve made it, when you’re eating mango that was sliced by a dude named Noah. I want Noah mango, Rebecca kiwi, Danielle pineapple.

From an article about how Storm Barra (which hit the UK and Ireland in December of 2021) came to be named after BBC Northern Ireland weatherman Barra Best:

‘What happened was the head of Irish weather service Met Eireann called me in August and asked me where my name was from and I thought it was a bit strange, I didn’t know why she was asking,’ [Barra Best] told the BBC’s Evening Extra programme.

‘It comes from the south-west of Ireland from Finbarr, St Finbarr in Co Cork and it’s derived from that.’

He continued: ‘She said oh that’s fine, that’s fine. I asked why did you want to know and she said oh you’ll find out in about a month.

‘Of course the email came out and the list of names were announced and she had decided to put my name in there.’

On the origin of the name of George Harrison’s son, Dhani, from The Beatles Encyclopedia (2014) by Kenneth Womack:

Born on August 1, 1978, in Windsor, England, Dhani Harrison is the only son of Harrison and his second wife Olivia Trinidad Arias. His unusual name is a composite of the sixth and seventh notes of the Indian music scale — “dha” and “ni.”

From a 2012 interview with actor Crispin Glover, who goes by his full name, Crispin Hellion Glover, as a filmmaker:

SP: When did you begin using ‘Hellion’ as part of your name? Why the addition?

CHG: I began using “Hellion” as my middle name at birth. I was born in New York. Not too long before I was born, my parents went to see an off-Broadway production of Henry V, by Shakespeare and liked the production very much, and liked the name [Crispin, from the St. Crispin’s Day Speech] so [they] gave it to me. My father’s middle name is Herbert. He never liked his middle name Herbert. So as a young struggling actor in New York he would say to himself, “I am Bruce H. Glover, Bruce Hellion Glover. I am a hellion, a troublemaker.” And that would make him feel good. He told my mother this was his real middle name. When they were married she saw him writing on the marriage certificate Bruce Herbert Glover and she thought, “Who am I marrying?” They gave Hellion to me as my real middle name. I had always written and drawn as a child and I would always sign my drawing and writing with my whole name Crispin Hellion Glover. When I started acting professionally at 13, which was something I had decided on my own I could do as a profession at a relatively young age, it became apparent that I had to choose a professional acting name for SAG. I thought my whole name was too long for acting and just used my first and last name. When I started publishing my books I simply continued using the name I had always used for writing and drawing and had put in my books. This is also why I use my whole name for my own films.

On the origin of Harry S. Truman’s given names, from the book Truman (1992) by David McCullough:

In a quandary over a middle name, [parents] Mattie and John were undecided whether to honor her father or his. In the end they compromised with the letter S. It could be taken to stand for Solomon or Shipp, but actually stood for nothing, a practice not unknown among the Scotch-Irish, even for first names. The baby’s first name was Harry, after his Uncle Harrison.

(Ulysses S. Grant likewise had a single-letter middle.)

From an article about the increasing popularity of Maori baby names in New Zealand, published in The Guardian (found via Clare’s tweet):

Damaris Coulter of Ngati Kahu descent and Dale Dice of Ngati Hine, Te Aupouri and Nga Puhi [descent] […] [gave] their one-year-old daughter Hinekorako just one name, as was usual pre-colonisation.

Hinekorako’s name came to Dice as he was navigating a waka, a large traditional Maori sailing vessel, from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands back to Aotearoa. “It was coming up to midnight. We came into a little storm. The temperature had dropped … there was thunder … Once we got through the storm we all turned around and just behind us there was this massive white rainbow … It was a lunar rainbow.”

“I told our navigator about it and he goes’ “oh yeah, that’s a tohu (sign), that’s Hinekorako’.” In myth, Hinekorako is also a taniwha (a water spirit), who lives between the spirit and living worlds. Dice wrote the name in his diary and decided that night, were he to ever have a daughter, she would be named Hinekorako.

(According to Encyclopedia Mythica, Hine-korako is “the personification of the lunar bow or halo.”)

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.