How popular is the baby name Huldah 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 Huldah.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Huldah


Posts that Mention the Name Huldah

Where did the baby name Sayward come from?

The character Sayward from the TV miniseries "The Awakening Land" (1978).
Sayward from “The Awakening Land

In 1978, the interesting name Sayward debuted as a girl name in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1980: 26 baby girls named Sayward
  • 1979: 12 baby girls named Sayward
  • 1978: 22 baby girls named Sayward [debut]
  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A three-part TV miniseries called The Awakening Land, which aired on NBC in February of 1978. The miniseries chronicled the struggles of pioneer woman Sayward Luckett, who moved with her family to the unsettled Ohio Valley in the last years of the 1700s.

Sayward was played by played by Elizabeth Montgomery (who was playing Samantha on Bewitched a decade earlier). Montgomery was nominated for the Emmy for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series” for her portrayal of Sayward.

And Sayward wasn’t the only character with an interesting name. Her parents were Worth and Jary; her younger sisters were Genny, Achsa, and Sulie; her husband was Portius; her children included sons Resolve, Kinzie, and Chancey and daughters Huldah, Sulie, and Dezia.

The name Sulie, used for two different characters, also debuted in the data in 1978:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 5 baby girls named Sulie
  • 1978: 5 baby girls named Sulie [debut]
  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: unlisted

And the name Chancey, used for Sayward’s youngest son, saw peak usage the same year:

  • 1980: 37 baby boys named Chancey
  • 1979: 24 baby boys named Chancey
  • 1978: 53 baby boys named Chancey [peak]
  • 1977: 17 baby boys named Chancey
  • 1976: 22 baby boys named Chancey

The story was originally a trilogy of books published in the 1940s and ’50s by Conrad Richter. The third book, called The Town, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1951.

In the books, the Luckett family had one more child, a boy named Wyitt, and Sayward and Portius had a total of ten children (sons Resolve, Guerdon, Kinzie, and Chancey; daughters Sulie, Huldah, Libby, Sooth, Dezia, and Massey).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Sayward? (Or on any of the other names in the series?)

Source: The Awakening Land – IMDb

Name Quotes #103: Doug, Armand, Galusha

quotation marks

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s kick things off with some name quotes…

From a 2009 article about Microsoft executive J Allard in Boston University’s alumni magazine Bostonia:

Allard still loves video games (his all-time favorite is “Robotron”). And even his name (legally changed from James) is an homage to computers. In the late 1980s, he explains, “it was my log-in on all of the computer systems at school, and it stuck.”

From a BBC article about Doug Bowser becoming president of Nintendo of America in 2019:

In what is surely one of the most charming cases of nominative determinism ever, it has been announced the new head of Nintendo of America will be a man named Doug Bowser.

Bowser, as Nintendo fans will know all too well, has long been Super Mario’s main nemesis — a foe who, for more than three decades now, routinely kidnapped Mario’s girlfriend, Princess Peach.

Mr. Bowser will take over in April from retiring Reggie Fils-Aime, a highly popular figure among Nintendo fans.

“With a name like Bowser, who better to hold the keys to the Nintendo castle?” Mr. Fils-Aime said about his successor in a video message posted on Twitter on Thursday.

From an AP news story about the origin of Armand Hammer’s name:

Industrialist Armand Hammer often said he was named after Armand Duval, the hero in Alexandre Dumas’ play “Camille.”

But he conceded later that his father, a socialist, also had in mind the arm-and-hammer symbol of the Socialist Labor Party.

For years, people erroneously thought Hammer was connected to the company that makes Arm & Hammer baking soda.

From an essay about Island Cemetery (on Block Island, in Rhode Island) by Martha Ball:

The cemetery, our own City on a Hill, has always been a place of enchantment, holding stones lacking uniformity even within the same lot, bearing names alien to our time; Philamon Galusha, Icivilli, Darius. It is enhanced by an awareness of the sheer physical accomplishment it embodies, a steep slope terraced long before we had today’s array of earth moving equipment.

[Neither Darius Rucker nor I would agree that the name Darius is “alien to our time.” Looking over the other names at Island Cemetery, I saw all the expected Biblical entries (Peleg, Obed, Barzilla; Zilpah, Huldah, Hepzebah), plenty of fanciful feminines (Lucretia, Cordelia, Sophronia), and a few references to current events: a Martin VanBuren born in 1839, a Cassius Clay born in 1854, an Elsworth (middle name) born in 1861, an Ambrose Everett born in 1862, and a Ulysses born in 1868.]

From an article about early Soviet film director Dziga Vertov at Russia Beyond:

Vertov’s real name was David Kaufman, which unambiguously points to his Jewish origin. But the desire of the talented youth from Bialystok (at the time part of the Russian Empire, today Poland) to change his surname upon arrival in Moscow was unlikely to have been due to anti-Semitism — in the 1920s it was not as developed as in the 1950s. Vertov, like many avant-garde artists, probably just chose a new name to herald “a new life.”

In Ukrainian dziga means whirligig, spinning top, while vertov comes from the verb vertet (to spin). The two form something like “the spinning whirligig,” a name that was entirely fitting for the man who bore it.

From a recent interview with Chrishell Stause of the reality TV show Selling Sunset at Vulture.com:

I was not born in a Shell station. I hate to disappoint people that think I was. My mom was getting car work done, and an attendant at the station was helping her and keeping her calm. Obviously she couldn’t drive to the hospital then, so the ambulance came. I made it to the hospital, but she wanted to name me after him. He worked at the Shell station, so she just thought “Chris, shell” — let’s stick them together. And you know, Chrishell was born, quite literally.

From a short article called “Americana: Zany Zach” published in Time magazine in 1979:

Move over, Zeke Zzzypt of Chicago and Vladimir Zzzyd of Miami. Few have proved more zealous in trying to be the last personal name in a local telephone book than Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra, who has brought up the rear of San Francisco’s directory for eight of the past 15 years. Several years ago, when he was just plain Zachary Zzzra, Zzzzzzzzzra discovered to his sorrow that he had been zapped from last place by Zelda Zzzwramp, and so he added another z to his name. Last year, as Zzzzra, he was infuriated when he lost put to Vladimir Zzzzzzabakov. This year, tie outztripped all rivals by becoming Zzzzzzzzzra and once again won the last word.

“Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra” was actually a painting contractor named Bill Holland. He used “his telephone name as an advertising gimmick, telling potential customers to look him up in the back of the book in stead of handing out business cards.”

Popular and unique baby names in Alberta (Canada), 2016

According to data released on June 16th by the government of Alberta, the most popular baby names in the province in 2016 were (again) Olivia and Liam.

Here are Alberta’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 292 baby girls
2. Emma, 249
3. Sophia, 215
4. Ava, 207
5. Emily, 187
6. Charlotte, 180
7. Amelia, 172
8. Abigail, 171
9. Chloe, 166
10. Aria, 137

Boy Names
1. Liam, 277 baby boys
2. Benjamin, 252
3. Lucas, 247
4. Oliver, 230
5. Noah, 228
6. William, 213
7. Ethan, 205
8. Jack, 197
9. Lincoln, 192
10. Owen, 189

In the girls’ top 10, Aria replaced Ella and Avery (there was a tie for 7th in 2015).

In the boys’ top 10, Jack, Lincoln, and Owen replaced Mason, Logan, and Alexander.

And here’s a sampling of names from the other end of the list. Each of these was given to a single baby in Alberta last year:

  • Unique Girl Names: Airadessa, Bitel-Shishai, Caitlove, Deslie, Evadelle, Finity, Griffiella, Huldah, Ibex, Jananya, Kemdirim, Lobna, Mavie, Niniola, Olanna, Petrichor, Qudsia, Riversong, Savindee, Toscana, Ulanah, Valissa, Wesla, Xyryl, Yagana, Zedrina
  • Unique Boy Names: Addrick, Barristan, Cazzwell, Dino, Erasmus, Fifth, Grayer, Hansel, Igzy, Jonesy, Kayvence, Lenroy, Mahalaleel, Noyan, Orson, Penn, Quayde, Redsky, Salumu, Tinotenda, Umber, Vanden, Wally, Xanjoe, Yan, Zeaston

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen Petrichor used as a baby name! Petrichor is that pleasant, earthy scent associated with rainfall. The word was coined by Australian scientists in the ’60s by combining the ancient Greek words petra (“stone”) and ichor (the fluid that flowed in the veins of the gods).

I wonder if there’s any chance that Petrichor will become a trendy nature name one day. What do you think?

Sources: Frequency and Ranking of Baby Names by Year and Gender – Open Government (Alberta), Alberta’s top baby names for 2016

Names from Boston Burials: Huamy, Waitstill, Mehitable

My husband and I got back from Boston nearly a week ago, but I wanted to mention one more thing about the trip…

While there, we walked Boston’s Freedom Trail, which includes two historical cemeteries.

I could have spent the entire day in either one, but only got about 10 minutes in each. (My 5-year-old nieces didn’t have much interest in a field full of dead people. Go figure.)

The only bizarre name I managed to spot was Huamy in King’s Chapel Burying Ground (est. 1630).

Huamy headstone at Kings Chapel Burying Ground

Half of her stone is underground, but a mid-19th century book called Memorials of the Dead in Boston offers the full inscription:

Huamy Edridge Martin, died 1721 at 32 years old

Curiously, there was something between the “hu” and the “amy” on the stone — it could have been damage/wear, but it did look a lot like a hyphen. (Could “Hu-Amy” have been short for something? Huldah-Amy?)

The book also included all of the other King’s Chapel inscriptions, which was great, as I got to see so few of them while there.

According to the Memorials of the Dead in Boston, most of the people buried in King’s Chapel had names you’d expect: John, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, Nathaniel, Hannah, Samuel, Martha, etc.

But a handful others were named Eliather, Elishua, Freelove, Gilam, Grizzelle, Hopestill, Obadiah, Relief and Waitstill. (There’s also a Goderee that wasn’t listed in the book.)

I counted 6 women named Mehetabel, though the biblical spelling wasn’t used on any of the inscriptions. Instead, their names were written “Mehetable,” “Mehitable” or “Mehitabel.”

Speaking of variant spellings, I also spotted a Millesent, a Bartholomey, a Ledia, a Returne, and an Urssileur (Ursula).

…And that’s all I’ve got for King’s Chapel. At some point I’ll also post about the names at the Old Granary Burial Ground (the Freedom Trail’s other graveyard) but for now I’ll leave you with this gratuitous shot of one of my impish nieces:

niece scraping mud off headstone
My niece scraping mud off a headstone.

Source: Bridgman, Thomas. Memorials of the Dead in Boston. Boston: Benjamin B. Mussey & Co., 1853.

List of female names from 1888

female names, 1888

A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.

I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”

Here’s the list:

Abigail
Ada
Adelaide
Adelle
Adeline
Addie
Aggie
Agnes
Alberta
Alecia
Aletha
Alfretta
Alice
Allie
Alma
Almeda
Almira
Alta
Althea
Alvira
Alzina
Amanda
Amelia
Amy
Ann
Anna
Annabell
Annas
Annette
Angelia
Angeline
Annie
Athaliah
Athelia
Augusta
Aura
Avis
Barbara
Beatrice
Bell
Bella
Berdie
Bertha
Bertie
Bessie
Beulah
Blanche
Bridget
Calista
Carrie
Carlotta
Cassie
Catherine
Cecilia
Cela
Celia
Celicia
Celis
Charlotte
Chloe
Christie
Christine
Clara
Clarissa
Cleanthe
Clementina
Constance
Cora
Cordelia
Corinne
Cornelia
Cynthia
Cyrena
Debbie
Delia
Della
Diana
Diantha
Dinah
Dollie
Dora
Dorcas
Dorinda
Dorothy
Edith
Edna
Effie
Ella
Eleanor
Eleanora
Electa
Ellen
Elfie
Eliza
Elma
Elsie
Emma
Emmeline
Emily
Ena
Erma
Estelle
Esther
Ethel
Ethelind
Ettie
Eugenie
Eula
Eunice
Euphemia
Euretta
Eva
Evalina
Eveline
Evelyn
Fannie
Felicia
Flora
Florence
Floss
Frances
Frank
Gay
Georgie
Georgina
Geraldine
Gertie
Gracie
Hagar
Hannah
Harriet
Hattie
Helen
Helena
Henrietta
Hulda
Ida
Irene
Isabel
Isabella
Isadora
Jane
Janet
Janie
Jeannette
Jemima
Jennet
Jennie
Jessie
Jerusha
Joanna
Josephine
Josie
Julia
Kate
Kathleen
Katie
Keziah
Lany
Laura
Leah
Leila
Lena
Lera
Lettie
Levina
Levinia
Libbie
Lida
Lilian
Lillie
Lizzie
Lola
Lora
Lorretta
Lottie
Lou
Louisa
Louise
Lucinda
Lucretia
Lucy
Luella
Lula
Lulu
Lydia
Mabel
Madelaine
Maggie
Malvina
Mamie
Marcella
Margaret
Maria
Marilla
Marion
Mary
Marsena
Martha
Mattie
Maud
Maudie
May
Melinda
Mellissa
Mercy
Mertie
Mildred
Millie
Mina
Minerva
Minnie
Mintha
Miranda
Mollie
Muriel
Myra
Myrtle
Nancy
Naomi
Nellie
Nettie
Nina
Nora
Ollie
Olive
Olivia
Ormanda
Ophelia
Pauline
Pearl
Phoebe
Phyllis
Priscilla
Prudence
Rachel
Rebecca
Rhoda
Robena
Rosa
Rosabel
Rosalie
Rosalind
Rosamond
Rose
Ruby
Ruth
Sabina
Sadie
Sally
Samantha
Sarah
Selina
Sophia
Sophronia
Stella
Susanna
Susie
Sybil
Teresa
Theodocia
Theresa
Tillie
Una
Verna
Victoria
Vida
Viola
Violet
Wilhelmina
Winifred
Zuba

Have any favorites?

Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.

BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.

Source: A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names by George J. Howson