How popular is the baby name Lafayette 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 Lafayette.
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My husband and I hung out in New Orleans for about 48 hours in mid-December. It rained almost the entire time, but we still managed to get out and spot a few interesting names!
First, an unexpected food name: Beignet (pron. ben-YAY), which literally means “bump” in French. In terms of food, it’s fried dough with sugar on top. In terms of names, though, it’s been bestowed as a middle at least three times, according to the records I’ve seen. These human Beignets were all girls born in the ’80s and ’90s in Texas and Oklahoma.
And finally, how about the name “New Orleans” itself? In the records I found dozens, including New Orleans Taylor, a 13-year-old girl living with her family in Louisiana at the time of the 1930 U.S. Census:
The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).
Victorian Era Female Names
Victorian Era Male Names
Abigale / Abby
Almira / Almyra
Ann / Annie
Dorothy / Dot
Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
Lots of people name their cars, but how many people name their computers?
A good number, turns out.
Granted, any computer on a network already has a name. But that’s not necessarily the name we’re talking about here. (Though some people do change their computer’s network name to match its “given” name.)
What kinds of names have people chosen for their laptops and desktops? Here are some real-life computer names I’ve collected from around the web:
Aurora: “I named her Aurora. Isn’t she beautiful? Like every really wonderful thing, her outward beauty is a reflection of her deeper goodness.” –MrShad of Conflictium
Avery Cates: “How can you resist this series when the first line of the back cover blurb is “Avery Cates is a very bad man”? I love Avery Cates so much I named my computer after him.” –Melanie of Melanie R. Meadors (blog)
Black Stallion: “As my birthday/Christmas present, I was given a brand new LAPTOP! Vane named him “Black Stallion”. It’s very sleek and black.” –Des of Miss DreamyMarie
Don Juan IV: “Don Juan IV is my laptop. What, you don’t name your computer? That is too bad.” –Heather of The Spohrs Are Multiplying
Dorothy Parker: “Interesting aside: I named my computer Dorothy Parker. It’s probably wishful thinking more than anything else.” –cenobyte of centre of the univerce
Frangus: “Frangus is a beautiful name. It sounds like the name of the lost Weasley child. It evokes images of a tall, rangy, somewhat grungy hunk (think Aragorn-esque) with blazing red hair, a legendary sword, and a breathtaking Scottish accent. It was also, as some may recall, from a Sparticle made of pure awesomeness. It just fit perfectly.” –RabidWrackspurt via SparkLife
Henry & Eli: “I finally have a laptop, after two and half years working on a desktop. Trust me, I loved my desktop but he was hard to live with. Not being able to spend valuable time with him while I worked with my friends in the studios. And yes, I called him a ‘he.’ I named him Henry. But now my laptop is named Eli and he is a gem. I can take him anywhere and I love it! I sound like I had no idea they make computers that can move.” –Catie of Catie Witt (blog)
Holophonor: “All of which is an extended introduction to the announcement of the name of my new MacBook. I’ve dubbed it Holophonor. (…) It’s a musical instrument from Futurama, which produces images as well as music. It’s allegedly incredibly hard to play (although the holophonor recital in one episode suggests a little otherwise) but is capable of intoxicatingly immersive effects.” –James Grimmelmann of The Laboratorium
Hubert: “I named my computer Hubert because it reminds me of Hubert Humphrey, the long time U.S. Senator from Minnesota and Lyndon Johnson’s vice president. For those of you too young to remember, Humphrey was a likeable, compulsive talker who was so eager to please he could become annoying. My computer is like that.” –Gwen Gibson of The Lighter Years
Lafayette: “Lafayette – My current iMac is named for my favorite, and the most well-acted character in HBO’s True Blood.” –Courtney Heard of courtneyheard.com
Lisbeth: “But, before I sign off for tonight, let me introduce you to Lisbeth. (…) Yes, I named my laptop after the hacker survivor extraordinaire from the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She’s a victim who takes her life back, with the power of her intelligence and her trusty computer.” –Erin of Daisies and Bruises
Lucille: “My computer is Lucille; she is a fiery redhead, like Lucille Ball.” –Rachel of Not-so-Plain Jane
Lucy: “I am writing this from my new laptop – a MacBook. Lovely little piece of equipment – I have named her Lucy (as in “Lucy, I’m h-o-m-e”) with the hopes that we will enter into a long-term relationship of mutual respect and understanding.” –mimijk of Waiting for the Karma Truck
Lula: “It was the Romantic me who went to Circuit City and Best Buy, who glazed over as acne-riddled salesboys extolled the virtues of Vaios and Thinkpads, and who eventually fled to do some reading on the subject before spending nearly a month’s salary for a basic, Luddite-friendly model. When I finally got my laptop home, I immediately named her Lula (after my grandmother, who also inspired and terrorized me), then ditched my paper notebook, opened Word, and began writing the new play before even checking out the other programs I had paid for.” –David Valdes Greenwood via The Boston Phoenix
Mandy: “I know you all are wondering why her name is Mandy (ok, maybe you’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) When I first got Mandy, she was a beautiful new white Macbook. I had just started dating my Handsome, and he lent me his book of cd’s so I could put new music on my new laptop. Well, lo and behold, what cd did I find buried in with his? Why yes, the cd pictured at the beginning of this post [Mandy Moore’s “So Real”]. I thought this was hysterical, and because it was a white cd and my laptop was white, I named her Mandy. It seemed to fit.” –Kate of Kindly, Kate
Marcus: “i have named him Marcus after the lead singer of my favorite band Mumford & Sons. i was going to call him Lenny because Lenovo, but ever since the movie The Perfect Man, all i can think of when i hear that name is a chubby guy singing a Styx song.” –Leann Elizabeth of A Glass of Leannade
Milo: “My world is currently in a state of crazed shuffling and god-awful box hoarding. My room is now returned to the cold monastic state I found it in and as soon as this post is over so goes Milo the netbook. (Yes I named my computer Milo, no you cannot make fun of me for it). By this time tomorrow I will have returned to my domicile and summer hi-jinks can begin!” –SugaryCynic of Sugary Cynicism
Nox: “It started (…) with me buying a new computer, and this time I went for brand new hardware, top of the line, as I just had gotten my first paycheck from my first real job. And as this was a proper computer, it needed a proper name. And as the casing was black, I went looking for something that resembled darkness and the absence of light. Can you guess which name I ended up with? Probably not if you aren’t very well versed in old Greek and Roman mythology, as the goddess I named my computer after isn’t that famous. I named my computer “Nox”, the Roman name for the Greek goddess Nyx, the primordial goddess of the night.” –Sebastian Storholm of Sebastian’s Blog
Sadie: “Sadie came into my life in March of 2008. She was an HP Pavilion, the first new computer I had purchased in over ten years. Sadie was not my first choice when I was doing research in buying a laptop, but she was quite simply prettier and shinier than the one I had originally picked out, so I bought her instead. I named her Sadie because I had had a dream where I bought a laptop and named it Sexy Sadie, after the Beatles song.” –Gena Radcliffe of You Are Not a Winner
Sally: “My computer, Sally (yes, I named my computer), is almost six years old. While I love her to death, it’s about time to put her down. She’s been good to me, despite all the verbal abuse.” –Marian Schembari of marianlibrarian.com
Serena: “I got Serena back in the winter of 2005, and named her, as I named a lot of my machines, [after] a character in the TV show ‘Roswell’ – actually, an enigmatic reference to a person from the future who was never shown on screen.” –Chris K of The Kelworth Files
SparkyBookPro: “My baby is going into the hospital for outpatient surgery. Actually it’s more like a transplant. SparkyBookPro needs his fan replaced. Yes, I named my computer. Yes, I am a nerd. They are also going to do a bypass of the current battery and transplant a new one in its place. As soon as I am done with this post (and a bit more blog reading), SparkyBookPro will be taken to the facility. He will be gone for two days.” –Kim of Emergiblog
Tardis: “Now, I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a big Whovian. (fan of the British show Dr Who) I named my computer the TARDIS, I have a sonic screwdriver on me at all times, and I bought a pair of Converse because the 10th Doctor wears them. Yes, I am obsessed.” –Jenny of The Eternal Puppy Station
Thusnelda: “How did I choose the name Thusnelda? Well, you see, a month or two ago I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to buy a laptop, and I needed a name. And generously, Angela shared the names of some of her relatives. And when I read Thusnelda, I knew that had to be the one. It is solid, original, and not at all trendy. There aren’t going to be 15 other Thusneldas in a 3-block radius. And the name can’t go out of style, because it was never in style.” –Amber Strocel of strocel.com
Veronica: “She’s cute, she’s skinny, she’s bright-eyed, energetic (great battery life), and she even has a cute pattern on her hood. I’ve named her Veronica.” –Jamie of The Appropriate Opinion
Have you named your computer? If so, what’s the name, and why did you choose it?
Amy Poehler has five parenting tips: “Always remember your kid’s name. Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers…for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”
[T]he single, least important but most amazing thing about covering the life and times of Buddy Cianci for me was always the name of his wife. Buddy Cianci was married to a woman named Nancy Ann. Here name is Nancy Ann Cianci. Nancy Ann Cianci — the single, most awesome name in all of the names tangentially related to American political scandal ever. Nancy Ann Cianci.
Why not give my first born a head start in Californian life? I’m sure when he’s older and I take him and his mates Zen and Jazz out for a wheatgrass smoothie, he’d thank me for it. But what if his cruel English father one day moves him back to London? What then for poor Dove, as he tries to make friends with all the Toms and Harrys back in Blighty? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it: Tom and Harry would throw bird s*** at him and then flush his head down the bog.
JG: In the new book, you explain that all Bengalis have private pet names and public “good names.” But the main character in “The Namesake” is given only one name: Gogol, after the Russian writer.
JL: That happened to me. My name, Jhumpa, which is my only name now, was supposed to be my pet name. My parents tried to enroll me in school under my good name, but the teacher asked if they had anything shorter. Even now, people in India ask why I’m publishing under my pet name instead of a real name.
JG: What does Jhumpa mean?
JL: Jhumpa has no meaning. It always upset me. It’s like jhuma, which refers to the sound of a child’s rattle, but with a “p.” In this country, you’d never name your child Rattle. I actually have two good names, Nilanjana and Sudeshna. My mother couldn’t decide. All three are on the birth certificate. I never knew how to write my name.
Q. Who Is Courtney?: I’ve noticed that whenever you need to make up a fictional female name, you always pick “Courtney.” What’s up with that? Just curious!
A: I used to reflexively write, “Denise” and I once got a funny letter from a Denise asking what a Denise ever did to me. Good point that I need a name book by my computer. I like Courtney because I don’t know any and it’s a likely name of a person in her 20s, the way Susan is Courtney’s mother, Dorothy is her grandmother, and Myrna is her great-grandmother.
…and later in the same chat:
Q. Re: Courtney: I once had a professor who would reflexively use the name “Stacy” for a generic female and then mutter, to a room full of students born in the ’80s, “That’s such an ’80s name.” The Stacys in the room—and there always was at least one—got a good laugh out of it.
A: I’ll add this to my repertoire! But a quick look at a reference confirms my sense that Stacy is such a ’70s name.
The reason is simple. If you really want your kid to be special, a name is not going to do it. Your kid is going to have to earn it. She is going to have to work hard and sacrifice. She’ll have to try and fail and eventually find her place — find whatever she’s good at — and then work harder to develop her talents.
It will be easier to do that if she is humble. And it will be easier for her to be humble if she doesn’t have a name that makes her think she’s precious and special and God’s gift to the universe (such as Nevaeh, which is heaven spelled backward).
It’s nobody’s fault that we’re screwing up kids’ names — we’re screwing up a lot of things. We’re doing it because we’re able to. We’re able to because the American experiment has produced untold wealth — which shifted our focus from trying to subsist, as our parents did, to fretting over what to name our kids.
“My pop [Len] was a DJ while he was in the military and they called him DJ Frost because they said he was cold on the spins. [They called him] Frost, Frostee all that. No matter what he named me they were going to call me Little Frost anyway, so they named me Frostee.”
So Frostee is your given name?
“Yup, that’s my given name.”
What was it like growing up named Frostee?
“It sucked growing up really because kids at Christmas time and teachers, and me being African American, it just didn’t all come together but about [the] time I came to high school it became a household name in Orange County (Calif.).
“It’s just benefited [me] from then. It’s always caught peoples’ eye in the paper and they wanted to know more. So I don’t know if I’ll name my kid that if I ever have one but at the same time being unique isn’t bad either.”
The decision on which names to accept and which to reject is generally left to the local registrar, but that decision can be contested in court. And sometimes the court’s ruling can seem rather arbitrary. While the names Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon have been rejected by German courts in the past, the similarly creative parents of Speedy, Lafayette and Jazz were granted their name of choice.
A wide variety of Hebrew names came into common usage beginning in 1560, when the first readily accessible English Bible was published. But by the late 16th century many Puritan communities in Southern Britain saw common names as too worldly, and opted instead to name children after virtues or with religious slogans as a way of setting the community apart from non-Puritan neighbors. Often, Puritan parents chose names that served to remind the child about sin and pain.
[I]t’s their mom, Gayal Black, who is behind the girls’ brand-worthy names, designed to minimize comparisons with Venus and Serena Williams, and establish a unique, powerful identities for the sisters.
“I have a marketing degree…and I knew I needed to do something for them to stand out, and we thought it was cute,” Gayal told ESPNW.
Tornado was born Alicia, but Gayal says the nickname came from her daughter’s ferocious tennis skills as a three-year-old. “We couldn’t believe how amazing she was and we knew then we had a champion. When the next one was born, we knew she could do it, too, and so her [legal] name is Tyra Hurricane.”
“[Tornado didn’t like her name] a few years ago. Kids tease you. But now they understand it’s marketing and it’s very big to say a storm blew through the US Open.”
Dad Sly added that the names started as “a little joke” but “turned out to be a pretty big deal.”
“Yes, Tornado and Hurricane are names for marketable athletes, but that’s a big part of it nowadays, and if you can get a good, strong name, all the better.”
[Found out about the Black sisters via Abby – thanks!]
Jonathan and Patience Sprague of Douglas, Massachusetts, welcomed a baby boy on October 16, 1790.
They named him Federal Constitution Sprague.
Well, he was born a year after the U.S. Constitution went into effect. (It had been was created in 1787 and ratified in 1788.)
As one source put it, “Federal Constitution Sprague evidently had a father to whom the new nation meant something. He was interested evidently in the document for which he named his son.”
Yes, evidently. :)
None of Federal Constitution’s 13 siblings, nine full siblings and four half-siblings, got a name as notable (or as patriotic) as his:
F.C. ended up having a dozen children, ten from his first marriage and two from his second, but didn’t pass his unique name down to any of them:
I’ve also found a handful of other people named Constitution (or some variation thereof). Most were born in France in the 1790s, around the time France adopted several new constitutions during the French Revolution. Several other Constitutions were from countries in South America. One was born in New South Wales in 1855, the year of the New South Wales Constitution Act.
Crane, Ellery Bicknell. Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts. New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1907.
Sprague, Augustus B. R. Genealogy in part of the Sprague Families in America. Worcester, MA: Augustus B. R. Sprague, 1902.