How popular is the baby name Lavern 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 Lavern.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lavern


Posts that Mention the Name Lavern

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 and unique baby names in each U.S. state, 2020

round bales of hay

Which baby names were the most popular in each U.S. state in 2020? And which names only popped up in the data for a single state in 2020? Here are the answers! (Any unique name that also appeared in last year’s post is in boldface.)

Alabama

  • Alabama’s top girl name: Ava
  • Alabama’s top boy name: William
  • Alabama’s 7 unique girl names: Emoree, Khylie, Petrona, Annalynn, Jailee, Kaloni, Loxley
  • Alabama’s 7 unique boy names: Kyser, Mills, Johnluke, Kamar, Kendarius, Saylor, Xzavion

Alaska

  • Alaska’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Alaska’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Arizona

  • Arizona’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Arizona’s top boy name: Liam
  • Arizona’s 3 unique girl names: Zo, Ariza, Payson
  • Arizona’s 2 unique boy names: Iram, Quill

Arkansas

  • Arkansas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Arkansas’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names
  • No unique boy names.

California

  • California’s top girl name: Olivia
  • California’s top boy name: Noah
  • California’s top 10 unique girl names: Sequoia, Emiko, Rey, Melrose, Roxanna, Shaila, Briseida, Ara, Cathy, Koa (total of 551)
  • California’s top 10 unique boy names: Slater, Curren, Armen, Fateh, Agam, Angad, Gurbaaz, Subhan, Yash, Ojas (total of 394)

Colorado

  • Colorado’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Colorado’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Connecticut

  • Connecticut’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Connecticut’s top boy name: Noah
  • No unique girl names.
  • Connecticut’s 1 unique boy name: Henrique

Delaware

  • Delaware’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Delaware’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

District of Columbia

  • D.C.’s top girl name: Olivia
  • D.C.’s top boy name: William
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Florida

  • Florida’s top girl name: Emma
  • Florida’s top boy name: Liam
  • Florida’s top 10 unique girl names: Abigaelle, Harbor, Allana, Breeze, Forever, Jaziyah, Railyn, Aniyla, Arielis, Dalani (total of 81)
  • Florida’s top 10 unique boy names: Aramis, Jaheim, Javaris, Maleek, Caio, Jahleel, Jeriel, Kamir, Marvens, Amyr (total of 81)

Georgia

  • Georgia’s top girl name: Ava
  • Georgia’s top boy name: Liam
  • Georgia’s top 10 unique girl names: Harmonii, Emmagrace, Kaior, Kiersten, Maebry, Makiya, Aloni, Jersi, Allura, Amalie (total of 25)
  • Georgia’s top 10 unique boy names: Antwon, Kiari, Woods, Elnathan, Jalil, Javontae, Keigan, Londyn, Mansa, Rhylan (total of 30)

Hawaii

  • Hawaii’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Hawaii’s top boy name: Liam
  • Hawaii’s 6 unique girl names: Halia, Anela Mahealani, Ilihia, Malie, Maile
  • Hawaii’s 6 unique boy names: Kainalu, Kahiau, Kamahao, Keawe, Alika, Kaikoa

Idaho

  • Idaho’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Idaho’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Illinois

  • Illinois’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Illinois’s top boy name: Noah
  • Illinois’s top 10 unique girl names: Zuzanna, Pola, Aniela, Eleen, Daliyah, Calia, Daniya, Destini, Eleonora, Esha (total of 18)
  • Illinois’s top 10 unique boy names: Krystian, Teodor, Jovon, Petar, Syair, Vuk, Akshar, Jameer, Kiyaan, Lashawn (total of 24)

Indiana

  • Indiana’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Indiana’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Indiana’s 2 unique girl names: Aayla, Renlee
  • Indiana’s 8 unique boy names: Maciah, Axtyn, Buckley, Emmerson, Javonni, Kashten, Lavon, Layken

Iowa

  • Iowa’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Iowa’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • Iowa’s 1 unique boy name: Kinnick
    • Kinnick is the name of the University of Iowa’s football stadium.

Kansas

  • Kansas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Kansas’s top boy name: Liam
  • Kansas’s 2 unique girl names: Brecken, Atley
  • No unique boy names.

Kentucky

  • Kentucky’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Kentucky’s top boy name: Liam
  • Kentucky’s 2 unique girl names: Larkyn, Karson
  • Kentucky’s 1 unique boy name: Brentlee

Louisiana

  • Louisiana’s top girl name: Ava
  • Louisiana’s top boy name: Liam
  • Louisiana’s 8 unique girl names: Kaislee, Rylen, Harlym, Riyah, Cecile, Damiya, Jrue, Rhemi
  • Louisiana’s 6 unique boy names: Baylen, Daxx, Jansen, Tylin, Hutson, Tyrin

Maine

  • Maine’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Maine’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Maryland

  • Maryland’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Maryland’s top boy name: Liam
  • Maryland’s 7 unique girl names: Dynver, Oakland, Brailyn, Chidera, Gelila, Kaylei, Shekinah
  • Maryland’s 3 unique boy names: Yafet, Jordon, Karon

Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Massachusetts’s top boy name: Noah
  • Massachusetts’s 8 unique girl names: Aylla, Manuella, Eloah, Nelle, Clarisse, Emilly, Heloisa, Malu
  • Massachusetts’s 8 unique boy names: Heitor, Tadhg, Joaopedro, Noriel, Walden, Dana, Enzogabriel, Jordany

Michigan

  • Michigan’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Michigan’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Michigan’s top 10 unique girl names: Zahraa, Cashmere, Ellouise, Manar, Breslyn, Cobi, Hala, Raneem, Arla, Avacyn (total of 22)
  • Michigan’s top 10 unique boy names: Blair, Ayham, Coltyn, Nicklas, Daijon, Alastair, Deante, Haidar, Kodah, Mohsen (total of 13)

Minnesota

  • Minnesota’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Minnesota’s top boy name: Henry
  • Minnesota’s top 10 unique girl names: Maida, Rayan, Nawal, Adna, Ahlam, Ikhlas, Ayan, Britta, Mumtaz, Munira (total of 28)
  • Minnesota’s top 10 unique boy names: Muad, Muhsin, Yaqub, Sudais, Abdulahi, Mohamedamin, Masud, Liban, Mikko, Yonis (total of 23)

Mississippi

  • Mississippi’s top girl name: Ava
  • Mississippi’s top boy name: James
  • Mississippi’s 3 unique girl names: Harlei, Mattilyn, Rivers
  • Mississippi’s 6 unique boy names: Ashtin, Devonta, Aycen, Jakayden, Keondre, Landan

Missouri

  • Missouri’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Missouri’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Missouri’s 8 unique girl names: Kelce, Esma, Kamori, Quinley, Blu, Jhream, Kendyl, Mavery
  • Missouri’s 5 unique boy names: Travon, Bryton, Darrion, Sutter, Whitley

Montana

  • Montana’s top girl name: Charlotte & Olivia (tie)
  • Montana’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Nebraska

  • Nebraska’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Nebraska’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Nebraska’s 1 unique girl name: Breckyn
  • Nebraska’s 1 unique boy name: Eh

Nevada

  • Nevada’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Nevada’s top boy name: Liam
  • Nevada’s 1 unique girl name: Unity
  • No unique boy names.

New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • New Hampshire’s top boy name: Lucas
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey’s top girl name: Olivia
  • New Jersey’s top boy name: Liam
  • New Jersey’s top 10 unique girl names: Bluma, Ruchama, Leba, Avigayil, Jadelyn, Alianny, Arna, Bina, Ita, Maahi (total of 13)
  • New Jersey’s top 10 unique boy names: Boruch, Shraga, Gershon, Shaul, Avigdor, Naksh, Abeer, Nesanel, Refoel, Yerachmiel (total of 19)

New Mexico

  • New Mexico’s top girl name: Olivia
  • New Mexico’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

New York

  • New York’s top girl name: Olivia
  • New York’s top boy name: Liam
  • New York’s top 10 unique girl names: Gitty, Yitty, Raizy, Sury, Esty, Goldy, Idy, Henny, Yides, Hinda (total of 174)
    • Esty came up in the 2020 Pop Culture Baby Name Game because of the Netflix mini-series Unorthodox, which features an ultra-Orthodox Jewish main character named Esty from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC. Of the 67 baby girls named Esty last year, 59 were born in New York specifically.
  • New York’s top 10 unique boy names: Lipa, Yechiel, Hershel, Pinchas, Avrum, Lazer, Md, Nachman, Berl, Muhammadyusuf (total of 157)

North Carolina

  • North Carolina’s top girl name: Olivia
  • North Carolina’s top boy name: Liam
  • North Carolina’s 8 unique girl names: Wrenn, Katara, Beckley, Embree, Kaileigh, Promyse, Reigna, Twyla
  • North Carolina’s top 10 unique boy names: Nolyn, Calihan, Aysen, Bladen, Damarcus, Dempsey, Hilton, Jahmere, Kaedyn, Kamdon (total of 16)

North Dakota

  • North Dakota’s top girl name: Amelia & Olivia
  • North Dakota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • North Dakota’s 1 unique girl name: Girl (…still probably just a place-holder)
  • No unique boy names.

Ohio

  • Ohio’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Ohio’s top boy name: Liam
  • Ohio’s top 10 unique girl names: Damyla, Jozie, Delainey, Delila, Dorcas, Joselynn, Maisley, Maizey, Marcia, Bexleigh (total of 22)
  • Ohio’s top 10 unique boy names: Willis, Larkin, Jashawn, Abdallah, Bennet, Bexley, Buck, Cylus, Freeman, Graeme (total of 26)

Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Oklahoma’s top boy name: Liam
  • Oklahoma’s 4 unique girl names: Brenlee, Jentri, Lun, Man
  • Oklahoma’s 5 unique boy names: Pau, Creek, Mung, Cale, Dayson

Oregon

  • Oregon’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Oregon’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • Oregon’s 1 unique boy name: Rogue

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania’s top girl name: Emma
  • Pennsylvania’s top boy name: Noah
  • Pennsylvania’s top 10 unique girl names: Barbie, Suhaylah, Lavina, Verna, Surah, Erma, Adalind, Azara, Saloma, Aasiyah (total of 28)
  • Pennsylvania’s top 10 unique boy names: Mahlon, Benuel, Ayyub, Aasim, Lavern, Baxter, Carmen, Muadh, Ahzir, Asir (total of 32)

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Rhode Island’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

South Carolina

  • South Carolina’s top girl name: Ava
  • South Carolina’s top boy name: William
  • South Carolina’s 3 unique girl names: Kaniya, Ellory, Indya
  • South Carolina’s 3 unique boy names: Drayton, Bowman, Collins

South Dakota

  • South Dakota’s top girl name: Harper
  • South Dakota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Tennessee

  • Tennessee’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Tennessee’s top boy name: Liam
  • Tennessee’s top 10 unique girl names: Anslee, Callaway, Henleigh, Mallie, Amellia, Blakley, Chloee, Crimson, Emersynn, Ivyanna (total of 14)
  • Tennessee’s top 10 unique boy names: Neyland, Martavious, Holston, Ladarius, Mckinley, Ripken, Conley, Crockett, Kimoni, Ryman (total of 11)
    • Neyland is the name of the University of Tennessee’s football stadium.
    • Holston is the name of a river in Tennessee.
    • Ryman is the name of the Nashville auditorium that was the home of the Grand Ole Opry (1943-’74).

Texas

  • Texas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Texas’s top boy name: Liam
  • Texas’s top 10 unique girl names: Elida, Kymber, Roberta, Xaria, Debanhi, Karyme, Abilene, Kirby, Analeigh, Bryar (total of 452)
    • Abilene is the name of a city in Texas.
  • Texas’s top 10 unique boy names: Crawford, Homero, Guadalupe, Eliazar, Abiel, Clemente, Javi, Koe, Javen, Kutter (total of 276)

Utah

  • Utah’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Utah’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Utah’s 5 unique girl names: Alta, Scottlyn, Cozette, Auburn, Swayzie
  • Utah’s 6 unique boy names: Kaladin, Taggart, Thayne, Trapper, Alma, Quaid
    • Kaladin is the name of a character in the Stormlight Archive book series by Utah author Brandon Sanderson.

Vermont

  • Vermont’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Vermont’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Virginia

  • Virginia’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Virginia’s top boy name: Liam
  • Virginia’s 6 unique girl names: Soliana, Soliyana, Cornelia, Harlan, Makenzi, Yanet
  • Virginia’s 6 unique boy names: Yuvin, Berkley, Keandre, Nayel, Nyzir, Sarim

Washington

  • Washington’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Washington’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Washington’s 6 unique girl names: Ellinor, Jasper, Freja, Korah, Ravenna, Robbie
    • Ravenna is the name of a neighborhood in Seattle.
  • Washington’s 7 unique boy names: Finlay, Amnen, Finnan, Lochlann, Peregrine, Echo, Jettson

West Virginia

  • West Virginia’s top girl name: Harper
  • West Virginia’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Wisconsin’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Wisconsin’s 1 unique girl name: Marietta
  • Wisconsin’s 2 unique boy names: Chet, Everhett

Wyoming

  • Wyoming’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Wyoming’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Have any info/theories on any of the unique names above? If so, please leave a comment!

Source: Popular Names by State – SSA

Where did the baby name Dellora come from?

Miss Dellora Angell, newspaper photo, February 1919
Dellora (Feb. 1919)

The Dolores-like baby name Dellora appeared in the U.S. data for a total of six years, seeing peak usage in 1922:

  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: 8 baby girls named Dellora
  • 1923: 13 baby girls named Dellora
  • 1922: 14 baby girls named Dellora
  • 1921: 7 baby girls named Dellora
  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1919: 7 baby girls named Dellora
  • 1918: 5 baby girls named Dellora
  • 1917: unlisted

Much of this usage is attributable to heiress Dellora Angell (1902-1979) of St. Charles, Illinois.

Her name first started popping up in the newspapers in late 1918, upon the death of her maternal aunt, Dellora Gates. Aunt Dellora was the widow of wealthy industrialist John W. Gates, and she left the bulk of the Gates fortune to her last two close relatives: her brother Edward, and her teenage niece/namesake Dellora (the daughter of her deceased sister Lavern).

In the early 1920s, the newspapers began linking young Dellora to various suitors (e.g., a Brazilian physician named Vantini, an oil man named Campbell).

In late 1922, she finally got engaged to a childhood friend from St. Charles named Lester Norris, described as a “poor artist and son of the village undertaker.” (He was a newspaper cartoonist; he later became a businessman.)

They had a small wedding in March of 1923. After that, they rented a modest apartment in St. Charles, where Dellora “began housekeeping, doing her own cooking and sewing, and having a lot of fun doing it.”

For several years the newspapers continued to report on Dellora’s growing family, and her unusual decision to live so simply:

The richest young woman in the world, who, from the number of her millions, and her youth and beauty, one would expect to find wintering at Cannes, moving with the seasons from one smart watering place to another and filling her wardrobe with Parisian gowns and jewels, lives quietly in a Middle Western town, wears gingham dresses, as she does own housework, and looks after her two babies herself.

(They went on to have a total of five children: Lavern, Lester*, Joann, Robert, and John.)

In the meanwhile, Dellora and Lester (and Dellora’s uncle, Edward) quietly gave back to the community of St. Charles. They funded/created a theater, a municipal center, a hospital (named “Delnor,” a contraction of Dellora Norris), a hotel, a community center, and made numerous other contributions and donations to schools, churches, and so forth. Today, Dellora’s name lives on in the name of the Dellora A. Norris Cultural Arts Center.

What are your thoughts on baby name Dellora? Would you consider using it on a modern baby?

Sources:

  • “J. W. Gates’s Widow Dies at Age of 63.” New York Tribune 29 Nov. 1918: 12.
  • “Coming June Bride Is Worth at Least Million.” Riverside Daily Press 11 Jun. 1921: 1.
  • “Has Dellora Angell, $38,000,000 Heiress, Again Run Away From Love.” Evening World [New York] 18 Jul. 1922: 16.
  • “Heiress Engaged.” Riverside Daily Press 10 Nov. 1922: 1.
  • “Humble Life Preferred by Millionaire Bride.” Evening Star 16 Nov. 1923: 38.
  • “The Gates Heiress and Her “Love-In-a-Cottage”.” Ogden Standard Examiner 26 Jul. 1925: 22.
  • Szymczak, Patricia M. “The Legacy.” Chicago Tribune 15 Jan. 1989.

*In July of 1925, it was reported that baby Lester, born in April, was still nameless and “in lieu of a permanent name” was being called Skeezix after the comic strip character (see Clovia).