How popular is the baby name Maurice 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 Maurice.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Maurice


Posts that Mention the Name Maurice

Where did the baby name Mauri come from?

mauri rose, 1940s, indy 500, baby name

The name Mauri first appeared in the SSA’s baby name data — for both genders — in the late 1940s:

  • 1949: 5 baby boys named Mauri
  • 1948: 5 baby boys named Mauri & 7 baby girls named Mauri [debut]
  • 1947: 6 baby boys named Mauri [debut]
  • 1946: unlisted
  • 1945: unlisted

Now, the unisex name Maurie was already in the data by this point, so Mauri could simply have been a variant of Maurie.

That said, the specific spelling “Mauri” may have debuted in 1947 (and 1948) thanks to race car driver Maurice “Mauri” Rose, who won the Indianapolis 500 automobile race back-to-back in 1947 and 1948. (He was also a winner in 1941, but that time he co-won with another driver, Floyd Davis.)

What are your thoughts here? How much influence do you think a race car driver might have had on U.S. baby names in the ’40s?

Source: List of Indianapolis 500 winners – Wikipedia

The 16 Children of William of Orange

William of Orange

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:

  1. Maria (born in 1553)
  2. Philip William, (b. 1554)
  3. Maria (b. 1556)
  4. Justinus (b. 1559)
  5. Anna (b. 1562)
  6. Anna (b. 1563)
  7. Maurice August Philip (b. 1564)
  8. Maurice (b. 1567)
  9. Emilia (b. 1569)
  10. Louise Juliana (b. 1576)
  11. Elisabeth (b. 1577)
  12. Catharina Belgica (b. 1578)
  13. Charlotte Flandrina (b. 1579)
  14. Charlotte Brabantina (b. 1580)
  15. Emilia Antwerpiana (b. 1581)
  16. Frederick Henry (b. 1584)

Each of the regions/locations honored with a name responded by “bestow[ing] pensions upon the children”:

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 Belgique Hollande (b. 1655).

Sources:

  • 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.
  • William the Silent – Wikipedia

Top Male Names in England, 1560-1621

A while back, I stumbled upon a register of people associated with Oxford University in the late 1500s and early 1600s. The most interesting part? The author of the register included a chapter dedicated to first names and surnames, and that chapter featured a table of male forenames ranked by frequency of occurrence from 1560 to 1621.

The author claimed that, for several reasons, these rankings were “probably…more representative of English names than any list yet published” for that span of time. One reason was that the names represented men from “different grades of English society” — including peers, scholars, tradesmen, and servants.

Ready for the list?

  1. John, 3,826 individuals
  2. Thomas, 2,777
  3. William, 2,546
  4. Richard, 1,691
  5. Robert, 1,222
  6. Edward, 957
  7. Henry, 908
  8. George, 647
  9. Francis, 447
  10. James, 424
  11. Nicholas, 326
  12. Edmund, 298
  13. Anthony, 262
  14. Hugh, 257
  15. Christopher, 243
  16. Samuel, 227
  17. Walter, 207
  18. Roger, 195
  19. Ralph (sometimes confused with Raphael/Randall in the records), 182
  20. Peter, 175
  21. Humphrey, 168
  22. Charles, 139
  23. Philip, 137
  24. David, 129
  25. Matthew (sometimes confused with Matthias), 116
  26. Nathaniel, 112
  27. Michael, 103
  28. Alexander, 98 (tie)
  29. Arthur, 98 (tie)
  30. Laurence, 90
  31. Giles, 88
  32. Stephen, 86
  33. Simon (sometimes confused with Simeon), 83
  34. Daniel, 79
  35. Joseph, 78 (tie)
  36. Lewis, 78 (tie)
  37. Andrew, 69
  38. Roland (also Rowland), 65
  39. Griffith (also Griffin), 60
  40. Evan, 55
  41. Abraham, 54 (tie)
  42. Leonard, 54 (tie)
  43. Owen, 53
  44. Gilbert, 52
  45. Morris (sometimes confused with Maurice), 51
  46. Bartholomew, 46 (3-way tie)
  47. Oliver, 46 (3-way tie)
  48. Timothy, 46 (3-way tie)
  49. Morgan, 45
  50. Martin, 44 (tie)
  51. Rice (sometimes confused with Richard), 44 (tie)
  52. Gabriel, 41
  53. Benjamin, 40
  54. Jeffrey (also Geoffrey; sometimes confused with Godfrey), 38
  55. Ambrose, 36
  56. Adam, 35
  57. Toby (also Tobias), 34
  58. Jerome, 33
  59. Ellis, 30
  60. Paul, 29
  61. Bernard, 28 (3-way tie)
  62. Gregory (sometimes confused with George), 28 (3-way tie)
  63. Isaac, 28 (3-way tie)
  64. Jasper (also Gaspar), 26
  65. Randall (also Randle, Randolph; sometimes confused with Ralph), 26 (tie)

Did the relative popularity of any of these names surprise you?

Entries lower down on the list included Lancelot (23), Jarvis (22) Theophilus (19), Marmaduke (18), Fulke (17), and Cadwalader (9).

The author also included every other Oxford-associated name from that general time period, so here’s a sampling of the rare names that popped up in the register just once:

  • Aegeon, Arundel, Aunstey, Aymondesham
  • Bamfield, Beauforus, Bezaliel, Bulstrod
  • Cadoc, Cannanuel, Chiddiock, Cosowarth
  • Dabridgcourt, Delvus, Deodatus, Donwald
  • Erisy, Esdras
  • Fettiplace, Florice, Fogge
  • Glidd, Gourneus, Granado
  • Hattil, Hercius
  • Jarniot, Jerameel, Jeremoth, Jolliffe
  • Kelamus, Killingworth, Kingsmell
  • Leoline, Levinus, Livewell
  • Maior, Maniewe, Marchadine, Moyle
  • Nargia, Nizael, Noye
  • Ogier, Olliph
  • Peleger, Periam, Pexall, Phatnell
  • Rimprum, Rollesley, Rotheram, Rumbold
  • Scipio, Snappe
  • Thekeston, Thrasibulus, Timoleon, Tournie
  • Ulpian, Umpton, Utred
  • Wallop, Walsingham, Warian, Willgent
  • Yeldard
  • Zorobabel

Source: Register of the University of Oxford, vol. 2, part 4, edited by Andrew Clark, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889.

Where did the baby name Kalimba come from?

kalimba, baby name, music, 1970s

The curious name Kalimba has popped up in the U.S. baby name data just twice, the first time in 1974:

  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: 7 baby girls named Kalimba
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

Where did it come from?

An Earth, Wind & Fire song called “Kalimba Story,” which was included on the 1974 album Open Our Eyes. The song was released as a single the same year, and in August peaked on two different Billboard charts: the Hot 100 (at #55) and R&B/Hip-Hop (at #6).

From the refrain:

Kalimba, ooh kalimba
Play me a tune
Kalimba, ooh kalimba
I’m glad I found you

In the song, “Kalimba” doesn’t refer to a person — it refers to a musical instrument. A kalimba is an African thumb piano played by plucking metal tines attached to a wooden board. One contemporary reviewer described the instrument as “a hand-held whatzit that looks like a TV remote control device and sounds like an electric piano.”

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White favored the kalimba and featured it in multiple songs. In the liner notes to EWF’s Eternal Dance compilation album, White explained that “the kalimba represented my link to Africa. It was my way of taking part of that culture and spreading it all over the world.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Kalimba?

Sources:

Name Spotting: Malancthon

sign, colorado, names
Sign inside Garden of the Gods

We visited the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs recently and, inside this park, we spotted a “What’s In a Name?” sign that described how the park got its name back in the 1850s:

As they looked over this area of cathedral-like rock spires, one man, Malancthon Beach, commented that the spot would be a great place for a beer garden someday. His friend, a poetic young man named Rufous Cable, replied that it was a place “fit for the Gods.”

It’s a cool story, but, to me, that first name “Malancthon” is way more interesting than the origin of the park name. Where did it come from?

My best guess is that Malancthon is a tribute to 16th-century German theologian Philipp Melanchthon, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname at birth was Schwartzerd (“black earth” in German), but as a young man he Latinized his name to the classical equivalent Melanchthon (“black earth” in Greek).

CCC Company 1848, Camp SP-13-C, Morrison, Colorado

We also saw some names at Red Rocks, which is both a park and a famous amphitheater.

The amphitheater was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that existed during the Great Depression. One display included a photo of 124 of the men in the local CCC. Here are their first names, sorted by frequency:

  • 5: Joe, Raymond
  • 4: Charles
  • 3: Arthur, Clarence, Edward
  • 2: Bill, Byron, Carl, David, Earnest, Edwin, Everett, Jack, James, Leo, Maurice, William
  • 1: Aaron, Albert, Aldine, Alfonso, Allen, Alva, Amos, Ancelmo, Arleigh, Aubrey, Audrey, Barnett, Blaine, Calvin, Celestino, Charley, Claud, Claude, Clayton, Cleston, Dale, Damas, Dan, Darold, Dick, Don, Donald, Ed, Elden, Elias, Elipio, Emerson, Emilio, Eric, Ernest, Eston, Fares, Frank, Fred, Glenn, Grant, Gust, Guy, Horace, Hubert, Irvin, Jake, Jasper, Jesse, Jim, John, Jose, Kenneth, Lawrence, Leland, Leonard, Lester, Louis, Lyman, Manual, Marvin, Max, Merce, Noah, Norman, Orval, Pasqual, Paul, Pete, Richard, Rowland, Rudolfo, Russel, Russell, Sandeford, Trenton, Willard

…What interesting names have you spotted while out and about recently?