How popular is the baby name Ralph 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 Ralph.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ralph


Posts that Mention the Name Ralph

Baby born into June family, named April May

calendar

In March of 1995, Richard and Lorine June of Florida welcomed their third child — another baby girl.

Their first daughter was named Nicole, and their second was named Brooke. For the third, they went with “April May” to create the full legal name “April May June.”

The idea first occurred to them when Nicole was born. [Lorine] recounted that her husband said, “Wouldn’t that be funny?”

“And I said, “No, we better not do that,'” she recalled.

A couple of babies later, though, they changed their minds. “It gets harder to think of names as you go on,” Lorine admitted.

Richard’s father Ralph believed it was inevitable. “With a name like June, it was bound to happen sooner or later,” he said.

Source: Clendening, Roger. “Her parents love their little calendar girl.” Tampa Bay Times 17 Apr. 1995.

Popular baby names in Providence, RI, 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 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.

Name change: Lydia to Lidian

Lydia "Lidian" Emerson (1802-1892), second wife of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Lydia “Lidian” Emerson (with son Edward)

Transcendentalist writer and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson proposed to his second wife, Lydia Jackson, via letter in January of 1835.

We do not have Lydia’s reply to the proposal, but it came swiftly. […] Within a week he was calling her Lidian (though he continued for a while to write Lydia on the envelope) and they began planning a life together. It has been suggested that Emerson called her Lidian in order to head off the inevitable New England pronunciation of her married name as Lydiar Emerson, but all that we know for certain is that he remarked to a cousin at the time that “the philistines baptized her Lydia, but her name is Lidian.”

Ralph married Lydia/Lidian later the same year, in September.

In her correspondence, she signed herself “Lidian” when the letters went to her husband or to individuals within the Emerson circle; to her sister, she remained “Lydia.”

On her gravestone, her name is written “Lidian Emerson.”

Which name do you like more, Lydia or Lidian?

Sources:

Where did the baby name Tavares come from?

Tavares album "Hard Core Poetry" (1974).
1974 Tavares album

In the mid-1970s, the name Tavares suddenly popped up in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1978: 163 baby boys named Tavares
  • 1977: 169 baby boys (peak) named Tavares
  • 1976: 169 baby boys (peak) / 5 baby girls named Tavares
  • 1975: 162 baby boys / 10 baby girls named Tavares
  • 1974: 60 baby boys / 8 baby girls named Tavares [dual-debut]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

What was behind the debut?

Tavares, a soul/R&B music group consisting of the five Tavares brothers: Ralph, Arthur (called “Pooch”), Antone (“Chubby”), Feliciano (“Butch”), and Perry (“Tiny”).

They scored their first hit in 1974 with a cover of the Hall & Oates song “She’s Gone.” The cover reached #1 on Billboard‘s R&B chart and peaked at #50 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. Over the next few years, the brothers put out a string of successful songs, including “It Only Takes a Minute” (1975) and “Whodunit” (1977).

The Tavares brothers were born and raised in New England, but were of Cape Verdean ancestry. Their Portuguese surname was originally a “habitational name from any of at least seven minor places” in Portugal called Tavares.

Variants of the name that also emerged in the data during the ’70s include Tavare, Travares, Tarvares, Tavaris, Tavaras, Tavarus, Taveres, Tavoris, and Tavores.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Tavares?

Sources:

P.S. Butch was married to Lola Falana from 1971 to 1975.

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.