The Channel Islands are an archipelago located in the English Channel, close to the coast of France. They are divided into two territories, Jersey and Guernsey, and residents of both regions are considered British citizens (even though the regions themselves are not officially part of the UK).
The territory of Jersey coincides with the archipelago’s most populous island, Jersey, while the territory of Guernsey includes several of the less populous islands: Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm.
Last year, Jersey welcomed a total of 835 babies — 371 girls and 464 boys. Here are Jersey’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2022:
A year earlier, the top names in Jersey were Sienna and Arthur.
(In future years, baby names in Jersey may be affected by an amendment enacted in March of 2023 that allows the island’s Superintendent Registrar to refuse to register any name that “might cause mistake, confusion, or embarrassment to the child.”)
Last year, Guernsey welcomed “just over 500 babies.” Here are Guernsey’s top girl names and top boy names of 2022:
Ava, 9 baby girls
“In three cases it was hyphenated with another name.”
Evelyn, 5 (tie)
Isabelle/Isabella, 5 (tie)
Beatrice/Beatrix/Beatrise, 4 (7-way tie)
Eden, 4 (7-way tie)
Emilia, 4 (7-way tie)
Isla, 4 (7-way tie)
Ivy, 4 (7-way tie)
Phoebe, 4 (7-way tie)
Orla, 4 (7-way tie)
Freddie, 5 baby boys (tie)
Jack, 5 (tie)
Finley/Finlay, 4 (5-way tie)
Jackson, 4 (5-way tie)
James, 4 (5-way tie)
Oscar, 4 (5-way tie)
Rory, 4 (5-way tie)
Alexander, 3 (12-way tie)
Alfie, 3 (12-way tie)
Arlo, 3 (12-way tie)
Arthur, 3 (12-way tie)
Elijah, 3 (12-way tie)
Ethan, 3 (12-way tie)
Harry, 3 (12-way tie)
Leo, 3 (12-way tie)
Noah, 3 (12-way tie)
Rudy, 3 (12-way tie)
Theo, 3 (12-way tie)
Tommy/Tommie, 3 (12-way tie)
A year earlier, the top names in Guernsey were Olivia and a tie between Luca and Theodore. (In 2022, Olivia was given to 3 girls, Luca to a single boy, and Theodore wasn’t used at all.)
My source also mentioned that…
Poppy, Emily, Edie, Luna, Imogen, and Tilly were given to 3 baby girls each, Charlotte was given to 2 baby girls, and Amelia and Penelope were given to 1 baby girl each.
Archie and Frederick were given to 2 baby boys each, and Henry and Thomas were given to 1 baby boy each.
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.
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 names
Amish male names
*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.
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 names
Common 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 names
Common 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.
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. :)
Below are hundreds of baby names with a numerological value of 5.
What do I mean by that?
Well, in numerology, you substitute each letter in a word with that letter’s ordinal value in the alphabet. (The letter B has a value of 2, for instance, because it’s the second letter.) Then you add those ordinal values together to come up with a total. Lastly, you add the digits of that total together to obtain a numerological value.
Here’s an example: The letters in the name Mia have the values 13, 9, and 1. Added together, these values equal 23. And the digits of 23 added together equal 5.
All of the “5” names below are sub-categorized by totals — just in case any of those larger numbers are significant to anyone. Within each group you’ll find some of the most popular “5” names per gender (according to the most recent set of U.S. baby name rankings).
5 via 14
The letters in the following baby names add up to 14, which reduces to five (1+4=5).
Girl names (5 via 14)
Boy names (5 via 14)
Ida, Adah, Caia, Dia, Becca
Ahad, Adi, Dj, Kc, Jac
5 via 23
The letters in the following baby names add up to 23, which reduces to five (2+3=5).
Girl names (5 via 23)
Boy names (5 via 23)
Mia, Alia, Aila, Adela, Cara, Addie, Laia, Edie, Jaci, Ami
Caleb, Coda, Acen, Iam, Adem
5 via 32
The letters in the following baby names add up to 32, which reduces to five (3+2=5).
We’re all familiar with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, thanks to the catchy Christmas song.
But the character was around for a full decade before the song came out. He was introduced in a 1939 children’s book by Robert L. May.
May, a copywriter at Montgomery Ward, wrote the book as part of the retailer’s annual holiday promotion. More than two million copies of Rudolph were handed out to shoppers nationwide that year.
One of May’s handwritten notes from that era reveals that, before he’d settled on the name “Rudolph” for the red-nosed reindeer, he’d considered the following alliterative R-names:
The two names he’d circled were Rudolph and Reginald — the top two contenders, no doubt. (Sources say he decided Reginald was “too British,” and Rollo “too happy.”)
Robert L. May’s songwriter brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, later turned Rudolph’s story into a song. Gene Autry recorded “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in mid-1949 and it became a massive hit that Christmas. (Autry followed it up with “Frosty the Snowman” in 1950.)
So now imagine you’ve gone back in time, oh, say, 78 years. Your copywriter friend Bob sends you a telegram asking for your assistance in naming a fictional reindeer character he’s writing about, for work. He includes a list of ten possibilities. Which name do you select?
Or, if you’re not keen on any of these, feel free to comment with a write-in candidate. Just be sure it starts with R!
“A giveaway that sold millions.” The Bookseller 24 Dec. 1960: 2376.