How popular is the baby name Stephen 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 Stephen.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Stephen


Posts that Mention the Name Stephen

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 Quotes #101: Nick, Nylic, Honeysuckle

Singer/rapper Lil Nas X talking about his birth name [vid], Montero Hill, on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in early 2021:

Jimmy: So, where does Montero come from?

Nas: Ok, it’s slightly embarrassing, but not embarrassing. So my mom wanted the car, the Montero, you know? And she never got one…

Jimmy: What’s a Montero?

Nas: It’s a Mitsubishi. So, yeah, I’m named after a car.

From the 2004 book The Agassi Story, in which Andre Agassi‘s father, Emanoul, recounts renting a room on his first night in America (after emigrating from Armenia):

“Name?” asked the clerk.

Names are so important; they have so much to do with an individual’s personality, with what kind of person he or she becomes. Take the name Phil. Have you ever met a Phil who wasn’t easygoing? My oldest son is named Phil, Phillip, and that’s just what he is: Easygoing. Or consider the name Andre. It’s an aggressive name, a flamboyant name, and that’s just how my son Andre turned out to be.

So I thought a moment, and answered “Mike Agassi.” Mike was a simple name and I liked it. It sounded American. Honorable. More importantly, it was a name I could spell.

From an article about professional baseball player Nick Solak in the Dallas News:

Nick Solak is named after a sports bar.

[…]

Back in the 1980s, Nick’s Sports Page sat on the triangular plot of land where Chicago Road and Lincoln Avenue intersected in Dolton, Ill., one of those working-class suburbs on the South Side of Chicago. The exterior featured shaker shingles, chocolate-stained diagonal sheathing and baseball bats for door handles. On Feb. 5, 1985, it hosted Carlton Fisk Night, where patrons could meet the White Sox catcher, whose work ethic screamed South Sider, even if he actually grew up in New England.

Nobody recalls if South Siders Mark Solak or Roseann, née Pawlak, took home Fisk’s autograph, but they did take home each other’s phone numbers. Four years later, they were married. And when they were about to start a family in 1995, Nick — OK, officially, Nicholas — was the clear choice for a boy. They both liked the name. Plus, it had sentimental value as a nod to their South Side roots.

From a 2013 article about actress Honeysuckle Weeks in the Independent:

With the names Honeysuckle Weeks and Charity Wakefield starring in the UK premiere production of These Shining Lives directed by Loveday Ingram, you can only imagine what rehearsals are like. It sounds as if they should all be in a Jilly Cooper novel – not a hard-hitting play about employees’ rights in the workplace.

From the book Strange Fascination (2012) by David Buckley, the story of how singer David Bowie (born David Jones) chose his stage name:

‘Bowie’, pronounced by the man himself and all his ‘die-hard’ fans to rhyme with ‘slowie’, as opposed to ‘wowie!’ as used by most ‘casual fans’ and chat-show presenters, was chosen for its connection with the Bowie knife. Jim Bowie (pronounced to rhyme with ‘phooey’) was a Texan adventurer who died at the Alamo in 1836, and carried a single-bladed hunting knife. Bowie’s description of why he chose the name is typically highly ambiguous. In the 70s, Bowie proclaimed that the knife signalled a desire to cut through lies to reveal hidden truths (a highly ironic comment, [given] Bowie’s capacity for deceit), while in a recent Radio 1 interview he said that he liked the connotations of a blade being sharpened from both sides, a signifier for all sorts of ambiguities. In fact, the Bowie knife has only one cutting edge, and is not double-bladed. This mistaken belief was held not just by Bowie, but by William Burroughs too. The choice of stage name nevertheless indicated a sense of being able to cut both ways, perfect for the pluralistic 60s. The name also derived, despite its association with Americana (a connection the English David was obviously happy about, his whole career musically being an English take on a largely American form), from a Scottish heritage, and Bowie quite liked that regional distinctiveness, too.

From a 2004 article about the usage of brand names as personal names in the Baltimore Sun:

When Virginia Hinton, a professor emeritus at Kennesaw State University, was researching a book on the history of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Milledgeville, Ga., she came across a girl named Nylic who was born around 1900. Nylic’s mother was an organist at the church, and her father was the local representative for the New York Life Insurance Co. — abbreviated NYLIC.

Where did the baby name Mako come from?

Actor Mako in the musical "Pacific Overtures" (1976).
Mako in “Pacific Overtures

The curious name Mako debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1977:

  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 5 baby boys named Mako [debut]
  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: unlisted

Why?

The influence seems to be Japanese-American actor Makoto Iwamatsu (1933-2006), who was usually credited mononymously as “Mako.”

He’d been appearing in films and on TV since the late ’50s, but in the mid-’70s he starred in the Broadway musical Pacific Overtures (1976) by Stephen Sondheim. His portrayal of several characters in the play earned him a Tony nomination for ‘Best Actor in a Musical.’

In one 1976 newspaper interview, he described the origin of his stage name:

I picked up the single name of Mako when I was in basic training [U.S. Army] in South Carolina. The sergeant could never pronounce my name correctly at mail call. On principle, I never answered.

Next he tried calling me Shorty. When that didn’t work, he finally shouted: ‘Hey, you damn Yankee.’ That was the first time I really felt like an American. That broke the ice. We compromised, and I agreed to answer to Mako.

In Mako’s case, the first name Makoto is written with a kanji character that means “sincerity” in Japanese.

What are your thoughts on the name Mako?

Sources:

  • Lewis, Emory. “Asians can act, too: Mako.” Record [Hackensack, NJ] 4 Apr. 1976: 58.
  • Mako – Wikipedia

Babies Named for Sailing Ships (S)

The people below were born aboard — and named after! — ships with S-names…

  • Samuel Plimsoll:
    • John Braden Plimsoll Eyre, born in 1875
  • Saraca:
    • Alice Saraca Cross, born in 1877
  • Saracen:
    • Kathleen Saracen Leboeuf, born in 1877
  • Sardinian:
    • William Sardinian Gorman, born in 1857
    • Jane Sardinian Sinclair, born in 1877
  • Sarmatian:
    • Minnie Aird Sarmatia Kealey, born in 1876
  • Sarnia:
    • Sophia Sarnia Yeates, born in 1884
  • Scawfell:
    • Thomas Scawfell Appleby, born in 1874
  • Scandia:
    • Scandia Marta Steiner, born in 1892
  • Scotia:
    • Henry Scotia Steer, born in 1875
  • Scottish Admiral:
    • Charles Louis Admiral Brown, born in 1882
    • Admiral John Kerr Stuart, born in 1883
  • Scottish Hero:
    • Thomas Hero Kelly, born in 1876
    • Elizabeth Jane Hero Fram, born in 1879
  • Scythia:
    • Francis Scythia Cogan, 1889
  • Sepia:
    • Sarah Sepia Parrott, born in 1875
  • Servia:
    • Edith Florence Servia Mace, born in 1890
    • Helena Servia Pedersen, born in 1889
  • Shalimar:
    • Anna Shalimar Rose, born in 1863
  • Shannon:
    • Henry Shannon Smith, born in 1865
    • Annie Shannon McMinn, born in 1883
  • Sherwood:
    • Mary Sherwood Brocklebank, born in 1885
  • Siberian:
    • Robert Shaw Siberian Thomson, born in 1885
  • Sierra Colonna:
    • Sierra Colonna Wildridge, born in 1879
  • Simiote:
    • Cleopatra Simiote Constatino, born in 1883
  • Sirius:
    • John Sirius Hallam, born in 1886
  • Sirsa:
    • Sirsa James Attree, born in 1884
  • Smyrna:
    • Smyrna Jane Hollow, born in 1878
  • Sobraon:
    • May Kyle Sobraon Heron, born in 1867
    • Amy Sobraon Petty, born in 1883
  • Somersetshire:
    • Arthur Somerset Hunter, born in 1879
  • Sorata:
    • Sorata Mary Josephine Schabinger, born in 1884
  • Southern Belle:
    • Belle Glenfield, born in 1874
  • Southesk:
    • Jennie Southesk Bell, born in 1878
    • Alexander Southesk McKenzie, born in 1882
  • Spain:
    • William Grace Spain Jackson, born in 1872
    • Grace Spain Bennett, born in 1882
    • Agnes Spain Gacek, born in 1883
  • Star of India:
    • William Star Bohlsen, born in 1877
  • Star Queen:
    • John Star Pritchard, born in 1873
  • State of Alabama:
    • James Alabama Murkussen, born in 1886
  • State of Florida:
    • Florida Wolkow, born in 1882
  • State of Indiana:
    • Sarah Findley Sadler Indiana Fleming, born in 1881
    • Alexandrine Ivan Indiana Schwartz, born in 1890
    • Georgina Klara Indiana Kriskick, born in 1891
  • St. Clair:
    • Robert Nisbet St. Clair Gill, born in 1885
    • Helen St Clair Higgie, born in 1886
  • St. George:
    • Catherine St. George Dobson, born in 1864
  • St. Kilda:
    • Helena Kilda Atkins, born in 1876
  • St. Patrick:
    • John Stephen Sneddon Patrick Dempster, born in 1871
  • Strathleven:
    • Ann Strathleven Proudlock, born in 1879
  • Suffolk:
    • Grace Suffolk Liddendale Hornell, born in 1866
  • Sultana:
    • Marie Sultana Bartram, born in 1859
  • Surrey:
    • Surrey Bloh, born in 1882
  • Sweden:
    • Erick Donald Sweden Jonasson, born in 1870
  • Sydenham:
    • Bernard Sydenham Berry, born in 1881
    • Humphrey Sydenham Heron, born in 1881
    • Sydenham Roberts, born in 1883

Do you think any of the ship names above work particularly well as human names?

Source: FamilySearch.org

Babies Named for Sailing Ships (R)

The people below were born aboard — and named after! — ships with R-names…

  • Raglan:
    • George Raglan Wilson, born in 1858
  • Rakaia:
    • Ann Rakaia Hoberfield, born in 1874
    • Albert Rakaia Dillon, born in 1874
  • Rajasthan:
    • Blythe Atkinson Rajasthan Malcahey, born in 1854
    • Lydia Eliza Rajasthan Rogers, born in 1854
  • Ramsey:
    • Florence Ramsey Hickman, born in 1873
    • Stephen Abbott Ramsey Johnson, born in 1873
  • Rathlin:
    • Alexander Rathlin Cunningham, born in 1879
  • Ravensdale:
    • Norman Ravensdale Smith, born in 1887
  • Remington:
    • Jane Remington Moore, born in 1877
  • Renown:
    • Edwin Renown Chillman, born in 1864
  • Restoria:
    • John Restoria Hamilton, born in 1875
  • Rialto:
    • Rialto Strick, born in 1883
  • Rimutaka:
    • Henry Rimutaka Wilson, born in 1886
  • Rinaldo:
    • William Rinaldo Lawn, born in 1869
    • Hewy Arthur Rinaldo Cox, born in 1869
  • Roma:
    • Roma Douglas Titel Ziell, born in 1882
    • Roma Brown, born in 1883
    • May Roma Kirk, born in 1883
    • Bessie Roma Taylor, born in 1883
  • Roman:
    • Annie Roman McNebo, born in 1887
  • Romsdal:
    • William Romsdal Osborn, born in 1883
  • Rooparell:
    • John Rooparell McGahan, born in 1874
    • J. P. Rooperell Fuller, born in 1874
  • Rosebud:
    • Rosebud Collie, born in 1883
  • Roseneath:
    • Janet Roseneath Gibson, born in 1876
  • Royal Charter:
    • Charterina Campbell, born in 1857
    • Royal Charter Bertha Parl, born in 1858

Do you think any of the ship names above work particularly well as human names?

Source: FamilySearch.org