Popular Baby Names From the Pilgrim Days

Yes, most of the 102 Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 and celebrated the first harvest feast in Plymouth were named John and William and Mary and Elizabeth, but there were some unique appellations on the passenger list as well.  Here are some of the most interesting.  

Bartholomew Allerton arrived on the Mayflower at the age of seven or eight with his parents, Isaac and Mary and a brother named Remember; he later returned to England. New Testament name Bartholomew, one of the 12 Apostles, has been rarely used in modern times, but could get some attention as one of the newly trending long names.

Constance Hopkins was 14 when she arrived on the Mayflower with her family in 1620. A virtue name that doesn’t sound like a virtue name, Constance was a popular choice from the 1930s to fifties—Number 82 in 1942—but nickname Connie has stood in the way of a revival.

Damaris Hopkins came on the Mayflower at the age of two with her parents, Stephen and Elizabeth. Another rarely used New Testament name, Damaris saw some use a few decades ago, possibly via supermodel Damaris Lewis. An interesting, offbeat biblical choice.

Giles Hopkins came with his family on the Mayflower at the age of 12. Pronounced Jiles, this neglected British-accented name was in the US Top 500 at the turn of the last century but hasn’t been heard since around 1950.

Jasper More was only 7 when he tragically died onboard the Mayflower anchored in Provincetown Harbor. The charming name Jasper has been scooting up the charts and is now Number 218 nationally and an astonishing Number 11 on Nameberry.

Love Brewster, born in Holland, came to Plymouth on the Mayflower when he was about 9; he later volunteered for the militia under Captain Myles Standish. Though this is a word name with a feminine vibe, Love could make an endearing middle for a boy as well.

Myles Standish, one of the most famous of the colonists, selected the site where the Pilgrims would settle and held a number of positions of authority. An alternate spelling of the popular Miles (#108), Myles was used for their sons by Eddie Murphy, Sherilyn Fenn, Lars Ulrich—and Marlon Brando.

Oceanus Hopkins was born on the Mayflower during the voyage. Giving a child a unique name like Oceanus, commemorating a major event surrounding the birth was not unheard of, even at a time when most names were either inherited, Biblical or royal. Oceanus makes a distinctive Latinate spin on the growing-in-popularity Ocean.

Peregrine White was an in utero passenger, born on board the ship when anchored in Provincetown Harbor, making him the first Englishman born in New England. Peregrine is an elegant, aristocratic, literary name liked well enough on Nameberry to reach Number 448.

Priscilla Mullins, later wife of John Alden, is known in literary history as the unrequited love of Myles/Miles Standish in the Longfellow poem The Courtship of Miles Standish.  Though sounding somewhat prissy, Priscilla has always managed to hold a place in the Top 500, reaching a high of 127 in 1940. It’s the name of Mrs. Facebook, Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg.

Probably the most feasible of the word names on the list, particularly in middle place. Other Mayflower passenger word names not so wearable today: Humility, Desire and Resolved.

Susanna White, the mother of Resolved and Peregrine, whose marriage to her second husband Edward Winslow was the first wedding at Plymouth; she was one of only four adult women surviving to see the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth. Spelled with or without a final H, Susanna is one of the loveliest of girl classics. —Linda Rosenkrantz, Nameberry

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