Hello everyone and happy Thanksgiving! Today I'm excited to be sharing an article with you that I've wanted to do for a long time! I am a history lover as well as a name lover and it's always wonderful when those two loves coincide! The story of the Mayflower passengers fascinates me (you can read my review of the documentary Desperate Crossing: the Untold Story of the Mayflower on boundlessadventure.xyz) and so do their names! This isn't a comprehensive list, just a list of names that stuck out to me. There were multiple Johns, Williams, Edwards, Marys and Elizabeths that I didn't include. You can read the full passenger list and learn more about each person at mayflowerhistory.com.
Bartholomew Allerton was the son of Isaac and Mary Allerton. He was less than 10 years old when the Mayflower landed on America's shores in 1620. Bartholomew is of course a biblical name (the name of one of Jesus's 12 apostles), which were exceedingly common at the time. Biblical names are still popular but Bartholomew is not currently in the United States top 1000.
Degory (possibly spelled Digory) Priest was the uncle of the Bartholomew Allerton above. If Degory is another spelling of Digory, then it likely comes from Cornish and means "stout and firm". I personally much prefer the Digory spelling, and it is that spelling that C.S. Lewis uses in his Chronicles of Narnia series.
Not much is known about Mayflower passenger Elias Story. He did not sign the Mayflower Compact, suggesting that he was possibly younger than 18 or 21. Elias is a variation on Elijah. Elijah is currently the 11th most popular boys name in the United States and Elias is #100.
Francis was the name of three Mayflower passengers: young Francis Billington (about 14 years old when they landed), Francis Eaton, and Francis Cooke. Francis Cooke appears to be a member of the separatist group seeking religious freedom that we tend to think of when we think of "the pilgrims", with Francis Eaton it is unclear, but the Billington family were not members of the separatist group. There are accounts that Francis Billington nearly sank the ship while they were at Provincetown Harbor by firing a gun too close to an uncovered barrel of gunpowder, setting fire to a cabin. Though not nearly as popular as it must have been in their day, Francis is on the rise. It was #482 for boys is 2015.
Gilbert Winslow was the brother of prominent settler Edward Winslow. He lived in America for a time but later returned to England and died there. Another fun fact about the Winslow brothers: their mother's name was Magdalene, a name that I love! Gilbert is also a very handsome name with lots of appeal, even though it lingers towards the bottom of the U.S. top 1000 list at #983.
Giles Hopkins was the son of Stephen Hopkins and step-son of Elizabeth Hopkins. He would have been 12 or 13 when they arrived in America. Even though rhyming Miles is rising in popularity, Giles is not in the U.S. top 1000.
Not too much is known about Jasper More. The name Jasper is an excellent one, however and is currently at #215 in the United States.
Love is the sort of antiquated virtue name we tend to think of when we think of the so-called pilgrims. Love Brewster (who was about 9 years old while on the Mayflower) was the son (yes, son, I'm sure) of esteemed elder William Brewster and had siblings named Patience, Wrestling, Fear---- and Jonathan. He even named a son after his brother Wrestling (though he stuck to fairly conventional names otherwise). I'm not sure we will ever see Love become popular as a first name for boys or girls, but I think it would make a very sweet middle name.
Moses Fletcher had a wife and ten children, but he traveled alone on the Mayflower. He would have been in his 60's during the Mayflower voyage. Several of his children would have already been adults and some had already married into Dutch families while the separatist group was living in Holland. It's been speculated that Moses Fletcher's wife might have already passed away and that's why he traveled alone. Moses, of course, is a prominent Bible figure and I would presume that it was a much more common name back then than it is today. Moses is currently at #471, nowhere near as popular as Noah or Elijah, but not doing too bad either.
Myles Standish was a soldier hired by the pilgrims to be their military captain and help keep them safe from any potential threat. He was involved in keeping the law in Plymouth colony, and took on other roles as well. The name Miles (which means "soldier") has become quite popular in the United States and is currently at #107 with the Miles spelling. Myles is somewhat less popular at #223, but still fairly well used. You can checkout Myles Standish's signature here on mayflowerhistory.com.
Oceanus Hopkins was the famous child of Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins who was born while the Mayflower was in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. I love that they chose such a commemorative name for him! Choosing a name for a child based off the circumstances of their birth was not uncommon back then. The Hopkins family were not members of the separatist group or the name Oceanus might strike me as just a little bit too pagan for their particularly strict religious beliefs, as the name Oceanus comes from Greek mythology. I think Oceanus is a fascinating name and I love its sound! It's not popular at all in the United States, and it's unlikely that it ever will be. We have seen Ocean as a celebrity baby name before and even though I personally like it much less than Oceanus, I think Ocean has a lot more potential in today's naming culture.
Peregrine White was the other baby born while onboard the Mayflower. HE was born while they were at the Provincetown Harbor. The name Peregrine fittingly means "pilgrim" or "traveller" in Latin. This name is not popular at all today and not found in the U.S. top 1000. I have heard of it being used, though. Today it is most commonly associated with the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, whose character Peregrine "Pippin" Took is feature in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This would be a great choice for travel (and Tolkien) loving parents looking for a name that's under the radar. The nicknames Perry, Reg, Pippin, and Pip all help to make Peregrine appealing!
Resolved White, older brother of Peregrine White was a very young child when he sailed with his mother and father on the Mayflower, maybe even as young as 5. The name Resolved certainly has the old Puritan feel that we would associate with the Mayflower passengers. I don't think that Resolved would be to the taste of many people today, but I personally love a good spiritual word name! I would probably only consider using Resolved in the middle name spot but I do really like it! A fun fact: Resolved's father was named William and William is sometimes translated as "resolute protection". See the connection? I doubt it was intentional, but it's still really cool!
Solomon Prower was unmarried and traveled alone on the Mayflower. The name Solomon is now on the rise again along with other Old Testament names like Noah, Elijah, and Abraham that also went through a period of disuse. I personally love the name Solomon! I love the biblical writings of King Solomon and I love that Solomon means peace.
Wrestling Brewster was the brother of Love Brewster who also traveled on the Mayflower (see above). Wrestling might seem like an odd name choice, especially for the highly religious separatist group Wrestling's father William Brewster was a leader in. I've always interpreted it as a nod to the meaning of the important name Israel that is given in the Bible, "wrestles with God". Again, it's unlikely to be a name most modern parents would find appealing, but I personally find it intriguing (though not enough to consider using myself).
Agnes Tilley traveled on the Mayflower with her husband Edward, her nephew Henry Samson, and her niece Humility Cooper. Agnes is a Greek name that means "pure". It's definitely fallen out of favor but I can see it coming back into fashion with other "old-ladyish" names.
Alice Mullins was the wife of William Mullins, but beyond that there is little known about her. The name Alice is enjoying some popularity again right now and is currently #87 in the U.S.
Constance Hopkins traveled on the Mayflower with many members of her family, including her father Stephen and her step-mother Elizabeth, who gave birth to baby Oceanus Hopkins while on board. The name Constance definitely has an old-ladyish feel to it, but those sort of names are coming back into fashion so we may see Constance rise, especially with the nickname Connie.
Damaris Hopkins was the sister of Constance, Giles, and Oceanus Hopkins who was about age two when she traveled with her family on the Mayflower. The name Damaris is a rare Old Testament girls name that desperately deserves a comeback! It's one of my favorite biblical girls names.
Desire Minter traveled without any of her imediate family on the Mayflower and was likely a teenager. She returned to England within the first three years. The name Desire may sound sultry to us but it likely had different connotations to the very religious seperatists, more like a desire to be godly or a desire to do good.
Dorothy Bradford was the wife of William Bradford, who wrote many accounts of the colonists experiences and eventually became the govorner. I was shocked to find the name Dorothy in the top 1000 (#714), even though I'd heard rumors of its comeback in the baby name community. What I like best about the name Dorothy is that it means "gift of God", one of my favorite name meanings.
Eleanor Billington traveled on the Mayflower with her husband John, and two sons, John and Francis. The name Eleanor is a lovely name with a robust history that I'm happy to see enjoying some popularity again (#60 in 2015). The name Eleanor has a long and complicated history and a disputed meaning (I'm sticking with the variation of the Greek Helen, meaning "light" theory). What's not disputed is that it is a well-loved name in English history and well-loved by parents today!
Humility Cooper came on the Mayflower as a baby in care of her aunt Alice Tilley. Humility has a lovely sound to it and was a very fitting virtue name in their society. In all honesty, in our modern culture, I'd be less surprised to meet a baby named Pride than a baby named Humility. If you read the Dear America book that was a fictionalized account of a fictional Mayflower passenger, you might recall that there was a little girl named Humility in the story who went by "Hummy".
Pricilla Mullins traveled on the Mayflower along with her mother, father and brother. She was about 18 years old at the time. Priscilla is one of my personal favorite biblical girls names because of the strong example of Priscilla in the New Testament, a woman Priscilla Mullins parents were likely fond of as well. Priscilla is currently hovering right in the middle of the U.S. popularity charts at #502.
Remember Allerton was about five years old when she made the trip across the ocean with her family. If you read the Dear America books growing up, you know that the fictional diary of the girl on the Mayflower was written by a "Remember Patience Whipple", who often went by "Mem". It's worth noting that none of the passenger seem to have middle names. Remember is probably my favorite girls name on this list! I love a good spiritual word name! Nicknames like Ember, Mem , and Remy make Remember totally usable in my opinion!
Rose Standish was the wife of Myles Standish, the soldier hired as a military adviser. They married not too long before making this journey. Rose is a name heard over and over again in the middle name spot these days, but not nearly as often in the first name spot. It truly is a lovely flower name and should be given more of a chance to come first instead of second!
Susanna White traveled on the Mayflower with her husband William White and their young son Resolved. She gave birth to another son Peregrine while on board the Mayflower. Susanna is another one of my personal favorite biblical girls names, though I prefer the Susannah spelling. The only form of Susanna that's in the top 1000 is Susan at #929. I think Susanna/Susannah's comeback is long overdue!
Well, that's my list of names from the Mayflower passenger list! I encourage you to visit mayflowerhistory.com and learn more about these people and check out the other names on the list! My very favorites from this list are Resolved, Solomon, Elias, Oceanus, Peregrine and Jasper for boys and Remember, Susanna, Damaris, Priscilla, Humility and Eleanor for girls. It was hard to narrow it down!
Please tell me your favorites in the comments or any that really stuck out to you!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Dear America: A Journey to the New World, Diary of Remember Patience Whipple
Love Cheap books? I do! Thriftbooks is awesome!