Thursday, December 25, 2008

Herod and Jesus

Today is the day when Christians the world over celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I may not be a Christian, but I have nothing against presents and cookies, so I'll be spending the holiday with family.

Although Jesus is currently the 77th most popular boys' name in America, it is practically absent from the US Census before the 1850 census (there are hundreds of Americans named Jesus after the inclusion of the Southwestern territories and California). On the other hand, Herod was not an unheard of name during the first half century after the establishment of the republic.

This festive graph shows the incidence of the two names in the Federal Census between 1790 and 1840:
Some of the Herods have nice, Christmas-y names, including Herod Stocking of Monroe, Illinois and Herod Christian of Stock, Ohio.
Also noteworthy: Herod Swindle of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and his brother, Wylie Swindle:
So, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and a special hello to all the Herods out there.

3 comments:

RJO said...

Are there any Judases?

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

Quite a few. There are 35 in the 1850 census, including Judas Fox (New York), Judas Coy (Ohio), Judas Thorn (New York), and Judas Wolfe (Illinois).

The only U.S. citizen I've found named Judas Iscariot is Judas Iscariot Upton, born in San Diego, CA on January 4, 1951.

RMG said...

Herod Agrippa was chill as heck in the BBC I, Claudius.