Beyond John and Priscilla: Surprising Names of the Mayflower Pilgrims

Filed under: Holidays, Baby Names

Looking for creative baby name ideas?

You could flip through an atlas, check tonight's reality TV listings or even browse the models at your local car dealership. Chances are, though, that even at Thanksgiving time you won't be tempted to search the passenger manifest of the good ship Mayflower. Most parents today give 17th-century style a pass. After all, of the 74 men aboard the Mayflower, 16 were named John.

Perhaps you should think again. Centuries before anybody thought to turn Heaven inside out and make Nevaeh, the Pilgrims were dishing out creative, spiritual "meaning" names. Nestled among the Mayflower's familiar classics you'll find names so unusual they'd stand out even in today's anything-goes playgrounds.

Here's a lineup of genuine pilgrim names that go way beyond John and Priscilla. You can consider them as creative ideas for your own Thanksgiving baby -- or at least scare your relatives with the prospect:
The Voyagers

Two baby boys were born on board the Mayflower, and both were christened in honor of the voyage: Oceanus (in ancient times, the name of a vast body of water thought to encircle the world) and Peregrine (meaning wandering or migrating, from the Latin for traveler). Modern counterparts: Journey, Destiny

The Modest Virtues
These are the names with the most distinctive Pilgrim style: Resolved, Humility and Remember. A name like Remember sounds androgynous today, but in the 17th century, Resolved was consistently male, Humility and Remember consistently female. Modern counterparts: Serenity, Sincere

The Not-So Modest Virtues
They may have sounded pious in the Pilgrims' time, but a son named Love and a daughter named Desire would come across rather differently today. Modern counterparts: Cherish, Bliss

The Macho
The name Wrestling was short for "Wrestling with God." Is there any tougher way to show your devotion? Modern counterparts: Blaze, Gunner

Do you like names that are uncommon, or trendy? Share your experiences! And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

Related: Old-Fashioned Names: Good or Bad?


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.