Skip to main content

Don't Call Me Ishmael: Religious Naming Among Protestants and Catholics in the United States

Buy Article:

$43.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

We explore whether first names of religious origin continue to have religious connotations for Protestants and Catholics in a U.S. culture where naming is largely secularized. We use 1994 General Social Survey data to examine several questions: (1) whether there are Protestant-Catholic differences in broad categories of names (Old Testament, New Testament, saints, etc.); (2) whether worship attendance predicts the likelihood that Protestant and Catholic parents select categories of names corresponding to their respective traditions; and (3) whether worship attendance predicts selection of specific names that are disproportionately common within Protestantism and Catholicism (without regard to the broader categories). Results show some expected Protestant-Catholic differences in the frequency of name categories. However, there is no relationship between parental worship attendance and the likelihood of choosing these categories, suggesting that differences cannot be explained by religious motivations. In contrast, worship attendance does increase Catholics' likelihood of choosing specific names that are disproportionately common within their tradition. This suggests that committed Catholics perceive certain names as “Catholic” and represents one instance in which names do retain religious connotations for believers. We are aware of no previous research that has established such a link between parental religious commitment and naming.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Publication date: 2004-06-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more