Most Amish parents have large families which consist of up to twelve babies. Many Amish parents have to choose a name over twelve times before the family is complete, and one cannot help but wonder how they do it.
The first six names are usually the first to come up with at the start since the Amish start naming their babies after the child's grandparents on both sides of the family.
The next in line to be named after are the baby's aunties and uncles, the family's favorites. In most cases, the children are only given the first name and use an initial as a middle name. This middle name initial is usually taken from the father's or mother's first name.
Within some communities where only single first names are used, the names are repeated from generation to generation. With this, the parents' result is adding extra initials in place of the middle names.
Because Amish communities follow traditional rules, some communities still forbid the use of middle names, but in recent years, some sects have removed this restriction.
In fact, many Amish today are allowed to choose any name that they find pleasing to name their kids. Baby name meanings have no significance in the Amish communities, and they choose names because they are good names and not necessarily because they are Bible names.
The Amish community has a handful of male and female names that they commonly use and are considered a token. You will most likely find certain names within the Amish community which has been widely used.
Amish First Male Names
The name John is very common in the Amish community. The name has its roots in the Bible with reference to John the Baptist, who was the cousin to Jesus.
John the Baptist superseded Jesus, and he baptized him. Due to this, many men in Amish history are called John. The habit of Amish naming their children after their grandparents has made the name very common even with young Amish today.
When the name "John" is combined with a last name like "Yoder," the name will be stereotypical to the Amish. The name John is so common within the Amish communities that the derogatory name "Yonies" was given to the Amish men.
After John, the next common name is Amos. Amos is used in reference to the Old Testament's Prophet of God.
This name is historically used in the Amish community and is found in many families within the community.
Amos was initially a Hebrew name and meant strong or borne to God. The old Amish may have chosen it due to its Biblical reference, but the recent parents probably named their kids Amos after their grandparents or great-grandparents.
The community understands the significance of the name Amos because he was one of the first prophets before Jesus to speak against the wealth disparity between the rich and the poor.
Eli is a Biblical name that is found in many cultures in the world. More commonly, it is found within the Amish community.
The name Eli mostly reflects the reverence someone should have for God within the Amish community, as it promises spiritual growth. Bey, the name Eli is an admission of sin in the human experience and
The name Uri is practically unique to the Amish community. This name is not to be confused with the Russian name Yuri as it is entirely different.
Many concepts in history have inspired the use of the name Uri, but the Amish inspiration is from the Bible. In the Bible, the name is mentioned severally with the English meaning of illumination or light.
The Uri named in the Bible was from the tribe of Judah and was one of Jacob's sons. The Amish name their kids Uri with reference to the member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The name Samuel is also very common within the Amish community and references a highly influential figure in the Bible.
Samuel was influential in the political formation of a kingdom that was formed under Saul to David. He was regarded as a seer or a king-maker as he established the Israelite Kingdom.
Christians, Muslims, and Jews highly esteem Samuel as an equal to Moses. The Amish also regard him as a pillar of strength and devotion against any opposition.
Other common Amish male first names include Levi, Moses, Adam, and many others. Despite the Biblical reference to many names, the Amish do not use the name Jesus because they agree that there is only one Jesus and it is not possible to have a better Jesus. The name is the left to belong to the son of God only.
Amish First Female Names
Like male names, most Amish female names come from the Bible. The names are in every Amish generation over hundreds of years. Also, Amish female names are named in no particular order, although some names are more common than others.
But since an Amish family has an average of five children, some of the names are borrowed from relatives like grandmothers or great-grandmothers.
It can become challenging for parents to look for more names after the fifth child and decide to name them randomly. When it comes to Amish naming, there is very little innovation, and it is very unlikely to find modern trending names in the Amish community.
Since Amish communities do not have internet gadgets to google baby names, they tend to keep reusing the previous names.
Due to the interaction of the Amish with other non-Amish communities, Amish people have adopted other words that are pleasing to their ears.
Although most of the names come from the Bible, other popular names are associated with the origins of the Old Amish people. Names like Mildred, Karen, Arleta, and Barbara are some names that originate from Greek or German words. Here are some of the most common Amish female names:
Sarah is the most common name among Amish women.
The name comes from the Bible as Abraham's wife. Abraham is considered the father of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism; thereby, Sarah is regarded as the mother.
In Hebrew, Sarah means a princess or noblewoman. However, since Amish are opposed to having pride, the Hebrew meaning is not the inspiration behind the name. In the Amish community, the name is inspired by the bible character Sarah.
Linda is a common name, although it is non-biblical in Amish circles. Since the name has been tracked to more than one origin, its origin is not exact.
The name is associated with Teutonic, an Old German word meaning 'soft.' Also, the name Linda harkens back to lime trees (a German word) which may have been a popular inspiration for Amish first names.
Regardless of its non-biblical origin, Linda is among the most famous names in Amish communities.
The name Mary is biblically inspired, as Mary is most known as the mother of Jesus.
Christian denominations, including Amish, have widely adopted the name. The name is popular in the Amish community cause of its powerful nature.
Elizabeth is a biblical name. Elizabeth is evident in several people in the Bible, including John the Baptist's mother and Aaron's wife.
Its history makes it more impactful, just like Mary. However, Elizabeth is considered a silent character in the Bible as they are associated with their husband and children.
Despite their silent context, Elizabeth is a popular female name among the Amish community.
Rebecca is a biblical name that can be connected to various translations like "to bind," "to tie firmly," "noose," "moderator," and "to captivate."
These translations originate from the original Hebrew. In the Bible, Rebecca originates from Isaac's wife. The name is common in the Amish community.
Emma is a non-biblical name traced back to German roots like Linda. Emma originates from the German name ermen, which means "universal" or "whole."
German women whose names had the word were popularly nicknamed Emma.
In the Amish community, the name is connected to the German-borne Amish. Since its origin in Germany, the name has stayed relevant in the Amish community.
Hannah is a biblical name associated with the Book of Samuel. Hannah is the mother of Samuel, a revered prophet. In Hebrew, the word means "favor" or "grace."
With a stronger reference to the Bible, Hanna is a translation of the word Grace, making the word a popular choice in the Amish community.
Leah, in the Bible, was the sister of Rachael, also married to Jacob. However, Leah was the less loved wife as she was mistakenly married to Jacob, who wanted Rachel instead.
This caused an enmity between the two sisters due to their marital status rights. Although the name is popular in the Amish community, polygamy practices are prohibited in the Amish community.
However, the legacy of Leah as an active, hardworking, patient, active, woman is still well and alive in the Amish community.