Longtime readers might remember that I’d started what I call the Sancta Nomina Sibling Project a few years ago. It was an attempt to supplement the info in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) with Catholic-specific data, and to also provide info on names that don’t have their own entries in the BNW. So far I’ve taken the information you’ve shared and combined it with my own thoughts/ideas/experiences for the names Kateri, John Paul, and T(h)eresa (all listed on this page), and it looks like I started working on a profile for Therese as well (I’ll try to finish that up soon). In light of the loss of the BNW tools on its now-defunct web site, I’m feeling inspired to start it up again. After finishing the Therese profile, I’d like to focus on Fulton, which does not have its own entry in the BNW.
According to the Social Security Administration database, Fulton was a top 1000 name for a few years early in the 20th century before dropping out of the top 1000 altogether.
Digging deeper in the most recent years, these are the number of babies given the name Fulton from 2000 through 2020:
- 2020: 69
- 2019: 65
- 2018: 34
- 2017: 53
- 2016: 42
- 2015: 35
- 2014: 55
- 2013: 28
- 2012: 30
- 2011: 24
- 2010: 14
- 2009: 14
- 2008: 11
- 2007: 9
- 2006: 12
- 2005: 19
- 2004: 13
- 2003: 15
- 2002: 9
- 2001: 10
- 2000: 18
(To go back further, go here — I used the National Data.)
It’s notable that Bishop Fulton Sheen was declared Venerable in 2012; it would be interesting to see if the numbers changed in light of his death in 1979. Also, from his first broadcast on the radio in 1926 through the many years he was on TV and until his death, his popularity in America only increased — I would imagine the name did as well (though still staying out of the top 1000, which I find strange given that it was in the top 1000 before he was ever known — does anyone know why?). I plan to look at those numbers when pulling together the info from your comments in my final “entry” on the Sibling Project page.
Fulton is a Catholic surnamey name (which, in my mind, always also includes place names, because of their usage in Saints’ names as a sort of surname: e.g., St. Catherine of Siena). However, I’ve seen parents choose Fulton who don’t otherwise seem into surnamey names, which I assume is due to the fact that, for many people, their primary familiarity with the name is only as a first name (albeit an unusual/unique one). Furthermore, Fulton wasn’t even Ven. Fulton Sheen’s given name — rather, his given name was Peter John, but he went by his mother’s maiden name, Fulton. Further further, not only is it a surname but it’s an Irish one as well. So there are a few reasons that parents might like Fulton:
- it’s an obviously Catholic name
- it’s an unusual/unique first name (per it’s most famous bearer)
- it’s actually a nickname (of sorts) (by this I mean, in the case of Ven. Fulton Sheen, it wasn’t his given name) (side note: there are actually a bunch of other famous holy people who we know almost exclusively by names other than their given names — I wrote an article with several examples not too long ago for CatholicMom)
- it’s a surname
- it’s Irish
In light of these, if you have given your son the name Fulton or plan to/thought about/have it on your list of serious considerations, which of the reasons listed above fit your reasons? More than one or none at all are totally fine — and if your reason isn’t listed above, please share what your reason(s) is/are?
And I’m eager to hear anything else you know about the name Fulton! Specifically, if you know someone named Fulton (your own child or someone else’s), what are his brothers’ and sisters’ names? What names (boy names and girl names) do you consider to be stylistically similar to Fulton (from a Catholic perspective)? Also, I did a post on nicknames for Fulton over five years ago — I’m sure at this point there are more! Please share the nicknames you’ve heard, or those you think could work!
I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)
For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!