The Puritans Gave their Children Religious Names

The Pilgrims broke away from the Church of England and the Catholic Church before embarking upon their journey to America. They had very strong religious beliefs that not only influenced their decision to leave England, but also what names to bestow upon their children.

They fled England and moved to Holland, in search of religious freedom. There, they could practice Puritanism without fear of being thrown in jail.

Unfortunately, the Puritans felt that the Dutch culture was too permissive. They were unable to adjust to Dutch culture, and found it difficult to financially support themselves. In 1620, a group of Puritans boarded the Mayflower and made a journey to America. Today, we refer to this group as the Pilgrims.

It is abundantly clear that the religious beliefs of the Puritans permeated every aspect of their lives. This includes the names they gave to their children.

The original list of passengers who were on the Mayflower in 1620 includes some Puritan sounding names.

Willam and Mary Brewster traveled with their two children. Love Brewster was born in 1611 in Holland. His brother, Wrestling was born in 1614 in Holland. The name Wrestling refers to Bible story of Jacob wrestling all night with an angel, and a reminder to always be wrestling against sin.

Humility Cooper was the daughter of Robert Cooper. She was born in 1619 in Holland. She traveled on the Mayflower with her uncle and aunt, Edward and Agnes Cooper. The name Humility is likely a virtue name – intended to set the girl apart from non-Puritans, and also to remind the child of sin and pain.

Desire Minter came onto the Mayflower in the care of the John Carver household. She would have been under 19 years of age at the time of the voyage. Her name is probably intended as a reminder to avoid giving in to desire (which was probably considered to be a sin).

Related Article on

* Pilgrim’s Journey

* Pilgrim Ships & Passengers

* The Speech or Sayings of a 17th Century Pilgrim

< Return To Blog That's interesting. Other than the name Desire I don't think any of those names get any play now a days and if you did happen to give you a kid that name I am certain the teasing would be nonstop!
Chessley James 22/11/18

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