Cooper, Hunter, Parker: Vocation Names For Boys

Cooper? Hunter? Parker?  (CC0 public domain
Cooper? Hunter? Parker? (CC0 public domain

I’m fascinated by connections between disparate things. It’s the curse of a strange mind and has gotten me into many improbable discussions. So I may not be on to anything here. But it strikes me that popular names for baby boys are increasingly names of vocations. Nearly all these occupations are obscure or long gone, so we don’t associate them with the work they once described.

Names have a powerful effect on a child’s future. I wonder if we’re unconsciously hearkening back to a time when a man was known by what he did, known for his expertise and good reputation. In a time of warp speed change and uncertainty, these are indeed strong names to send our boys into manhood.

Here’s a partial list, along with definition and popularity rank. (Keep in mind, even names without current rankings may be trending.) How many names are becoming more common among kids you know?

Baxter: bread baker
Banner: flag bearer
Barker: lumberjack, carnival announcer
Booker: book binder
Brewster: brewer

Chandler: candle maker (429)
Cooper: barrel maker (84)

Deacon: church official (441)

Ferris: iron worker
Fletcher: arrow maker, arrowsmith (790)
Foster: woodsman (937)

Gardener: gardener
Granger: farmer, overseer of farm laborers

Harper: harp musician (660)
Hunter: huntsman (36)

Jagger: wheel maker  (698)

Marshall: groomsman, farrier, high military rank (328)
Mason: brick layer, stone worker (4)
Miller: miller, mill owner (943)
Major: military rank, mayor (366)

Palmer: palm bearer, pilgrim
Parker: park guard, gamekeeper (74)
Porter: carrier of loads, gatekeeper (385)
Prentice: apprentice to tradesman
Pryor: a prior, leader of monastery

Reeve: bailiff, senior official, manager
Rex: king (632)

Sadler: saddle maker
Sawyer: wood cutter (120)
Spencer: steward, shop keeper (251)
Stewart/Stuart: steward, estate manager
Sumner: officer who summons people to court

Taylor: tailor (371)
Tanner: leather worker (197)
Thatcher: roof builder (992)
Tucker: clothing maker (180)
Turner: wood turner, wood worker (886)
Tyler: tile maker (63)

Vance: thresher (866)
Warner: warden, guard
Weaver: weaver
Wilder: woodsman

Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.