News / Harper Beckham: traditionally a male name

Harper Beckham: traditionally a male name

12 July, 2011

The newest addition to the Beckham clan, Harper Seven Beckham, was born yesterday to much speculation about the inspiration behind the little girl’s name. Findmypast.co.uk has searched through the 1911 census and can reveal that baby Beckham is not the first to have been given the name Harper, though most people with this name 100 years ago were male.

We’ve found four female Harpers in the 1911 census, including fourteen-year-old Harper Lane. Harper was working as a Nurse and Housemaid at The Bank House in Royston, Hertfordshire – just 45 minutes away from where Victoria Beckham was born herself.

Harper Lane's 1911 census return - please click to enlarge

Harper Lane's 1911 census return - please click to enlarge

By comparison, there were 128 male Harpers in the 1911 census. It seems odd that after reportedly wanting a girl for so long, the Beckhams appear to have given their baby a traditionally male name.

What do you think of the Beckhams’ choice of name and have you found any ancestors named Harper?

  • Irene Craig

    The Harper name has come down through my family mainly on the male line since my ancestor William White married Elizabeth Harper in 1799. They named their son Thomas Harper White and we had 4 others named Thomas Harper White through out the years. On the female line we had a Emma Harper White,Elizabeth Harper White. Other family members were named Thomas Harper Lewis, Elizabeth Harper Comben,John Reginald Harper Bolingbroke and Leonard Harper French. It was always used as a middle name but helped so much with the family tree having the name Harper in there name.

  • Susannah Shepherd

    Perhaps it’s the American influence – they seem far more inclined to give traditionally male names to girls (including names like Cameron and Evan). It’s only very recently that I realised the author Harper Lee was a she, not a he!