Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Presidential Names #1

As the race for the 2016 election revs up, I've decided to devote two Throwback Thursdays to presidential baby names. While it's also probable that the presidents' first names were given a boost during or after their terms, I'll be focusing on presidential last names found in the 2014 top 1000.

I've decided to go in chronological order, so none of the names this week have correlating data (Grant was president until 1877, three years before the top 1000 data began to be collected). November 5th, we'll be able to see if presidential terms line up with popularity - stay tuned!

#609 - Jefferson 
As the Jeffrey's of yesteryear become fathers and grandfathers, Jefferson might be a great way to honor a paternal relative. Sure, the nickname Jeff could still be used, but why not try Sonny to ensure some uniqueness? Jefferson has been hanging low on the list for awhile, but it's a well-established formal name that deserves some use. 

#9 - Madison
While this name is connected more to the movie Splash than the fourth president, Madison is much more than a trend. It was a well-used name for boys between 1880 and 1940, returning briefly in the 1990's. I think the name still works for any gender - see the above nickname Sonny - but the girls have claimed Madison wholeheartedly for the time being. 

#787 - Monroe
This name has gotten a lot of buzz recently, with a few celebrities choosing Monroe for their daughters. Like Madison, it was on the list for boys for awhile but dropped off in the 1970's. Another multi-gender name, it's connected to the Roe river in Ireland, and might be a great heritage choice. Check out Monroe's write-up in Nameberry's Hello, Baby! O-Ending Surname Names for Girls.

#17 - Jackson
With Jack, Jaxon and Jaxson following Jackson on the top 1000, it seems that parents are more interested in the sound of the name over the connection to Andrew Jackson. Jack was originally a nickname for John, but has now created a class all its own. Jackson has been steeply climbing upwards since the 1990's, and I don't expect it to drop anytime soon. 

#127 - Harrison
The popularity of movie star Harrison Ford pushed this name back up the charts through the 1980's and 1990's, but this name has never left the top 1000. The name started climbing again around the time Showtime's serial killer Dexter named his son Harrison after his father, Harry. It's got multiple positive connotations and some great nicknames, so Harrison will definitely stick around. 

#72 - Tyler
This trend of the 1990's is finally starting to disappear - for the boys, at least. I think the girls could claim Tyler due to its similarity with Taylor and Skyler. Ty, Tyson, Tyrone, and Tyree are moving up the list with a fresher sound, too. I'd skip this name and look for something more unique. 

#77 - Taylor
Another name originally for boys overtaken by the girls, Taylor reached its peak in the 1990's and has started to fall back down the list. Its sound is definitely popular - Baylor and Saylor have recently joined the list. But I think there are are newer occupational names that will fit the bill - Weaver, Fletcher, Jagger, Sawyer, and Draper

#470 - Pierce
Pierce has been up and down the top 1000 over the years, but is now hovering in the middle. The strong, single-syllable sound and the dangerous connection to weaponry will appeal to some parents, but I think Pierce is better as a middle name. Sidenote: Pierce is viewed by many historians as one of the worst presidents in American history, so make sure you're not choosing it to be patriotic. 

#87 - Lincoln
One of the nation's favorite presidents, Lincoln is now at the highest it's ever been on the list. The similar sound to other ends-in-N names and the excellent history make it very popular. Abraham is a bit further down the list, at #180, and could also be a great way to honor the sixteenth president. And now that one celeb-baby girl has been christened Lincoln, it might be more accepted as unisex. 

#155 - Grant
With a steady sound, Grant is a name that can transition from childhood to adulthood gracefully. While its etymology connects it to the French for "large", it can also be seen today as an English word name. And it's a much better choice than old-fashioned Ulysses!

Check out the continuation of this list on November 5th!

Next week is Halloween-themed :)

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