Looking for a baby name that has historical and patriotic lineage? American Presidents and First Ladies have been sources of inspiration for generations of Americans who want to give their babies a name that embodies strength and leadership. Since the founding of the United States, Americans have named their babies in honor of great U.S. leaders, past and present. Even John Quincy Adams named his own son, George Washington Adams.
Many presidents had typically traditional given names. While George, James, John and William may be popular Presidential first names, it’s the surnames that tend to get used more often as first names now. Taking the recognizable last name of a President and turning it into a baby’s first name is a modern twist on this patriotic tradition.
For boys, this flipping can be seen in some popular names that honor past Presidents including:
- (Thomas) Jefferson
- (William Henry) Harrison
- (Abraham) Lincoln
- (Andrew) Jackson
- (Ulysses) Grant
- (Jimmy) Carter
Several of those names with Presidential lineage have been in the top 100 baby names for the last decade. Harrison and Jackson, in particular, have been increasingly popular as both first and middle names. While many parents may not even realize that they are naming their new baby with a presidential last name, knowing the history behind these notable names makes them even more special.
One of the biggest trends in baby names has been giving baby girls names traditionally associated with boys
This trend continues with Presidential names such as:
- (James) Madison
- (Zachary) Taylor
- (Ronald) Reagan
- (John F.) Kennedy
Madison, in particular, has been a top baby name for American girls for the last two decades. This is most likely due to the movie "Splash," when the main character adopts it as her new name, after reading it on the New York City street sign - named for James Madison, our fourth President.
Of course there are also the First Ladies to name your baby daughter after. From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, American First Ladies are important historical figures in their own right. Think of more traditional names like Abigail (Adams), Mary (Lincoln), and Eleanor (Roosevelt) as retro names that now sound modern. Or try out more contemporary names such as Jacqueline (Kennedy), and Hillary (Clinton).
If you do give your baby a presidential or First Lady’s name, be sure to teach them all about the notable figure whose name they carry on. It’s wonderful to give your child a name with both meaning and historical significance. And every year when Presidents’ Day rolls around, you’ll have extra reason to celebrate!