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Presidential Names: Which ones went viral?

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presidential names

By Nick Turner

Like millions of Americans, I was riveted by the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts that aired this month on PBS. (I didn’t manage to watch all of 14 hours, but I hope to catch up eventually.)

I adore the first names in the Roosevelt family tree (Alice, Anna, Edith, Eleanor, Elliot, Ethel and Theodore are probably my favorites). But the documentary also got me thinking about Roosevelt itself, which the family’s charisma helped turn into a surprisingly common baby name.

In 1905, when Teddy Roosevelt was beginning his second term as president, his surname became the 91st most popular baby name in America. At the time, Roosevelt ranked higher than Stephen, Jacob, Alexander, Patrick or Philip.

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Jewish New Year

By Linda Rosenkrantz

The surprise top name for boys in 2013 was the Old Testament Noah, followed by the not so surprisingly high-on-the-list Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Benjamin, David, Joseph, Joshua and Samuel—in other words many of the same biblical boys’ names that have been recycled for eons.

I thought that today, in commemoration of the Jewish High Holy Days, we would shake things up a bit and look at some Bible names that aren’t even in the Top 1000, but might be worthy of some consideration

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classic boys' name

By Linda Rosenkrantz

When you think of classic boys’ names, chances are that the first three that pop to mind are John, James and William. Of the three, William is, much like female counterparts Elizabeth, Mary and Margaret, probably the richest in its multiplicity of variations, nicknames, girl versions, etc. Here’s a rundown of the main man and his manifestations.

WilliamFor four hundred years, William was second only to John as the most widely used name in the English-speaking world, and even now is the fifth most prevalent boys’ name in the US, given to almost 17,000 baby boys last year. With Germanic roots, William was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, and has long been a royal name in that country; it has belonged to no fewer than four US presidents and countless notables from Shakespeare to the present popular high-profile prince. 

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heroic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Poor Princess Kate.

Not only is she suffering from serious morning sickness with Baby #2, everyone from late night talk show hosts to gossip columnists worldwide is busy speculating on her due date, whether #2 will be a princess or a prince, and, of course, what they’ll name the newest royal.

Naming any boy – whether he’s coming home to a castle or a condo – can become a battle between tradition and fresh starts.

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boys' names 2014

by Pamela Redmond Satran

There’s a new class of boys’ names trending today that has a short clipped sound, contains only one syllable, is undeniably masculine yet not traditionally so.  Many of these boys’ names barely existed a generation or two ago: They’re definitely not your father’s or grandfather’s baby names.

But in some ways, they are the heirs to names like Glenn and Craig and Sean that took over in the 1960s and 70s from the traditional Bills and Toms.  They seek to reinvent masculinity while preserving qualities like strength and energy.

There are names with more conventional roots that you might consider part of this new brigade of short boys’ names: I’m thinking of such popular, stylish choices as Finn and Jack, Max and Jude.

But I’d like to focus today on those boys’ names that are newer and, some may say, fresher than Jack or Jude.   In 1970, most of these boys’ names barely squeaked onto the Social Security extended list, given to only a handful of baby boys.  Today, most are on the Top 1000, many of them moving up quickly.

The new boys’ names on the block include:

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