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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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august births

By Linda Rosenkrantz

This month, in addition to a by-now-expected goldmine of gorgeously creative individual names, we have two pairs of twins and one set of triplets:

Ivy Juliette and May Vivienne

Nathan Daniel and Edward Harris

Katelyn Elizabeth, Perry Grayson and Johnson Tucker

A preponderance of boys this month, some of them with particularly adventurous names, including Boone, Hawk, Jericho, Johnson and Theron—as well as girls named Channing and Belline.

We also noticed many more consonant-starting names than usual: could be coincidence, could be a trend.

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Occupational Surnames: Far from a fad

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occupational surnames

By Nick Turner

Back in 2012, I heard about parents naming their babies Draper in honor of Mad Men. I remember thinking the idea was daring but a little silly. These people were taking the last-name-as-first-name trend to an absurd conclusion, I griped.

It had been a few years since occupational surnames like Cooper and Mason had become popular, and I worried that pretty soon every kid would be a Fletcher, Tanner or Jagger. Traditional names were a dying species.

Then I made a startling discovery.

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Nameberry Picks: The Best Nature Names

nature names

Nature names have become such a huge category of baby names that it’s difficult to corral all of them – the flower names and the animal names, the tree names and the water and weather names – into one list, much less pick the dozen best. But we tried, with several nods to other favorites. Photo by Georgia Brizuela from Documenting Delight.

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Where’d You Get That Name, Baby?

family names

Today’s Question of the Week is about naming a baby after an older relative or friend or hero.

Did you name your baby after someone in your family — grandparent, great-grandparent, long-ago ancestor, or maybe even yourself?

Or did you give your baby the name of a beloved teacher or maybe even a political hero like Lincoln or fictional heroine like Jane Eyre?

Or would you choose an honorific as a name for your yet-unborn baby, and if so, which one and why?

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