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tr and son

We’re all pretty familiar with the names of  the presidents whose surnames have beeen commonly used for children–Jackson, Jefferson, Taylor, Tyler, Lincoln, Truman, Madison, Wilson, Kennedy et al– and we’re equally  familiar with the names of most of their wives as well.

But less well known are the ones they chose for their children, so I thought this was an appropriate occasion to take a look at them. Putting aside the common Johns and Marys, James and Elizabeths (except if they had a noteworthy nickname), and the number of sons who were named Junior for their famous fathers, here are some of the more interesting choices:

GIRLS

ABIGAIL (nn Nabby) Adams (John)

ALICE (nn Princess) Roosevelt (Theodore)

AMY Carter

ANNA  Harrison, Roosevelt (Franklin)

CAROLINE Kennedy

CHELSEA Clinton

DOROTHY (nn Doro) Bush (George H. W.)

ELEANOR (nn Nelly)  Wilson

ELIZA (nn Trot) Garfield, Monroe

ELLEN (nn Nellie) Grant

ESTHER Cleveland

ETHEL Roosevelt (Theodore)

FANNY Hayes

HARRIET Buchanan

HELEN Taft

IDA McKinley

JANE  Jefferson

JENNA Bush (George W.)

JESSIE  Wilson

JULIA Tyler

KATHERINE (nn Katie) McKinley

LETITIA (nn Letty) Tyler

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childstarry night

So you’ve scoured the Earth and still haven’t come up with the perfect name for your baby.  Maybe it’s time to look skyward to broaden your horizons.  There’s a whole galaxy of interesting and evocative celestial names to choose from, including those of planets and their satellites, constellations and single stars.  These range from simple human names like Faye and Helene to those carrying the romantic resonance of Greek and Roman myth.

Check out our list of celestial names and, for even more ideas, have a look at our Angel Names and Space Names.

First, some names of planets and their satellites:

AMALTHEA

ARAGO

ARIEL

ATLAS

BIANCA

CALLISTO—the second largest satellite of Jupiter, discovered by Galileo

CALYPSO

CORDELIA

CRESSIDA

DESDEMONA

DESPINA

DIONE

ELARA

GALATEA

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These Names are Made for Walkin’

hiking

Guest blogger LAURIE LICO ALBANESE, who’s chronicling her year’s worth of walks on her blog My Big Walk, ponders names made for strolling the open road.

What do Walker Evans, Sojourner Truth, and Flannery O’Connor have in common?

They’re all Americans. OK, that’s a start.

They all have great names. That’s also true.

They had inspirational lives? Also correct.

But what links this Depression-era photographer (Evans), former slave (Truth), and Southern writer (O’Connor) with people named Journey, Amble, or Voyage? Names like Strider, Skip, March, Hiker, Pacer, Saunter, Trek, Ramble, Lane, Pike, Track, Racer, Skipper, Dash, Lane, Streeter, Strada (Italian for ‘street’) also fit the bill.

Still stumped? Saunter, in French, is Flanerie. Mais oui, c’est vrai.  (Translation: but yes, it’s true!)

And Saunter, we learn from Thoreau in his 1850s essay, Walking, has its etymological origins in the Middle Ages, “from idle people who roved about the country…and asked charity, under pretence of going à la Sainte Terre“—to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer”, a saunterer—a holy-lander….

Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere.” At home anywhere.

If I could choose a single identity for myself, it would be that. A saunterer, at home anywhere.  And everywhere. In fact, that urge to walk the world and see it up close and from the ground is what got me started on My Big Walk, a year-long daily walking project that I’m chronicling on my new blog.

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