President’s Day Names: Beyond Taylor and Tyler

Ever since the first American baby was christened Washington Smith, there has been a tradition here—just as the Brits honor their Royals–to draw inspiration from the surnames of U.S. presidents, with Grant, Tyler, Taylor, Madison, and now Jackson landing high on the hit parade. So here, for President’s Day, are some examples drawn from our history that still resonate—even if the connection to the Commander-in-Chief isn’t always immediately apparent.


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Ford, a short, strong surname identified with industrialist Henry and actor Harrison, saw some degree of usage pre-1950, and is just the kind of one-syllable boy’s name that could return. Owen Wilson used it as the middle name of his son Robert. President Gerald R. Ford was actually born with the surname King.

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