Category: baby name Thomas

A Thanksgiving Menu of Pilgrim Names

What better time than Thanksgiving to look back at the first names to arrive on our shores?

As you may remember from your third-grade history book, the first English-speaking settlement, called the Raleigh Colony, was established on the Atlantic coast in 1587, and although it didn’t survive for very long, some of its name records did.  Not surprisingly, of the 99 men who settled there, 23 were named John, fifteen were Thomas, and ten were William, with a small sprinkling of Old Testament names in the mix as well.

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Not only is old Tom Turkey again making his annual  holiday sacrifice, but the poor guy has also had to bear the shame of seeing his name slide down the popularity list, now being out of the Top 50 for probably the first time ever in this country.  Multiple Thomases arrived on the Mayflower, it was a favorite of the Colonists, and remained in or near the Top 10 boys’ names in America until 1966.

Now, in order to build back his self-esteem, and show what a proud heritage any baby Thomas would share, here are a few of the historical attributes of Tom.

BIBLICAL: The name Thomas, which in Aramaic means twin, wass first given to one of the Apostles, who was originally named Judas, in order to distinguish him from Jude and Judas Iscariot.  The expression Doubting Thomas arises from the fact that he refused to believe in Christ’s Resurrection until he had touched His wounds.

SAINTS: The expression every Tom, Dick and Harry is said to have been a result of the spread of the name in England due to people’s reverence for St. Thomas of Canterbury and the martyred Archbishop Thomas à Becket.  Also there were Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s Chancellor, a scholar and wit, and St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Sicilian friar, considered the greatest thinker of the Middle Ages.

PRESIDENT: Thomas Jefferson, (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson

KIDDIE STUFF: Along with Jack, Tom and Tommy are the most popular boys in the nursery rhyme world, as in Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son, Little Tommy Tucker, Little Tommy Tittlemouse.  Other notable young Toms: Tom Swift, Tom Sawyer, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet; Tom Mix and Thomas the Tank Engine (and Train).

CULTURAL ICONS: Writers Thomas Hardy, Thomas Mann, T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot, Thomas Wolfe, Tom Wolfe, Tom Stoppard; painters Thomas Gainsborough,Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Eakins; inventor Thomas Edison—and lots of politicians, sports figures and entertainers, including two of the top-ranking male stars of recent years—Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise.


And now, it’s Tom Turkey time for us—so…..

Warmest wishes from Linda and Pam to all you nameberryites for a



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Underrated Names

There are some names that, even now, after writing so much about the subject, I hear and think, “Wow, that’s a great name.  I wonder why people don’t use that one more often?”

Sometimes, the answer is that a name was just too popular too recently for parents to appreciate its intrinsic wonderfulness: the lush Biblical Deborah is one that might fit in this category, though I didn’t include it in my ten examples.

Other times, a name carries an unappealing association for enough people to keep it from becoming popular.  And there are a dozen other reasons why a perfectly wonderful name just might not make it big – which can be good news for the parent in search of a name that’s both topnotch and undiscovered.

Here, ten names we think are underrated right now:

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