Q&A: Can you suggest some presidential baby names?
I've heard so much about parents who're now thinking of naming their babies after members of the Obama family! Is there always a sea of presidential-inspired names following an election?
Barack Obama has joked that his first name, Barack, means “that one” in Swahili. In actually, Barack means “blessing” and shares roots with the Hebrew name, Barucha, or “one who is blessed.” (The similarly-sounding Hebrew name, Barak, means “flash of lightning.”)
The historic presidential election of Barack Obama is bringing Barack, common in Kenya and Tanzania, to national prominence. The election has also boosted the names of his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha. (Sasha’s full name is Natasha.)
According to a 2008 New York Times article, 23 boys at the Nyanza Provincial Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya, were named Barack Obama, and 20 girls were named Michelle Obama during the first week after Obama’s election victory.
Parents in previous generations were far more likely to give their sons presidential first names. Calvin rose between 1923 and 1928, when Calvin Coolidge was still in office. Franklin was at its most popular during the early years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency. Theodore hit its peak, reaching the top 30, during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency —the name proved so enduring that a beloved toy, the Teddy bear, was named after him.
Today’s parents are more apt to be inspired by vintage presidential last names—and the trend crosses gender lines, with many girls named Madison, Kennedy, and Reagan. For boys, current faves are Jackson, Carter, Grant, and Lincoln. Still, it’s hard not to imagine a sea of baby Baracks or Obamas in the wake of this presidency.