From Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy, it is a time-honored American tradition to name babies after presidents. And surnames such as these are getting top honors: Carter; Lincoln; Madison; Kennedy; and Reagan. One of the highest ranking presidential surnames? Jackson.
No list of political trailblazers would be complete without a mention of the First Ladies who forged ahead alongside the Commander in Chief. Think Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jacqueline Kennedy.
American parents also prize virtues and values, such as Liberty, Freedom, Glory, and Justice. Joey Lawrence named his youngest daughter Liberty Grace. Ving Rhames named his son Freedom. John Mellencamp named his daughter Justice, while rapper Game has a son called King Justice. Jessica Alba and her husband Cash Warren welcomed their daughter Honor in 2008.
For names with history and culture, city names are hard to beat. Memphis, Tennessee, was the site of the Battle of Memphis in 1862 during the Civil War. Trenton, the capital of New Jersey, marks the location of George Washington's first victory during the American Revolutionary War. Camden, South Carolina, was the site of a British victory during the American Revolutionary War. And the capital of Texas, Austin, is a popular choice.
American cities have become more popular, including Savannah, the largest city in Georgia and the state's first capital, and Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina. During the American Revolutionary War, Charlotte was occupied by the British, who were then driven out by angry residents. Other options: Brooklyn, Cheyenne, and Alexandria.
Nothing in American history is as iconic as the Wild West. The names of the cowboys, outlaws, and pioneers of early America are increasingly popular, including Wyatt, Hudson, and Sawyer. Names such as Walker, Ryder, West, and Easton are back in the saddle as well—and not just for the boys. In 2009, actress Marley Shelton named her daughter West and in 2008 actress Elizabeth Röhm named her daughter Easton.
The distinguished statesmen of American history are finding themselves at the head of the baby name pack, from signers of the Declaration of Independence (like Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams and Josiah Bartlett) to Revolutionary War heroes (including Ethan Allen and Paul Revere).
African-American achievers are being honored as well, from Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement to Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, and Barack Obama in the White House. Poet Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Johnson) assisted Martin Luther King and has reached cultural prominence as a writer and poet.