US naming traditions & popular names

Written by    Last updated: March 27, 2007

Looking for baby naming inspiration? Find out what monikers are the most popular across the pond in America…

As it was the colonies established by the English that formed the basis for the new nation, the major influence in American names follows English naming trends, with a lot of names having a Norman or Old English origin. First names were also derived from the Bible and Puritan virtues.

Mayflower names

The names of some of the passengers on board the Mayflower, which set sail in 1620, gives an idea of the prominent names of that time.

Mayflower passenger names
Anne Esther Miles
Edward Henry Roger
Elizabeth John Sarah
Enoch Josiah William

Revolution heroes

The American Revolution in the eighteenth century inspired parents to name their children after the heroes of the war.

American Revolution heroes
Anthony Francis Nathaniel
Charles Henry Patrick
Daniel Israel Paul

American royalty

The American equivalent of the British Royal family has been the Presidents of the country and their wives, who have inspired baby names.

Boys named after American presidents
Franklin James Thomas
George John William
Harry Theodore Zachary
Girls named after American First Ladies
Abigail Hannah Margaret
Caroline Hillary Mary
Elizabeth Jacqueline Nancy
Ellen Jane Rachel
Grace Lucy Sarah

Hollywood trends

Another great inspiration for baby names comes from the names of Hollywood royalty, with trends being set by the leading stars of the day.

Boy names inspired by Hollywood stars
Arnold Gregory Kiefer
Cary Harrison Mel
Clark Hugh Robin
Dustin Jack Ryan
Gary Kevin Spencer
Girl names inspired by Hollywood stars
Ava Farrah Hayley
Daryl Geena Halle
Demi Gloria Ingrid
Doris Greta Jamie
Drew Gwyneth Uma

The most popular names in the United States in 2005

Rank Boy Girl
1 Jacob Emily
2 Michael Emma
3 Joshua Madison
4 Matthew Abigail
5 Ethan Olivia
6 Andrew Isabella
7 Daniel Hannah
8 Anthony Samantha
9 Christopher Ava
10 Joseph Ashley
11 William Sophia
12 Alexander Elizabeth
13 Ryan Alexis
14 David Grace
15 Nicholas Sarah
16 Tyler Alyssa
17 James Mia
18 John Natalie
19 Jonathan Chloe
20 Nathan Brianna

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