List of Presidents of the United States by name

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This is a list of Presidents of the United States by name:

Name origins[edit]

#PresidentName origin
44Barack Hussein Obama IINamed after his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.
43George Walker BushNamed after his father, Former President George Herbert Walker Bush
42William Jefferson ClintonOriginally named William Jefferson Blythe III, after his biological father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., a businessman, who died in an accident three months before his birth, and his biological grandfather, William Jefferson Blythe, Sr., a farmer, who died of age-related causes 11 years before his birth, he took the surname 'Clinton' when his mother remarried Roger Clinton, Sr.. He was the third posthumously born U.S. President, after Andrew Jackson and Rutherford B. Hayes
41George Herbert Walker BushNamed after his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker
40Ronald Wilson ReaganWilson was his mother’s maiden name
39James Earl Carter, Jr.Named after his father, James Earl Carter, Sr.
38Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.Originally named Leslie Lynch King, Jr., after his biological father, Leslie Lynch King, Sr. and renamed at the age of two by & after his adopted father Gerald Rudolff Ford.
37Richard Milhous NixonNamed after Richard the Lionheart; Milhous was his mother’s maiden name
36Lyndon Baines JohnsonNamed after W.C. Linden, a lawyer and family friend, Baines was his mother’s maiden name
35John Fitzgerald KennedyNamed after his maternal grandfather, John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald
34Dwight David EisenhowerOriginally named David Dwight Eisenhower after his father, David Jacob Eisenhower
33Harry S. TrumanNamed after his maternal uncle, Harrison Young; the middle initial represents both "Shippe", after his paternal grandfather, Anderson Shippe Truman; and "Solomon", after his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young. It is generally accepted that the exact name which is abbreviated is undetermined, so that in effect the 'S' stood for nothing but S. Truman's "full name" could be regarded as "Harry S Truman" (without the period), but he did not sign his name that way. Examination of official papers at the Truman Presidential Library reveal that the S. is generally written with a period.
32Franklin Delano RooseveltAfter being nameless for seven weeks, he was named after his great-uncle, Franklin Hughes Delano
31Herbert Clark HooverClark was his father’s middle name
30Calvin CoolidgeOriginally named John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. after his father
29Warren Gamaliel HardingNamed after his great-uncle, Rev. Warren Gamaliel Bancroft
28Woodrow WilsonOriginally named Thomas Woodrow Wilson after his maternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Woodrow
27William Howard TaftHoward was the last name of his paternal grandmother, Sylvia Howard
26Theodore RooseveltOriginally named Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. after his father
25William McKinleyOriginally named William McKinley, Jr. after his father
23Benjamin HarrisonWhile he was the eighth Benjamin Harrison in his family, he was primarily named after his paternal uncle, Dr. Benjamin Harrison VII, and his paternal great-grandfather Benjamin Harrison V
22/24Grover ClevelandOriginally named Stephen Grover Cleveland after Rev. Stephen Grover
21Chester Alan ArthurNamed after Dr. Chester Abell, the physician who delivered him, and his paternal grandfather, Alan Arthur
20James Abram GarfieldNamed after his deceased infant brother, James, and his father Abram Garfield
19Rutherford Birchard HayesNamed after his father, Rutherford Hayes, Sr. Birchard was his mother’s maiden name
18Ulysses Simpson GrantAbout a month after birth, he was originally named Hiram Ulysses Grant, Hiram was his maternal grandfather and Ulysses a Greek hero from mythology. He informally went by his middle name. When enrolling at West Point, his congressional sponsor accidentally wrote his name as Ulysses Simpson Grant; Simpson was his mother’s maiden name. The school would not allow Grant to enroll by any other name than that which his sponsor had filled out, so Grant went along with the change. Furthermore, Grant was pleased with the change because he had disliked the fact that his original initials spelled "HUG."
17Andrew JohnsonEither named after Andrew Jackson or a maternal uncle
16Abraham LincolnNamed after his paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, Sr.
15James BuchananNamed after his father, James Buchanan, Sr.
14Franklin PierceUnknown
13Millard FillmoreMillard was his mother’s maiden name
12Zachary TaylorNamed after his paternal grandfather, Zachary Taylor, Sr.
11James Knox PolkNamed after his maternal grandfather, James Knox
10John TylerNamed after his father, John Tyler, Sr.
9William Henry HarrisonNamed after his maternal grandfather, William Bassett and paternal uncle, Henry Harrison
8Martin Van BurenNamed after his paternal grandfather, Martin Van Buren, Sr.
7Andrew JacksonNamed after his father, Andrew Jackson, Sr., who died in an accident three weeks before his birth
6John Quincy AdamsNamed after his maternal great-grandfather, John Quincy, after whom Quincy, Massachusetts, is also named, his father former President John Adams, Jr. and grandfather John Adams, Sr.
5James MonroeNamed after his maternal grandfather, James Jones
4James MadisonNamed after his father, James Madison, Sr.
3Thomas JeffersonNamed after his paternal grandfather, Thomas Jefferson II
2John AdamsNamed after his father, John Adams, Sr.
1George WashingtonPossibly named after George Eskridge, a lawyer who took care of Washington's mother after she was orphaned

Presidents popularly known by middle names or nicknames[edit]

Acronyms[edit]

Only one president's original full name, Hiram Ulysses Grant, forms an English word ("hug"). After a clerical error at West Point entered his name wrongly as Ulysses Simpson Grant, and since he disliked the acronym, Grant went along with the change.

Duplicates and multiple first names[edit]

There have been:

Length of first names[edit]

Middle names[edit]

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. went by Calvin
Stephen Grover Cleveland went by Grover
Thomas Woodrow Wilson went by Woodrow

Last names[edit]

Last name origins[edit]

This is a list of presidents by the origin of their last names.[3]

#PresidentLast name origin
44Barack ObamaPatronymic from the president's great grandfather, Obama.
43George Walker BushTopographic name for someone living in a bushy area or thicket.
42Bill ClintonHabitational name, either from Glympton in Oxfordshire, named as ‘settlement (Old English tun) on the Glym river’, a Celtic river name meaning ‘bright stream’, or from Glinton in Cambridgeshire, recorded in 1060 as Clinton (named with an unrecorded Old English element akin to Middle Low German glinde ‘enclosure’, ‘fence’ + Old English tun).
41George Herbert Walker BushSame as above
40Ronald ReaganVariant of Regan, which is a reduced form of O’Regan, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Ríagáin ‘descendant of Riagán’, a personal name of uncertain origin, perhaps akin to ríodhgach ‘impulsive’, ‘furious’.
39Jimmy CarterOccupational name for a transporter of goods, Middle English cartere, from an agent derivative of Middle English cart(e) or from Anglo-Norman French car(e)tier, a derivative of Old French caret. The Old French word coalesced with the earlier Middle English word cart(e) ‘cart’, which is from either Old Norse kartr or Old English cræt, both of which, like the Late Latin word, were probably originally derived from Celtic.
38Gerald R. FordTopographic name for someone who lived near a ford, Middle English, Old English ford, or a habitational name from one of the many places named with this word, such as Ford in Northumberland, Shropshire, and West Sussex, or Forde in Dorset.
37Richard M. NixonPatronymic from the Middle English personal name Nik(k)e, a short form of Nicholas.
36Lyndon Baines JohnsonPatronymic from the personal name John.
35John F. KennedyAnglicized form of Gaelic Ó Ceannéidigh ‘descendant of Ceannéidigh’, a personal name derived from ceann ‘head’ + éidigh ‘ugly’.
34Dwight D. EisenhowerVariant of Eisenhauer, an occupational name for a worker in iron, from Middle High German isen ‘iron’ + houwære, a derivative of houwen ‘to cut, chop, or hew’.
33Harry S. TrumanVariant spelling of Trueman, a nickname for a trustworthy man, from Middle English trewe, trow ‘faithful’ + man ‘man’.
32Franklin D. RooseveltA topographic name for someone living by an area of uncultivated land overgrown with roses, from Dutch roose + velt ‘open country’.
31Herbert HooverFrom Middle Dutch huve, a measure of land area (compare German Huber) + -er, suffix of agent nouns; a status name for a landowner or a prosperous small farmer.
30Calvin CoolidgeProbably an occupational name for a college servant or someone with some other association with a university college, for example a tenant farmer who farmed one of the many farms in England known as College Farm, most of which are or were owned by university colleges
29Warren G. HardingFrom the Old English personal name Hearding, originally a patronymic from Hard, which means ‘hardy’, ‘brave’, or ‘strong'
28Woodrow WilsonPatronymic from the personal name Will, a very common medieval short form of William.
27William Howard TaftTopographic name or habitational name from a dialect variant of Old and Middle English toft ‘curtilage’, ‘site’, ‘homestead’, also applied to a low hillock where a homestead used to be.
26Theodore RooseveltSame as above
25William McKinleyAnglicized form of Gaelic Mac Fionnlaigh, a patronymic from the early personal name Fionnlaoch.
23Benjamin HarrisonPatronymic from the medieval personal name Harry.
22/24Grover ClevelandRegional name from the district around Middlesbrough named Cleveland ‘the land of the cliffs’, from the genitive plural (clifa) of Old English clif ‘bank’, ‘slope’ + land ‘land’.
21Chester A. ArthurFrom the ancient Celtic personal name Arthur. In many cases it is a shortened form of Scottish or Irish McArthur, the patronymic Mac- often being dropped in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries under English influence. The personal name is most probably from an old Celtic word meaning ‘bear’.
20James A. GarfieldProbably a habitational name from a lost or unidentified place, generally from a field name denoting a triangular area, Old English gara at the corner of an open field after rectangular furlongs had been laid out.
19Rutherford B. Hayesreduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hAodha ‘descendant of Aodh’, a personal name meaning ‘fire’ . In some cases, especially in County Wexford, the surname is of English origin, having been taken to Ireland by the Normans.English: habitational name from any of various places, for example in Devon and Worcestershire, so called from the plural of Middle English hay ‘enclosure’, or a topographic name from the same word.English: habitational name from any of various places, for example in Dorset, Greater London (formerly in Kent and Middlesex), and Worcestershire, so called from Old English h?se ‘brushwood’, or a topographic name from the same word. Also a patronymic from Hay.
18Ulysses S. GrantNickname from Anglo-Norman French graund, graunt ‘tall’, ‘large’ (Old French grand, grant, from Latin grandis), given either to a person of remarkable size, or else in a relative way to distinguish two bearers of the same personal name, often representatives of different generations within the same family. Also from a medieval personal name, probably a survival into Middle English of the Old English byname Granta.
17Andrew JohnsonSame as above
16Abraham LincolnHabitational name from the city of Lincoln, so named from an original British name Lindo- ‘lake’ + Latin colonia ‘settlement’, ‘colony’.
15James BuchananHabitational name from Buchanan, a place near Loch Lomond, perhaps named with Gaelic buth chanain ‘house of the canon’.
14Franklin PierceFrom the personal name Piers, the usual Norman vernacular form of Peter. In the president's case, it probably comes from a variant of Percy.[4]
13Millard FillmoreFrom a Norman personal name, Filimor, composed of the Germanic elements filu ‘very’ + mari, meri ‘famous’.
12Zachary TaylorOccupational name for a tailor, from Old French tailleur (Late Latin taliator, from taliare ‘to cut’).
11James K. PolkReduced form of Pollock, which is a habitational name from a place in Glasgow, apparently so named from a diminutive of a British cognate of Gaelic poll ‘pool’, ‘pit’.
10John TylerOccupational name for a maker or layer of tiles, from an agent derivative of Middle English tile ‘tile’.
9William Henry HarrisonSame as above.
8Martin Van BurenHabitational name for someone from any of the many places in the Netherlands named with Middle Dutch buur, buer ‘house’, ‘shed’, in particular Buren in Gelderland.
7Andrew JacksonPatronymic from Jack.
6John Quincy AdamsPatronymic from the personal name Adam.
5James MonroeAccording to tradition, this is a rare example of a Gaelic surname of topographic origin, the first element of which is probably Gaelic mun, a mutated form of bun ‘foot’, or British minit ‘hill’.
4James MadisonMetronymic from the medieval female personal name Madde, a form of Maud or Magdalen.
3Thomas JeffersonPatronymic from Jeffrey.
2John AdamsSame as above
1George WashingtonHabitational name from either of the places called Washington, in Tyne and Wear and West Sussex. The latter is from Old English Wassingatun ‘settlement (Old English tun) of the people of Wassa’, a personal name that is probably a short form of some compound name such as Waðsige, composed of the elements wað ‘hunt’ + sige ‘victory’. Washington in Tyne and Wear is from Old English Wassingtun ‘settlement associated with Wassa’.

Last name suffixes[edit]

Twelve presidents were complete namesakes of their fathers':

  1. John Adams, Jr.
  2. James Madison, Jr.
  3. Andrew Jackson (it is unknown if he ever went by "Jr.")[5]
  4. John Tyler, Jr.
  5. James Buchanan, Jr.
  6. William McKinley, Jr.
  7. Theodore Roosevelt, born Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
  8. John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.
  9. Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. Ford was the complete namesake of both his biological father and his stepfather (though his stepfather's middle name was spelled differently).
  10. James Earl Carter, Jr.
  11. Bill Clinton, born William Jefferson Blythe III
  12. Barack Hussein Obama II

George Walker Bush does not share exactly the same name of his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, nor does John Quincy Adams share his exact name with his father John Adams. This has not, however, deterred the press from referring to George W. Bush as "George Bush, Jr."

Sources[edit]

DeGregario, William A. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barricade Books, 1991.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Indiana Supreme Court Justice Biographies: Justice Alvin Peterson Hovey
  2. ^ DAVIS, John Givan (1810-1866) Guide to Research Papers
  3. ^ http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/
  4. ^ http://www.geni.com/people/Richard-Percy-of-Pearse-Hall/6000000002555726458
  5. ^ Andrew Jackson

See also[edit]