The Most Popular Patriotic Name in America Is …
You've seen the names in history books: Alexander Hamilton, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson. But which Founding Father has the most namesakes alive today?
That would be John Adams, the second president of the United States, according to a new analysis by contact information provider WhitePages. According to the company, there are 9,893 individuals with the name John Adams in the United States, and 789 in Florida alone.
Florida is a hotspot for patriotic names: It's also home to 587 Robert Morrises, who share a name with the American merchant who served as the superintendent of finance from 1781 to 1784. There are 7,367 Americans nationwide who share this name, making it the second-most-popular Founding Father name on the list. [Sophia's Secret: 10 Most Popular Baby Names]
WhitePages draws its name data from its own listings, as well as the Social Security name database and the Oxford University Press, according to its website.
The top Founding Father names (along with one Founding Mother), are as follows:
1. John Adams, second president of the United States: 9,893
2. Robert Morris, Revolutionary War financier: 7,367
3. John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress and famous signature-writer: 1,616
4. George Washington, first president of the United States: 1,513
5. Samuel Adams, fourth governor of Massachusetts: 1,100
6. Patrick Henry, first governor of Virginia and famed orator: 1,004
7. James Madison, fourth president of the United States: 753
8. Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States: 522
9. Benjamin Franklin, inventor, politician and diplomat: 401
10. John Witherspoon, signatory of the Declaration of Independence: 309
11. John Jay, second governor of New York and first chief justice of the Supreme Court: 282
12. Alexander Hamilton, first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury: 269
13. Thomas Paine, political theorist: 179
14. Betsy Ross, seamstress credited in legend with sewing the first American flag: 163
It's likely that not every Mr. and Mrs. Morris who named their child Robert meant to honor a figure in the American Revolution, just as plenty of John Adamses, Witherspoons and Jays probably owe their name to coincidence, considering John was a top-10 name choice until 1986. Many other first names on the list are common choices. But few parents who chose the name George Washington or Benjamin Franklin likely did so without considering the namesake.
State of patriotism
Many of the Founding Father names are most prevalent in Southern states. There are 184 John Hancocks, 133 George Washingtons and 52 Thomas Jeffersons in Texas. Georgia has the most individuals named Samuel Adams, with 75, while 38 Benjamin Franklins and 55 James Madisons call California home.
California is also home to the most Thomas Paines (20), while New York boasts 25 Alexander Hamiltons and North Carolina is home to 36 John Witherspoons. In addition to being home to the most John Adamses and Robert Morrises, Florida also has the most people named Patrick Henry (100) and Betsy Ross (17).
For parents looking for naming inspiration for their July Fourth babies, some less-popular choices might be in order. According to U.S. Social Security Administration data, the girl's name "America" ranks 777th in popularity as of 2013. Liberty ranked 532nd, up from 754 in 2001. "Freedom" and "Independence" have never cracked the top 1,000.
Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook& Google+. Original article on Live Science.
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
By Harry Baker
By Rebecca Sohn