hamilton week

How to Name Your Baby After Hamilton

Photo-Illustration: Photo by Joan Marcus
Hamilton Week

January 11 is Alexander Hamilton’s birthday. In lieu of a 261-candled cake, we’re celebrating with a weeklong series that explores the production and significance of the Founding Father’s eponymous Broadway musical.

Do you love Hamilton? No, no; do you love it? Sure, some people have tattoos inspired by the show, and some people have devoted huge swaths of their lives to winning the ticket lottery, but the true mark of a Hamilton obsessive would be naming your child after it in some capacity. If that idea moves you, here are the obvious and less-obvious names to consider, replete with historical naming data. Fans of “Theodosia,” there’s still time to get ahead of the trend!

Aaron: Lots and lots of boys have been named Aaron for a long, long time. And in 2014, 23 girls, too. A popular choice near and far. (Note: The Social Security Administration releases name data on Mother’s Day every year, so the most-recent naming stats are for babies born in 2014.)

Alexander: Duh. It’s a top-10 name for boys, peaking at No. 4 in 2009, and it hasn’t been out of the top 100 since the late ‘70s. Before that, though, it was more of a middling hit — hovering around the 175th most popular name since about 1900. For example, in 1951, there were more baby Cecils than baby Alexanders.

Angelica: Angelica reached its peak popularity in 1996, at No. 97, and has been more or less dropping ever since — replaced, perhaps, by Angelina, which started growing around the same time. Angel names in general, though, are a mainstay: Angela, Angel, Evangeline, Angelique, each with a variety of spellings, remain popular names for baby girls, and Angel is a top-100 boy name.

Burr: Sir, “Burr” hasn’t been a top-1,000 name since we started keeping consistent records of baby names, but between roughly 1900 and the early ‘80s, around ten boys a year were named Burr and about ten more named Burrell (and sometimes Burrel). There were 41 girls named Birdie in 2014, though, and “Bir” is a semi-plausible cheat.

Elizabeth, called Eliza: Eliza tends to be its own, stand-alone name these days, and it’s been on a pretty steady upswing since the 1960s. But it’s nothing compared to Elizabeth, one of the most enduringly popular names in America — it’s been a top-30 name since 1900, and a top-20 name since 1963. That’s not including Elisabeths, or people whose given names are Liz, Beth, or other variants.

George: After Washington, or after the King? Hopefully the former, but either way: There were about 3,000 Georges born in 2014, popular but on a slow, steady decline since 1900.

Hamilton: In 2014, 93 boys were named Hamilton. The same number were named Link and Seven, so … there’s some room to grow here. Names that end in -ton are popular for both girls and boys — Peyton, Colton, Ashton, Preston — with Remington rapidly growing both for girls and boys. (Gun culture! It’s real!)

Hercules: There were 15 baby boys named Hercules in 2014. But names like Athena and Atlas are on the rise, so maybe it’s not too far off? It’s bold!

James: Madison? Or Reynolds? It’s a classic, and it’s riding a wave of popularity, but the Reynolds association is unpleasant.

Jefferson: Unlike Washington, Jefferson has maintained a presence on the top-1,000 list. There were 435 Jeffersons born in 2014, putting it on par with Carl and Roland.

John: Lots of good reasons to name a child “John,” and many, many people have. Many.

King: Now we’re talking. There were 2,418 boys named King in 2014 — part of a huge climb that started in earnest in 2006, with 217 boys. That’s a very fast trip up the name charts. It’s not just a contemporary name, though; there were a few hundred Kings born every year from 1900 until the middle of the century.

Lafayette: Lafayette is hanging on by a thread — just 14 boys in 2014, and on the decline. If True Blood couldn’t revive it, can Hamilton?

Laurens: It’s a little less popular than Burr over the years, but about five boys a year were named Laurens from about 1950–70. You could maybe fudge it with Lawrence or something, but that feels like cheating.

Lin-Manuel: A bit on the nose, but distinctive nonetheless. (LMM himself is named after a poem called “Nana Roja Para Mi Hijo Lin Manuel.”)

Madison: Still a top-10 name for girls, and even more popular if you count all the spellings. Mega, mega popular. (For girls. Over 10,000 girls named Madison/Maddison/Madisyn/Madyson last year, plus 40 boys named Madison.)

Maria: Again, perfectly good name, but maybe not the Hamilton namesake you’d want to go for.

Miranda: It peaked in 1995 at No. 57, and has been pretty steadily declining since, though it’s hanging on: 1,348 girls in 2014, putting it on par with Iris, Lola, and Georgia.

Mulligan: Even though surname names are popular, it’s hard to picture “Mulligan” crossing over, given its other meanings.

Peggy: Peggy Schuyler’s given name was Margarita, neither of which is hugely popular in the U.S. right now. Margaret’s more popular, though nowhere near as popular as it was 100 years ago: It was the No. 4 girl name in 1900, and No. 169 in 2014.

Philip: Look, Philip is a perfectly good name, but if you’re naming your child Philip after the Philip in this show … we can’t be friends.

Schuyler: Spelled “Schulyer”? Not a big hit — 17 girls and 15 boys last year. But “Skylar”? There were 4,732 girl Skylars born last year, and 409 boy Skylars (plus eight girl Skylarrs). And don’t count out Skylers: There were 1,070 girls and 911 boys spelling it that way last year, making it about as popular as names like Nina or Brendan.

Seabury: If people are naming their babies Seabury, it’s very, very few of them — the SSA only releases info for names that at least five babies have. But if you saw Hamilton and thought, That guy, on the box, who Hamilton owns? That’s my guy, you are probably used to having unusual taste.

Story: Story hadn’t moved the needle much — about five baby girls every few years since the ‘70s, but in recent years there’s been a slight uptick to 86 girls in 2014, plus 18 named Storie.

Theodosia: It’s fallen off the lists now, but a smattering of girls were given the name throughout ‘60s and ‘70s. But! This has real potential: Anastasia is on an upswing, the “zha” ending is common across different naming styles (800 girls were named Malaysia last year, for example), and Theodore is a growing name for boys. Plus, it fits well with names like Amelia, Arianna, Olivia, Zoe(y), Victoria, Sophia, and Penelope, all of which are megahits right now. Bring “Theodosia” back, parents!

Thomas: Less popular than it was in its heyday in the first half of the 20th century, but still a heavy hitter — almost 7,000 Thomases were born last year.

Washington: Cultural honor names are less common now, but Washington was a blockbuster name back in the 1800s. Last year, though, just 13 boys were given the name.

How to Name Your Baby After Hamilton