As an English name, Aaron has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. This name was borne by the American politician Aaron Burr (1756-1836), notable for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
This name was borne by two 20th-century kings of Belgium. Other famous bearers include the German physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955), creator of the theory of relativity, and Albert Camus (1913-1960), a French-Algerian writer and philosopher.
The name has been used by kings of Scotland, Poland and Yugoslavia, emperors of Russia, and eight popes. Other notable bearers include English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), American statesman Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Scottish-Canadian explorer Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820), Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), and Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor of the telephone.
This name has been common (in various spellings) throughout the Christian world, and it became very popular in the Middle Ages. Saint Andrew is regarded as the patron of Scotland, Russia, Greece and Romania. The name has been borne by three kings of Hungary, American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), and, more recently, English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-).
In England, this Latin form has been used alongside the vernacular forms Ann and Anne since the late Middle Ages. Anna is currently the most common of these spellings in all English-speaking countries (since the 1970s), however the biblical form Hannah is presently more popular than all three.
The name was borne by several Russian royals, including an 18th-century empress of Russia. It is also the name of the main character in Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina (1877), about a married aristocrat who begins an ultimately tragic relationship with Count Vronsky.
As an English name, Benjamin came into general use after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), an American statesman, inventor, scientist and philosopher.
In modern times, this name is borne by American fashion designer Calvin Klein (1942-), as well as one of the main characters from Bill Watterson's comic strip Calvin and Hobbes (published from 1985 to 1995).
The popularity of the name in continental Europe was due to the fame of Charles the Great (742-814), commonly known as Charlemagne, a king of the Franks who came to rule over most of Europe. His grandfather Charles Martel had also been a noted leader of the Franks. It was subsequently the name of several Holy Roman emperors, as well as kings of France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary (in various spellings). After Charlemagne, his name was adopted as a word meaning "king" in many Eastern European languages, for example Czech král, Hungarian király, Russian король (korol), and Turkish kral.
The name did not become common in Britain until the 17th century when it was borne by the Stuart king Charles I. It had been introduced into the Stuart royal family by Mary Queen of Scots, who had been raised in France.
Famous bearers of the name include naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) who revolutionized biology with his theory of evolution, novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) who wrote such works as Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, French statesman Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), and American cartoonist Charles Schulz (1922-2000), the creator of the Peanuts comic strip.
As an English given name, Christopher has been in general use since the 15th century. It became very popular in the second half of the 20th century, reaching the top of the charts for England and Wales in the 1980s, and nearing it in the United States.
In Denmark this name was borne by three kings (their names are usually spelled Christoffer), including the 15th-century Christopher of Bavaria who also ruled Norway and Sweden. Other famous bearers include Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), English architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723) and the fictional character Christopher Robin from A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books.
This name has been used in Britain since the Middle Ages. It has been especially popular in Wales, where it is used in honour of the 5th-century patron saint of Wales (also called Dewi), as well as in Scotland, where it was borne by two kings. Over the last century it has been one of the English-speaking world's most consistently popular names, never leaving the top 30 names for boys in the United States, and reaching the top rank in England and Wales during the 1950s and 60s. In Spain it was the most popular name for boys during the 1970s and 80s.
Famous bearers include empiricist philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873), musician David Bowie (1947-2016), and soccer player David Beckham (1975-). This is also the name of the hero of Charles Dickens' semi-autobiographical novel David Copperfield (1850).
After the Norman Conquest this name became common in England. It was revived in the 18th century, perhaps in part due to Matthew Prior's 1709 poem Henry and Emma . It was also used by Jane Austen for the central character, the matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, in her novel Emma (1816).
In the United States, it was third in rank in 1880 (behind only the ubiquitous Mary and Anna). It declined steadily over the next century, beginning another rise in the 1980s and eventually becoming the most popular name for girls in 2008. At this time it also experienced similar levels of popularity elsewhere, including the United Kingdom (where it began rising a decade earlier), Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
Due to the renown of the saint, this name became widespread in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. However, it was not regularly used in Britain until the 16th century. Famous bearers include Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552), a missionary to East Asia, the philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon (1561-1626), and the explorer and admiral Sir Francis Drake (1540-1595).
In the English-speaking world this name is occasionally used for girls, as a variant of the homophone Frances.
As an English name, Hannah was not regularly used until after the Protestant Reformation, unlike the vernacular forms Anne and Ann and the Latin form Anna, which were used from the late Middle Ages. In the last half of the 20th century Hannah surged in popularity and neared the top of the name rankings for both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Heinrich was popular among continental royalty, being the name of seven German kings, starting with the 10th-century Henry I the Fowler, and four French kings. In France it was usually rendered Henri from the Latin form Henricus.
The Normans introduced the French form to England, and it was subsequently used by eight kings, ending with the infamous Henry VIII in the 16th century. During the later Middle Ages it was fairly popular, and was generally rendered as Harry or Herry in English pronunciation. Notable bearers include arctic naval explorer Henry Hudson (1570-1611), British novelist Henry James (1843-1916), American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford (1863-1947), and American actor Henry Fonda (1905-1982).
This name has been used in England since the 13th century, though it became more common in Scotland where it was borne by several kings. In the 17th century the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of all Britain, and the name grew much more popular. In American name statistics (recorded since 1880) this name has never been out of the top 20, making it arguably the era's most consistently popular name. It was the top ranked name for boys in the United States from 1940 to 1952.
Famous bearers include the English explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the Scottish inventor James Watt (1736-1819), and the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941). This name has also been borne by six American presidents. A notable fictional bearer is the British spy James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming.
Famous bearers include the uncrowned English queen Lady Jane Grey (1536-1554), who ruled for only 9 days, British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817), who wrote Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, British primatologist Jane Goodall (1934-), and American actress Jane Fonda (1937-). This is also the name of the central character in Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre (1847), which tells of Jane's sad childhood and her relationship with Edward Rochester.
This name also appears in the New Testament, belonging to man who sheltered Paul and Silas. In his case, it may represent a Hellenized form of a Hebrew name. It was not used in England until after the Protestant Reformation.
This name was initially more common among Eastern Christians in the Byzantine Empire, but it flourished in Western Europe after the First Crusade. In England it became extremely popular, typically being the most common male name from the 13th to the 20th century (but sometimes outpaced by William). During the later Middle Ages it was given to approximately a fifth of all English boys. In the United States it was the most common name for boys until 1923.
The name (in various spellings) has been borne by 21 popes and eight Byzantine emperors, as well as rulers of England, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. It was also borne by the poet John Milton (1608-1674), philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), American founding father and president John Adams (1735-1826), and poet John Keats (1795-1821). Famous bearers of the 20th century include author John Steinbeck (1902-1968), assassinated American president John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and musician John Lennon (1940-1980).
As an English name, Jonathan did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer was the Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who wrote Gulliver's Travels and other works.
This name died out after the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century. In America and other countries it became fairly popular in the second half of the 20th century. A famous bearer of the surname is former basketball star Michael Jordan (1963-).
The name Jesus comes from a Greek translation of the Aramaic short form יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu'a), which was the real name of Jesus. As an English name, Joshua has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.
The name was borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and returning crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages. To this day both spellings are regularly used in the English-speaking world. In the United States the spelling Katherine has been more popular since 1973.
Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.
As an English name, Laura has been used since the 13th century. Famous bearers include Laura Secord (1775-1868), a Canadian heroine during the War of 1812, and Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), an American author who wrote the Little House on the Prairie series of novels.
In the Middle Ages this name was common in England, partly because of a second saint by this name, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury. Likewise it has been common in Ireland due to the 12th-century Saint Laurence O'Toole (whose real name was Lorcán). Since the 19th century the spelling Lawrence has been more common, especially in America. A famous bearer was the British actor Laurence Olivier (1907-1989).
Apart from royalty, this name was only moderately popular in France during the Middle Ages. After the French Revolution, when Louis XVI was guillotined, it became less common.
The Normans brought the name to England, where it was usually spelled Lewis, though the spelling Louis has been more common in America. Famous bearers include French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), Métis leader Louis Riel (1844-1885), who led a rebellion against Canada, Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), who wrote Treasure Island and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and American jazz musician Louis Armstrong (1901-1971).
This was the name of two ruling queens of Portugal. It was also borne by the Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), whose inheritance of the domains of her father, the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI, began the War of the Austrian Succession.
As an English name, Matthew has been in use since the Middle Ages. A notable bearer was the American naval officer Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858), who led a delegation to Japan. A famous modern bearer is American actor Matthew McConaughey (1969-).
The popularity of the saint led to the name being used by nine Byzantine emperors, including Michael VIII Palaeologus who restored the empire in the 13th century. It has been common in Western Europe since the Middle Ages, and in England since the 12th century. It has been borne (in various spellings) by rulers of Russia (spelled Михаил), Romania (Mihai), Poland (Michał), and Portugal (Miguel).
In the United States, this name rapidly gained popularity beginning in the 1930s, eventually becoming the most popular male name from 1954 to 1998. However, it was not as overwhelmingly common in the United Kingdom, where it never reached the top spot.
Famous bearers of this name include the British chemist/physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867), musician Michael Jackson (1958-2009), and basketball player Michael Jordan (1963-).
Due to the renown of the saint, this name has been widely used in the Christian world. It has been common in England since the 12th century, though it became a bit less popular after the Protestant Reformation. The name has been borne by five popes and two czars of Russia.
As an English Christian name, Noah has been used since the Protestant Reformation, being common among the Puritans. In the United States it quickly increased in popularity beginning in the 1990s, eventually becoming the most popular name for boys between 2013 and 2016.
A famous bearer was the American lexicographer Noah Webster (1758-1843).
This name was popularized in continental Europe by the works of the 18th-century Scottish poet James Macpherson . Napoleon was an admirer of Macpherson, and he suggested Oscar as the second middle name of his godson, who eventually became king of Sweden as Oscar I. Another notable bearer was the Irish writer and humourist Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).
In England and elsewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages this name was used in honour of the saint. However, it was not generally given in Ireland before the 17th century because it was considered too sacred for everyday use. It has since become very common there.
Due to the renown of Saint Paul the name became common among early Christians. It was borne by a number of other early saints and six popes. In England it was relatively rare during the Middle Ages, but became more frequent beginning in the 17th century. A notable bearer was the American Revolutionary War figure Paul Revere (1735-1818), who warned of the advance of the British army. Famous bearers in the art world include the French impressionists Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), and the Swiss expressionist Paul Klee (1879-1940). It is borne by British musician Paul McCartney (1942-). This is also the name of the legendary American lumberjack Paul Bunyan.
Due to the renown of the apostle, this name became common throughout the Christian world (in various spellings). In England the Normans introduced it in the Old French form Piers, which was gradually replaced by the spelling Peter starting in the 15th century .
Besides the apostle, other saints by this name include the 11th-century reformer Saint Peter Damian and the 13th-century preacher Saint Peter Martyr. It was also borne by rulers of Aragon, Portugal, and Russia, including the Russian tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725), who defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War. Famous fictional bearers include Peter Rabbit from Beatrix Potter's children's books, and Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up in J. M. Barrie's 1904 play.
The name was common among Jews in the Middle Ages, but it was not generally used as a Christian name in the English-speaking world until after the Protestant Reformation. A notable bearer was the American conservationist Rachel Carson (1907-1964).
During the late Middle Ages this name was typically among the five most common for males (with John, William, Robert and Thomas). It remained fairly popular through to the modern era, peaking in the United States in the 1940s and in the United Kingom a bit later, and steadily declining since that time.
Famous bearers include two German opera composers, Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and Richard Strauss (1864-1949), as well as British explorer Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), American physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), British actor Richard Burton (1925-1984) and American musician Little Richard (1932-).
This name has been borne by two early kings of France, two Dukes of Normandy, and three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century. The author Robert Browning (1812-1889) and poets Robert Burns (1759-1796) and Robert Frost (1874-1963) are famous literary bearers of this name. Other bearers include Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, and American actors Robert Redford (1936-), Robert De Niro (1943-) and Robert Downey Jr. (1965-).
As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers include American inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and American author Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain.
In England, Sarah came into use after the Protestant Reformation. It was consistently popular in the 20th century throughout the English-speaking world, reaching the top of the charts for England and Wales in the 1970s and 80s.
Notable bearers include Sarah Churchill (1660-1744), an influential British duchess and a close friend of Queen Anne, and the French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923).
In the New Testament Simon is the name of several characters, including the man who carried the cross for Jesus. Most importantly however it was borne by the leading apostle Simon, also known as Peter (a name given to him by Jesus).
Because of the apostle, this name has been common in the Christian world. In England it was popular during the Middle Ages, though it became more rare after the Protestant Reformation.
This was the name of kings of England, Serbia, and Poland, as well as ten popes. It was also borne by the first Christian king of Hungary (11th century), who is regarded as the patron saint of that country. More recent bearers include British physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) and the American author Stephen King (1947-).
This was a common name in classical Greece, and, due to both the saints who carried it and the favourable meaning, it came into general use in the Christian world, being especially popular among Eastern Christians. It was however rare in Britain before the 19th century. Famous bearers include three tsars of Russia (in the Russian form Fyodor) and American president Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919).
In England the name was introduced by the Normans and became very popular due to Saint Thomas Becket, a 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury and martyr. It was reliably among the top five most common English names for boys from the 13th to the 19th century, and it has remained consistently popular to this day.
Another notable saint by this name was the 13th-century Italian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), American president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931).
Though in use elsewhere in Europe, the name was very rare in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when Queen Victoria began her long rule of Britain. She was named after her mother, who was of German royalty. Many geographic areas are named after the queen, including an Australian state and a Canadian city.
This was the name of the first English baby born in the New World: Virginia Dare in 1587 on Roanoke Island. Perhaps because of this, the name has generally been more popular in America than elsewhere in the English-speaking world, though in both Britain and America it was not often used until the 19th century. The baby was named after the Colony of Virginia, which was itself named for Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. A more recent bearer was the English novelist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941).
This name was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia. Other famous bearers include William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, and William Tell, a legendary 14th-century Swiss hero (called Wilhelm in German, Guillaume in French and Guglielmo in Italian). In the literary world it was borne by dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), and author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997).
In the American rankings (since 1880) this name has never been out of the top 20, making it one of the most consistently popular names (although it has never reached the top rank). In modern times its short form, Liam, has periodically been more popular than William itself, in the United Kingdom in the 1990s and the United States in the 2010s.
As an English name, Zoe has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).