List of Presidents of the United States by name

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

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

Name origins

No. President Name origin
44 Barack Hussein Obama II Named after his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.
43 George Walker Bush Named after his father, former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush
42 William Jefferson Clinton Originally 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
41 George Herbert Walker Bush Named after his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker
40 Ronald Wilson Reagan Wilson was his mother’s maiden name
39 James Earl Carter, Jr. Named after his father, James Earl Carter, Sr.
38 Gerald 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.
37 Richard Milhous Nixon Named after Richard the Lionheart; Milhous was his mother’s maiden name
36 Lyndon Baines Johnson Named after W.C. Linden, a lawyer and family friend, Baines was his mother’s maiden name
35 John Fitzgerald Kennedy Named after his maternal grandfather, John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald
34 Dwight David Eisenhower Originally named David Dwight Eisenhower after his father, David Jacob Eisenhower
33 Harry S. Truman Named 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.
32 Franklin Delano Roosevelt After being nameless for seven weeks, he was named after his great-uncle, Franklin Hughes Delano
31 Herbert Clark Hoover Clark was his father’s middle name
30 John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. Named after his father John Coolidge, Sr.; Went by his middle name
29 Warren Gamaliel Harding Named after his great-uncle, Rev. Warren Gamaliel Bancroft
28 Woodrow Wilson Originally named Thomas Woodrow Wilson after his maternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Woodrow
27 William Howard Taft Howard was the last name of his paternal grandmother, Sylvia Howard
26 Theodore Roosevelt Originally named Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. after his father
25 William McKinley Originally named William McKinley, Jr. after his father
23 Benjamin Harrison While 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
22/24 Grover Cleveland Originally named Stephen Grover Cleveland after Rev. Stephen Grover
21 Chester Alan Arthur Named after Dr. Chester Abell, the physician who delivered him, and his paternal grandfather, Alan Arthur
20 James Abram Garfield Named after his deceased infant brother, James, and his father Abram Garfield
19 Rutherford Birchard Hayes Named after his father, Rutherford Hayes, Sr. Birchard was his mother’s maiden name
18 Ulysses S. Grant About a month after birth, he was originally named Hiram Ulysses Grant; Hiram was his maternal grandfather and Ulysses a Greek hero from mythology. It is frequently said that Grant's middle name was "Simpson" after his mother's maiden name however it was not. His middle name was "Ulysses" and he admitted that the "S" in his name stood for nothing.
17 Andrew Johnson Either named after Andrew Jackson or a maternal uncle
16 Abraham Lincoln Named after his paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, Sr.
15 James Buchanan, Jr. Named after his father, James Buchanan, Sr.
14 Franklin Pierce Unknown
13 Millard Fillmore Millard was his mother’s maiden name
12 Zachary Taylor Named after his paternal grandfather, Zachary Taylor, Sr.
11 James Knox Polk Named after his maternal grandfather, James Knox
10 John Tyler Named after his father, John Tyler, Sr.
9 William Henry Harrison Named after his maternal grandfather, William Bassett and paternal uncle, Henry Harrison
8 Martin Van Buren Named after his paternal grandfather, Martin Van Buren, Sr. Van Buren's name was spelled "Maarten" in Dutch, and he was baptized on December 15, 1782 according to the baptismal record from the Kinderhook Dutch Reformed Church with the name "Maarten van Buren".
7 Andrew Jackson Named after his father, Andrew Jackson, Sr., who died in an accident three weeks before his birth
6 John Quincy Adams Named 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.
5 James Monroe Named after his maternal grandfather, James Jones
4 James Madison Named after his father, James Madison, Sr.
3 Thomas Jefferson Named after his paternal grandfather, Thomas Jefferson II
2 John Adams Named after his father, John Adams, Sr.
1 George Washington Possibly 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

Duplicates and multiple first names

There have been:

Length of first names

  • Rutherford is the longest Presidential first name at 10 letters.
  • John and Bill are the shortest Presidential first names at four letters.
  • The average length in letters of commonly used presidential first names is 6.14 letters.

Middle names

  • Three Presidents used their middle name as their given name:
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. went by Calvin
Stephen Grover Cleveland went by Grover
Thomas Woodrow Wilson went by Woodrow
  • Seventeen of the 43 presidents to date have no known middle name.
  • Franklin Pierce is sometimes referred to as Franklin K. Pierce:[1][2] the 'K' possibly standing for his mother's maiden name of Kendrick. However, there is no evidence that Pierce was given a middle name at birth or ever used a middle name or middle initial.
  • Several Presidential middle names were originally surnames: Baines, Birchard, Delano, Fitzgerald, Walker, Knox, Milhous, Quincy, and Simpson, et al. Most of these were the President's mother's maiden name.
  • Gerald Rudolph Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. therefore giving him the middle name of Lynch before his mother remarried when he was three years old; his name was not legally changed until 1935 while in law school.
  • Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant. His name was wrongly entered as Ulysses S. Grant when he entered the United States Military Academy.
  • Harry S. Truman's middle name was only an initial; the "S" didn't stand for another name. Nevertheless he signed his name using the period after the letter.
  • George Herbert Walker Bush is the only President with two middle names.
  • There are no duplicate Presidential middle names, with the partial exception of Herbert Walker and Walker.
  • Two Presidents have middle names which are also Presidential last names: Ronald Wilson Reagan and William Jefferson Clinton.

Last names

  • There have been two Adamses, two Bushes, two Harrisons, two Johnsons, and two Roosevelts. All of the pairs except the Johnsons were related to each other.
  • Thirty-three of the Presidents have had unique last names.
  • Eisenhower and Washington had the longest last names, with 10 letters each.
  • Twelve Presidents have last names of three syllables: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Van Buren, both Harrisons, Buchanan, McKinley, both Roosevelts, Kennedy and Obama.
  • Eisenhower is the only President whose last name is four syllables long.
  • The Bushes, Taft, Polk, and Ford had the shortest last names, with four letters each and only one syllable each. Three other Presidents have longer last names that are still only one syllable: Pierce, Grant and Hayes for a total of seven single syllable last names.
  • The remaining Presidents (so far) have names of two syllables regardless of length.
  • The average Presidential last name has 6.64 letters.
  • The only two-word last name is Van Buren. Van is a surname prefix common to people of Dutch or Belgian ancestry.
  • Obama is the only President whose last name has more pronounced vowels than its total number of consonants.
  • Only three of the ten most common surnames (Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, Wilson, Moore, and Taylor) in the United States have been the surnames of Presidents (Johnson, Andrew and Lyndon; Wilson, Woodrow; and Taylor, Zachary).

Last name origins

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

No. President Last name origin
44 Barack Obama Patronymic from the president's great grandfather, Obama.
43 George Walker Bush Topographic name for someone living in a bushy area or thicket.
42 Bill Clinton Habitational 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).
41 George Herbert Walker Bush Same as above
40 Ronald Reagan Variant 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’.
39 Jimmy Carter Occupational 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.
38 Gerald R. Ford Topographic 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.
37 Richard M. Nixon Patronymic from the Middle English personal name Nik(k)e, a short form of Nicholas.
36 Lyndon Baines Johnson Patronymic from the personal name John.
35 John F. Kennedy Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Ceannéidigh ‘descendant of Ceannéidigh’, a personal name derived from ceann ‘head’ + éidigh ‘ugly’.
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower Variant 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’.
33 Harry S. Truman Variant spelling of Trueman, a nickname for a trustworthy man, from Middle English trewe, trow ‘faithful’ + man ‘man’.
32 Franklin D. Roosevelt A topographic name for someone living by an area of uncultivated land overgrown with roses, from Dutch roose + velt ‘open country’.
31 Herbert Hoover From 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.
30 Calvin Coolidge Probably 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
29 Warren G. Harding From the Old English personal name Hearding, originally a patronymic from Hard, which means ‘hardy’, ‘brave’, or ‘strong'
28 Woodrow Wilson Patronymic from the personal name Will, a very common medieval short form of William.
27 William Howard Taft Topographic 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.
26 Theodore Roosevelt Same as above
25 William McKinley Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Fionnlaigh, a patronymic from the early personal name Fionnlaoch.
23 Benjamin Harrison Patronymic from the medieval personal name Harry.
22/24 Grover Cleveland Regional 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’.
21 Chester A. Arthur From 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’.
20 James A. Garfield Probably 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.
19 Rutherford B. Hayes reduced 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.
18 Ulysses S. Grant Nickname 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.
17 Andrew Johnson Same as above
16 Abraham Lincoln Habitational name from the city of Lincoln, so named from an original British name Lindo- ‘lake’ + Latin colonia ‘settlement’, ‘colony’.
15 James Buchanan Habitational name from Buchanan, a place near Loch Lomond, perhaps named with Gaelic buth chanain ‘house of the canon’.
14 Franklin Pierce From 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]
13 Millard Fillmore From a Norman personal name, Filimor, composed of the Germanic elements filu ‘very’ + mari, meri ‘famous’.
12 Zachary Taylor Occupational name for a tailor, from Old French tailleur (Late Latin taliator, from taliare ‘to cut’).
11 James K. Polk Reduced 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’.
10 John Tyler Occupational name for a maker or layer of tiles, from an agent derivative of Middle English tile ‘tile’.
9 William Henry Harrison Same as above.
8 Martin Van Buren Habitational 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.
7 Andrew Jackson Patronymic from Jack.
6 John Quincy Adams Patronymic from the personal name Adam.
5 James Monroe According 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’.
4 James Madison Metronymic from the medieval female personal name Madde, a form of Maud or Magdalen.
3 Thomas Jefferson Patronymic from Jeffrey.
2 John Adams Same as above
1 George Washington Habitational 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

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."


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


  1. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Biographies: Justice Alvin Peterson Hovey
  2. DAVIS, John Givan (1810-1866) Guide to Research Papers
  5. Andrew Jackson

See also