In the years after William the
Conqueror and his Norman followers defeated the English at the Battle of
Hastings in 1066, William became one of the most popular names for infant boys.
The tendency to choose names
related to current or recent events has existed ever since. Bill Schemmel of
Decatur, Georgia, wrote a brief article for Harper's about names chosen in the
1960s and 1970s for children born in a large Atlanta hospital.
The presidency of John F.
Kennedy, Schemmel reported, led not unexpectedly to many John Fitzgeralds and
also to a Gerald Fitzgerald and a Joan F. Kennedy, and Jacqueline's name was
somewhat echoed by Jacka Lyon and Jackalette. The Kennedy assassination had
unfortunate onomastic results such as Lee Harvey, Ozzwald Fitzgerald, Rotunda
Cortege, and Flame Eternal. The marriage of the former Mrs. Kennedy to Aristotle
Onassis led to many Aristotles, Athenas, and Olympias, as well as to an Airy
Onassa and Jackie Canasta.
A 1967 peace discussion between
President Lyndon Baines Johnson of the U.S. and Aleksei Kosygin of the USSR
brought a flurry of peace-hopeful names, including Linden Alex, Banes Alexander,
and Alexi Banes, as well as Alexa for some girls.
The hurricane Camille, in 1968,
caused a temporary run on that name, according to Schemmel. And Watergate
aroused so much interest in everyone involved that such combinations as Rodino
Talmadge (for two prominent participants in the hearings) were made up. Perhaps
the strangest name was in recollection of presidential adviser John Ehrlichmann.
A little Atlanta girl was named Earlic Ann Mann.
Hook, J. N. The Book of Names,
A Celebration of Mainly American Names: People, Places, and Things. Franklin