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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Thing about Common Names I Never Knew I Loved

My son has a pretty common name. Benjamin. It was 19th overall in 2011, and 5th in the state we are living in. If you asked my family, they never would have guessed I would use such a common name. They know I love baby names, and have always had some unique ideas for them. But Benjamin was the perfect storm of circumstances. I started liking the name when I was in third or fourth grade when I read it in The Boxcar Children. My husband had also always liked the name. Then, our two best friends in college, who we lived with, ate with, studied with, and played with for four years, ended up both being named Benjamin. It was a no-brainer when we were trying to find a boys name that it should be Benjamin.

Even knowing it was the perfect name for us, I still had my reservations about the source, meaning, and popularity of the name (It is not just from the Bible, but unlike most "biblical" names, did not exist until it appeared in the bible, it means "son of my right hand" or "son of the south"). But little did I know, the name had  a surprise for me. It started shortly after my son was born. I had a lot of downtime, mostly while breastfeeding, and I started re-watching old M*A*S*H Episodes, and got a little thrill when I remembered/realized that one of the main characters was Benjamin Franklin Pierce. I know its nerdy, but I just really liked that one of my favorite fictional characters shares my sons name. The little bits of excitement kept coming as I realized that my son shares his name with all sorts of cool and interesting people, and it ties him to all sorts of interesting books and historical tidbits. I never imagined I would get joy out of who my son shares a name with, I expected almost the opposite!

I intend to post more broad posts about the good and the bad of unique and common names, but I just wanted to throw this out there first. Here are some of the great Benjamin references that have made me smile over the last year:

Benjamin Franklin Pierce- AKA Hawkeye
Benjamin Franklin
Much to my Husband's Chagrin, there IS a Benjamin in the Twilight Series, though a very minor character!

Benjamin Martin - Main Character in The Patriot
Benjamin Harrison - 23rd President
Benjamin Disraeli - an old British Prime Minister, Google him, he has some cool quotes!


  1. It's cool, isn't it? It's a great way to look at common names, too--that they share names with people in history and not just kids in the same class ;)

  2. This is very cool. Would you consider taking requests? I'd love to see you do this for my son, and for other names out there!