Common Names of United States Presidents and First Ladies

Updated on June 12, 2020
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Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

James Madison
James Madison | Source

Common Names of US Presidents

The question about the common first name of the United States Presidents comes up often on game shows. Most contestants deliberate if it is John or James. Let's set the record straight about the most common name.

James is the most popular name. That was the first name of six presidents.

  1. James Madison, 1809-1817
  2. James Monroe, 1817-1825
  3. James Polk, 1845-1849
  4. James Buchanan, 1857-1861
  5. James Garfield, March 4, 1881-September 19, 1881. He was assassinated six and a half months after he was in office.
  6. James "Jimmy" Carter, 1977-1981

Most people forget that Jimmy Carter's first name is actually James. William and John tied for the second most popular name with four instances.

  1. William Henry Harrison, March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841. Harrison was in office only 31 days before he died of typhoid, pneumonia, or paratyphoid fever. It was the first time that any president died in office.
  2. William McKinley, 1897-1901
  3. William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
  4. William "Bill" Clinton, 1993-2001

Like Jimmy Carter, some people forget that Bill Clinton's birth name is actually William.

  1. John Adams, 1797-1801
  2. John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
  3. John Tyler, 1841-1845
  4. John Kennedy, 1961-1963

George is the third most popular name with three instances.

  1. George Washington, 1789-1797
  2. George H.W. Bush, 1989-1993
  3. George W. Bush, 2001-2009

There were two US Presidents named Thomas.

  1. Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
  2. Thomas Woodrow Wilson,1913-1921. Since Woodrow Wilson didn't use his first name, people either didn't know Thomas was his first name or they have forgotten it.

There were two instances where there was an Andrew in the White House.

  1. Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
  2. Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869

There were two instances of presidents named Franklin.

  1. Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
  2. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1945

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama | Source

Unique Names of US Presidents

While there have been some repeat first names of United States Presidents in the White House, there have been some unique names with the names being owned by only one president.

  1. Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850
  2. Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853
  3. Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877
  4. Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881
  5. Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1885
  6. Barack Obama, 2009 - 2017
  7. Donald Trump, 2017-incumbent

Betty Ford
Betty Ford | Source

Common Names of US First Ladies

All of the First Ladies of the United States have had beautiful names. After they left the White House, some people forgot their names. Do you know the most popular name of the ladies?

There is a valid reason people might not choose one of the names as the most common first name of the wives of the presidents because one of them was better known by her shortened name or nickname.

Three of the First Ladies were named Elizabeth.

  1. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of President James Monroe who served from 1817 to 1825.
  2. Elizabeth Virginia "Bess" Truman, the wife of Harry S. Truman who lived in the White House from 1945 to 1953.
  3. Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford who served from 1974 to 1977.

Elizabeth has been a popular name for females for over 100 years. It has ranked in the top 50 around the world. For instance, a familiar Elizabeth is Queen Elizabeth, the monarch of England. Elizabeth Warren is a politician and Democrat who has been a Massachusetts Senator since 2013. She was the last candidate to withdraw from the race for the 2020 United States presidential election.

It is interesting that the retired American television personality and talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck spells her name with an "s" while her mother Elizabeth DelPadre who was a school teacher and lawyer spells her name with a "z."

Two First Ladies were named Martha.

  1. Martha Washington, wife of George Washington was in the White House from
    1789-1801.
  2. Martha Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson served from 1801 to 1809.

Two First Ladies were named Edith.

  1. Edith Roosevelt, wife of Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House from
    1901 to 1909.
  2. Edith Wilson was the second wife of Woodrow Wilson who served in the White House from 1914 to 1921.

Two First Ladies were named Anna.

  1. Anna Harrison, wife of William Henry Harrison who served in office from March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841.
  2. Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the longest-serving First Lady throughout her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office from 1933 to1945.

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