Will The Real Abraham Lincoln Please Stand Up

Internet access to the nation’s census reports is just another way in which the lives of researchers are being made easier.  A fellow historian recently shared the results of a search in the 1870 census for children born after 1860 who were named after prominent political and military leaders from the Civil War.  In 1870 there were 82 boys given the name Abraham Lincoln and 84 boys given the name Jefferson Davis.  While the numbers are close the children tend to live in the region in which the name was associated.  There were just under 100 boys named Ulysses S. Grant, which reflects his popularity after the war.  Grant’s postwar popularity and eventual decline is the subject of Joan Waugh’s latest manuscript which should be published some time in 2007.  There were roughly 108 Robert E. Lee’s by 1870.  I was surprised to learn that 25 were named after Phil Sheridan and another 21 after Wade Hampton.  One boy was named after Ben Butler and please don’t comment that his nickname was "spoons."  Finally seven boys were named after George McClellan.  From what I hear they were all very good baseball players, but never willing to steal a base.

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