Just You Wait

Adult woman mother holding a new born baby in the beach.
Djavan Rodriguez/Moment/Getty Images
17 Historical Boy Names For Your Own Future Leader

These names hold serious significance and set your little guy up to change the world.

Choosing a baby name is a big deal, and it’s a no-brainer that everything from movies to books and your old yearbooks can give you ideas on what to name your little one. But turning to history — whether you like it ancient or prefer modern Hollywood history — is another fun way to find some baby names. Specifically, having a list of historical boy names for your little guy can help you narrow down the many, many monikers available. Whether you want something super unique or just something that holds a lot of significance, there’s a historical boy name on this list for you.

And yes, of course, history isn’t always pretty. There are some names that have such an ick vibe thanks to history that they’ll never gain significance again as a baby name. But there are some that have been remade by newer moments in history and have a fresher feel to them. Like the baby name Thomas feels pretty solid and lovely, despite the horrors of Thomas Jefferson.

History can also be whatever you want it to be. Choose Ben for Ben Affleck, who has made film history several times, or pick Neil for Neil Armstrong. History doesn’t have to mean naming your child after a president, and these historical boy names prove just that.



William has literally been in the top 20 baby names for boys since 1900, so it truly doesn’t get much more historical than that. But you can play up William — historical because of everyone from William the Conqueror to William Shakespeare to Bill Gates — with some great nicknames. There’s Will, Willy, Bill and Billy, and even Liam. The name William also means “resolute protector.”



A unique boy name option with major historical significance is Abraham. Famous, of course, because of Abraham Lincoln, this baby name holds a lot and can be a little heavy for such a tiny new babe. Throw in Abe as a nickname for something super cute and spunky. The name Abraham also means “father of multitudes” and has some biblical significance.



Can’t you name about a million historical Henrys? Me, too, but it doesn’t make this name any less special. From Henry David Thoreau to King Henry VIII and even Henry Ford, it’s definitely a name you can find in all the history books. Henry does mean “house ruler,” and doesn’t it all kind of make sense now?



You want solid, historical, and strong? You want Alexander. There’s Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander the Great, and, of course, Alexander Hamilton. This name has some great nickname options — I’m partial to Xander, myself — and Alexander also means “defender, protector of men.”



Neil feels like a special, unique baby boy name option, despite how historical it is. Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon, but there’s also Neil Patrick Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and even Neil Diamond. The name also has some Irish origins and is attributed to several different meanings, including “passionate” and “champion.”



I don’t think I’ve ever met a baby named Martin, but I really do love it. Name your little one after Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Van Buren, or even Martin Scorsese. Martin also feels strong as it comes from Mars, the god of war.



George is another super popular boy name through history, but it’s just so good. It hasn’t been in even the top 100 baby boy names since the early 1990s, so it’s a pretty unique option despite how significant it is in history with George Washington, George W. Bush, and even George Harrison and George Clooney.



I just adore the name Franklin, and it’s definitely a unique option these days. Whether you choose this historical boy name for Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Benjamin Franklin, it’s a solid choice for your new baby.



Charles is extremely popular in British history, but it has its place all over the world, from King Charles to Charles Lindbergh, Charles de Gaulle, and Charles Dickens. The name has stayed in the top 100 since 1900, but it’s not quite as popular as it used to be, so don’t worry that you’ll have a bunch of baby Charleses in your kid’s preschool class.



Solid, respectable, classic — the baby boy name John is a must to put on your list. Through politics, entertainment, religion, the name John is all over history. Whether you choose it for John Lennon or JFK, just know it’s a great choice for a sweet baby boy.



I love the name Arthur so much. I love it for how romantic it sounds, how magical, and all of those great nicknames like Art and Artie. Arthur Ashe, Arthur Miller, and Arthur Conan Doyle come to mind if you’re hoping your little Arthur will be an artist, too.



Benjamin is an endearing, darling baby boy name, and has major historical significance thanks to Benjamin Franklin. You could even choose it as a nod to Ben Affleck if you love the film history connection. The baby name Benjamin means “son of the right hand” and has Hebrew origins, too.



LBJ became president in a pretty terrifying way, and you can pay tribute to that history with the name Lyndon for your little guy. This is definitely a unique option, and the name Lyndon means “linden tree hill” so it has a nature connection as well if that’s important to you.



Like Charles, Philip feels like it only belongs in the British history books thanks to Prince Philip, but it’s a name that’s been all over. The name Philip also means “horse-loving” or “fond of horses,” which feels like its own brand of history.



Albert Einstein, Albert Finney, Albert Brooks — this baby name is a loaded one for the history books. But it’s so cute, and Albie is a great nickname.



Thomas feels strong and steady, and it’s got tons of history thanks to Thomas Edison, Thomas Paine, and even Thomas Jefferson (who is problematic, but deeply part of history). The name Thomas also means “twin,” so if you’re expecting more than one baby boy, this is an extra great option.



Tsar Nicholas? Oh yes. Nicholas has lots of history, and the name means “victory of people” which feels incredibly strong and lovely.

This list of historical boy names is a great starting point if you aren’t sure what to name your own little guy. Whether you like all of the history connected to these names or not, these are all pretty strong and steady.