About Names: Long history has helped Abraham endure

@Associated Press

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 11th column, he looks at the history of the names Abraham.

Abraham was the Biblical patriarch of the Hebrews. He had one of history’s most famous name changes. In Genesis 17, God tells him: “No longer shall your name be Abram (“high father” or “exalted ancestor”) but your name shall be Abraham (“father of many”); for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.” The patriarch’s fame meant his name was used by Christians as well as Jews in medieval Europe. Families with surnames like Abraham and Abrams had medieval Christian ancestors called Abraham.

In 1880, when Social Security’s yearly baby name data started, Abraham ranked 163rd, Abe 234th and Abram 373rd. All fell off until 1902 when they rose again, partly because of eastern European Jewish immigration. Abraham also jumped from 162nd in 1910 to 124th in 1911, probably because of publicity about the building of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. After 1912, Abraham dropped, bottoming out at 499th in 1967.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Abrahams in history!