About Names: McCartney is a rare talent, and a (historically) rare British Paul

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his July 18 column, he looks at the history of the name Paul.

The name Paul is the English form of Latin name Paulus or Paullus, meaning “small” or “humble.” St. Paul was an important leader of early Christianity. Despite Paul’s biblical significance, his name wasn’t popular in medieval Western Europe.

Paul had a minor uptick from 19th to 16th in the U.S. when Beatlemania crossed the Atlantic. For Americans, though, Paul wasn’t “fresh” enough for that to last, and it fell out of the top 50 names in 1991. McCartney is the most famous modern Paul, but there are scores of others. Paul Robeson (1898-1976), singer and political activist whose version of “Ol’ Man River” is still the most famous rendition of the song, kept the name known among African-Americans. Read on to find out more about Pauls in history!