Lawson: Baby Name of the Day


Lawson: Baby Name of the Day

Lawson might just follow Jackson and Jameson right up the popularity charts.

Our Baby Name of the Day comes from this post, featuring alternatives to Logan.

Lawson: Son of Who?

Not every name ending in -son actually implies a parent-child relationship. Jason does not. Nor do Carson, Mason, or Tyson.

But many of them do, if only you can follow the evolution. Jackson is easy; so are Harrison and Anderson. But Dawson comes from David, Watson from Walter, and Hudson? That’s from either Richard … or possibly Hugh.

File Lawson somewhere in between. It developed from Lawrence, which is obvious when you think about it. But because we don’t naturally shorten Lawrence to “Law,” we don’t think about it.

But Lawrence is, of course, an evergreen classic. There’s a third century Saint Laurence, or Laurentius. His name came from the ancient city of Laurentum; in turn, it almost certainly comes from the word laurus, for laurel. Laurel wreaths symbolize victory and Romans wore them in triumph.

The saint was famously martyred, under Christian persecutions in the third century. He’s remembered for refusing to turn over the church’s riches, instead producing the faithful poor, noting that their devotion was the truest thing of value. (In fact, it’s said that Lawrence spent three days delaying his execution in order to distribute material goods to those in need.)

Doubtless some parts of his story are the stuff of legend, but it made him powerfully popular. People and places have been named in his honor ever since.

Lawson: Last Name First

While we’re sometimes dismissive of last-names-as-first-names, labeling it a new trend, that just isn’t so. We’ve been handing down family surnames for ages, and borrowing the last names of people we admire, too.

Want proof? Lawson appeared in the US Top 1000 every year from 1880 through the 1930s, and most years until 1950. That’s many moons before any baby name book declared it a stylish choice.

Lawson: Famous Figures

The name seems especially associated with Australia. An explorer named William Lawson arrived in Sydney in the year 1800; nearly a century later, in 1885, Will Lawson moved to Brisbane as a boy. He grew up to become a popular poet and novelist. But it’s native-born Henry Lawson, son of suffragist Louisa, who makes the name most famous. He’s considered the most important short story author in his country, a sort of Australian Jack London.

There’s also a noted scientist and a Civil Rights activist, athletes, artists, and politicians. Celebrity chef Nigella comes to mind; so does actor Bianca, currently appearing on OWN’s drama series Queen Sugar.

Lawson: In the First Place

The name re-entered the US Top 1000 in the year 2000. What drove its revival?

It turns out the name rose slowly through the 1990s. I can’t find a single cause; instead:

  • Logan and Landon marched up the popularity charts during the decade, both ranking in the Top 100.
  • In the mid-1990s, Dawson appeared on the fringes of the Top 1000. Then came Dawson’s Creek in 1998. The name jumped from #734 to #175, before peaking at #136 in 1999. It’s easy to imagine Dawson bringing Lawson along for the ride. In fact, the uptick in Lawson’s use begins around 1998.
  • In 2004, Gabriel Macht played a character by the name in A Love Song for Bobby Long.

A handful of other uses might’ve boosted the name, too. It’s one of the older siblings from the Bates reality mega-family, Bringing Up Bates. And the brothers at the center of USA’s Royal Pains answered to the surname, too.

But mostly, it seems like this name simply succeeded on a mix of style and sound.

Lawson: The Next Big Thing?

There’s something about a certain kind of surname name for our sons. We don’t want anything too old school or clearly aristocratic. Neville, Percy, and Cecil all feel like antiques. Instead, we’re looking for surnames with new world energy, and perhaps a ring of Americana, too – the successors to Mason and Lincoln.

They’re names like Bridger and Wilder, Sawyer, Remington, and Weston.

Lawson feels right at home in their company, a name that wears well on a kid playing in a creek, or a competent adult in the workplace.

Nickname-proof, easily spelled, and yet not too common – yet – it’s easy to see why Lawson is catching on.

What do you think of this name? Can you imagine it catching on?

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2 Comments

Lauson (with a u) was my great-grandfather’s name and it’s been making its way through our family tree since. My youngest sister is Anna Lauson, a double barrel first name.

Fresh sounding + 100 year rule = seems like a shoe-in for next big thing!