From New Testament Greek to Latin to English, James traveled quite a road from his humble beginnings as a variant of Jacob, which means either "supplanter" or "may God protect". Seven kings of Scotland (and two of England) and six U.S. Presidents have been named James, not to mention a couple of apostles and one of Jesus' brothers (the author of the epistle James in the New Testament), unless you're Catholic, in which case James probably a cousin of Jesus'. Currently the third most popular boys' name in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was the most popular boys' name in the U.S. from 1940 until 1952, and was in the top five from 1880 (the beginning of record-keeping) until 1980. That's why every other person is named James, methinks. Currently, it's the 17th most popular name for boys in the U.S. Incidentally, it peaked as the 318th most popular for girls in 1928. Clearly, James gets around.
|Don't worry, Australian friends; I|
haven't forgotten Captain Cook.
Famous Jameses: Geez. If you go here, you can see a list of a bunch of famous Jameses, complete with pictures. (Does anybody else think James Franco looks a lot like James Dean?) A few that I particularly like: Jim Henson, J.M. Barrie, Jamie Murray (tennis player; older brother to Andy Murray), Jimmy Fallon, James Van Der Beek, James McAvoy.
Fictional Jameses: James and the Giant Peach, James Potter (Harry Potter), James Russell (Chalet School), James Bond, James T. Kirk, (Captain) James Hook.
My Jameses: In addition to about a dozen friends and acquaintances called James, I do tend to use the name a lot in writing. So far, I'm holding off in my current WIP, but I've had so many Jameses that I've pretty much lost track of them all.
Are you a James? Do you feel like you're surrounded by Jameses?