Texan Names

The other haven of Jim Bobs and Billy Bobs—the great southwestern state of Texas. This is the state, don't forget, that landed a Peggy Sue at the top of the pop record charts, thanks to Lubbock native Charles Hardin Holly, who preferred to be called Buddy. Texas is also the state that gave us two of the most popular boys' names in use today—Austin and Tyler—although these names are no more common here than in any other part of the U.S.

Name Dropping

Although commemorative names are falling in popularity in other parts of the country, they continue strong in Texas. Austin and Travis are both names related to men who fought for and won the independence of modern-day Texas from the Spanish. If you live in this part of the country, choose either of them with the knowledge that they're not likely to fade in popularity any time soon.

People from Texas, and for that matter, other parts of the Southwest, are “good ol' boys” (and girls), and they like using abbreviated forms of their given names. There's a long list of those who do (or did), including television journalists Sam Donaldson (El Paso, Texas) and Dan Rather (Wharton, Texas), journalist and author Bill Moyers (Hugo, Oklahoma), singer Vikki Carr (El Paso), actresses Cyd Charisse (Amarillo, Texas) and Sandy Duncan (Henderson, Texas), politicians Sam Rayburn, Barry Goldwater, and Willie Brown, and columnist Liz Smith. When a lone Texan like actor Thomas Haden Church (a native of El Paso) uses his full name, you start to wonder why he's not using Tom, his good ol' boy moniker. Maybe he wants to ditch his Texas past.

We also have Texas to thank—or, at least, the television shows like Dallas and those modeled after it—for some currently popular name fashions. Alexis, Samantha, Ashley, and many of the other girls' names at the top of the popularity charts either came from the characters on these wildly popular nighttime soaps, or they sound like they did. Other famous Texans include:

  • Lady Bird Johnson. The former first lady was born in Karnack. You can't get much more Texan than Lady Bird, but that's not her real name—it's Claudia Alta (Taylor).
  • Joe Don Baker. Actor, probably best known for starring as Sheriff Buford Pusser in Walking Tall.
  • Crystal Bernard. Actress, probably most well known for her stint on the television show Wings.
  • Clint Black. Award-winning country and western singer.
  • Dale Evans. Singer and actress, married to Roy Rogers.
  • Lyle Lovett. Musician and actor.
  • Fess Parker. Actor who starred in the Disney movie and series based on legendary frontiersman Davey Crockett.
  • Rex Reed. Famous gossip columnist and critic.

More on: Choosing a Name


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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