Headlines

Can you name the other 128 Hamiltons?

There are 129 Hamiltons in the world, and Tim Brooker has a look at them all in his book.
Tim Brooker and his book, "Hamilton's of the World." The book explores the 129 places named Hamilton in the world. (Courtesy Tim Brooker)

Hamilton, you are not alone.

Not even close, in fact. According to a book by Tim Brooker, Hamilton, Ontario is only one of 129 different places on the globe that share the name.

Brooker is from Hamilton, New Zealand — a metropolitan area with a population of about 150,000.

He discovered just how many Hamilton's are scattered across the globe when researching his book, Hamiltons of the World.

The idyllic island of Hamilton, off the Queensland coast of Australia. (Courtesy Hamiltons of the World)

"Never did I think there were quite as many as there are," Brooker told CBC Hamilton from his home in New Zealand. "But there are quite a few, and in some extraordinary places."

Like Hamiltony, a city in the Czech Republic — named after bishop Reichsgraf von Hamilton. Then there's Port Hamilton, in South Korea.

There are even four Hamilton's in Canada. Our Hamilton is the most well known, but there's also Hamilton township in Northumberland County, about 100 kilometres north.

The Maritimes have a couple of Hamiltons, too. There's one on the eastern end of PEI, and another in Newfoundland — where the town once known as Hamilton is now called Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

"Hamiltons appear in all sorts of different places," Brooker said, adding that it's much more common than most place names.

Brooker started the book as a fundraising effort for his rotary club in New Zealand. When he first batted around the idea for the book, one of the club members said, "You do realize it's the most common city name in the English speaking world?"

"And I told him 'oh you're joking,'" Brooker said. "But I'm beginning to believe him." (For the record, the most common name in the world is San José. If you are wondering, there 1,716 of them.)

So why so many? Brooker isn't entirely sure, but credits part of the phenomenon to the fact that it's a fairly common surname.

 "Lots of the ones in America are named after the same chap — Alexander Hamilton," he said. "He was the first secretary to the treasury in the first American Government."

Brooker says the wandering nature of the Scottish people helped, too. "The scots are great explorers, and Hamilton was originally a Scottish name."

He put the 236-page book together with the help of Hamilton rotary clubs across the world, including our own. Hamiltons of the World is a full colour hardcover, and runs for $35.

"I think of myself more of a compiler than an author," Brooker said. "I just brought together things from different people."

As for the best Hamilton? "Well I've got to say the one where I live, haven't I?"

For more information or to purchase the book, visit hamiltonsoftheworld.com.