My husband is Nick and I'm Rachel. Our last name is Watson. We're having a boy on November 7 and have a name that we really love. It's John. The problem is that our son would share his name with the doctor in the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Sometimes it seems like a big deal, since there have been quite a few Sherlock Holmes films and TV shows lately and it's a well known character. Other times I just think that it's not like it's the name of an evil character or anything bad and just not important at all really.
We're planning to call him John and don't like Jonathan or Jack. The middle name will be Nicholas.
Oh, how interesting! I am moderately familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories (have read some recreationally, and also had to study a couple of them in school), so I'm definitely familiar with Watson, and he would be my first association if someone gave a child the first name Watson. But somehow I had not retained the information that Watson's first name was John; I think of him as "Watson," and that's it. And, as you say, Watson is a GOOD character, not a bad guy or anything.
It has been a long time since I read/studied a Sherlock Holmes story, however, and I haven't seen any of the recent movies or television shows, so my Sherlock Holmes knowledge is hardly what I'd call FRESH. Also, I am extremely biased, because I love the name John and I fervently want you to be able to use it.
So I think we need a poll, to let cooler heads prevail. As usual for this sort of situation, I want to divide the "it's a problem"/"it's not a problem" opinions into two groups: those who knew already that John was Watson's first name, and those who didn't. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Poll results for "The name John Watson" (512 votes total):
I knew Watson's first name; it's a problem - 35 votes (7%)
I knew Watson's first name; it's not a problem - 127 votes (25%)
I didn't know Watson's first name; it's a problem - 10 votes (2%)
I didn't know Watson's first name; it's not a problem - 334 votes (65%)
I can't decide - 6 votes (1%)