Its source is Shemuel, a Hebrew name meaning "God heard."
Some authorities interpret this name as ''requested of God,'' ''God's heart'' or ''God's name.''
In the Jewish scriptures, Samuel was the last judge of Israel. At the people's insistence, and with God's reluctant permission, he anointed Saul as Israel's first king. He was later forced to chastise Saul for disregarding God's commands, and ultimately sought out the shepherd boy David and anointed him as Saul's successor.
This name has strong associations with the United States. It was very popular among the Puritans during America's colonial period, and ''Uncle Sam'' has been the personal face of the U.S. government for well over a century.