Fans of “Mockingbird” have been crestfallen and disbelieving that their hero could be so changed, but perhaps no group more so than those who chose that name for their children.

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When Oscar Boykin and his wife, Liz, heard that a new Harper Lee novel was to be released, populated by the same characters as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” they envisioned a tsunami of baby boys named Atticus storming the country, and their own son, Atticus, who is 9 months old, would no longer stand out.

If only.

In “Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch was the beloved, honorable father figure, a namesake freighted with values and meaning. In the new book, “Go Set a Watchman,” which was released Tuesday, Atticus is a racist.

Fans of “Mockingbird” have been crestfallen and disbelieving that their hero could be so changed, but perhaps no group more so than those who chose that name for their children.

“When we first heard about the book, my wife said, ‘Oh no, I hope Atticus didn’t turn bad or something,’” said Christopher Campbell, the father of 3-year-old Atticus Campbell, who was born shortly after his parents moved to the Atlanta area from New York City. “We actually had that discussion. It was almost a joke.”

Over the past couple of years, Campbell said, he and his wife, Jennifer, have watched with some dismay as the name Atticus became increasingly common. Indeed, according to the Social Security Administration, which tracks baby names in the United States, the name was more popular last year than it had ever been.

In 2004, Atticus made its first appearance on an annual list of the 1,000 most common names, which stretches back to 1880. By 2014, it had flown up the list, ranking as the 370th most common boy’s name in the country, sandwiched between Enzo and Kash.

“We’ve always wanted to have names for our kids that aren’t super-popular,” said Christopher Campbell, whose 11-month-old daughter’s name is Edith (No. 627). “In a way, we’ll probably get our wish.”

Atticus is still unusual enough that it remains closely tied to Lee’s character, its most famous bearer.

Some parents have responded to the Atticus news by questioning the author’s intent: Nearly 60 years after the writing the book, did Lee truly want it published? Others have taken comfort in the fact that “Watchman” is said to have been written before “Mockingbird,” and so it was a draft, they say, not the evolution of their cherished Atticus. But there are those who worry that the book will prompt an unfortunate questioning of their children in the future: Which Atticus were you named for?

“It’s so disappointing because it’s the opposite of what we loved about the character,” said Oscar Boykin, who lives in Maui, Hawaii. While he said he could not bring himself to read the new book, his wife, who is the daughter of an English teacher, feels differently. “I will read the book,” she said, “though, as a new mom, who knows when!”

Atticus Gannaway of Manhattan, 37, who started going by Atticus in college (his parents named him Ryan), said that while he was not thrilled by this new development, he found comfort in the idea that “Watchman” might be part of a deeper conversation about race and history in America.

“If my own name has to be tainted in some ways for that to happen, it’s something I can live with,” Gannaway said.

Besides, it could be a lot worse. One could have been named Adolf, for example. After World War II, Adolph, the more common American spelling, never regained its prewar popularity.