The name Potomac is a European spelling of an Algonquian name which supposedly means "river of swans." Other accounts say the name means "place where people trade" or "the place to which tribute is brought". The natives called the river above the falls Cohongorooton, translated as "river of geese", and that area was renowned in early years for an abundance of both geese and swans. The spelling of the name has been simplified over the years from Patawomeke to Patowmack in the 18th century and now Potomac. The river's name was officially decided upon as Potomac by the Board on Geographic Names in 1931.