Category: Family Names
Since medieval times, the majority of couples in the West—including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia—have passed on the father’s last name to the baby. While there have always been exceptions to this rule, it remains a dominant social convention.
But for the last few decades, last name choices have been changing because families are changing.
Many of us grew up with mothers who kept their last name after they married, or in blended families where family members had different last names. We may have changed our last name to a stepfather’s name, or gone back to a mother’s maiden name when we were teenagers. Whichever way you look at it, the idea of the traditional nuclear family is changing. Nevertheless, the practice of passing on the father’s last name has remained.
Many couples are happy to continue the tradition and pass on the father’s last name. But for others, that tradition has become increasingly jarring and uncomfortable. Over the past few decades, many families have been searching for—and finding—alternatives.
I read an online comment recently from a name enthusiast arguing that “lots of men” give their own names to their sons (whether as Juniors—using their exact names—or using variants in the first or middle spots), while “very few women” do the same for their daughters.
This argument didn’t seem quite right to me, based on my limited experience, so I posed the question on my blog and indeed, my readers produced quite a lot of examples of girls named after their moms. Nevertheless, it is true that the idea of specifically “Junior” girls—girls with at least the same first name as their moms, never mind the same first+middle combo—is an unfamiliar one to many of us, and I wondered why.
By Tiana Putric
In the past, when rural communities were sparsely populated, hereditary surnames did not exist; people were only known by their first name. Fast forward to today and surnames in America are the norm and meeting people with several names, including hyphenated lasts, is not uncommon. What’s more, many surnames like Hunter, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, and Piper have become popular firsts while many other surnames are in line to move from last to first place.
Here are six striking surnames with the potential to evolve into ‘new’ and great firsts for either girls or boys.
By Laura Booher
For me, there’s always been something fascinating about family history. Maybe it’s because my own family tells so many stories about relatives and times long past. And maybe it’s also because I love travel, and I like to imagine where my ancestors came from and what they were like. In any event, I’ve explored my genealogy on and off over the years and one thing that I found most interesting is the variety of names I discovered there.
Unfortunately, most of the first names that appear in my family tree are either repeated a thousand times, or are so unusual that I’d hesitate to give them to my child. I found it was the surnames that provided the better source of names that I would consider as a future first or middle name. So, without further ado, here are my top five family surnames that are candidates for a future child.
By Abby Sandel
This week brought us two celebrity baby names inspired by loved ones. But they’re not just simple honor names.
Actor Rob Schneider also welcomed a daughter – his third. Daughter Elle King, from a previous relationship, is now a successful singer. Now he and wife Patricia are parents to Miranda Scarlett and newest addition, Madeline Robbie. Robbie seems like a sweet nod to dad.
Would you name your baby after yourself? How about your mom or dad, or another loved one?
Both the Schneiders and Chabert-Nehdars made some subtle changes to the names before handing them out down to the next generation. If you like the idea of choosing family names, but aren’t sure about the names themselves, there’s no shortage of ways to reinvent them for your children.
Here are nine ways to honor a loved one with names for the newest members of your family.