Category: Family Names
By Abby Sandel
For years, conventional wisdom dictated that boys were named after their fathers and grandfathers. But today, boys are just as likely to be named after the important women in their lives.
Along with that shift comes a willingness to think differently about boys’ names. We’ve noted the rise of boy-girl equivalents, like Emma and Emmett, before. Now we’re more seeing boys with middle names that might have been reserved for girls just a few years ago.
If you’ve grown weary of celebrity birth announcements with names like James, Arlo, and Wyatt for girls, this could be a hopeful sign. As many berries have pointed out, names aren’t really unisex unless they can be used for both boys and girls equally.
From Anne Hathaway’s inventive smoosh to the tWitch Boss’s nature name pick, let’s look at the baby names in the news in recent weeks – and the way parents are choosing boy baby names that are fresh and new.
I’ve got a little naming dilemma. A favorite family name, and one that goes well with my daughter’s name, is used in the new Star Wars movie … for one of the bad guys.
The Name Sage replies:
By Antonia Malchik
I was sitting at the lunch table in fifth grade when I decided that if I ever had a daughter I’d name her something normal.
I grew up mainly in two different towns in Montana. In the first, all my friends had names I coveted: Katie, Stacy, Tiffany, Angie. Their names were pretty, and, importantly for an early 1980s childhood, normal. My name was not. I was named “Antonia” for Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia, “Louise” after my maternal grandmother, and “Evgenia” after my father’s cousin who still lived in the Soviet Union where my father had grown up. All of which got shortened to the decidedly unmusical and definitely not normal “Nia.”
We have Penelope June and Malcolm Redding, and we’re expecting our third! My wonderful grandmother died a few days after I found out I was pregnant and we’d love to honor her if this baby is a girl. Her name was Bernice Vera.
My problems: our last name begins with an S and ends with a Z so I tend to steer very clear of first or middle names ending in S. Also, I like Bernice but I’m not sure that I love it.
What options do you see here? I know sometimes people honor relatives with a similar name. Do any stick out to you? Does Bernice S****z run together too much and sound muddy? Should we just put Vera as a middle name and call it good? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
The Name Sage replies:
By Laurie Scheuble
I have been working on marital naming research for 25 years. I study what names women choose when they marry and what surname they give their children.
Twenty-five years ago, I would have predicted that at least a quarter of women in the United States would keep their maiden name as their last name when they marry. I expected this because there was a tremendous amount of social change occurring and an expectation of equity in the treatment of women was becoming the social norm. On the contrary, the most recent data shows that only about 9% of women do keep their maiden names or hyphenate them with their husband’s last name when they marry.