Category: Family Names
Today’s Question of the Week was inspired by a comment on our Facebook page, noting that names that end with the letter A were a “family tradition” for that berry.
How interesting! Â While family name traditions are more conventionally thought of as calling all the oldest child Joseph or Elizabeth or giving children names that start with the same letter, there really is no strict definition to what might constitute a naming tradition.
So we put the question to you: What are the naming traditions in your own family?
A while back we did a blog called Not Your Mother’s Baby Names, about names that fail to bridge the gender gap. That post focused on newly-minted names that the older generations may not get, but those aren’t the only kinds of names that don’t translate across the generations. Â
Mom may have liked perky cheerleader names — Kerry, Missy — while you prefer serious Biblical names — Abraham and Lydia. Â Time-honored choices such as August and Imogen that sound classic and handsome to you may feel hopelessly dowdy to her.
The fact is, each generation tends to reinvent baby names anew, gravitating to new choices and new tastes in names. It’s how we make our name choices our own — but by definition, that may mean that Mom (and Dad and Grandma and Aunt Sue) fails to like or understand them.
It’s one of the biggest problems parents-to-be complain about on the Nameberry forums: family pressure over the choice of a name.
If not promoting their own or other relatives’ names, family members might just exercise what they see as their right to voice strong, uh, opinions about names. Â Ugh, you can’t name your son Felix: That’s a cat’s name!
Or was your family blessedly pressure-free on the topic of names? Â Or maybe you even tried to talk about names with them, and they weren’t interested?
Then again, your hero or heroine may be from your own family and circle of friends and acquaintances: a favorite teacher, an acquaintance you’ve always admired.
Celebrities have recently been incorporating hero names into their choices for their children: Mariah Carey‘s daughter is named Monroe after Marilyn, for instance, while Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach named their son Rohmer, for French director Eric. Â Several politicians in recent years haveÂ named their children Kennedy, for example, a conscious choice to identify with that powerful political family and legacy.
Today being National Aunts and Uncles Day (who knew, right?), hereâ€™s a shout-out to some of the most memorable aunts in both literature and pop culture– the sweet and the sour, the doting and the demanding, the over-indulgent and the overbearingâ€”with, in literature at least, the unfortunate majority being the more domineering.
Especially in Victorian literature, with its plethora of poor orphans, aunts would often step in as surrogate moms.Â Unfortunately, some of the more notable onesÂ are known to us by their surnames only.
Here are some of the most memorable, from sources as varied as from novels to comics.