Category: Family Names
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. Several politicians in recent years have 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?), here’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 overbearing—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. Unfortunately, some of the more notable ones are known to us by their surnames only.
Here are some of the most memorable, from sources as varied as from novels to comics.
We first talked with the lovely Natalie Hanson, whose husband is musical star Taylor Hanson, when she named her fourth child the amazing Viggo Moriah. Not only is Natalie a celebrity mom, she’s a name nerd! We’re delighted and honored to welcome Natalie to Nameberry as a guest blogger. Here, she looks back on the names she and her husband chose for their four young children and what she’s thinking about for names for her fifth, due this fall.
This October I will celebrate ten years since I first took my adolescent name research and applied it to an actual human being. This upcoming anniversary has inspired me to look back on the names my husband and I gave to our four children, the ways we chose them, and how they’ve worked out. Have each of my choices lived up to my hopes? Was my perception of each name’s potential correct, or “ahead of its time”? Our name stories:
On a recent trip through the South, I met two young sisters charmingly named Mason and Ellis. Surname-names for girls are characteristic of the traditional South, where family last names have long been passed down as firsts to girls as well as boys.
Little girls might well have a conventional first name like Mary or Elizabeth, but their full name is Mary Ellis (say) and they’re known as Ellis. The Mary or the Elizabeth might be mom and/or grandmother’s name; it’s the Ellis part that makes the name distinct.
Of course, surname-names are used for girls in many places beyond the American South these days, though not everyone likes the practice. Boys’ names should be left to the boys, some feel, and girls’ names should be decidedly feminine, and unisex names are all-around unappealing.
Megan , who lives just outside Philadelphia, is expecting her first boy after two little girls in June. Her daughters both have family names, but now her husband, Thomas IV, would like to continue the tradition of naming the boys in his family Thomas, making their son Thomas V. Problem is, mom’s not too keen.
Can you help her find a family name everyone will agree on? Or should she give in to hubby’s desire for a V? She writes:
“We are expecting our third baby and first boy in June. It was easy to name our daughters – Aubryn Elizabeth (age 4) was named for my maternal grandmother and Margaret Jane (nn: Maisie, age 20 months) was named for my paternal grandmother and my mother.