Category: family baby names

luli Berry Juice profile image

5 Super Surnames from my Family Tree

posted by: luli View all posts by this author
family tree names

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.

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a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
Name Sage

It’s off to the wild blue yonder for this week’s challenge! First-time parent Allison is seeking a boy’s name that feels traditional, but still slightly offbeat, with possible ties to their loved ones’ names and the world of aviation.  

Allison writes:

We are expecting our first little one at the end of September and I want to find the perfect name that will be a definite honor to someone in our life, but will also carry itself in originality.

Our baby’s sex will be a surprise, so we need a couple of girl and boy name options. We have a clear direction with a girl: My husband has always loved Amelia, and whether it’s currently trendy or not, I’m ready to let him have that pick. Also, it aligns with the fact that I was named after an aviation entity, Allison, my dad being a pilot.

My second pick for a girl would be Jonah, since his mother’s name is Joan. My mother is Lisa, so we could use Elisabeth (or something else?) as a middle to honor her.

We’re having the most difficult time, however, with boys. Family names that I am trying to work with: David Carl (his dad) Paul Scott (my dad), Oliver, Douglass. We’re tending to like surnames as first name options: Brooks, Hayes, Abbott, Anderson, etc.

I was hoping to find an offbeat-but-still-classic first name and create a few options for a middle name that aren’t exactly the same name as the inspiration.

The naming process is overwhelming and we are trying to figure out where to start!

The Name Sage replies:

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Abby Berry Juice profile image

Name Sage: Naming Cousin #27

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
NAme Sage

Emily writes:

We are expecting our first, and we are not finding out the sex.

We really like the name Dahlia or Dalia for a girl and Judah for a boy. We like the name Sunshine for a girl’s middle name (one of his sisters’ names) and David for a boy’s middle name (my dad’s name).

The problem? His family is full of amazing, original, and Biblical names and I love them all.

We want our baby to keep up with names like Autumn, Rose, Thaddeus, Jubilee, Ezra, Abel, Asher, and many more.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

The Name Sage replies:

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This week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain finds lots of family ties in the names in the news.

The big trend in baby name news this week?  It has to be borrowing a name from your family tree.

Once upon a time, it might have been expected that your firstborn son was a junior, or maybe shared his name with grandpa.  In other places, family surnames were handed down along with the silver. 

These days, there’s less pressure than ever to choose heirloom names.  And yet we’re still inclined to honor our loved ones.

Other parents aren’t passing down family names, but they are coordinating their children’s names.  Sometimes it is a shared first initial; other times, the theme is more subtle.

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Names Your Mom Hates


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.  

Mom may have liked perky cheerleader names — Kerry, Missy — while you prefer serious Biblical names — Abraham and Lydia.  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.

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