The question of the week: How would you go about honoring a namesake?
In choosing a name, there’s nothing more meaningful than paying tribute to a beloved family member, ancestor or friend. Namesake names can connect your child to her heritage, and convey the essence of a loved one, bestowing their most admirable qualities on your child. Personal heroes of the past or present can form the basis of worthy namesake names as well.
Would you approach this by:
- Using the name verbatim as a first name?
- Modernizing or modifying it in some way? Changing Mildred to Millicent of Millie, for example? Finding another name with a similar meaning?
- Using it as a middle name?
- Considering the honoree’s middle or last name if you didn’t love their first?
- Would you ever consider making your son a Junior or a II or a III?
- Would you use the name of an ancestor you never knew?
- Would you consider the name of a personal hero?
So have you honored a namesake in your child’s name–or would you in the future?
Some of those characters eventually have fictional children of their own. Mad Men couple Pete and Trudy just welcomed daughter Tammy. 90210’s Jen has a brand new son called Jacques. In honor of the two new arrivals, here’s a look back at some notable small screen births.
Everyone was watching I Love Lucy when Ricky and Lucy welcomed Enrique Jr. – Lil’ Ricky – in 1953. The show was a sensation, but Richard was already a Top Ten mainstay, and even Ricky was in the Top 100 before the baby’s arrival.
The first influential television baby probably came from 1964’s Bewitched, a sitcom with a supernatural twist. Bewitching wife Samantha’s name caught on, as did daughter Tabitha, who arrived in the show’s second season.
There’s more than one way to add a child. The Brady Bunch’s six kids became seven when Cousin Oliver came to stay during the show’s final season. While his name is the height of fashion today, it didn’t catch on until decades later. The character did lend his name to Cousin Oliver Syndrome – the phenomenon of adding a younger child to revive a fading show.
For a number of years, when I wasn’t writing about names, I was writing about antiques and collectibles for a syndicated newspaper column. But of course when I was thinking about antiques, I was still also thinking about names.
Looking at the field of antique furniture, for example, I found that when it came to early British cabinetmakers, the names were relatively unexciting. George Hepplewhite. Robert Adams. Thomas Chippendale. Thomas Sheraton. Nothing too juicy there.
But with the Early American cabinetmakers and clockmakers it was quite a different story. Lots of antiquated Biblical names, more than one Chauncey, Ebenezer and Lemuel, a few virtue names rarely heard in modern times (Prudent, Noble), a couple of Latinate names and a Greek god—in other words a variegated picture of American Colonial and Federal era nomenclature:
Some prime examples:
- Abel Cottey
- Abiel Chandler
- Abner Toppan
- Ansel Goodwin
- Asa Holden
- Chauncey Boardman, Jerome
- Duncan Phyfe
- Ebenezer Knowlton, Tracy, Parmalee
- Elbert Anderson
- Eli Terry
- Elias Ingraham
- Elijah Booth, Sanderson
- Eliphaler Chapin
- Elisha DeWolfe, Jr
- Elnathan Taber
- Enos Doolittle
- Ephraim Haines, Downes
- Everadus Bogardus
- Garvan Carver
- Gawen Brown
- Gerrard Hopkins
- Gideon Roberts
- Heman Clark
- Hercules Courtenay
One of the most interesting blog posts we’ve done – interesting from a research standpoint, I mean — was on individual names with the same meaning for twins.
So today I decided to spin that idea a bit differently and look for compatible names with contrasting meanings, for twins or for siblings.
I tried to come up with pairs in a range of styles. This is an exercise with near limitless potential, of course, so if any of you are inclined to search nameberry by meaning for other pairs that fit the bill, we’d love to hear your ideas.
Here, the opposing meanings and names that go with them (and each other):
Beautiful & Brilliant
In 1963, there were 23,900 baby girls named Lori, the same year that there were 21,191 little Tammys and 11,000 Cindys, not to mention all the Mindys, Mandys, Marcys, and Marnies with the then modern-sounding nicknamey, quasi-unisex, names popular from the mid-fifties and into the next couple of decades.
So is it any wonder that so many of today’s parents have moms and sometimes grandmothers with these vintage nickname names?
But as much as we love those family members, and would like to make them namesakes, would we really want to name our own little girls Mindy or Cindy? Probably would be better to seek a related substitute that would still serve to honor them.
Here are a few random update ideas, some that relate fairly directly to the mother name, others that are a bit more of a stretch.
More obvious: Candace
More obvious: Caroline
Less obvious: Carys
More obvious: Lucinda
More obvious: Daria
Less obvious: Dorothy
More obvious: Jamison
More obvious: Josie
Less obvious: Josephine
More obvious: Jolie
Less obvious: Joanna
More obvious: Keira
Less obvious: Kerensa
Less obvious: Lorelei
More obvious: Amanda
Less obvious: Manon
More obvious: Marcella
Less obvious: Maribel
Less obvious: Marin