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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    68

    Family names vs. pretty names

    Would you rather be named after a family member or have a pretty/unusual name?

    Of course it is possible to find a family name that is stylish and unusual, but I'm curious to hear about your opinions, experiences, and priorities.

    Most people you meet are not going to know your family history, so a family name's significance may be lost on them. A pretty or unusual name with style (but less meaning) could make more of an impression.
    On the other hand, the significance of a family name can be much more meaningful to the person who wears it.

    I'm trying to decide whether the family name, Betty, or the pretty and unusual name, Lavender, gets the top girl spot on our list. However, I'm really interested in how other people feel about family names vs. pretty names. My husband and I feel differently about the significance of family names.

    I have an unusual first name that my mom chose because it was pretty sounding, and I love it. My middle name was my great grandmother's, I'm proud of my family name too, and I love to tell people about the connection.

    My husband has a stylish/unusual name that was his grandfather's first name and his father's name as a middle name. He doesn't feel that his name is any more significant for the family history.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,992
    I always go with the option that makes my heart sing.

    Jane is the only family name I have in any of my combos, but it is mostly because it's beautiful with Eliza.
    Eliza Jane - Madelyn Iris - Lina Mae - Liv Eleanor - Thea Evelyn - Nora Adeline - Liora Tess - Zoe Winter - Amalia Eve

    Reid Elijah - Ronan Isaac - Nathan Levi - Owen Evander - Isaac Harvey - Jonah Benjamin - Reuben Archer - Silas William - Kai Alexander

  3. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    7
    I would definitely choose to give my child a name that has meaning to me over a name that I just find attractive, but I would use a much broader definition of what makes a name meaningful. I am honestly just so-so on family names. I like the idea of being named after someone insofar as the namesake was beloved to the parents/namers - be it a friend, relative, or public icon, but I am not particularly into passing on family names otherwise. That's just my personal approach, and I think "family" should include all of the loved ones in a person's life.

    Of course, it really all comes down to the names in question. These are my opinions in the case of Lavender vs. Betty. Lavender is a pretty name AND unusual, so I give it a thumbs-up. I happen to really like word names and color names. Betty is in some ways an unusual choice since very few babies are named Betty these days. However, the wave of Betty popularity wasn't quite long enough ago to make the name feel fresh again. I know several old ladies named Betty. Not a deal-breaker, but not my favorite for a new baby. (I find that a lot of Nameberry convos focus on how popular a name will be in the year a baby is born - How many kids in the school will have that name? etc. But I think that this approach really leaves out the more important question of how many people, in general, are walking around with the name, and what the connotations are with that name.)

    My advice is to think about what these two names actually mean to you. If Lavender is "just a pretty name" and Betty is a beloved relative who you would be proud to have a daughter take after, then go with Betty. But if Lavender has other meaning to you, and/or Betty is "just a family name," go with Lavender.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    888
    Honestly, I used to adore the idea of using family names. I had all sorts of combos made honoring tons of relatives and poured over my family tree looking for good finds. And then...my perspective changed. Despite what people say, blood isn't thicker than water...family isn't always all it is cracked up to be and quite honestly, some get on your nerves at points. Usually, one is guilted one way or another on honor names. But why? My child isn't necessarily going to know or like or be around who they are named after, especially if it is a name farther up the family tree. My child might not even care who they were named after. I also wondered why I should abandon a name that, for various reasons, either my husband or I (or both) loved just to fulfill some duty in naming our child after whoever. So...we are at the point where we are going with what we love and are not using any family names from either side, unless it happens to be a name we love. No squabbling amongst "jaded" relatives, no stress on our parts, no obligation, no duty...just a baby with its own name and not tied to anybody in specific. Freedom

    Anyhow...for what it is worth, I like Lavender a million times more than Betty. It's so pretty. If you are having this much of a struggle over it, that means that both names mean something to you. Don't feel like you have to do anything...it really is your choice. I advise you to go with what you love most. You could, of course, you both names: one as a first name and one as a middle. But again, whatever you feel is best.
    Alyssa


    Married since 06/2015...TTC 2016...hoping for a 2017 Miracle!
    List under construction, as always

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    England (wanting to escape)
    Posts
    4,934
    Hmm... for me I'd probably go for the unusual/pretty name that I love rather than the family name, but it's difficult to judge since I think it depends on the individual. My name is pretty/unusual and has a literal good meaning, and I have a double barrelled surname which honours family. I personally thinks it's a lovely sentiment to honour family members and it's a bonus if there's a family name that is also a great name. But it's not always the case that you'll love a family name enough to use as a first, which is where (I think) middles can be useful. I think using a name that you really love for whatever reason, is meaning enough for a name, it doesn't have to be backed up by family ties. I personally wouldn't feel any more connected to family if I had a first that honoured them, and I love having a name that's cool, pretty, and unusual. Lavender is a gorgeous name, and I think Lavender Betty would make a wonderful combo. Betty is sweet too, but if you don't love it as much, then maybe it's not the best idea for a name you'll have to say everyday for years. Hope that helped a bit!
    Wholock | Historian | Biochemist | Single Pringle | Teenberry (18) | Future mummy 😏
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