We’ve (thankfully) moved beyond the days when it seemed like nearly every first son was named after his dad — and if he wasn’t everybody wondered what was wrong.
Today family names are still favored, but many parents are more likely to honor a grandparent or spin mom’s maiden name into a first than to name the baby after themselves.
Would you, did you, name your baby after yourself? Or did you maybe use some version of your name in your child’s name? Maybe you have a family name as part of your own that you passed on to your child?
If you did name your baby after yourself, or if you’re named after a parent, how do you keep the names from getting confused?
Or perhaps you’re a junior who would never foist your own name on a baby.
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on September 9th, 2015 at 11:32 pm
Well, I wouldn’t use my actual name but I’d like to incorporate the meaning of my name (Hilary which means happy) into my child’s name. Luckily there are so many pretty names with this meaning so it wouldn’t be difficult to do.
on September 9th, 2015 at 11:33 pm
I probably wouldn’t. I like using family names, but naming a child after yourself seems a tad self-centered to me. I’m sure there are good reasons to do it, but it’s just not for me.
My grandpa is a junior. His father went by his middle name, so it all worked out fine.
on September 9th, 2015 at 11:36 pm
I’d sure never use Junior as an appendage or a nickname, nor would I allow my son to be Harvey Bristol III.
We named our unborn son Owen Michael Russell, with the Michael being my husband’s name. It seems a nice thing to do with a middle name, particularly with two middles (Russell being just because I love it). Our newest nephew is Hudson Ernest Joseph with Ernest and Joseph being his dad and mom’s grandfather’s names.
All of that is lovely and I lean that way as I get older.
It’s interesting to me that we do that less often with our own (female) names.
But I really can’t imagine having another Leslie and/or Michael in the house. I guess I like fresh first names and honorific middles.
on September 10th, 2015 at 12:36 am
I love love love using family names…. As middles. I firmly believe that a child’s first name should be one all their own. My son is Wyatt Jerry named after my grandpa Gerald (went by Jerry). If we ever have a daughter her middle name will be Marie, I guess you could say I would be naming her after myself as my name is Nicole Marie but Marie is also the first name of my maternal Great Grandmother, the middle name of my maternal and paternal grandmothers and the middle name of my husband’s mother so I do not think of using Marie as a middle as naming the child after me so much as using a well established family name.
on September 10th, 2015 at 12:49 am
I would pull a Lorelai Gilmore if I liked my name more, but I’d rather use a play on my current name than just straight Jasmine. James for a boy (it’s on my list anyway. Or even for a girl), Minna/Mina, maybe. There are also an abundance of names if I played around with the letters (Sam/Sami, Amie, Nim/Nima, Jem, Jane, Jim, the list goes on.)
on September 10th, 2015 at 3:34 am
I love this post! When I have my last daughter I’ve decided to name her after me. I have my reasons. Her name would be Patrice II. I’m not sure on middle names yet.
In honor of my brother, we named our son Reborn Charles-Edie. Instead of Junior or II, we thought Reborn. A word name and a name I first heard from an Anime show called Hitman Reborn. His middle name Charles-Edie is my bother’s first and middle name. My brother had always like his middle name Edward. We told our son the story behind his name and ever since then he has loved it! When he gets older he a choice between something casual or something unique, but he insisted “I like all of my name mum. I’m going to grow up with great character…”.
on September 10th, 2015 at 4:35 am
I think it can work, naming after parents, (but not using jr – using a nn or variant perhaps?) – we don’t do it these days because it seems self-centred. Perhaps this is a shame as otherwise how does one create ‘family’ names? Perhaps by naming after the most recently deceased of the same gender as is the custom in some Jewish traditions?
Perhaps I would have done it if I liked my name more! DH loves my name and he would definitely call a daughter Hannah – it was on his list – I would go along with a spin on Hannah like Nancy, its meaning, Grace – but only because I already love those names. It does give the name Grace a lot of meaning for me though.
DH hates his own name so much that he actually goes by another name entirely – even I am not allowed to call him by his real name so he would never use his name. My girls each have one of my middle names as their middle but that is only because I am named after my grandmother – and she was named Louise after a long line of ancestors all called Louis.
The place for honour names is the middle – unless you LOVE the name.
on September 10th, 2015 at 4:37 am
I like the idea of honouring with the middle much more. My brother has my Dad’s first name as his middle and my Dad has my Grandfather’s name for his middle. That way they both got a name that was their own but still had that connection. I wouldn’t use my name for a daughter but I’d love to honour my Mum or Aunt but using a form of theirs as either first or middle.
on September 10th, 2015 at 4:59 am
I definitely wouldn’t do a junior because people need their own names, my oldest son is named after my grandpa & shares my husband’s middle name., which happens to be both of our dads’ name.
I would use similar meaning names though like we did for our second son & will for a girl if we have one…(I.e Eric & Frederick, Jill & Juliette)
on September 10th, 2015 at 5:52 am
My dad is a junior, so I’ve never liked the idea. I do want to name my first daughter Mary, however; this name was my great-grandmothers name and it is my moms middle name, so I’m honoring her in a way. Also it’s just so pretty:)
on September 10th, 2015 at 6:57 am
I’ve thought about giving a daughter a middle name with same meaning as my first name
on September 10th, 2015 at 7:00 am
I think it works best when a mom uses a masculine version of her name for her son or vice versus. I am named Laura after my dad Lawrence (and my mom liked the name as it was her grandmother’s). I always really liked the connection though it was confusing at times when I wasn’t sure if my mom was calling for Larry or Laura.
on September 10th, 2015 at 7:05 am
I like the idea of using family names for the middle spots only! I have 2 kids and they both have a “uniquely theirs” first name, a family middle and then a name we liked. In my son’s case he got his Grandfather’s first name and his father’s middle name (Andres) and then his second middle name was Clarke for my maiden name. I love being able to honour family members, but also give my kids some individuality; they would NEVER be a Jr though lol
on September 10th, 2015 at 7:15 am
We were not supposed to use our names to name our daughter, but as my husband died while I was pregnant, I felt I had to name the baby after him. My daughter’s name is Maria Daniella Amalia. It doesn’t flow really well, but there is a very personal story behind it:
Maria -> Her first name is directly connected to her father, whose name was Marian (a form of Marianus)
Daniella -> It is my mother’s name, but also the feminization of her father’s middle name, Daniel.
Amalia -> It derives from the element amal, which means work. It honors her father because he died while working. It is also a name he used to like.
We had decided to name her Daniella Christine after our mothers but sometimes life is much more cruel than you think. It was hard to announce after his death that I’m not naming the baby Daniella Christine but Maria Daniella Amalia, especially because my mother’s name exists in my daughter’s, but as I used to honour my husband and not my mother, my mother-in-law agreed.
Generally speaking, I think that there is no such tradition where I live, as I don’t know any children named exactly after their parents.
on September 10th, 2015 at 8:23 am
DH’s middle name is Ronald and mine is Taylor, and very early on in our relationship we decided that if we ever had a son he would have both names as middles, e.g. [Firstname] Ronald Taylor [Surname] so he would be named after both of us, in a way. Both middles are also family names, Ronald was DH’s grandad and Taylor was my grandma’s maiden name, so we’d be passing on a family tradition.
It’s a bit harder for a girl because there’s no female equivalent for Ronald, but we’d definitely still use Taylor.
on September 10th, 2015 at 8:25 am
I really want to continue my middle name and start a tradition to honour who I was named after. My middle name is Rose and it was given to me to honour my great-grandmother Rosa, and although I’ve never met her, I have heard great things about her. I want to start some sort of tradition with it. So, I wouldn’t exactly name them after myself, but it’s my middle name so it kind of fits this category.
on September 10th, 2015 at 8:41 am
I never really liked the idea of naming a child after their parent simply because I think each person needs their own identity. My husband thinks it would be cool to have a Brendan Jr but I quite disagree. My brother, Frederik, was named after my great uncle but my dad’s name is Fred and they both always went by Fred. It was confusing for both of them and everyone else. It also didn’t help that they didn’t always get along well and so I think my brother resented his name for a bit.
That said, my middle name is Elizabeth after my grandmother who passed before I was born and I would love to use it as a first name simply because I love it. I don’t feel like it’s after me since it’s my middle name and I don’t really identify myself as an Elizabeth. It also happens to be one of the few names DH and I agree on so that makes it even more likely!
on September 10th, 2015 at 9:10 am
I would never have a junior. My son’s middle is his father’s first (which just happens to be something my grandpa started on my side). I happen to really like my husband’s name, and I love the idea of honor names/family names, especially in the middle spot. But I do have to love the name to use it.
on September 10th, 2015 at 9:43 am
I’m not a fan of naming a child after the parent. It just seems very self-serving, but I understand sometimes there are other circumstances that would lead someone to want to do so. I guess I could see the middle name being for the parent, but not the first name. My brother was a junior and he absolutely hates it. He and my dad have a great relationship, but he always, ALWAYS says that he hates that he doesn’t have a name that’s “his” and that he has to share it with my dad. I plan on using honor names as middle names for my children, but giving them their own first names so they can forge their own identity.
on September 10th, 2015 at 10:19 am
An old friend of mines grandparents were named Daniel and Anne, they had three children, The first boy was Daniel, the girl Anne, and the last kid was Richard and there was always a joke as to why he moved away because he was the odd one out. My aunt’s first name is Laura but goes by Carol and named her daughter Laura Carol, who goes by Laura, and she named her daughter Laranna, to go with her Laura. I’m not a big fan of Jrs, I like making your child’s their own, though I don’t mind making twists on family names.
on September 10th, 2015 at 10:20 am
My grandpa and uncle are senior/junior but my uncle mainly goes by his middle name or sometimes they are just called junior and senior.
As for my future kids, I would put honor names in the middle and I would most likely only use honor names of those who have passed away to eliminate any guilt or hurt feelings over honoring one living grandparent but not the other or something like that. We only plan on one or two kids so it would be impossible to honor everyone!
He has his father’s name as his middle and has talked about maybe continuing that with a son which I would consider and I have the same first initial and middle name as my grandma which we have also talked about passing on. Part of me likes the idea of fun little naming traditions but at the same time I kinda want to give my kids their very own names
on September 10th, 2015 at 10:32 am
I have Jr. names. I would be sad if I had to use one and didn’t get to choose the name I wanted. My husband is a Jr., and to this day at the age of 31, they still call him Markie. He is an adult and shouldn’t have to go by a childish nickname his entire life.
on September 10th, 2015 at 10:40 am
I met a Shauna whose dad was Shaun and a girl named Darryl whose dad was Darren. It always makes you raise an eyebrow. 😉 As previous posters said, I would feel too self-centered to do it. That being said, I think carrying on family names is a lovely tradition. I’m a millenial and haven’t met too many juniors in my life, so I think it’s sweet.
on September 10th, 2015 at 11:24 am
My Grandad’s father was named Geoffrey! Now my Grandad is named Geoffrey after his father. But they never got confused with each other, his father died when he was a baby.
I’m also the only Chloe in my family! Personally, I love being the only one with that name. I think I have ancestors that have my middle name Louise, but they’re deceased.
I don’t mind names that honor family members however, I wouldn’t want my future daughter named after me. I’d want them to have their own name, but I probably would name her after someone who means a lot to me.
on September 10th, 2015 at 1:25 pm
I really dislike Jr’s names. At my work we have a Carlos Sr. and a Carlos Jr. And it gets confusing. I’m not a fan of naming a kid after the parents, unless it’s a variation and is the middle name. For example my Hubby name is Cristian and i like Cristiano as mn.
on September 10th, 2015 at 1:33 pm
I don’t have any problem with Jr. names. I’d happily re-use my husband’s first name as a middle for a future son because I like the name, but my husband is very much against it (he is not such a big fan of his name).
Jr. names are kind of a think in my mom’s old southern family. Her grandfather, father, and brother were all Martin Boyd Coyner, with her grandfather going by Martin, her father by Boyd, and her brother by Martin. Even though she grew up a couple miles from her grandparents, I don’t think the names ever got confused because only her grandmother ever called both her husband and grandson by their first names.
My brother is a Jr. to my dad, with my dad going by a nickname of the family first name and my brother going by the middle name. My brother and his wife have said they’ll probably name their first son the same thing, so he’ll be the third. They’ll probably call him by the full first name to avoid confusion with my brother or dad.
I don’t think it’s bad to give your kid a junior name if you like it and have a good alternate/nickname to avoid confusion. You really can still make the name your own if you want to, like my brother’s done.
My daughter and her little sister (due in a few months) both have first names that come from way back in the family–people who died before I met them who just happened to have names I loved. Their middles are to honor relatives who I actually knew/know, but with a twist. Neither are named for me, though, because I’m not wild about my name.
on September 10th, 2015 at 3:21 pm
My middle name (Elizabeth) is my mom’s first name, which has always felt special but not over-the-top to me. It’s a pretty common middle that feels meaningful because it comes from my mom, and I’ve always planned on giving my hypothetical first-born daughter my first name (Katherine) as her middle.
on September 10th, 2015 at 4:39 pm
My daughter has the same first name as my grandma and my mother’s middle name. As for a future son, he would have SO”s name as a middle, but a unique first name. If we have a girl she would have the same first name as SO’s mother and a unique middle.
on September 10th, 2015 at 4:51 pm
I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole Sr./Jr. thing as I think children should have their own names and identities. I honestly find it a bit self important. However, I don’t have anything against families that do use them. In fact, my grandfather is James Harold Jr and his father was James Harold Sr. My grandfather goes by Jim and his father went by Harold. Pretty simple.
My FI and I had (briefly) discussed naming a son after him only because we both like his name (Mathias). However, if we had decided to go with that, it would be more of a “Mathias II” rather than a junior (my FI finds it more stately, I suppose). Now as I’ve gotten older, I’m not so keen on it due to his father being a Matthew that goes ‘Matt’ . The only option I can think to keep the two of them straight would be to call our son “Mattie”, but I find that rather childish.
However, honor names are something that I’ve been considering more as my FI’s mother recently passed away. She was important in his life, and she was wonderful to me the few years I had known her. If anything I would love to use her middle name (Ruth) for a daughter (as the middle name only), or even my husband’s middle name (which was her maiden name) to honor her memory. I also like the idea of spinning an honor name into something new and fresh. One of my favorite boys name is Tobias (even before I met my FI). I feel like the names tie in together (Strong and biblical with the linking ‘ias” sound). Still the first syllable is distinguished enough to avoid confusion . I also figured if we had a son named Tobias he would go by “Toby” half the time anyway. 🙂
on September 10th, 2015 at 5:14 pm
My sister gets asked, “Oh. Is that a family name?” whenever she says her son’s name is George. As if that’s the only reason someone would name a child George… It’s kind of insulting.
Btw…I would hate being a junior.
on September 10th, 2015 at 9:57 pm
Absolutely not. I think it’s too confusing within a household. Honestly I really don’t like family names at all.
on September 10th, 2015 at 10:16 pm
I would definitely consider using a subtle connection to my name. I was named after someone with the last name Hayes, and I love that on a boy. I would definitely consider Hayes.
on September 11th, 2015 at 12:17 pm
My boyfriend is a Junior, but we don’t want to name a future son III. So, we will use their first name (joseph) as his middle name and give him a first name all his own. We preserve the tradition and honor both of them but still give our son his own name.
For our daughter, we will use the middle name Lynn. It is my middle name and my mother’s middle name, but I never much cared for it. Seeing as though it is my boyfriend’s mother’s name, we will use it as our daughter’s middle name to honor all 3 of us.
on September 12th, 2015 at 12:48 am
I wouldn’t name a child after myself, but I might use one of my middle names for my child – two of my middle names are family names. Kingston was a surname on my mother’s side that later became a middle name for my mother (and then me) and I like the name Kingston. Helen is the other one, after my paternal grandmother and many other Helens on her side of the family. However, I would much rather choose a middle name with meaning than a name that’s just been in the family.
on September 12th, 2015 at 2:52 am
We had 5 sons in a row and none of them are named after my husband. They each have their own unique first name but their middles are either family names or important people on our journey. When we had our first girl we were shocked and her names are in honor of our grandmothers. Dellaney Marie is named after Dorothy Dell and Gladys Marie. Our second daughter was even more of a surprise. We always loved the idea of using my hubby’s name in reverse. His name is Aaron so our second girl is Noraa Lynn. My MN is Lynn, so finally our seventh child was named after us. Not because we ran out of options, we really did want to use it we just never thought we would get the chance.
on September 12th, 2015 at 10:06 pm
My husband’s father named his first son after himself, only reversing the names. So my FIL is Samuel James (not his real name) and the firstborn is James Samuel. He then named his second son, my husband, after two family members who my husband has never met and knows next to nothing about. Then, when baby #3 came along, he got FIL’s fn and a different middle, so something like Samuel Edward.
My husband hates his name because he feels no connection to the people he was named after and feels like his parents didn’t even try while naming him and he spent a bit of his childhood feeling like he wasn’t good enough to have Samuel in his name.
The youngest hates his name because he feels like it’s not really his, it’s his dad’s. Everyone used to call him Sammy, but now he hates that because it sounds so juvenile. He doesn’t want to be called Sam because that’s what his father is called, and Samuel just feels too formal and just feels awkward to call him that for some reason. He also hates being called Junior because he technically isn’t a junior. So we usually either call him Samuel or S, though sometimes we slip up and call him Sammy. Old habits die hard.
The oldest doesn’t seem to care at all.
Our son isn’t named after anyone, partly because of DH’s family’s naming issues, but also because there were too many people we would want to honor and it felt wrong choosing one name over another. It felt like choosing one name meant that we cared about that person more than the others we were considering. We just gave him two names that we truly love.
on September 12th, 2015 at 10:57 pm
I intentionally share a middle name (Elizabeth) with my grandmother, but I don’t think they realized that our first names share the same meaning (her name is Nancy, which means Grace, which is my name). I was really excited to learn that, and I think it would be really sweet to use Annie Elizabeth to carry it on.
My friend is the third James. His dad goes by Jim and he uses his middle.
I also know a guy who’s nephew was named after him and they call him Bubba right now, but I don’t think that’s going to be as cute when he’s older.
on September 13th, 2015 at 3:12 am
My husband is James the fourth but I do not want a baby James. I am trying to figure out how to bypass James without hurting any feelings.
on September 13th, 2015 at 12:27 pm
My mother gave me her middle name, Ann. As the second born daughter, this seemed really special to me when I was a kid. My older sister likely got my mom’s favorite name, but I got her middle name!
I really like the idea of giving “Ann” as a first name to a daughter, if I have one. But would all depend on what my hubby thinks. If not, then I’d for sure use it as a middle name!
on September 14th, 2015 at 6:18 am
I don’t know that many “Jrs”–maybe 1 or two. One of them is actually a “II” rather than a “Jr.” I do however know at least three “IV” or “V.” My husband isn’t into naming a child after himself, but if he were a IV, I would feel pressure to not break tradition.
I do know quite a few people with interesting male naming traditions in their family. In high school, I knew someone whose family tradition it was to give the firstborn son the middle name of the father. In essence, you didn’t really get to pick your son’s name, but you were picking your grandson’s name. For example, if you are Jeremy John, then your son would be John Patrick and your grandson Patrick Richard and your great grandson Richard Michael.
I also know a family who always names the first born son William, but they all go by different variations: Bill, Will, William, a middle name.
I don’t know that I am against naming kids directly after parents/relatives so that they have a “unique identity,” I just know that I love names too much to go with something that’s already been taken by a family member.
on September 14th, 2015 at 8:11 pm
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with naming a child after yourself, but I wouldn’t personally do it–simply because I don’t like any of the nicknames or variations that would come from my or my husband’s name.
However, I think parents should consider the inconvenience that can and often does come with being a “Junior.” My father was one, and I remember many mail mix-ups, credit check hiccups, etc. This is especially common between seniors and juniors (versus, say, juniors and thirds) because the senior did not put the suffix “Sr.” on any of his forms until his son was born–meaning, prior to the junior’s birth, a heap of documents and forms were filled out with an “unspecified” version of his name. If that makes sense!
That said, I think juniors can certainly work, particularly when the name comes with many nickname/variation options to distinguish the two men as adults, and to give the child a strong sense of independent identity, while still being a source of pride to share a name with his father. It also means the junior’s son can be a third, then a fourth. The chain has to start somewhere, right?
I have a friend who is a fourth, and he’s always loved it. In fact, in school a lot of supplies and clothes had a IV monogram! He plans on naming his son a fifth. So in cases like that, the longer the chain, the stronger it appears to be–i.e. the more likely the name will be carried on.
There are also options for II instead of junior, which have a different style about them altogether, but still convey the same thing. Just something to consider for people who don’t like the actual sound of “Junior” at the end of the name, but want to pass it along.
Personally, I don’t think girls should be given the exact names as their mothers. Variations are nice, or at least different middle names. It’s just a strange thing to me, and mothers and daughters tend to have complicated relationships (at least as teenagers!)–the daughter having the exact same name could really make her feel like she’s expected to be just like her mother, or that she needs to rebel even more than she normally would.
It’s also a matter of inconvenience, even more so than the Seniors and Juniors thing, because mother-daughter matches have no suffix (I’ve occasionally seen “II” used, but how often do you see a place for women to enter a suffix on forms? How often would people actually input that into the system?). They would become mixed up VERY often. I’ve seen it happen with just the same first names–credit cards meant for one issued to the other, for instance.
Anyway, most of this is my opinion. Parents should name their children after themselves if they want to, but I do think the inconvenience is something to consider first.
on September 15th, 2015 at 1:01 pm
I’m from the south (in the USA), so I’m used to hearing Jr. names. We have so many guys who go by the name of Jr. (or Junior, etc). I also have many family members who have their father’s name. However, I never heard of a female directly having her mama’s name. I have heard variations, such as mama being Belle and daughter being Ellie, or Caroline and Carolina. I personally do not like giving Jr. names, depending on the situation. I would NEVER name my daughter Amber Nicole Jr. While I am glad my mama loved the name, my name is overused and I get tourmented a lot about how my name is related to sounding like something bad. My husband adores my name, he thinks it’s pretty. He is only allowed to use any of it if I should pass away during childbirth or something. His name I wouldn’t use either; Ian William Woodford [Surname]. It’s too long for my child, and I want my kids to be unique. I would gladly give my son one of Ian’s names as a middle, which Ian wants Woodford, because it’s a dying down family surname (his mom’s maiden name). My daughter will have her middle set as Jane, because that is my grandma’s first name, and she passed away when I was 17. She was my everything and I miss her. She died too young. So family names are a great thing. My brother is giving his daughter’s middle name after Jane’s middle, which is Elizabeth. We are keeping her memory alive.
on September 20th, 2015 at 8:18 am
I really dislike using the legit form of a family’s name, I would much rather use a variation. I would never ever name one of my kids after me (or my husband) because what if the kid feels they don’t have a personality other than the one put upon them by their parents? Also, I’m an adventurous namer, and I want to be able to use my favs.
on September 21st, 2015 at 9:47 am
My son’s middle name is Anthony, which is also his father’s mn, his grandfather’s mn etc back 3 more generations.
His first name is Liam, a combo of my great-grandfather’s William and my ex’s great-grandfather Louis Anthony, who went by L’Anth.
Now that my son is a little older, he regrets not being able to shorten his name, and wishes that his name was William Anthony and he could go by Liam, but we compromised and he is starting to go by L’Anth, just like his great-grandfather, which makes his grandfather happy, since his father died when he was a young teen.
on September 24th, 2015 at 3:22 pm
My husband has a unisex name I love, so we used it for my daughter. Same first and middle (both are unisex). We call her Junie, short for Junior. We absolutely love it and it fits her perfectly. Insurance gets a little confusing and I’m sure we will run into more confusion between her and my husband from having the same name, but I’m not worried about it.
on December 3rd, 2015 at 11:03 am
Oh jeez, no way would I name my child after myself! I definitely understand the “family name” dynamic (our future son, for example, will have hubby’s first name for a middle name), but I could never name a baby girl Hailey Ann just because that’s my name. I can imagine all the raised eyebrows and whispers behind my back: “How stuck on herself is she?” No, no, NO.
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