Boy Name: How to honor Grandma Jacqueline?

Jackson's taken! So Jack, Jacob or something else??

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

They’d love to honor grandma Jacqueline … but a cousin has already used their first choice! Time to ask the Name Sage for some fresh alternatives.

Sandra writes:

My husband and I are expecting our first child and we just found out it’s a boy!

Baby is due September 28th so I’m just starting to seriously consider names. We know for sure that we would like to name him after my husband’s mother who passed away four years ago. Her name was Jacqueline.

We love Jackson but my cousin already used that name for her son. Jonathon (nickname Jack) was vetoed and just Jack doesn’t feel quite finished to us. Jackie and Clair (after her middle name) are too feminine for my husband’s preference.

We’re open to creative ways to honor my mother-in-law to sidestep the name stealing possibility, but it seems like options are limited. The guilt I’m feeling from both sides is making this challenging, too.

I’d appreciate any advice you may have, or creative name suggestions that we may have bypassed! I just read the article on “9 creative ways to honor loved ones with your child’s name” which has me seeking alternative solutions, too.

The Name Sage replies:

When your favorite choice is off the table, it can feel like options are slim. But I think you’ve still got some great options to consider.

Jack might seem like the obvious choice to honor a grandmother Jacqueline, but here’s a twist:

Jacqueline isn’t the feminine form of John and Jack.

It’s the feminine form of Jacob and James. Jacob started out as Ya’aqov, became Iacobus in Latin, and then morphed into Iacomus. The former gives us Jacob in English; the latter, James. Iacobus became Jacques in French, and thus, Jacqueline is the feminine form of James … I know. It doesn’t sound right, but it’s very much true!

Is there any chance that Jacob or Jake would work? Not only is the name directly related to Jacqueline, but it’s also different enough from Jackson that I can’t imagine there would be a conflict.

If not Jacob or Jake, would you consider:

Cal – I’ve heard Jacqueline pronounced different ways, but in many cases, there’s a Cal sound in the middle. Formal names for Cal abound, like Calvin, Callum, and Calder. That last one strikes me as a similar in style to Jackson, but maybe it’s too far removed from Jacqueline to feel like an honor name?

James – Since Jacqueline is, strictly speaking, the feminine form of James, this one seems like an obvious choice. It’s traditional and enduring, and directly related to your late mother-in-law’s name.

Jameson, Jamie, Jay – If James feels too traditional, would you consider Jameson? Like Jackson, it’s a surname spin on a long-time favorite. And since James has been around forever, other forms abound, from nicknames Jamie and Jay to international variations, like Diego, Seamus, and Jago.

Jace, Jason Jacqueline Clair means her initials were JC. How about Jason or Jace? Because Jason was wildly popular in the 1970s and 80s, we tend to think of it as trendy. But Jason’s ancient roots lend it a certain timeless appeal. Short form Jace has been in the US Top 100 since 2012. In our age of Chase, it feels like a full, formal name.

Kellan – Drop the ‘Jac’ sound from Jacqueline and we’re left with ‘queline’ – not exactly a name. Or is it? It reminds me of Kellan, a name with Irish roots and a modern vibe.

Zach, Zachary – In several Slavic languages, Jacqueline takes a Z to become Zakelina. Is Zachary close enough to satisfy? Or would it still be confusing to have cousins called Jackson and Zach?

My top suggestion is Jacob. Not only does it come directly from the same roots as Jacqueline, it shares the same first few letters, linking the names visually. But you’ve got options galore. A little more information about your husband’s mother could yield even more options: family surnames, nicknames, maybe even a hometown or a favorite place name.

Let’s have a poll, because it might help narrow down your decision. But when it comes to honor names, there are so many ways to celebrate a loved one, and I know our readers will have some great suggestions, too.



What's the best name to honor a grandma Jacqueline?

  1. AJacob/Jake
  2. BJames/Jameson/another James name
  3. CJace/Jason
  4. DCal/Kellan
  5. EZach/Zachary
  6. FSomething else - see my comment
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About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at
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33 Responses to “Boy Name: How to honor Grandma Jacqueline?”

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jimtown Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 5:10 am

Those are really good and creative suggestions, which make me rethink my first thought of just using Jackson again if you love it, confusing though it may be. Or Jaxon. I lean toward Jace pronounced Jayce or JC. Interesting dilemma.

benjamelissa Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 7:08 am

I love these kind of posts! My first son is Jamin, named after his dad, Benjamin. Jamin could also be another form of James, maybe? But, too removed from Jacqueline I think. Jackson is one of my all time favorites as well. Consider the age difference between the two cousins. If it’s significant, and you just really can’t see your new son as anything else, then maybe, you could use it. But, if not, I really like Jacob to honor Jacqueline. And if it’s any consolation, my husband has two neices named Ashley, their moms are sisters.

Bobcat108 Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Of the options by the Name Sage, I prefer Jameson. It’s directly related to Jacqueline, sounds very different from Jackson, seems less dated than Jason (in spite of Jason’s classical roots) & Jacob (ditto), & has lots of nickname options.

sarah1800 Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 12:33 pm

I know a little James who goes by Jack, which seems perfect for you.

Abby Sandel Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 1:44 pm

@sarah1800 – James called Jack is really kind of genius, isn’t it? Surprised we don’t hear that more!

@benjamelissa – Oh, what a fun way to name your son after his dad without having a junior. 🙂

@jimtown – I hadn’t thought about that. Does a different spelling of Jaxon change the name enough? Hmmmm …

@BobCat108 – Jameson is a great name! Jason does feel a little bit like a dad name, doesn’t it? We expect boys to be Mason these days … but I still have a soft spot for Jason. Must be all those Greek myths …

-EagleEyes- Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 2:21 pm

I really like Jacob, James, Jay, and Kellan!

Sweetchariot Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Well look i love Jacques! Pronounced zjAHk. Unusual and awesome and more complete than Jack. I also think Clary could work. It’s masculine and has a surname feel like Jackson. And finally, a fun idea might be to take the meaning of Jacob (may god protect) and look for other names that you love that mean “protector.” Then it’s like Jacqueline is “protecting” her grandchild and the meaning is the thread of connection.

Pansy Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 3:05 pm

If grandma’s middle name is Claire, then why not use Clarence? It’s got that old man chic vibe that’s so popular right now.

SummerSarah Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 4:18 pm

I immediately thought of Clarence, too! It’s handsome and classic, and honors her middle name.

blackcatsmeow Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 4:31 pm

My name is Jacqueline! In my life so far I’ve gone by Jacqui, Jac, Jax, and Kiki. I love a lot of Name Sages suggestions. Personally I think matching her initials would be a clever reference so James Charles, or Jackson Cameron, or Jordan Calder etc. It doesn’t matter too much what the names are as long as the initials match. Personally though I think you should stick with the name you loved, Jackson. The children will be 2nd cousins, and Jackson is a very popular name. Also your not stealing the name, your using it, you could let your cousin know before hand if you want “We’re using Jackson too! We want to honor our son’s grandmother who passed away, plus we love your little Jackson so we liked the association.” But if you now associate Jackson too strongly with someone else’s baby that’s understandable. Jameson seems like a good compromise. My own suggestion would be something like Quentin or Quincy as the Q more then the J is the letter that most resonated with her. My style would tend to thee more traditional Jacob or James, though I personally also like the idea of Kellan. Good luck and congratulations!

oliviamcdonald Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 5:30 pm

I like Jay. Jayden is similar in style and popularity to Jackson. Jaylen shares the last syllable of Jacqueline like if you combined the beginning and ending of the name.

In the same stream as Kellan I also like Cullen as a first name or middle. .. although I’m not sure if these sound different in American accent to mine.
Jay Cullen is very similar to Jacqueline- maybe too close? And also has the initials J.C like Jacqueline Clair

vivi_simone Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Clarence was my first thought as well, but as a middle name.

Zachary Clarence to honor Jacqueline Clair.

LowSlash Says:

June 20th, 2018 at 10:31 pm

I like the idea of using Jacques! It retains the French flair of Jacqueline, and thanks to Mr. Cousteau it’s well known enough that you shouldn’t have too many pronunciation issues. Also, I am SO in love with Clarence!

beynotce Says:

June 21st, 2018 at 8:41 am

My immediate thought was James (or some variation on that theme). I find Jacob absolutely tired, while James (to me) retains a dapper freshness. I love the suggestions of Clarence and of matching Grandma’s initials – what about James Clarence or James Charles?

Kipperbo1 Says:

June 21st, 2018 at 9:12 am

Love the ideas of Kellan or Cullen! Maybe something like James Cullen?

TiffanyS Says:

June 21st, 2018 at 9:29 am

You might use the -line in Jacqueline to arrive at Linus.

niteowl13 Says:

June 21st, 2018 at 9:37 am

How about Jachin?

AnandaWren Says:

June 21st, 2018 at 1:44 pm

My suggestion: Jacoby (“JACK-oh-bee”) NN Jack! You still get your Jack and the more obvious phonetic connection to Jacqueline, with a full name that’s more unusual than Jackson and that honors the root of the name.

savannahclass Says:

June 22nd, 2018 at 2:17 am

What about Jacques?? It’s masculine enough, pronounced similarly to “jock” and is the most similarly written to Jacqueline. You may have just given me an amazing idea, my Nana’s name is Jacqueline too!

Kew Says:

June 22nd, 2018 at 10:49 am

I’m surprised there aren’t more proponents of Jago. It’s etymologically close to Jacqueline, is phonetically closer than James, makes less of an ethnic statement than the very-French Jacques, is more distinctive than Jacob and more complete than Jake. And it also has a very modern feel – along the lines of Jackson, but more cutting edge.

Or how about James nn Jamie or Jem?

Maerad Says:

June 22nd, 2018 at 4:31 pm

I voted for a James name because I love the name James. But I also really like the Jason/Jace idea and Jacob/Jake makes a great option.

Kate4hisglory Says:

June 22nd, 2018 at 7:10 pm

Names like this get me so excited! I hate when people say names are boring! This is exciting for me! Names have so many twists and turns and their roots are often so different than you would think! I love this! And thank you for the lesson on the origins of Jacqueline! And I love that so many Berries love Clarence, too!

valentinayvonne Says:

June 22nd, 2018 at 8:12 pm

What about Kellan Jack?

mom3 Says:

June 23rd, 2018 at 3:12 am

How about Jack Kellan? First name middle name….it practically sounds like Jacqueline, and both a great names! Or Kellan Jack as pp suggested

Other spelling options could be Jaq, Jac

There’s also Jock which is the Scottish variant of James though can be a little hard to wear outside of Scotland.

JC initials…ideas
James Callen
James Callum
Jack Callum
Jacob Calvin
Joshua Caius
Jimmy Cole
Jacob Clarence

There’s a ton of options if you wanted to honour her initials.

Good luck.

CleoB Says:

June 23rd, 2018 at 7:58 am

Jaques is a French name which is very fitting (the the J is pronounced as more of a zzsshh and the s is silent)

pamjsg99 Says:

June 23rd, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Eli appears in Jacqueline. Cleary would work as a nod to Clair and is on trend as a last name for a first name (or middle). The “line” ending could become Linus. I love many of the suggestions including Jacoby (Jah-coe-bee), Jace, and Kellan. There are so many options!

spayefike Says:

June 24th, 2018 at 2:07 pm

My first thought was to go with Quincy and pick up that middle sound. What about Linus? Or Lennox? Use the end of the name as a jumping point.

vikablaire Says:

June 24th, 2018 at 11:24 pm

You could do Jacques, but everyone will be lost on how to pronounce it.

ElsaAnne Says:

June 25th, 2018 at 2:26 am

Love the suggestions of Jacoby – it’s perfect!

blaqblonde143 Says:

June 25th, 2018 at 10:20 am

What about Quellin/Quillan??

tfzolghadr Says:

June 25th, 2018 at 10:27 am

I love the suggestions of Jacoby and Clarence. It amazes me that more people haven’t discovered the vintage chic Clarence.

amie1la Says:

July 1st, 2018 at 7:00 am

I think your best bet to really honour her first name is through James or Jacob. But Jacoby works too. With the middle name Clarence would be awesome. Maybe Clarence James, nn Clary? He’d never share his name with anyone and it’s a great way to honour her with direct connections to her name, without making it obvious.

KDanielleAM Says:

July 16th, 2018 at 11:16 am

What about Quin to honor Jacqueline? That’s my favorite

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