Category: Family Names

unusual family names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

My grandfather’s middle name was Owen, which was pretty unusual when I was growing up. I never thought back then that I’d name a son Owen, much less that Owen would become a Top 50 boys’ name!

What’s the most unusual name in your family? Can you imagine it ever coming back into style? Or maybe it’s so rare it was never in style in the first place.

We’d love to hear its origins, if you know them: How it was chosen, how the bearer felt about it, and whether Great-Uncle Oral inspired any namesakes.

We’d also love to know whether you’d consider using it as a name for a baby? A middle name? Do you love your unusual family name? Hate it? Why or why not?

For a wider look at unusual vintage baby names, check out our lists of lost names of 1916 for boys and for girls.

Get one of these awesome personalized family trees, unusual names and all, from the Etsy shop karuskicolours.

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Twin Baby Names: Naming Julia and Jackson

By Saundra K. Wright

It was early April in 2014 when my husband, Rick, and I learned we were pregnant. After a long struggle with infertility, we were stunned, cautious, and absolutely thrilled. My husband immediately got busy turning the home office into a nursery; I immediately got busy searching for the perfect name. As an academic who spent years studying naming practices, I was excited to finally put my research skills to personal use. And when I later learned that I was expecting twins – a boy and a girl to boot – I felt like I hit the onomastic jackpot. Choosing the perfect names for our little girl and our little boy became a top priority during the pregnancy.

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

They found a great family name for their firstborn, but now they’re stuck finding something every bit as meaningful and stylish for their new daughter.

Meghan writes:

My daughter’s name is Clementine Jay and we just love it.

Clement is my father’s middle name, and Jay was my father-in-law’s middle name, so it is meaningful as well as adorable (in our opinion).  We call her Clemmie.

We are now expecting a second girl and are at a stalemate.  We feel compelled to give her a family name as well, because we love having that connection.  My husband’s mother, Brenda, is deceased and so we’d love to honor her.  But Brenda (and similar names Brenna, Brianna) just don’t resonate with us.

We’ve come up with a few names that start with B to honor her, but nothing is really exciting us yet.  We are also considering Annabeth Claire (a mashup of our three sisters’ middle names) but aren’t quite sold on it yet.  Any suggestions?

The Name Sage replies:

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Family Names: Yes, No, or It Depends?

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

He’s all about family names, but she’s not convinced. How do they move forward when he thinks their son is already named?

Amanda writes:

My husband’s father’s name is John.  To incorporate the name he wants to name our son Jonathan Wallace, after grandpa and great-grandpa.

The dilemma? I don’t care for the name Jonathan!

Any ideas?

The Name Sage replies:

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How to Choose Your Baby’s Last Name

by Lorelei Vashti

Since medieval times, the majority of couples in the West—including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia—have passed on the father’s last name to the baby. While there have always been exceptions to this rule, it remains a dominant social convention.

But for the last few decades, last name choices have been changing because families are changing.

Many of us grew up with mothers who kept their last name after they married, or in blended families where family members had different last names. We may have changed our last name to a stepfather’s name, or gone back to a mother’s maiden name when we were teenagers. Whichever way you look at it, the idea of the traditional nuclear family is changing. Nevertheless, the practice of passing on the father’s last name has remained.

Many couples are happy to continue the tradition and pass on the father’s last name. But for others, that tradition has become increasingly jarring and uncomfortable. Over the past few decades, many families have been searching for—and finding—alternatives.

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