Family Names: Too close for comfort?
Today’s Question of the Week concerns family names:
Would you use a name that’s the same as, or very similar to, one used by another family member?
Would it depend on the closeness of your relationship—is it different for a sister’s child than it is to a second cousin’s?
And would it be different if it were a common name (I have several Sarahs in my family, for example) or a more unusual one?
Would you talk it over with the other family members before making a decision?
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Brighton *Bree* Said
on July 20th, 2011 at 12:54 am
I am not having kids but when I get older I really want to name my daughter Olive or Olivia after my cousin who lives two states away and If I do I’m going to talk to her about it.
on July 20th, 2011 at 1:07 am
If I really like a name I would use it even if one of siblings had used it. I share my name with a cousin and I have several cousins who share names. It’s not as big a deal as people make it out to be.
And if was a more distant relation than sibling, I wouldn’t hesitate.
on July 20th, 2011 at 1:15 am
@Brighgtob Bree-I think she would be honored to have a baby named after her.
When i think of close, age is a big thing to consider. I did not name my daughter Sophia because a cousin of mine used it on their daughter who is 4 years older and lives in the same area. I never asked, i just felt it would be weird. To me Sophie and Sophia are the same name (not that they are close). I laugh to myself when someone says “My daughter is Isobel, not Isabella.” As if that name is so far removed from the number one name. I guess if a cousin/relative is named Isabella and you use Annabella, you can both have dibs on Bella. Growing up there seemed to be a lot of Chris names in my family. The overlap was because of blended families and marriages. My brother married a Christine, my sister married a Christopher, my cousin married a Chrissy, i have a cousin on my mom’s side named Christina and a cousin from my dad’s side named Christina. I guess i could have used Sophia since they are second cousins. Oh well, I love my little Audrey.
on July 20th, 2011 at 1:39 am
I think it’s weird, especially when people do it on purpose. Like sisters naming their babies Jaxon and Jafton. Just my opinion. I like Andrew but have a cousin with that name. I will probably go with something else if I have son, but would definitely ask him AND his mother if I was going to. But we are pretty close. .
on July 20th, 2011 at 2:47 am
I know sisters with son’s named after the same grandfather. I don’t have a problem with that at all.
on July 20th, 2011 at 3:06 am
This is a “just depends” sort of question.
My nephew has a cousin (actually, their parents are cousins… that makes them second cousins?) that is his same age (born the same year in fact) who’s first name is also Nicholas. They live about 6 hours apart, and other then some confusion when talking about family members (we have to state Judy’s Nick or Larry’s Nick – referring to their grandparents), there has never even been an issue. Distance with both family and location do make a big difference. If these two Nicks were to have grown up seeing each other often, nicknames (pun not intended) would have been used!
My son, my husband’s nephew, and my nephew all share the MN of Michael (two of the three carry the name in honor of my hubby!). They all see each other quite often. However, because the shared name is in the MN position, there isn’t any issue. Other then somebody feeling like they own exclusive rights to a name, I don’t see how sharing a MN is a problem.
My niece is Katelyn. If we had a little girl, she might have been Catherine, nicknamed Cait/Cat. I disliked the idea of having Katelyn and Cait being cousins, and I don’t think that I would have done that. Especially since, for me, they are just variations of the same name. This isn’t so much me wanting to “own” the name, as have my child feel like an individual and not have other’s compare her based on similarity in names. However, there were no girls for us and we didn’t have to try and figure this out.
Now my turn for a question: What about sibling names that are variations of the same name…
Would you name your son Jacob and your daughter Jacqueline?
Would you name one daughter Isabella and the next Elizabeth?
Could Alex and Xander be siblings?
And does this all change if they are close cousins? What about distant relations?
on July 20th, 2011 at 3:10 am
I don’t think I would do it if it was one of my siblings or another close friend or relative. I feel like people would think I was copying them, and their name wouldn’t be “their own”. I might love the name, but I’m sure I could find another that I like just as much.
on July 20th, 2011 at 5:49 am
For me, it is absolutely no big deal. My mother’s (Italian) family was once overrun with cousins sharing the same name, all named after the same grandparents. They answered to variations of the name and nicknames – I had a Great Uncle Flash, and plenty of extended family members whose given names remain mysteries even today.
Our daughter is named after my mom. I wouldn’t flinch if one of my siblings used the same name. I’m not sure that my siblings feel the same way, but it is pretty clear to me that I don’t own our mother’s name – and our daughter’s name isn’t diminished if she shares it with a cousin or two.
on July 20th, 2011 at 7:12 am
I would love to see this same question regarding whats right and wrong as far as friends are concerned.
Okay as far as Im concerned, I think it all depends on how close the family is and if they will be seeing one another very often. I would use the same name if it was a cousin who I was friendly with but didnt see or keep in touch with on a regular basis, and I wouldnt ask permission. But if it was my really close cousin who is like a sister to me, then I would ask….but only if it was a name that I really really wanted amd the name would need to be somewhat popular/common. If the name was rare and I heard it on her kid first, I wouldnt use it or ask to use it. All of the same applies to a sibling. I have seen parents use almost the same names for their own kids so Im not sure it really matters if family members use a variation of a name.
on July 20th, 2011 at 8:16 am
This is a BIG naming pet-peeve of mine, especially when close relatives choose terribly similar names. Generally, individuality is very important to me when choosing a name.
I know sister who each have a daughter 3 years apart named Mila and Camilla. I know another set of sisters who’s sons are less than 3 monthes apart named Corey and Kerry. I would think the grandmothers in each situation, who do spend a lot of time with the children together, would be terribly confused.
on July 20th, 2011 at 8:28 am
In my family, besides the 12 Josephs & 1 Josephine, names don’t often repeat in sound. at least not yet. We all seem to have wildly disparate tastes in names. what’s bizarre to one is perfectly legit for another. And with cousins with perfectly “normal” names (Pamela, Jennifer, Cynthia), I’m getting second cousins named things like Addison & Britton. Similar feeling but again, not sounding.
My brother has stated that He’s probably not ever having kids (and neither is my sister), but if he ever was to, He’s said Oliver & Frances would be their names. Not wildly creative, His second middle & our Mom’s name. So I know my kids would at least have lovely named first cousins! (too bad it’ll neve happen, hmm?)
If one of my best girlfriends was pregnant and announced she was naming her daughter Josette, I might point out it is a nickname and say something like “You’re not going to call her Josie, right?” But that’s because Josephine got so named because a) it is a family name & b) it doesn’t sound like anything else out there. And I’d like to keep it that way.
on July 20th, 2011 at 8:41 am
It’s so hard to say. I think there’s a pretty good chance I won’t run into a problem like this, because my family is small and most of my cousin’s are much younger than me, they all call me Aunt Chelsea. My sister and I would have completely different taste in names if she decided she wanted to have children one day. I would have a Harriet and she would have a Sophia (Phew!!)
I wouldn’t be too concerned about distant cousins using the same name since I hardly spend time with any of them. My biggest concern will be friends using the same name.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:31 am
I think there are several different questions here, and the answers are different.
Two cousins (or even siblings) like the same popular, common name.
Let’s say SIL and I were both interested in using Rebecca. She has a friend by that name; I have a sister by that name. We live next door and see each other at least a few times a week. The girls would share a last name. I don’t think we could both have a Rebecca with the same or similar nicknames. Becca and Becky would be too close. Now maybe if my Rebecca was Ricki, or she was Rebecca Rose and went by Rose, it would work, but I think one or both of us would have to compromise. If nothing else, the first girl born would have first dibs on the name. This would be even more so if we both liked the name just because–no matter how much I like the name Naomi, I can’t use my niece’s name (luckily it’s not in the top 10).
As for similar names–if we had Isabella and Elizabeth (Bella and Beth), that’d be fine. If we had Isabella and Isabelle, that’s not fine. If we had Elizabeth and Bethany, that would be okay as long as they weren’t both Beth. And when in doubt, the decision belongs to the person who used the first name. I asked SIL if she thought Joshua and Josiah were too close for cousins, and she doesn’t.
DH’s cousin and I both want to name a son after their grandfather, George.
In this case, since both cousins have the grandfather, both have equal rights on the name. Further, I believe that anyone has a right to name a child for their ancestor, no matter how many people in which family have used the name. Even if 5 of DH’s cousins had a George, we could use it. That might influence whether I did, but not whether I could. (In this case George wouldn’t share a last name, but I think I retain the right even if they did.)
On the other side of DH’s family, things are complicated a little, though not by the last name. DH’s paternal grandfather was Alfred Jr. One of his cousins is Alfred III. One of his uncles is Alfred IV. That cousin’s son is Alfred V. I think in this case, Alfred V may have a little more right to the name than we do (even though Alfred is also BIL’s middle name… which may give BIL and SIL (whose father is also Alfred) an equal right). I don’t think I have a right to name a son with the same middle name as the full line of Alfreds, no matter how tempting it is to have an Alfred James VI. I do think, since we don’t see these relatives often and I’ve never met Alfred IV and neither of us have met
Alfred V, we could still name a son Alfred (but if the other Alfreds lived across the street from us, I think I shouldn’t do it. As it is, I think I prefer Alfred as a middle (and have every right to that). And this goes double if the second cousin has the name just because his parents like it. If DH’s cousin names a little girl Elizabeth, there’s no reason that should stop me from naming my daughter Elizabeth after my granddaughter.
I don’t believe you can “call” names. Calling a name before anyone else uses it can give you rights to use a name even if someone else uses it first. If I’ve made it clear I intend to use the name Daniel, and my SIL has a Daniel, that’s allowed as long as I’m not definitely pregnant with a boy I plan to name Daniel. (If I’m pregnant with Daniel (and she knows it), and we hadn’t both discussed the issue beforehand, that’s not allowed.) But, I still have the right to use Daniel, even though she has a Daniel, because she knew I planned to have a Daniel when she named her Daniel. If we weren’t okay with two Daniels, we’d need to hash it out before either of us had one. (I’d probably cede it as a first name because I have lots more I like, and she doesn’t have as many because she has more “rules” for her names.)
For naming after relatives not in direct line, such as aunts or uncles, I would say you have to ask the person whose name it is. If they don’t like the name and beg you not to use it, it’s out. If they offer an acceptable alternative–for example, I don’t like my name (Jessica) but would be honored if someone named a boy Jesse after me or used my middle name (Jane) in my honor–you can use that if you like it. You don’t have to if you don’t like it, because you should like your own child’s name. But if you decided, “Well, I’m going to name her Jessica anyway” it’s just because you like the name.
I want to name a son after BIL and a daughter after my sister. Because men name children after themselves, and because we come from a family with a lot of Jrs and beyond (more men have a son named after themselves than not; DH is a Jr. and my son is a III), I need BIL’s permission (in my opinion, and since BIL’s first name is not after a direct ancestor). Moreover, when there is an actual pregnancy involved, I will ask him again, and again after the baby is born. And I would be very clear that even after our Benjamin was born and named, I’d have no problem with him having a Benjamin Jr. (even though he doesn’t plan on it, even if he has another son, which he also doesn’t plan on). My sister has said she’d be honored, and in our culture girls don’t have Jrs, and she doesn’t plan to have kids, and even if she did have her own Rebecca Rose, and I had a Rebecca Rose, they’d have different last names. And wouldn’t live next door.
Similar names in an immediate family is something I’ve considered a lot. I have two names that fit this criteria–My grandfather was John and my middle name (for the third of 4 generations) is Jane. My DH’s grandma is Rhoda and my sister’s middle name is Rose. I love all four names enough to use as first names, but I think that’s out. I think since they are family names with distinct origins–none of them are named after each other–it is acceptable to use them all if at least one from each set is a middle name. My daughter’s name is Hannah Jane, so I think if I also had John Ernest, Rhoda Lucy, and Rebecca Rose that wouldn’t be a big deal. If I had Jane, John, Rose, and Rhoda–even among other kids–I think that would be too much.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:43 am
For me, I guess the farther apart in both where they live and within their family, the easier and more acceptable it would be to use similar and same names.
But it still wouldn’t work out in my family. I have cousins living on the other side of the country, but we still see each other at least once a year, and we’re all pretty close, so it’d bring up a lot of confusion.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:52 am
I would never allow a child of mine to be named after a living family member. Partly because I believe a child is an individual, partly to avoid confusion. I say “living” for I love the name Irene but it wasn’t until after I realized I liked it that it happened to be the name of my great-grandmother…
on July 20th, 2011 at 10:06 am
For me, I think the overall popularity of the name and family significance are important things to consider in this case.
If my cousin named her baby Fallon and I chose Fallon for my child, it might be a bit contrived. Whereas if my cousin named her child Andrew or William and I loved the name, I might consider it.
If it was a family name that was important to me I’d discuss it with the original namer and hopefully come to a consensus. If one couldn’t be reached I’d use a different form of the name. First come, first served.
I love names in general, so being limited by what names to use becomes a challenge that I enjoy!
on July 20th, 2011 at 10:28 am
I don’t think I’d mind if the person is of distant-ish relations, but I’ve never really been a fan of naming a kid after someone in immediate relation. And by that I mean by Robert and Maureen named their children Robert and Maureen. Or Anthony has a son named Anthony and a daughter named Antonina. To me, it shows a lack of creativity and indiviuality. That does not mean there’s anything wrong with it. I would, for example, name my daughter Maria or so variation of it after my great-grandmother and my great-great-grandmother or Louise for my grandmother Louisa or Margaret after my mother Rita (as she always hated being just Rita. It sounds like a nickname to her). But I don’t think I’ll have any problems with picking the same names as my siblings as we all have different tastes in names, and I would definitely ask those of living relation before using their name or a variation in honor of them.
on July 20th, 2011 at 10:32 am
In general, I think it depends on how close your relationship is. Unless you are specifically naming your child after that person, I would say no to using the same or very similar names as siblings and cousins. It gets more tricky when you have a gigantic family and you’re one of the youngest like me (20ish grand kids on each of our sides), but there are so many names it’s possible.
Leslie Owen Said
on July 20th, 2011 at 11:05 am
My favourite name is George Thomas, it’s a family name, but when my son was born, all I could think of was my sister’s deadbeat ex-husband named George. So I kept the Thomas — still a family name — but lost out on George, which I sometimes regret. We’re actually getting another Thomas in the family — my cousin’s son, Maximilian Thomas, is supposed to be born any day now.
In my family, the matriarch was my great-grandmother Sofie-Katarine. My daughter is Caitlin (Sophia didn’t go with our last name), my sister’s daughter is Susannah Kathleen (also the name of her mother-in-law), and my other sister’s daughter is Eliza Catherine. My daughter goes by Kitty, and my nieces are Susannah and Eliza.
C in DC Said
on July 20th, 2011 at 11:10 am
My BIL is Chris and his first cousin is Chris (with different full first names), with the same last name. They were born within months of each other. It’s very confusing, especially to someone joining the family.
I have a friend who’s married to a Laura and his brother is also married to a Laura. They have an unusual last name and both live in Maryland. Laura B got into some financial trouble. Laura A is being sued as part of the settlement. I’ve seen similar things happen with sons named Junior. It’s really not a good idea to give a child a name that is so close to a living relative, especially if they share the same last name.
on July 20th, 2011 at 11:15 am
I feel like it’s a no-no; even if the name is just similar. My brother and sister-in-law just had a little boy named Liam; for me, this means I can’t use Leo for a future child. Having a neice named Charlotte means I’ll never have a daughter named Scarlett or a son named Charlie. I also have a niece named Lilly; this means I can’t ever have a little Lulu, Lola, Millie, etc. I have a second cousin whom I never see who has a daughter named Thea–had to scratch that off my list, too!
on July 20th, 2011 at 12:15 pm
family names are used as middle names in my family. since no body has really named anyone after anybody other than a grandparent, I always thought thats the way you do i. my husband has 3 cousins named michael and I always thought that was so odd. though my moms cousin just had a little girl and named her parker. I have always loved the name parker, but for a boy, now I an conflicted on what to do. can I still keep that on my name list if we have another boy?
on July 20th, 2011 at 12:47 pm
In my family a lot of the first cousins share family names. Though we are all called something different…
Ann (Grandmother on dad’s side, deceased)
Ann (Mom’s Aunt, also deceased)
Katherine Ann “Katie” (me)
Clara Ann (cousin’s baby)
Annabel Lynn (another cousin’s baby)
Hannah Katherine (cousin)
Sara Elizabeth “Sally” (sister)
Sara Grace “Gracie” (Sally’s daughter)
Jessica Elizabeth “Jessica” (cousin)
Madeline Claire “Maddie” (sister)
Claire Nicole (cousin)
Lena Claire (Aunt, Claire’s mom)
I think as long as everyone is called something different and it doesn’t cause confusion then its okay.
As long as everyone goes by something different
on July 20th, 2011 at 12:52 pm
My son is named William, after my grandfather, though my cousin has a son (3 years older) named Liam, also as a tribute to my grandfather. I never really thought of them as being the same name until after he was born and we had already named him. Now I’m pregnant with my second and we are considering the name Benjamin (Ben or Benny for short), but…the same cousin has a son (2 years old) named Jamin (not short for anything…just Jamin). Would it be wierd to use Benjamin for my child? What do you think?
on July 20th, 2011 at 12:53 pm
I actually had a discussion recently with my sister about names. My family is extremely close and my youngest sister and I are due 4 days apart. Luckily we have different naming tastes. My middle sister has always had Liam on her short list of boy’s names however and my husband and I settled on William after my dad but calling him Liam if it’s a boy (my dad is actually a William George Jr. with my cousin being William III and his son being William IV but they all use Bill, Billy, Micky and Will). But before deciding on Liam I asked my sister if she cared because I didn’t want to steal her name. She didn’t because she only planned it as a middle name but if she had I would have found something else.
Mrs Vicki Said
on July 20th, 2011 at 1:49 pm
I taught a child with 26 Selina’s in the family…
Grandma was Selina Marie, Mom was Selina Christina and daughter Selina Brielle…the name Selina was handed down to all the females and is a lovely way for the girls in the family to have an amazing connection…Grandma was Grandma Marie, Mom was Tina and Brie was the child…I loved that tradition!
I also went to school with a family and there were three Jose’s and a Josefina… Jose Juan, Jose Luis and Jose Enrique…My daughters are all named with rhyming middle names Rae, Kay, Mae and Fay
on July 20th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
Good points on the middle name. I have no qualms with middle name copying since in my family that is where we honor other family members. We have many Johns, Kates, Roys, James’s, Lynns, etc. in the middle. Generally named after grandparents.
Mary Kathryn Chenoweth Said
on July 20th, 2011 at 2:36 pm
My cousin’s name is Emma Grace, and my daughter’s name is Emmalin Mackenzie. I’ve loved the name Emma since I was a little girl & I planned on my first daughter having that name. When I was 6 or 7, my aunt Gina gave that name to my cousin, I was a little devastated. I started to not like the anymore, because my cousin was a BRAT. Then, when I got pregnant with Emmalin, I feel in love with the name again, but I decided to look up variations of it and decided Emmalin was my favorite! So, I feel that if you love a name you should use it no matter what!
on July 20th, 2011 at 3:54 pm
My dad’s side of the family does not seem to have a problem with using the same family names. There are at least 6 Roberts, 4 Elizabeths, 4 Audreys, 2 Clares, 2 Marthas (I would have been the 3rd but luckily my mom intervened!), and 2 Sams all named after grandparents or aunts/ uncles! It’s very confusing as we are all always together and very few of them go by nicknames! I probably would not use any of these names so as to avoid further confusion, but if I were to use them I would probably ask my cousins first about which family names they were thinking about using.
on July 20th, 2011 at 4:23 pm
Greek families do this all the time. There are several Helens, Christinas, Georges, and Johns in my extended family and it’s not a big deal. My first and middle names are both my grandmothers’ names and my middle name is also my sister’s first name. That being said, I’d rather choose a name I LOVE rather than a family name that’s just “okay” and “useable,” Greek tradition be damned.
on July 20th, 2011 at 4:47 pm
I plan on using both my Nana’s middle name and mom’s middle name if I ever have a girl. I haven’t decided yet if I want to use their names dead on (Alice Ann), or names that contain them within (Julianne, Annabelle, Annora, Annisha,Aliana, etc). Both names aren’t popular in my family, so it shouldn’t be a big problem. My mom knows that I would like to honor her and my nana- thinks the idea is sweet and wonderful- but stresses that it is alright if I don’t honor her.
on July 20th, 2011 at 5:01 pm
I personally don’t have much to say about this, other than I find it rather strange. Not to mention the fact I would be furious with my little sister if she chose the same name I had used on my own child!
I know cousins (also distantly related to me) who are named Brooklyn, Bronwyn and Quinlyn, which are not only ghastly names anyway, but they ALWAYS confused relatives. There is also a Jocelyn within immediate family too which just complicated things even more (especially as on top of that my sister Georgia goes by Joey/GG, as does Jocelyn)
on July 20th, 2011 at 5:14 pm
I think using the same name within a close knit family is a little selfish of the second namer. A friend of mine had a daughter and named her Sadie, within a few months her cousin also used the name for the daughter she had. It’s not a family name for either of them, just a preference. I think the cousin wasn’t considerate of the other mother’s feelings about it at all. Of all the girl names that are out there, is it absolutely necessary to use the same name? Especially for cousins that will grow up together!
I have no problem with using the same middle names, in fact my son and 2 of his cousins all have the middle name David, their grandfather’s name.
on July 20th, 2011 at 5:30 pm
My two sisters-in-law were both pregnant with girls at the same time and wanted to call them Lydia. Both families live close to each other and attend the same church. They agreed that whoever gave birth first could have the name Lydia, and that’s what happened. My second niece has a different name.
I am currently pregnant with a girl, and my husband’s cousin (also with the same last name and living in the same town) just named his daughter Jane Elizabeth. We’ve been considering Elizabeth Jane for our little girl who is due in a couple of weeks. It’s a bit ironic, but since they would only be hearing each other’s first names 99% of the time, I think it will be fine.
On the other hand, there are 23 cousins under the age of 10 on my husband’s side of the family alone, so it gets to be pretty difficult not to reuse any names!
on July 20th, 2011 at 6:13 pm
Personally, I wouldn’t mind using the same name as a close relative – especially since it’s already happened in my family. My dad, maternal uncle, great uncle, and brother are all named Michael. There’s usually no confusion, though, and I may end up using it to continue the tradition, although more likely as a middle or – as has been a recent discovery – with the biblical female, Michal (pronounced exactly the same).
on July 20th, 2011 at 8:54 pm
My neighbors have two grandsons named Nicholas. One is called Nickolas and the other is Nicko. It has never been a problem, and both of them love their name.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:36 pm
In addition to the considerations other people have mentioned, I think family size is really important. My family is very small–my daughter has only one first cousin so far and I have only three first cousins, so even though we don’t keep in touch, I wrote to my aunt when I was pregnant to ask her my cousins’ kids’ full names so that I didn’t repeat them, even though they will be second cousins that my daughter doesn’t see often or live near. I think if it were a huge family it might not have mattered to me so much, but even though we don’t see each other often I just thought it’d be weird to use the same name, even accidentally. (None of my cousins used family names–naming after is not a tradition in my family.)
My husband’s family has a very structured tradition of naming after a deceased relative, either someone you are directly descended from, or someone who died without having their own children. It is not taboo to name after someone who has already been named after, but it is considered less ideal than naming after someone who does not already have a namesake. If you’re naming after someone and there is also someone living (say, on the other side of the family) who has that name, you’re supposed to ask their permission first, before using the name.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:37 pm
I’d avoid using the identical name unless one was a junior or there’s an obvious nickname or it’s the middle name that’s never used. In my family, we have people with variations–so I have a cousin named Marie to honor my grandmother Mary and her mother Mary Katherine (who goes by Kathy). Or a Charles and then a Charlie, or a John and a Johnny…that sort of thing.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:48 pm
To each their own but I don’t like the idea of using the same name. I don’t even want to use a name of someone I know distantly. My hubby’s cousin named their daughter Sidney (after grandpa), hubby and I had this name on our list but it immediately came off when it was used. My hubby has a huge family and I don’t want to use the same name as any of them or that they have used for their children even if we only see them at Christmas.
I also wouldn’t use a name a friend had used. I may use the same name as a middle but that would be as far as I go. I don’t want my child to have to live up to someone else or down to someone elses name.
Of course their always seems to be the rare exception. My friend’s younger sister is called Glenna and I really like her name and would consider using it but as I said it’s the rare exception.
on July 20th, 2011 at 10:14 pm
I’m a big believer in the fact that no one owns a name. If I loved a name and really wanted to use it, then it wouldn’t matter to me if my sister had a baby on the same day and used the same name. However, if I can think of a different name that I like just as much, then I might pass over a name that has been recently used by one of my siblings or my husband’s siblings. Beyond siblings, I don’t care that much – but certainly wouldn’t copy an invented name for more than one reason!
on July 20th, 2011 at 11:08 pm
Considering how rare the names on my list are (my top name hasn’t brushed the top 1000 in over a half century), I don’t think any of my family members would really ever even hear it, let alone use it. But, in the event that someone in my family DID use one of my names, I’d probably end up using it as a middle name. I love unique names; there are 7 other Hannahs in my graduating class, and I’d hate for my kids one day to run into the same kind of issue.
Charlotte Vera Said
on July 21st, 2011 at 2:11 am
While I’m in favour of parents using names that they love, I do find it a little odd when close family members choose the same name for their children. However, provided no one is hurt by the decision, then I guess it’s fine. I’d probably be taken aback if one of my closer family members chose a name I’d already given to my children, but I don’t think I’d be upset by the decision.
Also, while I agree that names like Isobel and Isabella are essentially the same name, I think siblings choosing names that are similar but not the same can be nice. For example, I know sisters with sons named Isaac and Isaiah. I believe it’s possible that the similarities in the children’s names can create a bond between them. Additionally, there are a lot of common name elements out there, and where those elements are placed in a name can make a difference. I, for example, have a Roseanna (named for a deceased family member), and a close cousin has an Annalie. It would be odd if both Roseanna and Annalie were sisters, but I don’t think it’s at all the same thing on second cousins.
on July 23rd, 2011 at 12:18 am
If it’s an unusual name, I wouldn’t do it. In fact, I’m not going to – my husband’s cousin has a daughter named Annika, which is a name I adore but it’s very distinctive especially with their shared unusual last name, so it feels really wrong to use it for our soon-baby. This even though I’ve never met the cousin and my husband barely knows him and he lives halfway across the country. I guess it’s really more for the sake of the shared family (grandparents etc). It’s a pity though. But who knows, maybe we’ll have a boy and it won’t even be relevant!
on July 24th, 2011 at 5:09 am
My brother has a daughter named Cameron but they call her Cammy. I LOVE Millie for a girl but want to give her a more formal name for later on…really like Camille. Yep, that’s right, pronounced the same as my darling niece’s name! However, I live in Australia and my brother & his family are in the states. Not sure if this is okay or not? The other possibility for a girl is Addison but my sister has an Adeline – you guessed it, Addy for short! Hmm….any thoughts would be appreciated!
on July 30th, 2011 at 12:43 pm
My family has avoided some of these issues with a slightly different take on family tradition. For four generations now everyone has at least one of their names contain the letters “A, D, E & N”. It may contain other letters so long as those four are also included. This opens up a great door for following tradition but not using the same name.
Here are just a few of the names that have been used in our family to honor that tradition: Deann, Adena, Andrew, Nadine, Manderly, Sanderson, Jaden, Delaney, Lenada, Daphne, Rande, etc.
on July 31st, 2011 at 12:08 pm
I have recently had this exact problem with family uproar. I am in my late thirties and have undergone fertility treatment to become pregnant. My third cousin is 16 and recently had a baby as teenagers sometimes do. I had planned on the name Sophia Janine for the last two years. With the plan to call the baby Fi or FiJi. Sophia was for an important friend of my parents, and Janine for my husband’s sister who died a few years ago. I almost got my sister-in-law to name her daughter Sophia four years ago based on my desire to have someone close to me with the name.
A few months ago my 16 year old cousin named her baby Sophia. Being 16 she took her argument to Facebook and berated me online for being unoriginal, a thief, and a liar (she does not believe the origin story). I do not plan to change the name. I had very specific reasons for choosing the name. Even though the third cousin lives in the same area, I have seen her once in the last year. Honestly I know this is awful, but if she was my age or we actually saw one another, I might feel differently. As it is, I have planned on having the name Sophia for years, literally since my teen years, and I will keep it.
on August 2nd, 2011 at 4:17 pm
I have two sisters and we all have Elizabeth in our names. Me and my 2nd oldest sister are both named Elizabeth but nicknamed Liza ( like Liza Minelli) and Betsy. Our oldest sister’s middle name is Elizabeth. I think it is really weird and it gets confusing at airports but other than that it doesn’t ever really matter.
on August 26th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
Personally, I would never use the name of a living relative, regardless of whether it would be a first or middle name. Even though I love my father’s name (Kent) I would feel strange using it. On the flip side, using Eileen (deceased great-grandmother) isn’t out of the question, as there would be no confusion at family get-togethers and the like.
The same goes for close variants. I have a cousin whose name I really like (Justine) but I wouldn’t even consider using a close variant like Justina because it would be too confusing.
on November 2nd, 2011 at 10:12 pm
I really don’t think you are “stealing” a name because you gave your child a similar name, such as the example someone used earlier about Catherine (Cate) versus Caitlyn.
However, in the situation of using the same name, I think you should just be sensitive to the feelings of others in your family. I believe someone mentioned earlier that her Italian family was perfectly fine with many people sharing the same name; in that case, go for it. However, if you feel like someone was particularly proud of their name choice, and would be totally insulted if you use it, don’t do it. Having your children grow up in a bitter family (even if they had a nice name) wouldn’t be worth it at all.
on December 16th, 2011 at 7:00 pm
I am totally consisdering calling my daughter Isobel after my Grandma and I don’t even want to make it more “Modern” by making it Isabelle
on December 22nd, 2011 at 3:06 pm
My husband and I are the oldest of the cousins on both sides, meaning I have some cousins my kids’ age. It would definitely bother me if a aunt/uncle or a cousin used the exact same first name. When my husband and I had our first child we had chosen Cadence for a girl, but decided on a different name after hearing a potential nickname. The same year, my 16 year old cousin who I see maybe once a year if that, had twin boys – Caden and Damon. Next I had a son, and then we were expecting another daughter. We still loved Cadence despite the potential NN but I hesitated to use it because of the similarity. My mother and husband never saw an issue. Then my former next door neighbour had a boy – Caedon – right before she was born! We did still use it. Each time we have had a girl my husband doesn’t see the big deal about using cousins names, even with the same town/school/church and last name. Thankfully the names were not my style at all so the idea was short-lived. He also likes the name of a cousin of mine – Aubrey. I do like the name and I rarely see her, but I still won’t do it.
Repeated middle names (esp. after family) would not bother me at all among cousins. My husband’s father had the same middle name as his younger brother’s first name, and his sister had the feminine version (Albert/Albertina!). I find that very odd, even if it is a family name. His father also had a first cousin with the name first name, another family name. Still seems weird for sisters to name their kids the same thing.
on February 8th, 2012 at 6:03 pm
My great uncle named both his son and daughter after himself Marshall Jr. And Marcella(Marcy), Marshall and Marcy both have girls with nearly the exact names the only thing making a difference is the kids ages. Marshall has Emily & Adrien(18 & 16), And Marcy has Emma & Audrey(8 & 6).
on March 31st, 2012 at 9:52 pm
My mother’s cousin John named his daughter Genevieve after her but they never see each other and my mum changed her name to Danielle years ago anyway, so it’s never been an issue.
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