Family Names Getting More Adventurous
Sure, Thanksgiving is about sweet potatoes with little marshmallows on top, but it’s also about family. That’s why our annual post on Thanksgiving baby names is focused this year not on Pilgrim names or turkey names but on the new style in family names.
Family names have become more stylish in recent years. Parents are looking to invest their children’s names with powerful meaning, plus it sounds classy to tell everyone your child has a “family name”.
Family names used to mean those crusty old names that couldn’t be explained except by confessing that the baby was named after rich Aunt Eunice.
Today, the idea of family names has expanded along with the idea of family. Modern family names include the following, and there’s not a Eunice among them.
Mac means “son of” which can be updated to “child of”. You can put Mc or Mac in front of many first names, so if your name is Hugh, you can name your son McHugh, and call him Mac. Mac names are stylish for girls too – witness Mackayla and Mackenzie.
Family or clan names
Many modern first names originated as family or clan names in ancient Rome or in other cultures such as Irish, Norse, or African. Here are some examples and their meanings:
Hailey, English and Scottish clan name
Nantale, Ugandan clan name whose totem is a lion
Thane, Scottish name that means the chieftain of a clan
Names with Family Meanings
Another way to invest a name with family is by choosing one that means mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter.
Names with these family meanings exist in most cultures so modern parents have a lot to choose from.
Abigail, Hebrew, “my father is joyful”
Adelpha, Greek, “beloved sister”
Aneko, Japanese, “older sister”
Anemone, Greek flower name, “daughter of the wind”
Cordelia, Celtic, “daughter of the sea”
Cybele, Greek, mother of all gods, goddess of fertility, health nature
Yetunda, Yoruba, “mother returned”
Abanu, African, “I have joined the family”
Adam, Hebrew, “son of the red earth”
Axel, Scandinavian, “father of peace”
Barnaby, Aramaic, “son of consolation”
Broderick, Norse, “brother”
Dasan, Native American, “son of a bird clan leader”
Dylan, Welsh, “son of the sea”
Flynn, Irish, “son of the red-haired one”
Joah, Hebrew, “brother of God”
Kuno is an ancient German name meaning family or clan that certainly has a contemporary style and feel. Also spelled Cuno, this name is sometimes short for Konrad or Conrad. There was a 10th century German count called Kuno.
Ruskin, Scottish name meaning family of tanners.
Did you or would you use a family name for your child? Tell us about it!