Secret Baby Names Connections

Usually, when baby names are related, the resemblance is pretty obvious.  For example, Christopher’s foreign versions include Christophe and Christos and his short form is Chris; Patricia is otherwise known as Patrizia or Patrice, Pat or Patty.

But this isn’t always the case.  Alexander might be Alistair to his Scottish cousins, Sasha to his friends.

This can come in handy if you’re looking for an invisible (to non-nerds) or at least indirect route to honoring a namesake.  Ways you can do this include finding an interesting but accessible international variation, or an unexpected nickname that can be used on its own, or a mythological, biblical, or other name switch, or dual identity.

Here are some possibilities you might consider.  How many of the connections are visible to you?














Elizabeth….Elspeth, Isabella, Libby— ad infinitum








Jane….Ivana, Siobhán, Jensine





Margaret….Maisie, Daisy, Pearl


Mary….Miriam, Moira




Sarah….Sally, Sadie



Violet….Iolanthe, Yolanda












Eugene….Owen, Euan, Ewan


George….Joren, Jori, Yuri



James….Hamish, Seamus, Jago, Semaj


Jerome….Geronimo, Hieronymus

John….Euan, Eoin, Jens, Ivan, João

Joseph….Joos, Joop, Sepp

Lawrence….Lars, Lorenzo







Peter….Piers,  Piet





What secretly connected pairs of names would you add?

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27 Responses to “Secret Baby Names Connections”

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EmilyVA Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 2:05 am

Alice… Heidi, Della
Margaret… Peg

I already love this post. I will try to think of more.

HerMajesty Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 8:07 am

I have an Aunt Hyacinth (great Grannas sister) and after finding the name Jacinda a few days ago, I decided that might be a good way to honour her. Another was my Aunt Sue, but I don’t particularly like Sue, so I might use Shoshannah/Susannah. Not quite as subtil as Hyacinth-Jacinda, but still nice.
I also have a family name, Eugene, which I love, but my family and friends all have been begging that I not, so Owen or Ewan could be better:)

melissa2 Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 9:58 am

Yeah, I’m not really into this. That whole “I’m naming my son Nathaniel in honor of my Uncle Bartholomew” idea is just too far-fetched for me.

GrecianErn Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 10:06 am

My husband and I were talking about this a few years ago when my mom got sick… how we could name a daughter Mary without naming her Mary. Our favorite find was Mollie. Miriam has such sad connotations.
We probably won’t use Mollie… but it was nice to think about at the time. (Btw Mom is better.)

MaScha2 Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 10:50 am

My name is Marie Ann named loosely after my grandmother who was Antoinette Mary (that’s why my parents chose Ann without the “e”). I like that you can use a connection That is more subtle.

iheartnames Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 11:23 am

I would add Senja (Finnish) and Chimene (French) as alternates to Xenia.

BerryBry Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

What about Muriel?? I really need one for that but Maria and Mary are out…
All I can think of is:

klcalder2 Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Still thinking of using Artemis because my mom’s middle name is Dianna.

JEMama Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

My oldest daughters mn is Eliza after my own mn, Elizabeth. Our younger daughters is Leona after my DH’s mn which is Leonard (he was named after his own grandfather with this name). We love the family connection. Granted they are more similar than some of your list, but still neat. 🙂

ejs82 Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I hope to name a daughter Dorothy in honor of my grandfather Theodore.

strawberrytree Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Yeah, I’m with you Melissa. In 90% of cases this just says to me ‘I love you, but not that much. It’s more important my kid has a cool name than I pass on the name of someone I love.’

nat108 Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

@strawberrytree: I and several of my female cousins are named after our grandmother but none of us have her actual name because she doesn’t like it. My mom is the same way. She’s already told me not to give any of my kids her name but variations and related names are OK.

katybug Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 9:30 pm

What’s the connection between Veronica and Berenice?

linda Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 10:20 pm

According to the Oxford Dictionary of First Names, “Veronica is the Latin form, somewhat garbled, of Berenice, influenced from an early date by association with the Church Latin phrase vera icon–true image.”

Pammypoo Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I’m with Melissa and Strawberry. There’s always middle names if you don’t love the name itself. I can see if the person has asked you not to use his or her name, but I was proud to give my children names of a Grandpa, Grandma and auntie, and they are proud to have that connection to someone they love (even as little children!)

Jugsy Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 11:09 pm


All the same name just English, Irish and Scotish

Dantea Says:

February 28th, 2013 at 11:30 pm

I’ve never seen Cora as a term for Persephone, only Kore (which is pronounced kor-ee like the name Cory), but it’s interesting. If I have seen it, I don’t remember, but it’s never come up in my religious studies.

Most of these I get the connections though. There’s lots of lovely names on here but I’m in the ground of I think it’s weird to say “I’m naming him Nathaniel in honor of Bartholomew” (which is the most invisible on there to me 😛 )

ejs82 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:33 am

I disagree with those saying you have to use the exact name as a namesake. My daughter Rosemary is named after 2 relatives named Mary, 1 Maria, 1 Molly, and 1 Miriam. By picking a different “Mary” name we were able to honor all of them at once. (These are all close relatives- can you tell we’re Catholic?) Our other two children are named after their Italian born great grandparents and we chose to use the more Americanized versions of their names (Anthony instead of Antonio). I don’t think they’re any less honored.

wildebeth Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 1:17 pm

My middle name is Roseanne, after my grandmother Rose. My first name is after my great grandmother Elizabeth, though my mom dropped the first E. I love having my own name, inspired by relatives my mom wanted to honor. Remember that you’re not just honoring a relative; you’re respecting your child’s individuality. If someone doesn’t appreciate that you’re honoring them in that way, they don’t deserve the honor of passing their name to your child.

MoonlightSonata26 Says:

March 11th, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I love the names Athena and Minerva. But my absololute favorite is Athena. Too bad I’m too much of a weenie to actually use it on a child. Oh well! 😛

Crazy4Jeter Says:

March 24th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I’m a little late, but I just read this article after you shared it on Facebook. Matthew, Thaddeus, & Theodore all mean ‘Gift from God’. 🙂

iwillpraise Says:

April 29th, 2013 at 1:04 am

Michael- Gabriel (this is will be a nod to my husband)
Norlene/Honora/Nora- Kimberly (my mom & my names that both mean “Lady of Honor”)
Madeline- Magdalen
Daniel- Danica
John- Jean

These are my own interpretations of those already suggested in the article:
Hope- Nadia/Nadine
Alice- Adelaide

benjamelissa Says:

June 10th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Nathanael (Hebrew)—Bartholomew (Greek) —same person
Tabitha (Hebrew)—Dorcas (Greek)—same person
For those of you looking for another variation of Mary, there’s Mara
I love changing it up a bit. The 60s Brenda is now Brenna
and Jane could be Jana. Shelton guy could be Shelley girl. The possibilities are endless.

MarijaMagdalena Says:

June 19th, 2013 at 9:32 am

Mitzi is cute, wish i could use i now as a nickname.

For Maria etc, there’s also Mimi.

gailk Says:

July 16th, 2013 at 11:23 pm

the ones i *knew* were:
Elizabeth….Elspeth, Isabella, Libby– ad infinitum

most of the other ones seem believable, but I wouldn’t have thought of them otherwise. With the help of nicknames, this is a great list to honor an interestingly named family member. 😉

NameLady Says:

September 15th, 2013 at 5:01 pm

My friend wanted to name her child after her mother Lynn, so she named him Lyndon 🙂

NameLady Says:

September 15th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Terrence and Reese could namesakes for Theresa!

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