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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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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Abby Berry Juice profile image

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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sanctanomina Berry Juice profile image

Why So Few Girl Juniors?

posted by: sanctanomina View all posts by this author

By Katherine Morna Towne

I read an online comment recently from a name enthusiast arguing that “lots of men” give their own names to their sons (whether as Juniors—using their exact names—or using variants in the first or middle spots), while “very few women” do the same for their daughters.

This argument didn’t seem quite right to me, based on my limited experience, so I posed the question on my blog and indeed, my readers produced quite a lot of examples of girls named after their moms. Nevertheless, it is true that the idea of specifically “Junior” girls—girls with at least the same first name as their moms, never mind the same first+middle combo—is an unfamiliar one to many of us, and I wondered why.

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

They’ve used up all of the family names! Should they call their new son Melvin? Or is there a better way to find a meaningful name for Eva’s twin brother?

Meredith writes:

My husband and I are expecting boy/girl twins in September, and I am starting to worry that we will be calling our little guy “Baby B” for the rest of his life!

Our son, who is almost two, is named Julian James, both family names. We like the fact that it is classic and not too common while avoiding hipster territory.

We also decided on the name of our baby girl fairly quickly. She will be named Eva, which honors my grandmother. My only hesitation was the popularity of Ava, but we decided that that wasn’t a deal breaker.

On to our twin boy: we are stuck! We don’t even have a good list going. We came to the other two names almost effortlessly, so we are starting to panic a bit. I am obviously partial to family names, but we have a lot of names in the family that are tough to work with. (On my side, Edwin, Harry, and Melvin; on my husband’s side, everyone is named James.) We also have a lot of cousins’ names to avoid, including two we would have considered: Sebastian and Simon.

I do like two family names: Frederick, but we are not on board with Fred. Same with Edward and Ed. So at this point, we have decided that our second son’s middle name will most likely be either Frederick or Edward, depending on which goes better.

I like Nicholas/Nico, but unfortunately this is the name of our cat. I also like Alexander, but my husband has vetoed it.

Our last name is two syllables and starts and ends with L. I feel like it rules out L names.

Where do we go from here?

The Name Sage replies:

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