To V or Not To V? Can this Mom break family tradition?

Megan , who lives just outside Philadelphia, is expecting her first boy after two little girls in June. Her daughters both have family names, but now her husband, Thomas IV, would like to continue the tradition of naming the boys in his family Thomas, making their son Thomas V. Problem is, mom’s not too keen.

Can you help her find a family name everyone will agree on? Or should she give in to hubby’s desire for a V? She writes:

“We are expecting our third baby and first boy in June.  It was easy to name our daughters – Aubryn Elizabeth (age 4) was named for my maternal grandmother and Margaret Jane (nn: Maisie, age 20 months) was named for my paternal grandmother and my mother.

My husband is Thomas IV with no middle name.  Before we were even married, my mother-in-law told me that it was expected that we would name our first son Thomas V.  I’m opposed to that for a number of reasons.  First of all, I really want my son to have a middle name.  Second, I have never particularly liked the name Thomas as a first name but would love to use it as the middle name for our son.  Third, I have never liked the tradition of naming sons after fathers – Jr., III, IV.  I know that some people love the tradition but it is not my preference.

Some names I would consider:

Henry Thomas (Henry was my paternal grandfather)
Smith Thomas (Smith is a family name)
George Thomas (My father is named George)
Gordon Thomas (Gordon is another family name)

Can you think of any other first names that go well with Thomas?  Am I being totally unreasonable by taking Thomas off the table as a first name?

Thanks for your help!”

What say you, Berries?  Should Megan bow to the family naming tradition?  Or break the pattern with a name of her own choosing?  How can this naming dilemma be resolved?

And if you have a baby name dilemma you’d like to have considered as a Berry Question of the Week, send it to  Thanks!


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74 Responses to “To V or Not To V? Can this Mom break family tradition?”

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lara_jane Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:00 am

How does Dad feel about it?

If he wants your son to carry on the naming tradition, I think you should. And who’s to say you can’t give him a middle name? He can be Thomas V even if the names aren’t identical.

If Dad doesn’t care about the tradition, I say name your boy whatever you can agree upon! 🙂

rook476 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:10 am

I agree with the previous poster that it depends on what the dad wants. I’m sorry, but if you married in knowing this was going to be expected, suck it up. I really don’t like the name William and would never consider it for my child…except that my husband is William XXIV (yeah!). That said, we’ll pick the middle name we like and call him by it, he and his father both go by their (different) middle names. On the other hand, I have a friend a bit older than I am whose mother named him Shawn Patrick instead of John Michael IV. So I guess the point of no return falls somewhere between four and twenty-five.

adoptimist Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:35 am

Do they have a problem with you giving your son a middle name? He would still be Thomas V, but with an extra name in the middle. I would suggest calling him by his middle name. That way his first name would still follow the tradition, you would be happy, and you could avoid confusion with all of the Thomases!

minorbeatrice Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:58 am

I agree with lara_jane that your husband’s opinion really matters, much more than your mother-in-law’s.

If he wants to continue with the tradition, I think giving him a middle name name you love and then calling him by the middle name might work.

However if you ask for my personal opinion, I really agree with you. I have never liked the tradition of naming sons after fathers/grandfathers either, and I have never liked Thomas enough to use it as a first name.

That being said, I love Henry Thomas and George Thomas.

Some other names that go well with Thomas:
– Alexander Thomas
– Wade Thomas
– William Thomas
– Nathaniel Thomas
– Oliver Thomas
– Shane Thomas

However, I really think you should look for another family name for the first name.

Martina Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 1:11 am

I think if your husband wants to give your son his name then you should allow it. It appears that your other two children are named after your side of the family exclusively, so why not honor his side as well? You could always have a special nickname for your son since you don’t like the name Thomas. I know how you feel, if I have a son, he will be the 4th to carry the family name. It a name that I would never choose otherwise, as it is far too popular and isn’t my style. It has always been in the top 5 nationally and is number 1 in my state, ugh! But since it has special meaning for my husband, I will allow it. It means a lot to him to carry on this family tradition. I will just stick to using a nickname if needed. 🙂

alexa400 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 1:20 am

I think if your husband feels strongly about it I would go with Thomas but I don’t think it would be breaking tradition to give him a middle name.

Poppy528 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 1:41 am

Would it be too literal to suggest a starts-with-V middle name and use Thomas as the first? I’m not a fan of suffixes like Jr/III, but I do love tradition. I think Thomas V. Lastname would be awesome. Just something short and sweet in the middle like Van.

Do you like the name Tavish at all as an alternate?

Malk Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 2:57 am

You’ve named both your daughters after your side of the family and most of the names you’ve suggested for your son are also connected to your family. You also haven’t mentioned how the father of your child feels about this. Seems a bit one-sided IMO.
I’m not a fan of honouring, but as you already honoured your side it’s only fair you honour his side and if that’s their tradition, I would go with it. Otherwise I would have avoided honouring altogether.

Pansy Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 3:17 am

I agree with what everyone else has already said. Give your son the first name Thomas with a middle name that both you and your husband like and give him a nickname (based on either his middle name or the number five) that will differentiate him from the other Thomases. Since both of your girls have names that honor your side of the family, it only seems fair that you honor your husband’s side with your son’s name.

holey Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 3:23 am

My cousin would have been the fifth in his line with the same name. His parents just gave him names that started with the same initials as the family name – i.e. Aidan Benjamin Smith instead of Albert Barney Smith. That way he can still be A. B. Smith V, but he doesn’t have to be Albert.

archiemrs11 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 6:20 am

I agree with what’s already been said, you have to give him this one. You already hav two children named after your family and Thomas isnt a bad name, in fact I like it but then its MY family name aswell and I’m also named in honour of that.

Ive had the same discussion with my husband and I know even though we don’t hav any kids yet our first son will be Michael. It’s tradition, its really important to him so I don’t think its a big deal. In return he’s agreed that I can pick any middle names, I can name our second son (if we hav one) after my family and I get final say on any girls names. Not a bad deal if you ask me 🙂

Abby Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 6:37 am

If it were me, breaking that pattern would be too much. I’d stick with Thomas V, but I’d find a nickname that we’d call him instead of “little Tom” or “Tommy.”

But if that’s not something that appeals to you, I think the compromise suggestion from above works – name him Thomas Middle and call him Middle.

One other thought: Are there other family names from your husband’s side? I always felt like there weren’t any wearable names on my husband’s family tree besides the one we’d already used, but after talking it over, I was surprised at how many options emerged.

Ynnig Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:05 am

I think the V should definitely be out, even if you go with Thomas, leave off the number, it’s pretentious and out-of-date IMHO.

Regardless of the name, the whole handing down boys names is quite offensive – suggesting that the male lineage is the only important one worth carrying forward. Why didn’t your mother-in-law insist on Thomasina for your firstborn?

Go with a name you like and throw Thomas in as a middle name to keep the peace and honour your husband’s family equally as you’ve honoured your family in girls names.

George Thomas Lastname (no V!) is great

Titus245Mama Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:30 am

It sounds as though this is something that is very important to your husband. Your mother-in-law has little to do with this. If your husband wants to keep this tradition, you should. I agree with others who have said that choosing a middle name that you both like would be a great compromise, but please, don’t dishonor your husband on this one. He’s probably imagined that his firstborn son would be Thomas V since before he met you…and Thomas is a fine name, with roots in history and literature as well as your husband’s family–with the bonus that it is actually stylish today. Go with it–I think you’ll ultimately be happy that you did. 🙂

penguin Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:53 am

I say that it’s time to buck the trend. How long will this continue, until there’s a Thomas XXV? Someone has to break the chain eventually. As my family’s genealogist, I’ve found that my line of cousin’s have made my life difficult, because I have trouble keeping the Philip II, III and IV’s straight. It’s like they merge in the family story as one homogeneous blob.

mommyesquire Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:30 am

Megan here –

My husband always said that wanted to name our first son Thomas; but, now that it is actually time to do it, he is backing away from it.

The only other boy name in my husband’s family is Frank which does not flow well at all with our last name. None of the surnames are suitable for a first name. If this baby were a girl instead of a boy, we would have used Catherine Josephine after my husband’s grandmothers.

notsoclevername Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:46 am

Stop and take a look at how one sided you are being. The names you have chosen so far for your daughters and your suggestions of names for “Thomas” have been YOUR family names. It’s time to look to DH’s side of the family. You’ve gotten to give your kids family names from your side of the family now it’s time to let DH have a turn to pick from his side of the family. Considering you’ve used your side of the family so far for naming and name suggestions, I think it’s absolutely fair you let DH choose whatever name he wants now.
Some men can be very keen on naming their first son. Men can get their heart set on a name just as well as women can. Is DH proud of being Thomas IV? Does he WANT to name his son Thomas or is he also under family pressure? Is he opposed to middle names?
Also, you KNEW before you were even married. Were you just figuring on being able to change peoples’ minds? Having this knowledge and still agreeing to marry means you should honor this commitment.

MaggieMayJames Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:46 am

I had a similar experience with a family naming tradition on my husband’s side of the family, naming after the grandfathers. I didn’t like the first name of my father-in-law. It’s a very typical 1950s name. I like my father-in-law’s middle name and suggested using that as a middle name. That was a no. Because my father-in-law said, “There as always been a X in the LastName family.” For one thing the X name came from his maternal side not his paternal side and it was just my father-in-law trying to control and get his name as the first name. The tradition had the maternal side’s name first and the paternal side as the middle which makes sense considering we were using my husband’s last name. As a comprise, we named him after his great grandfathers instead and those are names I loved. It’s a touchy subject with my husband and his family, but this was OUR child. With my second we named her after names we liked which also had family connections, but that’s not why we named her that. It’s your child too.

Sunrise16 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:49 am

I would totally talk this over with your hubby! Maybe agree upon a family name from his side – or wipe the slate clean. My mother in law desperately wants a Junior. My husband isn’t all about it and told her himself – it’s not our style with this baby. Sorry. Make sure your hubby is on your same page and standing firm with you!!!!

78special Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:49 am

A friend of mine was in the same situation. She wanted to give the baby her last name, as she was from a family of all girls and wanted to carry on her family name in honor of her father. That eventually clicked with the mother-in-law and all worked out in the end!

I have several friends who gave their sons the father’s first name, a different middle name, then called the child by the middle name.

I say talk it over with your husband. The mother-in-law has no business naming your child.

Lola Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:49 am

Well, I agree with those that said “how does He feel about it”?

It’s ultimately both your decisions, not your MIL’s. Even if He’s shying away from it, I say Thomas is a lovely choice. Thomas George really floats my boat, give Grandma some peace and honors both Grandpas, win-win in my book.

If it had been me, honestly? I’d have told my soon to be MIL to stuff it when she told me! I’d never, in a million years name a kid a jr. (or third,fifth or twenty-fifth), It’s too much to live up to, I think. Plus, with 7+ billion on the planet now, do you really want him to blend into the crowd so effectively?

But really, Thomas George effectively keeps him from being V, It’s onlyy V if it’s identicle to Dad’s name, which Thomas George is not, but keeps Thomas in play. Soothing MIL, but giving you Geordie, Georgie or G! (Plus, I utterly adore George) 😀

Good luck & enjoy your little boy! Boys are so much fun! 🙂

mjeezy13 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:23 am

If your husband wants to carry on this tradition, I think you should go with it, especially since you’ve named both daughters after members of your family. Your mother-in-law shouldn’t get a say at all. If our 2nd baby is a boy, he’ll be the 5th generation Michael. While I’d rather not give him such a popular name, I know it’s important to my husband so we’ve decided to name him Michael, but with his very own middle name. Maybe this compromise would work for you and your husband?

kulah Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:31 am


If your husband is backing away from the tradition, then I say choose whatever name you two want! He can explain to MIL that he doesn’t want to continue with it.

Personally I don’t like this tradition, and now you have your husband’s support!

kulah Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:32 am

I find it interesting that other posters say that since the first 2 girls are named after the mother’s side of the family, the boy should be named after the dad’s side.

But don’t they all carry the father’s last name already?!

care1032 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:38 am

Wow, this does seem to be extremely one-sided. All names you consider or have used carry on your side of the family. If your husband does not have a preference, I would steer clear of any name that honors any family member – at least out of respect for his side of the family.

tavn Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:52 am

No offense, but it really sounds like you’re being selfish with this one. Both your daughters are named after your family members and the other names you have picked out for this little boy are after your family members.

If you don’t want a Thomas V, that’s fine, but don’t kick his family name to the curb and use one of your own. If you’re not going to use Thomas, don’t use ANY family name…AT ALL. Or if you want to compromise on his end more, use a different family name on his side (I’m sure he has brothers, uncles, other males named something other than Thomas) as a first name and one of your family names as a middle name.

The argument is stupid that the kids carry his last name. He doesn’t get to pick a last name that he likes to stick his kids with. Why can’t he pick a first or middle name that he likes for his kids?

I don’t like Jr’s or anything either. DH’s family all have JJJ or JLJ initials. I hate it and refuse to do it. But I compromised with him. The compromise is that our firstborn son will have the initials AJJJ. So the JJJ is still in there, but I don’t have to give him a J first name, which limits naming possibilities. And we’ll stick J’s into the middle names as much as possible, but I refuse to give my children the initials JJ or JJJ.

Compromise on that. Ask him to pick a first name other than Thomas.

MRose Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 11:09 am

I think you are seeming to be a bit selfish. Both of your daughters are named after people on your side of the family, so let your husband’s side get this one. If it were me, I’d compromise, name the baby Thomas but give him a middle name… Perhaps a name with a J. That way you can call the baby TJ. Or call the baby by some other nickname. Regardless I do think you should name him Thomas and finally honor your husband’s family.

Sassy Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 11:26 am

I agree with pretty much what everyone else is saying. I love the idea of using a different middle and calling him by that, that way you appease the mil with naming him Thomas but he gets to be his own person.
If it was me personally I’ve always discarded using a name of a family member as the name you are calling your child. They have to live up to that name/previous member of the family and they don’t really get to be themselves. I’ve always wanted to honour family with my naming choices but they will go in the middle slot (or whatever flows best) but not the actual name they will be known as.
Also, I just wanted to say that my paternal grandmother was Margaret Jane 🙂 and George, Elizabeth and Smith(as a last name) are names that show up in my family tree as well.

vivtaliesin Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:05 pm

How about Thomas Quinn or even Thomas Quint? (obviously stemming from Quint = 5) I think it is a modern day equivalent of keeping with the tradition of Thomas V. You could even call him by Quinn or Quint instead of Thomas. (Sort of how the III would go by Trip).

The other alternative would be to use Thomas with the middle name of your choice (maybe Thomas Henry , Thomas Gordon – with or without adding the “V” in – etc) and only calling him by his middle name. That way Thomas V is on the birth cerificate to appease MIL but just not for everyday use.

hope this helps!
xo Viv

Nyx Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:30 pm


Instead of giving advice, I’m going to explain what decision I might come to in these circumstances.

My initial thought is to go ahead and agree to a first name of Thomas and include a V (Thomas Middlename Lastname V), but to include a middle name in the set up. The middle name, while somewhat breaking with tradition, would serve a valuable purpose. Instead of trying to come up with a variation of Tom/Tommy/Junior/etc., I would insist that my son went by his middle name as his given name.

The common argument against this is ‘it will get confusing for the child and others if he uses his middle name as his given name’. I disagree! I’ve known LOTS of people who have used their middle name as their given name (in fact, our eldest is named for a guy who uses his middle name as his given name, to differentiate him from his father), and they have NEVER had an issue. In fact, I know for a fact that some of them like having the option to use either name.

One of the main reasons that I would chose to do this is because our family has few strong, family traditions remaining, and I regret that we’ve lost so much. Our family has a mutt of a heritage, with just about every culture represented in some way on some branch of our family tree. With so many different backgrounds, it is sad for me to have no strong traditions within our family for me to pass down to my children.

Another big reason that I would chose to do this is because I would hate for my son to grow up and regret that this link to his family was broken because this tradition wasn’t continued. Or, even worse, that he regrets that he will never be able to name his first-born son Thomas VI because he isn’t Thomas V.

All of that being said, this isn’t my decision and I really can’t say what is right for your family. If your husband is fine with dropping the tradition (he wouldn’t be saying that just to try and make you happy would he? Just wanting to check, as that can cause a sore spot for years to come if it’s true), and that is truly where your heart lies, then I would suggest dropping the tradition.

I would, however, strongly suggest keeping Thomas in the middle name position as a sort of balm to your mother-in-laws dashed hopes. But again, doing what is best for you, your husband, and your children should be your first concern… and if Thomas falls by the wayside, then Thomas falls by the wayside.

I finally want to point out that it looks like you’ve used a lot of YOUR family names with your daughters… it might be time to use one of Hubby’s family names for fairness and balance (even if that name is not Thomas).

muchachacristiana Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:49 pm

A have to say “Amen!” to all of those who have mentioned that the names you’ve used and the ones you mention as potentials are all from your side of the family heritage.

Maybe this time you should delve into your husband’s family tree.

Just a question, did your husband help name your daughters or did he at least whole-heartedly approve? If not maybe you should hand over the baby-naming reigns. But if he did play a big part in naming the girls then maybe go to him for suggestions and decide together what a good middle ground would be for the Thomas dilemma.

Personally I think traditions shouldn’t be broken (so don’t completely give up on the Thomas V business) but I also think, even more adamantly, that a parent should NEVER name their child something they themselves don’t at least like. Hopefully grandma will understand if you use Thomas as a middle name.

Best Wishes!

Elisabeth Rae Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:51 pm

To everyone suggesting naming him Thomas Middlename and calling him Middlename, most of the time with the Jr., III, IV, etc tradition, the name has to be exactly the same. I.e., the baby would have to be Thomas Lastname V, no middle name, or else he’s not really a V. Correct me if I’m wrong but in my experience that’s what I’ve seen.

It also sounds like Megan has considered her husband’s feelings in all this, and really that’s what important. Not so much his mother’s.

Megan, I can relate to your situation of having few names to choose from on his side of the family. If you’re not going to do the V (which, if your husband is fine with forgoing, I say why not?), might I suggest incorporating Joseph as a first or middle name to honor one of his grandmothers? I also love your suggestion of first names that go with Thomas as a middle, especially Henry Thomas.

Kerrie Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 2:19 pm

It looks like you got to honor of lot of family w/ the girls, I think you should try to do the same for your husband now.

nj003 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I think that it would be fair to let them have a naming tradition since both girls have names from YOUR side. Seems a little one-sided to me.

Personally I LOVE Thomas as a fn. Why can’t he be Thomas *middlenameyoulove* V? That way you could just call him by the mn? That way his family gets Thomas and your family gets Henry or Smith or George so it’s a win-win for everyone? Seems simple to me.

klcalder2 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I agree with some posters regarding using a name from his side of the family. It would be fitting. If he’s starting to wane on the idea of using Thomas, then make a list of names from his family and see if something inspires you.

My husband was almost a third or fourth (I can’t remember which) but my MIL stuck to her guns and said that she didn’t want to continue the tradition. My husband’s parents found a name that they both love, which included his father’s name as his middle. They worked it out and I think you can, too. Good luck!

jpruitt76 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I think it’s totally fair to use Thomas as the mn. Or even use Thomas as the first name but give him a middle family name from your side (my faves from your list are Henry and George) and call him by the middle name.

Remind your husband that all of the children will (presumably) carry on his family surname.

jpruitt76 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 4:11 pm

One last thought (didn’t read through the comments to see if anyone else suggested this already) – if you call him Thomas (even if you give him a middle name) you could always use the nickname Quinn since it means “fifth”.

alexandramae Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I don’t understand the selfish and one-sided comments. It’s not as though she named her other children without her husband’s consent.

I think it’s beyond reasonable to skip out on the Thomas tradition and go with your own. Your tradition could be that you only pass down names from female family members. Name your new boy Aaron Joseph or Joseph Aaron after his paternal great grandmothers. Who cares? This is YOUR baby and if you do not want a Thomas V, you shouldn’t feel pressured into having one. Come up with something you and your husband both love and if it doesn’t involve Thomas, that’s fine. You are your own family now and you get a say in your own traditions. If this baby or one of your daughters wants to carry on Thomas, let them. It won’t disappear.

encore Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Just as a suggestion, maybe name him Thomas V but use an alternation nickname to Tom or Tommy.

encore Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I like the other ideas, use a middle name and leave out the V. Honestly, I like the name Thomas better than most of your suggestions.

Samantha-Bianca Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I think use Thomas as a middle name. You are the parent of the child and have to do right by the child and I’m with you on the whole “not naming after the father” thing. It puts a lot of expectations on a child to name them after someone so immediate to them. The same goes for girls, of course.

I don’t think a grandparent (and I’m close to my family, so this doesn’t come from bitterness or any crappy attitudes towards family) or anyone has a right to tell you how you should name the child. Regardless of whether you were “informed” of the expectations before marriage. It’s not their place.

The only other person who has a say, of course, is your husband. And compromise is what you should aim for. Maybe if it’s incredibly important to him, you could have Thomas as his first name, but use a middle name that you like and call him by his middle name and then the grandparents can call him whatever the hell they like…

There’s always a middle ground, I hope you find it. Good luck! Don’t let those parents pressure you!

agirlinred Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Thomas should definitely be in his name somewhere, even if you don’t want him to be Thomas V. I like Thomas George or George Thomas after both of his grandfathers. I don’t agree with those who are saying you should use more family names from his side – this boy will carry the family surname in addition to Thomas. It won’t hurt to throw your father’s name in there.

LaurynMichelle Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I <3 Gordon Thomas

curlyjedi Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I agree, there is nothing wrong with breaking the tradition, personally I like the name Thomas but I do not like being told by my Mother in Law what to name my child. If your husband wants to continue the tradition then that is something to seriously consider. If you decide to not go with his family name then I wouldn’t choose a family name from your side instead, but pick a new name altogether. 🙂 Good luck!

thetxbelle Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I disagree about choosing a different middle name and still calling him the fifth, by definition he has to have the same name that is being passed down to be the 5th one.

Say for example if you name a baby John Jacob Smith V when his father, grandfather, etc…are named “John Joseph Smith” then this baby is no longer the 5th person to carry the name. He has a new name all his own which is fine but it’s not the same.

I have a friend who is a IV, he doesnt think his name is all that interesting but he LOVES being the 4th one to carry on the name. So thats something to think about.

thetxbelle Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I feel dumb for not realizing there is no middle name for Thomas so my example kind of changes but I still say to be the 5th Thomas Lastname you have to leave the name alone unless there is a tradition of naming the children “Thomas whatever lastname”.

If that’s the case he’s not officially a “5th” he’s just the fifth to share this first name and you shouldnt feel guilty about giving him whatever mn you and your husband choose.

OddCreature Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:10 pm

A friend had a similar dillemma. Their boy is a V. But they gave him a middle name which is what they call him day-to-day. So they honoured the tradition while giving him his very own name.

Going off your list you could name your son Thomas Henry, he’d still be Thomas V, but he’d also be Henry on a daily basis. Everyone’s happy.

Sarahanne1221 Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:05 pm

You don’t want to be the one to break a four generation tradition. Name him Thomas V definitely and find a nickname you like.

crunchymama Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I have a nephew who is a fifth (V) — maybe his mom didn’t love the name Samuel all that much, but it’s tradition. I’m not the mother or a bearer of the actual name, but I would have been ticked if she insisted they not use Samuel V. So happy this tradition will be continued in my family. When I think of him, I don’t think, “oh geez, there he is, the fifth one with this name” It reminds me (and others in my family) of the four men who share his name.

as a nn, if you didn’t like Tom, Tommy, or T — you could use “V” or even “Five” We called my brother (the fourth), I.V. sometimes.

TinaBina Says:

February 22nd, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I don’t think you have much of a choice honestly. That naming pattern is clearly very special and strong and your son my feel left out if he didn’t get to become part of it like the men before him. I couldn’t take that away from my husband and his son. I have a friend in the same situation who had to agree to continuing the first son naming tradition before they were married.

I honestly wouldn’t even bother with a middle name but come up with a unique nn, like Tove or Mav or something that mixes in the Thomas and V.

Lastly, BOTH your daughters were named after a women in your family, and to tell him that no he can’t then that’s just not fair.

So in this case, ALL signs point to Thomas V.

willaisie Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 2:05 am

I feel this is your husbands call. If he continues to shy away from the idea, and ultimately decides against it, it’s also his job to break it to Grandma. If he decides he would like to carry on the tradition, then the two of you should discuss how far to take it. If your little boy is to be Thomas V, this means no middle name. Perhaps you would both be comfortable with using Thomas with a middle name you both like. I personally don’t think it’s fair considering there is no middle name. This leaves so few options for nicknames and individuality. This may be disrespectful, but I feel it’s a not-so-great call to leave off a middle name, and future generations shouldn’t be coerced to repeat that. I’m sure your son would be just as honored to have his father’s name with a middle name of his own, as he would being Thomas V. Best wishes to you!

ebenezer.scrouge Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 2:51 am

Maybe you could just name the baby Tom the he is basically honouring the family and he is not a V. Or name is Joseph Thomas or Joseph Frank. Otherwise name him Thomas with one of your fave names as the middle name and call him that. You must remember both of your girls are named after your side give the baby a name from this side

sarah110 Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I’m totally onboard with everyone who suggested having your son go by his middle name. Oh, and I think it’s totally fair to use more family names from the mother’s side since the father’s last name is used.

JessicaT11 Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Unless you signed some sort of bizarre prenup, anything your future in-laws told you regarding what you HAD to name your hypothetical child is bologna. So there is no grounds to the argument that you “knew going into this you had to name him Thomas.”

Its your and your husband’s baby, so name him something you BOTH like. Also think of your future daughter-in-law. You don’t want to stick her with this same situation regarding little Thomas VI.

I don’t think your being selfish about naming your daughters after your family, because I’m assuming your husband was on board with those names too. Its not your fault if his family names are not suitable. After all, the children have his last name right? That’s a slightly more direct link with his family.

JessicaT11 Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Of your above suggestions, Smith Thomas is my favorite. I think it goes the best with your girls’ names: Aubryn, Maisie and Smith.

If you are feeling guilty about not using more of his family names and since you were considering “Catherine Josephine” if baby had been a girl, then have you considered going with the masculine version of that?

…actually I don’t know what the masculine version of Catherine would be (Charles or Carter maybe?), but Joseph Thomas is nice(without knowing what your last name is).

peach Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I agree with alexandramae that if your husband is all for dropping or shifting Thomas to the middle then do it without hesitation.

My husband comes from a long line of James (although they have different middle names) and his parents felt pressure to name with the tradition. We haven’t discussed the naming issue with them but my husband has decided he would rather pass on his middle name than his first name so that is what we will do if we have a son.

All the people I know who have felt pressure to name with a family tradition either use it as the first name then use the middle name exclusively in real life or buck the tradition all together.

I also like the suggestion of using Joseph with or instead of Thomas since your daughters have family names. I don’t think it matters at all that your daughters are named from your side of the family: naming is not an equal opportunity situation and fairness is not the most important issue. You have to love the names of your children and they have to live with those names their whole lives.

Good luck!

mmljar Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 pm

What a difficult situation to be in. I don’t think you are selfish but I do think that you may have lost perspective for a minute.

I would think about how you will feel in 5 years time. Your son will be named and you will all be used to it – he will own the name in your mind. His name could be part of a fine family tradition and a point of pride for your husband and his family or it could be a bone of contention and a point of bad feeling that will have healed but left a scar.

When I got married my MIL wanted us to use the same church she was married in. She felt strongly about it but I had lots of reasons (some good and some bad) about why I wanted a different church. 10 years on it doesn’t really matter to me now but I know that it does still matter to her and that is a shame. I regret not being gracious.

I guess I’m trying to say that if something costs you nothing (or little) and means the world to someone else ~ why would you insist on having your way?

oh and also I’m willing to bet that your husband does feel strongly about this but he isn’t wanting to ‘take sides’ between the two of you.

imogeneve Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I haven’t read through everyone’s posts above, so sorry if I’m repeating what has already been said.

Firstly, if your husband wants to break tradition, then definitely break tradition … I have a friend you did exactly that, with her husbands support, much to the disappointment of her in-laws, but naturally, they love their grandson regardless.

Secondly, my partner was named after his dad, yet has always gone by his second middle name (except on official forms, in the doctors office etc) He HATES the fact that he doesn’t think of his first name as his own, and was insistent that the name not be passed down to any of his children (even though I think it is quite a lovely name!) So from personal experience I think that whatever first name you choose should be the name you refer to your son by.

Best of luck.

Lesley Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Break the tradition! My husband is the III, and I wasn’t having the IV (although we did call our son “quatro” during the pregnancy). My husband has a difficult name that I am not particularly fond of. There is no nickname for it, so both he and his father go by the same name (which is confusing enough). I wasn’t going to add a 3rd person with the same name to the mix. I am not a fan of his middle name either, so that wasn’t an option.

We honored the tradition by giving our son the same initials, but only because I loved a first name that made that work. Once he was named, his grandfather said that the tradition was really just a matter of ego anyway.

It’s your son and you both need to love his name. Don’t just bow down to a tradition simply because everyone is afraid to break it.

EmiliaJ Says:

February 25th, 2012 at 3:24 am

When I had my son the family name was Raymond. Totally NMS so I just said NO! But it wasn’t a first name, and there were only had 3 not 5.
I stood my ground and never regretted it.

What I would urge you to consider:
Your MIL will be around a LONG time. Your MIL may never get ‘over it’ and could potentially make your life hell. It could become a turning point where she suddenly becomes nasty. Even cause a family rift. Although your hubby may be backing off on Thomas be honest, is it because of your reaction? Will he be put in a difficult situation within the wider family?
That considered- I totally support the concept of Thomas YOUR CHOICE Lastname called YOUR CHOICE.
Maybe Thomas Joseph? Called Joseph.
I know I am very stubborn and set in what I like too. So being that way makes it harder to accept how much it might mean to others.

JessicaT11 Says:

February 26th, 2012 at 9:17 am

I’m assuming your MIL’s name isn’t Thomas so I don’t see why she’d be so pushy. All things considered, go with a name both you and your husband like. Whatever it may be and for whatever reason.

MistyStar Says:

February 28th, 2012 at 11:29 am

Do you think the MIL would be mad if you broke tradition because maybe she did not like Thomas but named her son it anyway. Like an “I had to do this so you HAVE to too?” Just a thought. Probably won’t help solve the issue anyway.

Lauren Kate Says:

February 29th, 2012 at 12:14 am

I’d like to add some information to the V side of discussion. It’s called a generational suffix, and while it becomes part of your child’s legal name, there are no rules regarding counting. There are many customs and assumptions, but no laws. Middle names can changed, generations can be skipped; it’s really for use of the family and to reduce confusion. For instance, my boyfriend is Lynds Silas Jones VI, his son will be Lynds Henry Jones VII.

So you can use Thomas with a middle name and still make him the V. It’s really up to you and your husband on how you want to handle it.

fluffamun Says:

March 3rd, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Perhaps, as you said if he was a female, you’d name him Catherine Josephine, after DH’s grandmothers. Why not his middle name be Joseph? It’s honoring, it’s cute, and it doesn’t have the clunky V.

Like, Chad Joseph? That sounds similar…

LyssieLauren Says:

March 7th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

If it is really what the father wants I think you should. Generally Mothers-to-be think of the child’s name and expect the father to like it. If he is really into naming his son Thomas let him, just give him a middle name that YOU like since he is picking the first name. And if he doesn’t really like the idea then choose differently ITS Y’ALLS SON!

Just as a idea think about: Rayghen Thomas -Raygan- or Raedyn Thomas -Rayden- (I like R’s)
Thomas Avery or Thomas Cole. Who said you can’t pick a middle name!

wdespault Says:

March 23rd, 2012 at 11:23 am

I like your idea of using Thomas as a middle name. Honestly, how long can this trend go for? Your mother-in-law didn’t have an issue naming her son Thomas IV but that was her choice, just like you have a choice now. I would discuss it more with your husband and see how he really feels, maybe he’s up for the change??? I don’t think using Thomas as a middle name is too much to ask…it’s your child afterall.

jillianmaye Says:

April 4th, 2012 at 12:16 am

I don’t think there is much new that can be said here, but I will add that I have a friend (in his 20’s) named Herman Leslie Lastname III so compared to that tradition Thomas may seem not quite as bad =)

arunciblespoon Says:

April 25th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I really don’t like this trend. I don’t agree that you should just have to deal with it because your mil is insisting you do or because you knew you’d be expected to before marriage. You shouldn’t be bullied into naming your son something you don’t like and eventually someone is going to break the chain, how far do you go?!

The name you pick should be something that both of you like, you say your husband isnt so keen anymore, so I think you should just break with the tradition, it’s your baby after all not your mil’s and she doesn’t have naming rights no matter what she thinks.

Using the second name is just crazy, it makes it difficult when it comes to official documents and is confusing for the child. It’s a shame you don’t like Thomas as its a great name, but if you don’t you don’t, I think you and your husband need to discuss whether to break it and possibly consider Thomas as a second name.

anna.bliss Says:

June 7th, 2012 at 12:00 am

I personally think it would be awesome to have a V. It is cool to think of the generations that came before and how long the name has passed on. It is also unique. Like others have said, you named your daughters after your side, so it seems right to honor your husbands side as well. Especially if it is super important to the whole family! This is a tradition that could continue even longer if you go along with it. If it is a name that absolutely disgusts you I can understand why you wouldn’t want to use it. I think it is a good name though.

Sarra21 Says:

August 18th, 2012 at 10:16 am

My first boyfriend in the 7th grade was named Ronald Alva LastName III, but was TREY by all who knew and loved him. I always found this an enormously clever move on the part of his parents to avoid having another Ron/Ronnie in the family. So, honor hubbies family and name DS Thomas V, but maybe you call him Quint? Or something…

trvlrschick Says:

October 28th, 2012 at 10:26 am

Not to be a total wet blanket, but unless your son is royalty and/or all preceeding Thomases are still alive, he’s not V. Probably he’s III, and his father is now a Jr and his grandfather a Sr. Non-royalty don’t continue names like that ad infinitum.

Anotherkate Says:

November 20th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Late to the party here, but trvlr is right!
That said, around here the V nickname is Quincy. I think it can definitely be a name to be proud of, and ya just have to own the Quincy nickname and it can work really well! I’ve known a few Treys and they were all the III. love the tradition, but understand it can be a drag 🙂

VickyInTX Says:

May 13th, 2013 at 10:20 am

I wonder what Megan named her child?
I do feel bad for her husband tho: all his life he expected Thomas V to be his son’s name. But what man in his right mind would argue with a pregnant woman who writes for a baby-name blog? Of course he “backed away” from the name. Probably slowly and with his hands up.

munro Says:

November 5th, 2014 at 8:21 am

A quick question: Are you saying that the family has been putting Roman numerals as middle names to show succession OR that they are added to the, after the last name as they normally are? For example, Thomas V Lastname or is the tradition Thomas Middlename Lastname V? If the family has been doing the first then change it to the second and call the child by the middle name. What do you think? Maybe-ish? By the way, I like Thomas Henry Lastname V the best.

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