How to balance honorifics

Looking for some input on how to balance both sides of the family when it comes to honor names.

My husband’s family has a tradition of passing down the name [name_u]James[/name_u] to the firstborn son of the previous generation’s firstborn son. My husband is already a [name_u]James[/name_u] himself, and I’m a [name_u]Jamie[/name_u], so we agreed to compromise by putting it in the middle spot. He also lost his father to cancer shortly after we started dating and would like to honor him by incorporating his name, [name_u]Douglas[/name_u], as well.

My husband’s family doesn’t repeat names (i.e., Sr./[name_m]Jr[/name_m]., IV, etc.) so we can’t use the combo [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] (his father’s full name) on a potential son - for that reason, we agreed to make both [name_u]James[/name_u] and [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] middle names (ex: ________ [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u])

MY father has mentioned that he’d like to share his name, [name_u]Michael[/name_u], with a grandson, but I’ve known so many Mikes/Michaels throughout my life, I can’t possibly imagine using it as a first name, and I’m not sold on alternatives like [name_u]Micah[/name_u].

Also - if we managed to find a way to touch on everyone’s wishes, I think I’d feel really bad about leaving out my wonderful stepfather, [name_m]Victor[/name_m]. He doesn’t have a middle name, but his last name is [name_m]Santiago[/name_m] - maybe we could claim [name_u]James[/name_u] for him, too?

[name_m]How[/name_m] have other parents handled this fine line? [name_f]Do[/name_f] we stick with our original plan and pick an unrelated name we love to go with mns [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u]? Or find a different combo to make everyone happy (maybe [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]Michael[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u]?)

I’m not sure I like the idea of “saving” [name_u]Michael[/name_u] and [name_m]Victor[/name_m] for a second son we can’t guarantee would even happen, but four names plus a last name seems like A LOT for one kid!

Any opinions/advice is appreciated!

If your husband’s father was [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u], could you say [name_u]James[/name_u] is to honour him?

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you want to honour your father, or is that simply his wishes? (not judging, just asking!)

Is [name_m]Doug[/name_m] an option?
E.g. [name_m]Doug[/name_m] [name_u]Michael[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u]?

My husband wants both the family name [name_u]James[/name_u] and his father’s name [name_u]Douglas[/name_u], and I can’t really fault him there.

My father…as much as I love him and would want to honor him, it’s really a wish he expressed and wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. It seems like honoring his father in this way is more important to my husband than honoring my father is to me - also, my father already used [name_u]Michael[/name_u] as a middle name for my brother, and my aunt named one of my cousins [name_u]Michael[/name_u] specifically after him. I told him he’s maybe being a little greedy…

In that case, if it were me I would stick with [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] or [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] as the middle names and use whatever unrelated name you love in the first spot. Good luck!

Pardon me for asking but are you expecting a son now or planning for the future?

My husband is the 3rd [name_u]James[/name_u] in a row in his family and neither of us really wanted to use it as a first name so we agreed to use it as a middle name for our first born, no matter the gender, and we ended up with our daughter, [name_u]Everly[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u].

If you do have a daughter, [name_u]Michael[/name_u] and [name_m]Victor[/name_m] both have easy and attractive ways to honour with girls names. [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] is much harder.

I hope that helps.

Are you planning on having more children? You don’t have to go all-out at once if that’s the case!
___ [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] seems like a good idea. I personally believe that a child should have at least one name that is their “own” so I wouldn’t do [name_m]Victor[/name_m] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u], though I love [name_m]Victor[/name_m].
You said your husband definitely wants [name_u]Douglas[/name_u], which I understand, but in that case you’re already honoring his family with one name. What about ____ [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_m]Victor[/name_m]? You’re getting rid of [name_u]James[/name_u] but there’s still a very strong connection to his family, so would he be okay with that?

[name_f]May[/name_f] suggest [name_m]Milo[/name_m] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u], [name_m]Miles[/name_m] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] and [name_m]Malachi[/name_m] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u].

[name_m]Milo[/name_m] would be a nod to [name_m]Santiago[/name_m] and to [name_u]Michael[/name_u] and [name_m]Miles[/name_m] and [name_m]Malachi[/name_m] would be a nod to [name_u]Michael[/name_u] too.

Thanks for the suggestions and input, everyone!

@mrsbuntain We’re currently planning for the future. We’ve discussed using [name_u]James[/name_u] as a middle name for a girl as well, but we just lost my [name_f]MIL[/name_f] in [name_u]December[/name_u] and so we may want to do different honor names in that circumstance

@emmievis We aren’t sure if we’ll try to have more than one - I’m 30 now and the pandemic is putting a damper on our TTC plans - we may simply run out of time and end up one-and-done

I also found out this morning that [name_u]Micah[/name_u] was the name of his high school “arch nemesis” so even if I could come around to it, it’s off the table

I think it’s going to be impossible to make everyone happy with this. Because it is important to your husband and the two of you had already planned it, I think [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] would make a great middle name combo.

While it would be nice to honor your father as well, it seems like it wasn’t something you had planned and you aren’t particularly drawn to the name. One option that may work for you is to find a name that shares a meaning with the name [name_u]Michael[/name_u]. From my search, [name_u]Michael[/name_u] means “Who is like God?” Some related names are [name_m]Mitchell[/name_m], [name_m]Caleb[/name_m] (devotion to God), [name_m]Emmanuel[/name_m] (God is with us), [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m] (God is my strength), and [name_m]Theodore[/name_m] (gift of God). While it’s not necessarily the same, it may open up more options for you.

My opinion is your baby, you pick the names.
I have one suggestion to [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_m]Dougal[/name_m]. It is a variant to [name_u]Douglas[/name_u], and close enough to honour Grandpa and still be his own name, Otherwise I would go with new name [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] or new name [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u].

I would pick a name from your side and a name from his. [name_u]James[/name_u] is such a boring name that is the one I would drop. And use [name_u]Douglas[/name_u]

[name_m]Mitchell[/name_m] is a form of [name_u]Michael[/name_u] .[name_m]Mitchell[/name_m] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u].Or [name_m]Mitchell[/name_m] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u].nn [name_m]Mitch[/name_m]?

I suggest: you stick with your original plan OR you pick one name from each side.

  • [FN] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [LN]
  • [name_m]Victor[/name_m] [name_u]Michael[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] [LN]
  • [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_m]Victor[/name_m] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] [LN]
  • [FN] [name_u]James[/name_u] [LN] … This one is my favorite because it’s simple. Keeps with a family tradition but not cumbersome.

Should you have a daughter, [name_f]Victoria[/name_f] [name_f]Michelle[/name_f] is a lovely way to honor your side.

This is tough and also my exact fear in using honor names. I was always very adamant that I would never use honor names, mostly for the fear of slighting someone important in our lives and a little bit because I wanted my kids to have their “own” names. However, I just lost my mom a few weeks ago, and I am changing my mind. My SO lost his mom several years ago, so as I think about this, I feel like I will either need to honor them both at once or neither of them. Like you said, you can’t guarantee there will be another child to use the “extra” name you didn’t the first time around.

That being said, if I was in your position and was definitely going to honor my husband’s side and my dad had said he wanted to be included, I would personally try to make that work. That is just me, though. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a favorite first name and going with your original plan.

Could you use initials as a way to honor? [name_u]James[/name_u] seems pretty set in stone, but could you choose an M name for your dad and a D name for your husband’s dad? Or if you’re open to initialized nicknames, you might consider M.J. if you went with [name_u]Michael[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u]. Also, I think claiming [name_u]James[/name_u] for [name_m]Santiago[/name_m] would also be a cool way to include your stepdad.

I really empathise with you on this one, it’s really difficult. Because my son has six grandparents (I’m a child of divorce and have two ‘bonus’ parents), it all got too difficult. We ultimately decided againist honor names so nobody was left out. It’s a shame really because my sister and I are named after our paternal and maternal grandmother, respectively, and I love that!

I say, if you can’t stand [name_u]Michael[/name_u] as a first name, I wouldn’t try to force it with variations you don’t 100% love. One thing I learned when I was planning my wedding and naming my son is that you just can’t please everyone! I think it’s lovely that you clearly respect and value not only your own family, but also your husband’s. It’s brilliant that you care! Ultimately though, especially when it comes the first name, I hope you decide on something you love!

It’s commendable and sweet of you to consider honor names on both sides. And as you mentioned, the ties between generational names typically have deep sentiment for those bestowed with honor names. We were in this exact same position a few years ago, as grandparents to a first born grandson after four granddaughters. My son and daughter in law have 3 sets of parents (DIL’s parents are divorced and both remarried) and they didn’t want to leave any of the grandfathers out, so they opted for baby’s own first name, my son’s first name as baby’s middle name and daughter in law’s grandfather’s name as baby’s second middle name. [name_u]Truth[/name_u] be told, our son later expressed regret in not including his father’s name in his son’s name, but didn’t feel like they could change it and not stir up hard feelings elsewhere. My advice after going through this would be to stick to your guns and name your child the name you love, but if there’s a way to include those honor names, even if it means giving your child four names (seeing how middle names are rarely used), go for it! All of our sons have three names, (For just this reason. We made certain to include honor names from both sides), so tacking a fourth onto a grandson’s names hardly seems a stretch! It can save so much stress and actual sadness, that I just vote for trying to keep as many people happy as possible! [name_m]Trust[/name_m] me, the problems associated with having multiple honor names pale in comparison to the amount of potential hurt feelings in the people you love. Best of luck in your future baby naming decisions.

I usually don’t like mash-ups but Mictor (rhyming with [name_m]Victor[/name_m]) sounds pretty cool and would make a great story. Mictor [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u], nn [name_m]Mick[/name_m].

I know it’s hard but I wouldn’t use [name_u]Michael[/name_u] unless you like it- your husband’s dad has died so it makes more sense to name a child after him, whereas your dad is still living and already has children named for him. I feel like it does become too much if you try to pile on all the names and then you’ll have at least 3 Michaels in the family. If you like [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_u]Douglas[/name_u] go for it and choose your own first name.