How to honor family?

Is there a consensus on how to use family names when naming babies? Is it more common to use a family name as a first and call the kid by their middle name, or to just use the family name as the middle? If I were naming a son after the father it would be the first name, he would be a jr., and I would call him by his middle name. What about other family names like maiden names and such? Been wondering this for a while. Thanks!

I don’t think everyone does it the same way-- each family has their own traditions and each set of parents decide whether to follow them or not or adapt them in some way. In my family it’s pretty common to use a first or last name from the family history in the middle name spot, but then my first name is an old family first name (several generations removed)-- so there’s really no rule!

It’s very much a personal choice. My favorite way to honor family is to use a name that nods to the honoree’s name, but is slightly different. I like the idea of something like [name_f]Isabel[/name_f] to honor an [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] or [name_u]Aidan[/name_u] to honor a [name_f]Nadia[/name_f]. I think it’s the best of both worlds- a name that can belong only to the child, but is also rich in meaning and tied to the family.

In my family we don’t use family names :wink:

I would say, if I wanted my kid to be a [name_m]Junior[/name_m] then I wouldn’t bother calling him by his middle name because

  1. I would have to love my husband’s FN enough to want my kid to be a [name_m]Junior[/name_m]
  2. By making your son a [name_m]Junior[/name_m] you don’t even get to pick his middle name so it could be a really unfortunate name that you have no say in.
    If you wanted to name your kid after your husband and use a different middle name then that doesn’t make him a [name_m]Junior[/name_m] but it does honor your husband. My uncle is [name_m]Anthony[/name_m] [name_m]Harold[/name_m] and my aunt wanted to use [name_m]Anthony[/name_m] but not [name_m]Harold[/name_m] for her son, so “little [name_u]Tony[/name_u]” as we call him, is actually [name_m]Anthony[/name_m] [name_u]Michael[/name_u] and doesn’t carry the [name_m]Junior[/name_m] title. However, if I were to name my son after my husband and use a different middle name than his and then call him by the middle name, I would just name him the name I want to call him and use my husband’s name as the middle name.
    i.e., if your husband is [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_u]James[/name_u] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] and you name your son to be [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Jacob[/name_m] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] “[name_m]Jake[/name_m]” then I’d just name him [name_m]Jacob[/name_m] [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Smith[/name_m]. If that isn’t too confusing lmao.

If I were naming my child after any other family member and I loved the name, I would use it up front. If I wanted to use a family name that I just didn’t quite love, then I’d stick it in the middle. I think that’s most people’s family honoring method.
i.e., Grandpa is [name_m]Fredrick[/name_m] but you really want to name your son [name_u]Noah[/name_u] then you’d do [name_u]Noah[/name_u] [name_m]Frederick[/name_m]. Or Grandpa is [name_m]Ezra[/name_m] and you love it, so [name_m]Ezra[/name_m] _____ works really well for your son.

If I really, really loved my relative but hated their name then I’d either try to modify it or honor them in a different way.
i.e., Grandma is [name_f]Mildred[/name_f] and I really love her but can’t do that to my daughter, I would use [name_f]Millie[/name_f], [name_f]Camille[/name_f], [name_f]Mila[/name_f], etc. and count that as honoring Grandma. If you hate all names that work OR no name works, then you could use the middle name [name_f]Violet[/name_f] which was her favorite flower, or [name_f]Pearl[/name_f] which was her birthstone, or [name_u]June[/name_u] when she was born, etc. etc. etc. This obviously can work for boys too.

Maiden names can work really well as a first name spot or a middle name spot, depending on the name. I have a friend whose maiden name is [name_m]Bowen[/name_m] and that is her son’s middle name. If you’re lucky enough like me to have a long, eastern European maiden name that sounds like you’re possibly throwing up when you say it then you probably just avoid it all together :slight_smile:

Apparently I feel really passionate about family naming rules lmao!

It depends on the family, I think. In my family it used to be common to name daughters [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] and sons [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Herbert[/name_m] (and if the [name_m]William[/name_m] Herberts had sons, they were [name_m]Herbert[/name_m] [name_m]William[/name_m] and vice versa) up until the early half of the last century. [name_f]Sarah[/name_f] is also a traditional name for us, which is still used to an extent in my family as my second cousin has [name_f]Sarah[/name_f] as part of her first name and her niece is Saira (the Hebrew equivalent as her father is Jewish).

Juniors, Seniors and putting [name_m]Roman[/name_m] numerals at the end of names (e.g. [name_m]Robert[/name_m] [name_m]Henry[/name_m] III etc) definitely seem to be more common across the pond, as like choupette has already mentioned, they’re not really a done thing here in [name_f]England[/name_f]. We may like to identify ages our own way, as I remember I used to be called “Big [name_f]Alice[/name_f]” at a summer club I went to as a child because there was a younger girl in my group called [name_f]Alice[/name_f] who was “[name_m]Little[/name_m] [name_f]Alice[/name_f]”, but these are obviously never on the birth certificate and are just fun ways of identifying generations informally (though it did irritate me being called “big”, haha ;))

I wouldn’t do juniors, thirds, etc. I knew a guy who was the fourth or fifth. I think that’s kind of ridiculous. I think a child should have their own name. Most names have international variants so a person could still be honored, like [name_m]John[/name_m] [name_m]William[/name_m] [name_m]Jones[/name_m]'s son could be [name_u]Evan[/name_u] [name_m]Liam[/name_m] [name_m]Jones[/name_m] or [name_u]Owen[/name_u] [name_m]Liam[/name_m] [name_m]Jones[/name_m]. If the same name(s) “must” be used then I would place them in the middle and give the child their own first name. Depending on the surname, they can make for nice first or middle names, especially on boys.