Middle name - honoring family or honoring heritage?

I have a personal dilema which I’ve been discussing a bit in another post but wanted more opinions on!

Which do you think is more important?

I know you can’t decide for me which is more important but I just wondered which is more important for you?

I tried the 2 middle names think but names were becoming more like sentences!!

I’d go with names that you love the most, and I personally think that honoring family is more important that honoring heritage. Also, your family is part of your heritage, so I think honoring your family certainly honors where you came from. Good luck!

I would say the family is more important almost always than the country they came from. It really depends on how a part of that culture is still with you or not. I personally have a heritage of which I’m only aware of nominally, so I would liberate myself from the need to reach back to “roots” that may be historically accurate but have nothing to do with me, while honoring people I actually remember. The same goes true for people in my family tree whom I did not know. [name]Just[/name] because an interesting name might be on record having some lineage directly to me is not a good enough case - I personally feel it’s better to have known someone if you are going to honor your heritage, or at least heard a lot of great stories about them from people who had known them, or perhaps they are so famous, you can read biographies about them, news clippings, what have you, and have some idea of the person you would be honoring, rather than honor someone not so nice. Similarly, it would depend on how far removed you are from actually being Welsh, how much a part does it play in your life that you think it needs to be woven into a child’s identity through his name.

The real positive to choosing a Welsh name, is it covers the whole side of the family who is Welsh instead of singling out a preferred relative, or preferring the name of one who isn’t as close to you over the name of someone who is really dear to you, and worrying over it. I know in the case of surnames as middle names, a lot of people seem to go for one that sounds and looks better over the one that matters most but sounds awkward, and compromise first names whenever the original name is just not great enough. [name]Just[/name] covering it all in the origin of a name choice does tend to take care of that problem, but only if you can find a name you like.

ETA: When you say “I am Welsh,” I don’t really know how much Welsh you are or consider yourself. I am several generations removed from any of my European ancestors, who assimilated rapidly, and retain no identity from any of those cultures, but it may rather be more important to you or closer to you. Most people do consider their heritage a lot more intimately in their traditional practices than I do, or are related to or are themselves recent immigrants. It is a US-an thing I can’t quite figure out because I don’t have these ties myself.

[name]Hi[/name] again! :slight_smile:

For me, honoring specific family members is more important, because heritage is passed down regardless of one’s given name. I also think it’s really important to choose a name you love!

Good luck! :slight_smile:

I agree with the previous posters that honoring family is more important than honoring heritage, particularly with family members who you knew and loved, or those with excellent stories that you could tell to their namesake. For a long time I felt tied to the notion that I had to match the common heritage of my husband and myself (and out last name), but none of the names I loved the most really match that heritage/last name, so I’ve just recently given myself permission to abandon that fixation. (I ought to have been French or Italian, because those are my favorite names!) Best of luck to you!!

I too agree that honoring a family member is more important to me. It also gives your daughter more of a story and meaning behind her name, “It’s after my grandma so and so.” I prefer [name]Gwendolyn[/name] out of your options, but if meaning is more important, I would go with family/friends. Best

Thanks everyone!

I think that because you’re planning on moving away from [name]Wales[/name], you should definitely honor your heritage. A friend of mine, [name]Iwona[/name] (prn ee-VAHN-ah), was born in Poland but grew up in the US. [name]Even[/name] though her name is constantly misprounounced and mispelled, she loves it and sees her name as a badge of honor, representing her heritage (her brothers, have much more Americanized names). I’m sure your daughter would love that :)(Also, fwiw, I share a mn with my aunt and I don’t think it’s created a special bond between us or anything. I think it says more about how my mom feels about her sister then anything else).
That said, I’d go for [name]Thea[/name] [name]Gwendolyn[/name]. It’s my favorite combo, anyway :slight_smile: I’d love [name]Gwendolyn[/name] [name]Francesca[/name], too… just a suggestion.
Good luck!

I think honoring your heritage is important, especially since you will be moving away from [name]Wales[/name]. I love the name [name]Thea[/name] [name]Gwendolyn[/name]!

Also, if you have a second child, you can name her/him after a relative. (Our first child has a name honoring his Irish heritage, and our second child has a name honoring my Russian family members.)

[name]Thea[/name] [name]Rhiannon[/name] is really cool!!


Lol. That’s fair enough for you. When I say “I’m Welsh” - I mean I’m Welsh. Not my distant distant relatives were. I live in [name]Wales[/name], I speak Welsh, my partner’s Welsh (though he doesn’t speak it) and both my parents! The other reason it’s so important to me is that we may be moving away from the country in a couple of years so I’d like to retain a part of that![/quote]

I considered adding that you might in fact be in-[name]Wales[/name] Welsh, which to me is quite a legitimate interpretation of “I am Welsh!” I just considered it least likely - pardon me for being American… :slight_smile: Most people who claim they are something pretty much mean so nominally and have no real claim to the country of origin or culture for several if not dozens of generations. Some people’s families make more of a point of carrying on some traditions and cultural pride gestures over the course than mine have, of course, and I’m not discounting 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. On the internet, people can be posting from anywhere, but statistically on an American website, we’re going to have more Americans and some of the assumptions we make, even stupid ones.

I may be making more of a mess of this than I originally intended, but I would say your heritage might mean a lot more to you than someone who is just realizing where they come from via a recent interest in genealogy and suddenly found out they were part Swedish, and thinks that honoring that sliver of heritage in their child’s name might be more interesting than honoring their paternal grandmother. It is just so often the case.

To me, that’s a tough call, being that you are as Welsh as can be, especially if you are considering emigrating to another country before very long. That is a really tough call. Your child is also going to be from [name]Wales[/name], and land can be as meaningful an honor as a person in your life. I love where I live, and love some things about where I grew up in another state - there are inspirations I get from the places that feel as important to honor and continue on that are as significant to me as the important people in my life. I don’t know what you should do - I would just consider every name you like and pick the one you think feels best to you, and it might not be easy to cut some of them, but maybe just make the lists without focusing on whether place or person should get the priority consideration. Especially don’t force yourself to use a Welsh name if none really call to you.

I think before I can address your question, I would have to first ask you a question. As an American, I don’t know anything about the naming culture in [name]Wales[/name]. When I attempt to analogize to American culture, I fear I may be missing something. What I mean is, if I were planning to live abroad and therefore wanted to give my daughter a name that represented the fact that we are American, I feel like that would be somewhat impossible - I can’t imagine a name that wouldn’t somehow fall short. What would be the quintessential, all-American name? What name would really symbolize being American? Somehow I don’t think it would be enough to just use a popular American name? (which likely isn’t even American in origin) A name that sounds like the “typical American girl”? (what would that even be? Something like [name]Jane[/name]?)A name of an American icon? Maybe it would have to be something more abstract like the name [name]Liberty[/name]? So, my question is, at the end of the day, how well do the Welsh names you are considering really represent Welsh culture or link your daughter’s identity to her heritage? In [name]Wales[/name], are these names perceived as having the same symbolism you are going for? Is there a name that really comes across as symbolizing the culture, or marking a person as being Welsh? Or are you simply considering any name that is Welsh in origin? And if so might it miss the mark of incorporating “Welsh-ness” into your daughter’s identity anyway? I am thinking about the guest post on nameberry the other day that talked about naming traditions in Iceland - now, that culture provides something really unique that seems as if it would definitely allow for a name that incorporates the culture of Iceland and symbolizes that connection. As I said above, something similar does not, to me at least, exist in [name]America[/name]. And, I’m wondering if something like that exists in [name]Wales[/name] to make your efforts worthwhile?
In the event that there is no way of accomplishing the goal of giving your child a truly Welsh name (beyond just any name that originated in [name]Wales[/name]), maybe there is a better way to approach this? Like a name inspired by something that symbolizes [name]Wales[/name] uniquely to YOU? Maybe that is a name inspired by the name of a town you live in, or your favorite Welsh food (I know lots of people don’t like food names), etc. . . something that when your daughter asks you about her name will bring up a personal story that has meaning and significance to you and can at the same time tie in your heritage.

While I was writing my prior response, I thought more about the places where I’ve lived than the whole nation. It depends on your nationalistic views also. I don’t know if there are too many quintessential American names - we don’t tend to consider “invented” names very highly because they don’t have the depth of tradition. No matter who you are in the US, you feel that you have come from somewhere else, or in the case of Native Americans, do have a language and culture to provide your history. Aside from them, everyone else feels like an immigrant with some outside culture to inform them no matter how many generations removed they are from the event, so it’s hard for us to establish a uniquely American naming tradition that feels authentic and something to be proud of. We are living in a country of people who come from so many places also, today, yesterday, not just 100 years ago or longer. There’s not really any consistency or pattern unless we go to the root culture, the ones who came here, even if that isn’t an important part of our lives.

For my part, when I was thinking as I wrote, I thought of the places I have lived and what I loved most about them. I grew up in New [name]York[/name], in the mid-[name]Hudson[/name] [name]Valley[/name]. I live in [name]Boston[/name] now, and I feel really “home” here, so if I ever were to leave, I would feel these two places contained my heart to bring. Names I consider would maybe be [name]Hudson[/name] or having a meaning like [name]Valley[/name] or even just [name]Valley[/name] (although it’s not specific). The name of my hometown occurs to me, or the county, or the lake where we swam when I was a kid - not thrilled about a lake overtaking in my mind the more significant geographical feature of the region being the river valley. The state bird or flower are both names.

For [name]Boston[/name], it’s a little tougher. Nothing has really stood out for me other than the historical significance, which really doesn’t call to me in the form of any names. The name of my neighborhood, perhaps, but my street is weird for a person’s name, and it’s Scottish anyway. I have only lived here 4 years, so I haven’t gathered enough information to think of a [name]Boston[/name] name I really feel is right. [name]Charles[/name]? That’s pretty vague as a source.

Regardless, that is how I would transfer a place of significance to a name, rather than the culture/language. That’s how I would do it in the US. The things I remember, that mean something to me about the place, hold up as souvenirs in lieu of a naming tradition and specific language rules we don’t really regard as significantly as they do in other countries.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s a difficult question. I’m very interested in genealogy, for me it’s important to know where I came from. I think that’s because I’ve always felt like I’m just a watered-down American with no real culture. In my search I found so many amazing names and stories about such interesting people. Some of them I really wish I was named after. My middle name is the same as my Uncle’s, and it was my great-grandmother surname… I’ve always loved it, but it never made me feel more connected to my uncle, even though he’d always say “We have the same middle name!”.

I agree with not using a random name from your family tree if you don’t know anything about the person, what if someday you find out they were bad. But if it’s someone who has an admirable story as well as a name you love, well, that’s hard for me to pass up. As a total American (the most of anything else I have is 1/8 [name]German[/name] and 1/8 Italian), names from my heritage are not important to me. For me it’s more important to either honor specific people who I did not know, or people who I do know and love very much… I never know which of those is more important, either. I try to figure out if I’d rather be named after my mom or my great-grandmother or what…

That’s longer than I intended! Ok, I think what is the most important is a name that means something to you. Whether that be your cousin or your heritage or what, if you tell your daughter the special reason that you chose her name, she will love it.