Naming After Family Members/Close Friends

So I’m not ttc, but I think about naming all the time. I’ve always thought about honoring my mom, dad, great aunt, sister, and most recently, my best friend since I was in second grade, (in the middle name spot) when naming my future children. Then I got to thinking last night that I obviously won’t be able to honor all of them, because I’ve got to consider my partner’s family too, and I’m no longer planning on having 8 children (when I was in high school, I wanted to have 5 to 8 children)! Since then, I’m thinking 3 or 4 would be the most I’d be willing to have. Anyway, I’m wondering if it would be better not to honor anyone over choosing certain people. I don’t want anyone to feel left out! I know this would also depend on how many boys or girls I have, as most of the people I would honor are female. [name]How[/name] do I choose who to honor, if I do at all? [name]How[/name] did you choose who you would honor?

We’re not naming our kids after anyone - first or middle name. Much easier to avoid family drama, plus we couldn’t use any living relatives’ or friends’ names even if we liked them (which we don’t), and neither of us are thrilled with choices from further up our respective family trees (I have one branch in the same generation where there are [name]SEVEN[/name] [name]Williams[/name]!)

However, if you want to do it, it is something you should talk about with your partner/husband/fiance/boyfriend. He’ll want input and there may be a naming tradition or person he’d wish to honor also. If there’s no discussion to be had, I’d go with the person who’s had the most influence on your life or to whom you are closest.

With my first son I couldn’t decide which grandpa to use for the middle. We went with both. Then I had another son. I was being pressured into giving him the middle name [name]Samuel[/name] after my hubby’s brother. But I have three brothers too. So I decided against any family name for him and went with a name that meant a lot to my hubby. Now with thinking about third baby I am thinking of honoring family names again but not directly and mixing names together in a chance I find something that works. Like Mom’s middle name is [name]Ann[/name] and sister mn is [name]Elise[/name]. So, [name]Annelise[/name].
My advice would be to use a name that makes you smile (family name or not) and don’t worry about jealousy. People get over it.

I’m actually honoring a lot of people with our names. Our first girls first name will be after my grandmother. Her middle name will be after my best friend. Our second girls middle name will be after my other best friend. Our first boys first name will be after my grandfather. Our second sons first name will be my maiden name. And our second sons middle name will be after DH. I chose the most important family members to me, grandmother and grandfather who have passed away, to name my kids after because they were the most influential. My two best friends get middle spots because I want to honor them and make them a part of our kids lives because they are like sisters to me. I guess I just like honoring the people that mean the most to me because its another way I can love them back, by including them in our children’s names like that.
I know some people don’t like doing it because they say it’s not their “own” name but I disagree, they make it their own, and so many other people in this world share those names anyway so why not let it have a special meaning?

This is hard, because if you do name them after family then there is always someone who feels left out. But then if you don’t family can sometimes STILL be in a huff about it and you may regret not giving your kids a name that has deeper meaning to you.

I know in my situation I named my daughter after my mother, whom I am very close to. I already know who future children will be named after as well (next girl will be after both of my grandma’s, first boy would be after my dad, next boy would be after my brother). I only use the middle name slot for naming after a family member.

You will just have to decide for yourself what you want to do. None of us can tell you whether you should or shouldn’t name kids after your family.

What’s right for you might not be for someone else, but here’s how we did it:

First, my husband’s family has rules about this–you can’t name after people who are living, and of the people who have died, you should prioritize either people you’re directly descended from or people in your family who have died without having kids of their own (i.e. no one else will name after them if you don’t.) [name]Even[/name] though those aren’t my family’s rules, we chose to stick to those rules for my side as well just to give it some continuity. Within those rules, we decided to prioritize family members who had died but who the other partner had actually met–so my daughter isn’t named after a grandparent of my husband’s that I’ve never met, but after the one who lived for a few years after we were married but didn’t make it to see his great-granddaughter.

Another thing we did was talk to our siblings and even cousins–DH and I are both the oldest in our families so we sort of asked around to see if there were names that some other people really wanted to use someday, and stayed away from those. It’s just a good way of narrowing down if you can’t decide–no reason to have three little Florences running around in the same generation if you like other names just as much.

We also got some “twofers.” My daughter’s first name is mostly after my grandmother, but we tweaked the name slightly to honor my mother’s favorite grandmother as well, to include both sides of my famil. ([name]Helena[/name]= [name]Helen[/name]+[name]Lena[/name]). We nicknamed her [name]Lena[/name] to emphasize the connection to my mom’s [name]Nana[/name]. [name]Lena[/name] also has some sounds in common with my best friend’s name, [name]Laura[/name], as well as the wonderful doctor who delivered my daughter, [name]Nina[/name], and the amazing delivery nurse, [name]Ellen[/name]. (This was not a priority for us but I was actually named after a delivery nurse so it’s kind of a neat connection with my name–just something that put this family name a little above others we were considering.)

In the end, obviously, it has to be your decision, but we found that all family members were so happy to have a new baby around that nobody was really offended that we chose certain people to name after over others.

I used my kids middle names to honor different family members. My daughter’s middle names ( [name]Jo[/name] [name]Lucille[/name]) honor my mother, who’s first name is [name]Jolene[/name], and my stepmother, who’s middle name is [name]Lucille[/name]. My son’s middle name ([name]Raymond[/name]) is in honor of my granfather, who I’m very close to, and my uncle (that I was also very close to) who passed away right before I got pregnant. All in all, I think its a good way to honor someone, but you’re always going to have that person (or people) in your family that whine “But why didn’t you name your baby after ME?”. Or maybe that’s just in my family…? :slight_smile:

If there are people in your family that whine or get upset about not having the baby named after them, shame on them, not you. That seems extremely childish to me.

I know for certain that I want to honor my nana and my mom. I’ve thought of every combination possible. My nana’s name is [name]Mary[/name] [name]Alice[/name] and my mom is [name]Patricia[/name] [name]Ann[/name]. Not only did I come up with obvious combinations ([name]Alice[/name] [name]Ann[/name], [name]Annora[/name] [name]Alice[/name], etc) I started smooshing the names together. This helps open up free slots in names. For example [name]Alice[/name] + [name]Ann[/name]= [name]Aliana[/name] [name]Patricia[/name] + [name]Alice[/name]= [name]Patrice[/name]. If you are able to combine names (and make actual real, pratical names) You can honor up to 2-4 people with one kid. [name]Hope[/name] this helps :slight_smile:

[name]Both[/name] my father and my father-in-law are named [name]David[/name]. I happen to [name]ADORE[/name] the name [name]David[/name], and we’re planning to give our first son the middle name of [name]David[/name].

[name]Both[/name] of our mothers have the middle name [name]Ann[/name], as well (in addition to all 4 grandmothers), and my middle name starts with “A” so we would like to give our future daughters middle names that start with A (we’d use [name]Ann[/name] but it is so boring and plain).

We only are doing this because the honoring takes place on both sides of the family.

@jessicat11: It was actually people in my ex-husbands family and yes, childish is putting it mildly!!!

I agree with prior people, honor both sides but don’t try to force it upon yourselves to do so. Are there names in common that you and your husband both like? Or can you “mix” (I think it’s called smooshing?) names by combining them. For example, we love [name]Rosalia[/name]: [name]Rose[/name] (honoring my great-aunt) + [name]Lee[/name] (my grandmother’s favorite girl name - my grandma died in 2008 but had always told me she wanted a granddaughter named [name]Lee[/name] or [name]Leah[/name]) = [name]Rosalia[/name]. Or find a feminine/masculine form of the name or a variation that helps to honor multiple people. If people complain, then just let them. Not everyone will love the name you pick, but they’ll love your child all the same.

I have often wondered how I’d ever cut down my list of names and assumed a partner would help, as they would in your situation. But even without, you can ask advice of others - those very family and friends you’d like to honour. Some might not want or worry about it!

But mainly go with what feels right - when you look at your baby, when you think of a person you love, when you think of a name you love. I’d hope no-one would get grumpy about it.

From completely the opposite perspective, I’m relieved that my neice has been named after my mum (and her other grandma - so helpful if they share a name!) so I don’t have to use it. [name]Adore[/name] my mummy but not her name :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for your input! I got a lot of good feedback and I will have a lot to think about when I have kids. I do really like the idea of “smooshing” to honor more than one person per child, if I do choose to honor anyone. I would only use the mn spot to honor someone because I want my children to have more unique first names (with the exception of the name [name]Alexander[/name] that I don’t want to take off my list, no matter how popular it is!) and most of the people I would honor have more common names.

brynnash: You are so lucky that you can honor both sides at once!

bob=kate: haha that’s funny. I don’t like my mom’s name and neither does she, so I already have a name that is derived from her completely unrelated nn that I would use to honor her if I chose to.