Question of the Week: Do you know how, why, or after whom ''your'' birth name was chosen?

+41 votes
Do you know how, why, or after whom "your" birth name was chosen? Share your story with us!
in The Tree House by Deborah Collier G2G6 Mach 3 (37.8k points)
edited by Deborah Collier
Actually I was named after my grandmother and her mother as well... My middle name came from My mother's baby sister.
interesting. My first husbands ancestors also rode with Quantrell. I don't remember if if was the Hill or the Thornton side of his family. Probably the Thornton side.
My Grandmother was Mary Elizabeth and Dad's older sister was Mary Alice but neither was called Mary. Grandma was Mae to all her Friends and My aunt was  Always Alice. So my first name is Mary which is how I'm known to everyone.

On my mothers side there was an ancestor who's long Hispanic name ended with de Lucenia. A girl in about every other generation has been a Lucenia or Lucena. I was to be Lucenia as a middle name but a nurse in the hospital took it on herself to anglesise it to Lucene so that is my middle name. I considered changing it but there are several young Navajo girls named Lucene after me so I'll proudly keep it as is. I do sign my artwork Lucenia to honor that family name that was to be mine.
My middle son was named my maiden name plus his fathers first name. My father-in-law went over my head and added Brent as a second middle name. He claimed we all needed something to call him. He's over 50 and has never been called anything but Graham.     :)
The only baby I ever baby sat was named Teresa Marie. She was a sweet happy baby and I loved her dearly. I was 10 when I decided "my" daughter would be Teresa Maria also. When I was pregnant, 21 years later, I told my husband this had better be a girl or he's going to be a very unhappy Teresa Marie. I'd only picked out a boys name for the other three children and that time I only had my girls name in mind. We were blessed with happy, good natured, Teresa Marie.
sometimes locally written history books regarding the raiders/outlaws include some names.  imagine my surprise when I saw a picture of Rebecca Jane in one of those type books..  not well written, but still......
My mom wasn't supposed to be able to have any more children after an accident where her child was stillborn, She was going through menopause when she got pregnant with me. I was named Elaine but my dad changed it because he said I was the "dawn" of a new life.
that's so sweet!
Gond With the Wind inspired Mom to name me...Melanie  and...Dawn Nelson, your post brought me to tears.  What a sweet father you have...
I was named after my dads mother----Marion and my moms grandfather ---Alexander---  Marion Alexandra Riggs--After my dad

75 Answers

+16 votes
Best answer
Its more about my middle name (Lee) than my first name. My dad's uncle Lee was a well respected member of the community and a family leader. He died tragically of kidney cancer in his fifties which left everyone with aching hearts. My parents decided to name me after uncle Lee to keep the memory of him alive; a special tribute that I humbly wear as a badge of honor. Here's to uncle Lee.
by Rod DuBois G2G6 Pilot (176k points)
selected by Susan Laursen
Likewise, my middle name, Leslie, is in memory of my uncle who was killed in a car accident at age 23.
My father spent every waking hour at his bedside before he passed away and I'm honoured to be named after him. From what I've heard, he was not only Dad's brother, but pretty much his best friend.
+30 votes
I do!

My dad was an English major and loves old English so my first name comes from a character from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

I love it. She's a character that I very much relate to - which is pretty cool.

(My middle name comes from one of Shakespeare's plays)
by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Eowyn, how in the heck did he know how well the name would fit you???
I made that connection when I first met your name, Eowyn. Nice to have it confirmed.
I'm always delighted when I come across someone who knows where it comes from :)
You could have had Galadriel as a 2nd name. :)
Funny you mention that. He was torn between Eowyn and Galadriel :)
I had it in mind because they are running The Hobbit again  on television at the moment. Sorry, getting a bit off-topic.
+18 votes
My middle name, the one I use and respond to, was from my eldest cousin's 2nd husband. Lynn Gale. She asked Mama to name me Lynette.  My sister wanted me named Alizabeth. not E but short A. The nun/nurse at St Michael's hospital in Texarkana, AR told Mama to spell it E and call her anything you want. And I never seemed to respond to Elizabeth, Liz, or Beth, but I did respond to Lynette.

And of course Jester, I have a whole free space page on that.
by Lynette Jester G2G6 Mach 4 (48.4k points)
I like the Alizabeth - wish I'd have spelled my daughter's name with the A not the E!
+17 votes
I do -- my great-grandmother was Frances.  Her nickname was Nan, and I was named after her.
by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (224k points)
Love that story!  My Grandmother picked my middle name (I was born on St. Anne's day) and I'm the only my Grandmother "GOT" to name lol.
+22 votes
My first name was a left over.  My brother was going to be "Kitty" until he was born a boy and not the girl-child they expected.  Poor kid went three days without a name because they had not planned for any boy names.

Five years later, I was born and became Kitty.  To let my brother have a part in the big event, he got to give me my middle name.  At the time, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were very important to my young brother, so I became Kitty Dale.  I count myself lucky that he didn't go for Trigger or Bullet.  ;-)
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (486k points)
Thanks for the laugh Kitty. I really needed that. Cheers!
How funny! I'm gonna call you Bullet at the next RootsTech.
+14 votes

 In 1998 in Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand, my parents where diary farmers, Dad named me after a Vet named Campbell who came from Oamaru, New Zealand, who knew that 18 years later we now live there. And my sister Brooke was named by my mum, inspired by the name Brooke of "Days of our Life's" TV show, in 1997

by Campbell Braddock G2G6 Mach 4 (49.8k points)
+12 votes
My father has told me that I was named after an actress on a popular soap opera that aired at the time I was born.  I thought he was kidding but he has repeatedly told me this, in all seriousness, over the years so now I finally believe it.  ;)
by Amy W G2G6 Mach 1 (15.9k points)
+11 votes
My parents had the names narrowed down to a choice of 2...Wendy or Hazel.

As I was born 4 days before their Wedding anniversary I was named Wendy (as it was close to wedding) and for my middle name they chose Anne (close to anniversary) and also they spelled the same way Princess Anne's name is spelled.
by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (139k points)
+15 votes
It used to be a Jewish tradition--actually, it still may be--to name a child after the nearest deceased relative. You don't use the deceased relative's name, but rather the first letter of the name. The nearest deceased relative was my mother's father, Hyman. So, my name had to begin with an "H." The next nearest deceased relative was my mother's mother's mother, Celia. So, my middle name had to begin with a "C." That's how my name became Hazel Claire.
by Hazel Blumberg-McKee G2G Crew (750 points)
+13 votes
I was named for my Dad's hero, Gen Douglas MacArthur.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+10 votes

Not a hard one. :) 

John P Vickery Sr. = called John.,

John P Vickery Jr. or II = called Johnnie.,

John P Vickery III = Jack "A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet" .,

John P Vickery IV = Jackie "Like Jack" & also .

our middle name begins w/ "P" but this name is for private usage, yes I do know where it came from. :) JPVIV

by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (237k points)
+10 votes
My mum's favorite character in a book Trudy Ann.  Not a Nick name for Gerturde.
by Trudy Roach G2G6 Pilot (174k points)
+11 votes
My mother had several names chosen for me and couldn't decide.  Patricia (she says Pa-Tree-Sha) which would have been unfortunate since I went through most of my elementary school years being the second tallest next to Patricia Stevens.  We were also next to each other alphabetically and born on the same day!  She also considered Margaret and Pamela.  Lucille was also under consideration because my father had two cousins who she thought were really funny, Big Lucille and Little Lucille.

The names went in a hat and Lucille it was.  My middle name is Ann and the intention was to call me Lu Ann.  Luckily that never happened, I am not a Lu Ann.

By the way, she has no idea who those two Lucille's were now.  I cannot find them in my family tree so she says maybe they were just friends.  Arrrrgh!
by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (350k points)
+11 votes
I haven't the slightest idea what inspired my parents to name me David. My middle name, however, is different as my dad was Vaughn Vernon and I am David Vaughn.

My mom chose for the most part simple names--David, Richard, Jon, Scott, Barbara, and Steven.  She didn't like it when he last son's name was spelled Stephen instead of Steven.
by David Hughey G2G6 Pilot (611k points)
+11 votes
My mom always said not, but I know her favorite actress was Shirley Temple.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
+10 votes

No idea about my own but my father had the second name Oswald, which he hated.

It appears to have come down the generations from at least an Oswald Pearson born around 1720. However, there is a reference in a book about Bishop Auckland, Durham  to Oswald Pearson's owning the same pub, The Bay Horse, back to the 1570s.

So far I have found 23 Oswalds, all descendants in various lines from the 1720 one.

by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (253k points)
edited by anonymous
That's interesting. And I'm glad that Apollonia didn't catch on in a similar way in my family. I think the last Apollonia was born in 1821. I like to have ancestors by that name but would not have liked to grow up with it, even as a middle name.
I don't know - Apollonia sounds rather distinguished to me.
It does. But I wouldn't have appreciated that as a child.
No, it's different when you are young. My daughter is Sigrid and suffered from Siegrfied, although she quite liked Secret.
+13 votes
My middle name is Grant which is commonly given to boys. It was also the name of my Grandmother and Aunt. My Granny always said that it was the name of the Doctor that assisted when she was born.

A few months ago I went to the archives to do some research on my gg mother. I was so surprised that a Dr Grant Arnott was mentioned as a witness in a court case pertaining to my gg Mother. In his testimony he stated that he assisted in the births of most of her children. So now we know for sure where the name came from.
by Esmé van der Westhuizen G2G6 Mach 9 (90.5k points)
+10 votes
In 1944, when my mother was a very young woman (19) working for the Ordnance Survey, making maps from aerial photographs taken by Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft, she was reading a novel, the name of which I cannot remember, but the hero was a young man called "Craig", and she told her mother that her first born child, which she hoped would be s son, would be called Craig ... so that is how I got my first name.  I was supposed to have two more ... William and James ... the names of my two grandfathers, paternal and maternal.  My father was away working,, and my maternal grandfather who registered my birth was very cross that my mother didn't name me Michael (he always called me Mickey for the rest of his life) that he forgot to add his name to the birth registration, putting only that of my father's father !!
by Craig Hitchcock G2G1 (1.8k points)
+11 votes

Yep. I'm Deborah from the Bible:

Deborah was the Biblical prophetess who summoned Barak to battle against an army of invaders. After the battle she wrote a victory song which is part of the Book of Judges. ~Google snippet from

My sister, on the other hand, ended up named after my mother and father's sisters. Why they chose the two longest names of them all, I have no idea. The poor kid's maiden name was 24 characters long if you include the spaces. Now that she's married, it's 29. No wonder her signature is a six character scribble.


Addendum: My name was from my mother's religion; it is not my religion. Doesn't change where my name came from but, at times, I wish the association wasn't there.

by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (237k points)
edited by Debi Hoag
They say our names date us and our era.  I see you are a Debi, well I am a Debbie, so much for Deborah huh?  Later years they spelled it Debra, which I never liked for myself. But going to school there were 3 Deborah's in my class and we were all called Debbie.  I didn't even know Deborah was my real name until I began school, what a shocker, and they didn't even pronounce it correctly either.
+12 votes
I was born July 26 and my paternal aunt Carrie Joyce was born 35 years earlier on July 25. My mother's name was Carolyn, so I think Karen was sort of a phonetic compromise between Carrie and Carolyn, and I'm Karen Joyce.

My aunt recently told me she always wished I would be called by my middle name Joyce like she is. I was always called Karen, but luckily my middle name has gotten more visibility in the last ten years, as my sister-in-law is also named Karen Tobo.

My brother-in-law mentioned the coincidence during his best man's speech at our wedding. I'm afraid I stole the mic to relate what I thought: that my father-in-law had been instructing the boys about life, how they would eventually choose a partner and should "Make sure she's caring, make sure she's true..." but they must have had dirt in their ears and heard "Make sure she's Karen, make sure there's two..."
by Karen Tobo G2G6 Pilot (115k points)
I was premature and my mother was unable to nurse me. A friend of theirs named Doris had given birth the same day and she offered to nurse me, so I was named after her. My middle name, Ann, came from my Welsh great grandmother, Annie Jones Jones, who has turned out to be one of my brick walls.

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