Family names

Ask Now

Do My Twins Sound Like a Married Couple?

My husband and I are expecting twins. For a boy, we really like the name James (my father's name), and for a girl, we're thinking about Lily (my favorite flower) or Lillian. We like the names individually, and we like how the names sound together, but I have two reservations.

First, does giving one child a family name and the other child a name we just happen to like feel unbalanced? Second, I grew up on the Harry Potter books. His parents are named James and Lily, and I think of that when I hear the pairing. I don't mind it, but how likely are other people to make that connection?

–Twins on the Way

Two babies, two questions! Let's take them one at a time. If you give one twin a family name, must the other twin have one too? With siblings, and especially twins, it's good to keep parity in mind. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your taste to it.

Read More...
Ask Now

All the Nicknames Are Taken!

Can Laney be a nickname for Eleanor? I love the name, but both Ellie (in this case, short for Elizabeth) and Norah (as a full name) are taken by other kids in my family, and Nellie was a beloved dog.

–Still Love Eleanor

Sure, you could use Laney as a nickname for Eleanor! Parents have lots of leeway when it comes to pairing up names and nicknames. I think a lot of people will really like the combination of old-fashioned Eleanor with more contemporary Laney.

You could consider Elle or Ella as nicknames for Eleanor, but those might be too close to Ellie. Or you could use the full Eleanor and skip the nicknames altogether.

Read More...
Ask Now

Can We Leave One Grandma Out of the Baby Name Game?

I have always loved the idea of honoring a family member by giving a child a meaningful, family middle name. My husband and I both like my mom's name (think "Jane") as a middle name, and had agreed on that if we were to have a girl. Turns out we are having twin girls! Neither of us loves his mom's very '50s name (think "Cheryl"), but we can't exactly name one child for my mom and not name the other for his … can we?

For me, the symbolism of naming our girls after our mothers is more important than loving the name itself, but my husband feels the opposite: Why give your child a name that you don't like, even if it is your mom's name? Do I try to convince him, or do we start over and give up using my mom's name?

–Mom in a Middle-Name Muddle

Your question made me think of President George W. Bush’s twin daughters Jenna and Barbara, each named after a grandmother (they even got the grandmothers' surnames, Welch and Pierce, as middle names). Stylistically, the names are quite different, but as you point out, their symbolism can outweigh the style difference and make them a cohesive set.

But your husband has a point too. He doesn't want to feel locked into a name choice because of the symbolism. I don't believe either of you should try to badger the other into making a choice you don't feel good about.

Read More...
Ask Now

Is This Baby Name Out of Tune?

I'm pregnant with our second child (we don't know whether it's a boy or girl). Our first child has a name with strong family connections. We'd like to do the same for this one. I like the family surname trend (Jackson, Cooper, etc.) and for us, Gibson would be the name. It's not really used as a first name, but I don't mind the nickname Gib and I like the connection to the famous guitar maker, since we are a family of musicians. Is this too odd of a name for a boy?

–Family Namer

While Gibson is a rare name, I wouldn't call it odd at all. It is used as a first name: It's ranked among the top 1,000 names for boys for the last several years. About 250 new baby boys in the U.S., per year, are named Gibson (and so are a handful of girls!).

Gibson is a fresh twist on a fashionable style, being a surname with a –son ending. That means it's a classic recipe for an attractive name. The fact that it has both a family connection, and a musical one, and you like the nickname? That’s a smash hit.

Read More...
Ask Now

Do Two "Sons" Make Sense for Our New Son?

I've had my heart set on the name Jackson since I was a little girl. Then, lo and behold, I end up marrying a man with the middle name Jackson whose grandfather's first name is Jackson. So not only do I love the name, it is a family name too. My husband also loves the name. The problem is, our last name is Davidson. I didn't even realize it until someone brought it to my attention: Jackson Davidson, both having the –son ending. What do you think?

–Just Love Jackson

I think you can work with a name that has some shared sounds. In fact, an echoed syllable or bit of alliteration is often desirable in a baby name. It gives the two parts of the name a pleasant connection.

Read More...
Ask Now

Will His and Hers Surnames Be a Hassle?

My dilemma has to do not with my child's first name, but the last name! I did not change my name when I married my husband. Our first child, a boy, has his dad's last name. We're expecting a girl in December, and I'd like to pass on my last name to her. I have a very unusual last name, and I feel strongly connected to it. Both my sisters changed their names when they got married, so there is no one else to pass on the name except for me. My husband is fine with giving our second child my last name, but I want to fully consider the consequences of this choice. If I go for it, and we have a family with two different last names, what sort of trouble might we expect?

–Unsure on Surname

This is an unusual surname solution, but not an unprecedented one. Rather than expecting "trouble," expect some questions and confusion. The good news is, you have a ready answer to those queries: You want to keep a cherished family surname alive.

Yes, people may mistakenly assume that you are a blended family with kids from previous relationships. Close friends and even acquaintances can easily be set straight. And for one-time encounters, who cares? 

Read More...

Lady Antebellum's Latest Creative Baby Name!

Lady Antebellum's Latest Creative Baby Name!

Lady Antebellum's crew is one bigger! Guitarist Dave Haywood and his wife, record excutive Kelli Cashiola Haywood welcomed a son on September 7th in Nashville.  The couple's rep announced the birth and gave insight on the name to People Magazine. The couple went with an interesting twist on family names for their new son, and came up with a name that is both hip sounding and special to them.

Read More...

What is Kelly Rowland Planning to Name her Son?

What is Kelly Rowland Planning to Name her Son?

Kelly Rowland and her husband Tim Witherspoon are expecting a baby boy!  Aside from a cute Instagram post announcing Kelly's pregnancy the family had been mum on any details about the pregnancy, like Kelly's due date.  That all changed this week, beginning with an "oops!" on Fox411, where Kelly accidentally let it slip that she and her husband were expecting a boy.

Read More...

New Baby Alert: Ivanka Trump Picks Two Names From The Family Tree

New Baby Alert: Ivanka Trump Picks Two Names From The Family Tree

Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner welcomed a second child yesterday and revealed the name today. The newest addition is a boy and is named Joseph Frederick Kushner who joins big sister Arabella.

Read More...

Beth Littleford's Daughter Gets a Family Name: Halcyon

Beth Littleford's Daughter Gets a Family Name: Halcyon

When it came to naming her new daughter, Beth Littleford kept her decision all in the family.

The comedian who got her start on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and transitioned to TV (Spin City) and movies (Crazy, Stupid Love) adopted a baby girl with her producer husband Rob Fox over the weekend, Beth shared on Facebook. Her little one's name is Halcyon Juna Fox.

Read More...