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Naming Baby After Dad - Classic or Showy?

My wife and I are considering naming our son after me and calling him EJ for Eric Junior.

What is the history of passing down the father's name to his son and is it considered pretentious today?

- Dad-to-be

Fifty years ago, no one would have even asked me this question. Boys named for their Dads were as common as meatloaf and green beans. A dad-to-be in 1959 knew that no one would second-guess his motives for giving his son his own name. How could anyone have a problem with tradition, family history, and an unbreakable bond spanning generations?

My, how times have changed! The culprit is our American emphasis on things new, daring, and individual. Parents today want to endow their offspring with an original, distinctive moniker that will inspire gasps of admiration and envy. So they have abandoned little Junior in favor of Brayden, Kayden, and Zayden. (How pretentious would they have sounded in a '50s schoolyard?)

Meanwhile expectant fathers, usually twenty- and thirty-somethings, have names like Jason, Kevin, and -- yes -- Eric. Not trendy and new, not so-out-they're-in; just familiar, solid, and maybe a little plain. So Juniors are becoming an endangered species, just a fraction as common as in past generations.

How's this for irony: In a sea of cookie-cutter "original, distinctive" names, your Junior is likely to be the only one in his kindergarten class. But more than symbolizing your freethinking inventiveness, your Junior's name will proclaim to the world his family connections. Little EJ's name says, "This is my dad. This is me. We're family." I can hardly think of a less pretentious statement than that.

One word of warning, though: A Junior has a unique naming status, and kids are absolute geniuses at sensing when parents are favoring their siblings. If you plan to have more kids, make sure they carry special family names too, boys and girls alike. (Because you're choosing Eric Jr. to to build family bonds, not to create a regal dynasty and one day look forward to Eric the VIII. Right?) And of course, prepare yourself for cases of mistaken identity -- in both directions.

But as long as you're cool with all that, naming a son after his father is a tradition with centuries of history behind it. Please, Junior away without fear.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

July 4, 2013 2:14 PM
By Denim (not verified)

Its super selfish and egotistical to name your son after his father. Its like you have to please daddy's ego otherwise he wont pass on his legacy, what a bunch of bullcrap. Your kids deserve their own identity, which is their first name. They already have daddy's last name...
And contrary to what was written, far too many parents still name their sons after the fathers, unfortunately. Poor kids.

July 24, 2013 2:04 PM
By Dave (not verified)

I cant think of a better name than David.

October 2, 2013 10:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)


April 2, 2014 1:59 PM
By Jay (not verified)

"Naming your child after you is egotistical"....Wait, what? And naming him something "unique" isn't? For me, wanting to name your kid "Zephyr" is just as pretentious as naming him Paul Jr. But to that I say: SO WHAT?! It's the sound YOU would like to make when you identify YOUR child. Screw how others perceive it. I'm naming my kid after me. Not only does it carry some family history (it's a combination of my maternal-grandfather and paternal great-grandmother's names), but hell, I also like the way it sounds lol. Especially after you put a "II" at the end. That's what I(and my wife) want. WE conceived him. WE'RE raising him. If you don't like it, tough. And I'm not making things that much harder for him; the kind of people that would judge him for his name aren't the kind of people I want him hanging around anyway. And if he truly doesn't like it, when he's an adult, he can change it. No problem.

October 10, 2014 6:43 PM
By Junior (not verified)

Don't do it! As a "Jr." I despise the moniker. It makes me feel like I don't have my own identity, there is often nowhere to put it on forms and I've had credit mix-ups (nightmares?) because of it. Growing it up it created a ton of headaches when I would answer the phone at my parents house. People would always confuse my dad for me and vice versa. It was just embarrassing. Nothing good will come of naming your child "Jr.". It's seen as arrogant and egotistical putting your son at a disadvantage.

It's 2014, give your child their own name, and make sure it is unique. There are 7 billion people in the world.

Airport staff snicker at me when I show my passport abroad as it is not something typically done outside of the United States and non-Americans find it foolish and egotistical. I would never in a million years name my kid "Jr.". It's one of the things I like least about myself/my name.

The whole point of a name is to distinguish people from each other. Why would you name somebody in your house after somebody already living in your house? It makes no sense. The surname shows the attachment to the family, nobody needs a first name and a surname. It's ridiculous, and naming your child "Jr." defeats the purpose of a first (and middle) name in the first place!

November 11, 2014 8:53 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Personally, I don't like Jrs and do admit, I find it egotistical. Both my Father and Husband are Jrs, and both hate it. Causes too much confusion and headaches, from mail and credit, to even simple things like voting, which my husband found out recently. Maybe consider a less identical way of honoring daddy, such as using it as a middle name or something similar. Congrats on upcoming baby!

November 11, 2014 9:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My husband is a Jr. in a line of 3. His grandfather is Robert Leo, father is Robert Eugene (goes by Bob) , and He is Robert Eugene Jr. (goes by Rob). We recently had a baby boy and named him Robert Charles (we call him Robert). My husband loved being named after his dad. He always thought of it as a special bond. He also liked the historical ties linked to our last name. So when it came down to naming our son he wanted to pass on that to him. Not in an egotistical way, but in a "I want to share our family history" way.
We picked Charles as a middle name because it was my grandfathers name, giving him identity from both families. And I didn't want a the third and I don't particularly like Eugene.

December 5, 2014 12:53 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My fiancé already has a son named after him from a previous relationship and now he want to name our son after him also so would that make our son a lll... I need help ladies

June 29, 2015 9:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

if the grandfather Sr. has passed the father Jr. would normally be called the II vice Jr. and the grandson would be the III.
as was the case with my great grandfather Sr. after passing was remembered as the I, grandfather Jr. now known as the II, father III and older brother IV. I'm a Sr. my son Jr. but when i pass he would be called the II and if he decides to name a son after us he would be the III. but the old ways have been lost or not passed on correctly. hope this helps.

August 5, 2015 7:17 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)


August 26, 2015 2:14 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I am confused my father in law name is Michael he is Sr. With no middle name my husband is named after his father with a middle name and he is a jr We are having our first boy and we are going to name him after his father with the same first and last name would he be a jr or the 3rd

October 29, 2015 8:56 PM
By A (not verified)

As a Junior who is technically a third (My father is named for his uncle who lost his ability to have kids), I feel the exact way! I named my son the third, and I am super proud of our name, our traditions, my father is a bad ass and when I say my name, and the people know us, they know what we stand for. I can only hope I keep up the good name and can mold my son as well as my father tried to mold me.

November 27, 2015 3:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I am pregnant with our first child, a boy, and we plan to name him Logan Jr. I know our son will be honored to be named after his father who is an incredible human being and would be ungrateful for thinking otherwise. Also, I work in healthcare and see entirely too many confusing made up and misspelled names it's reached the point to where I don't even try. Xendaya, Jayzlan, Hazen. And all the paisleys aisleys braydens just stop it. Our sons traditional name will be what sets him apart. I'm sure he'll just be happy his teachers can pronounce his name.

January 26, 2016 6:36 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My father didn't use Jr on us boys, there were three of us. We all had distinctive names. When my son came along, at wits end for a name, my wife suggested my name and Jr. I said okay. Today 35 years later I regret the day I did that to myself. EVERY CORP AND GOV concern can't get me my mail and his mail to him. Wasn't a problem until he came to live with me at his 34 birthday. Since then he claims that they got his name wrong on the mailings. The post office is told to hold his mail, they hold mine! He's filed for food stamps. He bought a car, the dealer sent all the mail for that car to MY NAME. I've never been on welfare, he signed up for it after I told him to move out. I'm thinking of changing my name to Methuselah, and nothing else, then see if they can get my mail to me and not hold it at the post office! Local GOV thinks I've lost my job, I still work a 100 hour week. Just saying.

June 20, 2016 12:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I don't like juniors, personally. I think it seems a bit egotistical to name your child after yourself, or your spouse. Plus, I've known people who have credit issues because their dad used their social security number to obtain credit cards. Other guys I know have had warrants and jury duty issued in their names instead of their dads. It doesn't seem like a good idea when there are so many other ways to honor your family!

I like linking names through the generations. My son has the same middle name as my husband, which is his father and grandfather's first name, and his great-grandfather's middle name. It's not as confusing as being a junior, but my son is connected to four other generations of Kenneths. I've known people who give their kids the same initials, or reverse their name (ex: Eric Michael has Michael Eric). I think those are all more clever ways to honor your family then giving your child the exact same name as you.

August 28, 2016 8:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You may have the best intentions when naming your son after his father, but it can hurt the child in various ways. A lot depends on the status of the father, his relationship to the child and several other factors that cannot be anticipated. So, generally the practice should be avoided. ---I was given the same name as my very successful, prominent father. Everyone in my hometown knew him, or knew of him, so it was difficult for me to form my own identity. Whenever someone heard my name, they already had some preconceived notions about what I should be like--how I should behave,..etc. And their opinion of my father was projected on to me. There was also the unnecessary confusion whenever we were in the same place and anyone called our name (this problem still exists). To differentiate, people would(and still will) necessarily add prefixes and suffixes like: " little"and "junior"---for me...."big" and "the first"--for my father. Also, as I got older, answering the phone became difficult. People calling our house would assume that I was him and would tell me things that he surely didn't want me to know. Conversely, my high school friends would assume that he was me (our voices were similar) and they would accidentally reveal all of the mischief that we had planned for the weekend. -----He would open my mail, and visa versa......These types of things still happen even though I now live in a different town. Many of my male friends were named after their successful fathers, but at least they went by their middle name or they went by a slightly different version of the same name----William and Billy as example. ------In another comment, someone said that the son can always change their name when they get older. This isn't an easy, or practical thing to,do. Everything I have----credit card, bills, car etc. etc is already in my name. My friends and family know me by my name. I know myself by my name. It would be so difficult, and seem so odd, to ask everyone to start calling me something else. Plus, I'm sure this would hurt my parents. They know how I feel, and they would have given me my own name if they could do,it over again, but it would still be hurtful to just change the name that they gave me. In effect, it's too late to change my name----or even change what people call me. I have always been, and always will be, a sort of lesser version of my father in many people's eyes. Of course, I could have gone into the same field that he is in and tried to top his success. Or, I could have made my "name" in whatever occupation I chose. ----He is VERY successful!!----Unfortunately, this idea of surpassing his accomplishments is what drove me for a good portion of my life. I finally found that, at my core, I am not motivated by extreme wealth, power or fame. I'm not interested in many of the things that my father was interested in. But, from birth, I was set up to feel that I needed to be some version of my father. All because I was given the exact same name.------I recognize this predicament in famous namesakes like Frank Sinatra Jr. and George W. Bush. They both tried to follow in their father's footsteps but they came up,short. Successful in their own right perhaps, but unable to truly form their own destinies. --- Surely most sons,who are given their father's name,end up well adjusted. But, I would never add any potential psychological roadblock(no matter how slight) to any child's life by not giving them their own name.

September 29, 2016 12:00 PM
By VITO (not verified)

My 2 cents; I am not a junior but carry the first and last name of my father. The only reason my parents chose not to make me a junior is because they gave me a different middle name. It was their choice not to make me a 'Junior'.

It is an absolute pleasure in my case to carry the name of my father. Some people may not have the same experience or opinion than I, but that is fine.

My father is an excellent, hard working, kind, and self less man. My sister is named after my grandmother. My twin brother, after my Uncle, and me after my father. My youngest brother was given a unique name that has no roots to our family, but just a name that my parents liked.

As a 31 year man, and a soon to be father, I may pass my father and my name to my son as well.

My wife loves the name Vito, and she wants to have a boy, and wants to name him Vito as well after me, and my father. She tells me all the time that she thinks my name is a strong name that people never forget. She also tells me all the time how a namesake can pass along so much more to your child. I read once that children who carry on a namesake typically have a stronger bond with their parent. They tend to want to accomplish something in the sake of their name, for themselves, but also for the family members that they share a name with.

To each their own. I do not believe it is egotistical, but a beautiful reminder of a great parent.

May 18, 2017 12:23 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Your an idiot.

January 16, 2018 12:39 PM
By steven sr. (not verified)

i have a son with my fiance. we made him a junior . she suggested it . its an honor and i am proud . everyones different though.

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