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What if I choose ALL the names?

We want to honor both sides of the family with our daughter's name. I came up with the name Sue Mae (my side) Rose Marie (his side). Sue Mae Rose Marie. Is that too long? I love the name, but everyone else hates it. In my heart I just want to honor our Grandmothers. Nothing else felt right. How else can you make Susie Mae and Rose Marie chic and /or current? Help! - Loyal Granddaughter

Many parents try to honor multiple relatives with a single name. In the past, I've given my blessing to various creative approaches to the problem. But I'm afraid your friends’ and family’s instincts are right: Sue Mae Rose Marie is just too much.

First off, four names is two beyond the cultural limit. That limit isn't hard and fast, and there are times when an extra middle name makes sense. But do you really need four names to honor two grandmas? That long list of names is bound to backfire on your good intentions, leading everybody to give up and use none of the middle names at all.

Your quadri-name also runs into style trouble. The problem isn’t simply length; a name like Victoria Elizabeth has more letters and syllables but still sounds fine. The problem is a repetitive lack of variety. You’ve joined four short, common-sounding names, all of which are most popular as middle names. The effect is of a train of names chugging out of the station, each nearly identical car passing in turn.

If you're willing to be a little creative with your namesaking, you should find many options for combining Susie Mae and Rose Marie. Think of constructing a name as preparing a delicious stew rather than merely linking words together. Each element of the name should bring some different flavor to the mix -- without overwhelming the "main ingredient," the first name.

You're lucky with your ingredients, because each piece of the two names is linked to a longer one, providing you a wealth of options for mixing and matching. A Susie can be honored with a Susanna, for instance, or Mae with a Maisie. Rose and Marie have many extensions including the combo Rosemary.

Since no two of the names were enough for you, you might also try combining pieces of different names into inventive new mash-ups. Try playing around with variations on Susan, Margaret, Rose, and Mary and see where this leads you. I’m confident you can find a name that will honor the past, thrill your relatives, and hit that sweet spot in your heart.


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January 24, 2011 12:50 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Just because they are grandparents' names doesn't mean they are good names! I say this as someone whose beloved grandma had an extremely odd and not pleasant-sounding first name. Luckily, her middle name was Anna, so we were able to incorporate that into my daughter's name.

I don't think you have to string together everyone's names to honor them. Look at their mothers' names; I bet they'd be honored that you looked to their mothers or grandmothers. My daughter's first name is my grandma's grandma's name, and she is so happy we used it. Plus, it's a beautiful name that is right at home with the classic, old-fashioned names that are seen today.

January 24, 2011 1:17 PM
By MJ (not verified)

"But do you really need four names to honor two grandmas?"

She said her and her husband's grandmas, not the baby's grandmas, so there are four grandma.

January 24, 2011 1:48 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Reeks of indecisiveness.

January 24, 2011 2:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Four names is just too much, especially when they're all short names that seem like nicknames. I like the idea of Rosemary Susan Mae, though.

January 24, 2011 2:50 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Very choppy, uninteresting, and there is a good chance one or more of those middle names won't ever be used. The names do lead themselves to lots of potential other names as namelady has shown.

Other options:
Honor everyone by using the initials but chose other names. That also has the benefit of cutting it down to three names.

Do any of the grandmothers have middle names? Consider those as well.

Do you plan to have other kids? If so, why not just choose one grandmother from each side now and choose the other two for the next potential daughter?

January 24, 2011 3:30 PM
By J (not verified)

My grandma has a terrible name (even she hates). You don't need to name an offspring after grandparents to honor them. The honor is carrying on the family line that they created.

January 24, 2011 5:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I honored my gramma Alice by naming my daughter Heidi, a nickname of the source, Adelaide. Maybe a flower name for the Rose, a name that starts with Ma for the Mae and Marie and if either ended in ie it would cover Susie. So, maybe Violet Maisie or Maddie Iris?

January 24, 2011 8:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I was going to suggest rosemary too. Adorable, beautiful name.

January 24, 2011 9:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think that you can combine the Mae and Marie, like other people have suggested, and come up with something that sort of has the feel of both names. Something like Maryn, or Máiréad (which I pronounce like Ma-RAID, although I know some people pronounce it differently).

I LOVE Susie, and can't imagine why anyone would shorten it to Sue. If you think Susie is too "cutesy" you can always go with Suzanne, Susannah, Suzette, Susan, etc.

I personally hate the name Rose, but it's a classic so you can always throw it in as a middle name.

My suggestion? Susannah Máiréad, Susie Mae (I know you didn't like this, but I think it sounds classic and sweet), or Maryn Rose. No need to throw in ALL of the names; it sounds really indecisive and doesn't flow well.

January 24, 2011 11:33 PM
By Taylor (not verified)

I like Sue Mae Rose Marie. If a bit old-fashioned or short, it's nice. However, too many short names in one combo is just stepping on hot rocks. They're all one syllable long, and if you're using three of them as middle names, chances are they'll get skipped over on documents and such, using only the first middle name's initial.

As an alternative, how about just Sue Mae Rosemarie? Sue Mae would be cute as a double-barrel first name, but is equally nice as just Sue.

For a more formal first name, there's Suvi, Susanna(h), Susana (Ana sound), Suzana, Sumi, etc. if you fancy those types of things. Susannah Mae or Susana Mae nn Sue make a great double-barrel, too, and if not then Mae Rosemarie is nice as a middle name or two. :)

Good luck!

January 25, 2011 8:58 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Actually, how lucky are you- isn't one of the meanings of Susan(nah) 'Rose'? And Mae can be a nickname or derivative for Mary. Your grandmothers were essentially named the same thing!

January 25, 2011 11:35 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The meaning of Susanna(h) is "lily." Another nice flower name (although highly used now) to replace Rose.

January 25, 2011 12:57 PM
By Allison (not verified)

I would suggest Rosemary Susan Mae. Or Rosamae Susan Marie. Yes, I made Rosamae up, but why not?

Our daughter has a double first name and one middle name, which is a lot (her first name is 12 letters between both names), but it works. I think combining two names to make it 3 names would make it sound much better.

January 25, 2011 12:58 PM
By Pamela S (not verified)

"Sue Mae" sounds too much like "sue me". I'd steer way clear of that just on account of the fact that people do respond to subliminal messages.

January 25, 2011 1:01 PM
By Dearest (not verified)

I would personally go with Susanna Mae Rosemary which is adorable :) Lucky you to have so many good names you want to honour!! I have maybe one good name in all my family that I would actually use... Your problem is a luxury one...

January 25, 2011 1:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Mae Rose is the way to go. It's the nicest of the combinations, and using all four is just too cumbersome.

January 25, 2011 1:23 PM
By Sue (not verified)

My parents named me Suzannah Marie, and I always liked it! I like all the ideas about recognizing that Mae and Marie area lot alike, and Sue variations all mean Lily or just flower.

I will say from experience that I go by Sue in everyday life but am glad to have something longer for more formal occasions.

January 25, 2011 1:24 PM
By jenn (not verified)

OF COURSE everyone hates it.... its an AWFUL name combination. DON'T do that to your child.

January 25, 2011 1:24 PM
By Carol O. (not verified)

I love Maryn, Masie,and variations on Sue (but not so much sue). You can consider names that contain the letters of the original like Emma (mae and marie). You can take all the letters and come up with an anagram or partial anagram that contains letters from each name.

Susannah Rosemary
Susannah Mae Rose
Emma Suzanne
Rosa Mae
Sammie Rose
Samantha Rose Marie
Samantha Rosemary
Rosemary Suzanne
Summary Mae Rose
Rosalyn Sue
Suzette Rose Marie

Rose contains letters from all four of the names. You could use Roselyn with any of the others for the middle.

Roselyn Mae
Roselyn Marie
Roselyn Susannah

Sue Mae Rose Marie


Rose (contains letters from all the names!)

Definitely would not personally use the 4 name option but you have good framework to build on.

January 25, 2011 1:39 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Mae is a nickname for Mary which is a form of Marie. So actually we have only three names to reconcile here, and Rosemary is a great solution. Susannah Rosemary or Rosemary Susannah.

January 25, 2011 2:01 PM
By Marie is my FIRST name! (not verified)

Rosemarie is a name in its own right - no need to compromise for Rosemary!!!!

Accepting "Mae" as a nickname of Marie solves that problem, leaving....

Rosemarie Sue

I'm really not crazy about Mae and Sue together stylistically, but like the following names that utilize variants.

Maia Sue Rosemarie
Maeve Rosemarie Sue
Susie Mae Rosemarie

January 25, 2011 2:28 PM
By Mackenzie (not verified)

I think the most straight-forward and well-flowing option is:

Susan(na) Mae Rosemarie

Sue Mae is a bad idea (for a number of reasons, but "sue me" is good enough). But there's no reason you can't honor them all in a way that flows well in 3 names or less.

Susan(na) Rosemary

Might be an option if you're comfortable using Mary to honor Marie and Mae.

January 25, 2011 2:37 PM
By Annee (not verified)

I liked the suggestion of asking the grammas what names they would like to see used from the family -- you might be wonderfully surprised at what they come up with!

January 25, 2011 2:43 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My friend wanted to honor many people with her daughter's name, so picked a name she liked for the first name and made the middle name Honor, in "honor" of everyone!

January 25, 2011 2:58 PM
By Alli (not verified)

Sue Mae Rose Marie doesn't even sound like a name. It just sounds like a list of names.

I think Sue is a pretty terrible given name. It's fine as a nickname for Susan or Susannah as other have mentioned, but do you really want to limit your daughter to just Sue?

I like the idea of combining Mae and Marie into one name:

and combining Sue and Rose because they're both flower names:
Alyssa (for the flower Alyssum)
Samantha (-antha means flower)

Favorite combos out of those options:
Violet Maria
Samantha Mae
Linnea Madelyn
Zinnia Mary
Iris Marie

January 25, 2011 3:00 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I also came up with Rosemary Susan Mae. Lovely!

January 25, 2011 3:05 PM
By Alli (not verified)

Another option would be to look for common names on both sides of the family. Both of my parents have grandfathers named Oscar, and actually their wives were named Selma and Thelma (which is a little unfortunate), but you might find a cute name like Cora or Ruth or Olivia, etc, that pops up on multiple branches of your family tree and would be an easy way to honor multiple people.

January 25, 2011 3:49 PM
By MelissaBKB (not verified)

I agree that four short middle-ish names are too much.

So this is a little 'Renesmee', but I was thinking this mashup sounds cute:
Susie+Rose = Suse (pronounced like Susie minus -ee)
Mae+Marie = Maerie (pron May-Ree)

This is only a strict fidelity to the sounds you've laid out, but Suse Maerie sounds like a cool little girl to me!

You could also play with meanings and backro-name from there:
Susie <- Susan = Lily
Mae <- Maragaret = Pearl
Marie <- Mary = Sea, Star, Bitterness

Or what is it in particular that you admired in these women? Was one beautiful, another kind? Honest and lively? "You were named Callista Adele after my Grandma Mae because she was always so nice to people, and Grandpa George always told Grandma Rose that she had the most beautiful eyes."

January 25, 2011 3:50 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think there are some good suggestions here, esp. the ones that link Mary and Mae as roots of the same name; whether they are or not, I don't know, but it sure sounds plausible and that's good enough for me.

So, I would tend to lean, then, towards Rosemarie Susan or Rosamae Susan... Rosamae being an invention of a previous poster, but it sounds so much like a real name I wouldn't doubt that it HAS been used before, actually; either way, I really love it and I am not one for "name inventions". There are several variants there, but in order to honor people as closely as you seem to want to, I wouldn't stray far from those two... say, Rosamarie Susan or Rosemae Susan or something.

January 25, 2011 5:12 PM
By Lysis (not verified)

As previous posters noted, Susie is from the Hebrew word Soshannah meaning lily in ancient Hebrew. However, in modern Hebrew it means rose, so using a variant of Susanna would be a very fitting way to honor Rose.

While it is nice to honor family, you need to remeber that you child will be carrying this name around in her day-to-day life. Make sure the name you bestow will not be too cumbersome or too old-fashioned for your dd.

January 25, 2011 5:36 PM
By ahappyrobot (not verified)

Sue Mae Rose Marie does sound more like a list of names, rather than a whole name in itself.

I don't think you have to use two whole names to honor your grandmothers, just pick the first or middle of each (or are these the names of all four of you and your husband's grandmothers? I'm confused on that one).

I like the suggestion of Rosemarie Sue... very pretty!

January 25, 2011 6:14 PM
By Fiery (not verified)

While it's great to honor family members with a child's name it can also cause hurt feelings sometimes when you put one name before the other. Also I think it's really important for a child to have their own personal identity within the family

I really wanted to honor my grandma's when I named my second child. Unfortunately I did not like any component (first/middle) of their names individually. So I made a huge list of variant/related names of their given names and also the name in different languages. Then I went from there.

Also Rosemarie is a common name combination though often is confused with Rosemary.

If your Grandma's are alive maybe ask them how they feel. All the relatives I polled would have preferred that I use variant/related names to theirs instead of using their actual name.

January 25, 2011 6:35 PM
By The Foxymoron (not verified)

I have sympathy with you, "Loyal Granddaughter", because I also wanted to honour parents and grandparents with our baby's name. I think you might need to think outside of the box for this one. For us, the breakthrough came when we found out that my husband's grandmother's mother was named Edith - which is also my grandmother's name. So it was linked to both sides of the family. Perfect middle name for our daughter. You might find some link like this too.

But are you trying to honour 4 grandmothers with ONE name? I think that's asking too much of one little baby. Pick one or two of your most respected/loved/cherished grandmothers and focus on honouring those ones. You may have another girl one day, and you can honour the other grandmothers then if you want to. And if you have a boy, you can find ways to honour them even then, for example by giving your son the male version of their name, or by naming your son after your grandmother's husband or father.

If you really do feel strongly about all the grandmothers, and can't pick just 1 or 2 to honour, then perhaps look at the names themselves. I am sure that you will love at least one of the grandmothers names in its own right. Rose? Rosemary? Susannah? Mae?If not, I really do think that you should seriously consider giving your child a name that you DO love, and using 1 or 2 of the grandmother names as middle names only.

January 25, 2011 10:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You could also consider that the child's last name is probably shared with one of the grandmothers.

January 26, 2011 3:21 AM
By Jen (not verified)

I gave my eldest son three middle names. I had decided on giving him one extra middle name and at the last minute tacked his father's first name onto the end. With the exception of me using all the names when he is in trouble, no one ever uses the two second names. All his records except his birth certificate only have his first middle name.

I learned my lesson, my other two children each have only one middle name, both only 3 letters long. Ironically my daughter's middle name is Mae (after my great-grandmother and it's my middle name too) so I our course think that it is a great middle name.

January 26, 2011 5:55 PM
By Sara (not verified)

First let me say: I like all four names. But together it's too much! Why not take one name from each side of the family? Maybe Sue Marie or Rosie Mae? Or maybe change Marie to Mary or Rose to Rosie like I did. Or even Rosemary? Or maybe changing Sue to something longer like Susan or Suzanna? That's what I would suggest. For my daughter, Samantha, I changed it so her name would honor my grandfather's name, Samuel.

January 26, 2011 6:07 PM
By Els (not verified)

Shouldn't someone who calls herself The Name Lady get that it's the parents' grandmothers, therefore there are 4, not 2? Not to mention if you read name blogs, so many people give their children two middle names, so I wouldn't say 4 names is 2 beyond the accepted norm.

That being said, 4 names is a lot. And it's true that the names you've chosen don't flow very well together. But I don't know how you could just pick 2 or 3 without anyone feeling left out. Combining two of the names is a good idea, like Rosemarie. I think once you deviate too much from the original name, you're not really naming the baby after anyone (like picking a completely different name that just happens to have the same meaning). Or maybe start over. Can you name the baby after both of your mothers?

January 26, 2011 10:25 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

What about combining Sue (Susan) and Rose into Roseann?

Or Susie and Rose into Rosie?

What about switching up the spelling of Marie to combine Mae and Marie-- Maerie (could be pronounced Mary, May-ree, Mah-ree).

January 26, 2011 11:46 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think you should just pick one or two grandmothers to honor, and then choose a name that can be unique to your daughter.

I really don't think anyone expects you to honor all four of them in one child's name, so family will understand. And personally, I think the meaning becomes lost by using all names. It begins to look like you threw a bunch of people's names together without any real thought.

Are you particularly close to one of them?

January 27, 2011 11:19 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I hope you avoid Sue in all its forms, there are just a million prettier names out there. Love Maisie. Love Mariah. You could even use Amariah Rose. Just don't do Amariah Marie - it's the same name, twice.

January 27, 2011 2:07 PM
By Cecily's Mom (not verified)

If you really feel strongly about using all of those names for this child, my vote goes to Maisie Rosemarie. It sounds both classic and contemporary AND it fulfills all of your requirements. I think Maisie is a great combo of Mae and Susie. If you really want to keep things literal you could spell it Maesie, however, I think the former is a better choice. Good luck! Naming is both the hardest and most fun part of preparing for your little one.

January 27, 2011 10:14 PM
By Karma (not verified)

OK, as a dabbling writer, I have to say: please PLEASE for the love of all that is good and holy, don't give your little girl a name with both Sue and Marie in it!! It too easily brings to mind the term "Mary Sue", which is not a nice connotation at all. For those who don't know, a Mary Sue is a character that is TOO PERFECT and no one ever wants to read about. The male equivalent is either a "Gary Stu" or a "Marty Stu", depending on who you ask.

Although, if you really want to use all the names, I suppose you could try combining them. "Rose" and "Marie" gets you Rosemarie, so that's down a name (plus I think it's a nice one!). I'm not sure how you could combine Sue Mae into something that doesn't sound odd - I'll leave that to more imaginative namers! :) I know just choosing one grandmother from each side is not be what you want to do, but something like Mae Rose would make (I feel) a lovely name.

Point to consider: if you end up having 2 daughters, would you regret using up all the names on the first? Or would you prefer keeping a couple up your sleeve to bestow on the second?

January 28, 2011 12:28 AM
By Emmy Jo (not verified)

In defense of The Name Lady, Loyal Granddaughter was a little unclear as to whether she was trying to name her baby after four grandmothers or just two. Originally, I thought it was four, as she listed what sound like four distinct names. But then she said she was trying to think of a way to make "Susie Mae" and "Rose Marie" sound current. That leads me to believe that perhaps she's just trying to honor just TWO out of the baby's four great-grandmothers.

I think everyone else has great suggestions. I do want to second the fact that if you are trying to honor too many people, the end result may be that NONE of them really feel honored, since they didn't have to be special to be mentioned in your child's name. I like the idea of focusing on just one grandmother from each side of the family and choosing just one of her names. So if it really is only two people you're trying to honor, the possibilities are endless, but you might want to consider:
Susannah Maren / Maren Susannah
Susannah Rose
Susannah Rosemary / Rosemary Susannah
Shoshana Marie
Rosa Maeve
Rosabel Susan
Marian Mae

If you're set on using all four names, combining them into three seems like the way to go. My favorite is Susannah Rosemary Mae -- it's a little bit storybookish, but it's cute.

Good luck!

February 1, 2011 10:37 PM
By Arrafel (not verified)

Too many M's and S's for me, makes it sound too repetitive. I like the idea of combining the 4 names somehow, just how too do it without the repetition of those same consonants. Nothing wrong with making up a name.

What about something like these:

Rosanna Mayrie
Rosemary Mercy
Maerose Maeve
Rosa Maeyrie
Rosamae Marie
Maisie Rose
Samara Mae

February 2, 2011 8:00 AM
By dancerox9008 (not verified)

I know it's your grandmother's names and so you want to honor them, but have you talked to them at all about this?
You want to make sure that they actually like their names, because I'm sure if one of them doesn't like their name, they're not going to want their great-granddaughter to have to live with it as well.
I think Sue Mae Rose Marie is WAAYYY too many names. Like the name lady said, the style of each of them is too similar, and the first three are each only one syllable which makes it seem very listy.
I really don't like the name Sue. If you want to go with something similar to Sue, go with Susanna, because then your daughter has the option of Susie, Sue, Susanna or Anna.
I also think that Mae and Marie are similar enough that you don't need to use both. I really like the combo Rosamae Susanna (or Susanna Rosamae), or Rosemary Susanna (I don't like this one so much when it is flipped). I don't like Rosemarie as much because it is difficult to say, and most people think of the name as Rosemary, so since they look so similar, her name might get frequently mis-pronounced.

February 11, 2011 3:03 AM
By Nic (not verified)

Sumari (pronounced Soo-MA-ree)
Rose (pronounced like the flower)


_____Sumari Rose _______

February 11, 2011 7:43 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Oooohhh....nice idea! I like Susannah Mae!

February 24, 2011 1:40 AM
By Vivienne (not verified)

I think the name is just too much to say. I like both names though!

February 24, 2011 1:41 AM
By Bianca (not verified)

Its nice that you wanna honor both your grandmas but its just too much.

March 2, 2011 4:59 AM
By julie (not verified)

I gave my son 2 middle names to honor his grandfathers so i understand how important it is. I am probably too late in this reply but Masie Rosemary combines most of what you want.

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