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This Old Family Name Is Too Old!

My husband's name is Charlie, and he is named after his father, whose name is also Charlie. I am now 6 months pregnant with a boy. My husband wants to continue the tradition and name our son Charlie, but I think the name is too old. What do I do?

–Not Sure If III Is the Charm

First, let's talk about whether Charlie is "too old." It’s true the name has been around forever, but Charlie—and Charles—are perennial classics, not so-retro-they're-out style duds. But of course, "old" is in the eye of the beholder, and the point is, you don't care for Charlie—at least for your baby.

And that’s the bigger problem. The core issue with family naming traditions, especially a namesake with a Roman numeral III or more after it, is that there is just no room for compromise. There's only one name that continues the tradition, so it's all or nothing. No wonder you are chafing against the pressure of it.

So the first thing you need to do is decide whether you want to fight this battle and break the tradition. If you don't, there are some ways to keep the name but still give it your own spin.

You don't mention whether your Charlie III would come with a pre-selected middle name too. If not, there could certainly be room there for a name you prefer over Charlie. Calling your son by his middle name would let you continue the tradition, but select a name that you prefer for everyday use.

Similarly, could you use a nickname, other than Charlie, that you choose? Since the baby will have your husband’s first and last names, it's only logical that you could pick out a nickname to call him. This would also cut down on the confusion among the three Charlies in your family.


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

July 12, 2016 12:01 AM
By Kim (not verified)

Oh man, I feel you. I was not-so-secretly relieved that my husband wasn't a junior.
I did have a friend who went with her husband's name as the first, and then called her kid by his middle. I also do think that Charles has some great nicknames beyond Charlie - Chaz , Chuck, Chase.

July 12, 2016 8:24 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Charles is a great name, but juniors, thirds, etc. make it seem like the woman is just the birthing vessel for her husband's family.

July 12, 2016 8:36 AM
By Caitlin (not verified)

I am so glad my husband isn't a jr. We are using his middle name for our baby boy though mainly because it flows. My husband is Bobby Scott Mullen. Not Robert. Just Bobby. Lol his mom is pissed were not naming the boy a jr. I'm like well first of all its our choice. Second of allmy husband doesn't like his name either. Our son will be Finley Scott so it's similar.

July 12, 2016 11:07 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Not sure if OP is speaking of Charlie as on old name or been around too long in her husband's family.
A similar question was brought up recently on BNW. The consensus was to use the first name and mom picks the middle and that is used as the call name. In this case it was a longer standing tradition so hard for mom to dismiss. And even though she and many respondents weren't big fans of middle call names, it made the most sense in that case. For one spouse to insist on first and middle and assuming the last name is dad's is just too much.
I don't think that dad gets to have total control of the name and mom gets to...give birth? Sounds like a raw deal to me?

July 14, 2016 11:37 AM
By Allison W (not verified)

My husband is First Middle Last III, and our son is First Middle Last IV. We call him by a completely different nickname. It starts with the same letter as the first name, but otherwise is unrelated. In general we don't have problems... even with my FIL (who is Jr).

It does not make you a "birthing vessel for your husband's family." That's ludicrous.

If you don't want a Third, give your son the middle name Charles to honor Dad and Granddad and pick a first name you both like.164

July 15, 2016 11:34 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's creepy the baby would have had the exact same name if the mother had been someone else. It's as though the person doing the most work doesn't matter at all.

July 26, 2016 12:30 AM
By Mariah Carey (not verified)

Many congratulations for the new baby. Getting a nice name for your baby becomes really tough when both the parents have a level of disagreement. I feel it would be good, if you take a reference from few names site like Babynology on google. This will help you to get similar names to continue the tradition and your kind of American baby names as well.

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