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Does My Baby Need Her Own Special Name?

I've had a first name chosen for a girl for years: Elliana. I'm struggling with her middle name. My mom's name is Kathryn, and I would like to honor her. Should I go with Elliana Kathryn? Or use Elliana Kate as a way to honor my mom, but still give my baby her "own" name?

–Like Mother, Like Daughter

It seems to me that your baby would already have her own name: Elliana. But let's look at the question of what constitutes an homage: What's the best way to honor your mom in her granddaughter's name? Generally, the standard is: Will the honoree (or if she is deceased, the people who loved and remember her) feel suitably honored by the name you choose?

In some cases, a shared initial, a modification or update (like Jackson to honor a Jack, or Caroline for Carol), or even a word or place associated with the person will do the trick. Practically speaking, though, the further you get from the original name, the less potent the homage. Maybe that's what you’re going for: a link, but not a direct one. In that case, Kate is great!

But if you'd like to really make clear that your baby is named for her grandmother—and assuming that your mom doesn't use the nickname Kate—you might stick with Kathryn. That's especially true with a middle name, where the bar is a little higher. There's less style pressure when you're not calling the child by this name regularly, so why not use the real deal?


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April 11, 2017 12:49 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

I'm a big fan of updating tribute names as a way to keep the thought the same without using a name you maybe aren't crazy about. It's why my daughter is Hazel Annika, not Hazel Ann. My mom liked it and understood why we didn't want the middle name to be exactly the same for three generations in a row.

We would have done the same thing if we'd had a second girl -- honoring a Katherine who went by Kay with the middle name Kate. Penelope Kate turned out to be Miles Andrew, so it was a moot point.

April 12, 2017 12:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Either is fine, so long as your mom sees Kate as being an honor name. It won't really matter what you use if she doesn't feel honored.

I second what NameLady said about your daughter already having her "own" name. I can see this being a concern if you were giving her the exact same first & middle as your mother, but that's not what you are considering.

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