Giving Baby a Family Name Doesn't Have to Be Lame

Christie Haskell

I know for some people, choosing to use a family name for their baby is a special choice, and one that they make willingly of their own accord, with no pressure. I am not one of those people. In fact, quite the opposite. My husband's family's tradition was to give all boys, not just firstborn or any of the boys, but all boys were supposed to have John as part of their name. 

I had no desire to do that. No, my husband didn't stomp and demand we did it, but he did tell me his grandmother, who I adore, would be hurt if we didn't. That was enough for me.

So I found a way to make it work.

John is not a name I'm particularly fond of. I'm sorry, I'm just not. My children's names are Rowan and Aurora -- common names just aren't my bag. That probably comes from being one of the millions of "Chrissy/Christy/Christie/Christine" girls out there, to the point where it was so common that in first grade, I had to go by Chrissy L. Note that L is not my last initial, but it's my middle, because there were TWO other Chrissy H.s in my class already! Aaaah!

But I digress. My husband's middle name is John, his uncle's name is John, and I hate the name John. I was not pleased. Boo to "John." But then my husband started explaining that his brother's middle name was Evan, he had a grandfather named Johann, a cousin named Shawn ... derivatives of the name John. Jackpot! So I looked some up and check this out:

John has 85 variant forms: Anno, Ean, Eian, Eion, Euan, Evan, Ewan, Ewen, Gian, Giannes, Gianni, Giannis, Giannos, Giovanni, Hannes, Hanno, Hans, Hanschen, Hansel, Hansl, Iain, Ian, Ioannes, Ioannis, Ivan, Ivann, Iwan, Jack, Jackie, Jacky, Jan, Jancsi, Janek, Janko, Janne, Janos, Jean, Heanno, Jeannot, Jehan, Jenkin, Jenkins, Jens, Jian, Jianni, Joannes, Joao, Jock, Jocko, Johan, Johanan, Johann, Johannes, John-Carlo, John-Michael, Johnn, Johon, Johnie, Johnnie, Johnny, John-Patrick, John-Paul, Jon, Jona, Jonnie, Jovan, Jovanney, Jovanney, Jovanni, Jovonni, Juan, Juanito, Juwan, Sean, Seann, Shane, Shaughn, Shaun, Shawn, Vanek, Vanko, Vanya, Yanni, Yanno and Zane.


So suddenly the name wasn't so bad, as I played with Owen (or the Irish spelling "Eoin"), Evan, Ivan, Zane ... we narrowed it down to Owen and Shane, but when we chose the first name of Rowan, it became pretty obvious that "Rowan Owen" was not a good idea, so he ended up (at a day old) being officially dubbed "Rowan Shane."

Of course, you can always take the route my friend is going as well, and use names that are similar, such as Alaina after her Uncle Allen and Lauren after her Grampa Loren. They may not be "official" derivatives, but hey, it's the thought that counts right?

Did you have to or choose to incorporate a family name?

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