11 Ways to Honor Your Family When Naming Your Kids

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baby nameNaming your baby is sometimes one of the hardest things to do. You can go the traditional or unique baby naming route, or even name your baby after a rock star or a member of your family.

You can scan baby books and lists for all but family names -- for those you have to do some family research. There are ways to honor your family when naming your kids without choosing the first name of your loved one. Here are some ideas.

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1. Check your ancestry records. There may be a great great great great grandmother who has a name that's perfect for your little girl. It's a great way to honor the past and even find a name that may have been common then, but original now.

2. Choose a maiden name. Many maiden names are beautiful and would make a fantastic first name. Perhaps it's your own or your mother's or anyone in your child's lineage.

3. Try names with the same first letter as the name of the person you want to honor. Perhaps baby's grandmother's name is Anna but you wanted something similar but different, then you could go with Annabelle or Anya.

4. Combine names. My daughter's grandmothers' names are Josephine and Lena. For her middle name, we honored both and merged the beginning of both names to create Jolene. You might be surprised how well this could work for some. Lena Jo would have been cute, too.

5. Call your child Junior. You can still go with giving your child the same name as grandpa or your favorite uncle but to avoid the two of them looking when their name is called you can call your child by their middle name or Junior.

6. Make the name of a family member the middle name. Bet you that relative will always refer to them by both names.

7. Take a look at other versions of the same name. Maybe someday my son would want to name his daughter after me. (A mom can dream!) Instead of choosing Michele, he could name her Micaela.

8. Look up name meaning and find inspiration there. The name Connor means "lover of wolves," so if your grandfather's name was Connor but you wanted something a little different, you could choose Wolf.

9. Don't forget to include nicknames. My great aunt's name was Catherine but she went by Tina. Many nicknames make fantastic first names, too.

10. Include the state or country where the relative is from when deciding. There are some beautiful names of places that are lovely for first names. Grandpa could be from India or China, California or Montana and they would all make a great moniker.

11. Include something that person is known for when thinking about a name. Maybe your uncle was a mason -- Mason is a great name. Maybe grandma loved her pearls -- Pearl is a beautiful name. It honors the family member in a unique way.

Are you naming your child after a loved one? How did you choose the name? Have your tried any of these ways or another?


Image via kaatjevervoort/Flickr

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Stashlee Stashlee

We went with Liam as a tribute to all the Williams in my family and used my madien name as a middle name. If I ever have a daughter I am torn between Liza for the Elizabeths in my husbands family or Clare as a tribute to my amazing great grandfather Clarence.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

Had we had a daughter, her middle name would have been Leeann, a combo of our mothers' middle names.


I couldn't talk hubby into using my mom's maiden name as a first name for a girl, much as I think it's adorable. No matter, though, since we had only boys :)

miche... micheledo

I, my aunt, my grandmother, and my great grandmother all have the middle name Dee.  It came from my great-great grandmother and her mother who were named Decandria.  I wanted to bring back the entire name, but I changed the spelling a bit because of the Dee.  So, my first daughter has the middle name Deecandria!

ladyg... ladygodiva74

I have 2 stepdaughters and I got my unexpected miracle baby at 37. I was always going to name a girl Kaitlyn Rose. But could never get pregnant, so when our blessing came she needed a strong unique name. My husbands mom passed when he was a Jr in high school, her name was Dorothy. My dad passed in 98, his name was Jewel (family very southern). Neither got to see grandkids. My mother Linda who is still living is a very important part of our life. I seen a name of a friends mil on Feb, older lady, name was Dorothi Jewelene. Which gave me the idea to incorporate all 3 names to suit our family. On 9/12/2011 we welcomed our healthy beautiful miracle into this world. Dorothea Jewelyn . We call her Thea. Thea just turned 2 this month and her name fits her so well!

ladyg... ladygodiva74

***auto correct got me! Her name is Dorthea Jewelyn.

nonmember avatar natalie

My eldest son's name is James peter - after his grandfathers! My youngest son is Evan Stephen, Evan is a name we liked...and Stephen is his daddy's name - so both have a family name. My grandmother, my mom, and I all share the names "Esme Natalie" - I never liked it growing up - nice idea and all...but I'm glad I never had a girl, because I'm sure it wouldve been expected of me to name a girl that!

Todd Vrancic

My wife named our oldest in accordance with her grandmother's wishes, that no baby have the first name of Rose, so our oldest's middle name is Rose.  Her grandmother was named Rose, but soured on her name when people nicknamed her "Rosie," and she said she just couldn't stand the thought of another girl being called "Rosie."  Personally, my wife and I think "Rosie" is a cute nickname, but that was her grandmother's thing, and we respected that.

keelh... keelhaulrose

My husband is Native American, predominantly Cherokee, so we named my daughter the Cherokee version of my name. 

nonmember avatar Surah

our newest addition is Kaydence Dean. Cadence is a drum "song" in marching band and I played in high school. It is also the play called by the quarterback on the field to the linemen and my husband was a lineman. Dean was my husbands aunt who passed two weeks after his parents wedding. If we have a son his name will be Andrew Luther Duane. Andrew being my husbands uncle who was raised as his brother and passed in 2007. Luther is my papaw who raised me and passed in 2011. And Duane is the middle name of five men in hubby's family so our son will have two middle names!

Anoro... Anoronlight

Our dd's middle name is after my hubby's mother, who passed when he was a kid. My son's second middle name (yes he has two. lol) is after my grandpa, it works out cause his middle name shortens to DJ. lol

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