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Can You ‘Steal’ a Middle Name?

Jul16

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I don’t know if you’ve received this question before, but I’m curious what your opinion is. Please forgive me if this doesn’t come across as very coherent. I have an almost three-year-old who demands every second of my time belong to her, so it’s hard to concentrate on writing. Anyway…

A little over four years ago my brother’s girlfriend found out she was pregnant and having a girl. My brother had a son from a previous marriage, but this was his first daughter. While deciding on a name, he talked to my sister and told her he was going to give his daughter the same middle name our mother had, which is also my middle name (I believe it was also my great-grandmother’s middle name). My sister told my brother to talk to me because I likely also planned to pass on the same name. My brother “talking to me” consisted of him telling me the name his daughter would have, and telling me that if and when I had a daughter of my own I could use my grandmother’s first name as a middle name. As grateful as I was to have him already naming my, at the time, non-existent child for me, I pretended like that was a great idea and let the conversation slide into the past.

A year later, I found out I was pregnant and having a girl. While deciding on a name, I ignored my brother’s “advice,” and gave my daughter my middle name as her middle name. I had always planned to pass on that name, and my brother giving it to his daughter didn’t change my mind about my plans.

Now, my siblings are actually half siblings, from my mother’s first marriage. They are also more than ten years older than me, and we don’t spend much time together. My daughter will likely spend very, very little time with her cousin. I don’t know how my brother felt about me giving my daughter the same middle name, and, honestly, I don’t care. We’ve never gotten along that well. It is just a middle name after all, and it’s a very popular middle name.

So, this is my question. I know it’s a big deal to not steal first names (or very rude to steal them), but what is the etiquette with middle names? I’ve thought about, “What if my brother and I were close? What if we did plan to have our kids spend a lot of time together?” Is it a big deal to give cousins the same middle name? Obviously, my decision was made a while ago, but I’ve been curious if I broke some cardinal rule or if a rule even exists.

Thanks,
N

VAGUELY RELATED FIRST-PERSON STORY TIME AHOY!

So. Like you, I also have older half-siblings. Six total, as each of my parents’ had three children from a previous marriage. The youngest was nine years old when I was born…the oldest was TWENTY. So. Yeah. I was probably more like an amusing (or annoying, depending) new puppy when I was born than a for-real sibling. I am now relatively close to a couple of them, others not so much, blah dee bleep blah, etc. But I’m actually closer in age to some of my siblings’ children than I am to my actual siblings.

One of my nephews (THE POINT, I AM GETTING TO IT) was born when I was still a pre-teen, and his middle name is Noah. There are no family ties to that name on our side — we’re Irish — but my brother’s wife was Jewish and he converted prior to marrying her, so they chose a middle name to honor that.

Flash-forward many years later, I’m pregnant with a boy and Jason and I are struggling mightily to agree on a name. “Noah” gets floated as a possibility fairly early, but I strike it down because of my nephew. I thought maybe it would be weird. A few months later, I emailed my brother and asked if he had any objections to us naming our son Noah, stressing that I completely understood if he thought it was strange or encroaching or whatever. He immediately responded that not only did he NOT CARE, he was actually touched/flattered that we loved that name so much. We were absolutely free to use it.

So. This story isn’t a direct correlation to yours: The middle name in question is a family name that is also, well, your middle name. And in both cases (your daughter and her cousin), the name stayed as a middle name. And if there’s a particular flavor of inter-family name drama that bores me to tears, it’s spats over middle names. Seriously, unless the middle name is getting used daily as an extension of the first name, WHO CARES. It’ll be years before the kids in question are even consistently aware that they HAVE middle names. (And further: I grew up as Amy Beth, quite possibly the most common combination this side of Amy Elizabeth.) (Which is actually what my parents picked out, then shortened it to Beth because there was another Amy Elizabeth born just hours before me.) Middle names do no warrant the angst they sometimes manage to cause.

But I guess I am wondering why you didn’t give your brother the heads-up that he gave you? Even if you weren’t thrilled with the way he “asked” about the middle name, it wouldn’t have hurt to email/call and say, “So yeah, it turns out my middle name goes really well with our chosen first name and I’ve gotten kind of attached to it since we last talked, so FYI, the cousins are going to share a middle name with each other AND their grandmother and great-grandmother.” Even if he reacted weirdly (which…again, MIDDLE NAMES!), you at least wouldn’t be sitting here three years later wondering if you committed some kind of faux pas or offended him.

Again, you had every right to use the name. I’m not saying you had an OBLIGATION to ask, just that it probably wouldn’t have hurt to reciprocate the name planning talk and let him know that you’d changed your mind about the alternate suggestion he gave you. Perhaps he made the suggestion because he thought you’d be upset that you wouldn’t have a “unique” middle name to give your own hypothetical daughter, not because he necessarily believed that once the name was claimed by him, no one else would ever dare use it.

If he DID believe that, well…that’s kinda silly. But hopefully four years later he’s gained the necessary distance and perspective on middle names. (Namely, that they are not worth fighting over.)

Either way: You mention that you guys aren’t close. It shows, especially in your reluctance to talk to him about this, either before or after the fact. Instead of feeling retroactively defensive or guilty (or whatever) about your daughter’s middle name, maybe see what you can do about bringing the cousins closer together (phone calls, web cam chats, mail, etc.). Two girl cousins, just a little over a year apart? What a nice relationship for them to have! It might not be too late to try again at the sibling relationship either, as I’ve gotten SO much closer to my older half-siblings now that we all have children. What’s the point of bickering over family names if nobody is acting much like a family in the first place? Middle names = not that important. Family relationships = important, and worth salvaging, if possible.

 

 

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

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Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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49 Responses to “Can You ‘Steal’ a Middle Name?”

  1. Melanie Jul 16 at 12:37 pm Reply Reply

    In my family sharing middle names is fairly common. Most of the boys have either their father or grandfather’s first name as a middle name. my oldest brother is named after my father so there is a lot of that name. It seems to be the same on my hubby’s side as his sister has twin boys whose middle names are after each grandfather (giving one of them my dh’s middle name). I actually think sharing is great and was always jealous because my mom and sis had the same middle and I was alone. Now my daughter shares my middle!

    • cls Jul 30 at 1:29 pm Reply Reply

      I understand the writer’s concern, because family matters are always fraught, and it’s often through accumulation, not just one little thing.
      That said, it’s a really nice idea to give your daughter a middle name that is shared with so many other family members, including yourself! Your brother sounds kind of clumsy in his thinking. But you can reframe the issue. It’s just a sign of kinship that you all share the name — you’re connected! In my family, most (though not all) of the women share the same middle name. I have it, my mother does, two of my cousins (who are sisters) both do, and I’m pretty sure a lot of my second cousins do, as well. It was given to my great-uncle as a first name, but it’s actually a last name on the maternal side of the family that I guess everybody likes to keep on remembering. I used to hate it, just because of its sound, despite getting compliments all the time, but now I am pretty reconciled with it as a way of having both my mother and my father’s sides of the family represented in my name. I also love the visible connection it gives me to my mom. Hopefully your daughter will feel the same way! Good luck.

  2. Karen Jul 16 at 12:57 pm Reply Reply

    I’m sorry, maybe it’s the bummer Monday morning I had today… so please forgive me. But the naming aspect of this question is a really silly problem to have. If worrying about giving your own middle name to your daughter even though your brother you don’t talk to much suggested you use a different one (maybe he thought he was being helpful?) is still nagging you after all these years, please count yourself lucky!

  3. Jenn Jul 16 at 1:30 pm Reply Reply

    This seems like such a regional thing to me. In the South, where I live, it’s not uncommon for half the kids in an extended family to have the same names, especially middle names.  My own son has the same middle name as my grandfather, father and brother, and my brother has already decided that his son will have the same middle name too, when he’s born – no drama at all; it;s just the way things are.  My other nephew shares a name with my father, grandfather and at least six extended cousins (we’re a big family).  I’m always amazed at the drama over “name-stealing” – who cares!  (Of course, my name is Jennifer, so I’m used to there being at least 4 other girls/women with my name in any given situation, from kindergarten on).

  4. Susan:) Jul 16 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    My mom, sister and grandma all have the same middle name. My brother’s middle name is also my dad’s middle name. My middle name is also my uncle’s middle name. I think it’s cool to use middle names to honor family members. I don’t necessarily like all my family members’ first names but I do plan to use them as middle names for my kids, as a way of passing on the names. And yeah, middle names are so rarely used, I dont see anything wrong with cousins having the same!

  5. SKB Jul 16 at 1:43 pm Reply Reply

    This seems like such a non-issue, and yet! I have two daughters – one 3 and one 4 months old. The older daughter has my middle name, which is also my mom’s middle name. I was considering having our younger daughter also have my middle name, but my husband objected because he thought his mom would feel bad. They already have his last name! I said, okay, and we chose one of his grandmothers’ middle names. But then there was a fight over the spelling of the middle name. Uggh. Anyway, Iong story short, I relented because in the end, it’s just her middle name. How many times have I even called her by her middle name? Um, never.
    But yeah, what’s the problem with the same middle names? They both result from having the same grandmother, right? That’s a very fitting tribute, in my opinion.

  6. Dawn Jul 16 at 2:00 pm Reply Reply

    My family is Catholic and we go by the system of using a saint’s name as a middle name. Now we’re also fortunate that my dad and grandfather’s all had saints names as first names. (This becomes important.) My daughter’s middle name is my grandmother’s and husband’s grandmother’s first name, Elizabeth. When I was pregnant with my son, about 6 months behind my sister who was pregnant with twins, they chose to give their boys middle names reflecting the grandfathers. One wasn’t a saint’s name: Willis. The other was my grandfather’s name, Edward. 
    Because my husband and I are strong with the alliteration and our daughter’s name is Noelle Elizabeth, we also love the name Noah and ended up pairing it with Edward. This was decided for us before the twins were born and I knew what I was having but you know what? It doesn’t matter. We have a Carter Edward and a Noah Edward who has no idea what a middle name is, let alone that he has one. My sister and I didn’t talk about it because we were both honoring our grandfather. And it was a middle name so not a huge deal especially since my grandfather died 2 months before Noah was born. 
    For you to give your daughter your family middle name is a lovely tribute and a derisive wave of the hand to your brother who thought he could lay claim to a middle name that apparently a lot of women in your family have.

  7. Bonnie Jul 16 at 2:21 pm Reply Reply

    My aunt, cousin, and I all have my grandma’s first name as our middle, and I just gave it to my daughter. It’s always been more of a neat connection than a problem.

  8. Brigid Keely Jul 16 at 2:25 pm Reply Reply

    I have an older cousin who has my first name as her middle. Or I have her middle name as my first name. The names are spelled differently, and are both part of WHY YES WE ARE IRISH CAN YOU TELL naming schemes. It has had absolutely zero impact on my life, except I have one aunt who consistently spells me name wrong because she keeps thinking my cousin’s name is spelled like mine and vice versa, and I totally don’t care one bit about that because it’s just a mistake in spelling, big whoop.

  9. Martha Jul 16 at 2:31 pm Reply Reply

    The Name Lady addressed a variation of this question today on her blog and she advises parents who are wondering about using a family name to just gently tell the rest of the family they will be using the name, rather than asking their permission.    
    http://www.namecandy.com/name-lady/2012/07/16/do-we-need-permission-to-use-this-name
    Middle names are fun to pick but essentially meaningless in day to day life.  I wouldn’t even consider this question an issue, but if you do feel like it is it might be nice to ask your brother!  It sounds to me like you feel that your brother “stole” a name from you, so maybe that is a bigger concern in this question?

  10. Pauline Jul 16 at 3:07 pm Reply Reply

    I absolutely agree, though I am surprised your brother didn’t care if you used the same name as his son … in Jewish tradition that is frowned upon. (I was going to say “isn’t kosher” but thought I should restrain myself.)

    Oh well.

  11. Rebecca S. Jul 16 at 3:21 pm Reply Reply

    Yes, in my family middle names are definitely shared amongst the cousins.  My mother’s sister and brother had girls within a year of my birth, so we all share the same middle name: Stacey Leigh, Rebecca Leigh (me) and Kelly Leigh.  Frankly I think Kelly got the short end of the stick there.  But none of us have every used our middle names, so it’s never really been a big deal.

  12. -k- Jul 16 at 3:26 pm Reply Reply

    Yeah, this is not a Thing. Once they’re given, middle names are so rarely thought of or spoken.. I can see getting bent out of shape about first names, but not this.

    Maybe because it seems like such a non-issue (and also because it’s her *own* middle name), I don’t think the LW had any obligation to reach out to the brother beforehand. I’m also sensitive to prescriptions for family togetherness- I just kind of figure that when people aren’t close, they usually have their reasons. I haven’t spoken to one of my brothers for years and always found it really bothersome when people who didn’t know the details suggested that this was Wrong, because we’re Family. (I know nobody here is saying it’s Wrong, but the “but you’re family!” thing is definitely there.) I get that it’s a mindset that exists, but it’s not universal.

  13. squorkymama Jul 16 at 3:37 pm Reply Reply

    Huh. I middle-named my son for his Great-Grandfather’s first (and Grandfather’s middle) name. My cousin has the same middle name. I never even thought to ask/question its usage, since 1) it is a MIDDLE name, and 2) why on earth would someone be offended that another family member wants to honor the same family member in that fashion? 

    I remember my Aunt saying, “Oh! Another Ross!” and didn’t think that it could in any way be a negative exclamation…Maybe it was! But, I don’t care! Done is done…

  14. Lydia Jul 16 at 3:53 pm Reply Reply

    Huh. My brother gave his daughter my middle name as her middle name. But it was originally our grandmother’s first name. So, I still think of it as “grandma’s name” not mine. If asked I’d say my niece has her great-greatmother’s name as a middle name. I don’t have kids yet, but I would still consider using it for sure. I don’t think he’d even notice…I have a feeling this is more about your relationship with your brother than about the name.

  15. Therese Jul 16 at 4:28 pm Reply Reply

    Hopefully the brother sees it (as your brother did) as a nice thing for the cousins to share rather than name “stealing.” In my family, my sister is Mary Catherine, my niece (brother’s daughter) is Anna Catherine (goes by Cate) and my daughter is Olivia Catherine. It’s a long story as to how we all got to the point of Catherine being the middle name but the real point is this: I was a little anxious to use Catherine for my daughter’s middle name due to the “oversaturation” factor and hoping my brother wouldn’t mind. Turns out, everyone thought it was a great idea and loves the connection. Thankfully, unlike what the OP describes, our family is close (even though the older siblings are also half and much older) and we were able to talk about it in a loving way.

  16. Amy Jul 16 at 5:23 pm Reply Reply

    Holy carp, I’m Amy Elizabeth, too.  My grandma was “Betty” and it was a nod to her, as well as to Little Women (my sister is Megan).  I named my second child Claire Elizabeth.  When my sister, Megan, was pregnant with her daughter, she asked me if she could use my middle name and name her Kate Elizabeth.  I said, “of course!  How else will she know if she’s in trouble?”  My oldest is Mary Grace, and we call her Mary Grace, so she doesn’t have a middle name and I call her “Mary Grace Elizabeth” when she’s in trouble.  My son is John Paul, but we call him Jack, so he’s Jack Elizabeth when he’s in trouble (or, occasionally, “John Paul George Ringo!”).  And, of course, the dog is Penny Elizabeth when she’s in trouble.  

    I firmly believe that everyone should be called Firstname Elizabeth whenever they’re in trouble, just so everyone knows what’s what.  

    I probably ought to write a blog post about this, because it’s just silly.

    • tasterspoon Jul 18 at 2:58 pm Reply Reply

      I was already laughing when you mentioned Jack Elizabeth but calling the dog Penny Elizabeth sealed it – you’re hilarious.

  17. Kirsten Jul 16 at 6:08 pm Reply Reply

    When www chose to give our son a middle name after my grandfather (who died a couple of years before), I was also worried about this. A cousin I’m not really close to (emotionally or geographically) had already given her son that middle name several years prior. Well, my mom told her about it while I q&a pregnant and one day I found the sweetest post ever on my Facebook wall. She said how much Grandpa would have liked it, how tickled he’d been to have her son as a namesake, and how great it is that he’s living on through or children. People can surprise you in generous, loving ways.

  18. Kirsten Jul 16 at 6:12 pm Reply Reply

    So, yeah. Posted that from my not-so-smart phone. Apologies for the ridiculous typos.

  19. RookieMom Whitney Jul 16 at 6:16 pm Reply Reply

    My cousin and I, who are close, were both expecting at the same time and early in our pregnancies, when we compared notes, we discovered we had independently decided on the very similar names Scarlett Lake and Violet Lake. (Lake being the name of our shared grandmother.) I was thrilled about the link, but they ended up having a boy. Three years later when they had a girl, I was hoping for little Violet Lake to become a cousin to my 3-year old Scarlett Lake. Wouldn’t the girls love that bond when they are older? But my cousin had moved on to Hazel Mae.

    My point is that sharing a middle name can be a bond that a family enjoys or celebrates.

  20. MR Jul 16 at 6:56 pm Reply Reply

    My beloved aunt died unexpectedly several years ago. When I got pregnant a little bit later, I immediately thought “If this is a girl, her middle name is going to be Joan” after my aunt. Several of my cousins were also pregnant at the time. And, most of us ended up using Joan as the middle name to honor her. And we cried over how sweet it was to honor her in this manner each time we learned there was going to be another little girl with that middle name.
    I agree with previous commenters – 3 years after the fact you are trying to determine if you screwed up somehow? You say this doesn’t bother you because you and your brother aren’t close. However, the fact that you wrote in seems to indicate that it DOES in fact bother you. No, you didn’t do anything wrong. But, that still doesn’t mean you can’t say you are sorry. As I tell my dh all the time, “you say sorry because you hurt the feelings of someone you loved. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong, just that you are sorry your actions hurt someone you loved.

  21. Melissa Jul 16 at 7:27 pm Reply Reply

    My son and his cousin have the same middle name, but we used different spellings. In our family it is traditional to use the middle name as a way to honor a family member.  My husband and I managed to find names that were used on both sides of the family so we did not favor one family over the other. We both have a brother named Allan and so we used that as a middle name for our second son.  We told my brother when I was about 6 months along and we didn’t know it at the time but they were expecting as well.  When I found out they were having a boy too I asked if it bothered them and they said they didn’t care. So no big deal. :)

  22. Nicole Jul 16 at 11:02 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with Amy when it comes to middle names. Unless it will be used on a daily basis, I’m not that concerned about it. That being said, I did talk to my best friend before giving my daughter the same middle name as one of her girls. Both are named after their respective great-grandmothers and it’s a very common middle name. She was thrilled and commented on it being a great way to honor our friendship as well. My half-sister and I also have the same middle name. There are 16 years between us, it’s a common middle name, and reflects our respective maternal grandmothers.

  23. Elle Jul 17 at 12:59 am Reply Reply

    My two younger cousins and I have the same middle name no grandmother or family member with the name (not on that side of the family anyway)uncles and aunts just liked the sound of  it with first name they had picked out and used it…  It’s no big deal…  

  24. Shannon Jul 17 at 1:15 am Reply Reply

    In our family, every girl cousin has the same middle name, our grandmother’s middle name (May, which thankfully is a lovely middle name). When we announced we were having a girl, my eldest cousin didn’t even need to ask to say, “Hooray! Another May!” Needless to say, that is one of her middle names! I think it’s a lovely family bond.

  25. Alison C Jul 17 at 6:16 am Reply Reply

    I have three or four cousins who all have my grandnmother’s name as our middle name. The only conversation we ever had about it was to say we didn’t particularly like the name and wouldn’t be passing it on!

  26. Olivia Jul 17 at 8:17 am Reply Reply

    The whole name stealing “problem” seems so silly to me. Unless you completely invented your child’s name and someone really close to you gives it to their kid, it just can’t really be stealing. Most names are unique snowflakes.

    Anyhoo, my own name story is that my mother is Sidney Gayle LastName, but she has always been called Gayle by her family. So 8 yrs ago my cousin and his wife decided to name their daughter Sidney and my uncle (mother’s brother) says, “How nice you are naming her after your aunt.” Uh, no. Cousin didn’t even realize my mother’s first name is Sidney.

    Meanwhile, I have always thought I would like to give my daughter either Sidney or Gayle as a middle name depending on the first name we chose. We ended up giving her Gayle, but my cousin naming his daughter Sidney is not what kept me from choosing that, especially since these two little cousins will rarely see each other. Gayle just flowed better with the first name we picked. 

    • Olivia Jul 17 at 8:27 am Reply Reply

      “Most name AREN’T unique snowflakes.”

  27. VG Jul 17 at 11:55 am Reply Reply

    From my experience, or within my family, middle names are very common names that most people don’t use for first names anymore. You know, since its “cooler” to use a “unique” sounding name as the first name. I have a VERY COMMON middle name, Ann, with no “e” and almost everyone or other documents have it with the “e”. Go figure.
    I have a daughter and we went with Maria as her middle name and it was an homage to her Italian roots (hubby’s great-grandmother was Maria, his grandmother was Mary but they would call her Maria in jest). She has an Irish first name since my hubby and I are of Irish decent, its a popular one, so its not unique, but we love it and her :) And I may have said her middle name maybe 5 times ever. Now my hubby likes to bust that out when she’s not listening to us…. :)

  28. KIm Jul 17 at 12:22 pm Reply Reply

    Middle names, schmiddle names. I just like hearing the stories behind them. I have an incredibly common middle name, but it’s a mashup: paternal great grandmother Mary + maternal great grandmother Maria = Marie. So my eldest daughter has great grandmother Estelle + great grandmother Betty = Elspeth. A son would have had Great grandfather Robert + father Richard/dick= Roderick, but instead my second girl got Robin (because Roberta? no way.) But my oldest just gets her full first name: Gwen–DO-lyn! when she’s in trouble. Julia Robin gets both names fairly frequently because they’re pretty together. (And if my brother or my cousin decides to use Robert or Estelle or Betty as names, I will be thrilled. Because they were/are wonderful people who deserve to be remembered.)

  29. Corinne Jul 17 at 1:30 pm Reply Reply

    We actually pass down a middle name (Marie) on my mom’s side of the family. One of my great-grandmothers, and a great-great-aunt had it, my grandmother has it, one of my aunts has it, I have it, my cousin has it, and a different cousin’s daughter has it. We all have the middle name Marie, and if I have a daughter, her middle name will be Marie. I think it’s a cool tradition and I can’t imagine people getting upset over it (well I can because people can be unreasonable, but you know what I mean).

  30. Kat Jul 17 at 1:59 pm Reply Reply

    Oh man. We had our son 3 months ago and had planned on Oliver. My SIL was a few months ahead with a baby girl…Olivia. So we switched since we came after (and the kids spend A TON of time together), and she and I just laughed it off. My kid’s name does not define him or have really much to do with who he is… I will never understand the intense attachment to names. Isn’t there something more exciting to focus on: a new baby?!?

  31. Hannah Jul 17 at 2:00 pm Reply Reply

    My husband, father, and brother all have the same middle name; it was also my husband’s late grandfather’s first name. When our second son was born we chose that very popular middle name as his first name and everyone loved it. Now that he’s four, he’s tickled that he shares his name with so many people he loves, and it feels more meaningful to all of us to share that sense of connectedness.

    Also, every generation in our family going back seven generations now there is a “Katherine”, whether as a first or middle name. 

    There’s a lot to be said for tradition instead of always going the weird “let’s make up a name so no one but our kid ever has it, EVER” route.

  32. Amber Jul 17 at 2:58 pm Reply Reply

    I’m one of these middle name kids. My middle name is my mother’s maiden name. She had no brothers, just one sister, and my grandfather was an only child of 2 other only children. When I was born she wanted to honor her father’s family by including it in my name. Fast forward 12 years and my cousin is born, and she has the same middle name. Fast forward another 12 years and my daughter is born, and guess what? She has the same middle name as me and her cousin. And my sister plans on giving her daughter the name as well. It was never an issue with us. In fact, my mom feels so bad that my sister doesn’t share the name, that she’s offered to help her legally change her middle name. Sharing names is pretty common in the south. I have no advise, other than I agree with Amy. In my opinion, this really is a non-issue unless you or someone else freaks out about it.

  33. Corinne Jul 17 at 6:01 pm Reply Reply

    I’m Catholic so a good 2/3 of the girls in my family have the middle name Marie and most of the rest are Ann. Heck, even a set of sisters wound up with Marie as middle names (don’t let big sisters pick little sisters names, yo) So not an issue worth worrying about

  34. Erica Jul 18 at 12:13 pm Reply Reply

    One thing to consider with older cousins is how THEY feel about sharing their names.  I’m very close to my sister and her boys, but I didn’t think twice about gleefully announcing in front of Isaac William that I would be naming my boy William after our grandfather! YAY GRANDPA BILL HAVING A LEGACY WE MISS YOU BIGG KISS-HUG!
     My 6 tear old nephew, however, got sort of sad and felt like I was stealing his name.  Because she is awesome beyond compare, my sister talked him through it and reiterated how much we all loved our Grandpa and how we both wanted to honor him by passing on his name, and I apologized and begged forgiveness and now?  The two are fast buddies at ten and four and think their name connection is very cool.  I just wish I had considered Isaac’s feelings more at the time. Kids have feelings too, and I knew that, but I didn’t anticipate his reaction.  Sigh. 

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Jul 18 at 12:30 pm Reply Reply

      Thank you for this. I’m sure the last thing anyone would want to do is hurt a child’s feelings. Happy to hear the nice ending.

  35. Valerie Jul 18 at 12:41 pm Reply Reply

    I feel like sharing middle names just isn’t a big deal. We have a couple family names that would be long gone if it weren’t for people using them as middle names for their kids. I think it’s kind of cool to share a middle name with your cousin or aunt, particularly if it once belonged to someone you both care for.

  36. Kat Jul 18 at 6:18 pm Reply Reply

    My husband, his brother and their father all have the same middle name, Jon. Fast forward to my two sons and without question they are Jon middle named as well. My hubby and brother share it with their father and my boys share it with their father as well. They all love the connection!

  37. Tracy Jul 24 at 1:40 pm Reply Reply

    Amy, I’m kind of surprised you think her brother deserves a heads-up that she is giving her child HER OWN MIDDLE NAME.

  38. Bear Jul 29 at 12:42 am Reply Reply

    I am weighing in only to say that my brother has twin boys, and neither of them got the middle name Danger /only/ because they couldn’t think of another middle name as cool and didn’t want one of them to feel slighted. 

  39. Autumn Jul 29 at 6:53 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter’s middle name is Jeanette after my grandmother (dad’s mom) whom I loved dearly, and now my baby is showing hints of red hair, just like my grandma.  It’s a sweet reminder of her.  I love my mom’s mom Evelyn, but her name is a bit trendy now so it was never really in play, and she’s still living so I kinda feel weird about honoring living elderly relatives as such; also my mom’s middle name is Evelyn so the name is passed down.  My middle name is my mother’s, Joyce

    My husband’s grandma’s names are Floretta (never going to happen, sorry world) and Charlotte.  A cousin just used Charlotte for a middle name for her daughter, and I would like to use it if we were to someday have another girl, but that branch of the family kinda repeats names.  A lot, so if someone is talking about Lauren or Eric, you have to clarify which one.  

    • Autumn Jul 29 at 6:55 pm Reply Reply

      Replying to my own post, but what stinks is we both like the names Eric and Lauren, but that would be the third or 4th use of a first name. . .

  40. Barbra Drake Aug 06 at 12:14 pm Reply Reply

    Wow. Really, what an odd little thing to be anxious about. I’m so glad I was born/married into the families that I am. When this sort of subject come up, the response is allways, “Hm. How interesting/humourus.” Seems like some people have anal retentativeness in their genes and pass it on down.

  41. BobLoblaw May 20 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

    I know I’m a little late to the party and I didn’t read any of the responses BUT I will say my sister and I had the same exact middle name which happens to be our mother’s maiden name. We both plan on passing it along to our future daughters, who will be cousins. I say the brother can suck it up and get over it.

  42. Kate Jul 24 at 1:45 am Reply Reply

    Not to totally beat a dead horse, but I am another voice for the so not a big deal camp.  In my family passing family names down is a looong tradition.  I share a middle name with my grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle & a cousin. (As a youngin’ I may have hated being the only girl in school/ with “non-girly” middle name like Lynn etc., now I love it.)
    What’s more, I happen to share a first name & last name with one of my cousins.  We both happened to named after maternal grandmothers.  To differentiate us at family events I was BigKate and she was LittleKate (I am older).  And to my knowledge there wasn’t ever any issue about this.  My cousin and I totally have a special little bond over the fact that we have the same name. 
    I am getting married in a month and I will eventually be changing my name.  And of course, the Mr. has a cousin named Kate.  :)

  43. Elizabeth Sep 15 at 11:22 am Reply Reply

    When I was pregnant with my last child my sister-in-law told me that she was planning to name her new dog ‘Casey.” I asked her not to do that because we were planning on naming our new baby the same name. She still did. To me it wasn’t so much that the name was no longer unique but that she showed a total lack of respect to my husband and me. However, the dog was so obnoxious that he was long gone before the baby was born, so all’s well that ends well :)

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