In the old days, it was common practice to name your child after grandma or grandpa. Entire generations of the same family were named John and Ann, for instance, or had a name that was derived from them. The mid-20th century saw an end to this tradition and a surge in modern names. As a result of several changes in society (the rise of television, expansion of the media and the disappearance of boundaries due to modern means of transportation) names of varying origins have been newly introduced and used worldwide. The changing definition of the ‘traditional’ family has also contributed to the way that younger generations have named their children. Perhaps Michael Jackson, who named all three of his children after himself, is an example of how this age-old tradition still has its fans.
One in three parents names his or her child after someone. In many cases grandparents are the namesake, but a beloved aunt or uncle, or deceased relative is often honored in this manner as well. It is a nice thought that their names could ‘live on’ with a child. This is often done with the middle name, or by using a derivative of the original name (especially in cases where it may not sound right with a surname, or if a name seems too ‘old fashioned’). One can make very special combinations from these old names. By toying with letters, one can sometimes come up with a name that is similar to the namesake, thus still honoring the memory of that special person.
Whether you’ve decided to name your child in this manner or not, take into consideration that the great relationships you have now with family members may change over time. This could also happen if you were to choose the name of one of your friends… or of that cute little neighbor boy down the street. If these relationships ever turn sour, then your child is stuck with a name and you, the constant reminder.
Our advice: Whether you should or shouldn’t name your child after someone else depends on your wishes completely. If you can’t agree on what to do, you can choose the middle ground by doing this with the second or third name. Or choose a name that is a derivation of the name of the person you wish to honor.