Friday, July 8, 2011

What's in a Name?

How did we get our name? What is the most popular first name in your family tree (program)? Have you found any unusual names in your research or other research? How did/do you select a name for your kids? These questions recently came to me, so I thought I'd jot them down to discuss.

My first name is Beth (not Elizabeth, just Beth). I am not sure exactly how I got my name (maybe I should ask my mother), but my conjecture has been that since my mother's name is Betty, they picked Beth because it is similar. Yes, we both get asked if our full name is Elizabeth. Neither of us is Elizabeth. Sometimes I wish my name was Elizabeth, because then I would have nickname options. Not many nickname options for Beth. 

We selected the name Kirk for our first child because we like it, and after a Christian evangelist (and former child actor) Kirk Cameron. My husband also likes Captain Kirk of Star Trek, and I kind of like Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN so it seemed like a good name. We chose his middle name after my dad; my son has my dad's middle name. So now (if you didn't know) I am pregnant with our second child, and we have to select names again. We have two girl names in mind, but are having trouble with a boy name. My husband has a couple of ideas on boy names, but I'm not sure I like them. You are welcome to leave suggestions in the comments. We don't like "popular" names; we'd like him not to have the same name as several others in his class (or our town). It needs to be slightly unusual, but not extra weird if you know what I mean. One name my husband likes is Experience, which is the name of one of his ancestors. I don't like it, so there's very little chance our child will have that name. When I was pregnant with Kirk, he liked to tell people we were going to name him Abimelech, which means "my father is king".

Of course I and at least my mom and my sister-in-law are hoping we have a girl so then the boy name won't matter. My husband wants another boy, which might be easier as we already have boy clothes and toys. I think my two nieces (one almost 9 months old and one going to be born in September) need a girl cousin to play with. My closest girl cousin in age was over 3 years younger than me, which is not a big deal now, but when you're growing up it seems bigger. 

In certain cultures, they use naming patterns. For instance I learned in Germany they often use the same first name and then go by their middle name or one of their middle names. I have found several Johanns (Johns) in my family tree. Sometimes a child is named after a relative. Often they name the first son after the paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather, the third after the father, etc. That makes for confusing family trees. Also I learned just because he is John Jr. does not mean he is the son of John Sr. He may be the younger John in the family. 

Hopefully you learned something from this post or it at least got you to thinking of your names. 

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