Baby Names

Would (or did) you name your baby after someone? I love the idea of naming a child after a relative, but my friend Mary’s family takes it to a whole new level…

Mary’s full first name is Mary Keith (like Mary Anne or Mary Lou), although she has gone by just “Mary” since a moment of sixth grade reinvention. Her mother is also Mary Keith. Her grandmother is yet another Mary Keith. The name traces back ten generations of first-born daughters, starting in England before her family immigrated to the United States pre-Revolutionary War.

I chatted with Mary Keiths #8, #9 and #10 over the weekend, and both mother and grandmother said they never thought about breaking the tradition. Grandma Mary Keith believes “it takes a lot of the heat off everything.”

Mary has joked about breaking the name chain. “Ten generations is a good place to stop — a nice round number,” she has said. Or, “Hopefully I’ll just have a boy.” But seeing Mary talk to her grandmother about it, I don’t think she’ll break the cycle — and neither do the generations before her. “Eventually you just give way,” says her grandmother. “It was written, and that’s just how it is.”

My middle name is my mother’s name. Lexi’s middle name is the same as her mother’s ob-gyn, Ruby, who was a trailblazing doctor and one of the only women at her medical school. Toby is in part named after the author Tobias Wolff.

Baby names

Mary Keiths #6, #7 and #8

What are your favorite baby names? Will (or did) you name your child after someone? Do you have any family or cultural rituals?

P.S. The blind date test for baby names, and would you hyphenate your baby’s last name?

(Top photo by Rose & Crown)