Motherhood

How Did You Pick Your Child’s Middle Name?

Toby Goddard-Williams baby

My friend needs help…

Her first child is due any day now, and she and her partner have picked out a first name, but they’re not sure about the middle. “How do you choose one?” she asked me. After chatting with a bunch of different families, I’ve found that middle names seem to fall into at least six fun categories:

1. Honoring grandparents
When I was growing up, it seemed as if all my classmates had middle names passed down from grandparents. True to form, mine is Mary, after both my grandmothers. For Toby, we followed that tradition, and went with “Paul,” after my grandfather.

2. Your favorite singer/actor/historical figure
What about honoring a cultural icon? When Anton was born, we were so stumped by his first name that his middle one seemed like a non-event. When Alex suggested James — after singer Jim Morrison — I signed off immediately in a haze of post-birth exhaustion. A couple days later, I was like, “Wait, what did we pick again?” Thankfully, I loved it.

3. A place you adore
Then again you could go with a beloved place. My nature-loving sister in California chose a national park for her daughter’s middle name. “We went with Acadia,” she says. “We weren’t going to pick Yellowstone or Glacier.” She’s planning to take her daughter (nicknamed Cady) there for her fifth birthday.

4. Big sibling brilliance
What if you need extra help? A family in D.C. let their two-year-old daughter make the call. “We were on my bed, and I wanted her to feel excited about her little brother,” says her mom. “I came up with a few middle names that would work, and she was like…Leaf.” So, they went with it. “I’m not sure how I convinced my husband,” she laughs now. “A week after the birth, he was like, did we just name our son Leaf?”

5. A runner-up first name
Sometimes parents choose a first name that didn’t quite make the cut. “My dad loved ‘Erin,’ but my mom wasn’t sold,” my college roommate in Michigan told me. “So, as a compromise, he was allowed to use it as a middle name.” And he really went for it. Now she and her three sisters share the middle name Erin.

6. A little wink
Perhaps funniest of all, go for an inside joke. “My husband and I took a honeymoon road trip,” a friend in New York told me. “Our son ended up being conceived in Montana, so his middle name is Monty. Maybe we’ll tell him when he’s 18.”

What’s your middle name? If you have a child, how did you choose his or hers? Any advice for my friend? Thank you! Here are three offbeat middle names.

P.S. The blind-date test for baby names, and going from one to two kids.

(Photo of Toby when he was the all-time teeniest.)

  1. To choose my child’s name was not easy easy. We made a huge list and with results that eliminates the names of my wife and I did not like it. In the end, there were only 2 left. She decided: James!

  2. Eleanor Shepard says...

    Middle names in our family are usually a way to honor family names that don’t exactly “work” for a first name. Mine is Laws, my Great-Grandmother’s maiden name. When I was younger I thought it meant I had to be a lawyer growing up, ha! I’ve always loved it and look forward to passing the name along to my children.

  3. Shannon says...

    In my family, middle names are usually used to honor other family members. My middle name (Elizabeth) is after my mom’s mom, while my sister’s (Kathryn) is after my dad’s mom. Some of my cousins also share middle names with various grandparents. My brother actually has two middle names (Michael Daniel), after my mom’s brother and my dad’s best friend, who took his own life years ago. If my husband and I ever have a girl, her middle name would probably be Theresa after his mom, who passed away when he was 12.

    I also have a friend (Matthew David) whose tradition is to use the dad’s first name as the baby boy’s middle name. So his dad’s first name is David, and his son’s name is Aaron Matthew. Not sure if they have a similar tradition for girls, as he only has brothers! I have another friend who shares a middle name (Jean) with her mom and grandma. She has a little boy now, but she told me once that if she ever had a girl, her middle name would also be Jean.

  4. Fiona says...

    I was given the middle name María in an attempt to appease my aunt (a nun) who wanted me named after her. It is the overlapping name for every single female member of my paternal family (hello Mexico!), as well as the Spanish version of my maternal (Scottish) grandmother. My sister is the only non María in the family (named Sofia for the other nun-aunt that wanted a kid named after her – she’s a phylosopher so it was more of an indirect nod). My sister and I both have an Anglo first name (Fiona and Heather) and a Hispanic middle name to help with pronunciations. My sister needs it, none of my Mexican cousins could pronounce her name till well into middle school.

  5. Emily says...

    We have a really need tradition in our family. Middle names are the mothers maiden name. It’s a great way to include both sides of the family!

  6. Jenn says...

    We gave our son my late dad’s name and the name of our late dog that we had 15 years and was a beautiful companion. Both were very meaningful for us.

  7. SMDNY says...

    We found out we were having twins and choosing 2 names felt so overwhelming. Do you make them match? Totally different? We also opted to not learn the sex. We found 2 simple, well known but not super common, gender neutral names and were just exhausted with the process. I didn’t change my name at marriage, so they were given my last name as a middle name (it’s Davis, so works well). I like that it’s something they’ll share together and that ties them to me. My daughter, who is 3, was asking me about her name the other day and I explained that she was named after both her mom and her dad and her eyes lit up. It caught me off guard just how much it would mean to me to have her excited about that connection to me.

  8. Lynn says...

    my daughter’s middle name is Cozy… named after my mother -in- LOVE (law). She passed a few years ago and I miss her so much. I wanted to honor her and I have always loved her and her name.

  9. Sarah says...

    Neither my husband or I have middle names, so when our son was born, we considered just keeping his simple, too. But then a funny thing happened: I delivered at NY Downtown Hospital and as luck would have it, the morning I went into labor the maternity ward was really quiet, so we had a big room all to ourselves with panoramic windows looking out on the Brooklyn Bridge and across the east rive towards home. It was dreamy — and it really started to feel like kismet when my husband (who is a poetry geek) realized he had been carrying a copy of The Bridge by Hart Crane around in his bag since the previous week. And… that is how my son got the name Samuel Hart :) He wasn’t named after Hart Crane per se (Crane’s a pretty sad case!) but I loved the simplicity of it and the playful Hart/Heart duality. I felt like the name had been delivered to us — and still, every time I say it, it reminds me of the magic of the day.

  10. Abby Archer says...

    For our son we went with my hubs middle name, Patrick. For our daughter we did my grandmother’s maiden name, Marion. I love the idea of picking an inside joke or letting the older sib choose.

  11. Meridith says...

    Late to this post, but my middle name is after my father’s favorite boat that my parents saw on their honeymoon.

    Elissa

  12. My son had the name of the chosen medium to honor my wife’s grandparents. After much talk about which name would come first, she won!

  13. My daughter is Hennie James and she is named after my Oma Hendrika (a Dutch name) but I’ve always loved James for a girl and they sounded so good together.

    My son is Wells Hardy. Hardy is a surname on my English husband’s mothers side. As soon as we found out we were having another baby we pulled out his family tree (going back to the 1700s in Yorkshire) to mine for names. Among the many, MANY Elizabeth, Mary, and John’s was the surname Hardy. We loved it instantly for a middle name. Now we joke about how our son’s name is made up of three English surnames (Wells Hardy Procter).

  14. Hokidoki says...

    Since we are Chinese, my kids middle name are their Chinese names. Our tradition is to have my Taiwanese mother in law go to a temple in Taiwan. The monk will pick names and strokes for the names based on the kids’ birth date. Depending on the birth date, some kids will need more water element or wood element in the strokes. The monk will then give us a written explanation why certain elements are needed to get the right yin and yang

  15. LS says...

    My middle name is Adrianna, of no personal significance to my parents. I think they just liked the name! Our son’s middle name is Harvey after his paternal great grandfather. We both liked the name, but not enough for a first name. My husband and his late grandfather always shared a special bond, so it was also a nice way to honor his memory.

  16. My middle name is the name of my maternal grandmother, but that decision was made out of guilt rather than respect. My grandmother is not a good person from what I have heard – I haven’t met her to this day – and it seems like she kind of forced my mother into including her name in mine. Following with tradition, I no longer have anything to do with my mother either, so I don’t know exactly how she felt about my middle name, but I have a feeling it caused a kind of resentment towards me, as well as her mother. I have never used my middle name and hardly anyone knows it due to this awkward backstory, so if I could give your friend any advice, it would be to choose what she WANTS the middle name to be, not what she thinks it SHOULD be. I would hate for her to be pressured into including a name that she genuinely doesn’t like just to make someone else happy as that will only breed resentment.

  17. Jamie says...

    My son’s middle name is James, after a grandfather and three uncles, but it has the added bonus of being the masculine form of my name. So, when we had our daughter we went with the feminine form of my husband’s middle… Louise!

  18. Jill says...

    I felt that since our baby was going to have her father’s surname, and we were collaborating on choosing a first name, that I should get to choose a middle name. We had a daughter, and named her Siena after a city we love. I chose Catherine as the middle name, as it is my mom’s middle name and the patron saint of Siena.

  19. Lauren says...

    We didn’t have a middle name picked out when my son was born on Feb. 26. It was a lunar eclipse that night (ring of fire…) And when we found out he shared his birthday with Johnny Cash, it was meant to be. Elliott Cash♥️

  20. Ashley says...

    My daughters name is Haddie and we chose the middle name Beale because we live in Memphis and it’s a famous street. We always wanted her to be able to associate with where she’s from even if she ever moves. Funnily enough we actually call her both names together more than just her first name because it had a special ring: “Haddie Beale”!

  21. Molly says...

    My middle name is Suzanne after my aunt.

    For my first daughter I went with Jean which is my paternal grandmother’s middle name. I remarried when she was 4, and my husband’s mom’s middle name is also Jean! Added bonus there.

    We just had our second daughter in July, and her middle name is Kate. My sister’s name is Katie and I have many friends with variations of this name so it felt like a way to honor them without naming her directly after someone.

    If we have another, I will probably use another name that means something to us like that. My maiden name is Taylor which would work. We’ll see!

  22. Marie says...

    My son was born 25 weeks early, totally unexpectedly, so we had NO names picked out. The first name was easy though, since our wonderful emergency OB’s name happened to be the same as my grandfather’s. But we struggled with middle until we hit on Gabriel. Though neither of us is very religious, we loved the symbolism of the guardian angel, since our son really needed one in his medically fragile state. Now, 10 years later, he’s healthy and doing great, and I still love his middle name!

  23. Kayce says...

    Neither one of our girls has middle names. I don’t have a middle name, because my Mom assumed I’d use my maiden name as a middle name when I got married. Coincidentally, my husband and his brother weren’t given middle names, nor does his father have a middle name. Our last name is Campbell which will work well as middle names, if our girls get married and choose to take their husband’s last name. Only downside is that it’s almost impossible to have anything cutely monogrammed for them!

  24. Kristen says...

    One of my favorite authors. My daughter’s middle name is Austen. I always get her something related to Jane for her bday. One day she will appreciate the brilliance of the women she is named after.

  25. Mackenzie says...

    Both of my sons share the same middle name—it is my last name. Neither my husband nor I were particularly jazzed about giving our children a super long hyphenated last name, so we decided to incorporate my last name into the names of our children (a rather common practice in the part of the South where we live). My last name is rather rare, and my sons are the only grandchildren, so my parents were pretty pleased with the decision, too!

  26. Amanda says...

    I don’t have any children yet but I want to start a family in the next few years. Middle names of my future children have never been a question for me – my father or father-in-law will choose a Chinese name for them that will become their middle name. I am Chinese and my own middle name is my Chinese name (Mei-Chiung). Mei means “beauty” and Chiung is the common name that ALL my paternal cousins share (children of my dad’s brothers). Many of my family members only refer to me by my Chinese name even though they have no trouble pronouncing my first name and it has always made me feel closer to my heritage and family. For my child to be the second generation of my family to be born in Canada, I feel that this is one way that I can continue to keep a connection to my ancestors. I hope that they can fully experience and identify with the culture that I was brought up in.

  27. Breanne says...

    i have a scheduled c-section in just three days and while we are pretty sure we’ve chosen a name, the middle name is hard for me! my wife and i both had paternal grandfathers named joseph, and my father’s name
    is joseph but he uses his middle name, steve. my wife’s late father’s middle name was joseph. so it feels like we really HAVE to use it! but i just don’t love it that much. a part of me just wants to do something funky for the fun of it, but maybe that’s not the way to go. i guess we’ll see what he looks like when he comes out and go from there!

    Also, my older sister gave me my middle name, Michelle. :)

  28. Similar to naming after your favourite musician, both my kid’s middle names are after favourite books/authors – Atticus (TKOM, of course) and Isabel (after Allende).

  29. Jo says...

    I’ll add my story to the 600+ comments :)

    Our daughter was for the longest time going to be a Josephine but we changed it to Georgia midway thru my pregnancy. We couldn’t find a middle that really stuck. We considered May b/c that’s when she would be born but that sounded a little too cloyingly Southern.

    At that time we worked at a little B&B on the California coast. One day we checked in an Elodie and I fell in love! Being a French name, I had never heard it before and thought it flowed well. So she became Georgia Elodie. I liked that Elodie meant “little marsh flower” because she was our coastal baby.

    Then came our Swiss born baby. We picked Eli immediately. And never found a middle. After I had him we had five days to decide and I remember reading an article in my torture level sleep deprivation about a historical Nathaniel. I liked the story and the way it fit so he became Eli Nathaniel. I have searched and searched to find that article and person but have no idea who it was about!
    LOL.

    • Kate says...

      We have a Georgia too! Ours is Georgia Brave. 😊

  30. Gabrielle says...

    Our second daughter is Audrey Valentine; Valentine after Valentine, Texas – home of Prada Marfa and where we spent one of our favorite weekends ever.

  31. Ana says...

    We decided to honor my husband’s aunt who passed away a few years ago. She was an strong independent woman who fought for housing rights in DC for many years. I loved the idea of giving our daughter the name of such an inspirational woman, Madeline. It really worked out as my own grandma as the same name but with a French spelling. It was a sweet way to honor her as well although we kept the American spelling for simplicity. If our daughter had been a boy, we had picked the name of one of my favorite writer as a middle name.

  32. Lisa says...

    We went through IVF to conceive our son. My husband’s great grandfather was an Australian surgeon who was actually knighted for his contribution to the global medical community . He also had a perfect record of never losing a patient during surgery. His middle name was Lethington. Since we needed the medical community’s help in having a child, and he had been such a great medical presence in Sydney, we decided to honour him and the community by using the same middle name.

  33. We are Canadian but have been living overseas for nearly a decade. My son was born in Norway so we chose a Norwegian middle name, Magnus to honour where he was born.
    My daughter was born in the UAE so we chose an Arabic middle name for her, Leila.

  34. My daughters name is Liv, and I was looking for a longer middle name for the longest time. Just shortly before giving birth I remembered the name Aimée, which I first came across after reading the love story of two german women in Nazi Germany (one Jewish, one not) their nicknames were Aimée and Jaguar. I loved the story and the names since I was a teenager – luckily the dad loved my suggestion as well! so now my partly german daughter has a middle name referencing history, courageous women and my love of books.

  35. Heidi says...

    My daughters middle names are Rose – a family name and Linnea – which means star flower. Linnea is also a nod to the scientist Carl Linnaeus since both my husband and I are biologists.

  36. K says...

    I read something that said each of your names should be a different amount of syllables. It flows better. Maybe that will help narrow it down.

  37. Keri says...

    My middle name is the same as my grandma’s middle name. She doesn’t love it, and I don’t love it, but if I ever have a daughter you better believe she’s getting it too :)

  38. Riikka says...

    I got my way with the first name, I had a name I had picked for my firstborn since I was thirteen (from a book), and lobbed for it rather agressivily, and I really wanted the middle name to be my beloved grandmother’s. Luckily, my husband was cool with both. But he got to pick the third name and it’s he’s favorite video game character. So our daughter is a book character, grandma, video game character.

  39. mg says...

    My mom and her sister made a pact (when they were maybe 10 and 12 :)) to have the middle name of their first girl named after each other . My middle name is Ellen after my aunt and my cousin is Kathleen after my mom. How sweet is that?

  40. Mg says...

    Went with honoring grandparents
    Have twin boys and started with only agreeing on girls names
    No boy names at all!!
    Figured.
    Started out with more unusual names and landed with both first and middle grounded in grand dads and great grand dads . Nice feelings/memories -solid names all around and funny .. didn’t end up with any trendy names but still completely unique classic names . Laughed when our twins hit kindergarten and was so happy with their names. They have been all years through high school the only of their classic names
    These days so many
    Ethan’s and , Jackson’s. Lol

  41. Callie says...

    My brothers and I share our mom’s last name as our middle name. So not hyphenated, which I appreciate now more than ever, but still prominent.

    My mom kept her last name and in small town USA people assumed our parents were divorced but far from it going on 40 years of beautiful, tireless partnership and adventure.

    We plan on doing the same for our future children, although whether I forgo my maiden name is undecided!

  42. Penelope says...

    Ok, truth time in relative obscurity. I HATE my son’s middle name. So much that I don’t acknowledge it. It is my husbands family name. But I only recognize first and last name. The end. My mom recently asked how to spell my son’s middle name…and I literally don’t know the proper spelling.

  43. Alicia says...

    We got our daughters middle name from TV. In 2003 we were watching Friends a lot and Rose and Rachel’s baby’s name was Emma. For our youngest son we let his siblings decide between two names for his middle name.

  44. Fanny says...

    We went with maiden family names for both. My older son Peter is named after my dad so we honored my mother in law by giving him her maiden name as his middle name. My younger son Orson was (totally selfishly) given my maiden name.

  45. Jody says...

    Our oldest is Carter after the President and second is James after both my grandfathers but his runner up was Wolfe, a family name which a) suits him so much better and b) his initials would have been OWL for a lifetime of 🦉 theme. Dang!

  46. Max was supposed to be born in October, and August was a middle name in the running. He surprised us with his arrival seven weeks early on August 22. That sealed his middle name fate right then and there. When it came time to give our daughter a middle name, I was hard set on Mae. My husband wasn’t so keen on it, but compromised with a spelling change to ‘May’. So I guess we just ended up giving our kid’s middle names that were month names through absolute coincidence. I love that neither their first nor middle names had any significance outside of just being the perfect name for them. It helps me always to view them as unique individuals.

  47. Kate Z. says...

    Our one-year-old is named Georgia Brave. ❤️ I pray that she is a courageous woman who listens to God rather than to fear.

    Also, my brother and sister are adopted from Ethiopia and their middle names are the name of their birth father who passed away as a result of HIV/AIDS.

  48. Kate says...

    My sister and I both have E middle names and our mother happens to have an E maiden name. I plan to give all my daughters H middle names after my maiden name. (Maybe the sons too, but it might be nice to have something just for us girls 💕)

  49. Birch says...

    My son has two, because we figured we might not have a second boy, so we should just use all the names we like. First middle name is after my grandfather (my favorite relative, still miss him every day), and second is the patron saint (a Catholic tradition) of where he was conceived. That part is definitely NOT a Catholic tradition (haha). My daughter has two to match, both flower-related (because her first name is flower-related too). Elisabeth, spelled the Hungarian way, after the saint who is pictured with arms full of roses. And the second one is May, the month when everything erupts into blossom – especially all the fruit trees around where we live.

  50. Jessie says...

    We have three daughters. My first we used my middle name, Ryan, because if men can give their sons their names, why can’t women? For our second, I LOVED Grace Kelly so her middle name is Grace. For our third, we just liked the name Marie, so gave her that for her middle name

  51. Alyson says...

    Both my children were born in Thailand. I feel like thailand literally gave me my babies because we had to go through IVF. I knew I wanted to honor this time in our lives and give my children a little piece of thailand forever but was unsure how to mesh traditional western names with Thai. My daughter’s middle name is Lanna after northern Thailand’s culture. I was driving behind a tuk tuk one day while I was pregnant, that had “Lanna” written in big letters on the back And I just thought, “ there it is-Her middle name. “

    When I got pregnant with my son, I had started researching more boy Thai names. But they all sounded too foreign with his first name. It wasn’t meshing. I was asking all the Thai people I know about Thai names and was out of ideas. I was scheduled for a csection on August 9th and I told my husband that I really liked the idea of Jett as a middle name as it means the number “seven” in Thai (phonetically) but it felt silly since the #7 had no significance to us and him. Cut to August 7th- I ended up going into labor and he had to be born via csection that day. So it was really meant to be- Jameson Jett.

  52. Emma says...

    Our girls both have middle names from relatives we love. My eldest, Molly Babs, takes her middle name from my husband’s grandmother. My youngest, Norah Thomas, is named after my younger brother. Having them named after family that is no longer with us has created many unique opportunities to tell the girls wonderful stories and share special memories that I don’t think we would have otherwise shared.

  53. Lauren says...

    My boys have the same middle name as their father, uncle and grandfather- Kenneth. When my second son was born, I thought we’d fulfilled our Kenneth duty but nope my husband insisted our second son had to have Kenneth too…I really wanted him to but Dylan James bc I liked how it sounded but he’s Dylan Kenneth. It wasn’t a battle I cared to fight. When my daughter was born, I knew from the moment I was pregnant with her that her middle name would be Savannah, my favorite city and where we were married, I was glad I got to chose that one!

  54. Carly says...

    We didn’t have a name decided until the birth (we had it narrowed down to 2). As i was being prepped for the OR (birth plan out the window and incredibly emotional), I told my husband the name I preferred. The plan all along was to give him my last name as a middle, but again in the emotions of the moment, I proposed giving him my middle name instead. I share it with my mother, great aunt, and great grandfather, so it made since to pass it on my my child. After 46 hours of labor, my husband said “whatever you want!” Two years later and we still talk about how much we love our son’s name!

  55. Tara says...

    Our daughter’s name is River Valentine because my husband and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day!

  56. Lydia says...

    After going to the hospital in labor thinking we’d name my son after two great grandpas (Arthur James) we went in a totally different direction and left the hospital with Emmett Abraham. Emmett was a name we’d mentioned early in rev pregnancy and after I sent my husband to check on him he came back and said he just looks like an Emmett! It was the genuine look of love on my husbands face that sold me. We then spent five hours debating the middle name and ended up with Abraham as I like the religious history that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all Abrahamic religions and given the world my son was born into I wanted him to have a strong middle name that will hopefully inspire him to do great things ❤️

  57. Nicole says...

    When I got married, I changed my maiden name to my middle name and took my partner’s last name. My parents were so disappointed I changed the middle name they gave me. I complained about it to my Nonni, who was in her early 90s at the time. She admitted that she loved the idea and wished women in her era had these choices – there was no one to carry her maiden name. Well at the time, there was no one to carry it – now it’s my oldest daughter’s middle name.

  58. 'Becca'lise Deveaux says...

    I’m a big Les Miserables fan, so my daughter’s middle name is Cosette (also I played Cosette onstage as a kid, so I thought it was a fun nod to that). A reference to the arts is always a good idea to me!

  59. Alys says...

    Our daughter is Zelda Elizabeth and we had a couple of reasons for her middle namr. One because it sounds super fancy, one for the Queen and one because our surname also includes a Z and I couldn’t miss the chance to have that many z in a name.

  60. Laura says...

    #6! Our son’s middle name is Roan bc we had to move after he was conceived, and we wanted him to have a little part of Colorado with him.
    I came across an interview of Ron Howard talking about middle names, and they did the same thing until their 3rd child bc they didn’t want to use BMW as the middle name 😂

  61. Stacey A Lee says...

    Our second daughter’s middle name is Bodoni. A nod to my father who passed away earlier that year (2015), he was a typographer by trade and we had a shared love of the typeface Bodoni.

  62. Sharon says...

    For both of our son’s we went very traditional. John and James. Our oldest son’s name is Milo so I wanted to balance it with a more traditional name and my dad’s middle name is John. For our second child we went with a 3 syllable name, Elliot and our last name is 3 syllables so I wanted a single syllable to flow. My husband’s middle name pick for our first son was James so there you go.

  63. Mariana says...

    We went for two middle names (because, why not?): a grandparent’s name, and then my runner-up names.

  64. Lyndsey says...

    My son was always going to be Zachary, Zac for short. I liked Bear as a middle name, but as our surname is Carson we realised if we gave him a middle name starting with A his initials would be ZAC, pretty cool right? Except I did not like any name being with A. It took until the drive to register his name when I just let my husband name him after one of his favourite cartoons, and that’s why we now have a Zachary Archer Carson!

  65. Liz says...

    Those six categories are so true! I think I know an example of each. We fall into the first category—my son’s middle name is my mom’s maiden name after my maternal grandma passed away when I was seven months pregnant, so my dude’s name is Emory Locke.

  66. Sara says...

    My son’s middle name is my maiden name. My dad had two girls and his brothers also had girls. So this was part of my way of carrying on the family name. Plus I love it.

  67. Marian says...

    My brother gave his daughter the nickname that he has been giving me since we were little as her middle name. I am so proud <3

  68. Laura says...

    I really wanted to use the name of my best (female) friend who passed away so I always had a reason to talk about her. But then I found out I was having a boy so thought I’d honor my still living 95-year-old grandfather – who also happens to have the awesome name of Theodore.

  69. Caitlin says...

    My middle name is Suzanne. My parents liked both Caitlin and Suzanne, but couldn’t decide the order. For my son, my husband loves the folktale of John Henry. I liked Henry better for a first name, so he’s Henry John and we call him Hank.

  70. Elena says...

    We like all our kids’ names to have some sort of family connection. My son’s first name (Turner) is my maiden name and his middle name (Emanuel) is my husband’s late grandfather’s name. No specific formula, but like for there to be some reference to family members! Pregnant with our second son now, and his name will also have family connections. Naming someone feels like such a big, special responsibility. <3

  71. Jessica says...

    My daughter has two middle name which I have found out is complicated but that’s life. We agreed her first and middle name should be after her grandmothers but I never changed my last night and wanted “proof of ownership” in her name since my husband was against hyphenation. We did have a joke about her third middle name being pizza. In the delivery room, the lady who does the birth certificate asked what her name was and my husband started to say pizza but I yelled at him “time and place!”

  72. Joanne says...

    My mother in laws maiden name was Henry. When she had children she wanted to double barrel the surnames but back then in Ireland that was unheard of and it would have been long legal process so instead she gave both her children the middle name Henry. She passed away 5 weeks before our son was born so never got to meet Ethan but we gave him the middle name Henry to honour her.

  73. Dana says...

    I am half Japanese and my mother gave me and my siblings Japanese middle names. My nephew has a Japanese middle name and I also plan to carry on the tradition when I have children. It started with my grandparents who gave their children English first names instead of Japanese ones as a direct reaction to the treatment of Japanese Americans in WWII – one of many seemingly small acts they took in an effort to downplay their Japanese heritage. However, they did use Japanese middle names.

    I don’t look particularly Japanese or have any strong connections to my heritage, so my middle name and the names I will give my children one day are both a bittersweet reminder of our family history and a lesson I hope to pass down.

  74. Regina Elaine says...

    Our son’s middle name is named after one of our best friends who’s passed away so young and unexpectedly. We also found out we were pregnant on the day of our late friend’s birthday. We didn’t find out the gender until birth and he just so happened to be a boy!
    Miles Andrew Delacruz ❤️

  75. Maura says...

    My good friend came to work one day saying she had the most vivid dream about me swimming at the Y in NYC with a little girl named Celeste. This was years before I ever got pregnant. But she was so happy and excited and she said it was SO vivid. And then years later I had a little girl and of course her middle name is Celeste (and she swims at the Y).

  76. Roberta says...

    I loved reading about everyone’s choice. I don’t have a middle name, just Roberta + last name. But my mom chose my name because my dad is called Roberto (he doesn’t have a middle name either!) so I guess it’s ok :,)

  77. Lindsay says...

    I need help with a first name that sound beautiful in French and English and are spelt the same way in both languages. We love more classic names. Also we don’t know the baby’s gender. Help! 👶🏼

    • Allison says...

      Genevieve, Eloise, or Evangeline for a girl. Xavier, Hugo, or Sebastian for a boy.

    • Laura says...

      Just named my daughter Marion, ironically named after my grandfather (and her middle name is Wells, my grandmothers maiden name). I think it’s etymology is French. We’ve been trying on Mamie as a nickname.

    • gena says...

      my name is Genavieve and I love it (typically spelled Genevieve)!

    • Courtney says...

      My daughter’s name is Colette😊

    • Beatrice says...

      We had the same problem and named our daughter Florentine, she turns 22 next month and I still love the name.

    • Denise says...

      My niece’s name is Vivienne, precisely for this French/English reason! I suppose it’s more commonly spelled “Vivian” in English, but most people don’t have an issue with pronunciation.

    • Catherine McK says...

      Mine our Benjamin and Thomas and I think they’re lovely in both.

    • Jen says...

      My daughter’s name is Esme’ Belle.

    • Mariana says...

      I named my son Marcel, and always get a thrill when I see it written down. Five years later and no regrets here, and everyone here in Australia can spell and pronounce it.

      I also love the name Yves for a boy, but that is trickier for anglophones perhaps…

    • Kerry says...

      Camille :)
      Vivienne
      Valerie

    • Kelly says...

      My daughter is Beatrice–works well both in English and the Romance languages. Her middle is Helen–Helen/Helene is a classic!

    • Samantha says...

      Madeleine is my 14 year old’s name. I love the French spelling so much, but it does require a lot of correcting. I think it’s just beautiful :) Good luck with your decision!

    • Birch says...

      Josephine, Esme (my FAVORITE girls’ name because it means “beloved”, too bad I’m done having kids!), or Vivienne.

      For boys, Hugo or Sebastian as someone else mentioned. Henri/Henry is nice too!

  78. Florence says...

    My four daughters have their godmother’s name as their middle name and they are pretty proud about it. It give them a special relationship.
    Unfortunately, i used them when i want to make a complain! Like:
    Sarah Mary Gillmore, please come and make your bed! (ahaha!)

  79. Kristin Marie says...

    I’m due to give birth to a boy in June, his middle name will be Percy after my kind paternal Grandpa:) If it would have been a girl her middle name would have been Skye after the Isle of Skye in Scotland. My ancestors immigrated to Canada from the Isle of Skye and I also traveled there alone when I was 19. I was scared but looking back it was pretty brave of me. It holds a special place in my heart…it’s a wild and beautiful place.
    For middle names, I say have fun choose something that you like but might think is a little too out there or old fashioned for a first name.

    • Mariana says...

      Love the name Percy! Love!

  80. Heather says...

    We have two girls. When it came time to pick their middle names, I had a strong desire for them to mean something. Not sure where this came from as my middle name as well as those of my sisters mean nothing. We gave a nod to the girls’ maternal and paternal grandmothers. Middle name Cole for Nicole and Laine for Elaine. We’re expecting another. My guess is a girl. And going along with our nods to loved ones, my Aunt suggested Lela (pronounced “Lay-lah”). A nod to my sisters (middle names Leanne and Lauren). I was sold instantly and love our tradition of honouring our loved ones this way.

  81. Jo says...

    My sons name is Tom and our surname is Murphy , so we chose Oliver for his middle name so his initials also spell his name , just a little quirk that we liked and he now likes it too

  82. Julia Gnegel says...

    We have four daughters so choosing 8 girl names was no easy feat! Our oldest’s middle name is my maternal grandmother’s middle name (Isabel). Our second has my paternal grandmother’s middle name, which is also my sister’s middle name (Genevieve). So it was natural that our third has my other sister’s middle name (Marie). For our fourth, we were stumped! So we let the sister choose and ended up with Rose. :) I grew up very close to my grandparents and am close to my sisters, so it was important that they were honoured. And my husband was happy to agree because the girls have his last name.

  83. Courtney says...

    Oh, and my mom gave my brother her maiden name as a middle, and my middle is my paternal grandmother’s maiden. I always enjoyed that family connection, and that it was not the usual patriarchal pattern.

  84. Diane says...

    Love all the comments! My middle name is Elizabeth after my paternal grandmother’s name Mary Elizabeth but she always went by Elizabeth. I love to think of her when I use my middle name. I have a half brother whose middle name is Fairchild and it has been used in his family for 8 generations. Great tradition, distinctive, and possibly a mother’s maiden name.

  85. Courtney says...

    We have three …

    The oldest, we chose an honor name for his first and last. His middle is after my husband’s uncle and a nod to his Dutch heritage.

    For our second (a daughter) we went back and forth for ages. Finally I heard someone calling for a Clara at the playground, and that was it!

    For our third (and LAST), we went with Calder, which is both a place name in our favorite spot in Maine, and it also means “rocky water,” which reminds me of Maine.

  86. My daughters middle name, Thelma, is honor of my nanny growing up, and who passed away when I was pregnant. I loved her very much, and smile every time I see or say her name tucked into my daughter’s. ❤️

  87. Quinn says...

    We welcomed our son through open adoption. It’s a form of adoption (becoming increasingly common) where there is open communication and ongoing connection between the birth and adoptive families. We had our hearts set on his first name: Malcolm. But we didn’t have a plan for his middle name. We got to spend several months before his arrival getting to know his birth mom, and when we learned that her middle name is Sage, we knew immediately that he would share it. So our little Malcolm Sage will always have a direct connection to his birth mom and a reminder of the remarkable way he came into the world.

    • Jessica says...

      I love this way to honor a birthmother, and its what we did too! Both our sons were adopted at birth and we have open relationships and gave them both the same middle names as their birthmothers. For the oldest it’s Quinn which is perfect and unisex and for the second her middle name is Renee so we shortened it to Ren. Hopefully someday when they’re grown they’ll both realize how special it is!

  88. I picked my brother’s middle name when I was 3! Thankfully for him, I went with the very standard Michael. Not sure why my three year old self loved that name so much!

    x diana

  89. emme says...

    Use whichever last name of the parent that you didn’t use as the child’s primary last name! I regret not giving my children my last name as their middle name now. HUGE mistake!!!

    • I totally agree with you Emme.
      My children both have their grandparents first names as middles names. And their father’s last name. Ooops. I forgot about my name! Since I still go by my maiden name (as do many in my country and age bracket), I feel as though it should have been BOTH of my children’s middle names now.