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. Cassie says...

    My husband’s mother passed away when he was just six years old. For our first born, we wanted to memorialize her in some way and decided to use her maiden name, Payne, for my son’s middle name. It’s special that some day we will share with him stories of the woman whose name he carries, and it also (cheekily) tells us a little bit about his 4-year-old personality ;)

  2. Jessica says...

    I needed this post! We are so stumped on a middle name for our baby boy due in May. Our daughter is Romy Olive. At the time Olive was the name of the street we lived on, and we knew we would eventually move but we bought our first house there, got married, built a life, and had our first baby. It seemed like a nice tribute plus I loved the name. Then when she came into this world her birth was so peaceful that Olive (meaning peace) seemed like a perfect fit. I feel like boy names are SO hard. We can barely think of a first name. I want to honor my dad and use his name as a middle name, but then feel guilty that we didn’t use a family name for the first kid. Oy vey!

  3. Kristen says...

    Our son’s birthmother gave us two names that she was thinking of during her pregnancy. My husband and I chose one for our son’s middle name. After our son was born, we learned that his birthmother had chosen the same name – Jeremiah.

  4. Lauren says...

    My daughter, Adaline, has the middle name Cruz, after my last name. I’ve wrestled a lot through wanting to share my husband’s last name and keeping my own. As a half Mexican that looks awfully Caucasian unless I’ve baked in the sun, I find people don’t always realize that part of my heritage unless they see my last name. I wanted to honor the culture and what the name has meant to me, so I gave it to her. My husband and I joke that in time, if she changes her last name, mi apellido will be with her longer anyways.

  5. My middle name is Q. Mallory Q. The rumor is that my parents spent so long trying to find a first name they agreed on that they ran out of options for a middle name and a friend jokingly suggested something mysterious and Bond-like, like Q. It stuck.

  6. Jennifer says...

    We had a first name, Roisin (irish, meaning small rose) but it wasn’t until Roshie came out 3 months early that we came up with middle names. Florence (she was conceived there, we thought that was hilarious) and Leia after princess Leia, Carrie Fisher had just passed away and we wanted Roshie to have a warrior princess name to help her survive. She’s 2 now!

  7. Kate says...

    My girls both have my last name as a middle name. I like to think it gives them options…if they want to use both names, they can. I love the way they connect my husband’s name with mine, and it made choosing middle names extra simple!

  8. Here in Belgium the tradition was to give your child two middle names, named after the godmother and godfather. So we did something like this, but the name of our sons godmother was difficult to ‘translate’ in a male version, so we just let her choose the name.

  9. Both my children have middle names that honor important people in our lives. Our son (Townes Malcolm) is named after the best man in our wedding who’s last name is Malcom (we adjusted the spelling :)). Our daughter is Neve Julian, Julian being my father’s middle name. I love that her middle name is masculine, and she and her GPa are seriously thick as thieves. It’s incredibly endearing.

  10. JBM says...

    Love these comments! This reminded of an ice breaker used in a group I was once in—the story of your name! Such a fun and non-intimidating way to share more about yourself and learn about others. It would also be a fun dinner party game!

  11. Lulu says...

    My father was adamant about naming me Lindsey. I was born before the onslaught of Lindsays, Jessicas, Jennifers & Amandas of the early 80’s and my mom thought it was so weird (I believe she referenced that at that time it was primarily a boys name and dad wanted the male spelling for me –hello Lindsey Buckingham!). So when it came to the last name, my mother scoured the family archives. I share a middle name with my great-great grandfather Samuel Anders and I am Lindsey Anders. Though I have gone by my nickname, Lulu for twenty+ years, I still love that my middle name is different and have thought that if I do have a child one day, I would name it Anders too.

    • Des says...

      @ “I still love that my middle name is different”
      The word ‘anders’ actually means different in Dutch ;)

  12. Susie Gorden says...

    We found out everything with our baby girl was going well and the pregnancy viable right before heading to Vieques PR. While there, we decided her middle name would be Esperanza after a lovely seaside town. Bonus points that it means “hope.”

  13. Maywyn says...

    In the American Ukraine family, the middle name of the male child is the father’s first name. I think the same should go for the female children, using the mother’s first name as her middle name. Some cultures use the mother’s maiden name.

  14. nadege says...

    We gave both kids a gender neutral middle name in case we misgendered them at birth, we thought it would be nice to have another name handy!

    • Emily says...

      Just wanted to pop in to say that this is not only incredibly sweet but also indicative that your kids are going to grow up knowing that if they are trans, it’s okay. Love this! (P.S. If you do end up having misgendered them at birth, they may want to pick their own names anyway as a way to distance themselves from their deadnames – just keep this in mind as a possibility :)

  15. My husband and I both have TWO middle names coincidentally – so we decided to make this our family tradition! Both of our kids have two middle names – honoring family members and names we just like. As a result, our little kids both have quite long full names – I think its so cute that these little people have such big names, and it honors their future adult complex selves.

  16. Noreen says...

    Our 2nd son was harder after we used our “top” choices on our firstborn. His middle name is Augustin: my husbands patron Saint and the parish where we were married. We’d wouldn’t have used it as a first name, but it felt so dignified and honorable for a middle name.

  17. Chelsea says...

    When I was pregnant with my third child my husband and I decided to give him the middle name James, my father-in-law’s first name. We didn’t put too much thought into it, we just liked the name and it fit well with his first and last name. When my son was about 6 months old my father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died about 8 months later. Now I am so grateful that my son will forever have his grandfather’s name. He didn’t get to know him like my other children did or have any memories with him, so the name seems like such a special way for him to be connected to his grandfather.

    • amrita says...

      Very similar scenario with us! My father in law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when I was 35 weeks pregnant, and died when I was 37 weeks pregnant, a week before our son was born. One of his middle names is Donald, after my father in law.

  18. Sarah says...

    My first child’s middle name comes from my Great, Great Grandmother. In the early 1910’s they lived in the suburbs of Boston and would often travel and camp with three other couple-friends. One summer, they all traveled to Mid-coast Maine (actually, very very close to where you were this summer, Joanna), a little area called Owls Head. The husbands all loved it, and to their surprise the four women had saved their “milk money” to purchase the land, brought them to the area and hoped they liked it. Suprise! I love the story, its unexpected for the time. My Husband and I were married in Maine, and we still have the land and vacation home, which we visit each summer with our children. So, in honor of my Great Great Grandmother Nellie Bird Walker, my first daughters middle name is Bird. Sophia Bird. May she be as unexpected, fierce and determined to break with convention :)

    • Hita says...

      How absolutely lovely!

  19. Allison says...

    My husband was adopted from Korea. We used his birth names for our children’s middle names: Leah Kim and Connor Jae. They love telling people that they are half Korean and have half Korean names.

    • Tamara says...

      I’m also adopted from Korea. My adoptive parents gave me the middle name “Lee”, after my father’s surname, and my eldest shares “Lee” as her middle name.

      As my first name (Tamara – palm tree) and my eldest’s first name (Willow) have tree meanings, we looked for a middle name with a tree meaning for our second daughter, Finley. We came up with “Bel”, which is a connection to her Indian grandmother (bel trees are common where she comes from) and just sounds pretty.

  20. All the first-born girls on my Mom’s side have the middle Anne. But my grandma and aunt on my Dad’s side have the middle name Ann. My mom stuck with the “e” for my middle name but the “correct” spelling is still up for debate in family discussions. ;)

  21. Jodie says...

    My Husband I made a deal. Both of our Mothers died when we were young so as a tribute if it was a girl it would be Deanne after my Mother and if it was a boy it would be Rusk after his Mother (her maiden name). Kai Rusk is now 8 and just told me yesterday the kids call him Kai “Rust” sometimes. Ha ha. Maybe he will grow to love it like I do….

  22. We gave each of our kids weird names (Burl, Fern, Ridge, and Lark), so we chose a more traditional name to pair with each. We call those names our “resume names,” meaning we didn’t know if their outdoor-themed name would land them the interview, so we gave them something more common to use on resumes.

  23. anna says...

    Our son’s name is complicated, but we love it. We held out on deciding his first name until he was born, not quite sure how his little personality would emerge and how well the names we had picked out would fit. In that peaceful, tiny recovery room, we decided on a name that felt true to his fast and furious entrance into the world: Arthur, which means “bold and courageous”. He had two middle names – one after my grandfather and one after my husband’s. Funnily enough, a nickname stuck for him that isn’t any of those. He’s now decidedly our “Teddy”, a nod to Arthur (which also means bear). He may be our only child since we struggled with infertility for so long. We threw at him every good name we loved. Hopefully he doesn’t hate us someday for it. :)

  24. Julie says...

    I don’t have kids, but I would choose McShea as a middle name, which is my mom’s maiden name.

    My husband’s middle name is Fauquier, after his great-great-great-great + grandfather who was the lieutenant governor of Virginia (he won it in a poker game). His first name is interesting as well AND he’s the third, when I met him I told him he sounded like the protagonist of a romance novel.

  25. Nade says...

    I’d be happy to name my daughter after a person whose values (of any kind) I’d love she will get too.
    That might be not only a person but also a place or a word. I think it’s a good place to think about while choosing second name.

  26. Erin says...

    We picked ours and tied them to family and special places. I knew I wanted my Grandpa’s name, Noble (How cool is that name?) to be included in my sons name. It ended up being a middle name. My son is Atticus Noble – which is a big name for a kid but it fits him so well.
    My daughter didn’t have a middle name for a day or so because we couldn’t the right fit. Family names we liked didn’t quite flow. And my husband suggested “Modica” which is the town in Sicily where his grandparents are from and that we’ve visited and love. So my daugher is Eleanor Modica. :)

  27. Elisabeth says...

    Jaime, my son is Elliott James (to honor my uncle who passed away). He would have had the same name if he had been a daughter. I like your style!

  28. Prairie says...

    We were totally delirious the morning after our first son was born. We knew that we wanted to use my last name as a middle name, but we thought it was a little boring to have just the one. So we started brain storming while filling out the forms. As a joke he says, “how about Tyrannosaurus” and that reminded me of Tiberius (James Kirk’s middle name). We were both so tired that we wrote it on the birth certificate form. Now we have to admit that we are total dorks to anyone who finds out his middle name. Ultimately he got two middle names, Tiberius and Thybony. Ha!

  29. Tracy says...

    The meanings of names are really important to me, so we chose names that we liked for how they sounded in combination, but that also had meanings that resonated with us. My daughter’s middle name is Akemi (pronounced ah-keh-mee.) In Japanese, “ake” means bright and “mi” means beautiful. Having a Japanese name was something I wanted as a nod to us being part Japanese. Our son’s middle name, Patrick, means “noble”.

  30. Heather says...

    The men in my family pass down their first name as a middle name to their eldest son. Whitney > Douglas > Gage > Matthew > Connor. The pattern emerged seemingly by accident. My brother took note and continued it.

  31. Nina says...

    My son’s middle name is Reuel. You pronounce it Rule- it is the hebrew name for Reuben. I got it from the bible. I like unusual names and his first name means Happy (also from the bible) and Reuel means: friend of God. I thought that would be a good life guide being a happy friend of god. Funnily enough, we aren’t religious per se – we don’t attend church but I am raising him to be a good person and be kind.

    I had thought of using a family name – Patrick is my dad’s middle – he has at least one grandchild with his first name – Brian – and it’s not my favorite but my dad is a jerk so I decided I was going with what I like.

    My son said he might name his son (he’s 11 now and for a long time he didn’t want kids but now he talks about having them) he will name him Jr and since his first name starts with an A (it’s Asher) he will call him AJ. I think that’s cute he’s already thinking of that.

    If I had a girl I had two names picked out – Tori and Taci (from a book I read in 2nd grade) with middle names – one was mine and one my grandmother’s, whom I loved so much.

    Hope all is well with your friend and her little one.

  32. KAT3 says...

    My daughter’s first name is MY middle name (not sure where my middle name came from, I think my mom met someone w/that name and liked it?). HER middle name is my husband’s first name (he goes by his middle name). My husband is a third, so his dad, grandpa and daughter all share that name. Ha, this all sounds confusing. We decided her name as I was in labor and we cried a little in the moment. It fits her perfectly.

    • Alex says...

      My newborn also has my middle name (Louise) as a first name, and my husband and I are both Alexes so her middle name is Alexandra. Louise was discussed prior but Alexandra was also a delivery suite decision!

  33. Alexandra Marie says...

    We named our daughter Frances Simone, after Nina Simone. I loved the idea of finding a really strong woman to hopefully inspire or encourage her, and I loved the meaning- “He has heard me”. Frances means “free one”, which we loved as well.

  34. Beth says...

    My husband and I are both English teachers, so of course, we turned to literature when we needed a middle name for our daughter, Scout. She is six now and loves to hear us tell the story of To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s way too young to read it yet but loves to hear how brave and powerful little girl can be.

    • Stephanie G says...

      Our daughter’s middle name is Scout, too! We’re not religious so we though lieu of any religious lessons in morality, we’d inspire the same values of Scout by using her name. I can’t wait to read the book with her when she’s much older. It’s funny now when she’s trying to figure out what it means to be a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout;)

  35. Jessica says...

    I love using family surnames as middle names – i think it’s a sweet way to honor the family history (especially if the child is only taking one parent’s last name) and often creates a more unique name.

    If I’m ever in the position of naming a baby of my own, I will be lobbying for the middle name of Baedor which is my favorite grandmother’s maiden name that I love so much!

    • Christina says...

      I have my grandmother’s maiden name as my middle name, and I love it! She grew up in rural Canada, on a farm, speaking French. I grew up in the Nashville, TN suburbs. Having her french surname, Renaud, as my middle name has always made me feel special.

  36. Amelia Ryan says...

    My and my sister’s middle names are old family surnames (same with my dad and all his siblings). Mine is Ottielie (German) and her’s is Donnelly (Irish). They’re not recent surnames though, so our parents must have done some Census Bureau research or something lol.

  37. Jamie says...

    Both of my children have my maiden name as their middle names. I have never used my middle name and I’ve only met one other person who shared the name, although the spelling was different. When I asked my parents why they chose it, they really didn’t have an answer. When I married, I took my husband’s last name and when we were expecting our first child, I wanted to make sure that the baby’s middle name would be one she would use – and not one where when she was older and asked what her middle name was, she wouldn’t say it and shrug, “I don’t know why my parents picked it” like I did so many times. So we gave her and and our second child my maiden name.

  38. We gave our son my husband’s middle name. :) My mom was the one who suggested it, actually! As soon as she said it, we knew that was it. This is our one & done kiddo, and I like the subtle connection between him & his dad without him being a “junior.”

    Love reading how people picked their children’s! So cool and intimate :)

  39. Jamie says...

    My middle name is a last name, which I did not like much growing up. So, when I had my two daughters, I named them each very feminine girls’ names, first and middle both. For middles, my theme was “classic lady names:” Catherine and Helen. I don’t think they hate them, but of course the grass is always greener when you’re a teen!

  40. Our little boy Teddy (Theodore) got his beloved great-grandfather’s “Francis.” Our little girl Daisy (Margaret) got my favorite protagonist, Roald Dahl’s “Matilda.”

  41. Mary says...

    Our kids middle names are extremely meaningful to me. I reasoned that, since we picked first names together and my husband got the last name, I should have more say over the middle. (Husband had veto power, of course.) My older son’s middle name is the name of a dear friend of mine who died in high school, my daughter’s middle name is the name of a tree in my parents’ backyard (Magnolia), and my younger son’s middle name is my maiden name. I love their names with my whole heart.

  42. Rosalie says...

    Rose is a common middle name in my family. My sister is Georgianna Rose and both my daughters are Roses, Morgan Rose and Georgia Rose. I call them my little Roses:)

  43. Frances Kirk says...

    We’d agonised over names for the whole nine months – including which of our surnames to use – and had a good shortlist ready when our daughter was born. We hadn’t even thought about middle names but we chose to use the name of our midwife – both because she’d been an absolutely fantastic support through my labour and because she has a beautiful name that somehow we’d never even considered!

  44. Aileen says...

    We didn’t give a middle name for our daughter as we knew we were only going to have one child and couldn’t find a name that would honour both sides of the family and other than that we couldn’t really see the point of having a middle name. However if we had had a son we would have given him the middle name of Ian as both my dad and my husbands dad are called Ian. To be honest it took so long to figure out a first name, I’m glad we didn’t have to decide a middle name as well!!

  45. Kristy says...

    My daughter has my middle name and my son has my husband’s (Toby!)

  46. What a fun question! Our children’s names are what they are because they were the only we could agree to with each child. And we never kept names for the next possible pregnancy.

    My oldest; Natalie Ann :: Ann is a first daughters middle name many generations back. Done & done.
    My second; Everett Eugene :: Eugene is my Father’s Grandfather’s name and he was a very important man to my Father. I met him as a baby but he passed before I could remember.
    My third :: Adelle Emerson :: In our families names were similar in some way or belonged to someone before. All my husbands siblings and his name start with M. In my family every name ends in the a sound. We wanted our kids to have their own name and initials. And I popped out a third child so anything I wanted goes!! HA!
    My fourth; Callum Creed :: It is a beautiful name and fits him so well. We call him C.C. when he lets us and Cheese when he asks : )

    We had a little one that only made it to 18 weeks. Feeling a strong connection to him, we named him Reid Joseph after our kiddos Godfather Reid and my native Great Grandfather Joseph Sakancob Nioce.

    Each of their names suits them so well. My advice is not to overthink it! Can’t wait for the follow up post : ) I wish you a wonderful pregnancy and birth!!

  47. christy says...

    As the oldest child of 5 siblings, I was the only one with a random middle name. All the others had family middle names. I always felt a little left out, when I got married I dropped my middle name in favor of my maiden name. But made sure each of my 4 kids had a family middle name. (Fun fact my only daughter was given the middle name I dropped…so I guess it is a family name now!) My kids love talking about who they are named after. They also all have first names that have meaningful meanings so we talk a lot about that too. I just love names!

  48. Jenny says...

    My parents fought over naming me Valet (my last name is Parker…). Thank God the movie Back to the Future came out shortly before I was born – Jennifer was Marty McFly’s girlfriend and both my parents were obsessed.

  49. Jean says...

    My daughter wanted her sister to share a name with her, and since she was from a different marriage, we gave her sister the same middle name. When daughter number three arrived we pondered giving her the same middle name ( which is, incidentally shared by my mother and myself) but I just couldn’t name her … Elizabeth Taylor. She’s still kind mad at me and insists she would have been ok with it. Oh, well

  50. kate says...

    I wanted my daughter to have the middle name “Jean” after my husbands nanna… but her first name is Blair, so my husband so no to the initials BJ. Anyway long story short, he convinced me to name her ‘Blair Alessia’. Little did we know we stole my brother and sister in law’s baby name “Alessia” who was born a month later. It’s kinda sweet now that the two girls who are best friends have a shared name in each other.

  51. Ali says...

    We don’t have kids, and had waited 12 years for a new puppy. I decided the dog needed a middle name too. Utah James fits him well and I get to yell both when he’s bad. People think I’m odd, but I don’t care :)

  52. Natalie says...

    Our baby girl was born on December 27th last year. We named her Anastasia but we were totally stumped on a middle name. We spent 2 sleepless nights in the hospital calling out name after name, until it seemed we exhausted all names. Nothing seemed to fit. Finally, in the wee hours of our second night, I deliriously said, how about Winter? My husband paused and said Yes I like it! We both let it soak in for a minute, and we looked at each other and agreed that we would settle on Anastasia Winter for our sweet winter baby girl :).

  53. K.H. says...

    My son’s middle name is the name of my first dog. That’s not supposed to be an insult – he was an amazing dog, and everyone in my family (my son included) loves dogs to bits.

  54. Valerie says...

    I love the idea of using a family name as a middle name, but how do you choose which family member to honor and does that make the other side of the family feel left out?! So we Express our love of literature in our kids middle names and I love that they help their names feel unique. Our son’s is Ray for Ray Bradbury and our daughters are Pippin (Lord of the Rings) and Luna (Harry Potter).

  55. Mari says...

    I have no middle name, but two first names (separated by a dash -). The story goes that my parents liked the second half of my first name but couldn’t come up with a middle name that sounded good, so they stuck something in front of it. Haha… My younger brother got two middle names (one is after our father).

  56. Jane says...

    My husband and our older daughter chose our younger daughter’s middle name- and it’s my name! My now-two-year-old is named Nora and we couldn’t decide what sort of middle name to give her. Her dad and sister decided that Nora Jane has a nice ring to it, and though I wasn’t necessarily that interested in naming her after me specifically, I agree that it sounds nice.
    Another reason for middle name choice to potentially to add to the list is that you find a combination that just sounds good or rolls off the tongue.

  57. Allison says...

    All three of my kids have my last name as their middle name (I kept my name when I married). They have non-family first names and my husband’s last name. We really considered hyphenating their last names but decided it was too much of a mouthful so this was the compromise. Part of me missed the fun part of choosing another name for them, but having my name and family represented was much more important to me.

  58. Jess says...

    My family has a very strong Irish heritage, so my two brothers and I all have Irish middle names. I happened to marry a man who also shares a very strong Irish heritage, so we gave our two children Irish middle names.

    Another idea is that my good friend used her maiden name for her son, as there were no boys on her side of the family to carry on the name.

  59. Jillian says...

    My mother gave me her maiden name as my middle name — she came from a family of all girls and was the only person in that family line to have children. By choosing her maiden name for my middle name, she was able to continue the family name. I’ve grown to love my middle name and it’s connection to my mother’s family history. As I don’t plan on changing my name whenever I get married, I also love idea of giving my children my last name either as their middle or last name (I don’t want to hyphenate and want my children to have both parent’s last names).

  60. Whitney Olson says...

    I have 3 daughters. The middle daughter has Fiona as her middle name because my husband wouldn’t agree to it as her first name. So, a middle name is good for getting your favorite pick in that perhaps your partner didn’t agree with as a first.

  61. Samantha says...

    My kids middle names are a shout-out to my Granpa. Kid 1 got his first name and Kid 2 got his middle name PLUS I gave kid 2 a second middle name after Oscar Wilde (Edward Wilde)

  62. K Kelly says...

    We are first generation Texans from Irish immigrant grandparents on both sides. My nieces are called Fiona, Iris, and Darby (from O’Gill and the Little People). Iris’s middle name is after my grandmother who is called Harriet. So her name is Iris H. She’s actually Irish!

  63. Dana says...

    When my husband and I talked names for our then-unborn child, we decided to leave the last name up to chance–if it was a girl, she’d get his last name, and a boy would get mine. So then for the middle name, we decided to pull from the opposite side of the family, so we’d both get some familial representation in there. Now our 4 month old girl has my husband’s last name, my middle name (which is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name), and a random first name that we both just loved. Now her three names feel like a beautiful, strange-but-familiar bloom on our family tree!

  64. freckles says...

    I named one of my kids Alistair Bennett because I wanted a cute “ie” nickname. His big brother especially loves to call him “Albie.”

  65. Meg says...

    With my first daughter I went traditional and gave her my middle name- Marie. But with my second I was a bit more adventurous. Her middle name is Rae. My inspiration? It was Carly Rae Jepsen. “Call Me Maybe” was very popular when I was pregnant!!

  66. In my family each of my sisters and I have a middle taken from someone special to the family. I have Maree (it had to be spelled correctly too!) in honour of my auntie, my middle sister has Joy which was my Grandma’s middle name and my youngest sister has Clare (also had to be spelled correctly) due to a close family friend.
    Our first names also had to have a nice meaning associated so Erin means Peace, Megan means Pearl and Jocelyn means pure and just. I love how much thought went into our names as it’s the first gift your parents will give you and one that has the most meaning.
    A quick note also think about what the initials would spell! My mum wanted my middle name to be Lynette (which is her middle name) and then she realised my initials would spell Elf and she didn’t want that!

  67. meghan says...

    When we were kids, my best friend and i made a pact that we’d name our daughters after each other. She honoured this and used my name for her daughter’s middle name. I however, only had a son. I didn’t give him the middle name “Sarah” but my best friend still calls him David Michael Sarah. I think I’ll name my next pet Sarah.

    • Erin says...

      My oldest child was born on my best friend’s birthday, and her son’s birthday is just a few days after mine. Obviously we could not have planned this, but it is really special. :)

  68. Kate says...

    All the men in my husbands family use Mark as a first name and then their Mother’s last name as a middle name, but my husband’s father was a big time salesman and a party animal. My husband a quiet bookish little boy who grew to be a very accomplished man says he always felt people were disappointed when they met him and he did not have his Dad’s big personality. Mindful of that and the impact his own significant accomplishments might have on our son we broke the tradition! Our son is a James and not a Mark but we used the Mark as a middle name so if our son wanted to he could choose to be J. Mark as a adult or simply James!
    When he was little James asked why he wasn’t a Mark like everybody else and we told him we wanted to be sure he knew he should be himself! As a teenager he has told us that he really appreciates the thought that we put into it! A good parent moment for us!

  69. Dee says...

    We’ve just (5 days in) named our second daughter. I think there are two other considerations. 1. Does it balance a first name? Does going left field with their first name warrant considering something more conventional for the middle name in case they never grow into it? 2. What initials have you ended up with? A.O.B? E.T.C?

    • MB says...

      We’re five days in with our second child as well and only just decided on a name! Still working on the middle name though…. Congrats and hope you’re all doing well!

    • My brother in-law’s initials are S.T.D. Ouch!

    • Molly says...

      My best guy friend in high school was originally named to have the initials MRS and his parents felt he might get teased and changed his middle name a few weeks in!

  70. Jess says...

    We followed a pattern for both my boys. Their first names are theirs and theirs, only. They’re not named after anyone and have names that both my husband and I just really like. Their last names are my husband’s last name. Their middle names are from my family. My oldest has my last name, and my second has my mother’s maiden name. I like that their names are a balance of the two sides of their family and also leave space for them to become who they are.

  71. Beth says...

    I think a middle name should be whimsical and/or meaningful. My son’s name is Forest Page because I love books and his son’s name is Noah Wave because he’s an avid surfer.

    • E says...

      both of those names! awh. they’re so good

  72. Emily R Hylden says...

    my son is named after his grandpa *and* my grandpa for his middle name — win win! my godson has the best name, though, “Fitz Wiley” — “Son of Wiley.” Lemme tell you, his dad lives up to the name! haha!

  73. Steph says...

    Both of my grandmother’s were named “Mary” as well! I don’t have kids yet, but if I have a girl, “Mary” is definitely in contention for middle name

  74. Emily says...

    My middle name growing up was my mother’s maiden name, and I always loved having that part of my family represented in my name. Another friend had the same name structure, and we felt like a little bad-ass feminist club – though really it was our moms who were the bad-asses! When I married, I made my maiden name my middle name and took my husband’s last name. Our son’s middle name is my maiden name, too. It feels like a really special family tradition (I know some cultures do this, too) and boy, did it make my dad emotional when he learned his name would continue (I’m an only child).

    • Lisa says...

      Similarly, each of our children has my last name (I did not change it when we married) as their middle name, and my husband’s last name as their last name. It made choosing much easier (as we really didn’t have to) and I like having both of our names in their names.

  75. Liz Heuser Bevan says...

    My oldest daughter has the middle name similar to mine. Just changed the one letter. Elisabeth
    My second daughter has her grandma’s maiden name of Haynes
    Third daughter has Marie
    Fourth daughter has Faith after her uncle’s last name.
    Son is named after his daddy
    Youngest daughter has Faith also…

  76. Carolyn says...

    You should always say the first and middle name together out loud a dozen times at least. This from friends who made some unintentional bad choices… Polly Esther, Amanda Lynn (twang, twang), and Brock Lee.

    • JB says...

      Polly Esther!! Whoops! I do love both those names but maybe not together :)

  77. Sara says...

    I think a middle name is a great place to honor family while still giving a unique first name! My son’s middle name is William, after my husband’s father. If he had been a girl, the middle name would have been Vivian, after my maternal grandmother. My husband’s cousins also have an assortment of great middle names that come from family surnames… a set of twins whose middle names are their mother’s and grandmother’s maiden names, respectively. And one with his dad’s friend’s last name as a middle name, due to a lost bet! Ha!

  78. Molly says...

    I have known since a young age that I was conceived in a small hotel/cabin on the crater of a volcano in Hawaii. My parents gave me a Hawaiian middle name that directly relates to my conception story. Whenever someone finds out my middle name, I am met with a barrage of curiosity. As a kid, I liked that my middle name was unique, but when anyone would ask me the story behind the name, I would clam up and refuse to answer. Now that I’m a little older, I’m a bit more forthcoming. I went as far as to display photos from their trip to Hawaii in my house. It’s a conversation starter that never fails.

    • Micaela says...

      What’s the name!? My maiden name is Hawaiian meaning “from the pit of fire”.

    • Elise says...

      My middle name is Hawaiian too! Momi. As a toddler I would happily tell people it was “because I was conceived in Hawaii.” I had NO idea what that meant, but it always got a good reaction!

    • Molly says...

      Something that’s supposed to mean “the cold winds of Kilauea.” I’ve never been entirely sure that it’s the correct phrasing in Hawaiian, but I decided I’d rather not know.

    • Molly says...

      Oh my gosh, Elise! I thought I was the only one. And I definitely knew what it meant. They must have explained it to me…

  79. Eliot says...

    In my family, every woman at least for the past few generations has the middle name “Ann.” I love the way it connects all the women in my family. Despite the tradition, my parents decided to switch it up with me for some reason. Perhaps they didn’t like how it sounded after my first name (Eliot)? Makes sense. Eliot Ann sounds weird. So, they settled on making my middle name the name of the woman who set them up on a blind date so many years ago…Claire. I love the my middle name is a reminder of the dear friend who brought them together. I know so many people who don’t love their names or don’t feel like their names fit their personalities. I cannot imagine *not* being Eliot Claire. My parents did a great job.

    • Jaime says...

      My daughter’s name is spelled differently but is also Elliot! And we live near Eliot, Maine. Her middle name is James to honor my dad who passed away a year before she came. He would have loved being a grandfather.

  80. Jen says...

    We wanted middle names which honoured both family (grandparents) and God, in both name and meaning. So two middle names for both – David Brooking and Rosaline Hope.

  81. Megan says...

    I was born in 1966, the 1st of two daughters. I was supposed to be named Margaret Leslie, after both of my grandmothers. Back then, apparently, husbands dropped wives at the front of the hospital, and waited in a bar for the call (at least that what my dad claimed). So, my dad and Grandma Leslie, wished my mom well, drove to the closest bar, and got bombed (not uncommon). Then, they got into a huge argument – (also not uncommon). My dad was so angry with her, that when he returned to the hospital, for some reason, was put in charge of the birth certificate, he changed my middle name to Ann, and did not bother to tell my mother. Where he got Ann, I do not know. 16 months later, fences had been mended and my sister, Katherine Leslie was born. My family is nuts, but I love them.

  82. Michelle says...

    I was adopted, and my adoptive parents asked my birth mother to give me my middle name. It is a very unique name and shows the love they all shared for me. I’m proud of it and love telling the story to anyone who asks about my unique name! I also didn’t change my maiden name upon marriage because I didn’t want to lose it or my middle name (by moving the maiden name to the middle).

  83. C says...

    My husband has a bit of a tradition in his family – the boys always take on the middle name of their father.

    Our first born was a girl, and I named her Elliot because it felt pretty and strong. I wanted her middle name to be my husband’s name – to follow the tradition – but he felt it would be too masculine.

    In the end we chose something random, just a name we both liked, but I’ve always regretted it because we couldn’t have any more children. It would have been nice to carry on the tradition.

  84. Amy says...

    We used my last name for our two sons, so they both share their dad’s last name as their middle name: Dickson.

    Our oldest son’s first name wasn’t too hard; my MIL’s maiden name is Elliott, and my husband always wanted to name a son after her. We were stumped with a name for our second son, and after offering Rocket Ship and Fifi as options, one day our three year old called him “my little brother Casper”. We liked it and it stuck. He’s immensely proud of having named his brother and adores him.

  85. Susan says...

    I love the grandparent/family name – since my kids have their father’s last name the middle name was from my family so that they have something from both sides.

  86. Maria says...

    I guess every culture has its own traditions on naming their children. In Germany it is quite common to give only one name. We too chose to not give a middle name. Just the one name and that’s it. I like that simple approach. Of course, sometimes, finding the “one” name can be harder.

  87. Ann says...

    I like using a family surname as a middle name. If you can use two surnames as first and middle, even better. That way, your child will go through life without people making gender judgements about them in advance, nicknames can easily be made up, and there won’t be six of them in first grade.

  88. Jules says...

    My daughter’s middle name is Frances. We had always known that our first child would have the middle name Francis/Frances (spelling differs for male/female). My middle name is Frances, both my parents middle names are Francis/Francis and both my grandfathers first names were Francis, so you could say it’s a strong theme in our family. When I discovered that my then boyfriend’s (now husband’s) name was also Francis (after one of his ancestors), it felt like a sign that we were meant to be together! I love that our daughter is carrying on the tradition. We’ve just had our second baby and we’ve given him his paternal grandfather’s middle name (Alexander) but it feels a bit strange that he’s not a Francis too!

    • LJ says...

      We just gave our daughter Francis as a middle name in honour of my late grandfather! We kept the spelling the same though, just like his.

  89. Allison says...

    Yes, a memorable place is very nice.

    Our daughter’s middle name is Juniper. She was named for Juniper Lake at Mount Lassen, my husband’s childhood camping site.

    Since Juniper is also a tree, we plan to give future children middle names that are trees (Aspen, Cedar…)

    • Callie Kurtz says...

      Oak is one of my favourite middle names and would fit in beautifully with this theme. OAK are my son’s initials and I am so tempted to nickname him that although my husband says it’s too far of a stretch!

  90. Kelley says...

    We fall firmly in the grandparent category for both of our twin girls. 2016 was a year of extremes for us, losing both my dad and my husband’s grandma, while also finding out that we were going to bring two new lives into the world. Our girls’ middle names are Louis after my dad and Grace after my husband’s grandma. It’s a wonderful way to keep them both close to our girls, whom they never got the chance to know.

  91. Mel says...

    My sister and I both have the same middle name, Lorraine. It was my mother’s middle name and her mother’s middle name. I love that connection so very much.

    Btw, I have a friend who named her daughter Acadia. They named their first daughter after a place she and her husband had been and that meant a lot to them, and chose Acadia as a place they wanted to go someday as a family.

  92. Trina says...

    When I was 15, my 17 year old sister was killed in a car accident. So, when I had my daughter, I gave her my sisters name as her middle name (Kristine). My daughter is grown and now has a daughter of her own…..and she also gave her Kristine as a middle name. For me, it was a way to honor and remember my sister, and I was so honored and delighted when my daughter, who never met her ‘Aunt Kristine’, passed the name on to her daughter.

  93. alycia says...

    My best friend’s daughter’s middle name is Atwood, after the author and writer Margaret Atwood, which to me is so special!

  94. Megan Flowers says...

    My sons father didn’t have the same last name as his dad so he wanted to give our son his dads name…. David. I have a dad and a stepdad (Jeffery and Joe/just Joe not joeseph) so we went with the letter J (just the letter J) for his middle name. David J

  95. Isa says...

    Definitely #2 for our daughter. We both loved the ferrante saga so Elena it was!

  96. Stephanie says...

    My sons middle name is danger. He’s 2 and is always getting confused about it, though. When I middle name him (“Rowan Danger!”) he thinks he’s doing something dangerous. Either way he stops doing what he’s doing, so it’s still good.

  97. Susannah says...

    My husband is Jewish and I am not. An interesting thing I did not know about Ashkenazi Jewish naming traditions is that they do not name children after living relatives (Chabad says “naming after a living one could appear as though you’re waiting for that person to die, G‑d forbid” which I read to myself in the marvelous thick Brooklyn accent of my in-laws). His mother has three sisters and they are all incredible, powerful, glorious women. Before I learned about the naming prohibition, I thought our daughter’s middle name could be Joan (after his aunt who I love dearly) or Hannah (after his amazing mother) but since that wouldn’t be an honor to them, we decided on a variation on his grandmother’s maiden name, shared by all of her daughters, the three sisters, which has since been lost to them all changing their names when they married. “Rose”, short for “Rosenbloom”, in honor of those fierce matriarchs.

  98. Kristen says...

    I have 2 middles names; one of them is a family name and other, my parents saw when they stayed after a movie to watch the credits and get ideas from the list of names scrolling by!

  99. Marci says...

    When I got married I changed my maiden name to my middle name. I always wanted to make my maiden name at least one of my children’s middle names as well so it’s my youngest daughter’s middle name. My oldest daughter’s middle name is after my grandmother, however I wish that I had made her middle name my maiden name as well. I feel like it’s a way of honoring my whole side of the family and keeping my family name alive.

  100. Katie says...

    Every kid with the middle name Montana is now left wondering…

  101. Katie says...

    Joanna, I notice that Anton isn’t one of the names you were considering in that older post that you linked back to. Was it even on your radar then, or did it make a last minute surge?

  102. Erin says...

    10 weeks pregnant this week and I *think* we have our names picked out.. we are definitely set on the boy name but going back and forth on girl. We will use a family name for the middle name either way. It is one of my favorite parts of pregnancy so far, thinking of names :)

  103. Milena Blake says...

    My son’s middle name (Dylan) is my best friend’s little brother who passed away right before he turned 21. I knew him since he was two, and since he was so close to my little brother’s age, he always felt like my little brother too. She and I are almost the exact same age, and one of the many things we bonded over was having a brother much younger that we were second moms to. Losing him was incredibly hard and hearing all the stories and memories of him at his funeral reminded me of what a great person he was. Even though I wasn’t even close to pregnant at that point, I told my husband that night that I wanted to name our child after him.
    When we did have a little boy a few years later, we decided to keep the family tradition going and name him after my husband, his father, his grandfather (fourth in a row). We we played with the idea of reversing it, and making it Dylan Thomas, but then it seemed like we were naming him after the poet. I do think he could write the great American novel as T. Dylan Blake. :)
    On a more frivolous note, my husband’s first, middle and last names are all interchangeable (the could be first, middle or last names) and he wanted to keep that tradition going. Ooookay.

  104. Ellie says...

    We’ve decided on family middle names for our kids. I want them to have their own unique first name, but my husband and I both have family middle names and love having that connection to a familial legacy. We have one son so far, his middle name is Richard (my dad’s first name and my FIL’s middle name). If we have another boy, the middle name will be Lloyd (my husband’s middle name which is his grandfather’s first name) and if we have a girl next her middle name will be Ilene (my grandmother’s middle name).

  105. Lisa says...

    Traditionally for us children get names from people with good characters or after family members. For my eldest, it was a combo of 1 and 5 – we really liked the name but it didnt make the first name cut, but it was also a variant on my grandfather’s name. I like that our son’s first name is not after anyone in the family so all his, his second from my side and surname from his father’s. For our daughter, we had decided that her second name was to be my mother in law’s. She was very ill when she was born and my mil was phenomenal so it really seemed fitting that our daughter got her name

  106. Matilda says...

    My dad and father-in-law have the same name, so our first son’s middle name was a no brainer. My husband chose our second son’s and it’s German, which fits our very German last name. For our third son, we wanted to choose a name that honored my mother-in-law who had recently passed away. So, my husband chose one that would’ve meant a lot to her.

    Another good way is choosing a name that has a meaning that is connected to something you like/love.

    It just so happens that my middle name, my husband’s, and our first son’s all ended with an N. So, I decided that’s something all of us should have and it’s worked out well as a way to guide us to names that would work.

  107. Both of our kids have middle names that honour grandparents: my grandmother Jean and my husband’s grandfather John.

    We later realized that Jean and John have identical meanings — “God is gracious” — so our kids sort of share a middle name. And I love it.

  108. Lauren says...

    My sons middle name is Canyon – a nod to Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles where my husband and I fell in love. The C is also in honor of my Aunt Cheryl who passed away when I was 12.

  109. laura kandell says...

    my son sam made sure we did not name our daughter ella- cause then I would be yelling samonella ( sam and ella) all the time- and he thought that was gross….. my husband wanted to name our daughter katlyn- I was sincerely opposed- we went with katherine lynn- and she has a million choices about what we can call her- names are such a funny thing- we feel so strongly about them- and they are one of the first things we present to the world to define us- middle names are a little softer- more personal- and I kinda like that they usually come with a story.

    • Lauren says...

      This is so random – when my husband was a little kid and he heard the term “salmonella” he thought it was named after two people Sam and Ella who were in love and got sick together, and so the disease was named after them.

  110. Renee says...

    Our older daughter well…to make a very long story short, we were told after the amniotic sac ruptured several weeks prior to viability she wasn’t going to make it. We were scrambling to come up with a name – we had picked out names but wanted to save those for a baby that we’d get to take home (and, bonus, we didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl at that point either). So we picked the middle name “joy” because it was a joy that we’d gotten to have her for whatever time she had. Much to everyone’s surprise, we made it to viability without infection/labor/more hemorrhaging and she lived – by then, though, the name we’d picked when we didn’t think she’d make it stuck!

    Younger daughter’s middle name is for my late sibling.

  111. Jen D. says...

    My husband’s father wanted his son to be named after him. Anthony “Tony” John. My mother-in-law said, “Nope. Not having a ‘Jr’.” She compromised and named her son John Anthony. John’s sister named her first son after her dad, who had passed a few years before he was born and many year before we were married. We decided to make the fathers-first-name-the-middle-name a tradition and give our first-born son his Daddy’s first name as a middle name. When my daughter was born we choice Joy for a middle name. Then my second son was born and the super type-a part of me with a driving desire for all things to be “fair” couldn’t leave our third child out of the “one syllable middle name beginning with J” tradition. He got Jude as a middle name. First names are really fun and choosing a name for your baby can feel so special! I think, if we ever have another kid (not likely), I’d like to give the baby my own Dad’s name – boy or girl – James. : )

  112. Laura S says...

    We went with my maiden name for both kids and I’m so happy we did so!

    • Carol says...

      Same here! It was a nice way for us to recognize the mother’s family name.

  113. Natalie says...

    My four year old wanted to name his baby brother either Matthew Chair or Matthew Socks or “Green witches” after we visited the terrifying with museum in Salem Mass so we decided to use “Matthew” as his middle name to remember all of his funny suggestions.

  114. Diana McNeill says...

    Christine – named after my dad’s sister, my godmother.

  115. Jeannie says...

    I often recall this COJ post where the parents gave their child a middle INITIAL (instead of a name) and allowed him to pick his own middle name… I love it!

    https://cupofjo.com/2015/02/whats-your-middle-name-2/

    When we were married, my husband and I both adopted my maiden name as our middle names and now our daughter’s middle name is my maiden name too…

  116. Kelly says...

    My daughters are adopted. My oldest is Misha (her ethiopian birth name) McGee (my great-grandfather’s birth name – he was born in Ireland and adopted by an aunt and uncle in the States and changed his surname to Kelly, which is my mom’s maiden name, and my name – i thought it would be nice for my daughter to be named after the first international adoptee in the family). My younger daughter is Zara Catherine Journey – Zara a name picked by her father, sister and me, Catherine after my grandmother who had passed away recently, and Journey the name her birth mother gave her.

    My girls have my husband’s last name, so i love that their first/middle combos have an element of their birthfamily and my side in them.

  117. Joann says...

    Being Chinese, we gave both our sons their Chinese names as their middle name. They were incidentally given their Chinese name by their paternal grandfather who has passed about 3 yrs ago. To anyone (including our boys from the time being.. who were both born and being raised here in the US) who didn’t grow up with or speak the Chinese language, their middle names might just be funny sounding ones but to us it’s an homage to their grandfather and our culture, and also to remind them of their heritage, which hopefully they’ll appreciate more as they become adults.

  118. Kate says...

    I decided to take my partner’s last name when we were married and I shifted my maiden name to make it part of my middle name. Our first child is due in June and s/he will have my maiden name as their middle name as well, whether they’re a boy or girl! I realize that isn’t possible with everyone, since last names can be fuddy sometimes but my maiden name is Perry. It will work well as a middle name and also a reminder that this new life carries both parents in its blood.

  119. Stacy Sprangers says...

    My dad’s side of the family always took the father’s first name as the middle name. My great grandpa was William Arthur, my grandpa Warren William, my dad Robert Warren. If my parents had had a boy, it would have been Zachary Robert. When my husband and I found out we were having a boy as well, we decided to continue the tradition. So our son is Declan Ryan

  120. Victoria says...

    Most important is that it sounds cool when combined with the first, but I’m proud of ours… kid #1: Josephine after Little Women, plus it filled out the short first name. Kid #2: We were trying to think of nature- or tree inspired names but nothing was quite right. Then we realized that my husband’s father (who had passed away a couple years before) had the initials ASH, so that became our son’s middle name. Kid #3: We just liked the name Joely!

  121. Karen says...

    Favourite Book! We have a Jem (To Kill a Mockingbird) and an Edmund (The lion, the witch and the wardrobe)

  122. Nicole says...

    I’m an identical twin but before we were born we were going to be Brittany Nicole. Since they already had agreed on those names, when they found out they were having twins, we became Brittany and Nicole. I was the middle name because I was born second.

    • Col says...

      My husband is also an identical twin, and his parents did the same. They were surprised (in the delivery room!) to find out it was twins. They split the name they had in mind, and had to come up with two new middle names.

  123. We kind of honored grandparents but in a slightly different way… I’ve got two boys and let their grandmother’s choose their middle names (my mom gave my older son Isaac his middle name Alexander, and my husband’s mom gave my younger son Elias his middle name Iman). They’re the first grandchildren on both sides of the family and everyone had very strong opinions on what their names should be. My husband and I agreed on the first names together, but by letting the grandmothers pick the middle names, it made them happy too.

  124. Kiley says...

    I always liked the idea of giving my children middle names that honored our family, but when we were deciding for our son we realized that the middle names we had liked didn’t go with the first name we picked. We brainstormed other names, but ultimately didn’t feel connected to them. We ended up looking at our family trees on ancestry.com, and compiling a list of names we liked from that. We chose my husband’s great great grandfather’s name, Angelo. It’s unique, and still honors a branch of the family tree. We’re both really excited about it.

  125. Esty says...

    Our son’s middle name honors my dad, Paul. That was kind of a compromise for us. Our son has my husband’s last name but a middle name honoring my family. For our daughter, who is adopted, we decided to honor her birth mother. Her middle name is Mamie, the name of her birth mother and birth grandmother and birth great-grandmother. We’re so happy she’ll carry on the tradition, and it seemed like a fitting way to begin an open adoption.

  126. Monika says...

    My husband is a comedian and I’m his co-writer. Jokes are very important in our family. We believe middle names are a place for jokes. We named our daughter Wilhelmina, her middle name is Nelson. Nobody got the joke.

    • Aldijana says...

      Haha, this is fantastic! Little Willie.

    • Lauren says...

      I LOVE THIS!

    • meg says...

      on of my best friends wanted to use Danger as his son’s middle name. As in “Danger is my middle name” – his wife wouldn’t have it. 5 years later, he’s still bummed.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “danger is my middle name” = hahahaha love that so much! he sounds like a fun dad :)

    • Elizabeth Bahr says...

      I have friends with great senses of humor, who also used their sons’ middle names as a place to both honor the wife’s Chinese heritage, but also to have a little fun. When the wife’s Chinese relatives found out that the parents (Mom is Chinese-American, Dad is Caucasian) were going to give the kids “American” first names, the Chinese family members insisted they give the kids Chinese middle names. The parents complied, but with a twist: the older son’s middle name is Yaoguen, which in Chinese means “rock and roll,” and the young son’s middle name is “Baihan,” which means “white boy.”

  127. After a few months of deliberation during pregnancy, my husband and I named our baby boy Bernard Elgin. I am a lady who appreciates nicknames and my partner is more traditional in that sense. My husband chose the name Bernard in honour of his late grandfather (whose nickname was Benny) and I chose Elgin to honour the first child I taught to read in my first year of teaching Montessori. I like how soft the names sound together. It’s also neat to observe those who gravitate toward calling the baby Bernard, and those who automatically call him Benny. The sweet babe is now eight weeks old and suits his names perfectly well :)

    • Viv says...

      I’m the mom of a Bernard, too! Great choice ;)

    • Karen Agnes says...

      Bernard is lovely :-) I would have thought the nickname Berine would be most Natural? But I am not a native English speaker

  128. Kate says...

    My son’s middle name is Walter, after my husband’s grandfather. He passed away just before our wedding, but was such a big presence in his family that we knew right away that our baby boy’s middle name would honor him. It took us months after that to decide on a first name that fit!!

  129. Sarah says...

    This is such a fun post and I love all the comments! Both of our boys’ middle names are family names: my eldest’s is Joseph (his father’s, grandfather’s, and great grandfather’s names), my youngest’s is Jeffrey (my dad’s).

    Although I’d preferred a completely different middle name for our first child, one I thought sounded so nice when combined with his first name, going with the family name was an easy choice. My husband is a 3rd, and I’d asked him if he wanted to pass it along again–making our child a 4th–before we moved forward with any other options. He assured me 3 was plenty when carrying on the naming tradition. A little while later he came back and admitted to wanting to keep his, his father’s and his grandfather’s first name in there *somewhere*. Although making it our son’s middle name would give him the first two initials “OJ,” which caused some hesitation due to the polarizing pop culture reference, the logic and emotion behind the choice made sense. No other middle name was considered after that.

  130. I love Acadia and Leaf! I have a list of crazy, nature inspired names that I absolutely love but will probably never put to use so I might as well share: Bark, Nori, Moss, Bamboo – we’d call him/her Boo.
    I also love the idea of honoring deceased family.

  131. Rebecca V. says...

    Both of my sons have the middle name of one of their great grandfathers – Clement for my oldest, Clay for my youngest. I like that they just happen to start with the same sound! My oldest son never knew the great grandfather he was named for, but my grandfather, who the youngest was named for, just passed away and it’s such a sweet reminder of him for me.

  132. Our kiddo’s middle name was my husband’s front runner. I actually thought it was a really weird name when he first brought it up and instantly vetoed it.

    My husband thought I would never name our child… I hated discussing it while I was pregnant, and didn’t really like any suggestions. I had one name I liked while pregnant, but he had instantly vetoed it!

    So 15 minutes to check-out (we had 3 days in the hospital) I finally got serious about naming. NONE of the names on our shortlist sounded right AT ALL. So his first name ended up being the only one I had suggested months before (that my husband had vetoed), but I had no idea what middle name sounded right for it. So I suggested the name I had vetoed, and it just fit.

    Funny how in the end his name is the two names we had individually loved and hated!!

    • Em says...

      Well now I’m dying to know what the kiddo’s name is! :)

    • Fernanda Abreu says...

      Please tell us the name :) I´m dying here!

  133. Annie says...

    When I got married, I legally changed my middle name to my maiden name. (Dropped my given middle name.) Both my boys have my maiden name as their middle name. Now the only member of our family who doesn’t have the same middle & last name is my husband!

  134. Megan says...

    I always liked the sound of “Rae” as a middle name for a daughter, and had had this name in mind for close to 10 years before I became a mom. I actually adopted my daughter through foster care, and although I knew her first and last names (given her by her birth mom), it wasn’t until about a month into fostering her that I learned from her social worker what her birth mom had given as her middle name: Rae. :)

    When I adopted her, I kept her first and middle names given to her by her birth mom, and added an additional middle name, Amelia, which is my middle name and a family name.

    • Lauren says...

      I love this — she was meant to be your daughter :)

    • Jennifer C. says...

      My middle name is Rae and my sister gave Rae as a middle name to her first daughter (my niece, Natalie). I didn’t like it much growing up but love it now and am so happy to have a namesake!

    • Adrienne says...

      How beautiful! My middle name is Rae too, which is my grandmother’s maiden name. Like Jennifer C, I didn’t like it growing up and remember crying one day before school because I had “two boys’ names”. Now, though, I love it so much that I’ve passed it along to both my kids – a son and a daughter.

  135. We used a Korean name for both our children’s middle names. The name is normally chosen by the husband’s father, but my partner’s father didn’t feel it necessary for him to choose or go to a ‘name chooser’, so we used our parents’ Korean names and moved them together to make unique Korean middle names for our children. They each carry a bit of their grandparents in their names.

  136. Kristen says...

    My daughter’s middle name (Rockwell) was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name, and my own middle name was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. My parents and their parents, etc., followed that same tradition of using family last names as middle names. A lovely way of keeping these names around!

  137. Caitlin says...

    We had such a hard time thinking of a middle name, and one day I was like… do we have to give him one?? We hyphenated the last name so he already has a lot of name, so we skipped a middle name!

  138. mali says...

    Why do you have to give a middle name at all? Two of my kids have no middle name. Their name is their name! And one of my kids has two names, but we use them both as first names, together, so it’s not a middle name either…
    Growing up, I had a friend whose parents named her Emily Laine. They felt that that way, if she ever needed a more “mature” sounding name, she could abbreviate her name to E. Laine if she wanted… I always thought that was cool.

    • Libbynan says...

      You give a child a middle name for yelling purposes….say, “Richard Alan Taylor!” I thought everyone knew that! My whole family loves to recycle names….or, at least, my generation did. For instance, my cousin used my middle name and my sister’s middle name to name her daughter Sheryl Elaine.

  139. Kelsey says...

    My parents took both my first and middle name from a book, and I’ve always kind of resented not having some sort of family name. So for our children I tried to have some family connection. My son and husband share the middle name Michael. For our daughter we picked two middle names. Anne, which is my mothers middle name, and Aurelie, which is the feminine version of my husband’s grandfather’s name.

  140. Sarah W says...

    My daughter’s middle name is Lynne, which is also my middle name, and was my mother’s middle name. My husband’s mother’s middle name was Lynn. Since both of our mothers passed away before our daughter was born, it was a nice way to honor them.

  141. Laura says...

    When I was newly pregnant with our daughter, our dog Lilly – our beloved first “baby” – passed away unexpectedly from cancer. My husband and I (as well as my mom and sister in law who knew how important she was to us) each had the thought that if the baby was a girl, we would use Lilly as the middle name. Some people think we are a bit nuts for using our dog’s name as an honor name, but it is perfect for us.

    • Em says...

      My husband’s middle name is Maxwell, after his mom’s cat! I love it! (Though i suppose I might feel differently if the cat had been name Fluffy.) Our pets are such an important part of our lives – it makes sense to honor them when choosing names.

  142. Frankie says...

    We were so stuck on what our son’s middle name should be. We knew we loved Magnus for his first (a nod to my husband’s Norwegian roots), but were at a loss at what should follow it. We didn’t have any family members we wanted to honour but we wanted the middle name to have some meaning to it. There just didn’t seem to be an obvious route to finding inspiration for it.
    Cut to two days before his birth and our beloved dog, Bear, passed away. He wasn’t just a dog, he was my husband’s best friend and my first fur baby. We were devastated that Bear and Magnus didn’t get to meet. It became so obvious that we needed to name Magnus after his big brother. After a bit of googling we found the name Espen, Norwegian for Bear God. Magnus Espen. Absolutely perfect for us and our new little guy.

  143. Meghan says...

    When my friend was pregnant with her second child she and her husband chose the first name together – Lucy. Since he got the final pick for the middle name for their first child, she got to choose the middle name(s) for their second. My friend settled on Lucy Mae Juniper. She liked the symbolism, and LOVED the sound.

    So, baby’s born and an extremely tired mama working very hard to keep a newborn, toddler and a golden retriever alive has her husband do the paperwork for the birth certificate. Hubby, I should mention, is also very tired because he’s trying to keep a post-natal wife, newborn, toddler and golden retriever alive. Fast forward to when my friend opens up said birth certificate when it arrives in the mail, she learned that her daughter’s legal name is Lucy Mae JUPITER.

    • Himali says...

      Oh I laughed so hard, i spilled my food!! I so needed it after a bad day at work, Thanks – Himali

    • Lauren says...

      HAHAHA Oh my god, that is SO GOOD/

  144. Claire Johnson says...

    I have four little ones. My youngest had a name we had agreed on fairly early in the pregnancy. However, I ended up having a life threatening medical emergency that brought him to us via an unplanned (and very scary) c-section. Upon waking up post surgery I began to frantically call out, “where is Everett Bethlehem?! Where is my son?!?” My husband (who was holding our brand new baby and right next to me) simply answered, “Everett is right here, he’s ok!” Then he turned to the nurse saying, “well I guess his name is Everett Bethlehem!” They laughed because they had been calling the newest member by the name my husband and I had agreed on prior to me waking up and just like that he had his “new true name.”

    • Fernanda Abreu says...

      Oh My God. I just laughed too loudly on my desk and got confused stares. :)

  145. Cait says...

    My mother’s middle name is her grandmother’s first name, my middle name is my grandmother’s first name and my daughter’s middle name is my mother’s first name. I’m hoping that if my daughter nis ever blessed with a daughter she’ll continue the tradition!

    • bridget says...

      my family has done the same and i love this tradition! it adds so much meaning for me and i think fostered a deeper relationship with my grandmother who i’m named for.

  146. anja says...

    My middle name was supposed to be yukiko, but my parents chickened out:-) My son`s name is Fynn Luan; Luan being Albanian for Leo, because I met an Albanian mother in hospital who told me about that name. Wanted to give him a third name “Zizou”, but the French consulate wouldn`t confirm it as a name. So Fynn Luan it is.

  147. Megan says...

    Our daughter’s name is Evelyn and our last name starts with a W. I wanted to give her my middle name, Elizabeth, which is a family name, but her initials would have been EEW or EWE (monogram). I couldn’t do that to her, so we feminized my dad’s middle name, Alan, to Alaina.

    • Elinor says...

      My initials are EEW. It’s not ideal, but it’s never actually been a problem!

  148. Megan says...

    The middle name Louise is really special among the women in my family. Both my grandmothers (maternal and paternal, by coincidence!), my mother, my daughter, and I all share the same middle name. I love the idea of passing it on even if/when these women choose to change their last name upon marriage. It also seems to follow me around my life… two of my best friends, one from college and one from my first job, have the SAME middle name! Talk about kismet. One of those friends passed it to her daughter, too, and we are planning on them being best friends, naturally ;)

    • Megan says...

      I’m a Megan Louise, too! Woo!

  149. Crystal says...

    How about no middle name? I don’t have one and I love it! :)

    • Erica says...

      I don’t! Well, I didnt until I got married and took my maiden name as my middle name. My mom was the same – no middle name until she took her maiden name after getting married. My uncles, father, and brother do have them though! I kind of love the tradition and hope to pass it on (even though my husband thinks its weird). I will say, its been 5 years and the novelty of having a middle initial hasn’t worn off!

  150. Elizabeth says...

    We struggled to have our first son and thought he would be the only one. We’re both close to our brothers and wanted to honor them, and so we gave him two middle names–Matthew James. Then we had a surprise second baby boy and didn’t want him to feel left our with only one middle name so gave me two also: John (after my husband) and Paul (for my mom, Paula). Such a fun post. :)