Motherhood

Would You Name Your Child After a Place?

baby and dog

When our first child was born, Alex had an idea for his name…

Roman. “Because he was likely conceived in Rome!” Alex said.

In the end, we loved Toby best (it sounds so friendly) and went with that. But as years have gone by, I’ve met many more people named after places, and I’m really into it.

When their daughter was born, my sister and her husband wanted to name her after a national park because they’re so outdoorsy. “We looked at a map of parks and started laughing. Should we name her Yellowstone?” In the end, they went with Elizabeth Acadia — after Acadia National Park in Maine — which made a lot of sense. “When my late husband and I were first dating, I was at a science camp there, and Paul drove up seven hours from New Haven to surprise me. We had been dating for only a few months. It was really romantic.”

“My dad wanted to name my older sister Nevada or Sundance, so she didn’t have a name for 10 days,” laughs Lizzy. “My mom finally conceded that he could choose all middle names for the rest of their children. So, the next two kids were Elizabeth Dakota and Kathryn Montana. I don’t think he’s even been to either place. It was more a fantasy of the call of the west.”

Ashley and her husband Aron lived in Manhattan years ago and spent many days walking up and down the Hudson River. “It was on one of those walks that we decided we were ready to start a family,” she remembers. “It was on another, talking about names, when we heard someone call, ‘Hudson.’ We looked at each other and both just knew. He’s our New York baby.”

“We named our daughter Scarlet Detroit,” says Lisa. “We had been living in Detroit for six years when she was born.” And a friend Sara adds, “My son’s middle name is ‘Sota’ for Minnesota, where my husband is from.”

Aren’t these names wonderful? And so meaningful! Would you ever name a child after a place? (Or have you?) I’d love to hear…

P.S. Our favorite girls’ names and Toby’s birth story.

(Photo by Meaghan Curry/Stocksy.)

  1. Katy says...

    My son is named Murray, after the city in Utah where my grandfather was born. It also is a Scottish surname that means “from the city by the sea,” which made sense as he was both born on the coast and honored our Scottish/British heritage.

  2. Lanie says...

    My son’s middle name is Tallinn after the city in Estonia. I liked the name Talon, but not the meaning, and the city holds meaning to my husband and me as it’s the first city we spent the day together. We met while traveling and our entire dating life was spent traveling so place names make sense to us.

  3. Jessica says...

    I wholeheartedly agree about General Waverly. I might have to go watch the movie now. :) It is also in The Princess Bride!

  4. My sister has named all her children after places that are special to them. It’s so unique! Their oldest is named after Lincoln college, the college my brother in law attended at oxford.

  5. amber says...

    My husband and I loved to travel prior to having kids (we will love it once again once they get older, ha) and wanted the magical places we visited represented in their middle names, hoping we would take them back with us someday.

    My first son’s middle name is Islington, after the neighborhood my husband lived in during grad school in London. I went to visit while we were dating long distance and got “stuck” there for a month. It was pure bliss/a time I often think back on when he’s forgotten to take out the trash for three months in a row.

    Our second son’s middle name is Otto, named after our trip to Tokyo. Hear me out. One night in the empty basement hotel bar of a very remote onsen town in Kyoto, my husband and I drunkenly sang Donna Lewis and Beastie Boys songs all night to no one but Otto, the bartender. He knew very little (if any) English, but watched us preform the whole night through (his job, clearly), laughing and smiling, slowly swaying back and forth, clapping his hands in the most joyful and supportive way – like a proud grandma who does not know the song your singing. Not sure what age (if any age) I’ll reveal to my son he’s named after a Japanese bartender. Though I’ll most definitely be taking him to Tokyo someday, that magical place.

  6. Laura says...

    I am Spanish and my husband is French, we wanted a name that could be pronounced in both languages, and we both love to travel. We named our second boy Aden, as in the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, and also the harbor city there. We’ve never been there but love how beautiful the name is, so unique, and we hope we can visit some day when the situation is better there.
    Our first boy is called Aïtor, which is not a place, but it’s a Spanish name coming from a specific part of Spain :)

  7. Stacie says...

    Our American son was born in England. We named him Lincoln after both the American president and Lincolnshire, England. Almost everyone in England who met him said, “Oh, like Lincolnshire?” x

  8. My husband and I met and fell in love in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and our second child’s middle name is Franklin based on Franklin St. But now he is five and he really really wants us to change it to Spike. And so we did (informally for now.). It’s his name after all!

  9. Erin says...

    I just had a moment thinking “oh how strange to be named after a place.” Only to remember, I’M NAMED AFTER A PLACE! Ha!

    My middle name is Cahir (pronounced “care”), which is the town in Ireland where my Great-Grandfather was born, and where we still have family. Also, my parents honeymooned there ;)

    (I’m sure the honeymoon isn’t an insignificant reason, as I was born nine months later)

    I’ve been there twice and it is a lovely town, and I’m happy to be named after a place that has such meaning for my family.

    Also my first name means Ireland, so it all works.

  10. Emi Visser says...

    My name is Emke Marie Nanne Neerlandia Visser. Neerlandia, my third middle name is Latin for “Netherlands” where my parents conceived me.
    Now that I live in the Netherlands most people think it is hilarious.

  11. Sahale says...

    I am named after a place :)
    A beautiful mountain in the north cascades of Washington state, where I grew up.
    I absolutely love my name and the fact that I can go there anytime I want.

  12. Ashley says...

    Our daughter is Sedona Capri – a nod to Arizona where I grew up (and a gorgeous place) and the Isle of Capri in Italy (another favorite of ours). I have a feeling our second may be named after a place as well.

  13. Sil says...

    I’v always thought Sydney (or Sidney) is a beautiful name for a girl!

  14. Ashleigh says...

    We named our 1st born “Lauren Dallas” My husband is from Laurel, Mississippi and I’m from Dallas, Texas. We named our 2nd daughter “Riley Elizabeth” because we met and are raising our family in Raleigh (sounds kinda like “Riley”), NC . :)

  15. Suko says...

    My friend named his son Cooper because they were living in Cupertino at the time.
    Also, I have a friend named Noi because she was born in Illinois :)

  16. Gabriela says...

    We have a Santiago, Lourdes and Montserrat. We didn’t set out to pick place names but after two, then we had to for our third :)

  17. Rachel says...

    Our daughter’s name is Memphis May. I have never been to Memphis (I’m Australian) and I don’t have a thing for Elvis. While I was pregnant I was reading Singer Songwriter Paul Kelly’s autobiography “How to Make Gravy” and he wrote about naming his daughter Memphis, after the Egyptian goddess, and Bono has a daughter called Memphis. Anyway it stuck with me after that, and hence she is Memphis. It also seems to go with her older brother’s name “Sonny”.

    • Susan says...

      This is funny! I don’t have kids, but my adorable cat is called Mênfis (I’m Brazilian, so I chose the Portuguese spelling) for the same reasons you mentioned! As I love travelling, I wanted her to be named after a place and because cats were so sacred to the ancient Egyptians, I thought it would be a nice fit! It was, she loves her name and always meows back when I call her. If I ever get a male cat, he’s definitely going to be Tebas.

    • Natasha Jansz Vogt says...

      Memphis is also a design movement from the 80s which is having a resurgence ;)

  18. Teresa says...

    I think of my kids as named for locations – but it’s not particularly transparent – my daughter is named for the protagonist in a story that my husband and I read together when we started dating – but its also our take on an Australian name – because the novel is by Patrick White, iconic Australian author. I was pregnant with #2 when we decided to move to Sydney, so we gave him maybe the most new england name, well, we also named him for a lovely trip to the Clark Art Museum we took with my husbands parents right before husband and I got engaged. But that’s it, my Sydney girl, and Boston boy

  19. Kristina says...

    My husband and I met in Chicago and have lived together in various homes within a few blocks of Sheffield Ave. Some of our best memories are walking up Sheffield on a summer evening or to a Cubs game, especially the night the Cubs won the World Series. I’ve always loved the name Sheffield for a little boy, but I think it’s a little nerdy sounding. I haven’t figured out a good nickname yet, but let me know if anyone has ideas!

  20. Emma Knight says...

    We have Fern Matilda, who is ten years old, named after the silver fern of New Zealand and the unofficial national anthem of Australia. And we have Abel Wells, aged seven; named after Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand and Wells Gray Provincial Park in Canada. Our most favorite and special places on earth.

  21. gio says...

    i’have a 12 years old Asia .. her dad and I would have loved living there, but we were unable to move for a number of reasons. Now Asia will always be with us.

  22. Katie says...

    We have a Mallory Georgia – after the University of Georgia where my husband and I met.

    We also have a schnauzer named Baxter, after Baxter Avenue in Athens.

  23. Emily says...

    My hubby and I named our first baby (our beloved fur baby) Harrison because we met as undergrads living next door to each other on Harrison Street! Then, when we had our first human offspring, we gave him the middle name Wise because we spent the bulk of our dating years falling in love and “living in sin” on Wise Avenue. Our second son did not end up with a place name, however, and I’ve always slightly regretted not continuing the trend. We do feel we still give him a stellar middle name… Atlas. He was 24.5″ (yes, you read that right) at birth so he was just a big dude. We named him after the Greek titan because he looked strong enough to hold up the heavens.

  24. Lauren says...

    My sons middle name is Canyon – an ode to Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles. Topanga is a really special place for my husband and I, we met when he was living in LA and fell in love (or realized we were in love) in Topanga. We live in NYC, but we go back to LA whenever we can and rent AirBnBs in Topanga.

  25. Elif says...

    I’m Turkish and living in Turkey. However, both me and my husband are of Circassian (Adyghe) descent . When we were to have our first baby, my husband said he wanted to give her/him a Circassian name. I was worried about this though, because Circassian language dialects, depending on which one you’re referring to, have only 2-4 vowels and some 50 or 60 consonants!! (And unlike him I always wanted a Turkish name.) So back then, I asked him if he could at least think of something that people could pronounce, which I think really limited his choices :) We also considered the name “Elbruz”, which is a mountain in Caucasus so it would make sense considering our family roots. But it just didn’t sound right. After long lasting debates (32 days after his birth, to be exact) and discovering that everyone in the family had an idea on the subject :) we ended up naming our son after an animal instead, Arslan (Turkish for “Lion”, it can also be written as Aslan.) It quite suited his golden locks and I don’t know how and why that happened but when my son was scared of other kids, he used hide behind me and roar :)

    Our second son’s middle name is Tibet. It’s used as a male name in Turkey. It’s an old one, not trendy, not too common but not rare, and although it’s controversial it’s believed to have Turkic origins (Tüpüt, Töbet, Töpat, Tepe all meaning high hill or hills).

    • Laura says...

      Aslan is a beautiful name, I love it!

  26. Megan says...

    Yes, Berlin (because that’s where I met her papa) and Holland (because I love it there) !

  27. Helen Flaherty says...

    Some beautiful Irish names from my family and friends I want to share for anyone who loves imagining names for future kids: Breda, Una, Irene, Ronan, Conall, Caoimhe (pronounced Keeva), Niamh (pronounced Nieve), Roisin (Ro-sheen), Ciara, Aine, Eilish, Saoirse (Seer-sha), Della, & Dara

    • Emma says...

      Oh I love Irish names so much! This is a lovely collection

    • Just had a couple “THAT’S how you say that?” moments – so thank you for including the pronunciation for some of those names, haha.

      Side note, I have always been a major bookworm and was often reading books far beyond my “suggested” age when I was a pre-teen. I remember reading a book about a girl named Phoebe and I read the entire book saying it “Pho-Eeb” in my head. YEARS LATER I saw an episode of Friends and put two and two together. Facepalm moment!

  28. Jenny says...

    We named our oldest daughter Violet Virginia. Virginia because that’s where my husband is from, and where we lived when we were first married. But also because Virginia is a family name on my side (the wife of Edgar Allan Poe, to be exact!), and alliteration can boost any name combo by like, 27%. :)

  29. Beatrice says...

    I lived in Rome for a year after college. My daughter is Julia, named for the Via Giulia, one of my favorite streets in Rome. It’s a famous though quiet, beautiful street full of antique shops. After a long journey of infertility and loss, it seemed like the perfect reminder to seek beauty and peace among the noise, sadness and chaos of life.

  30. Jennifer says...

    Our son’s middle name is Allston. It is where my husband and I met and fell in love while we were both students in Boston. So many memories! We live on the other side of the world now but still cherish our time there.

  31. S says...

    Funnily enough, people think our son Milan is named after the beautiful Italian city but no! Our older son does have an Italian name (I’m Italian in my moms side) but Milan is a beautiful Eastern European (Croatian) name that means My Beloved (which he is!!!) and the Italian city e sempre Milano, mai no Milan.

  32. katie anne says...

    My husband was ALL ABOUT place names – like Pennsylvania (penny for short), Allegheny (Allie), or my least favorite – his hometown county Venango. Eek. I loved the sentiment but couldn’t get behind that — until we landed on the middle name for our son: Belmar, which is a place name (and name of a very cool old railroad bridge) from his hometown. Totally not on purpose, but our daughter’s first name Adelaide is also a street name in my husband’s childhood neighborhood.

  33. Jamie says...

    When my our first son was born we were living in Atlanta, far away from my hometown and where we got married in Washington State. We gave him the middle name, Lewis, after the county we were married in. Our second’s middle name, a daughter, is Clark. We stuck with the pattern and used Lewis for our third, a boy, as well. Now we’ve moved back to Washington state and wonder if anyone will realize what we did and why. I doubt they’ll get the geographic reference and instead just think we are big Lewis and Clark history buffs. I always thought it was nice that all three had a name that would not necessarily be changed as adults and would tie them all together as a unit no matter where they end up in the world.

  34. Cait says...

    We named our first Daughter Tabor Ann. Tabor after a dormant volcano in Portland, Oregon where my parents, my husbands parents and my husband and I all met or married (Kismet, I know). Our other children have names based on family members or feelings around the time Scotty Jane (daughter) and Holliday Zachary (Son). Names can be so many things these days!

    • Savannah says...

      As a Portlander, I have to say I love Tabor as a name and Mt Tabor is lovely.

  35. Katie says...

    Love names based on places. We have a daughter named “Fox Lara” – Lara after Laramie, Wyoming, a place my husband and I love.

  36. katherine myers says...

    Our daughter’s name is Tenley after Tenley Circle (and Tenleytown) in Washington DC where I grew up. But after we had settled on the name we also realized there is also a remarkable woman named Dr. Tenley Albright who was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating in the 1950’s and accomplished many other remarkable things. Dr. Tenley had an 80th birthday party for herself when our Tenley was about 13. Today my daughter’s icebreaker at college is sometimes: “I went to a party with 60 women and girls named Tenley.” Everyone was wearing a nametag that said “Hello My Name Is TENLEY.” Dr. Tenley was the most charismatic woman we have ever met. I only wish more girls today learned about her–she’s amazing.

  37. Yes! We named our son Camden. We got engaged on Islesboro Island off the coast of Camden, Maine, and it was the town where we spent the majority of our engagement weekend! I am a big fan of naming children after states and towns and national parks. (And I love the name Roman!)

  38. silly lily says...

    My husband and I had our sons in the 80’s and I’m beginning to think we missed an interesting naming trend. If they had been born now, my second son would be Valentine’s Day and my first, Major League Baseball All Star Break. A bit unwieldy, but unique.

  39. Samantha says...

    My daughter’s name is Rose. We were in a rose garden in Washington on a walk and thought that would be a beautiful name if we had a daughter someday. Later that evening I found out I was pregnant, and that’s been her name ever since!

  40. C says...

    We named our son after my husband’s favorite Scotch so I have forever given up my “right” to comment on anyone’s name choices for children.

    • OMG what is it? Craigellachie? One of the Glens? Macallan would be a great boys name..

  41. jen says...

    My son is Holland :). It was the middle name of my great grandfather (and my mom was named Holly for him). While I didn’t name him for the place, family history traces the name back to ancestors arriving in England from Holland. I have loved it since I was a child and planned to use it to name either a son or daughter. People often think he says his name is Colin though :(.

    • Kate says...

      My middle name is Holland! Also a family name (my mom’s maiden name) from ancestors in England, but I believe for us it stemmed from an old word for hilly.

  42. Christina says...

    No, since it isn’t allowed where I live. Surnames are not allowed as given names either and you can’t pick a new surname of your liking without having a connection to it, such as it being your mother’s maiden name. And giving gender typical names to a child of the opposite gender became allowed only recently.
    I think it is okay. There are so many names to choose from anyway, and more often children wish to blend in among their friends!

    • courtney says...

      Christina, this reminds me of a former roommate of mine. She was from Denmark and told me that they have a list of government-approved names (I believe other countries do this, as well). If you wanted a name that wasn’t on the list, you could apply. For instance, my name (Courtney) isn’t on the list, but could probably be ok’d, while Batman probably wouldn’t be. She thought the prospect of naming your kid any old crazy thing was just wild, while the idea of a list was totally new to me. It was such a glimpse into a world I’d never considered!

    • Emma says...

      I’m from France and the list was a thing there for a while. It no longer is, but there still is an approval process for names that are considered not in the interest of the child (I believe Nutella was not allowed). I’m always surprised by how diverse American names are – the name list definitely left its trace in French culture, and we tend to stick to more traditional options! I really love the name Acadia (and the associated park) and might steal that idea if I ever have a girl.

  43. annette says...

    my son’s name
    is sky and his little sister’s sunday. both names came in a dream.

  44. C says...

    Two years ago, we lost our first daughter in June, two and half months before she was supposed to be born. It was beyond devastating and nearly broke both my husband and me. When her due date approached, we decided to take a trip down along the coast. I couldn’t imagine sitting at home when I should have been in a delivery room. On our way south, we made an impromptu stop in the redwoods to decompress a bit. Walking among those trees — It was the first time I had a sense that everything would be okay. We’d survive this. On our walk back to our car, we realized the name of the grove was an unusual name we had considered for our daughter. I looked up the name on my phone, and found that it meant, “blessed peacemaker.” Two days later, on the last day of trip, I found out I was pregnant again. With my long history of infertility, this was quite the shock. Some quick math led me to the realization that this new baby’s due date was the same day her sister passed. It was a stressful pregnancy – we were terrified of a recurrence of the fatal heart defects that affected her sister, I was high risk, and spent over three months on bed rest. When our second daughter finally arrived, we decided to name her after the redwood grove.

    • silly lily says...

      What an incredible, meaning-filled story.

      Six years ago we were expecting our first granddaughter when my DIL miscarried. It was early in the pregnancy but of course it was devastating.
      A year later we welcomed another baby girl, and sometime after that I realized that if the first one had been born, the second one wouldn’t have. And she is such a joy!

      I don’t know if time heals anything, but if we are very very lucky, it can offer us some graceful perspective. I now think that these special sisters “conspired” to get one of them here. I know that’s silly but it works for me.
      BTW, our first girl was due on October 17. Still a special day for me.

      Blessings on both your daughters .

  45. Anastasia says...

    When pregnant with our first child, we had plenty of “boy” names in the hopper. When we found out it would be a girl we couldn’t agree on any until I mentioned Charlotte – after Charlottesville, VA the town we met and got married in. When she was young, it was sweet when she’d refer to it as “my-ville”!

    • Meaghan says...

      My middle name is the street where a family home is located. The house has been (and still is) in the family for almost 70 years. We have countless wonderful memories (parent’s honeymoon, our wedding, family vacations, etc) from that place and I love that it’s part of my name as well as my family’s history.

  46. Elise says...

    Our son’s name is Jasper. Though he’s not named after Jasper National Park in Canada, I’m delighted that every time he meets a Canadian they ask if he is! We’ve never been there but hope to make a trip after all this is over.

    My brother and sister-in-law are due with their first baby tomorrow and plan to name the baby after one of their favorite outdoor places – they have one for a boy and one for a girl. I cannot wait to see which one it is!!

  47. Kate the Great says...

    My brother and sister-in-law have named their kids after states: Arizona and Indiana. They call them Zona and Indy. They’re pregnant with their third, but they’ve run out of state names that they like. My husband gave them a onesie printed with their last name and 03 and a note attached: “We don’t know what you’ll name your new little one, but here’s a New Jersey.” :D

    A couple in my church named their eldest son Park, after Park City, Utah, where he was conceived. Their daughter was also named after the European city she was conceived. My husband and I have privately made fun of Park mercilessly, but somehow state names are not mockable.

    • Sil says...

      Jersey is a great name!

  48. Stacey says...

    Our daughter is Evylene Nova — my husband and I met as students at Villanova. I also loved that it means “star” and “new beginning”

  49. Sara says...

    Let’s have a society where people are (truly) free to name their child as they want, without social stigma of any kind. Our current one is so so rigid, my goodness. When we were expecting, my husband and I found ourselves on the path of choosing negatively, as in, not this one and not that one, or feeling the pressure to choose one of the set number of names currently in circulation.

    I’m so glad we found the courage to just say no to that pressure, and own the act of naming our child. For us, that meant going with nature, as one of the things we hold very dear and wanted to connect our child to, and choosing an old name that most people are a bit confused by. I couldn’t feel happier nor more content about our choice, and wish the same to everyone.

  50. We didn’t go with places per se, but chose mythical gods from our ethnic backgrounds (and chose Americanized spellings). One son’s middle name is Odin (I’m about 50% Norwegian) and the other’s is Raiden (my husband is about 50% Japanese). We were ecstatic to find similar sounding names that were both gods of thunder! Same, but different.

  51. Mina says...

    Our first child was born in Atlanta GA where we lived for about a year before returning to Stockholm Sweden. He turned out to be a boy, Alec. But we were considering Georgia as a middle name, had he been a girl.

    We lived in India for a bit and have friends who have used India as a middle name for a child conceived there. I would have loved that for our daughter, but since my husband has Indian roots and we ha have a very Indian surname, it would sound kind of weird. But my sister’s daughter has India as a middle name.

  52. Amy says...

    We got engaged on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire and have joked about naming a future son after the town it’s in: Jaffrey! Think it’s probably better suited to a cat than a human, though :)

  53. Brooke says...

    My son’s name is Roan (pronounced like loan) after Roan Mountain. It’s a special place my husband and I backpacked often throughout our relationship before becoming parents.

    • Megan says...

      Ha! Same!

  54. Rose Marie says...

    Our daughter’s name is Siena. My parents are from Italy and I really just wanted an Italian name. I’ve discovered though that not too many people know it’s a city in Italy!

  55. maria says...

    Our son is named Croix, after the St. Croix river that runs along the boarder of Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is definitely a saint to our family.

  56. Nicole says...

    My niece’s middle name is Vienna because that’s where my brother-in-law’s ancestors are from.

  57. Mims says...

    Our son was conceived at Lassen National Volcanic Park, and we considered naming him Lassen. But we went the traditional route and named him after two grandfathers. Respect for elders trumped trendiness. Im fine with it. I do have a problem with names like India for a white Caucasian…seems really manifest destin…ey, imperialistic.

  58. Steph says...

    An ongoing joke was that our son would be named after where he was likely conceived (Bacharach, ha!). :) We didn’t- don’t worry. I do love the name Sydney which is also one of my favorite cities in the world.

  59. Melissa E. says...

    Our daughter is named Siena. We got married in Siena in Tuscany in a super romantic location!:) Love love her name and its story.

  60. Zoë says...

    Our first child was born last August, and thankfully my husband liked the name I had had picked out since I was 15 – Abbott.
    My dad has been the pastor of Abbott Church, a small church in Baltimore for the past 20+ years. My parents moved my five siblings and I up from an Atlanta suburb when I was four and we grew up attending, and at one point living in, the church – when our home was being renovated, we lived in the reception hall on the top floor for just over a year.
    While the church community has grown and changed and expanded and contracted at points during my dad’s tenure, my family has always found there a people who have welcomed and accepted and cherished and loved us unequivocally. I have dozens of pseudo-grandparents among the congregation and countless people who have rejoiced and mourned with us throughout life.
    Baby Abbott was baptized at Abbott last December by my dad and neither he (a huge crybaby) or I (who inherited that from him) could hold it together. I chose Abbott’s name as a way of honoring all these people who have loved me and in many ways, big and small, helped raise me and I hope and pray that Abbott will grow up knowing about them and understanding the importance of community.

  61. Katy Dolesh says...

    We have a boy Stimson and a girl Merritt both named after mountains in Glacier National Park. My husband and I met there!

  62. Stephanie says...

    Our son is named Everett after the street our first apartment was on.

    • Elliesee says...

      My first apartment was on Everett – in Montreal. I have fond memories of the mini-market where food cost nothing. My rent was also only 225$ a month. The late 90’s!

  63. Cristina says...

    Our eldest daughter is beamed after a place – we were on holiday in the US and the day I found out I was pregnant we arrived in Meredith, New Hampshire. So Meredith she is.

    • Lindsey says...

      I loooove the thought of this. I really lobbied hard for one of my sons’ middle names to be Beacon after Beacon Hill in Boston—my husband and I love it there so much. Alas, no dice. We have Emerson James and Amos Charles.

    • Alida says...

      Aw, I have an Amos too.

  64. Leslie says...

    My son’s middle name is Richmond, after the city where his dad and I met.

  65. H says...

    We have friends who have a son named Indio, and they often call him Indy. I’ve always thought it was the coolest name, and then while driving around Southern California, we passed through Indio, CA. The family used to live near San Diego, and I’ve been meaning to ask them if their son is named after the town.

  66. On a round the world backpacking trip, I became pregnant with my first daughter in Sydney. Since that was a family name we both loved? Done! And she’s grown now, and loves the story of her name. (Two subsequent daughters were much harder to name!)

  67. Jen says...

    We did! Middle name Florence 🤣🤣

  68. Annie says...

    We don’t plan to have kids, but my husband and I are planning on naming our dog (lols!) Charlotte after the city we met in – Charlotte, North Carolina. We’ll call her Charlie for short because it’s so cute.

  69. Catherine says...

    I love that post, and all posts about names; it’s not really a trend here in France, although the name France or Marie-France was really popular for girls at the beginning of the 20th century, all the way to WW2.
    Some cities and regions have been used for girls’names like the city of Nancy in the East of France or Rochelle from the city La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast. The color you call “burgundy” refers to the French red wine from that region, but in French, we call that same color”Bordeaux”!
    Finally, my daughter has a 14 year-old friend named “Toscane” (Tuscany, region of Italy) I think that’s really pretty.
    PS for Alex: Romain is a very common name in French. But I have yet to meet a French person named Paris!

  70. Our boys’ middle names are Rogue and Adams, named for the Rogue River Valley (Southern Oregon) and Mt. Adams (Washington State). We’re both from Portland, OR, but we now live on the East Coast. We wanted their names to have a connection to where we came from and we plan to take them to both spots when they’re older. We have Pacific Northwest names picked out for girls, too, and I hope we get to use them. :)

  71. Nicki says...

    I love reading how people picked their children’s names – so many great stories. Our daughters were conceived in Juba (South Sudan) and Goma (eastern Congo/DRC), but I don’t think it occurred to us to name them after places. Our main focus was finding names that sounded nice and could be pronounced in the three languages spoken in the immediate family – and negotiating the children’s last name (we went with both of ours in the end and skipped middle names).

    We’re aid workers, and have observed that it’s common among expatriates living abroad to give children middle names with a nod to the local language or culture. We have several friends whose children’s middle name is “Amani”, which means “peace” in Kiswahili (one of East Africa’s most commonly spoken languages). My sister and her husband, who lived in east Africa for more than ten years, chose “Zawadi” (“gift” in Kiswahili) for their daughter’s middle name.

    • Loved seeing this comment – hi from Kigali, Rwanda! (We were just in Gisenyi, neighbor town across the border from Goma, last weekend.) Some of our (expat) friends just had a baby a week ago and gave her the middle name “Akaliza”, which means first born daughter in Kinyarwanda. (We also had a baby while living here, but but no Kinyarwanda names here…)

  72. Tammy Perazza says...

    My son is Aiden ‘Spencer’ named after The Spencer hotel we spent a week at when traveling to New Zealand & conceived. When he was born, as a laugh I sent them an email & baby picture. They thought it was so wonderful they sent him a teddy bear, ton of merchandise and gave us a free nights accommodation to try for a sister! Sadly we never made it back.

  73. Ingrid says...

    My perspective, as Swede but living in London, is that this is a very American thing. I remember thinking this when Sarah Palin was in the news a lot, with her daughter named Bristol. Bristol is a large and historic city in England with a background in the slave trade. It seems extraordinary to me to lay claim to this name as if it was just a neutral word, and not particularly because of the slavery connection but more generally. Names like London, Paris, Ireland – these are not neutral nouns that you can just adopt as yours, as if you were a conqueror. They are places, cities, whole nations, with complex and varied histories. To seize the word as if you own it is weird to me. It smacks of exceptionalism. And it’s even worse when it’s someone who hasn’t even been to the place! Words have their own weight, their own gravity. What is a parent trying to say about a child with one of these names, that they outrank every other child somehow? That they alone are equal to a river, a city, a whole nation? I don’t get it at all. Sorry if this causes offence. I think it highlights a big cultural gulf for me.

    • Christina says...

      Ingrid, I appreciate your perspective. I also think that Sarah Palin smacks of exceptionalism (ha). But honestly, don’t you think this is how names evolve over time? I did a quick search on the origin of your name, and the first result that came back was: ‘From the Old Norse name Ingríðr meaning “Ing is beautiful”, derived from the name of the Germanic god ING combined with fríðr “beautiful”.’ Do you think that a few decades ago, maybe a century or six ago, people would have been offended at the idea of humans being named after gods?
      (I say this, very tongue in cheek, as a Christina which apparently means “little Christ.” :)
      I love hearing about the differences in our cultures. I am personally not a fan of the latest fashion of unusual names; I prefer classic names, but this is part of what makes life interesting!

    • Anna says...

      I don’t think parents who name their children after places intend to “outrank” other children or that they believe naming their child will announce that child equal to that place (“…a river, a city, a whole nation”). If you read through the comments here you will see it is most often to pay homage. Ingrid your comment seems harsh.

    • Maryanne says...

      I’m an American who feels the same way! Also, I don’t want to know where people conceived their children, that’s TMI, thank you very much! 😁

    • N says...

      Ingrid, people name their children these names after something they love because they have a happy, personal connection to the place. It isn’t about putting one child above another, it’s honoring something you love, whether it be a place or a time in your life.

      Children are named after saints all the time. Like Christina said, people are even named after Christ!

      If we took history into account when looking for a name, there would hardly be any names left! Joseph is out because of Stalin, Adolf is definitely out because of Hitler, Christopher is out because of Columbus‘s myriad of atrocities he perpetrated, Henry because Henry VIII was a madman….it could go on forever!

      Can you imagine naming a company after people who continually raped, pillaged, & terrorized others? Well, Viking Cruises did.

      A name is chosen for a child because it brings happiness to the parents in some way. That’s all this is.

    • Ingrid says...

      Yes it is probably too harsh. I apologise if I caused offence. I just have a hard time with the scale of applying a place name to a person. I don’t know if that makes sense. Yes if you call a person Henry or Joseph there are historical figures who are problematic with those names, but there are also great people, your grandparents or whoever, who give those names honor and a human scale. Ingrid as a name, I don’t actually like it! But history has established its use and its human scale, over many lives, many years of precedent. But now if you call your child Bristol, to use the Palin example, I have a hard time with the scale of what you’re suggesting. That you can just take possession of an existing place name, with hundreds or thousands of years of history, millions of people living their lives, streets, bridges, rivers, and you get to just change its meaning for your own? Maybe because it is not my first language, this flexibility of meaning is tough for me. If it’s done out of love of the place, yes it makes me look ridiculous to criticize that motive. But if it’s done just to own a nice word, to twist what it means for your own, I can’t see how that is anything other than exceptionalism? But again, I am really not trying to make people feel bad about the children they love! I am trying mostly to figure out my own thoughts about why this seems quite a tacky choice. It is a cultural thing I think where I’m from, not to raise yourself up as self-consciously unique or more special than other people. But sorry again if I upset anybody.

    • Ingrid says...

      If you’re prepared to scroll a geologist named Rue articulates my thoughts on this much lower down in the comments, way better and less clumsily than I did here. Thank you Rue! It’s to do with the human scale of a name. Thank you Joanna for making me think long and hard about this seemingly innocent topic!

    • Leslie Olsson says...

      My husband is from Sweden as well, and I think part of it is a cultural difference. The Swedish government has to approve names of children born in Sweden, and I believe this adds to the collective understanding of what a name is, or should be. How interesting to think of place names as (potentially) an American quirk!

    • RWD says...

      Bristol Bay is off the coast of Alaska; I am not an expert on Sarah Palin, but it’s much more likely her daughter is named after the bay than the city.

      Would you say this to a person who named their child Jesus? Or Mohammed? Or Siddhartha? Or a person who names their child something that means “king” or “queen” or an otherwise lofty noun or adjective? People of all cultures and generations have given children weighty names.

      It’s hardly American. Look at India Hicks or Brooklyn Beckham, just off the top of my head.

    • Anna says...

      Thank you for the follow up comment Ingrid. Your perspective was also food for thought. I scrolled to read the comment from Rue per your recommendation. It was interesting reading the comments from several non Americans on the subject through the comment section. Hope you are well this evening.

    • Ingrid says...

      I would not say it to anyone in person, truthfully, RWD, and am relying on the anonymity of an internet forum to organize my thoughts! But if I met a real life set of parents who had named their child Jesus, or let’s say Thor or any other blatant god name, then yes, the honest truth is that inwardly, I would think them a little bit self-important or overly grandiose. Mohammed I would argue has been long established as a given name within Islamic culture, so the human scale already applies. There is no exceptionalism involved. Perhaps the same is true of Jesus as a given name in Latin cultures, I’m not sure. Again, for me, it comes back to cultural context, precedent and human scale. Certainly I would not confront someone about this head to head, as if I was the arbiter of all names, everywhere! I wouldn’t dream of being so rude. But Joanna did ask for our honest opinions. So I’m working out the truth about what I think and why I think it, and what those thoughts imply about culture and respect for language and all kinds of other things.

      For me the fact remains that if I name my son Everest, I can’t just disconnect that word from the mountain. I can’t shake off the chains of language and meaning and connection when it comes to the word. You say Everest, people think mountain. So like it or not, I have created a comparison in the naming of my son. Do I love the Himalayas, am I a seasoned traveller in this scenario? Quite possibly. Maybe my son was conceived at Everest base camp. Who knows? But in naming my son Everest, the comparison is fixed, it exists, and to deny that I am equating him with the mountain somehow would be crazy. You can’t just dissolve words from their primary meanings like that. And then if I meet someone and introduce my son Everest, and they encounter, not an explorer, but a 4 year old, 3 foot high with a snotty nose and an eye infection, does that not make me look a little bit delusional? My son’s name a little bit comic? And maybe it’s all well and good if my Everest turns out to be the CEO of a giant international corporation, but if he grows up to be a small-town refuse collector, no disrespect to refuse collectors everywhere, but does that not make my name choice seem a bit of a nonsense? And ultimately kind of unfair? That level of scale and majesty, it’s too much of a burden for someone to shoulder. Unless I am in a scenario where Everest is a name that has acquired the patina of precedent in my community for some reason, over many lives and years. In which case the mountain is no longer its primary association. The name has become something different. It has acquired a smaller, more human scale. And its usage in that community would not feel grandiose or egotistical to me.

      This Everest business is all hypothetical, obviously. But I am just trying to explain how these name choices feel to me when I read about them. I can’t get into the mindset where a word with such an obvious primary meaning could ever become purely personal and commemorative – could essentially come to mean something totally different, just because I want it to. If you can unshackle words from their meanings so freely, just on an individual whim, then what comes next? Language has to have a certain stability and collective truth in its usage, surely. There has to be some shared agreement about what words mean. Or what’s to stop me calling myself Queen Ingrid, calling my apartment a palace, calling my street a kingdom and demanding that you all pay fealty to me? See? When words are purely personal, when there is no collective or agreed truth, you are on the path to egomania and delusion!

      When I see the celebrities making similar choices, like Brooklyn Beckham as listed above, or Kanye West, who went even bigger and named his child North, then I think the self-importance and grandiosity and delusion I’m talking about becomes even more evident. I don’t know, maybe I have some weird language receptor in my brain or something, but I cannot just unshackle words from their primary meanings in the way I think you’d need to to make either of those examples feel straightforward and unegotistical. But I am not sure why I’m being so controversial myself on this topic, when Cup of Jo readers are always so kind and polite! It must be lockdown madness. Thank you to all who responded to me. I have enjoyed this conversation.

    • Karen says...

      Just chiming in to say that I love this thread! And no apologies necessary— we as women often make far more apologies than we need to. This is a thoughtful and engaging debate. Especially as it takes place across countries and cultures.
      Let’s not confine our opinions (or curiosity) in the name of being nice!! xo

  74. Claudia Harford says...

    Our daughter is called Siena after the first city that took my breath away with its beauty. If we had had another daughter we planned to call her Aberdeen.

  75. Meagan says...

    We named our daughter Malibu :) I like it because it’s different. Never been there before but I just like the beach and it means noisy surf and it definitely suits her . I love Hudson for a boy and pregnant ATM with a boy and also like Phoenix :)

  76. Alejandra says...

    Our youngest daughter (now nine months old) is called Elba after the river in Hamburg (Germany). I spent a year working as a Spanish teacher (I am from Spain) there, and it was life-changing for both my now husband and me. We barely saw each other twice in twelve months, and we realised that, despite the distance, what we had was actually working. Since then (ten years ago now), Hamburg is very close to our hearts, so it made sense to both of us to make our daughter somehow inherit that feeling.

  77. Alex says...

    I remember my mum worked with a woman who gave each of her children a middle name that was a place that she and her husband loved (Paris and Siena were two of them). Then, for each of their 18th birthdays, their gift was a trip to the city of their middle name with one of their parents – I’ve always thought it was such a beautiful idea.

  78. Danielle says...

    Our daughter’s middle name is Lenox, after Lenox Hill, the neighborhood we lived in when she was born. We left NYC when she was six months old, but she enjoys having a tie to her birthplace.

  79. Celia says...

    My husband would have been named Roman (after a football player rather than the place) if his mom hadn’t ended up marrying Mr. Bowman.