Motherhood

How Did You Pick Your Child’s Middle Name?

Toby Goddard-Williams baby

Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years (!) so we’ve decided that every week, we’ll be highlighting one of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on January 7, 2019…

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. Tracy says...

    I wanted our son’s middle name to be my husband’s first name (Mark). I remember being in such a sweet spot in our marriage while pregnant and couldn’t imagine loving my husband more. It felt right to name our son after him. After our son was born (prematurely And traumatically), life fell apart. I had debilitating post-partum depression, a son with medical needs, and both my grandmother and dad passed away shortly after our son’s birth. I was so numb for the next 2 years. My son’s middle name was a reminder of how much I loved my husband even though I couldn’t feel it thru the grief, trauma and depression. It reminded me I would feel that love again. That it wasn’t gone; just buried.

  2. Sarah says...

    The timing of this post is perfect. We made one child’s name my beloved grandmothers’s name and for the other we carried on a family practice of making the middle name a virtue (mine if Faith). But my very spirited 6-year old just informed this past weekend that she would like to change her middle name from “Grace” to “Domination” (she is very confident in her prowess in tag and Connect 4.)

    • Alice says...

      Pahahahaaha this genuinely cracked me up. Your daughter sounds BRILLIANT!!

    • Bex says...

      This is hilarious!

    • Amelia Greenberg says...

      Ha! This made me laugh. Good for her.

  3. rach says...

    I am 30 wks pregnant with my second, a boy, and while I was earrrly into my pregnancy (january), didn’t even know I was pregnant, my Dad passed away… and when I found out I was pregnant I knew it was a boy because I knew I was meant to name him after my dad. So his middle name is Barron, Rhett Barron after my dad <3

    • Kristie says...

      I’m sorry for your loss Rach. I didn’t lose my dad, but he had an accident causing a spinal injury when I was expecting my second. Grief and babies and pregnancy is hard, so sending a stranger’s virtual love your way. And I just have to say that Rhett Barron is a very cool name.

  4. Natalie Y. says...

    After our daughter Anastasia was born, we hadn’t yet picked a middle name, and so we spent those 2 sleepless nights in the hospital calling out what seemed like every single name in existence, but nothing had the right ring. In my somewhat delirious state, I said to my husband, “Winter! Anastasia Winter!” She was, after all, born on December 27th and she felt like our winter princess.

  5. Kate says...

    We went with my maiden name for all our 4 kids. It’s hard enough to think of one name! Takes the guesswork out and I feel proud my last name is included.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Me too :)

  6. Courtney says...

    I agree with previous posters that middle names are a fun way to use a little more creative name. Our first son is kind of named after my husband’s great-uncle, but mostly because we liked the sound and wanted to honor his Dutch heritage (mn is Zaeger; uncle spelled it differently).

    For our daughter, we tossed around a lot of ideas, but then I heard someone calling for their daughter “Clara” on the playground and it was perfect (plus I loved the meaning!).

    For our second boy (last baby!) my husband found the name Calder, which is a place name in our favorite spot in Maine. It also means “rocky water,” which is funny because his first name is a type of tree and our last name means “green field” in Dutch, so technically he’s Tree Rocky Water Green Field. He does love nature!

  7. Brooke says...

    We used the name of a loved one who passed away

  8. Sarah says...

    We invited our three daughters to pick their own!

  9. Tara says...

    Our first son’s middle name is Paul after both maternal & paternal grandfathers (easy). Our identical twin boys were given middle names after people we admire. Oliver for Mary Oliver, a beloved poet and Murray for the one and only, Mr. Bill Murray.

  10. Mary A. says...

    My second boy was born almost one year ago and I knew it would be our last child. My firstborn is the 3rd, after my husband and his father. My husband asked if it is a boy, could we name him Charles, after his grandfather. I agreed because I was SURE it was a girl and guess what- it was a boy. I panicked, knowing this was my last chance to squeeze in “my” side of the family and wrote down two middle names on his birth certificate. Now “my side” is well represented, family-name-wise and little Charles has one mean, four-letter monogram!

  11. GH says...

    We have two girls and wanted to honor each grandmother! So the first daughter has my mom’s maiden name as her middle name, “Lin” and the second has my MIL’s maiden name, “Rees”. It works out really nicely because they are both one syllable and each of the girls have three syllable first names. So the cadence of both names match. My mom always knew we would use her maiden name for a middle name but my MIL was surprised when we used hers and cried when she heard our baby’s full name!

  12. Aleksandra says...

    My daughter’s first name is Lola (after my paternal grandmother) and funnily enough she is the spitting image of her…Lola has got two middle names, Jane (after her big step sister) and Elizabeth (after her maternal grandmother). We really struggled with names for our twin boys and we ended up with Arlo Robert (after his paternal grandfather) Jules (after his father) and Luca Alexander (after me as my name is Aleksandra).

  13. C says...

    My son’s first and middle names fall into these categories. His grandmother passed away two months before he was born and we gave him the name Brady, her maiden name, to honor her. His middle name, Kodak, started as a joke until it finally stuck.

  14. ellie says...

    Our daughter is named Sara after a grandmother and great-grandmother. Choosing a middle name was a leap of faith: I am a green-eyed redhead and my husband is on the fair side (blue eyes) so we knew there was a chance (albeit small) she might be a redhead too. Her middle name is Rowan, Celtic for redhead (I am unsurprisingly of Irish and Scottish descent). We got lucky….she came out a blue-eyed redhead! Whew…as we didn’t have a backup plan…

  15. Lauren says...

    I think both my girls represent something about the time when I was pregnant with them. My older daughters middle name is Magnolia. We lived on the corner of magnolia avenue in LA, had a magnolia tree in our yard etc.

    With our second daughter, I was pregnant when Trump was elected so we chose Hope because we all needed some.

    We are done having babies now, but I always thought of the middle name as the place to be really risky or creative. I wanted more out there names both times, but I love where we settled. First names have so many implications that middle names don’t. It feels like it’s the accent color in a room instead of the main one.

    I kind of wish I could get a job to research and think up names for expecting people 😂😂

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hope — that’s so lovely.

    • Lauren says...

      I am pregnant with my 2nd and am stumped with names so I would love any suggestions :). My first is a boy named Finn Henry. Like Jo’s post, Henry is both a family name and was a close 2nd. My thing is we have a nice long 9 letter last name so I tend to defer to the shorter names. I love your taste, Lauren!

  16. Cherie says...

    My best friend, Beth, had a suggestion for our daughter’s middle name. Her own name! Of course, it was perfect in every way, and we still laugh about it. Anna Elizabeth.

  17. DJ says...

    My daughter’s middle name was the first name she had for 3 days. She was introduced as such to family and friends. But after three days with that name, I realized that name did not suit her. So I changed it, and used that original as one of her two middle names. The other middle name is a family name.

    My son’s middle names (again two middle names) were just names that I love and family names.

  18. Gina M. says...

    My middle name is “Pacis.” My whole name comes from my mom’s Catholic School back in Vietnam “Regina Pacis” which means “Queen of Peace” in Latin.

    My son’s middle name is “Bishop” after my mother-in-law’s maiden name.

  19. Madison says...

    My middle name is Sue, after my
    Mom’s best friend, Sue Supple. They met in 2nd grade and have been pals ever since.
    Our sons middle name is Garrett. We adopted him when he was two days old and have an open relationship with his birth mother. She was going to name him Garrett so we made that his middle name.

  20. Gina Moore says...

    My middle name is Pacis. I’m the youngest of five girls. After having four girls my parents said they were done trying for a boy, but six years later I worked my way through. My parents were so sure I was the miracle boy they’d been waiting for so they only had a boy’s name picked: David Anthony. Much to their surprise (“disappointment”) I was born and wasn’t named for a week. They finally settled on the name of my mom’s Catholic private school in Vietnam “Regina Pacis,” which means “Queen of Peace” in Latin. Don’t worry, my parents love me, their bonus daughter.

  21. Megan Philip Woodrich says...

    I picked our first son’s name, so my history buff husband chose his middle name, Aurelius.

    We have a beloved uncle who is battling cancer, so we gave our second son that name, Redding, as a nod to him (and Otis Redding).

    And for our soon to be born daughter, we’re going with Andromeda… because w like space.

  22. Sarah says...

    When my husband and I were dating we went on a trip to Iceland with my family, but hit a tough spot and broke up for a day. While we were “broken up,” stuck on opposite sides of the backseat with my mom in between, someone in my family mentioned the name “Jacob” and both my husband and I thought to ourselves that we loved the name, and would try to use it for a son someday. When we got back together we discovered each other’s love for the name and would talk about wanting to be together and have our Jacob someday. Lo and behold, when we got pregnant in 2012, we discovered that Jacob had been the #1 boys name in America for OVER TEN YEARS RUNNING. As a Sarah and a Tyler, that was not good news. So we named him Asher and made his middle name Jacob.

  23. Angie says...

    Our children have their father’s surname and my surname is their middle name.

    • Cydney Meyer says...

      Same with my kiddo

  24. Anamarie Rebori says...

    We gave our son my husband’s stepfather’s last name. His stepdad is for all intents and purposes his father and since they don’t share a last name, we thought it would be a great way to honor him. Keeping that surprise for the birth was extra special. My father-in-law was beyond touched by the gesture when he met his grandson.

  25. Jessica says...

    We gave my daughter two middle names, one after each of her grandmothers. My mother-in-law passed away when she was 6 months old, which made the decision so much more special to us.

  26. Jenna says...

    My grandmother always called me “Lady Jane” which isn’t my first or middle name. I never knew why, but I loved it. So I knew when we had our daughter, I wanted her middle name to be Jane. It’s special for my daughter as well because each letter in Jane is an initial for 4 special women in her life. J is for my sister and her aunt, Jill. A is for my husband’s sister and aunt, Alison. N is for my mom and her grandmother, Nancy and E is for my husband’s mother and grandmother, Ellie. My daughter is Vivienne Jane and we always call her sweet Vivi Jane.

    • Kim says...

      That is so sweet Jenna!

  27. Lauren says...

    My middle name is after a dog! My dad had a beloved Brittany Spaniel when they were expecting, and lo and behold, I ended up with the middle name Brittany. ;) I still tease them for naming me after a dog to this day!

    • Elizabeth says...

      ❤️

  28. Rhea says...

    We were on the fence about my daughter’s first name. She had to go back to the nicu for a night after we had her. She was just so sweet and would look at me with her big eyes. I kept on calling her Sweet Pea. It ended up being her middle name!

  29. Amanda G says...

    My son’s middle name is his grandpa’s first name on my husband’s side, Scott. Jordy Scott is his full name.
    My middle name is the switcheroo of my great great grandma on my mom’s side(my grandpa’s grandma), She was Catherine Amanda and I am Amanda Catherine.

  30. Julia says...

    We’ve named our children after grandparents. I like the idea of generations continuing and hindering the special people.
    My eldest middle name is ‘Theodore’ the middle one is ‘Jan’ and my daughter has ‘elisabeth’
    Both of my grandparents passed away recently so it feels extra special that my childeren carrying there names.

  31. Aryn Balbin says...

    Our first child, our son, was a no-brainer. My husband is Filipino and in his culture, all the children take the mother’s maiden name as their middle name. My maiden name is Lawrence and it seemed like a great middle name for a boy anyway and we thought it sounded great with the first name we had chosen, Zachary. Also, my mother’s father’s first name was Lawrence so it is sort of a family name all around! My daughter’s middle name is Fiel. It is the Latin route my my own middle name, Faith, and we loved the way it sounded with her first name that we had already chosen, Zooey.

  32. Myev Alexandra says...

    My mom and her best friend at the time were pregnant together and due only a few days apart. They both wanted the first name Alexandra but since they knew their babies would likely grow up as friends they agreed that only one of them could have it. The deal was, whoever gave birth first, got the name. My mother was so convinced she’d win she never even planned a back up first name! Well, she lost and I went two weeks being called, “baby” and “pumpkin” until my parents could agree on a new name for me. Needless to say, my middle name is Alexandra, and the winning “Ali” and I are still friends.

  33. Danielle says...

    My daughters middle name is Caroline because I always really loved the song by David Gray! Don’t think it’s quite relevant to a baby BUT the melody is one of my favourites. She also has a big cousin named Caroline who is a pretty badass future lawyer as my MIL is a Carol so it’s a subtle nod to her too. Her first name is fairly long and I was dead set on something short and four letters for the middle, but now it all flows so lovely that I can imagine her being anyone else

  34. Amanda says...

    I have the same middle name as my aunt (an aunt my mom had a falling out with years ago, so…awkward). Being adopted, though, I’ve thought about changing it to my birth surname. My initials would stay the same, and no awkward family associations. :)

    My friends’ little boy is (I think) the fourth or fifth generation of his family to have the same middle name, which I think is pretty cool.

  35. Lisa says...

    We are having our first child, a girl, in December and her middle name with be Caroline after my twin sister.

    I love middle names that honor someone (family or not!) or a place. Keeps the door open to do a favorite name as the first name and still give the name meaning and honor to with the middle.

    • D says...

      My little girl is a middle-name Caroline too! It just sounds so pretty

  36. Aurora says...

    My family’s tradition has always been to use the mother’s maiden name as the baby’s middle name.

  37. Shelley says...

    Our first son, Isaac Eyad, shares his middle name with his dad. Our second son, Atticus James, gets his middle name from my dad’s first name and my brothers name.

  38. Stacey says...

    My grandma had a daughter and gave her the middle name Kay. When she had two more daughters with her second husband, she used the same middle name to show her eldest that they were all one family. And the tradition started! We’re now three generations in with all my aunts, cousins, sisters, and now my daughter sharing the same middle name.

    My sister is getting ready to welcome another girl. We don’t know what her first name will be, but we all know what to expect for her middle!

    • JRG says...

      oh wow, i love this so much!

  39. Christina says...

    My eldest daughter was given the name of my maternal grandmother as her middle name: Yvonne. My grandmother died of lung cancer the year after I graduated college. Before she died, she asked me if I would name a daughter after her, if I had one. She didn’t have to ask.

    For our second daughter, her middle name is the name of my husband’s maternal grandmother: Anna. She passed away the year after our wedding.

    I love that they both have first names that are their own, but carry middle names of beloveds. Every time they ask about their names, we get to tell them stories of the grandmothers we adored, and how each girl has her own guardian angel.

    • I love the comments on this post!

      We named our daughter June, which oddly does not lend itself well to middle names, especially with my long last name.

      We paired it with every middle name we could think of and finally struck gold with “Amelia”. Only problem is, it’s an insanely popular name right now and I was trying to be unique. Well, we both loved the movie “Amelie” so we just translated it to French and there you have it: June Amelie ;)

  40. Toni says...

    My daughter’s middle name, Sarah, is also her Hebrew name. It was the Hebrew name my mother chose when she converted to Judaism.

    Sarah also just felt right. In the Bible, Sarah didn’t have a child until she was 90. She didn’t believe she would ever conceive. But she did! My little gal is a rainbow baby. Before I got pregnant with Claire, I was losing faith that I’d be able to carry a baby to term. But I did!

  41. Nicki says...

    We decided against middle names, mainly because we were too preoccupied with the discussion on the children’s last names.

    Neither my husband not I changed our names when we got married, but it was only when we had children that we really began to unpack our (unexpectedly strong) feelings about the patriarchal traditions related to family names that persist in our respective cultures.

    The solution for our family – worked out over MONTHS of discussions – was to give our children both of our last names. And after that, we thought we’d better not complicate things by adding a middle name!

    • Caitlin says...

      We did the exact same thing! We couldn’t come up with a middle name we loved and decided to hyphenate, so it seemed like out son had enough name. We still get asked all the time what his middle name is which I didn’t expect bc no one ever asks me what my middle name is, but I’m glad we did it.

    • -Heather says...

      That’s exactly our story too. Bonus: it gives the kids a chance to come up with their own middle name later, if they want to.

    • Kara says...

      This is something my partner and I can’t seem to agree on. I’m not saying our kids need to have my last name, but they certainly can’t automatically have his! The double last name or hyphenated just doesn’t sound very good with our two last names. We are at a stalemate and may never have children because of it LOL

  42. Jodie says...

    My son’s middle name is Rusk, which is my Husband’s Mom’s maiden name. Both of our Mom’s passed away when we were young so we said if the baby was a girl the middle name would be Deanne after my Mom and if it was a boy, Rusk after his Mom. In the end though we were able to honor them both because his first name is Kai, which is a form of Kay (my Mom’s middle name), so his name honors both of our Mom’s.

  43. Caitlin says...

    Our son’s name is Henry John. My husband loves the John Henry folktale, but I wanted a first name less common than John. We just flipped it and got first and middle as a package deal! Our daughter’s middle name is Hailey, a grandmother’s maiden name.

  44. Joanna says...

    My son’s middle name is Lewis after my husband’s late godfather and my daughter’s middle name is James after my late uncle. I also love the way the traditionally male name sounds with a girl’s first name – Maya James.

  45. MJ says...

    Our youngest’s middle name is Tesla. Nikola Tesla is my husband’s favorite inventor/scientist. Initially it was going to be her first name and thankfully it’s not, because people ask us if we named her after a car!

  46. Julia says...

    Our eldest son called my husband’s father Sasha, a name that stuck and that we used instead of Grandpa. When our youngest daughter was born, we chose to give her the middle name Sasha. Sasha (grandpa) had passed away by then and it was a really nice way to honor him, though his real name was Michael . So now we have Mirabelle Sasha!

    • Lila says...

      My son’s middle name is my husband’s last name because we gave him MY last name. I would encourage everyone to consider doing the same! Although giving a baby the mother’s name, or maiden name as a middle name can be a nice way to have both parents’ names, there’s no good reason the mother’s name shouldn’t be the surname.

  47. nicole says...

    My daughter was born the first of May so her middle name is May. D’oh!

    • E says...

      My birthday is May 1st too! I’ve always loved it. My middle name isn’t May though :)

  48. Rini K says...

    I never changed my last name to my husband’s so our sons middle name is my last name and then he has my husband’s last name, so we both are included.

  49. Meg says...

    My sister and I both have our mother’s maiden name as our middle name. I love it! I feel like it provides me a connection to my maternal relatives, who I’ve always been closer to than my paternal relatives, and doesn’t require hyphenating. I am surprised more people don’t do this!

  50. Katrina says...

    I wanted our daughter’s middle name to be Tyler after my husband, but it turns out that with our last name there are a lot of unpleasant acronyms that could’ve been her initials (STF is just one letter from STFU — yikes). We decided on Sylvie for her first name because it was a great way to pay tribute to my husband’s grandma Sylvia while still being Sylvie’s own name. Since her first name was already in honor of a family member, we wanted to have a middle name that had something to do with nature and that was just one syllable. We had brainstormed Rain and Jade, but they didn’t feel right. Throughout my pregnancy, we had been calling her our Baby Cactus because she was ‘poking around’ in my belly. In Arizona, where we both grew up, the state bird is the Cactus Wren and that settled it. She is our Sylvie Wren.

  51. Lucia says...

    My daughter’s name is a religious meditation to me. I chose “Noelle” to represent the birth of Jesus and his participation in humanity. Her first name is “Beatrice”, representative of our vision of God and our continual approach to His infinity in heaven.

    So, her first name represents us as we draw near to God, and her middle name represents God as he draws near to us. It’s the same relationship from two different perspectives.

    My husband is not religious, and he chose “Beatrice” because of his love of the character in Dante’s ‘Inferno’. And he thought “Noelle” was really cute.

    We both had different reasons for choosing her name, and she is loved in the intersection of our choices.

    • espy says...

      “she is loved in the intersection of our choices” — that is so beautiful!

    • Lucia Cerchie says...

      Thanks Espy!

  52. Liz P.F.B. says...

    Our three girls’ middle names are my mother’s maiden name, my grandmother’s maiden name, and my maiden name, respectfully:

    Susan (Susie) Moseley
    Elizabeth (Betsy) Grey
    Mary Farris

  53. Samantha Jane says...

    My mom Alicia gave me her middle name and inadvertently started a maternal tradition. I debated for months whether to take my husband’s last name. I finally decided to do it, treating it as a fresh start and reinvention of myself rather than adopting part of the patriarchy. When we found out our first born would be a girl, I decided to keep this tradition going. Since she would have her father’s last name, I gave her a piece of the strong women that came before her and started a 3rd generation of the middle name Jane. Nothing plain about these women. I hope my Charlotte Jane loves it as much as I do.

  54. Kristen says...

    We decided to go with James, for my husband’s father, who was thrilled. However, his father’s sense of humor was not one that I appreciated while 8 months pregnant, making jokes about how big I’d gotten and how I must really be putting on some weight. I kept threatening to my husband that we hadn’t signed the name to the birth certificate yet, his dad better chill with the “humor”. Well right after our son was born, Grandpa came in with tears running down his face, gave me the biggest hug, and just said, “Thank you so, so much.” All was forgotten in that moment and our baby’s middle name became James.

  55. Stephanie says...

    This re-post couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m due on Wednesday with our first.
    We’ll be giving two middle names. No matter the gender, one middle name will be my maiden name. If it’s a boy, his other middle will be that of his grandfather, who passed away a couple years ago. If it’s a girl… we’re stuck! We’ve got two great contenders, both runner-up first names. One is an astronomy name which my husband loves; the other is a literary name which I love. Both connections are important to us – and we just can’t decide! Might just have to flip a coin…

  56. Karen says...

    My son’s middle name is Shea– an acronym for my grandparents names (Sally, Heinz, Eleanor and Albert). We had several contenders for a first name that we liked that were all multi-syllables, so we wanted something that was one syllable and hopefully started with an “S” to honor my grandmother. While visiting my parents shortly before my due date, the name Shea came to me in a dream. I excitedly shared it with my husband when I woke up, only for him to say he wasn’t a fan. I left it alone until we delivered and at that point asked if he had a better idea. Thankfully, he was smart enough to say Shea would be perfect. Now my son proudly shares how clever his middle name is (and easily remembers his great-grandparents names).

  57. Lisa says...

    For our son, we hadn’t found out what we were having before he was born, so we had a week to decide on his name before his Brit milah (which is when you name the baby). We managed to get it down to three names, one became his first and another his second. It was only a few hours after we named him that I realised that his second name is a Hebrew pronunciation of my paternal grandfather’s name. I love that he has one name all his own, one from my side of the family and one from my husband’s.
    For my daughter, we found out that she was a girl when I was pregnant, which gave us more time to decide. We narrowed down her first name to two (I slightly preferred one), but had decided for sure that her middle name would be a Hebrew version of my mother in law’s name. She was very ill when she was born, and my mother in law was phenomenal, looking after our 20 month old son, keeping the household running and just being amazing when we were so stressed with an ill baby and me staying with her in hospital. My MIL is a pretty awesome woman anyway, so I am more than happy for my daughter to be named for her, but even more so after she did to help after my baby was born. We’re now trying for a third, so hopefully soon we can think of names again.

  58. Ashley says...

    I did not change my name when I married. All our children have my last name as their middle name. Then my husbands last name as their last name.

  59. Sarah says...

    This is so timely – my husband and I just found out we’re having a girl in February. We have a few first names we like, but I think we’ll go with the “second choice first name” option for the middle. My middle name is Elizabeth (like everyone else born in the 80s?) and my husband loves it for a first name. I’m not sold, so we may make it the middle name. Would love to share a middle name with our daughter!

    • K says...

      My partner and I aren’t married and if we ever get round to it, I won’t be changing my name. He already has 2 children from his first marriage who share his surname so when we were pregnant with our son we agreed that he would share my surname and have his Daddy’s as his middle.

    • Lainey says...

      How about consolation prize middle names? My husband and I fairly easily came up with our daughter’s name, but a few years later when I was pregnant with my son, we discovered we had entirely different taste from one another in boys’ names. We finally agreed on a consensus name, and then my husband decided he didn’t like it a few weeks before my son was born. In the end, I picked the first name (which my husband wasn’t crazy about) and my husband picked the middle name (which I didn’t love). I don’t think either of us loves the combination of names, but at least it represents our combined taste. Hah!

    • Alice Barnes says...

      I had no idea but when I shared with my maternal aunt that we were really struggling with names for our daughter whilst I was pregnant she sent me a family tree that a cousin had compiled. Not only was I related to an Alice Mary Barnes (via my new-to-me married last name) but Elizabeths featured in *every* generation going back hundreds of years. Often in different forms: Elizabeth; Lizzie; Lispeth; Elspeth; Elsie; Liz; Elsa; Isabel; Betty etc. We eventually decided (it took nearly a month!) on Aurelia as a first name and our daughter has Elsie as her middle name as that was one of my grandmothers’ names (Vera Florence Elsie). I adore her name and our wonderful girl who suits it so well being wise and beautiful and kind.

      I just hope she won’t get sick of trying to spell it out all the time!

  60. All my daughters’ middle names are family last names culled from both sides. It’s fun to have a reason or a story to tell your child about their name.

  61. The middle name of our daughter, we chose by the tradition of our family. We always choose to honor this family inheritance. We love this middle name “Oliveira”.

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

  63. Eleanor Shepard says...

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

    • sandra says...

      You were probably meant to be a legislator – something we still badly need! It’s not too late!

  64. Shannon says...

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

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

  65. Fiona says...

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

  66. Emily says...

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

  67. Jenn says...

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

  68. SMDNY says...

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

  69. Lynn says...

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

    • Liz P.F.B. says...

      I love it! What a sweet name!

  70. Sarah says...

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

  71. Abby Archer says...

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

  72. Meridith says...

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

    Elissa

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

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

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

    • LIsa says...

      We were so tempted to go with James for our daughter’s first name, but ended up with Jameson. It fits her to a tee.

  75. Hokidoki says...

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

  76. LS says...

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

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

  78. Jamie says...

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

  79. Jill says...

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

  80. Lauren says...

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

    • Lauren says...

      My son is Elliott Canyon :) (and I’m Lauren)!

  81. Ashley says...

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

  82. Molly says...

    My middle name is Suzanne after my aunt.

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

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

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

  83. Marie says...

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

    • annie says...

      So glad to hear!! <3

  84. Kayce says...

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

  85. Kristen says...

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

  86. Mackenzie says...

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

  87. Amanda says...

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

  88. Breanne says...

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

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

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

  90. Jo says...

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

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

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

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

    • Kate says...

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

  91. Gabrielle says...

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

  92. Ana says...

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

  93. Lisa says...

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

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

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

  96. Heidi says...

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

  97. K says...

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

  98. Keri says...

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

  99. Riikka says...

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

  100. mg says...

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

  101. Mg says...

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

  102. Callie says...

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

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

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

  103. Penelope says...

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

  104. Alicia says...

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

  105. Fanny says...

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

  106. Jody says...

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

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

  108. Kate Z. says...

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

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

  109. Kate says...

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

  110. Birch says...

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

  111. Jessie says...

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

  112. Alyson says...

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

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

  113. Emma says...

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

  114. Lauren says...

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

  115. Carly says...

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

  116. Tara says...

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

  117. Lydia says...

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

  118. Nicole says...

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

  119. 'Becca'lise Deveaux says...

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

  120. Alys says...

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

  121. Laura says...

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

  122. Stacey A Lee says...

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

  123. Sharon says...

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

  124. Mariana says...

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

  125. Lyndsey says...

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

  126. Liz says...

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

  127. Sara says...

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

  128. Marian says...

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

  129. Laura says...

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

  130. Caitlin says...

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

  131. Elena says...

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

  132. Jessica says...

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

  133. Joanne says...

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

  134. Dana says...

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

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

  135. Regina Elaine says...

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

  136. Maura says...

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

  137. Roberta says...

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

  138. Lindsay says...

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

    • Allison says...

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

    • Laura says...

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

    • gena says...

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

    • Courtney says...

      My daughter’s name is Colette😊

    • Beatrice says...

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

    • Denise says...

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

    • Catherine McK says...

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

    • Jen says...

      My daughter’s name is Esme’ Belle.

    • Mariana says...

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

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

    • Kerry says...

      Camille :)
      Vivienne
      Valerie

    • Kelly says...

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

    • Samantha says...

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

    • Birch says...

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

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

  139. Florence says...

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

  140. Kristin Marie says...

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

    • Mariana says...

      Love the name Percy! Love!

  141. Heather says...

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

  142. Jo says...

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

  143. Julia Gnegel says...

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

  144. Courtney says...

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

  145. Diane says...

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

  146. Courtney says...

    We have three …

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

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

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

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

  148. Quinn says...

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

    • Jessica says...

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

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

    x diana

  150. emme says...

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

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

    • Erica says...

      We ended up doing this! The first kid has my husband’s last name as his middle name and took my last name; the second kid has my last name as her middle name and has my husband’s last name. I’ve been so happy with this decision. My own mom relayed concerns “from her friends” (but I think from her) that this would be too confusing for school teachers and other adults for the kids to have two different last names. I reminded her we live in a town of 3,000 people– no one is confused about which kids belong to anyone else. :)