Naming Your Child After a Family Member

It's always a sign of love to name your little one after someone in your family. But choosing a baby name this way can cause a few headaches, too. Read on for a couple of quick tips to take into consideration before pulling names off your family tree.

Don't Start If You Can't Finish

Your grandfather's name was George, and you loved him, and George is such a good strong name. It was obvious that you would name your firstborn son George. But when your second son is on his way, you may be a little hesitant about naming him Leslie, your other grandfather's name.

You don't want your older son to have a great story behind his name and your younger son be stuck with a name that carries less significance. You'll either need to come up with an equally meaningful name for your second son, or reconsider reusing that family name to begin with. If the names in your family history don't inspire you, why not browse our top baby names for boys and our list of the top baby names for girls.


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Don't Leave Anyone Out

If you're going to name your child after someone who is still living, that's fine—unless that means leaving someone else out. Long-gone relatives won't be able to complain about being overlooked, but if you start naming babies after siblings, you're either going to run out of family tree names or run out of babies.

Similarly, using a family name from your side can leave you with an unspoken obligation to choose a name from your partner's side of the family for your second child.

Make It Meaningful

A backstory for a name can be quite powerful. If a child has a story behind his name, it can motivate him to be like his namesake and to emulate that person's good qualities. If the namesake is still alive, consider asking for permission and telling him or her why you'd like to use this name. It can be a poignant moment as you honor your loved one's legacy.

Do Your Own Thing

Even if there's a long-standing family naming tradition, you don't have to follow it. This is your baby, and he or she will (most likely) carry this name for a lifetime. So although you can definitely consider family names for your baby, the decision is ultimately yours.

If you still need inspiration, try our Baby Name Generator. This extensive database of names allows you to search by gender, popularity, name meanings and more.