Do you know why you were given YOUR name?

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Do you know why you were given YOUR name?
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 7:45pm

Is there a story behind the name you were given-a family name? someone loved & appreciated? Or just a name your parents could agree upon?

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 7:54pm

First-let me be clear-I have never liked my name. Old fashioned, too 'unique'-though I guess that has its advantages. I never had to use my last initial to make sure the correct "Nora" was being praised (scolded was more like it). As a girl, I noticed there were no heroines in my books named Nora-just poor scullery maids from Ireland or prostitutes!

And how I got it depended on who I spoke to. My mother is Nora Catharine-my father's only sister was Nora Kathleen. So Mom said I was named after my aunt, Dad said I was named after Mom (though she used Catharine). My middle names were Mary-after my maternal grandmother, & Ellen after my Dad's mother-who died when he was 12. Mom said they called me Ellen at first-but my grandfather called me what he called his first wife-Nellie-& she had a horse with that name growing up & she couldn't bear it, so it became Nora quickly. One advantage was that as a student, I worked in a hospital in the town where my parents were born-another nurse came to me & figure we were related-just because she had the name Nora too!

And I do remember going through Customs, having the officer look at my passport & chuckle & say "named after old relatives, I bet" Ha-ha!


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 8:40pm

My parents lost 3 kids, in '46, '48 and '51, and gave up (got to 5, 7 and 8 months along; all stillborn).  They'd given up until my dad, who was working as a tech at the U of Chicago, was asked by a coworker if they'd considered going to these 2 women doctors who were already in their 70s - they decided to try one last time and I was born (after they'd given my mom weekly penicillin shots in the 3rd trimester since the previous 3 had diseased placentas).  So although I was teeny and fine, I became Susan Marie Elizabeth (2 first names, one middle; was never later confirmed to get another), just because they liked the names.  I think my one sister was also a Susan and my 2 brothers were Francis but I can't ask any more to be sure - it was always such a touchy subject I never pushed for it.  So as far as I know it was just names they really liked.


Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 08-18-2013 - 9:26pm

I was named Diane Elizabeth with my first name being one that Mom liked & my 2nd name being after my grandmother. She was Elizabeth Estelle & disliked the Elizabeth so used Stella. My cousin born after me got stuck with the Estelle as her 2nd name. My first name was supposed to have been pronounced the French way - Deanna but my Dad refused. Sorry all of you from Que, Dad was from the Ottawa Valley & there was a strong dislike between the 2 communities. Anyhow, Mom always called me Dee which was her way of giving me the name she wanted. I hated my name growing up as there were always 2 or 3 Dianes in my classes & Elizabeth was so old fashioned. I actualy grew to like Elizabeth in my 20s.

Sue like you, I was one of 4 but the only one to survive. I was the first born though. Mom lost a son at birth when he was strangled by the umbilical cord & then she lost 2 more in the 2nd & 3rd mths of the pregnancies. Today, they would stitch her up but that wasn't an option back then.


Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 08-19-2013 - 12:56am

Well, my mom never thought she would get pregnant.  She'd had rheumatic fever as a kid, TB and diabetes as an adult, was LITERALLY 98 lbs (at 5' 6") and when she told the story around the aunts, admitted she hadn't had a period in 5 YEARS.  She didn't know she was pregnant till she felt life.  So after a little denial, and some doctor visits, they had to do some quick scrabbling for a name.  Susan was VERY popular in 1952, and something they both liked, but then Mom heard of an actress named Sue Ann, and that was that. I have spent my life telling people that my name is NOT Susan, and that there IS a space between the Sue and the Ann.

When my sister appeared the following year, equally unexpectedly, my Mom heard the name Bonnie, and that was THAT.  She has spent HER life telling people, NO it's not short for ANYTHING, it's on my birth certificate.

And I think my parents slept not only in seperate beds, but seperate ROOMS till he died...

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Mon, 08-19-2013 - 7:34am

I don't know how they decided on my name.  I think that it was my mom's choice.  It was semi-popular for the era.  Most people with my name were born in the late 50's early 60's. It is the female version of my paternal grandfather's middle name but I do not think that has anything to do with choosing it,  I have never been told I was named after him.

My older sister name or at least the spelling of her name came from an actress.  She also has a fairly common name for the era but an unusual spelling.

My younger sister did not have a name until she was about 2 days old because my parents could not agree on one.  My dad wanted to name her Lorna Lou and my mom said no way.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Mon, 08-19-2013 - 7:45am

My best friend in high school was a  Nora.  I think she was named after a grandmother.   I have always like the names Erin/Aaron and thought for awhile that if I ever did have one I would spell their name Aron in honor of her.    Don't think that I would have ever gone through with the unusual spelling though because I hated not being able to buy things with my name as a child because apparently my spelling is not a common one. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 08-20-2013 - 11:58am

I think I was told that there was an Elizabeth in every generation on my paternal grandmother's side of the family, which would explain it. Middle name is from maternal grandmother.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 08-20-2013 - 5:56pm

My great-grandmother wanted me to be called Evelyn Virginia after my dad's mom and the aunt who raised my mother. Thank God my mom put her foot down. (My great-grandmother addressed cards to me as Evelyn Virginia for years, though!) My parents chose Ashley (very unusual name back in 1963, although it is popular today) because friends of theirs had a little girl named Ashley and they liked the name. My middle name was a family name (WASP families, especially those with roots in the south, recycle surnames as first and middle names all the time), but I dropped that and use my maiden name as my middle name now.

I never cared much for my name and seriously considered changing it to Caroline when I was 17, but my my dad convinced me that no college would believe the transcripts were mine if they had a different name on them. As I was in the midst of the application process, I didn't bother.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sat, 08-24-2013 - 11:38am

My name is a combination of my two oldest uncles with Marie thrown in. I`s a mouth full.

My kids have multiple names. My daughter`s first name is just a name we liked, an old gaelic name. It was common a couple of generations ago but not now. Her second name is her godmother`s name (French) and her third name is my last name.

My son`s name is an old family name I always liked. His second name is my father`s, his third is my husband`s and his fourth is my last name.

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Sun, 09-01-2013 - 10:22pm

Coming in late on this since I was away.  I can't recall if I have ever asked my mother (or father) why they chose my name.  But I do know that it has nothing to do with any relative having that name.  In fact, although I was born a number of years after the popularity of Shirley Temple (I was born in 1952)...I am suspecting that my mother liked that name made popular by the little actress.  The funny thing is that in Montreal, when I was young it was not a popular name.  I never came across anyone of that name in grade school or high school and even after that.  Then we moved here in 1997 and suddenly I'm hearing my name being called on in store announcements (calling Shirley to the front desk, or calling Shirley to the till).  I'd hear someone say "Shirley" and I'd automatically turn to see if they were calling me...but no, it was someone else's Shirley!  Basically it's a popular name here out in Canada's west or at least in Calgary, or Alberta.  I suspect a lot of those Shirley's were named after the popularity of Shirley Temple as many are my age or maybe older.  

My middle names are Mary Margaret.  Mary is I think an automatic Catholic addition.  But Margaret may have to do with my aunt (my father's sister) of the same name.  I dropped the Mary in my twenties - not sure why...perhaps because I hadn't seen my birth certificate for years and forgot about the Mary part, or maybe I just thought it was too long a middle moniker, so just kept the Margaret on official forms. 

I was born with the cord around my neck (and my mother birthed all 5 of us at  home).  But somehow the presiding doctor knew how to revive me quickly and I am (I think?) none the worse for it.