If a couple has one child and chose to name that child after a parent (the child's grandparent), are they expected to name future children after relatives as well?
To be less vague about it, my daughter is named after my mother who passed away and my husband's mother (she is alive and well). If our next child (who is still hypothetical at this point) is a boy, should we feel obligated to name him after our fathers?
I don't think we feel obligated to do so, but I'm wondering what convention dictates on this.
The short answer: No, you're not obligated, but you're smart to take it into account as a potential issue.
In your particular case, you've made things even easier by using both grandmothers' names the first go-round. It would be a touchier situation if you'd used one grandmother name, and now had to think about the other grandmother wondering if she'd be similarly honored.
If you HAD set up a situation where you'd used one grandmother name but not the other, and you DIDN'T plan to use the other, I'd suggest making that clear early on. Not, of course, by saying, "Just so's you don't get your hopes up: we hate your name, and anyways we don't like you much either." But something more along the lines of discussing the names you ARE considering, with nary a mention of the grandmother's name.
You could even take it a step further, if you wanted to make extra-double-careful-sure that no one would be taken by surprise later: "With Mary Jane, we really wanted to use my mom's name: I was missing her so much, and wanted my daughter to feel a connection to the grandmother she wouldn't know. But with this next baby, we're not planning to use any family names---so the options are wide open!"
Um, that would all be in the hypothetical situation where you hadn't used both grandmother names. In your actual situation, where you're wondering about, for example, grandfather names, it depends on the grandfathers involved. Do you think they might expect it? If you think there's a chance they would expect it, it wouldn't hurt to pull out the "not planning to use any family names" line from above.
Pitch in on this, everyone. Did you use a family name for your first baby, and then feel pressure to use more family names? Did anyone (*shudder*) mention it to you, like that they were disappointed, or that they expected it? Did you avoid using family names because you didn't want to start up those expectations? Did you use another family name because you didn't want to hurt someone's feelings?