My due date is January 16, 2009. We're having a boy, and we're having a hard time compromising.
Up until the news of it being a boy, we'd always talked about naming our son after my father and my husband (Bo Morgan). The problem, however, is my husband is a Jr. He'd never wanted to do the "III" thing until now. I'm demoralized that my father's name is no longer an option and really don't want the confusion of another John in the mix when we live within a 3 mile radius of one another and spend a good deal of time together. I've suggested calling him John Morgan, Jack, and I may mention Trip.
Am I being unfair to inhibit the family tradition, or should my input be just as important? I've thought about baby names as long as I've thought about my wedding day.
Please help shed some objective light on the subject and point me in proper etiquette's direction.
Oh, Ashley, this is SO TOUGH! In high school I dated a boy who was a III, and his grandfather had deathbed-style forced my boyfriend (who was ten or eleven years old at the time) (at the time of the grandfather's deathbed, not at the time my boyfriend was my boyfriend) to promise to name his son IV. But I HATED my boyfriend's name, and also I think it's WRONG WRONG WRONG for people to think they have the right to name other people's children (which is what earlier generations are doing when they try to name anyone except their own children after themselves), and also I think the almost exclusively MALE thing of "handing down The Sacred Name" is egotistical and stupid, especially when it gets carried to a DEATHBED SCENE extreme. As if their own name is such an HONOR as well as a DUTY.
Um, opinionated much? I actually LIKE naming traditions and family names; what I don't like is the situations they create. My husband's family has a naming tradition, and when my husband's parents broke it (they named my husband a name they chose, rather than following The Tradition), my husband's grandfather refused to acknowledge the new baby. He kept that crap up for A YEAR, and continued to act coolly to his son/daughter-in-law until his death. I mean, can you imagine?? Creating a family feud because you didn't get to choose to name your grandson after yourself? ICK!
Where was I? Oh, yes. We don't have quite that situation here, do we, but we do have a difficulty: your husband wants to name his child after himself and his father, and you would prefer not to because you prefer a different name and because of all the confusion it creates to have three people with the same name. Totally understandable. I swear, one of the (many) reasons my relationship with my high school boyfriend didn't pan out is that I wasn't willing to deal with the naming tradition thing.
As far as the etiquette of the situation goes, you and your husband are the only two people who are involved in naming this child. While various issues might weigh things in one direction or the other, let's assume the responsibility/privilege of choosing the name is 50-50. In my opinion, his 2-generation naming tradition doesn't do anything to give his name choice more weight than yours: this decision still belongs to both of you, not to his parents and his grandparents (the ones who chose his and his father's names). Basically the situation here is that you'd like to name the baby after your father, and he'd like to name the baby after his father.
And speaking of etiquette and The Right Way, a little-known and rarely-used rule is that suffixes (Sr., Jr., III, IV, etc.) are not permanent. In theory, they are used only for living holders of the name. So when your husband's father dies, your husband should be John Morgan Sr., and his son should be John Morgan Jr. Only popes and kings are supposed to keep their suffixes. Not that anyone follows this rule (it makes paperwork difficult, and also presents a challenge when people don't die in chronological order), but I like to mention it futilely whenever the subject comes up, in the hopes that the rule will come back into common usage and perhaps lower the pressure to have a III or IV or VIII or whatever.
Back to your situation (I do seem to keep wandering off), I can think of a few possible compromises:
1. Name the first boy after your father, as discussed, giving him a different middle name than Morgan (perhaps your father's middle name, or perhaps another name). Agree that if you have a second son, the second son will be named John Morgan III.
2. Name the first boy John Morgan III (perhaps calling him Trip, Trey, John Morgan, J.M., or Jack, to lessen confusion). Agree that if you have a second son, the second son will be named Bo, with a middle name of your choice.
3. Toss out both grandfather names and pick something else.
Let's take a vote, calling the choices "Option 1," "Option 2," and "Option 3." The poll is over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Poll results (163 votes total):
Option 1: 33 votes, roughly 20%
Option 2: 38 votes, roughly 23%
Option 3: 92 votes, roughly 56%