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Monday, February 1, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Two Grandfathers to Honor

Kristina writes:
My first baby is due February 21 and we just found out it's a boy. My husband and I have agreed on the first name being Zackary. My husbands father passed away a few years ago and so he really wants to have the middle name be Dennis which was his fathers middle name. My father was a jr. and he only had my sister and I. I really want to carry on his name also so I'm trying to convince my husband to name our son Zackary Dennis James Riley. I think it sounds good just wanted some other input. Let me know what you think.

I think it sounds wonderful.

If you plan to have more children in the future, you could consider saving one name for a future child, to spread out the honor in two ways: so that each father has his turn, and also so that each child carries an honored family name. I would suggest first naming after your father, since he's alive to receive the honor and since a Sr./Jr. naming tradition goes to the first son. Then I would use Dennis as the middle name for the second child, boy or girl.

Your current plan, however, is least risky: it guarantees using both fathers' names, no matter what happens with your family plans.

One more possibility is to name the child James Dennis Riley. Not only is that a truly great name, it gives your dad a first-name namesake as he would have had if he'd had a son. But of course it means giving up or postponing the name Zackary.


Anonymous said...

I love James Dennis, and I really love the nickname J.D. Good luck :)
~Jenny in MD

Rayne of Terror said...

We have honored each side in both of our boys' names. Henry (husband's g'pa) Ryman (my bro, dad, g'pa) and Quinn (huz's other g'pa) James (my great uncle, great g'pa).

If this will be your only child, I say use all the names. But if you are planning 2+ children, save some honoring for later possible sons. I was very glad to still have family names I liked when the U/S indicated another boy.

StephLove said...

I think I'd go with both grandfathers' names now since you don't know if you'll have more kids, or if a boy will be among them.

I like the name Zackary, though I prefer the spelling Zachary, so my recommendation is all three names, rather than just the grandfather names. Also, making them both middles avoids the question of which one to put in the first name slot, which could get sensitive.

mamarose said...

We had a similar issue - we wanted to honor both our grandmothers and almost named our daughter Lillian Dorothy Elizabeth (that's a lotta name!). When she was born, we decided just to go with Dorothy Elizabeth, nickname Dorry. It fits her perfectly and we love that her name is so rooted in family tradition. So that said, I vote for James Dennis Riley, which I think really is a fantastic name!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Just go for the two nicknames, totally works, and honours both gramps in case you don't have a second boy. I think it's a great idea.

I too prefer the spelling "Zachary", but both are legit I believe, so you can spell it "Zackary" if that's what tickles your fancy!