What’s the story behind your name? Sharing the story of your name often entails sharing stories of family heritage and relationships.
Who you were named after?
Often you’ll hear that a person was named after someone who meant a lot to their parents. It isn’t always a relative. Who was that person? What role did they play in your parents’ lives? What role did they play in your life?
What’s the family heritage behind your name?
When my husband and I told my in-laws that we were expecting our first child, I found out that Hedgecock’s had an expectation of their own. For generations, male Hedgecock’s had “Ray” as a first or middle name. Is there a naming tradition in your family? (Great example: Sarah Semple’s What’s in a Name)
Religious traditions behind your name
Did your parents’ faith influence the name they picked for you? For instance, was there a Jewish tradition of naming a baby after a relative that had passed to keep their memory alive? Does your name have a Biblical significance? (Hint: Biblical Names at Behind the Name might reveal some insight.)
Etymology behind the name
Does the meaning of your name carry particular significance for your parents or family? For instance, both Matthew and Nathaniel mean “Child of God,” which might explain why the first child of a Matthew might be named Nathaniel. Did your name signify the hope that your parents had for your life?
What’s behind your nickname?
It’s likely that there is also a story behind your nickname. Did it come from your sibling’s inability to pronounce your actual name? A skill or hair color? Was it a southern tradition, such as calling a son “brother”?
Circumstances behind your name
My sister was named Däna, after actress Dana Wynter, whom my Dad admired. When I came along, the voice of reason, aka my mom’s voice, prevailed. I got the easy to spell and pronounce “Laura.” What were the circumstances of your naming? Did one parent or grandparent champion your name?
Does your Name Define You?
Not everyone loves their name. My kids are unable to see past the “cock” of our last name to appreciate the rich history of their ancestors. How do you feel about your family name? Your first name? Do you tire of explaining how to pronounce it or are your proud of its heritage? Is it more indicative of a bad parenting moment than of your personality?
What’s behind your name change
Did you–or someone else along the line–change your name? Was it changed to help your family assimilate into a culture? Was it too hard to pronounce? Was it an accident? Was it a break from the rest of the family? Believe me, those stories matter. My husband’s family is still scratching their heads over why their branch of the Hitchcock’s became Hedgecock’s.