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Family Names Are Getting More Adventurous
Family Names Are Getting More Adventurous
Apr 19, 2024 5:18 AM

  Sure, Thanksgiving is about sweet potatoes with little marshmallows on top, but it’s also about family. That’s why, as we approach the holiday, our coverage of Thanksgiving baby names is focused this year not on Pilgrim names or turkey names but on the new style in family names.

  Family names have become more stylish in recent years. Parents are looking to invest their children’s names with powerful meaning, plus it sounds classy to tell everyone your child has a “family name”.

  Family names used to mean those crusty old names that couldn’t be explained except by confessing that the baby was named after rich Aunt Eunice.

  Today, the idea of family names has expanded along with the idea of family. Modern family names include the following, and there’s not a Eunice among them.

  

Last Names as First Names

  Prince Archie’s middle name is Harrison — Harry’s son, get it? If you have an actual family surname you want to use as your child’s first or middle, terrific. If not, you can fashion a meaningful family surname one of these ways:

  

Mac Names

Mac means “son of” which can be updated to “child of”. You can put Mc or Mac in front of many first names, so if your name is Hugh, you can name your son McHugh, and call him Mac. Mac names are stylish for girls too — witness Mackenzie and McKinley.

  Some cool Mac selections that can be used by any family: McCoy, Maguire, and just plain Mack.

  HeartMacallisterChevron - RightHeartMacarthurChevron - RightHeartMackenzieChevron - RightHeartMaguireChevron - RightHeartMcafeeChevron - RightHeartMccartneyChevron - RightHeartMccoyChevron - RightHeartMckennaChevron - RightHeartMckinzieChevron - RightHeartMcqueenChevron - RightSee all mac namesChevron - Right

  

O’ Names

O’ works the same way as Mac, so yes, you can name your child O’Brien or O’Keeffe or even probably O’Pamela.

  HeartObrianChevron - RightHeartObrienChevron - RightHeartOharaChevron - RightHeartOnealChevron - RightHeartOneillChevron - RightHeartOryanChevron - RightHeartOryanChevron - RightHeartOsheaChevron - Right

  

Fitz Names

Fitz names are another way to denote parentage. Names such as Fitzgerald and Fitzpatrick have been used as first names for decades.

  HeartFitzgeraldChevron - RightHeartFitzgibbonChevron - RightHeartFitzgillChevron - RightHeartFitzhughChevron - RightHeartFitzjamesChevron - RightHeartFitzjohnChevron - RightHeartFitzpatrickChevron - RightHeartFitzroyChevron - RightHeartFitzsimmonsChevron - RightHeartFitzwilliamChevron - Right

  

Son Names

The most common and also most stylish names that originated as a way to designate paternity are the son names, no longer for boys only. Among the most popular are Jackson, Grayson, Edison, Hudson, Wilson, Ellison, Harrison, Madison, Judson, and Jefferson.

  HeartAndersonChevron - RightHeartBronsonChevron - RightHeartEllisonChevron - RightHeartHarrisonChevron - RightHeartIversonChevron - RightHeartJemisonChevron - RightHeartLarsonChevron - RightHeartMorrisonChevron - RightHeartTennysonChevron - RightHeartWatsonChevron - RightSee all names that end in -sonChevron - Right

  

Family or Clan Names

  Many modern first names originated as family or clan names in ancient Rome or in other cultures such as Irish, Norse, or African. Here are some examples and their meanings:

  

Girl names

Flavia — Roman clan name, “blond, fair”

  Hailey — English and Scottish clan name

  Laelia — Roman family name that’s also a botanical name for an orchid

  Lucretia — Roman clan name, “wealth”.

  Nantale — Ugandan clan name whose totem is a lion

  Ovidia — Roman family name, “sheep”, related to the poet Ovid

  Tatiana — Russian from a Roman family name

  Tulia — Roman family name of uncertain meaning

  

Boy names

Arrius — Roman family name

  Caius — Roman family name, “rejoice”

  Cameron — Scottish clan name, "crooked nose"

  Fabian — Roman clan name, “bean grower”

  Fabrizio — Roman family name, “craftsman”

  Fleming — Scottish clan name, "from Flanders"

  Horace — Roman clan name, “timekeeper”

  Lucretius — Roman clan name, “wealth”. Roman philosopher who invented epicureanism

  Marius — Roman family name, god of war

  Moyo — Ndebele clan name, "heart"

  Murray — Scottish clan name, "settlement of the sea"

  Sergius — Roman clan name, "servant"

  Tarquin — Roman clan name of uncertain meaning, also the name of early kings and a Shakespeare character.

  Terence — Roman clan name used in modern times. There was an ancient poet named Terencia

  Thane — Scottish name, "chieftain of a clan"

  

Names with Family Meanings

  Another way to invest a name with family is by choosing one that means mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter.

  Names with these family meanings exist in most cultures so modern parents have a lot to choose from.

  

Girl names

Abigail — Hebrew, “my father is joyful”

  Adelpha — Greek, “beloved sister”

  Aneko — Japanese, “older sister”

  Anemone — Greek flower name, “daughter of the wind”

  Bathsheba — Hebrew, “daughter of an oath”  The Biblical Bathsheba was the shrewd and beautiful wife of King David and mother of King Solomon.

  Cordelia — Celtic, “daughter of the sea”

  Cybele — Greek, mother of all gods, goddess of fertility, health nature

  Emerson — German, “son of Emery”. Popular for both sexes.

  Gaia — Roman goddess of motherhood

  Naja — Greenlandic, "boy's younger sister"

  Quincy — French from Latin, “estate of the fifth son”

  YetundeYoruba, “mother returned”

  

Boy Names

Abanu — African, “I have joined the family”

  Adam —Hebrew, “son of the red earth”

  Axel — Scandinavian, “father of peace”

  Barnaby — Aramaic, “son of consolation”

  Benjamin — Hebrew, “son of the right hand”. The Biblical Benjamin was the youngest of the 12 sons of Jacob and Rachel.

  Broder — Scandinavian, “brother”

  Dasan — Native American, “son of a bird clan leader”

  Dylan — Welsh, “son of the sea”

  Flynn —Irish, “son of the red-haired one”

  Joah — Hebrew, “brother of God”

  Kuno  — German, "clan"

  Ruskin — Scottish name meaning "family of tanners".

  

About the Author

  

Pamela Redmond

FacebookPamela Redmond on Facebook

  TwitterPamela Redmond on Twitter

  LinkPamela Redmond's Personal Website

  Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

  Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.

  View all of Pamela Redmond's articlesChevron - Right

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