What’s Her Name?

As Kelly and Mark try to name “Jane Doe,” I thought I would offer them a solution in choosing their child’s name. (This may be a boring, yet fun post to consider.) Casey and Jamie can do the same if they wish, but problems will arise which I will explain later. While researching our Irish roots, I learned there were particular naming patterns used long ago which may help in choosing the first names of your children.

  • First born daughter named after mother’s mother
  • Second born daughter named after father’s mother
  • Third born daughter named after her mother
  • Fourth born daughter named after her mother’s oldest sister
  • Fifth born daughter named after her mother’s 2nd oldest sister
    or her father’s oldest sister
  • First born son named after his father’s father
  • Second born son named after his mother’s father
  • Third born son named after his father
  • Fourth born son named after his father’s oldest brother
  • Fifth born son named after his father’s 2nd oldest brother
    or his mother’s oldest brother

The choice of a middle name was not as rigid. Sometimes the parents waited until the child was confirmed and used that, while other times it was the maiden name of the grandmother or mother.

You will note that I made some corrections going back as far as my grandmother, so you will see what your names, your cousins, and those of my siblings should be.

My grandma (the oldest daughter) should be Julia, named after her mother’s mother—Julia Foy.

Aunt Marian (oldest daughter) should be Jemima, also named after her maternal grandmother—Jemima Blue. If she hated that name as much as her grandmother did, she could be called Mimi.

Your grandmother (2nd daughter) should be Mary, named after her father’s mother—Mary Keenoy.

I am the oldest daughter, so I should be named for my grandmother, now corrected to Julia.

Aunt Ar should be Efrosina and Aunt El should be Mary. Uncle Mart would be Vasily or Basil and Uncle Dave would be Daniel. I can imagine your uncle as a Dan, but Uncle Mart as Vasily would have had a completely different personality for sure!

Kelly should be Mary, Jamie would be Rita, and Casey as the 3rd daughter, would be named after me—Julia.

So Baby Jane Doe’s name, following the Irish naming pattern could be Julia. Bryce should have been Lester. I guess we could call an attorney to fix that mistake.

Problems will arise with your cousins. There will be three Mary’s, one Catherine and a Sally. That is when the use of nicknames becomes necessary. Rather than having three Mary’s around the Thanksgiving dinner table, we could have a Molly, Polly, Mattie, or a May. Incidentally, baby Julia could be referred to as Julie or Jill. It’s your call.

So as you decide how to name your daughter, be glad that the craziness of these naming patterns stopped in our family several generations ago. You can choose to follow them or not. I, for one, do not care as long as you don’t choose Hortense.



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