Friday, September 2, 2011

What's in a name?

I have been thinking about names this week, for one reason and another, that I may or may not share with you at some point!  I started off this blog wanting to keep a small amount of anonymity and decided not to share the names of my kids.  I've been interested to see how others refer to their family members.  Some are happy to share names while others use ages, some have plenty of photos, others have none.  Being in Australia, I'm also intrigued by how names are shortened/lengthened/adapted.

Based on my musings this week, I thought that I might just share their names afterall.

No1 Boy (or Biggest Boy) is called Archie.  He was named after my maternal grandfather, who I loved dearly as a child, even though we didn't see him very often.  He was in a long line of Archies, although he was properly an Archibald, and didn't have any sons of his own to pass the name on to.  My Archie went through a phase when he was about 3 of wanting to be Archibald as he thought his name was too short in magnets on the fridge!  We also liked the fact that according to one baby name book, Archie was first used in East Anglia and then became a popular name in Scotland - our Archie was born in East Anglia and then moved to Scotland - how perfect?  At the moment he has decided that it really isn't a very cool name and wishes we had called him something different.  His middle name is John which covers his Dad and both of our Dad's - imaginative!

No2 Boy is Jonathan.  Named because it was my favourite boys name but also my brother's name.  His middle name is Thomas for Husband's maternal grandfather.  I think it's a good solid name, however I think I am probably the only person who actually uses his full name!  When he started Play Group in Scotland at age 2years and 10 months, he met his best friend, Nathan.  They thought it was fantastic to have such similar names although right from the start Nathan always referred to Jonathan as 'Jon'.  Despite being born in Scotland both of Nathan's parents are from London so imagine it said with a London accent!  Since being in Australia he has been anything from 'Jon', to 'Jonny' to 'Jonno'.  I particularly like how the guys at tennis actually correct me when I say his name - "Oh, you mean JONNO!" !!!

No3 Boy is Joseph after my paternal grandfather, another lovely man who called me his wee princess - if only he'd seen the tomboy I was...!  His middle name is David as a tribute to John's wee brother that he never knew as he died after only a few days.  Regularly referred to as 'Jofus' by most kids, he decided he would be called 'Joe' once his wee sister could speak and decreed it to be so.  This lasted until he went to school and learnt to spell and write his name.  He now has phases and we always have to check.  I tend to play safe and stick with Joseph.  To be honest he gets 'Monkey Boy' more than anything else...

Miss M is in fact Meg, short for Margaret.  She was named after my mother, her mother, her mother etc, etc.  For some reason my mother decided to break with tradition and named me for her sister.  She was always going to be Meg rather than Margaret as it is a bit of a mouthful and fairly old-fashioned.  Again though, where we lived in Scotland was closely associated with St Margaret so nicely fitting.  Her middle name Hannah is a reference to John's maternal Viking roots!  Along with Meg, she gets Peg and Peggy and occasionally Margaret (mostly from Grandpa!).  She loved that despite being the youngest and smallest in her Kinder class, her teacher, the wonderful Mrs B, called her 'Megatron'!

Smallest Boy has a very grand, Scottish name - Robert Alexander.  As a friend's mother pointed out, named after 2 great Scottish kings.  As you can imagine, using family names meant that we had pretty much run out by this point!  My aunt has done a great deal of research on my Mum's side of the family and did come across a few Robert's, some fairly scandalous stories to go with them too.  However, this is really a wee family joke based on my Dad's family tracing themselves back to Robert the Bruce, who again with the local connection, is buried in Dunfermline Abbey.  The Alexander is a lame attempt to have my name in the mix somewhere.  It took us quite a while to name him, and the aforementioned Nathan had suggested "Bob" (a la Blackadder) within a couple of hours which we had dismissed, however it didn't take long at all until he was indeed 'Bob-the-Baby'!  As those of you who know the child will be aware, this is no longer acceptable and you are likely to be told "My not Bob, my 'Obert" in no uncertain terms.  I'm sure at some point he will get Bob again or more likely 'Robbo' if we stay Down Under!

You might be thinking that John didn't seem to have much input in their names, but due to all his suggestions being based on Star Wars I eventually banned him.

I love the fact that all their names reference someone special, someone to be inspired by and to look up to.  It will be interesting to see what they name their kids in time.  Joseph says his will be called "Pass", "Shoot", and "Score".

Have a great weekend!


  1. How lovely to get an insight into the reasons behind your children's names.

    When I started blogging 6 years ago I had no idea that in time the blog would be read by non-family members. Had I known I don't know if I have tried to hide behind fun names.

    As for a blog without photos? That would not work for me. I struggle to write even a post without a photo or two!

    It is sad that we feel the need to hide our identities just because of the few dreadful news stories we hear. Although I want to keep my family safe I do want to live my life with joy and not fear so bring on those photos and now we can associate names with faces too!!!

  2. Thanks for feeling confident enough to share :)
    I'm a freelance violinist, so I've grown up trying to avoid anonymity! A friend, when I began blogging 6 or so weeks ago, said "I can't believe you put your name on there!?!" I couldn't understand her incredulity because I've always needed people to know who I am! I do try not to name others, or let their faces appear if they prefer that, but I'm not at all backward about being forward myself ;)

  3. Names are pretty important aren't they? I like you have pondered the name and photo thing and I'm unsure if I lean more one way than the other over naming on my blog, undecided I guess. Our third boy has an unusual name, (but not unheard of) so when we named him a lot of people screwed their noses up (admittedly even some family) a few months later a 'celebrity' named her child the same and suddenly all was well and we had approval from those who were unsure, how fickle eh? Having three boys we have struggled to get good strong names for them. I guess I have an unusual name, but am so glad to have a name people remember......mind once seen never forgotten!

  4. Your children are all so beautiful. My eldest's middle name is Clare, after my sister. My youngest's middle name is Erica after her Grampy (Eric, obviously!). We always struggled on boys names, so it's just as well we only had girls! xx

  5. What a beautiful post Sandra. Your babies are all so gorgeous, it's the good looking genes I think :o) Thank you for sharing their names and the stories behind them. How wonderful you have such rich heritage in the decisions you made for their names. They are all really good, strong names, that have no doubt been easy for people to pronounce and understand. Sometimes I feel sorry for children who have names that are hybrid's of two names or just plain difficult to say. We were thought of as rather controversial going with Felix, but we weren't trying to be, we just love the name and thought "he looks like a Felix!" :o) xo

  6. What a great post. I'm always intersted in names and how they come about! Lovely blog. Keep up the great work!

  7. What a lovely, lovely post! Beautiful pics, beautiful kids, beautiful names. Hope you're having a fab week hon.

  8. How lovely to hear the stories behind your kids names. And I must say, they are all gorgeous!
    My son is Thomas. One reason we chose the name is because we liked all the shortened versions of it. But he insists on his full name. Ho hum. I'm sure this will change as he passes through school.
    Have just spied a pic of your slinky scarf, so off to have a lookie!


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