Okay to Pass Name Down from Mother to Daughter?

A reader who is interested in passing her name on to her daughter recently sent me an e-mail. Here’s part of it:

Most of the time people name one of their boys after the father, but I have never heard of the daughter’s first named being the same as the mothers. Have you ever heard of anyone doing that?

Yes–I know several women who were named after their mothers, in fact.

Passing a name down from mother-to-daughter may not be as common as passing a name from father-to-son, but it definitely happens. It’s even traditional in some cultures. (One of the branches of my family tree includes a long string of women named Catherine, for instance.)

When I originally responded to this question (via e-mail), the only advice I offered was to think of a nickname for either mother or daughter, to keep things straight on a day-to-day basis.

I recently thought of another suggestion, though. Two people who share the same first name, last name and home address should probably have distinct middle names (and middle initials) to help prevent mix-ups when it comes to credit cards, bank accounts, and related things.

Would you suggest anything else?


14 thoughts on “Okay to Pass Name Down from Mother to Daughter?

  1. My grandmother is Odelia; so is her mother. I go to church with (names changed to protect them) a Jane Murphy, whose daughter is Jane Murphy, who then had a baby without being married and named her Jane Murphy.

    Different middle names would be helpful, yes…and in my grandmother’s case, she never went by Odelia, but by Penny, which had no connection to any of her names.

    We considered using my first name, Sarah, which I do not use, but frankly, I don’t like it well enough to use it myself, so why bestow it?

  2. Another suggestion is to use another spelling/variant of the mother’s name.
    Catherine/Katharine
    Jill/Gillian
    Helen/Elena
    Julie/Juliane
    Lisa/Eliza
    Christine/Kristen

    Of course this only works in certain situations, but it’s a clever way to maintain a strong connection and individuality.

  3. In my family there is a long string of first born girls having their mothers first name as their middle name.

    So my Aunt (first born) is Marianne Sylvia, her mother is Sylvia Izora, her mother is Izora…etc.

  4. My mom went to high school with a girl who was a Samantha Junior. Yikes.

    Having worked for a bank, I strongly recommended NOT passing down a first name to either gender if the child’s birthday is going to be in the same month as the naming parent’s. The child will have a difficult time establishing separate credit reports and a whole host of other troubles. People just assume that there’s a typo if Senior and Junior were both born in the same month.

  5. Even more, I work in a bank as well, the propensity for familial fraud sky rockets. I had a gentleman come in TWICE IN THE SAME DAY and both times to my window to cash his fathers us treasury check. I think the customer was under the influence because he gave me his SSN # which verified that the check was indeed his fathers and not his.

    But yes, it is very confusing and troublesome especially when jr or sr does not use their middle initial or suffix.

  6. My mothers name is Laura Anne and my name is Lauren Ashley. Although they are not the same they are rediculously similar and we have always had problems with people mixing us up, even with bank accounts and in other government places. I would suggest NOT doing this. Althoguh I love my name, it was too hard to have sucha similar name.

  7. My stepdad and stepbrother have the same initials but thier middle names are dif and my stepbother tells everybody that he is named after his dad but Brian and Baxtor are not the same name, I dont think =) They are both RBD. My stepdad is a Jr but that is it. and Boo (stepbrother) is not!

  8. I know this post is quite old but it peaked my interest. I am in fact a true Junior. First, middle and last name same as my mother. But of course I am Jr. she is Sr. Yes I came across the situation of separating a few credit issues but that only took but a few phone calls. I am honored and privileged to carry my mother’s name. It is very special to me that she not only gave me life but something else just as precious of hers.

  9. I Am a girl and my name was passed down to me by dad and I no trouble with bank or Anything like that legally

  10. My first name is Johanne and I have two other middle names. Our first daughter’s first name is the same as her much older stepsister (last name is different and they have a huge age difference). It is a beautiful name and my husband wanted to honor his first daughter from a previous marriage.
    We gave our second daughter my first name as her middle name. I view this as a gift and something that hopefully she will keep close to her heart to remind her that I love her. I regret that we did not give my first name as middle name to our first daughter too. But at that time, it did not occur to me that I could give my name to our children.

  11. It actually used to be very common until recently. Have no idea why it’s not as common today, but hey bring it back. If men can do the same why not women?

  12. Giada De Laurentiis’ first name means Jade, which is the name she gave her daughter. Giada and Jade. I think it’s cute. The idea can be applied to other names too…

    Jane / Siobhan
    Mary / Maura / Marie
    Elizabeth / Isobel
    Margaret / Gretchen
    Alexandra / Sasha
    Helen / Elena / Ilona / Aileen
    Susannah / Shoshana / Sanne

    You get the idea.

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