We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
My husband and I have a son named George Daniel, after my father-in-law and my husband. We call him Geordie, which I love so much.
Part of the reason we used family names for our son is that I always sort of thought I’d name my daughter Elizabeth. I’m the fourth Elizabeth in four generations. It’s not my mom’s name, though. Her older sister, Elizabeth “Beth” passed away before I was born, and so I’m named for her. (And my grandmother and great-grandmother, who went by Liz and Betty. I was Lizzie when I was little.)
But now that we’re expecting a daughter, I’m not sure if that’s what I want to do. This is probably our last baby, and so it’s my last chance to choose a name. But while I see mostly upsides to having a family name, I never actually lived in the same house with someone with the same first/last name as me. Would I resent having to explain that I wasn’t that Elizabeth all the time?
There isn’t necessarily another name I’d like to use, but I feel like I need some outside perspective on whether there’s another name out there.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your daughter!
It’s funny … men rarely say that they worry about naming a child after themselves. But women really do hesitate. And because women have traditionally given up our surnames at marriage, a daughter with a family name is often not going to share a full name, like a junior will.
There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s worth reflecting on that difference, I think.
Because it sounds like you’ve always planned to continue a long-standing family tradition. You don’t have to, of course! But I also don’t hear any other names that you’re considering.
So let’s assume your daughter’s name is meant to be Elizabeth – or maybe some form of Elizabeth? – and our task is to figure out exactly how to work with this lovely, classic, and significant name.
There’s already an Elizabeth-called-Betty in your family, but it’s been a few generations. This sweetly retro nickname name is ready for a comeback.
Boyish Billie might come from Wilhelmina. But Lily likely originated as a nickname for Elizabeth. And so Billie – with that strong middle B – seems like a contender, too.
Take the “bet” from Elizabeth, and Birdie emerges as a nickname option. It has the same retro, kicky spirit of Geordie.
Eliza can stand on its own, a spirited update to elegant Elizabeth.
The first syllable of Elizabeth naturally leads to nicknames – or names – like Ellie and Ella.
The sound Elsie is right there, if you slur all the syllables of Elizabeth together. It has a delightfully vintage vibe.
A long-time Elizabeth nickname, Libby isn’t especially common right now … but it’s also not out of favor, either. If Abby can be a Top 100 favorite, but not Libby?
A German nickname for Elizabeth, made famous by The Sound of Music.
Some of these names – like Eliza and Liesel – might stand on their own as formal names. And, of course, if you find another name you really love, Elizabeth could always be your daughter’s name.
But my suggestion is Elizabeth called Birdie. Geordie and Birdie are beyond adorable together, and George and Elizabeth feel strong and substantial.
Also: if you do decide to stick with Elizabeth for your daughter’s first name, I’d suggest you choose a daring, bold middle name that you just plain love. It might satisfy that urge to choose a name that’s just for you – and, in a way, that’s a time-honored custom, too.