Sunday Summary: 4.5.20How are you holding up? Lately, the news is hard to watch. Yes, there are bright spots – selfless acts of kindness and courage. Researchers and clinicians working tirelessly towards treatments and vaccines. Pluto Living on YouTube.

But there are too many obituaries, too many reasons to mourn, both strangers that I hear about only from the news, and those closer to home.

It’s an impossible moment.

Even if we’re safe, it doesn’t feel very safe, does it?

But here’s my ray of sunshine for this week: family names.

A friend of mine has an adorable toddler niece named Barbara. She’s named for my friend’s mother. Everything about the name is perfect. Do we expect to meet a baby named Barbara in 2020? Nope. Not at all. You’re far more likely to meet a girl named Meadow, Imani, or Frances.

But the family tie-in changes everything.

Whether you pass on family names exactly as they are, or get creative with reinventing them for 2020, naming your child for a loved one is powerful.

It’s a reminder that our history extends beyond us. Just as surely as we inherit a grandparent’s eyes, or notice how much our child’s stubborn determination reminds us of a favorite uncle, names bridge generations. They’re a thread connecting our solitary selves to a greater whole.

I know family names are often tucked in the middle, or reduced to something that isn’t obvious to outsiders. And that’s okay! It might be harder to trace by genealogists in another generation or three. But it’s really about passing on the story, handing down the thread to your child, so they can weave it into their own future.

And that matters so very much.

Elsewhere online:

How would you honor a grandmother named Geulah? Tough one, but I like Gaia from Swistle’s list. Incidentally, Swistle and I disagree (slightly) on creative honor names. I’m pro-reinvention; she’s far more hesitant. But I think a name like Geulah screams for a little bit of thoughtful adaptation.

#namespotting: some fascinating names in the Scottish Top 100, including Fraser, Innes + Callan for boys, plus Bonnie, Orla, and Zara for girls. And also, a post rounding up some of the names giving to just one child.

Duana offers some great advice about a middle name for Piper here. And really, some helpful insights for anyone fretting that their kiddo’s name will be too common.

Okay, suddenly I’m sold on Rita. Cleveland Evans is right – a patron saint for impossible causes? Sounds so very 2020.

I’m so behind on my Mom and the Pie videos! But I loved this round-up of celestial baby names.

Oh, and a birth announcement – do you follow Jordan Page from Fun, Cheap, or Free? Her twins are here! Welcome to the world, Joss Jordan (g) and Devereux Clarke (b). She’s quite the daring namer – you can read about their older kids’ names here. Oh, and most of them have family tie-ins, or richly meaningful connections. Totally worth a read.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading. Keep safe and sane! Thinking of you!

Boy Names: 4.5.20 Girl Names: 4.5.20

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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1 Comment

  1. We used to love next door to a family with a Rita and a Lena. They were probably born about 2004 and 2007. Regular old WA yuppies!