Sunday Summary: 11.26.17I recently heard of a family with a mom named Autumn. They had two sons – their names were both standard, Top 250 picks – and a young daughter. Her name? Winter.

That’s not exactly a family name, not like naming your son August Andrew Smith IV, or passing down grandpa’s name to your firstborn.

But it is a subtle approach to linking names across generations, and a clever way to name your daughter after yourself without sharing the same name – at all.

In general, I’m in favor of choosing family names, and I think that creative approaches to honor names are positive. It doesn’t work for every family or set of circumstances, but if it works for you? I think being open to a name that preserves your history is a good thing. It gives you a built-in name story, a reason why you chose this one name over all the others in the world.

Of course, I can argue the opposite case, too. But if you’re lucky enough to have a loved one you’d like to honor, and can find a name that pleases you and your partner? Then it’s definitely something to consider, whether it’s handing down a beloved name or something far less obvious.

Elsewhere online:

  • On the small screen, Kevin is the new everyman name. But, as Nancy points out, it has a very different connotation in Europe.
  • Thoughts on being called by an almost-but-not-quite version of your name. Most of the time, it’s an unintentional mistake. In a few cases, it seems to be deliberate rudeness.
  • A random thought: I often talk to parents who are upset that their children’s names are mispronounced. (Or maybe upset is too strong a word?) Often it comes down to regional accents and vowel sounds. It’s very, very difficult to force yourself to pronounce a name in a way contrary to your everyday speech. A generation of women who answered to ANNdrea, AWNdrea, and AHNdrea should back me up on this one …
  • They love Olive Garden, and their last name is Garton. So their daughter’s name just has to be …
  • I really like the name of Julia Stiles’ new son. Now I need to go listen to London Calling about a dozen times in a row.
  • Okay, I’m back! I liked the Name Lady’s answer to this question from a teenager about changing his middle name. So often when we talk about names, we’re actually talking about all sorts of other things, aren’t we?
  • British baby names American parents have overlooked. How ’bout Elspeth, Saffron, or Nella for a girl, or Callan, Fletcher, or Rufus for a boy?
  • While we’re in the UK, British Baby Names has the scoop on Lillian. I find it one of the most intriguing – and misunderstood! – names in the current Top 100.
  • I finally watched the live action version of Beauty and the Beast over the holiday. (My husband took our daughter to see it in the theater last year, but I missed it!) It includes a character named Agathe – she plays a big part in the story, but I don’t know if she had a name previously. Also: the song “Evermore” had me thinking … could Evermore be an intriguing middle name possibility? I love the idea of names like Evergreen, Meriwether, and Mayfair. They almost deserve a category all their own, don’t they?
  • What would you name a sister for Echo? I doubt I would have suggested this, but I think they found a great name for their new daughter.
  • This line from Duana made me laugh out loud: “I have some bad news: you haven’t agreed on any names. If you’ve ‘agreed’ on something but he doesn’t like it, that doesn’t count.” And yet, it’s really important! As with so many things in parenting, you’ve really got to be on the same page when it comes to your child’s name.

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

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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What do you think?


  1. I love the subtle name connection of Autumn and Winter! It seemed sweet and clever when Savannah Guthrie named her daughter Vale.

    If a Diana gave birth to a Minerva or Gwen was a mom to Blanche… how is that different than when we laud twins with a name connection? Melissa and Debbie, Florence and Siena, Stella and Luna…why NOT Autumn and Winter?

    Also, I feel for Susanna! Having what Beyond Jennifer and Jason coined as a “mega-name” is fraught with confusion. Michelle/Rachelle/Danielle of the ’80s, Kaylee/Bailey/Hailey of the ’90s, Aiden/Jayden/Kaidan of today, wearing one of these is a frustration! Close-but-not-quite-the-same isn’t as saavy as some parents think.

  2. The Autumn/Winter connection reminds me of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books. Thursday has children called Friday and Tuesday, and her mother is called Wednesday. Possibly that’s too extreme for real life!