What’s in a name?

This week’s article is from cnn.com – so I guess it’s not really abstract, but I thought it was super interesting. 

The gist: About 10 years ago, a man in Baltimore was being recognized for his impressive academic achievement.  Down the road, another man was being recognized as a killer who murdered a police officer as well as another man, the father of 5 children.  The common link?  Their name.  When man number 1 heard about man number 2 (who, of course, went to jail), they started corresponding, and eventually wrote a book together: The Other Wes Moore.   The article then went on to describe the trend in names, and how a lot of people pull their names from Hollywood (did you know that Isabella was the most popular name in the US for the last year – you may recognize that Bella is short for Isabella – the name of the main character in Twilight). The top name for a boy: Jacob (one of the two main male characters). To see more about that, check out this article from USA Today. But anyway – parents today are making more unique choices too – whether it’s based on Hollywood names (such as Shiloh and Maddox) or ethnic names, or just something different (such as Neveah – Heaven spelled backward).  A lot of parents are choosing names that will make their child stand out, and yes, even leave a “google legacy”.

My thoughts: First and foremost, I remember a time from growing up when I found out there was someone else in my hometown with the same name – except her middle name started with an R and mine is with an N.  I distinctly remember getting a phone call from my mom who was laughing about how some people were coming up to her asking her why I had written bad checks.  It was so funny too, because I was 6.5 hours away for school when all of this happened.  I really didn’t like the fact that I was now being associated with someone who did illegal things like that (hey – I was a very good girl growing up… actually, I still am), but it was still amusing.

To me, your legacy is all about what you make for yourself, what you choose to be remembered for.  Yes, it’s unfortunate when you’re named John Smith and there are thousands of others with your name, but a name is just that – a name.  It’s who you are behind that name – whether you save animals, make a discovery or just love your family with all of your heart.  S and I have talked on occasion about what we will name our future children. They’re not based on popularity or ethnicity… but more what we like or honoring our family.  S wants to name a girl Daniella, and I’m just fine with that.  If we’re blessed with a boy, I think we’ve decided on Patrick – in honor of his late grandmother Patricia who he was extremely close to.

But I do know this:  Now that I’m married, I’m the only one of me around.  I think there are 4 people living in the US with my last name – S’s great grandfather (I think it was) changed their last name to remove association with the mafia.  And, S’s dad was an only child (maybe his grandfather was too).  Therefore, it’s just us, and so it’s up to us as to what we make our name.  And yes, I even googled myself and I’m the only one who popped up.  I was a bit sad to change my name, but I’m enough of a traditionalist that I wanted to have the same last name as my husband – I am, however, excited to be one of a kind.


  1. Wow! Learned something new everyday. That’s so cool that you’re the one and only. Names and reputation are such a big deal that people don’t realize today.

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