Surnames as Christian names?

(101 Posts)
MrsHBaby3 Thu 25-Oct-12 14:35:54

Sorry if this has been asked before but a friend suggested I use my maiden name for my baby boy (she plans to do the same as shes TTC),
Just wondered what general consensus is? Personally it sounds like Im saying a double-barrelled surname and cant decide if I like it.

Names such as

any others if you like the idea? (I know some will sound ridiculous!)

PickledFanjoCat Thu 25-Oct-12 14:36:31

I think some can be nice.


squoosh Thu 25-Oct-12 14:41:17

I don't like it. I think it sounds very American soap star. Girls being called Piper and Parker really baffle me. Such ugly names.

Lots of people love the surname as first name thing though.

PickledFanjoCat Thu 25-Oct-12 14:42:36

I think it can work better for boys. It's not my personal taste but I quite like bailey.

I was toying with using mothers family name as a middle name as it is a first name used in America.

Doodlekitty Thu 25-Oct-12 14:42:53

I really wanted to use Todd but DH would not go for it. Still love it

MrsHBaby3 Thu 25-Oct-12 15:01:33

Yeh it would be for a boy. I kind of agree with the over American thing but can see its a nice way to include a maiden or family name too.

EdithWeston Thu 25-Oct-12 15:06:32

It's a very old tradition in many parts of UK, at least for first born boys taking their mother's surname. And some names like Harvey, Stanley or Norman are unexceptional now as first names as a result of this.

Whether or not you do it would all depend on whether you like the name and what you think of how it sounds (you could always stick it in the middle if you're not so sure).

HappyJoyful Thu 25-Oct-12 15:09:05


SomewhereInCanada Thu 25-Oct-12 15:09:12

I used my MIL's family name (Baird) as DS's middle name as she is an only child and the name would keep going (sort of).

gymboywalton Thu 25-Oct-12 15:10:49




it's a stupid idea

squoosh Thu 25-Oct-12 15:11:15

Oh I do like the 'maiden name as middle name' tradition.

bigbluebump Thu 25-Oct-12 15:14:10

Lots of names used to be mainly surnames - so yes, it is fine!


and the name will have much more meaning if it is a family name of yours than if you name your son a generic 'first' name (e.g. Jack, Joe or Tom) just for the sake of it.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Oct-12 15:14:41

It depends what they are ... I can't imagine anyone calling their kid Higginbotham grin. Same as for place names - a few work, most don't 'Pontefract...'

Absolutely fine as a middle name though, if you want to keep a name in the family.

Frontpaw Thu 25-Oct-12 15:18:26

The ones that amuse me are ones that sound like they've been taken from a Ye Olde Booke of Trades: Piper, Fletcher, Cooper... I really don't like the Mac/Mc ones. In scotland its not really a 'thing' to call your child 'MacKenzie'. I've met a few little American girls called that.

Narked Thu 25-Oct-12 15:21:04


Harryc Thu 25-Oct-12 15:21:39

A lot of Anglo Indians use surnames as first names. Usually after a close friend or relative.

Kingsfold Thu 25-Oct-12 15:22:18


squoosh Thu 25-Oct-12 15:22:20

Yes it's always the trades, wonder why that is.


garlicbaguette Thu 25-Oct-12 15:26:15

I love them! I think they sound all grown-up smile

Chopsypie Thu 25-Oct-12 15:36:13

Some i love, some I hate.

You're never going to get 100% approval, but its your baby so go for it.

I couldnt do it, because then my son would be called Fuller Cox, and I'm not that mean

Chopsypie Thu 25-Oct-12 15:36:35

FWIW I love the names Hunter and Cooper

birdofthenorth Thu 25-Oct-12 15:56:18

I am contemplating my maiden name as the middle name if next dc is a boy. It is not as unfortunate as Ramsbottom but not as cute as Spencer, Todd, Harvey etc. It would mean a lot to my family at think.

MorrisZapp Thu 25-Oct-12 15:59:49

Normal here in Scotland. DS aged two and his pals are called:


squoosh Thu 25-Oct-12 16:07:42

Fuller Cox grin

Rutherford Thu 25-Oct-12 16:55:24

It depends what name it is, but I quite like the idea. Wouldn't deliberately use a 'surname' as a forename but some names I like happen to also be used as surnames - Jackson, Harrison for example. Wouldn't use this with another --son surname though grin
DGM maiden name was Ella which isn't frightful or stupid as some people have said hmm also have a DGM Taylor. I would consider using these as names, think they're lovely and they would be meaningful without having family members with the same names as we do now.

sweetkitty Thu 25-Oct-12 16:59:21

As someone has said very common in Scotland I know a

squoosh Thu 25-Oct-12 17:04:50

Riley hurts my eyes.

It's Reilly.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 25-Oct-12 20:14:33

Well some are interchangeable anyway, Thomas,James,Charles for example. And others such as Williams,Edwards,Richards are first names with an S on the end.

I hate loathe and detest surnames as first names on girls. Particularly the occupation ones. Surnames are patronymic in the West,there were no female Coopers,Fletchers,Archers,Masons,Parkers etc. sigh

thegreylady Thu 25-Oct-12 20:32:05

Morgan is definitely a first name-Morgan le Fay smile
It can be for boys or girls I think
Stuart/Stewart is also a first name-its all these Parkers,Baileys,Rileys etc which will probably date.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 25-Oct-12 20:34:36

Morgan is a very common surname in Wales,think it's interchangeable like James,Thomas,Charles.

I always assume Morgans are boys,it's a very male name in Wales. So is Bryn,but that stop Americans calling their daughters it.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 25-Oct-12 20:35:04

*that doesn't stop. Vital word omitted!

Badgerina Thu 25-Oct-12 21:12:06

Christian name? confused FIRST name, surely?

bramblina Thu 25-Oct-12 21:13:21

I love it, and ds has a surname as his first name, there are several I like. I agree with other posters that it doesn't sound so good on girls, but for boys, I think they seem to sound strong. Trouble is, your combination might sound like a double barrelled name but we can't comment until we know what it is! Actually, so what if it is? It may be really nice.

stillsmarting Thu 25-Oct-12 21:13:36

McKenzie, as other thread. Ugh.

Pudgy2011 Thu 25-Oct-12 21:15:39

DH is Fraser, DS is Carter, DB is Spencer so there seems to be a theme with our families!

Here (live in Caribbean), we also have Cooper, Riley, Hunter, Fletcher, Sawyer and Mason at DS's daycare. And quite a few of them too, clearly US influenced here. No other Carters though.

I really like the surnames for first names theme, not sure why but I always did. However if I was to give any subsequent kids my maiden name, they'd be called George!

I really like Blake, Anderson and Elliot as boy first names and I loved Darcy, Harper and Piper for a girl (until the Beckhams had a Harper so we took that name off the table).

I think you other love surnames as first names, or you hate them and in the same vein, I'm not a fan of cutsey pretty girly names, or old man names on baby boys. Wouldn't the world be boring if we all liked the same thing!

LemonBreeland Thu 25-Oct-12 21:19:22

I have a baby book that says in the past
First born son - named after Father
Second born son - named Mothers maiden name.

That is how so many surnames are already first names.

bramblina Thu 25-Oct-12 21:28:14

Ooooh then if the baby I am currently expecting happens to be a boy I should call him Hall? Eurgh!

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 25-Oct-12 21:33:56

Lewis is the one I know, I thought it was rather neat.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 25-Oct-12 21:39:44

I also knew an Edward Andrew(no s) which caused huge confusion because he went to the sort of school that used surnames and he was a cadet who also do this.

So he got Andrew Edward/s just as often as people got it right, which being bad at names, confused me totally.

PinkSoccerMum Thu 25-Oct-12 21:43:26

I like it, my friend and my cousin have both named their DS's their maiden name

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 25-Oct-12 21:45:21

Badgerina what's wrong with OP saying Christian name?

VBisme Thu 25-Oct-12 21:50:43

As a middle name it's fine, as a first name it's a bit odd (unless you are American were it seems to be fairly common).

jaffacakehips Thu 25-Oct-12 21:56:13

I like them, but then i'm a jock and grew up with Struan's, Campbells, Blairs'etc etc. So total normal for me. Also whet to school with a

Plenty of first names used as surnames too!


I know all of the above. Just make sure you spell if 'correctly'

Frontpaw Thu 25-Oct-12 22:21:13

Maybe its a fashion/regional thing (or I'm just ancient) - I'm scottish and don't remember meeting any! Lots of Robert, James, Andrew, Ian, John, Willian, Alistair, Peter, Paul, Mark... Unless you count Gordon or Gregor, which I suppose are surnames really. Can't think of any girls ones though.

Badgerina Thu 25-Oct-12 22:34:26

Well... For a lot of people they're not Christian names. They're first names. That's all.

Badgerina Thu 25-Oct-12 22:35:17

Having said that I hate the term "maiden name" as well, so it's probs just me being picky grin

CheshireDing Thu 25-Oct-12 22:57:49

As others have said some sound okay, some are not so good. It's not my personal taste although do know children called Harrison, MacKenzie, Brody and Murphy - love the last two names, not sure I would be able to use them though DH wouldn't let me put River on our list grin

Interesting thread though, I never realised so many names were original surnames or firs names and swapped.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Oct-12 22:58:55

Actually, I think the correct term is 'given' name - because in some countries the family name comes first, and the 'first' name comes last. <ultra pedant>

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 25-Oct-12 22:59:16

But OP might be Christian? I know not everyone is and they can say first name if they like. I tend to say first name myself.

I quite like the term maiden name. Probably because it makes me snigger to think of myself as a "maiden". smile

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 25-Oct-12 23:01:36

Grimma ha! Very true! And there's nothing wrong with being a pedant. It's helping people! smile

Taylor is quite nice as a first name, but then I'm biased!

echidnakid Thu 25-Oct-12 23:25:31

I would have said I don't like surnames as first names but so many have made the crossover/are common as both - such as Lewis or James - that it seems stupid to make a blanket rule IMO.

I dislike the ones that sound "American" like Blair and Paige and the ones that sound bogan Australian like Cooper and Riley but am fond of Fletcher and Fraser and Lewis etc.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Oct-12 23:26:59

I'd always thought Lewis was just an anglicized spelling of Louis

jaffacakehips Thu 25-Oct-12 23:28:50

Gimmie Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

Stunning place

<cries, I miss home> smile

SingingSands Thu 25-Oct-12 23:31:34

Imagining the horror if I gave DS my maiden name as his first name. My maiden name was Savage! grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 25-Oct-12 23:41:21

Its a Scottish tradition, my dad is called Lindsay. He has met several other men with that name. He got off lightly, he was meant to be called Archibald after his grandfather! confused
My maiden name is Gilmour. I think it would make a nice christian name.

scottishmummy Fri 26-Oct-12 00:00:21

this thread has flushed all us jocks out
yes mum maiden name as middle or foename,that's ok depending upon name

onedev Fri 26-Oct-12 00:04:17

I love it - think they can be really nice (although obviously depends on the name!)

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 26-Oct-12 00:06:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chopsypie Fri 26-Oct-12 08:14:16

sqoosh I know, I could'nt believe how long it took my mum to work it out when she was saying about keeping my maiden name as a middle name when I got married...

amck5700 Fri 26-Oct-12 09:57:28

We have a few in my family:


It's actually really common and a lot of names work well, My OH is one of the above and his mum used her maiden name as he looked like her side of the family and was therefore a XX !!

willyoulistentome Fri 26-Oct-12 10:00:05

I don't like them personally. I think they sound quite ugly. Each to his own though.

Frontpaw Fri 26-Oct-12 10:07:51

My brother name is a firstname version of my mums maiden name. I think DS got off lightly tbh, although I think I've heard of people with my surname as a first (and its just too silly for words).

KitchenRollRocks Fri 26-Oct-12 10:17:49

I think great as a middle name if there's a family connection.

Not really keen on surnames as first names, a lot of them do sound odd / ugly / harsh. The 'occupation' names make me laugh when you think of what the modern day equivalents might be - Brickie, Plasterer, Hairdresser, Programmer? grin

Frontpaw Fri 26-Oct-12 10:34:20

Blogger, Chugger... The mind boggles.

badtime Fri 26-Oct-12 10:52:07

I'm from NI, and the surname-as-given-name thing was common among rural families in my mother's generation, but had died out by my day. That may have been the Scottish influence, or possible going further back to an earlier common tradition.

My very posh English boss has one of the names listed upthread as his middle name - it was his mother's maiden name (and she was Anglo-Irish).

squoosh Fri 26-Oct-12 11:34:20

Yes you do hear of posh people with first names like Fitzwilliam. For me that sounds uber posh.

MrsHBaby3 Fri 26-Oct-12 15:31:56

KitchenRollRocks thats hilarious! What if they were given occupation names that the parents wanted them to have.. Doctor, Lawyer, but never made the grade?

Badger I'm old fashioned, as far as I know 'first' names were always called 'christian' names in England until recently (10 yrs??) when there was a concious effort to not exclude other faiths, but it's habit to me to continue to call them Christian names, sorry if that offends you.

Great ideas all, I think some surnames work and others definitely do not!! The ones that don't are funniest!

lolajane2009 Sat 27-Oct-12 00:03:43

George (our surname), gotta laugh when our hospital had our son down as George George at first. FIRST

squoosh Sat 27-Oct-12 00:10:05

He should have been down as Boy George.

SomersetONeil Sat 27-Oct-12 02:26:31

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of surnames as given names. I think names like Hunter and Cooper are quite contrived and faddy, i.e. they will date. However my brother has Mum's 'maiden' name as his name, and it works.

This is probably because it's far more widely known as a first name. It's also (very) Scottish (not a McSurname; we have a McSurname so that really would've been ridiculous!) and given that this is an accepted tradition there, it somehow manages not to fall into the Parker/Hunter/Cooper camp.

nooka Sat 27-Oct-12 06:02:19

Where I live it's very common for children to be given surnames as their given name. I find it very odd as to me it reminds me of when I went to boarding school for a while and the boys (but not the girls for some reason) were called by the surnames so I find it a bit institutionalizing. Plus it's all the old fashioned occupations, so doubly odd really - Cooper, Thatcher, Tanner etc. they just aren't really names to me.

Having said that my ds has a very traditional English name (currently very common in the UK) which is often met with surprise.

LemonBreeland Sat 27-Oct-12 08:28:20

DS2 name has come up on this thread a few times as one people think is Faddy/American. But we live in Scotland where it also sounds very Scottish and most people love it. When he was born we got a lot of meh from our English family and friends but most of our Scottish family and friends loved it.

It also seem very traditional historically for women in Scotland to get the Mothers maiden name as a middle name. I know of two women with the mns McIvor and Menzies.

ChristineDaae Sat 27-Oct-12 09:11:29

I love them, my DD has a 'surname first name' to be honest with the amount of different names around now days, I don't think names will 'date' as much any more. And I don't care if it does, I love her name and it suits her perfectly. Give me a trendy faddy name over an old lady name any day. The world would be very confusing/boring if we all had the same tastes!

SneezySnatcher Sat 27-Oct-12 14:30:02

My maiden name is the same as my married name so it wouldn't work. Although, Smith Smith does have a certain ring to it...

MrsHBaby3 Sun 28-Oct-12 08:20:27

Sneezy, it would make it easy to remember, LOL!!

Whyriskit Sun 28-Oct-12 09:52:40

Definitely thinking of my maiden name, which is Campbell, for a future DS. We're Scots living in Scotland so not uncommon here as people have said.

scottishmummy Sun 28-Oct-12 10:01:37

yes in scotland its acceptable use forename as surname,and campbell is nice name as it is

tasfi26 Tue 30-Oct-12 17:06:49

We aren't finding out what we're having but if it's a boy we're having's very American but it's my all time favourite! My other favourite surname sounding first names Dalton and Clayton

1944girl Tue 30-Oct-12 17:14:38

My grandson is called Scott, it was DIL's grandmother's unmarried surname.

MrsHBaby3 Wed 31-Oct-12 17:21:07

I love the family connections.
What about if you liked a surname as first name /christian name, but it is coincidentally the surname of a friend? Is that just wierd? My hubby really likes a particular name but then I reminded him its his friends ex-wifes maiden name and he's gone off it now.

MaidenDevon Thu 01-Nov-12 17:56:23

My maiden name was Prince - would feel v. silly calling that out in the supermarket. People might think I was calling my Labrador rather than a toddler... confused

Fantail Fri 02-Nov-12 06:44:00

Isn't it common in the southern states of the USA for first born girls to take their mother's maiden name.

I think that if you actually like the idea and the potential name then do it, but don't do it just because your friend suggested it.

JollyJackOLantern Fri 02-Nov-12 07:27:22

Ds has what is technically a surname as his first name , but it's also a place name and is much more common as a first name than as a surname.

If a subsequent dc is a boy we will likely use another surname-y name and also possibly use my maiden name as a middle name.

flowerygirl Fri 16-Nov-12 17:00:56

I think it's a lovely way to keep the family name going, especially as I'm on of two daughters and I was sad to lose my surname when I got married!

I am considering Hunter for a boy...but I'm worried it's a bit too controversial. Most seem to love it or hate it.

rainbow2000 Sat 17-Nov-12 00:04:41

I love Hunter as a boys name.I have 5 ds and 3 of them have surname as a first name,it wasnt intentional it just suited them when they were born.
I dont care if nobody else likes the name my dc i named tehm.

DingDongBelle Sat 17-Nov-12 01:17:51

On the subject of occupational names, isn't there a vacuous WAG who named her (and footballer dh's) son Striker? hmm

Startail Sat 17-Nov-12 02:51:33

Lewis, this is lovely

And the awful Harrison, sorry ....son is too clearly a surname.

I had a friend who's surname was Andrew (no S). So a case is Christian name as surname.

Fearsomely confusing as his first name was Edward. He went to a surnames first trad grammar.

He said he'd had every possible permutation, Andrew Edwards, Edward Andrews and Andrew Edward far more often than anyone actually got it right.

persephoneplum Sat 17-Nov-12 03:22:14

I don't like those you listed, however we are using a surname-type name - Jarvis.

Thing is, it's so ancient that Jarvis is from the surname Gervais, which is From a surname which was derived from the given name GERVAIS. It was then derived from the ancient Germanic name Gervasius (taken from Behind the Name).

So it has enough separation from being solely a surname to satisfy me... plus it was probably the ONLY name DH and I could agree on so dammit, the fact it is also used as a surname became very insignificant in the face of naming battles with my DH! Hehehe.

This happens when you have to name a third boy!

persephoneplum Sat 17-Nov-12 03:24:17

Sorry about that second paragraph - it doesn't make sense. These boards are so antiquated, we can't edit posts! Time for an upgrade Mumsnet!

FellatioNelson Sat 17-Nov-12 03:57:45

I love some, I hate some but generally I don't mind them at all. One of my DCs has one, although I will argue until the cows come home that it IS a first name, just not a very well known one, and more commonly known as a family name.

But as others have pointed out, many are completely interchangeable and raise no eyebrows at all (James and Oliver bing the obvious culprits) so I don't know why people get such a bee in their bonnets over it.

I must say I tend to dislike them for girls though. They only work on boys for me.

FellatioNelson Sat 17-Nov-12 04:01:37

I know some pretty upper middle class types with names like Jervis, Romney and Herewood and nobody seems to sneer at those within their own circles and yet MC people will sneer at Harrison or Riley. confused I don't know what the difference is really.

flowerygirl Sat 17-Nov-12 10:33:08

I really don't get why people don't like 'surname' type names when often they are just first names from years ago making a comeback!

What with all the Charlies, Jacks, Alfies and Harrys that are going to be in the school playground in a couple of years, won't it be nice to have children with different names!? There will be so many with the same names, the teachers will have to distinguish them apart by their surnames anyway!

DingDongBelle Sat 17-Nov-12 16:28:18

My DS is Harrison startail and evidently I don't think it's awful...

Stating you don't like a name, fair enough, but no need to be rude hmm

justhayley Sat 17-Nov-12 23:26:19

I really like it, for boys anyway. Most of my fav names during pregnancy were surnames. DP hates it & thinks
It's odd but what he know ;)

ExitPursuedByABrrrrrrr Sat 17-Nov-12 23:31:24

Percy, Howard and Spencer were all surnames of landed gentry which started being used as Chrisitan names centuries ago.


ivykaty44 Sat 17-Nov-12 23:45:10

just soem of the names of friend I think could possibly work if you wanted a surname as a first name? Not overly keen

BirdyArms Sat 17-Nov-12 23:51:30

Ds1 has a surname as his first name, not any of the ones on this thread, and I kind of regret it. I named him after a lovely great uncle who had this name as his first name so I had always thought of it as a first name. I am a bit snobbish about surnames used as first names and can't quite believe that I've ended up doing it myself!

But the main reason I regret it is that people never get it first time, it sounds quite similar to a common first name and I have to spell it out for people and poor old ds1 just lets people call him the wrong name.

flowerygirl Sun 18-Nov-12 13:58:49

tasfi26 Holden is a great name!

Quite like Anderson and Parker too. Although makes me think of Peter Parker.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Sun 18-Nov-12 23:23:20

My son has Cameron as a middle name. Is also my gran's middle name smile She is scottish and it was her mother's maiden name. She told me it's traditional there. Or it was many years ago. Don't know about now.

From your list I really like Spencer.

zingally Mon 19-Nov-12 12:52:50

I think it's fine. As long as the name isn't something rediculous.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now