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I know IABU, but why do so many boys have first names that sound like surnames?

(55 Posts)
Coastalcommand Mon 11-Dec-17 16:02:51

And so many girls have two first names (not a Christian and middle name, but two first names)?

I have been given a list of names to write out for a local Christmas party (I like to do calligraphy and I volunteered). But I don't know the kids and now I can't work out which names are 'firstname surname' and which are 'surname firstname'. Also I can't work out which are first and which are middle names.

Made up example:
Ava May Smith for girls
Mason Harrison for boys.

It's all so Americanised.

There isn't space to write every name in full (and for it to look half-decent).

Doggoslothlady Mon 11-Dec-17 16:04:56

Yabvu. Why does it really matter ?

ZoeWashburne Mon 11-Dec-17 16:07:34

This is not a new trend. It has happened for centuries.

Read Freakonomics- there is an entire chapter about the cycle of names in it.
Usually it starts as a surname, then becomes a male name, then switches to a female name, and then makes its way down 'social classes', often with changes in spelling.

For example, Ashleigh used to be a surname, then a man's name, then in the 70s/80s it was Ashley, a popular girl's name. Now its Ashlee or Ashli.

Same with Kelly and Brittany.

Wellthatwasembarassing Mon 11-Dec-17 16:08:24

would it be better to ask the parents to write their names (with a max letter count) as they would like it to appear?
DPs name would probably infuriate you but he has his dad’s first name with son at the end. I actually love his first name. I wanted to name my DS the same but his bio dad vetoed it... could have been awkward if he hadn’t

Coastalcommand Mon 11-Dec-17 16:09:05

That's very interesting, I hadn't realised. I know IABU, I just thought the writing would be the hard bit, not the deciphering which name to use!

WorraLiberty Mon 11-Dec-17 16:09:36

The entire list can't look like that?

Therefore look for the 'John Smith' type names and you can work out whether it's written using their surnames first or not.

QuiteLikeable Mon 11-Dec-17 16:10:37

Well it's a tradition here in Scotland so not necessarily Americanised...

Coastalcommand Mon 11-Dec-17 16:10:53

I'm not the organiser, just the scribe. Yes, name as they'd like it to appear would be far easier.

MorrisZapp Mon 11-Dec-17 16:11:06

Very common in Scotland. Boys here are called Crawford, Innes, Murray, Stewart etc.

My DS has one of those names. It's a fine tradition.

GhostsToMonsoon Mon 11-Dec-17 16:11:26

Maybe this is why the French always put their surnames in capital letters so you know which is which.

There are quite a few boys with surnames as first names at school (I don't mean ones that are generally considered to be first names but can also be surnames, like Oliver or George) - Mason and Miller for example.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 11-Dec-17 16:12:03

Well they don't have to worry about marrying someone and ending up Hunter Hunter like a woman might. I suppose that accounts for some of it.

MaroonPencil Mon 11-Dec-17 16:14:09

I was also going to say this had happened for centuries. Stuart, Lawrence, Lee, Dean - these are all surnames that we accept as first names. James, Alexander, Mark - all first names that are also used as surnames.

Glowerglass Mon 11-Dec-17 16:14:32

Actually, now I come to think about it you could put DS's names in any order at all and it would be a perfectly plausible name.

Think Gordon Innes Ross..... or similar

slbhill42 Mon 11-Dec-17 16:14:54

Not much comfort, but it's not recent particularly.

Half the management at my company have interchangeable first and surnames, it's a pain in the neck especially as it's a continental company so half the time the corporate IT systems put the surname first. I keep meeting people and having to ask, "excuse me but are you John Martin, or Martin John, I've never been able to work it out!" blush grin

#firstworldproblems eh? wink

hope you can work them out and it doesn't take you forever, having made the nice offer in the first place! Definitely get them to write down first and surnames in separate boxes if there is a next time!

Strokethefurrywall Mon 11-Dec-17 16:15:40

It's all so Americanised.

Oh NO!! Not Americanised! Will nobody think of the CHILDREN??!!! <wails and beats chest>

ParadiseLaundry Mon 11-Dec-17 16:16:01

Totally missing the point of the thread but I didn't realise people still said 'Christian name'.

Genuine question, would you still use it if the child in question wasn't Christian or if you didn't know their religion?

MorrisZapp Mon 11-Dec-17 16:16:22

Reminds me of Billy Connolly and the man named after three sheepdogs: Bonnie Prince Charlie

MorrisZapp Mon 11-Dec-17 16:17:56

Also I'm a bit confused about your list. Why would anybody write their kids name backwards? It'll be firstname secondname.

babyinthacorner Mon 11-Dec-17 16:21:12

Exactly, Maroon. My married name is a male first name - not so common now. My husband gets called by his surname as if it's his first name quite a lot, even though his first name as it is is NOT common surname. Add an 's' and it would be.
Anyway, it really annoys him so he was adamant that our son shouldn't have a first name that is also a surname. It was almost impossible to find one. In the end we had to go for a diminutive form of a name to avoid the confusion...

littlepeas Mon 11-Dec-17 16:24:41

My dad's first and surname were interchangeable first/last names and both very common in Wales. His middle name was my (Scottish) grandmother's maiden name. Living in England he had a lot of post addresses to Mr firstname-surname. He would be nearly 70 now and was middle class. My family tree on that side has lots of men with those two names in different combos and my cousin's son has my aunt's (and my) maiden name! My Gran was a bit funny that we didn't do it (I had first male grandchild, but there was a naming tradition on my dh's side too, so we avoided both). My sister's ds has the other name as a middle name. It is not necessarily a recent thing!

amusedbush Mon 11-Dec-17 16:32:07

Where I work there's a Cameron Ross and a Ross Cameron. I always double check that something is going to the right person! grin

loveisanopensore Mon 11-Dec-17 16:32:17

I wonder if the American thing actually comes from Ulster immigrants. My mother's family is from Fermanagh and there's loads of double first names. Mary Kate, Anne Maire, Rose Mary etc....

therealposieparker Mon 11-Dec-17 16:32:37

My son has my Grandmothers maiden name as his first name, it was a tribute to her and she died not long after he was born.
I have two first names and I loathe them! I like mine though but without the second bit of my name it's worse!!

FluffyWuffy100 Mon 11-Dec-17 16:33:36

*Read Freakonomics- there is an entire chapter about the cycle of names in it.
Usually it starts as a surname, then becomes a male name, then switches to a female name, and then makes its way down 'social classes', often with changes in spelling.*

How interesting!

Reallytired17 Mon 11-Dec-17 16:36:03

That’s interesting, Zoe!

There are various surnames that double as first names like Thomas and Owen but I know what OP means - it’s the place, profession or ‘son of’ surnames making their way into the first name bracket like Riley, Tyler, Mason, Harrison.

I’m not a fan but it is all personal taste isn’t it.

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