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Talk to me about... surname names

(87 Posts)
BraveLilBear Wed 01-May-13 14:59:32

Just that really... DP and I have finally managed something of a shortlist for our soon to be DC, and two of the names on there are surname names (ie taken from a renowned surname), and one is also an American place name.

I used to be quite 'anti' them, but really like at least one of these and think it would work well. But what's the consensus?

I'm thinking distinguished names along the lines of 'Newton' (from Isaac) rather than 'Smith'...

<braces self for onslaught...>

OkayHazel Wed 01-May-13 15:05:22

Depends on the name.

soontobeslendergirl Wed 01-May-13 17:27:05

Some names definitely work better than others. Some surnames were surely first names in the past but evolved as surnames to differentiate people with the same first name anyway. Other obv come from trades or place names or nick names etc.


some names that I think work well:

etc etc

Then you have the occupation ones:

i.e. Carter or Miller sound ok, Turner not so good.

We had Walker on our list as it's a family name

What names is it you are considering?

soontobeslendergirl Wed 01-May-13 17:28:48

Think they tend to work better for boys than girls but there are always exceptions.

I know a couple of Pipers - one boy one girl.

Bert2e Wed 01-May-13 17:33:19

Sorry but I really don't like them.

usualsuspect Wed 01-May-13 17:41:37

Lots of really popular names are surnames.


I don't see the issue.

Catlike Wed 01-May-13 17:59:23

They're very fashionable at the mo. Not my cup of tea though.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 01-May-13 18:09:36

I think if it's a family name, eg mother's maiden name, then it can be ok. I don't really get why you would pluck a surname name from the air without any connection to it. It also depends on the name; eg Lewis is ok but Hunter is awful imo. And I have yet to hear a surname name on a girl that sounds nice, somehow they just sound very masculine to me, even Piper and Madison etc.

Kelly1992 Wed 01-May-13 18:14:56

If it's family then it's ok. but names like Elliott, Jordan, Austin, Thomas, Oliver etc. are common boys names anyway.

Although i'm not a fan myself I love Huxley and Hywel (pronounced Howell)

NadiaWadia Wed 01-May-13 18:39:21

A mainly American trend that is (unfortunately IMO) catching on over here. Sorry but I dont like it much.

Why do it when there are so many great actual names available? Why Harrison (for example) when you could just use Harry?

But if you must do it, then at least use a well known example, eg Elliot. And these kinds of names suit boys better than girls.

lisaro Thu 02-May-13 01:14:15

Normally heard screeched acriss a supermarket or on Jeremy Kyle. Sorry but you asked.

CoolStoryBro Thu 02-May-13 01:22:55

I live in the US and I love loads of the surname kind of names. I know a couple of Hunter's and both of them are awesome MEN. One of them is a CEO.

I think if you like a name, go for it. And don't worry that someone from MN thinks it sounds like it should be on Jeremy Kyle.

squoosh Thu 02-May-13 01:41:33

To be fair it's not a purely American trend. Living in Scotland I've met a lot of men called Campbell, Blair etc. It's something they've done for generations.

I do think it works better for boys though.

Americans seem to love names like Porter, Hunter, Cooper - old occupational type names.

There also seems to be a growing trend to use Irish surnames as first names e.g. Quinn, Rafferty, Cassidy. I don't really like it as to me they are so obviously surnames. If you know a lot of people with these surnames it's harder to see them as first names. That might just be me though.

othersideofchannel Thu 02-May-13 09:39:01

All names were first names originally, as someone above said. The purpose of a name is to identify you so middle and surnames were added, in case others shared your first name.

As long as a name sounds nice and identifies you, who cares if historically it has been used more as first, second or third name?

I know people with surnames that sound like first names, e.g. Alexander, Quentin, Oliver. Again, who cares?

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:31:58

No. No, no, no. No. That's just my view though. One thing that does matter is if you have a surname that sounds like a first name eg Alexander. A Newton Alexander would spend a fair bit of time explaining that, no, he hadn't filled the form in wrong.

BraveLilBear Thu 02-May-13 10:44:35

Thanks for the input - I do agree that some surname names are on the chavvier end of the spectrum and that does bother us!

I think the redeeming feature is the main one that we have in mind is of an old English origin and is not an occupation name.

It is just very unusual, and everyone will instantly think of the noted scientist that inspired the name.

The reason it appeals is that we like the idea of naming DC after someone to aspire to, plus we live in an area that isn't the nicest (at the moment), so there are lots of names being screamed at god awful pitches outside our house.

Plus having DC1 in a baby boom, at the back end of the school year (due end July), we think it would really help to have a distinctive (but not chavvy made-up) name to set them apart in the future...

BraveLilBear Thu 02-May-13 10:45:59

Lol pickledginger I very much agree that that would be a challenge! There's no way our surname could be confused as a first name. Ironically grin

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 11:55:39

Then if you like the name, go for it. They aren't everyone's choice but when your child is actually born and named no-one's likely to give it any thought. When people say they don't like surnames as first names they're generally thinking of the same dozen or so names that are over used.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 12:00:16

Your DH isn't a sneaky United fan is he?

zoetstoffen Thu 02-May-13 12:05:19

As said it's very common in Scotland.

We did it - we used Darwin. One person asked if it was after the place, but aside from that everyone else has mentioned Charles Darwin or simply commented what a cool name it is.

lljkk Thu 02-May-13 12:23:19

They are quite common in real life (MN is not real life). So I think the consensus "out there" is that they are perfectly respectable.

ImaginaryHat Thu 02-May-13 13:24:56

Pickledginger your Newton Alexander comment just made me think of this scene from Cougar Town when Laurie finds out Smith's surname, made me giggle anyway! 19 mins 23 seconds in.

BraveLilBear Thu 02-May-13 14:17:28

Pickledginger noooooooo! My DH is a rare football-hating creature for which I am thankful - our child will not be called Ferguson smile

squoosh Thu 02-May-13 14:19:53

That reminds me, Ally McCoist's sons are called Mitchell and Argyll. Never really thought Argyll worked as a first name.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 14:23:12

It was Newton Heath I was thinking of grin. United's original name.

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