Advanced search

Do surnames really matter when choosing a first name?

(43 Posts)
merryfknchristmas Thu 19-Nov-20 20:21:42

The title says it all really!

I like unique names, really love them. I think the names we see as ‘unique’ now are our new wave of names.

By that I mean I believe names have certain waves so nowadays I don’t really see any baby girls being named Karen, Susan, Debbie or any baby boys being named David, John, Mark and so on.

I believe the new generation have names that seem different and unique! When I was named 23 years ago it definitely had people asking my mum “are you sure?!” And years on it became ‘normal’

I ask the title question as I feel like mine and DH surname would not suit unique names? Or many names in fact! It’s quite unique in itself, I’ve never heard anyone with our surname (even though I’m sure there’s plenty of people with it! Just don’t know anyone personally)

Do you factor in surnames when choosing baby names? Or did you pick their name just to be their name - didn’t change your mind based on surname or what the initials would be etc

OP’s posts: |
BalloonSlayer Thu 19-Nov-20 21:05:22

I am always a bit mystified when people name their DC some wild and exotic name when their surname is a bit , um well the opposite.

Can't give a real example, but a kid called say, Tempest Prairie Shufflebottom, I would wonder why the parents didn't change the family surname as well as, or instead of, going for the romantic forenames.

BalloonSlayer Thu 19-Nov-20 21:06:50

Sorry just read your op again and I don't think that's what you were asking.

Firebird83 Thu 19-Nov-20 21:08:16

I definitely would factor in the surname. We have an uncommon surname and that was part of the reason why we chose a classic first name for DS.

M0mmyneedswine Thu 19-Nov-20 21:10:05

We did, the name i liked for dd rhymed with surname so picked a different name

Swingometer Thu 19-Nov-20 21:13:41

When you say 'unique' do you actually mean unique or do you really just mean unusual?

I would agree that you shouldn't 't choose a name without factoring in how it sounds with your surname and it does sometimes sound odd if a very exotic name is matched with something very old fashioned or dull

On the other hand if your surname is very common place (Smith, Jones etc) then it's a shame to pick a really popular name as you will share the name with 1000s of other people (not that it's done Sam Smith any harm!)

ohidoliketobe Thu 19-Nov-20 21:14:52

Yeah I think it's important. Mr and Mrs Time calling their son Justin for example set the child up for a lifetime of ridicule, like Sally O'Malley or Isla White.

thecakebadge Thu 19-Nov-20 21:17:11

Yes you definitely need to factor in surnames. Some just don’t sound right with certain names. And then there’s always the ones that mean something else (eg Ben Dover) and where the initials spell out something rude (Violet Anne Groves)

RedMarauder Thu 19-Nov-20 21:17:27


Firstly you don't want their initials spelling a word. Any word as it will be picked up when they are in school.

Secondly the new generation don't have unusual and unique names they just have names that were common 80+ years ago and/or from other countries. If I hear a name which one of my friends regards as "odd" it is normally from North America.

Then again I am born and bred in London and have worked for decades with people from all over the world.

Radiatornoise Thu 19-Nov-20 21:20:03

My DD was at school with a girl called Holly.

Holly Wood.

Dinosauraddict Thu 19-Nov-20 21:22:36

As someone whose parents did not think through how my given initials sat with my surname please dear god think about it. I was pleased to get married just to change mine!

Love51 Thu 19-Nov-20 21:24:07

If you have a surname that is also a first name, then give them a first name that is also a surname, you are giving them the message that you don't massively care if their files get lost.
If you give them the same name fore- and sur- people will think you lack creativity.
Leslie Leslie etc

Love51 Thu 19-Nov-20 21:25:48

An honourable mention to a Penelope who wouldn't abbreviate to Penny. Ms Wise was a lovely woman. (Probably still is!)

InTheNightWeWillWish Thu 19-Nov-20 21:28:55

I think you definitely have to take surnames into account. I love the name Charlotte (and all nicknames) but it doesn’t work with my surname or DH’s, one of which is common as muck and one of which is rare. It sounds awful with both surnames but for different reasons.

Enko Fri 20-Nov-20 09:26:44

Absolutely consider surnames. An example dh and I both love the name Flora but our surname starts Fl too and saying that out loud just doesn't work.

I think the first reply has a point I knew a Sunbeam Smith many years ago. Never could get my head around that one. However Tiare' Avensati (I think that was how it was spelled) worked well

elfran Fri 20-Nov-20 09:35:31

Absolutely it's important to consider. Both my DH and I have very rare, quite frankly weird surnames. I don't think it has affected our choice of unique vs common names (we tend to gravitate toward uncommon but established names anyway), but only some sound right.

Others have mentioned the initials and flow. One other thing that always bugs me is names that elide - so when the last letter of the first name is the same as the first letter of the surname. To that end I immediately took any names ending in N off the table for us!

YoniAndGuy Fri 20-Nov-20 09:59:37

Well yes it has to flow well, and not make a joke pairing or dodgy initials.

MikeUniformMike Fri 20-Nov-20 12:33:02

Most people are known by their first name and surname.

Exceptions might be Madonna, Cher, Adele, Nigella, Boris.

If your child finds that she is not the only Tiarabella-Destinyjoy in her peer group, she will be Tiarabella-Destinyjoy Surname.

VenusClapTrap Fri 20-Nov-20 13:14:17

Very important to consider the surname. We have a long complicated foreign surname, so it was a priority to choose easy to pronounce, short, well known first names for our children. The poor sods are going to spend their lives explaining and spelling their surname; at least we could give them straightforward first names that would travel well wherever they went.

Personally, I think a plain, short surname suits a longer, more interesting first name, and vice versa. It’s like mixing patterns when decorating a room or putting together an outfit. If you put two very bold, ornate patterns together, they fight with each other for attention and usually look a mess. But put something ornate with something plain, and it works.

There are exceptions, but for me this is a good rule of thumb in many areas of life.

MimiDaisy11 Fri 20-Nov-20 14:08:30

Surnames are important. I have an unusual surname and a fairly common first name which together makes me the only one I can find in the UK with this name. However, if I was to take my partner's surname Johnson then I'd have a really common name.

And on considering the surname for our baby's name we had considered the name Iona but suddenly realised that with the surname that could sound like "I own a Johnson" which is not a good name for a girl to have lol

MikeUniformMike Fri 20-Nov-20 15:02:45

It's better than Iona Castle or something.

emilybrontescorsett Fri 20-Nov-20 22:14:34

Definitely consider your suename.

JellyBellySmith Sat 21-Nov-20 11:43:17

I'm a Smith and it's put me off a lot of traditional names that used to be my favourites (mainly for boys), e.g. William, James, Edward etc.

zigaziga Sat 21-Nov-20 12:44:34

Yes absolutely it matters. Firstname Surname matters a lot as it will be what your child is known as. Does it flow nicely together, is it too much (long flowery first name and long hard to spell surname would be too much) or is it too plain etc.
Middle names not so much as people don’t use them day to day.

tattychicken Sat 21-Nov-20 12:47:20

Yes. I think the number of syllables in each name is important, so the name flows off the tongue easily. And the initials are important. I went to school with someone called Douglas Ian Spencer Grace. 😀

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in