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Hi, my name is…

March 29th, 2007

Apple. Although the name of a fruit doesn’t really seem to be the best thing to name your kid, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and his wife actress Gwyneth Paltrow thought it’d be perfect for their first born daughter.

All parents have some type of intention when naming their children. Whether it is extremely methodical and explored during the duration of a woman’s pregnancy or as simple as opening up a name book and pointing to the first one that sounds remotely decent, a first name is quite special.

A name is a symbol that all human beings possess. As individuals, we are labeled and referred to by our names from other people. Through the ages, various traditions have been developed throughout all parts of the world that create patterns and cycles of representations in families.

Depending on one’s culture, family, religion, etc., names are chosen for various reasons. For example, there are names that are given as a virtue. According to www.genealogy.com, some of the most conservative names came from early New England where parents sometimes named their children after virtues they hoped they would possess such as Patience, Charity and Prudence.

In other families, it is popular to use a surname as a given name. Many times, a woman’s maiden name serves as a child’s first name in order to preserve both the mother and father’s identity.

In the United States, names have often gone through changes because of immigration factors. As explained by www.genealogy.com, this happened even more frequently with given names because most names in European languages have an English equivalent. A German named Franz, a Pole called Franciszek, and an Italian named Francesco could all easily become “Frank.”

Another common tradition is to follow a naming pattern in order to honor family members. It is very popular to name a firstborn son after his grandfather and a second born son after his father in Italian culture. In English culture, a specific model was used in the naming process. While the first son was named after the father’s father, the second son was named after the mother’s father. The third son would then be named after the father and the fourth son was named after the father’s eldest brother. The same pattern would be used on daughters but using the opposing women in the family.

Today however, it seems that anything goes when chosing a name for a child. Parents pick names that they believe are best for the child, rather than perhaps what tradition has called for in the past.