Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Sometimes I wish I had more children so I could name them after people who were dear to me or after a family member from long ago.

Rosemary: I was named after my paternal grandmother, Rosa, and my mom's sister, Mary; and thus came Rosemary. (My mom even mentioned Rosemary Clooney once.) I always knew my grandmother as Grandma Rosie. When I found a copy of her marriage license, it was signed, "Rosa." But, I think her given name was Aura. I'm not quite sure where the Rosa came from unless that was her middle name. Whenever I would visit her in Texas, I was always called Rosie. My oldest brother, Joe, calls me Rosie to this day. To almost everyone else, I'm Rosemary. It makes no difference to me. I'm honored with Rosie but I like Rosemary too. Even Rose is ok with me. When we were really young, my two middle brothers called me Roma. So, you see, I go by just about any form of Rosemary. Now the second part of my name, Mary. My Aunt Mary had named her daughter "Martha Sue"--Sue honoring my mom. I guess it was only natural for my mother to honor her in the same way. Aunt Mary was so proud that I was her "namesake," the true Southern Belle she was. She called me "Rose MARY." To anyone I was introduced to, it was "This is Rose MARY, my namesake"--major emphasis on Mary, no doubt. There was a special bond between us and I carry many of her traits. Funny how genes can skip over family members. Dear Aunt Mary passed away last year at the age of 92. I miss her so much.

John Robert Paul: When our first son was born, we named him John after one of my brothers and Robert after the hub. The hub's middle name was given in honor of his father, Perry; and so I gave John the hub's middle name. I'm trying to start a tradition. Hopefully, John will give his first-born son the middle name of John. We'll see how long this tradition lasts. When John was confirmed into the Church, he was confirmed Paul after his paternal great grandfather.

Before I go any further, I have to say a little bit about "the fathers' names" and how they, let's say, progressed over the years. As far as I know, my father-in-law was named Prokiev at birth. He was the first in his family to be born in the United States from the Ukraine. The story goes, they lived in an Irish neighborhood in New York City, so during his school days, he was known as Patty. I'm not sure when he started going by Perry, but that's what he's known by these days. Moving over to my father, he was given the name Wilber Vernice at birth. What a name. No wonder he didn't like it. He was known by Vernice only in Texas; everywhere else, it was "Bill." Why Bill and not Will, I don't know. My wedding invitations read Mr. & Mrs. "W. V. (Bill)......" so I had covered all the bases.

Alexander James Nikolas: When our second son was born, I wanted a more traditional Slavic name in honor of our Ukrainian surname. Alexander it was. His middle name, James, was after my other brother (aka Jim). Alexander will be confirmed Nikolas when the time comes.

Lillian Filomena: Of course, I had planned on having a girl after our second son. But after waiting several years after the last, I really didn't want to go back to baby stuff. I enjoyed them so much; and I was totally content with just them. I think God knew I would be better with boys, and so just boys it was. It goes without saying that every woman has a name picked out for her unborn daughter. Of course I did, are you kidding? My mom's name is Lillie Sue (Southern, ooooh weeee!) She goes by Sue because she dislikes Lillie. I don't know why--I love that name. It's so old fashioned. So, in honor of mamasan, Lillian. The middle name, Filomena, was in honor of the hub's great grandmother. His mom was named after her, Phyllis. That's the Italian side of his family. I married into a wonderful mix of traditions between the Ukrainian and the Italian, didn't I! I absolutely LOVE it.

Since I have boys, I hope the future daughters-in-law will help me in honoring some of our family names. They have family names of their own, their unborn daughters already named, I'm sure. I guess I'll just wait and see what's in store.

Well, with all that said and to keep up with my own progression, I have decided on the new name of Aura. "Living as Aura." Hmmmm. We'll see about that. KIDDING!


MarkMcL said...

Our family, like many others I guess, use the middle name(s) to honour relatives. Mary's middle name is her maternal grandmother's family name. My brother Ian's middle name is James after our grandfather. I am named after my godfather. And so on...

Ian's eldest son was born out of wedlock to an Italian partner who declined the offer of marriage when she fell pregnant. To keep things equitable they decided to alternate English and Italian *including* her family name. Thus he was christened Lorenzo James Cesati McLellan. Pretty cool I reckon.

Rosa said...

That has a beautiful flow to it. Tell me, at birth, are Europeans given three names (not including their surname)? I've noticed this with friends. Is the third their "Christian" name whether christened in the church or not? I've always wondered how that works. (Our "christened" name is never used on a legal document here.)

In the U.S., it is a very old, Southern tradition to use the wife's surname as the child's middle name, as you mentioned. It is therefore not uncommon to have two surnames used as a child's name after several generations. They can sound very "odd" at times. Don't you love the whole "naming" process!

MarkMcL said...


Just had a chance to catch up, hectic work, a weekend away (see blog) and now in Zurich for three days.

Yes LJCM does have a good rhythmn to it.

America does have a whole set of naming custom and practice not seen over here Like the double barrelled female names - Cindy-Lou, Mary-Jane etc.

As to European names I can only speak for us Brits. Basically there is no standard "formula". Two names (excluding surname) is the most common but by no means guaranteed.

For example, my sister has three, and I once worked with a plain John Smith who came from a long line of John Smiths. Every now and again some idiot decides to name his child after a whole football team.

I must check out the Italian connection and report back.

Rosa said...

Lucky you in Zurich. Switzerland is my all-time favorite place on earth. Have a nice pastry or piece of chocolate for me. Yes, do let me know about the Italian traditions on names. It's all so fascinating, isn't it. Now, time to see what you've been up to!

John Ivey said...

Kiss my Aura, Dora. I know you know where that's from. I never knew Granny's first name was Aura. See the things I learn reading your blog? Fascinating...



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