Guest Author - Nancy Man
You'd love to use a family name as a baby name...but you've combed through your family tree, and none of the names sound all that great to you. Now what?
If you think you've reached a dead end as far as family names go, try asking yourself these questions:
1. Did you try middle names and surnames?
Look past first names. Reference birth certificates, naturalization forms, name change forms, marriage certificates and death certificates to make sure you know all of the names associated with each relative.
While you're doing that, double check to make sure the names you've got are correct; someone's "everyday" name may have differed from their "formal" name (i.e. your Great Aunt Lyn may have been an Evelyn on paper).
2. Are you forgetting anyone?
Might seem like a silly question, but if you forget a single person here or there on your tree, an entire branch could be inadvertently left off.
Perhaps the best way to fix this problem is get your family tree online and invite every relative you can think of to contribute (or fix) what they can. Geni.com is one of several websites that can be used for this purpose.
If that seems too time-intensive, just call a few of your older relatives and ask them to look over what you've got.
3. Did you look at locations?
Where were your family members born? Where did they live? Many town, city and county names can be used as baby names. These aren't "family names" per se, but they do represent your familial connections.
In a similar vein, check out the names of places of worship, schools, colleges, sports arenas, ships, landmarks and other "named" places and things that may have been significant to your relatives.
4. What about close family friends?
What about those special people who aren't technically on the tree, but might as well be? Many families have close family friends--special neighbors, doctors, religious leaders, or others--who deserve to be honored. Ask your older relatives if there are any family friends they have a special fondness for.