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Baby Names: Meaningful Middle Names

Updated on July 8, 2013

I was born with three names. At age thirteen, I had four. Now I have five.

At birth my parents gave me a first, middle and last name. At Confirmation, I picked my own Confirmation name. When I got married, my last name became my maiden name and I took my husband’s last name.

Your name defines you. It is how people get your attention. It is how people refer to you. It is how you are known.

Baby Names

When you find out you are having a baby, you have the realization that you are bringing a new life into the world. This new life is your responsibility. What most new parents then ponder is, “What should we name our baby?”

Growing up I had a few names I liked that I always kept in the back of my mind. I am the youngest of 9 children. All these names were taken by my sisters by the time I had kids. I needed to brainstorm some more.

With each pregnancy, my husband and I sat and discussed baby names. Growing up Catholic, you were taught about patron saints. According to catholic.org, “Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over areas of life. These areas can include occupations, illnesses, churches, countries, causes -- anything that is important to us. The earliest records show that people and churches were named after apostles and martyrs as early as the fourth century.” Often times, we were named after patron saints.

I learned that I was named after 2 patron saints: St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth for my first and middle names. My husband and I discussed patron saints. We agreed that the first names would be a name that we both liked, regardless of having an associated saint. We agreed that all middle names would have family meaning and have a patron saint or have a biblical reference.

This is our journey to choosing our children’s middle names

1st son
1st son | Source

Oldest Son: James

My husband’s dad’s name is James. James, son of Zebedee, was one of the 12 apostles. He is described in the bible as the first disciple to join Jesus.

Our first son was named after my father in law.

2nd son
2nd son | Source

2nd Son: Joseph

My Dad’s name is Joseph. Joseph was Mary’s husband and Jesus’s earthly father.

Our second son was named after my father.

Our first 2 children were twin boys. Luckily both of our father’s had solid and likeable first names. Additionally, the names were associated with great Biblical figures.

When we found out we were expecting boy/girl twins, we went back to the drawing board.

3rd Son
3rd Son | Source

3rd Son: Christopher

My Dad has a family name and is a junior. My oldest brother has the same name and was the 3rd. Christopher is their middle name. My brother passed away on August 5th, just before I started college. Years later, I found out I was due with our 2nd set of twins in mid August. I told my husband that if one was a boy, I would like to use the name Christopher.

St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers. According to catholic.org, “There are several legends about (St. Christopher) including the one in which he was crossing a river when a child asked to be carried across. When Christopher put the child on his shoulders he found the child was unbelievably heavy. The child, according to the legend, was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world.”

Our 3rd son is named after my brother.

Daughter
Daughter | Source

1st Daughter: Elizabeth

My middle name is Elizabeth and I have always loved my middle name. Elizabeth is Mary’s sister and the mother of John the Baptist.

Our daughter is named after me.

4th Son
4th Son | Source

4th Son: Stephen

At first, my mother had 1 daughter and then 2 sons. I think my oldest sister prayed very hard for a younger sister. She got 6 more. I asked my mother if there was a boy’s name she always wanted to use. I also asked her, “What was my boy’s name?” She always liked the name Stephen and Paul.

After Saul’s conversion, he became the Apostle Paul. Stephen has been called the 1st martyr of the church. We liked Stephen a little better.

Our youngest son was a wish list name that my mother never got to use.

Confirmation Name

When the kids are about 13, they will be confirmed. Confirmation is the last step of full initiation into the Catholic Church. This is when you are an adult in the Church’s eyes. At this point, you pick your Confirmation name. Often, this is a saint whose life you find inspiring. We spent time reviewing names and meanings to assure it was a good fit.

My confirmation name is Marie, after the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Names Define You

It was fun to pick our children’s first names. They were names we enjoyed. We pictured them as toddlers and adults using their names. I think we spent more deliberate thought choosing middle names. We wanted them to be meaningful.

I look forward to my children picking their confirmation names. This will be the new name they give themselves. It is the only time in your life that you can review a list of names and meanings and pick one that fits you.

I am curious what names they will chose.

I am curious how they will define themselves.

© 2012 Karen Lackey

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