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Surnames as First Names: Baby Name Trends

Updated on February 12, 2013
Surnames are becoming increasingly popular baby names.
Surnames are becoming increasingly popular baby names. | Source

Over the past several years it has become increasingly popular to use last names as first names. Celebrities have influenced this trend (as they so often do) choosing surnames for their babies. Russell Crowe’s son Tennyson, Terry Hatcher’s daughter Emerson, and Brooke Shields’ daughters Rowan and Grier are perfect examples of putting a last name first. Many surnames of days past have become so common as first names that people do not even realize they once were last names. Ashley, Hailey, Paige, and Justin all had their start as surnames.

Using a last name as a first name can stir up debate in some groups. Some people feel it’s a misuse of surnames, preferring that each name stay in its “proper” place. But surnames have been used as first names for centuries, and the line has always been somewhat blurred. Others feel that surnames should stay in the family, and object to a child being named after an unrelated bloodline. But in this day and age, when it comes to baby naming, anything goes. If you are fond of a name that happens to be a surname, use it! It's your baby and your choice in name.

When choosing a surname to use as a first name, consider what names have meaning to you. Have you always loved Whitman’s poetry or admired the Kennedys? If you want to pay homage to a grandmother or mother, consider a maiden name. Look at the meanings of surnames you like to see if the meaning is something you want to bestow upon your child. Many surnames have lovely meanings. Bellamy means “beautiful friend” and Lane means “warrior.” There are also many surnames that have awful meanings, so be careful what you choose (Tolkien means “foolhardy”).

Here are some examples of surnames that sound cool as first names:

If you want to use a surname as a first name, choose a name that has personal significance to you.
If you want to use a surname as a first name, choose a name that has personal significance to you. | Source

Surname boy names:

  • Alden
  • Aiker
  • Archer
  • Bennett
  • Benson
  • Benton
  • Brighton
  • Bronson
  • Chaucer
  • Crosby
  • Easton
  • Edison
  • Jefferson
  • Keaton
  • Kipling
  • Lincoln
  • Malone
  • Montgomery
  • Peirce
  • Reed
  • Remington
  • Riding
  • Tate
  • Washington

What do you think about surnames as first names?

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Surname girl names:

  • Ainsley
  • Bronte
  • Calloway
  • Emerson
  • Flannery
  • Halsey
  • Harper
  • Hill
  • Kensley
  • Leighton
  • Marley
  • Marlowe
  • Monroe
  • Parker
  • Prentiss
  • Rowe
  • Saylor
  • Sloane

Surnames can work both as first and middle names.
Surnames can work both as first and middle names. | Source


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    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Sorry you're so bothered by this trend, Billy! The beautiful thing is we each have the freedom in America to name our own children whatever is lovely or meaningful to us - whether it be inspired by a trend or not. To each his own. I personally wouldn't have it any other way.

    • profile image

      Billy 4 years ago

      This trend is an abomination of tastelessness. I would estimate less than 2% of people giving their babies such horrible names don't actually have a "Hunter" or "Taylor" or "Smithers" surname in their family which they're trying to honor by keeping it alive as a first name, they just think it sounds good and do it because they see everyone else nowadays doing it. Get over yourselves. This naming trend fairly oozes pretentiousness and screams "I have no taste nor class and cannot bear to think for myself so I'm so thankful to have a trend to follow as a shortcut to critical thinking!"

      Stupid people think they're being unique by doing this. Guess what? In four years when they're in preschool and surrounded by a class of nothing but Taylors and Tylers and Harrisons and Mackenzies and Millers and Coopers and Thatchers and Fletchers and Archers they will see how they are the opposite of unique. Then they'll have to live with a name that is not only ugly and ridiculous but also pretty generic for their generation for the rest of their lives. Wonderful.

      Hopefully Americans will develop some taste in the next few years and this trend will die out, hopefully taking with it that other equally obnoxious trend, the girl names that are nothing but random sounds mashed together like Kaylee and Kylie and Keelie and Haylee/Hailey/Hayleigh. Ugh. I'm moving to Canada where people still have taste.

    • babynology profile image

      babynology 4 years ago from New York

      Your hub became a useful reference for them who looking for baby names.

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Keeley! Griffin is a great name. I love it that it's one you don't often hear.

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 5 years ago from Norwich, CT

      Loved this article. It is so true! My oldest son's name is Griffin! I love this name more and more everyday!