How I got my first name
I am sharing a few of the stories around my children's first names. I'd love to hear the stories from others.
Well, some names are fairly simple. My older brother's name is simply after my father, whose name was after his father. My name came from my mother's catholic tradition from St. Michael the Archangel. The origins of my children's names require a little more explanation.
My oldest son, David Caetano, was given his first name after my uncle (my father's brother David Barnes), who grew up in North Carolina and lived much of his life in San Fransisco. He loved film and theatre. I was blessed to have him in my life from my early childhood memories through discussions we had when he was writing for small publications in San Fransisco about art and film. My son's middle name came from my Brazillian "father" (Caetano Silva). My senior year in high school one of my best friends was a "foreign exchange" student from Brazil and after my first year of college I went to Brazil to live with his family for a summer. Caetano was a gifted anesthesiologist for premature babies undergoing open heart surgeries. He was also a gifted thinker, fun, and kind. Both my uncle David and my Brazilian father Caetano passed away quite early and I wanted to leave a legacy to them and I was fortunate that my son's mother supported this legacy.
My eldest daughter, Jessie Ann, is named (first name) after my grandmother and her middle name honors her own mother and both of her grandmothers. My grandmother, Jessie Alexander, was a nurse at Watt's Hospital in Durham, North Carolina in the late1920's and early 30's. Most of her sisters were nurses as well. Her family came over from Scottland and Ireland in the 1820's. In addition to being a nurse, she was a member of several garden clubs and her specialty was camellias. She spent much of her in Durham and the latter part of her life in Hickory, North Carolina.
I was born 3 months premature and my parents hadn't picked out a name yet. I was known around the NICU as "the Allen baby." There is a picture of my mother reading a big book of baby names next to me in the incubator. Eventually, they settled on Nicholas which I shortened to Nick. Little did they know it was an exceedingly common name and I'd end up in a third-grade classroom with 2 other kids all named Nick. Whenever the teacher called one of us 3 heads would snap around and we looked like a tribe of meerkats.
Ha! I can completely relate, Nick. Apparently lots of parents chose Jeffrey or Jeffery in the late sixties. I was "Jeff H." in several classrooms.
There is no family story behind my first name, they simply selected it because they liked it. My middle-name (Howard), however, was the first name of my Grandfather on my Mother's side. Interesting side note; though my name is spelled "Jeffrey" not "Jeffery" many of my friends and family called me "Jeffer" as child.
...the origin of my name (other than my last of course) is generally considered an enigma. It has often been suggested by those outside the immediate family that my first came from a certain Sci-Fi show of that era (although it never did air on the rather limited channel/program selections available at that time within the Rogue Valley, nor were my parents ever fans of such). According to my mother (who, according to her, had already selected another name beforehand) "it just came to her" when she first saw me. This statement seems to find support when one also considers my middle name. Perhaps she didn't approve of the name Tiberius? Can't say as I've ever really had much of a problem regarding my name being too common, but can't say the same about the nickname of "Captain"...
I wasn't explicitly named after anyone. My folks felt it would be burdensome to a child to give him or her a name after someone else, like they were expecting me to "live up to" the name or carry on something someone in a previous generation was known for. This may have been somewhat in response to both of my grandfathers and an uncle all being "John".
My parents gave me an Arabic name with a beautiful meaning. Tasneem means "(spring) water of paradise" and it is mentioned in the glorious Quran (83:27). I am so glad my parents gave me a traditionally Muslim name. It is part of my identity and helps me carry on the many different cultures that make me me!
I have the honor of being named, both first and middle, after the kind and friendly president of the girls' club at my mom's high school. She was cute and little and blond, none of which describe me! However, I have always been impressed with the kindness my mom felt she received from that young woman. I never had a classmate who shared my name, though when I was 16, there was an underclassman whose name was even spelled the same. The Dolly Parton song (Jolene) came later and is misspelled. ;) I have always loved my name. All of our children have first and/or middle names recalling family members. As our posterity grows, variations of my name are popping up. I'm glad Mom added a new name to the pool.