What’s in a Name?

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt: Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it? Do you think it suits you? What about your children’s names?


Names are important. They are how you introduce yourself, and how you are introduced to the world. They are the one word that people think of when they think of you.

When I think of my name, I think first of my last name and the heritage and family history that goes with it. It is French, and though I’m not sure exactly where it is from in France, I have been convinced since I studied Celtic Studies at university that it is Celtic. I have imagined that it might even have been an old Druid family name. For who but the Druids would have the name of a strong oak tree?

With my first marriage, I took the surname of my then husband. But it never felt right. It never looked like my name. And so, following my divorce and forever after, despite being re-married now, I will always be known by the name my mother gave me. That’s just who I am.

Which brings me to my first name. I am loosely named after my mother’s Irish paternal grandmother, Christina Fagan. My mother, wishing to reflect my father’s French roots, creatively adjusted it, and then shortened it to something completely unique and unusual. I’ve never met anyone else with my name and I frequently have to repeat it and explain it when I am meeting someone for the first time –  but I would not have any other name.

I also have two middle names. The first, Lorraine, is my mother’s middle name, and I have always felt a certain comfort in that continuity. Family heritage.

My second middle name is Eugenie. My  mother had actually wanted that to be my first name, but without a modern princess bearing the name at the time, people turned their noses up at it (my father, specifically) and frowned. She had had wonderful dreams of her daughter being named after the famously beautiful Empress Eugenie of France (born 1826).

I may not have always been comfortable with my collection of names – I believe in Grade 9 I tried to say that the E stood for Elizabeth, and then tried to call myself Lizzie. But overall, I have always been proud of my names, of the history they carry and of the thought my mother put into naming me.

And so, when I was having a child, I put the same amount of thought – and much research – into naming him. Despite a small crisis of self-doubt when he was born, I have kept the name I chose for him when I found out at 20 weeks that I was having a boy. It cannot be shortened and there are no nicknames that can replace it. It is a slight variation on a more common name, and it means “light.” As a baby, and because at the time we lived in the woods and had a wonderful view of the night sky, I used to call him my little star, a shining beacon of light in my life.

I have considered changing my name several times, most often wishing to take on my mother’s maiden name in recognition of my Irish heritage (it means “dog of the sea” …pirates perhaps?). But I am who I am, a combination of French, Irish, and other backgrounds. And I am proud to bear the names I was given.


Here are some fellow bloggers’ thoughts on names:

  1. When my granny was young | Bright Moments Catcher
  2. Natalie Elizabeth. | Natalie Elizabeth Beech
  3. S. Thomas Summers | Daily Prompt: Identity
  4. Name that… You! | Geek Ergo Sum
  5. What’s in a Name? « RPMAS
  6. What’s in a Name? | meanderedwanderings
  7. Facebook and Cheap Trick: I’d like you to like me | DCMontreal
  8. There’s no (censored) “D” in my name | thoughtsofrkh
  9. Daily Prompt: The Born Identity | Creative Mysteries
  10. MASIDO | Hellen Masido
  11. Phoneography Weekly: What lies under the bushes | We Live In A Flat
  12. Daily Prompt: Name that…You! « Mama Bear Musings
  13. What’s in a name? | Books, Music, Photography & Movies : my best friends
  14. Daily Prompt: Name that…You | Under the Monkey Tree
  15. daily prompt – what’s in a name? | pork juice & paper towels
  16. Daily Prompt: Name that… You! « Every day adventures in Asia (mostly)
  17. Daily Prompt: Name that… You! Five Js | littlegirlstory
  18. Daily Prompt; Name that..You | terry1954
  19. Daily Prompts | derekalanwilkinson
  20. Daily Prompt: Name that… You! | College Girl Dai
  21. Daily Prompt: Identity – It’s Maryann, Not Maryanne, Not Marianne | IF I ONLY HAD A TIME MACHINE
  22. What’s In A Name? | The Ambitious Drifter
  23. What’s In A Name? Ingredients | Edward Hotspur
  24. What’s in a name? | Hope* the happy hugger
  25. Naming Baby Brother (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat

12 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

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