Who owns a family first name? My brother wants to use my daughter’s first name for his soon-to-be-born baby. Our daughter is named after our deceased mom, Hazel.
My brother and his wife are having a girl and insist on naming her Hazel. They say because we use my daughter’s middle name, Charlotte, as her first name, the name Hazel, even though it is on her birth certificate, is fair game.
My wife is beside herself. She says there will be two first cousins both with the same first name of Hazel, as well as the same last name, in our local school and summer camp. They will be less than a year apart in age. How to we resolve this dilemma amicably?
–A.W., Charleston, SC
Yes, your daughter’s legal first name is Hazel, but the name she goes by is Charlotte (her middle name). Hazel is also your deceased mother’s first name. Since you are actually using your daughter’s middle name (Charlotte) for her first name, your mother’s name (Hazel) is not being utilized — because your daughter is not called Hazel.
It seems unreasonable if you’re using the name Charlotte, that your mother’s name is not fully appreciated. Especially, since your brother wants to use it for your mother’s granddaughter.
What is the etiquette for naming a baby?
You have two options here. Either start calling your daughter by her legal first name Hazel, or be a good sport: out of respect, share your mother’s name with your brother’s daughter — your niece.
Think of it this way. In not utilizing the name Hazel, you are hanging on to your mother’s name in an unfair manner. It’s like the person who pretends he’s saving a seat in the movie theatre for his date, when he is actually saving the seat for his overcoat.
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Accepting A Compliment