Should the Child Who Inherited My Name Inherit Everything Else?

Filed under: Baby Names


Each of my grandchildren have been given a family name for their middle names, two from the mother's family and two from the father's side. One of the children's middle name is my maiden name, which will not be continued other than with this child. Is it proper for me to leave this child, and only this child, with property from that family? I can leave other equally valuable items for the other children, but they will not be of ancestral value.

- Grandmother


Names are my profession, and my obsession. So when I say this, I don't say it lightly: you're placing much too much importance on the children's names.

When your kids named their babies, they showed that family history and traditions were important to them. They spread around the family connections to be even-handed, not to divide up the territory! It would be a shame for a mere middle name to put distance between you and three of your grandchildren -- or between three siblings and the fourth.

Names aren't the only way to connect kids to family traditions. After all, regardless of who carries on your name, all four of those kids have equal chances of carrying on your DNA. If you go about things right, all four will have a good chance of carrying on your memories and traditions, too. Why put all your eggs in one basket?

Introduce all of the kids to your precious heirlooms, and share the stories behind them. You may find that one grandchild truly appreciates the quilt her great-great-grandma sewed, while another loves the crazy tale of the dented silver teapot. Inheriting those special keepsakes with stories attached will help keep your ancestral traditions alive. Better yet, it will make each item a precious reminder of you, for all four kids.

How did you handle family names? Share your experiences here. And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

Related: Can I Honor a Male Relative With a Female Namesake?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.