My father was against naming any of his children after himself. He wanted no juniors because he believed it put a burden on the child (good or bad!) to avoid or match the father in character, achievement, piety, wealth, or any other measure people put on others. It wasn’t fair, in short, to name a child with a name not unique to that child.
My mother came from a different tradition. The Scots pass names back and forth through the generations, and certain names become family names, like James is in my mother’s family. More about James later…!
My mother nagged my father to let her name at least one child after him. The first child was a girl. She picked up three family names: Mom’s, Grandma McKenzie’s, and Grandma Thomas’. (Mom’s and Grandma Thomas’ names were merged into one, and Grandma McKenzie’s was modified a little from Isabella to Isabelle, but, well, close enough! Family names.)
She tried to get the next child branded with Dad’s name. He resisted, and that son gained a name that honored a brother of my father’s and my maternal grandfather. Family names. He’s the cat brother’s favorite uncle. Yeah, he’s their only human uncle, but if he weren’t, there is no doubt in my mind, he’d be their favorite still: My brother is great with kids and critters! 🙂
When Nr. Three was on the way, Dad finally gave in to Mom’s wishes. He agreed that child would be named after him. I guess the burden and stress of being a chief of police in a wartime town where military personnel and construction workers more than doubled the size of the population and quintupled the headaches of keeping order in the town — with a very limited number of men on the police department and only one patrol car — finally got to him!
Of course, when Nr. Three turned out to be a girl, they had no names picked out for any child but a male heir to Dad’s name. She acquired one of Dad’s sister’s name and “Ann”, which, to the best of my knowledge, isn’t a family name.
I came five years after my sister. Mom remembered Dad’s promise, but he still was against naming me after himself, creating a “junior”. They came to a compromise: His first name, and my paternal grandfather’s first name. Family names, but no junior. I had a different middle name than my Dad, He had “Arthur” and I had “George”.
Of course, throughout my 66 years, family, friends, strangers all think I was and am a junior. I give up. It’s kind of a joke now. So, when I decided to name one of my cats “Dougy”, I immediately thought it’d be amusing to my family and the few people who understand why I am not a junior if I named my cat “Dougy”, but gave him the middle name of “James”. Family names. Not not a junior!
Of course, all of my cats past and present have the same middle name. James is a favorite of mine. I wish I’d inherited it because, well, it IS a family name, and I like the sound and feel of it when I pronounce it. It looks great in print or written in my crabby handwriting. James!