There is something about naming a child after yourself, or your parent, that appeals to a lot of people. My dad was named after his dad, and my Uncle Bill Spencer was named after his grandfather. Sometimes it’s the first name that came from the parent, sometimes it’s the middle name, or sometimes it’s both. For my Uncle George Hushman, who didn’t know his own family until much later in life, life presented him with a perfect plan for a namesake. When Uncle George married my Aunt Evelyn Byer, he became the second George in the family, because his father-in-law, my Grandpa George Byer was the first George. Since Uncle George didn’t know his family at the time he married my Aunt Evelyn, he pretty much adopted her family as his family.
I don’t know if their first son, George was named after Uncle George or Grandpa George, or if it was both, but I kind of think it might have been both. Then, when he had a son, my cousin George, named his son George. Suddenly there were four Georges in the family. Of course, with the four Georges came the need for nicknames to distinguish between the three and then the four of them. My cousin George became Bub, and his son, my cousin once removed, George became Hush. It seems like anytime a child is named after a parent, nicknames are inevitable, but the parent truly still has a namesake. I’m sure that my grandfather felt honored to have so many named after him, even if he shared that with Uncle George, and I think they both liked the whole thing enough to want a picture of the four Georges as a keepsake. And now, there is a fifth George, with the addition of Tuff.
My husband, Bob was named after his grandfather, Bob Knox, and so my Bob became Bobby to his family…but that was not allowed by his wife, mind you. I can’t say as I blame him, really, I mean it is a little juvenile when you think about it. My nephew, Rob was also named after his dad, and we all called him Robbie, but his wife, Dustie was not allow to use that either…again, too juvenile. Naming a child after someone else can be a little problematic for the one being named, when they grow up and the name seems far too young for them.
For my Uncle Bill, being named after his grandfather was the greatest honor that could have been bestowed on him. He wore the name with pride…often mentioning the connection in the family history along with his signature, as a way of honoring his grandfather. I think that is what having or being a namesake is all about. It is a show of love for the person who had the name first, as well as for the child named after someone very dear to their parents. Maybe it began as a tradition, but even then, it is a show of honor, love, and great respect, and it is a cool thing to do.