What’s in a Name?

Our family is unique in that my parents got married when my dad was 16 and my mom was 15.  Apparently they thought they were from the era that that was more of a ‘normal’ thing to do.  They had four kids in three years – by the time my mom was 18 and my dad was 19, they had one 2-year old, one barely 1-year old, and their ‘surprise/accident’ – twins.

For being so young, my parents were very creative when naming us kids.  They decided they wanted to give each of us one of their names.  My parents names are Michael Leon Swenson and Stacia Lynn Swenson – so when my older sister was born, they named her Kimn Noël – adding the ‘n’ to the end of Kim for reasons unknown, but her middle name is ‘Leon’ spelled backwards.  Clever, no?

My younger brother and sister – the ‘accidental/surprise twins’ showed up one year and three days after I was born.  Naming my brother was a no-brainer – he got my dad’s name with an additional “II” at the end.  My dad said he preferred to add the Roman Numerals at the end rather than a “Jr.”, because he didn’t want any Juniors in his family.  So instead they were often called “Big Mike” and “Little Mike”.  Yeah, that works better, doesn’t it?

My parents got creative with my younger sister’s name, too – instead of the traditional spelling of “Mary”, she got “Merri” (yes, with an ‘i’ not a ‘y’).  Why?  Because December is Christmas and quite “Merry”.  Ahem.  She also got my mom’s middle name, Lynn.

I was not only the second born, but the middle child technically speaking, since I was sandwiched in between my older sister and the twins (yeah, explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?  A double-whammy.) When I was born, my parents had planned on only having two kids.  I was a bit of a disappointment in that I was a girl and not a boy for their ‘final’ child.   You know that whole one boy, one girl, white picket fence ‘dream’.

My mom confessed to me recently that though they had considered naming me ‘Stacia’ after her, she didn’t want to ‘share’ her name with anyone – she was, after all, only 17, and ‘Stacia’ was not a common name.  In fact, her mom was planning to name her ‘Stacy’ when she was born, but at the time it was a popular French boy name, so she chose ‘Stacia’ instead.

They had planned on giving me the middle name of ‘Michel’, but when my dad filled out the Birth Certificate he accidentally wrote “Michael” because he was used to writing his own name on things.  My mom saw it, and wasn’t pleased that he had given me the middle name of a boy, so they added an accent mark above the ‘a’, spelling it “Micháel”.  That little mark makes a world of difference, no?

Since ‘Stacy’ was too close to ‘Stacia’, they wanted to keep the confusion down and called me ‘Shelly’.  In fact, from what I understand, on the original Birth Certificate ‘Shelly’ is written in parenthesis on it.  They were going to name me “Kelly”, but no matter how creative one can be, there is no possible derivation of either of their names that would result in “Kelly”.

So I technically have two first names – anyone who has known me from birth until 6th grade calls me ‘Shelly’.  Why 6th grade?  Because we went to a very small private school, and since there were only 6 kids in my 6th grade class, there was another girl named ‘Shelley’.  So she got referred to as “Shelley P.” while I got referred to as “Shelly S.”.  Poor other Shelley (with her name spelled wrong) – who wants to be referred to as pee?  You know how kids are – of course she got teased by utilizing the initial of her last name.

My sister Kimn spoke up and suggested to the teacher that they simply refer to me by my ‘real’ name, Stacy.  Had it not been for being in a small school/class and having another girl sharing my name, I probably would have gone through the rest of my life being called “Shelly”.  Well, I guess technically I do, since I do still get called “Shelly” by my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  Which can cause great confusion to anyone who joins in on any family functions and only know me by ‘Stacy’.

Whenever I had to write my middle name out, I didn’t want people thinking it was a boy’s name, so I always spelled it different every time.  From ‘Micheal’ to ‘Misheal’, I never wanted to actually spell it as “Michael”, because I knew that for all the grief poor Shelley Pee got in school, I’d probably get razzed for having the middle name of a boy.

But now it actually comes in quite handy – I can spot junk mail right away when addressed to “Mr. Stacy Michael Swenson” and can simply add it to the burn pile without bothering to open it.

Then there are the people who try to throw that pesky ‘e’ in ‘Stacy’.  I always respond that I like the simpler things in life, therefore no ‘e’.  Or ‘i’ for that matter.  And it’s definitely not ‘Tracy’.  When I lived in Michigan I worked in a fairly small office – there were 13 of us in one large office space, with our cubicles separated by those short 4-foot partitions.  One of the sales guys in the office was named Dale – and for some reason, he always insisted on calling me Tracy.  For an entire year.  He would even leave notes on my desk addressed to ‘Tracy’, and I’d take them back over to him and ask him who ‘Tracy’ was.  He never seemed to get the hint.

Until one day, when he loudly yelled across the office “Hey Tracy!” and immediately I yelled back “Yeah, Chip, what do you want?” to which the other 11 people in the office burst out in peals of laughter, Dale’s face turned ten shades of red and he never called me ‘Tracy’ again.

Before Princess Nagger was born, I had already decided I wanted to name her so that her name had the same initials as me – and I gave her my (correctly spelled) middle name.  You know, because ‘Nagger” fits so well.  I researched first names and picked one out that was unique (at the time) and it’s been interesting to see how close to the mark the ‘definition’ of her name has been in her developing personality.

I love how Maureen (Island Roar) wasn’t given a middle name and picked one out for herself.  I also love how Gretchen (Second Blooming) came up with the name for her son.

How where you named?  Did you get named after a relative or someone else?  If you have kids, how did you go about deciding on a name for your kid(s)?


This entry was posted in Misc Fun and tagged , by Stacy (the Random Cool Chick). Bookmark the permalink.

About Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance and I chose to become a SAHM and WAHM - I love every minute of it. We added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension to our family. We have an eclectic mix of pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. I love to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, I take on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. My favorite, of course, is making my own wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway. I blog about the joys of parenting, family, friends, life, love and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do enjoy doing reviews and giveaways for products I use, believe in and can stand behind.
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29 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. I totally admire your parents. Amazing. To get married so young and have a family right away. I am really stunned.
    I was named after a saint, the patron saint of music.
    .-= Technobabe would like you to read ..Happy Easter =-.

  2. My parents married at 19 (dad) & 16 (mom) but didn’t start having kids until they were 23 & 20. The only one in our family that got a family name was my brother. Works for me since my paternal grandmothers name was Florence.
    .-= Michele would like you to read ..A Joyful Easter =-.

  3. Hmmmm…interesting, because The Young One and I were just talking about this yesterday. I think I’ll write a post about it, because we were all named after someone else.
    .-= Jan would like you to read ..The Wedge =-.

  4. Fun post! And yes, kudos to your parents for marrying so young and making it work!
    All of my kids got a family name as a middle name. Except my youngest whose middle name is Ryan. That was what we called every baby while I was pregnant, so we decided she was the last and she could keep it.
    Thanks for the shout-out!
    .-= Maureen@IslandRoar would like you to read ..Where’s My Horse?? =-.

  5. I have no idea how my parents picked out my first name but my middle name is after my grandmother. My oldest daughter’s middle name is the same as mine and my second daughter’s middle name is the same middle name as my mom!! You story is very interesting…..it’s funny how our minds work when we name our kids!!
    .-= gayle would like you to read ..Happy Easter =-.

  6. Both my sisters and my brother were named after family members. How they came up with the random Paula for me, I’ll never know. I like to think it was after Ingrid Bergman’s character in Gaslight, but probably not.
    .-= CatLadyLarew would like you to read ..The Egg: A Magpie Tale =-.

  7. My parents got married young also, my mom was 16 and my dad was 20 (They got married on my dad’s 20th birthday, so he would never forget their anniversary date!). They had my older brother 9 months later. I was named after a winning race horse that my dad bet on 2 weeks before I was born.
    .-= Jill C, would like you to read ..Things i love/ Favorite Things: Flying/Airplanes =-.

  8. I love this story! I was sold out for five bucks on my middle name. The local grocery store owner, Cahterine, told my folks that she’d give me five bucks if I was born on her birthday and named after her….double damn on both accounts. Thus I am Susan Cahterine (I have no idea where the Susan came from).
    .-= Suzicate would like you to read ..101 Random Things About Me =-.

  9. Oh, too funny! Glad I stopped by. I was born on Christmas Day, a home birth – as if that weren’t bad enough, Neil Sedaka was performing “Oh, Carol” that December (my mum’s fave song), AND the mid-wife who delivered me was called Carol. Guess you’ve no idea what I ended up with, eh?
    .-= Shrinky would like you to read ..Words to the (not quite yet) Wise.. =-.

  10. I think my parents just threw names in a hat and whatever was pulled out was our name….I guess Im lucky I didnt end up with something really weird.

    I love the story of your name, so cool;)
    .-= stevenanthony would like you to read ..Musical Monday =-.

  11. My mother claimed that Daddy named me after one of his old girlfriends. I’m not sure if that’s really true. I used to hate my name when I was a kid. I was absolutely the only “Gretchen” in my school, and in those days, you wanted to be just like everybody else. But now I really like it. It is amazing, however, how many ways people find to spell it wrong! I always cringe when i get my cut from Starbucks and the barista wrote “Grethen” on it!

  12. Wow! My story is pretty boring compared to that! When my parents first saw my cute little face, they new I was meant to do something great. Something grand! Hence

    Grand Pooba

  13. My brothers and I all have uncommon names with unique spellings. In other words I am ALWAYS spelling my name, but it doesn’t matter because people have it hardwired in their brains ONE spelling, even if they themselves have a uniquely spelled name. I went for normal names for my kids, I thought. I made the mistake of calling our Junior by his middle name – that is totally insane with legal documents and school. He’s gotten over it and easily responds to either name.

  14. My mom wasn’t very creative, she had heard “Kelly” somewhere and liked it. My brother is a Jr.

    My daughter is Mayan (I call her Starr on the blog) I knew the moment I found out that I was pregnant that her name would be Mayan. It is the name of a character in a Shirley MacLaine book. I tried to find other options, but she was always just Mayan. : )

  15. My Dad insisted on naming me ‘Jennifer’ but he happened to be out of the room when they came in with the birth certificate so my grandma convinced my mom to name me ‘Patricia’ after her (my grandma). No one has ever told me how my Dad reacted when he found out. lol So, if my grandma hadn’t been there I would be a ‘Jennifer’ instead of ‘Patti’. But shhh don’t tell anyone, cuz I go by Raven online and it would just confuse everyone. 😉
    .-= Raven would like you to read ..Food, Nephew Love, and Pagan Stuff =-.

  16. Wow, that is a very interesting story. Can’t believe your parents were that young! My brother was named Raymond after my dad but with a different middle name. My sister was named Darcy (don’t know where that came from) with Rae as her middle name after my dad only a different spelling. I was named Deborah Laurie. Laurie was after my moms sister. So when we had our children we had a few names we liked. Our son is Adam with Mark (my husbands name) for his middle name. Our daughter is named Amber because we loved the name and her middle name is Rae like my sister.
    .-= Debby would like you to read ..HAPPY EASTER =-.

  17. What an interesting story about names! Mine is far more prosaic – my real first name was chosen because my parents liked it and they didn’t know anyone called that.

    Then, years later, I found that the name was one of the top 10 of that year. How about that! And to think that I only came across one other person with the same name in 6 years of secondary school.
    .-= Meowmie would like you to read ..Being Crafty =-.

  18. I can’t stand my middle name. Literally deny I have one. Weird, my rents were the oldest parents of all my friends. Sucked.

  19. Bet you knew I would stop over…the comment section is too small to explain my whole name. You probably read about me before though, so I’ll have to look up that post. Growing up I did have a funny nickname since I had such an unusual name – Waffle Sunny Day. I laugh at it still.
    .-= Laufa would like you to read ..Spring Break with Dad Home =-.

  20. What a great story about all your names. Why didn’t you add an ‘a’ after Michael? That would have eliminated teasing. I do know a couple of gals named Michael and they seem to do very well with it.

    I was named for no one. My father liked the name. Apparently every one else liked it that decade too. I named my son after the character that Michael J. Fox played on Family Ties and my grandfather. The family thinks I named him Alex because of my grandfather but the truth is I loved Alex P. Keaton. Not in a crush way but his character was so confident, I wanted my son to be that way. He is.

    My daughter has her name because it was the one and only thing my ex and I agreed on…ever. We never even considered any other names because we both didn’t hate the name Madeline. I also liked it because it could be shortened to Maddie which was another favorite character from Moonlighting.

    I used to watch a lot of TV.
    .-= Jen would like you to read ..And They Called It Puppy Love =-.

  21. Ha. I love how your middle name came to be. I can see how Michael would’ve been a little embarrassing, with the accent mark. At least they never lacked creativity. My middle name is Maria, third in a series of Marias, grandmother, mother, and me. Oh well, so much for originality.
    .-= Mrsbear would like you to read ..Recycled Roaches and the Spin Cycle =-.