Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Choosing Names and Swedish Etiquette

Hubby mentioned the other day that maybe we should consider my  Swedish Grandmother's name for a middle name for our girl. (All of my grandparents have passed away.) After all, I was named after my grandmother.  I'm fairly certain that hubby either didn't know or didn't remember that both of my grandmothers' names are extremely old-fashioned on any Continent. And not in that cool "old is new" way either. We both said no when I reminded him of the name. I looked at her middle name too, but it is easily confused with an alcoholic drink, so we marked that off the list. We don't want our baby to have a built in nickname for her college years. 

My other grandmother's name wasn't even a consideration since other family members already have it (and hate it). Her middle name is too similar to my ex-friend's that I previously blogged about. A few weeks after my blog post about said ex-friend and her awful treatment towards us, we had an opportunity to communicate via email and it did not go well. Long story short, I'm glad I was finally able to get everything off my chest about the hurt she has caused, but evidently she does not want to accept, acknowledge or apologize for any of it. Needless to say I don't want this constant reminder when saying my child's name. 

That lead me to think of my Swedish grandmother's sister name. It is beautiful and I have always loved it. She is still alive and well, and I'm hoping she will be able to make a possible visit in Sept as has been hinted by some family members. Her daughters have chosen other names for their babies, so I don't think there would be a problem with that. She's all sorts of awesome, and has the cutest pure white page-boy hair cut you have ever seen. When we visited Sweden in 2011, you could see my Grandfather was visibly upset, even in his dementia, when a younger man started hitting on my Great-Aunt. 

So here's the big question: is it ok to use someone else's first name as a middle name for your baby if the person is still alive? Do you ask first? I know here in America it would be perfectly fine, but I would HATE to do a major etiquette faux-pas towards my Swedish family. Have searched high and low and can't seemed to find any information on it. If I ask they are likely to say it is fine; they don't really tell us when we do something offensive as Americans and it is clear we didn't know any better. This is kinda an important one though (versus leaving my shoes on while visiting), so I'd like to get it right.

If you have any inside knowledge of if this is ok to do for Swedes (Tandoori Viking - I'm looking at you!) or Europeans in general, let me know. It's taken us FOR-EVA to decide on a girl's name and if it's not ok to use, then we better think fast on our second choice names. 

Tack Tack (Thanks thanks!) 


  1. I'm here! :D It should be ok. Even we considered my husbands aunts name for our second child if we had got another daughter. She is very much alive, too. I'm sure they would love you to ask and they would be honored and flattered.
    Love from the land of the Vikings :D

  2. I am a born and bred brit and I think its ok....our child if he'd been a she would have shared her great grandmothers first nane as a middle name and she's alive!! :-) I think perhaps ask your great aunt-I'm quite sure she'd be flattered x


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