Mini me

Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

What do Will Smith, Freddie Prinze Jr, Snoop Dogg, Rory Gilmore, and all three of Michael Jackson’s children have in common? They were all named after their parents.

The gifting of names from parent to child is an age old tradition; historically handy for passing on kingdoms, business empires and family legacies.

Like a lot of older traditions, it has been on a steady decline in recent years, and you won’t meet nearly as many Richard IIIs today as you would have five centuries ago. But that doesn’t mean the passing down of names is a dead art. So, what motivates Mum or Dad to name their children after themselves? Is it family pride? Legacy insurance? Narcissism?

Edward was named after his dad.

Why did you want to give Edward your name?

Edward Snr: My father was named Edward too, so I wanted to continue that tradition. I think it’s important to keep that legacy going.

Edward Jnr: I don’t know what legacy Dad’s talking about. He works in a bank.

Do you go by your first name or use a nickname?

Edward Snr: We used to call him Junior.

Edward Jnr: That stopped being fun when I was about twelve. I mostly just go by Ed now.

If you ever had kids, would you consider naming one Edward?
Edward Jnr: Nah, sorry Dad. Maybe I’d use it as a middle name, if he gave me heat about it.  

Mother Jaime and father Abidi gave both their daughters two middle names, one of which is Abidi.

Why did you choose to give your children Abidi’s name?
Jaime: In Abi’s culture, all children are given their father’s name as their middle name, regardless of sex—lucky there aren’t many Tanzanians named Barry! He was very keen to continue this tradition. So we ‘compromised’. I think right now, at their young age, they probably think it’s pretty cool to have their baba’s name in their name.

Do people ever comment on this shared name?
Jaime: People are probably more overwhelmed by them having four names than anything else!

Alice got her first name from her dad, Allan, and her middle name from her mum, Jane.

Why do you think you were named after your parents?
Alice: They’re narcissists. Dad is insisting I wasn’t named after him, but Mum is calling bullshit.

How do you feel about sharing your name?
Alice: It’s okay because it’s different enough to be my own. I also have the same initials as my grandma, which I like because she’s the best. I do think it’s kind of lame that they named me in their honour.

Do you have other kids? If so, why give your name to this particular child?
Allan: First child gets the best name. The other kids get what’s left.

Does sharing a name cause any confusion?
Alice: Only when people call us Al.

Allan: The only confusion is that our mail has the same initials, so I get to read all the secret mail.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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