When choosing my name, Hanna, my parents had to consider something that all parts of my family could say and recognize. In Spain, my name becomes "Anna" because the H is silent in Spanish. In Egypt, it takes on a different intonation and is pronounced "Henna." I love that my name is adaptable and that depending on where I am, it reflects the different heritages of my parents and of what makes me myself. .
By all means I do really like the name my parents have given me. Because I am mixed, my mother is Latina, and my dad is white, I wish that my name fully represented both cultures. My mom's maiden name is Fernandez, and that name in itself represents a whole other realm of culture, another struggle that my grandpa faced in and while leaving Cuba. To me, I feel like my name should represent my whole identity, and I am not sure that it does. I know that my first name Isabella does sound Spanish, but it is such a common name now that it lost that meaning in some ways. Sometimes I just feel like because I can't speak Spanish fluently and I am mixed, not fully Latina, that my name should at least be some identification of my background and my culture.
Calla Grace Selicious
When my great grandfather came to Ellis Island from Greece, no one knew how to spell his last name and "Selicious" was the best they could do. My parents chose Calla, Greek for “beautiful,” for my first name because they felt it matched my last name. Grace is after my great-grandmother Chana (Grace in Hebrew), because she risked her life to keep my grandfather (the other one) safe during the Holocaust.
Deji Sylvain (3rd Grade)
My full name is Ayodeji. It's Yoruba, and it means our joy is doubled because I was the second child.
Robert Paul Berk
My biological grandfather on my dad's side was named Robert Berk. Unfortunately, he passed away when my dad was nine. My dad always wanted to name his son after his dad.
I was named after my great grandmother Julianna. I never got to meet my grandfather, but I know that it meant a lot to him when he found out that I was named after his mother. I like that my name could bring someone joy, but I don't feel any emotional connection to the name itself.
I love my name because I don't really know anyone else who's named Eleanor, at least not anyone under eighty. There's no cultural significance to it, and I'm not named after anyone, but apparently when my parents were choosing a name for me they both loved the name "Eleanor" immediately. I like that my name represents their shared sensibilities.
Lucas Ford Katz
My name sometimes creates an expectation of identity in my head despite my not wanting or feeling one. My last name is Katz, which is a very common jewish last name. However, I am not Jewish but it is constantly assumed that I am. My middle name, Ford, is the name of my uncle in England. When I think about it, I feel like my name forces assumptions about myself upon other people as well as forcing me to choose a side when I don't feel that either fully represents who I am as an individual.
Lindsey Michelle Tarpinian
My parents chose my first name because their names end in 'ey' and they wanted mine too as well. My middle name is actually a combination of my dad's name (Mickey) and mom's name (Shelley). My last name is an Armenian last name that was passed down to me by my dad's side of the family, which immigrated to America during the Armenian Genocide.
People often ask me if I plan on changing my last name at some point in the future, just out of the pure hassle of strangers not understanding how to spell it. But what they don't realize is that, like my name, I consider myself to be a combination of who my parents are. My parents are very different people, and I think the combination of their names in my last name represents the unique mix of themselves that formed in me.
The name Deidre is an Irish baby name. In Irish the meaning of my name Deidre is: melancholy. In a Celtic legend, Deirdre died of a broken heart. My great, great grandfather was Irish so my Dad gave me the name of my great, great grandmother (Deirdre, w/o the r in middle). I love the name. Sometimes people just call me "Dee" for a nickname.
My name, Bellamy, is French for "beautiful friend." My parents named me after my great grandmother, Becky, and we have the same Hebrew name: Bela. They chose the name Bellamy because my mom loves the French language, and her college friend was named Bellamy. I like that both my American name and Hebrew name have cultural significance. I don't like that when people first meet me, they think my name is Melanie or Bethany because they've never heard the name Bellamy before, and also that my name is never on any key chains from Six Flags or Disney World, but I think that's okay because it means my name is unique.
My parents' favorite movie used to be Braveheart. There is a character whose name is Murron, but since all the characters in the movie have thick Scottish accents, my parents thought her name was Marin.
My first name is not pronounced anything like how it's spelled and it's very rare that someone says it correctly the first few times they meet me. When I was younger, I always wished I had a normal name because I was embarrassed that no one could say my name. Now that I'm older I love that my name reflects my Irish heritage and that it's so unique.
Korean names can often be taken from Chinese characters that have meaning; therefore, I also have a Chinese name equivalent in meaning to my Korean name. Yun means the first born and Hee means to shine; my parents wanted their first born child to shine. I used to dislike my name because many people could never pronounce it correctly; in elementary school, I used to beg my parents for a more common Western name. However, I've grown into my name and can't imagine being called anything else. Given the cultural background and the thought my parents put in to pick out this name for me, I am proud of possessing a Korean name and will never be shy to correct anyone's pronunciation, which is something I've grown to stop looking at as an embarrassment but as a conversation starter.
Most people think my last name is Levine because it's important to continue the representation of Jewish names and culture, but that's not true. My last name is Levine because my mom looks very white and is Christian, while my dad looks either very Jewish or slightly Middle Eastern, depending on who you ask. My parents wanted to give me a new last name that combined both their cultures.
My parents actually thought I was going to be a boy, and they wanted to name me Jude after the actor Jude Law. I like my name Lily, but I've always been uncertain about Goldberg. Although my family name should be a source of pride, it can create assumptions that I'm jappy -- Goldberg is about as classic Jewish as it gets. I'm sometimes worried that I can't dissociate my religious identity from my personality, especially because I'm not so religious.
My dad actually really wanted to name me Sophie, but his best friend had a daughter and named her Sophie just a month before I was born. My parents didn't want to copy their friend or have it look like they were stealing his daughter's name, so they picked Nicole. I'm pretty sure Nicole is just a random name they picked, and I guess they liked a little since they named me Nicole, but it was definitely their second choice for my name. I like how it sounds though, so it worked out fine in the end. I think my dad's still a bit upset that I'm not a Sophie, but it doesn't really matter much any more.
One time in preschool this teacher thought I was dyslexic because I wrote the wrong letter twice. I kinda grew to dislike my full name so I just go by Jen now, but I guess it's not that big of a deal anymore. I'm worried that on my official papers in the future will have problems because it might be spelled differently like diplomas or ids.
My name reminds me that I carry a lineage that I don't know much about. My first name, Hannah, is that of a dead relative, a woman I never met. The memory of Hannah reminds me of all the men and women who have worked hard for me to have a better life, and of my duty to do the same to my children. My last name, Oblak, also means cloud. Oblak is a foreign name, one I've never encountered outside my own family. It reminds me that I don't know much about the foreign origins of my heritage and that there is so much undiscovered in my life. My name represents a distant past that I must respect and explore, along with the future that I am critical to creating.