Keeping tradition going on one side..

I’ve come across a situation with keeping tradition of my spouses name going. We both have pretty much agreed that we would not keep his name going and that his was the end of the tradition. Well my mom decided to ask me to keep my brothers name going bc he was a jr and he passes away back in 2005.. my problem is how is it fair that I’ll keep a tradition going but am stopping my spouses or would it be more understandable with my brothers name? Also would I have to keep his whole name going or would it be ok to just use Junior? 


May 17, 2018 6:19 AM

My condolescences for your loss. I think this is a very good reason to keep your brother’s name in some form. I personally do not consider “junior” to be a tradition (yet) so much as a one-off, so I would think it would be fine to use only part of his name. You and your family may feel differently.

I would discuss this with your spouse and see how he feels about the situation. He may simply not want to continue his name. Or, maybe he has strong feelings on direct namesakes. Maybe he really does want to continue the tradition but feels it’s better for both parents to be happy with the name. You might have already discusssed these things with him in the past, I’m just throwing things out there.

Alternatively, you might also want to alter both traditions and use your spouse’s first name and brother‘s middle, etc. Alternatively, you could use your brother’s whole name on one child and your spouse’s whole name on anothe (asssuming you want more than one child and you’re willing to do more than one namesake). You could use some part of your brother‘s name as the middle and just saying your honouring him, because you are, and skip the family tradition issue altogether.


May 17, 2018 10:25 AM

What do you mean by just use junior? A junior, and thirds and fourths etc., are exactly the same name. So if your son is going to have your husband's last name, he won't be a junior to your brother. 

I have noticed that the line of juniors, etc., tends to end eventually. There are very few fifths and sixths.

This is where middle names come in handy. You can pick the name you love and then have your brother's name as a middle. Use your birth last name too and you're gold.


By EVie
May 17, 2018 10:27 AM

This, yes. Your son won't be a Jr. for your brother. That's only used when it's the exact same name in the direct line. Even George W. Bush is not a junior for his father, George H.W. Bush, because of the different middle initials. 

Also, remember that your mother doesn't really have any say in your child's name. She can *ask* if you would consider using your brother's name, and you can respectfully say sorry, no. It's your choice. So maybe there's another way to honor your brother that would appeal to you--e.g. use one of his names in the middle spot with something you love for the first name. Or maybe you would prefer to do that with your husband's name, and save honoring your brother for a later child (though I personally think honoring a deceased relative is more meaningful than someone still living). Discuss it with your husband--only you can decide what's most important to you.

May 17, 2018 10:35 AM

Unless you really want to use your brother's name and keep the family tradition going, I think this could be a great opportunity to honour your brother in the middle name slot. You can always explain to your mom that with a different surname (if you're planning on using your husbands surname) he wouldn't be a real junior anyhow. And while everyone has their own level of comfort with these things, I always feel that directly naming for someone who died young attaches sadness to a name in a way that naming for a parent/grandparent who lived a full life doesn't necessarily.

May 17, 2018 12:37 PM

Well, there is some precedent for using the word "Junior" as a name. You could use whatever first name you both love, then Junior as the middle name—tell your mother it's for your brother, and tell your husband's family that it's for him ;-).

As far as fairness goes, I think this is really up to the two of you. Some folks feel that if a child gets one spouse's family name, that's a good reason to use a family name from the other side in the first or middle spot; others alternate kids; others just honor whatever relatives they like the best, regardless of "side"; some couples don't do any kind of namesaking at all, on general principle...the possibilities are endless, and really only the two of you can decide what's best for your family.

In other words, I agree that you should talk to your husband, and figure out how the two of you want to name your child(ren). Maybe you would really like to honor your brother in some way, and that's fine with your husband because he understands how much you miss your brother, but the two of you aren't crazy about any of his names—in which case the folks here can help you find something that is meaningful to you and also your style. Or maybe it will turn out that your husband thinks your brother's middle name is absolutely the cat's pajamas and that turns out to be his name. Maybe you've already picked a name that seems absolutely perfect to both of you, and you just want to stick with that. And so forth.

Good luck!