A Baby Named Cartwright?!

Cartwright is a family name, my husband and I are considering using Carter in honor of Cartwright. But what if we just used Cartwright?

The way I see it, Cartwright would be a much stronger honor for the Cartwright family and it would avoid our using a last name as first that is not genuinely 100 percent a family name ( as Carter is a popular pick for people who just use it for how it sounds rather than as an honor name). But, on the down side, Cartwright is rather clunky sounding and for a twoa syllable name it is rather lengthy letter wise, basically, it is not as sleek and stylish sounding as say, Carter. And u can hardly imagin actually calling a baby or a child "Cartwright", there would have to be a nickname. Carter comes to mind as a nickname possibility, but at that point should wuser just cut to the chase and use Carter to begin with?


What do you think?


June 6, 2012 8:41 AM

Sorry about all the typos, I am writing this on my phone.

June 6, 2012 9:23 AM

Cartwright is quite hefty for a first name.  Would you consider using it as a middle name and just choosing a name you love for the first name? That would give him the option of being called his first name, or being called Carter.

By Guest (not verified)
June 6, 2012 3:53 PM

I second this. Are you open to using it as a middle name? Cartwright is a bit extravagant to me.

June 6, 2012 9:24 AM

I think my vote would go for Cartwright nn Carter. Great family connection, no need to explain to relatives that Carter is actually meant to honor Cartwright, and you can still use Carter in everyday life. I personally think Cartwright sounds kind of cool, especially since it's a family name. One consideration is that Cartwright sounds very highbrow and uppercrust -- a plus or minus depending on your perspective. But a nn like Carter that's used almost exclusively makes it much more doable imo, and on the flip side it also makes your use of Carter more authentic in a way, because it would be as a nn for a "genuinely 100 percent family name." Good luck!

By hyz
June 6, 2012 10:57 AM

Well, it certainly would be a distinguished sounding name, and it's good that it has an easy nn, so if it means a lot to you, I'd do it!  I also know a man with the FN Carte (a family surname for him), and that could be an alternative nn for Cartwright if you wanted something simple but a little different than Carter.

June 6, 2012 11:06 AM

I think Cartwright, nickname Carter works just fine. I have no problem with keeping the heft of a majorly important name, filled with meaning, as a real name--there's no real need to embrace the "short form" as the totality of the name.

Carrying a legacy that can be hidden is a very enjoyable thing for a person. I fully recommend going with Cartwright.

By Guest (not verified)
June 6, 2012 2:29 PM

I really like either Cartwright nicknamed Carter, or Cartwright as a middle name.  Both great options.

June 6, 2012 6:38 PM

I much prefer surnames as first names when they actually come from the child's own family tree.  So Cartwright is great for you.  My only hesitation is it does bring cartwheels to mind.

June 6, 2012 7:41 PM

I love the idea of using it as a middle name. It seems a bit hefty for a first name, but I'd keep it in its entirety. 

My only issue is I think of Bonanza...

June 6, 2012 7:48 PM

Cartwright seems a bit hefty for a first name just because the parents liked it, but I think it's fine to use with a strong family connection.  Carter would be fine as a nickname if he wanted it, but I don't think you'd have to use a nickname.  Perhaps a middle name like James so you'd also open the possibility of a CJ type nickname?  Cartwright would also be nice as a middle name.

It does remind me of Bonanza, but it's not an overwhelming association.  I think Bonanza has bee off the air long enough that younger generations might not make the connection at all.

By Guest (not verified)
June 17, 2012 3:06 PM

I do get a slight cowboy vibe from Cartwright, but in a good way.  The meaning of passing down a family name, plus two good nickname options makes me say go for it.

June 6, 2012 9:13 PM

I think Cartwright nn Carter as a first name is fine. While I'm not a huge fan of surname as first names, it is always more appealing when it's an actual family name. I think Cartwright sounds quite distinguished and is one of the nicer surnames to use as a first name.

I also like the option of using it as a middle name. I think either would work well.  

June 7, 2012 11:44 AM

I think Cartwright works well as a first name.  Sure, it's a bit long but not hard to say or anything.  Personally if I were choosing it, I don't think I would go with Carter as a nickname.  To me that kind of makes it lose some of the uniqueness, especially cause there's a million Carters these days.  I know a few in each age range.  I think I would call him Cartwright most of the time (so yes, I can imagine that, don't think it's too clunky) and maybe just Cart or Wright sometimes (whichever seemed more fitting, I can see either, though I'm kind of drawn to Wright as a nickname).  At least that would be my plan but the best laid plans.... ;)


June 7, 2012 3:12 PM

I hadn't thought of Wright as a nickname, but I kind of like it.  Although, I can imagine getting the occassional cheeky comment along the lines of "But Mom, I'm always Wright" (said with with a slight whine).  As a mother, I think I would find it hard not to laugh.  :)

June 7, 2012 9:53 PM

I think the wright part of Cartwright gives the name a big style boost over Carter.  Such a positive feeling.  It sort of reminds me of nicknames like Win(ny) or Sunny.  I'm really liking the name more in full now than when I first saw it.

By hwar
June 10, 2012 12:58 PM

I think Wright is a stronger nickname than Carter, too. For one, the word Cartwright means someone who MAKES carts, which is more skilled than a Carter, someone who hauls stuff in a cart.  Obviously these surnames don't hold the same meaning they once did, but I feel like Carter is kind of a demotion!  Cartwright is a big name for a baby, but when you think about a lot of names that are more "namey", they're pretty big and clunky too (Alexander and Benjamin, anyone?).  The Wright nickname might entail some explanation when making new introductions but it's pretty cheerful and easy and I think people will use it without compunction.

By Guest (not verified)
June 12, 2012 11:01 PM

I think Cartwright is great, particularly if your last name is pretty straight forward.  I think you're going to have trouble, however, picking an equally meaningful and stylistically similar name for your second child.

June 15, 2012 2:30 PM

Hmm, I do think it's doable, so if that's the name you really love, go for it! It is a bit of a mouthful though, and I wouldn't be surprised if you encountered spelling issues occasionally (with 10 letters for two syllables), so personally I'd be more tempted to use it as a middle name.

If you do go for it as a first, I can see why you want a nickname, and I think the suggestion of Wright is inspired. Carter is so established as a stand-alone name that using it as a nickname will be counterintuitive and confusing to most people; you'd need to explain with Wright too, but at least you wouldn't be battling strong assumptions in that case. I do think that Carter is a distinct enough name from Cartwright that it doesn't make a particularly strong tribute - but of course, that's personal taste.

You asked in a previous thread about impressions of Carter. I don't have a lot to add to others' thoughts; it's not a favorite of mine (I generally don't gravitate towards surnames that I don't have a connection to), but I can see some appeal: easy to say and spell, contemporary in style, firmly a boy's name but not aggressively macho. A friend of mine named her son this three years ago, and I remember being startled by a comment someone left on her Facebook announcement: "Great name! Way to make sure he never votes Republican!" I hadn't thought of the former president at all, but for what it's worth it's an association that will occur to some people.

In your situation, I think I'd go with Cartwright nicknamed Wright over Carter as either a nickname or a stand-alone. Hope that helps!

June 20, 2012 1:21 PM

I actually really like Cartwright as a first name better than Carter, (which is apparently in the top three boys names in my home state right now).  It's a surname-as-first-name that hasn't been played out, and it has significant meaning due to your family tree.  I'd say go for it!