"Matching" First name to Surname

Just wanted to get everyone's thoughts on pairing a first name with a surname.  I grew up as: Caitlin + [very Italian Surname].  This first name/last name combo was apparently such an egregious naming infraction that it seemed like just about everyone I met felt the need to mention that my two names did not "match".   My new/married surname is less obvious in origin but not Italian ("Drummings" -"Dr" +"C") - do you think if I chose a name like "Olivia" or "Amelia" my daughter would get the same reaction I did or do you think this only happens when the two names are extremely different in origin?

Replies

1
June 29, 2015 9:54 PM

I personally wouldn't think twice about either of those names with your last name. To me that surname is very neutral and if anything just reminds me of american trucks. 

Also I wanted to say sorry you had people pointing out the differences in your names your whole life. That is so rude!

 

2
June 29, 2015 10:57 PM

I don't think you'll have any cultural-mismatch comments with your new surname, since both it and Caitlin are English/British with Celtic/Scottish/Irish overtones. I also don't expect your daughter would get any such comments with any name that's commonly in use in English, especially not with names like Olivia and Amelia, which are top-10 names currently in much of the English-speaking world.

As for what may prompt a feeling of cultural mismatch, I think obviousness is certainly a large part of it: you have to feel confident in your cultural associations with both names in order to make such a judgement. Misaki Gonzales is obviously Japanese plus Spanish, so it feels mismatched. Reina Lee, on the other hand, could be all Japanese, all English, or any number of other cultures, so it doesn't feel mismatched.

3
June 29, 2015 11:56 PM

Olivia and Amelia both sound great with the last name you alluded to! 

I get get what you mean about "mismatched" names. People often feel the need to comment on anything they find to be unexpected. There's something about names that cause people to turn off their filter. 

I think you're on to something, though, the obvious cultural differences gives people major pause. I know a family whose daughter has a Hawaiian first name and a very Polish sounding last name. Even the grandparents questioned that decision, especially because they're not Hawaiian at all. 

4
June 30, 2015 2:26 AM

YO!  Caitlin Moltisanti was a character on the Sopranos!!!!  So there.  ;)  Okay, she was a baby, but STILL.  I probably only remember that because I love Caitlin and it's my daughter's middle name (in honor of my grandmother, Catherine).  There were in fact two minor characters named Caitlin on The Sopranos.

I wouldn't over-worry about first and last names matching, although I have to admit that I passed over Bianca for my daughter in favor of a very Irish first name to match her red hair and very Irish last name.  Certainly with more common first names like you mentioned, they lose association with a particular origin.  I think that a distinctly ethnic first name and a distinctly different ethnic last name might be noted, as in your case -- but not Olivia, Amelia, Sophia, etc.  i don't think anyone is going "oh Jennifer, how CORNISH" in the same way that they'd say "oh Rhiannon, how WELSH!"

5
By Fly
June 30, 2015 9:56 AM

I get what other people are saying about names causing the filter to disappear..

But I've never heard that sort of criticism about names before. Everyone here has an interesting surname. Half have interesting first names as well. Of those that are left, the boring first names are usually an alias for an interesting name. I know Australia is coping a lot of shit about racism atm, but we were built on immigration, and we wouldn't be what we are without that diversity. It's not unusual to have an unusual name here.

Basically, I wouldn't worry about it. Call her anything you like, just don't call her "late for dinner".

6
By mk
June 30, 2015 11:07 AM

Are you in the U.S.? Because so many people have mixed backgrounds that I'd be surprised that anyone comments on your daughter's name. Actually, I'm surprised people have commented on your name because I know lots of people with Italian and Irish name combos and no one thought anything of it. the Caitlin Moltisanti example above is a name that would fit right in with my fmaily. :)

Olivia and Amelia are fine.

7
June 30, 2015 2:32 PM

Yes, I'm in the US.  When I was named the name was really new so people were more aware of its origin.  Now it is much more common so people notice it less I think.