First Name, Last Name; Last Name, First Name

If you’re anything like me — that is, a rabid Modern Family fan and a baby name freak — you took a little pause last week when Manny announced the name of his new friend: Griffin Cooper. (If you’re not a fan but still love baby names, you can probably still appreciate the name. If you’re not into baby names… well, you’re not quite in the right place.)

So, what was it about the name that made me take a second look? I know people with both Griffin and Cooper as both first names and last names. Did that make sense? In other words, I had a teacher named Mrs. Griffin. Tons of people have the last name Cooper. One co-worker had a baby named Cooper. Another — actually, two others — have babies names Griffin. So, there you go. Double surname name.

I can think of exactly two other cases of this: Anderson Cooper, and a boy I grew up with named Paul Aaron (Paul as a last name: NBA player Chris Paul). So, there you have it. The culmination of four days and nights of racking my brain.

I’m not sure why I find this so interesting. I guess I’m just imagining the kid on the first day of school. Nobody would know if his name was misprinted or not. Nobody would know if they were actually calling him by two last names or two first names. It could be anything! It’s very Dr. Seussian to me. (Not as Dr. Seussian as my friend’s baby Zoey Zook, but that’s a different post.)

Can you think of any other names where this rule applies? Please help me, I’m sure there must be more and I just can’t figure it out. Foreign names don’t count — at least, not Chinese names. Those are too easy. Ok, go!

Update: I thought of two more names. Ralph Lauren (OKAY I don’t know anyone with the last name Ralph but I feel like it’s possible) and Lily Allen (spelling aside, there’s Eli Lilly and Evangeline Lilly).

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  1. by Paula's Dad

    On March 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Here’s a few:
    Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder)
    Cary Grant
    Blake Griffin
    Thurston Howell (see “Gilligan’s Island”)

  2. by AJ

    On March 21, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Richard Paul
    Marcus Allen
    Anderson Clark