Women are less likely to name their daughters after themselves—but these three moms are changing that baby name tradition.

September 19, 2017

We don’t bat an eye when a son is named after his father, but women are less likely to have their own “juniors” running around—mostly because of the old-school tradition that first names, like wealth, were “handed down through the male line,” says Pamela Redmond Satran, of baby-name website Nameberry. These moms turn that tradition on its head.

Credit: Courtesy of Nancy Redd

The Nancys

Nancy Redd, author of the upcoming Pregnancy, OMG! and mom of Nancy, 3, and August, 6, of Los Angeles, California

“I come from a long line of Nancys, and I’m named after my grandmother. My grandma was a fierce and brilliant businesswoman who earned the respect and admiration of everyone she met, and my mother had to fight her siblings for the right to name me after her. I didn’t want all that family history to go to waste! Growing up, I loved being ‘Li’l Nancy.’ My name is easy to spell, say, and remember, but there’s never another Nancy in the room. When I was pregnant, I pored through all the baby books, but my heart just wasn’t in any other name.”

“We like to do things together as the Nancys. We’ll build a blanket cave and say that it’s ‘For Nancys Only!’ ”

Credit: Courtesy of Mary Heffernan

The Marys

Mary Heffernan, rancher at Five Marys Farms and mom of MaryFrances (“Francie”), 9; MaryMarjorie (“Maisie”), 8; MaryJane (“Janie”), 6; and MaryTeresa (“Tessa”), 4, of Fort Jones, California

“We have a long history of strong Catholic women named Mary on both sides of the family, and my husband and I wanted to carry on the tradition with our first daughter. We honestly never thought we might have all girls, but once we started there was no going back! I don’t think of it as much as naming them after me as I do that I named them after the strong, amazing women in our family who came before all of us. When I tell people that all my daughters are named Mary, people are pretty shocked—or ask if I think I’m George Foreman.”

“One time at the pediatrician’s, they mapped my 6-year-old’s height and weight and were wondering why she’d shrunk—until we realized it was the wrong Mary!”

Credit: Courtesy of Bridget Lennon Holmes

The Bridgets

Bridget Lennon Holmes, disaster recovery executive and mom of Bridget (“Bridie”), 10, and Molly, 6, of Brick, New Jersey

“My mother was the first ‘junior.’ She was the second twin of what was thought to be a single birth. Surprise! So, without any forewarning to pick two names, she was given her mother’s name. I was named after my grandmother, intentionally this time, and my husband and I always knew we wanted to follow the tradition. But it took me years to stop expecting my daughter to be just like me. I helped create this small human who looks like me and walks around with my name, but that’s where the similarities end.”

The 10-year-old Bridie says: “My favorite part is when we’re with Nanny and my Papi says, ‘Bridie, can you come here?’ and Nanny and I laugh because we don’t know who he’s talking to.”

Parents Magazine

Comments (1)

October 25, 2020
I do the Ancestry thing with my family tree, and a few minutes ago I found an ancestor who was named the exact same name as HER father! She was named Thomas William Herring. I was so surprised I triple checked the sources, like census, marriage and death records, but there's no doubt. The marriage record looked as though 2 guys got married! My question is, would she be called Junior as though she were a boy?