Last names as first names

I was thinking about how last-names-as-first-names are pretty popular as a baby name style, and have been for a while. Obvious surnames like Oakley, Hunter, Flannery, and Tennyson are used for both girls and boys. Others have been around so long that they’ve lost their surname feel, like Tracy and Sidney. My grandfather’s first name was his mother’s maiden name, and my sister-in-law’s middle name is her mother’s maiden name. I actually found the “Last Names First” section of the Baby Name Wizard online here, which gives an awesome listing of trade names and British Isles surnames — lots of fun options to look through!

Catholic baby naming also has the last-names-first-names subset, and it’s one of my favorites. I tried to think of all the ones that I know have been used as first names, it’s a pretty fab list:*

















What names can you add to the list? I’m interested in surnames that *could* be used as first names without being too weird, but I’m most interested in names that you’ve actually heard used. Lay them on me!


*I was just telling someone about my blog today, and he asked if my posts are mainly lists of names, and I said, “Oh gosh no, I hate name lists, I much prefer commentary.” And then here I go, my very first post after talking to him is a list. 😛


34 thoughts on “Last names as first names

  1. I love Oakley! I also love Ferguson! I know a Family where Ferguson is a last name that was used for a middle name:), but certainly would be a wonderful first name! Actually, in the “Ferguson” instance, there is a very touching story associated with this name being chosen. The great grandmother of the beautiful child who has Ferguson as a middle name was left at an orphanage, when only days old, by her Momma who felt she could not take care of her. It was a Catholic orphanage, and the Sisters who took care of the babies had in their files that the Momma identified herself by the last name Ferguson. Two generations passed before a precious Babe was born that would bear her name. By this lovey decision, Great Grandmomma Ferguson “officially” (for lack of a better word) was firmly established, by name, in the Family of the infant! Who knows what overwhelming challenges may have faced this young Momma, and how heartbreaking it must have been to give up her little daughter. Sacred Heart of Jesus, please bless Great Grandmomma Ferguson!
    Boy, this “Ferguson” story really shows the power a name can have!

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  2. We have Lannon and Shaughnessy as family names both of which could work – though I think Lannon works better for a girl! Shaughnessy (shaw-nessy) could be called Shaughn!

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  3. Fulton for Fulton Sheen! (I think that was his mother’s maiden name, which he chose to use, not his given name so it can count as a surname, right?)

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  4. Just stumbled here via Jenny’s blog but I love the surname as name thing and had to comment. We have a john Paul (double first name and has another middle) is our first but then we totally went surname crazy. Our second is kolbe. Then we went ahead and gave him my actual maiden name as a middle name (miller) so legitimately he got three last names! Then our third son is Fulton!

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  5. Check out the 40 English martyrs for unusual Saints’ names. My favorite is “Campion” after St. Edmund Campion, but check out Thomas Garnet, Richard Gwyn, Luke Kirby, Henry Morse, John Rigby, John Stone and Nicholas Owen, among others. Their last names could be used as a first name. Stone, Morse and Owen sound like boys’ names, but some of the others could also be for girls.

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  6. I see someone already mentioned my favorites: Becket and Campion (Though we would use the latter in the middle spot as “Campy” is not a possible nickname I would want to have!) Quinn for Venerable Edel Quinn and Casey for Venerable Solanus Casey are both super cool!

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  7. This works well for boys but use caution when using a last name as a first name for a girl. i know a lady whose husband’s last name is the same as her first name, spelled the same too. She took his last name anyway–that’s true love if I ever saw it! So–I won’t say her actual name–but think, “Kelly Kelly” or “Riley Riley.”

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  8. We name our son Grant, my maiden name. His middle name is his father and paternal grandfather’s first name. Both Grandpa’s were bursting with pride and joy when they learned of his name. I’m particularly close with my Dad and it was a great way to honor him when I don’t have a great affection for either his first or middle name.

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