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Where to Find Middle Names for Boys

Jennifer Kelly Geddes
July 24, 2015

Having trouble narrowing down your choices? Check out this guide to finding middle names for boys.

Naming sons can prompt great parental debate, and choosing middle names for boys is an important aspect of the decision. Whether to give him his father's name as a middle or bestow an entirely new one, middle names for boys can actually cause of bit of angst. But no matter which moniker you settle on, take your time with the process. You might even want to consider popular culture and history before making a final selection.

For example, a name like Kanye may be fun right now, but will it still work in the future? Similarly, notorious names like Adolph or Osama may resonate with your cultural background but might not be well understood by the public.

"A good place to begin is your own family tree, so consider doing a little genealogy work before you pick a middle name," suggests Maggie Stevens, a parenting expert and author of "The Parent Fix." Once you input a few generations, this task can hook you up with relatives you might not know and, in turn, could be the source for a fun middle name. But while picking middle names for boys is common today, you don't necessarily have to go along with it.

"I didn't give my kids middle names because they already have a hyphenated last name," explains Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a psychologist and author of parenting books, including "What About Me? Twelve Ways to Get Your Parents' Attention (Without Hitting Your Sister)."

Here are 7 ideas to consider when searching for middle names for boys:

  1. Sound It Out
    The way a middle name sounds or "fits" with the first is a good place to begin. Single-syllable middle names tend to flow nicely after two- or three-syllable first names. For example, Jonathan Frank, Nathaniel James, Zachary John, Lawrence Max or Jeremy Mark.
  2. Honor the Family
    If a beloved uncle recently passed away or you want to remember your grandfather, consider their names for your son's middle name. If you don't love the exact name, make a slight change. James could become Jameson and Luther might be Luke. A few more include Gene (from Eugene), Gus (from Augustus) and Seb (Sebastian).
  3. Look to Your Heritage
    If you're of Russian descent but don't want Dmitry as a first name, place it in the middle instead. Other monikers from different backgrounds include Bjorn (Scandinavian), Diego (Hispanic), Sen (Japanese) or Gan (Chinese).
  4. Go a Bit Wild
    A plain first name almost begs for a more flashy middle. Examples of this type of combo include John Jeremiah, Thomas Gibson, George Linus, Matthew Omar or Joseph Xavier.
  5. Rock Out
    Loving The Rolling Stones or The Beatles doesn't mean you have to rule out Mick or Ringo -- they are perfectly good as middle names. Similarly, devotees of Guns 'N Roses might choose Gunnar, fans of The King will call their boy Elvis and if classical is your bag, Ludwig might be appropriate.
  6. Remember Mom
    Using your maiden name as your boy's middle name is a sweet way to share your history. So whether it's Jackson, Williams, Taylor, Anderson or Davis, your son will carry it with pride.
  7. Learn the Meaning
    Do you want a name that signifies power? Then Gideon, which means "powerful warrior" is for you. Ethan is "strong," Frederick means "peaceful ruler," Stephen is "crown" and Othello means "prosperous." Chances are if you're keen on the definition, you might like it as a middle name.

Relax and enjoy the name search. Before you know it, you'll find out that his names suit him to a T!

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in parenting, health and child development. She's a frequent contributor to Care.com and the mom of two teen girls.

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