Over 50s Lifestyle

What’s in a name?

March 26, 2018
What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Do you know why you have the name that you do? Do you know what it means? This week I’m writing from a prompt over at Denyse Whelan Blogs.  The prompt is ‘Story of my first name’. 

What’s in a name?

I don’t actually know why I was called Susan and unfortunately I don’t have parents still alive to ask them.  Being born in the 50s I did some research and found that Susan ranked #2 in the top 100 Most Popular Baby Names for 1957, so perhaps that was one reason.  Perhaps my mother had read Lady Susan, by Jane Austen.  Although I have read that book and Lady Susan wasn’t such a good role model!

My older brother was named David , and then when my younger sister was born, he wanted Mum and Dad to call her Wendy as he was reading a book at school called, David, Sue & Wendy.  My parents didn’t take that hint and called her Catherine.


In June, my daughter will give birth for a second time.  As with their first child, both she and my son-in-law want the sex of the baby to be a surprise.  They are also keeping any name choices to themselves as they did when having Ethan.  Like my brother, Ethan (master 4 year old in April) has decided that if he has a sister she should be called Isla or Bonnie and if a baby brother then Cooper or Jackson.  Where did he find those names?  His kindy friends of course.  We are all waiting in excited expectation of who we will welcome as our newest addition to our family.

The other thing about names, is that Australians, in particular, love to shorten them or put ‘y’ on the end.  I was christened Susan but have been called Sue (and sometimes Suzie) all my life and now at 60, even if I wanted people to call me Susan it would sound strange.  If my mother called me Susan Irene, I knew I was in trouble! My sister was Cathy although in later life she changed her name to Kate and my brother was Dave although strangely enough I always called him David.

When I had my children I didn’t think you could shorten Rachel or Nathan, but I was wrong.  It is either Rach or Nath which I find unbelievable!


Some people have nicknames that just seem to stick and in many cases we forget what their ‘real’ name is.  There are names that we call close friends as terms of endearment.

Our names may change

Some people don’t like their given name and change it by deed poll.

For those who have been adopted, their adoptive parents may have given them a different name to the one chosen by their birth mother.

The trend of having unusual names

For a time it was very trendy to call your child unusual names, however, this trend seems to be changing back to the more traditional names and even what we would call ‘old fashioned’ names.

Some people are named after relatives or special friends or people who have had an influence on our parents’ lives. For many years boys were named after their fathers and became either Jr or II or III.

So what does my name mean?

What's in a name?

Susan means Graceful Lily.  There are also variations such as ‘French Susanne, from Late Latin Susanna, from Greek Sousanna, from Hebrew Šošanna’

The Urban Dictionary gave this description of what type of person Susan is.  I have to say it is pretty close to the mark, except for the last sentence.

susan is a great person, but doesn’t always know it. susans are caring and intelligent, but never see the beauty in themselves. she knows it’s there, but sometimes needs a little encouragement to see it. they are often ambitious, and sometimes get themselves in a little over their heads. if she does, help her out! once you have proven yourself trustworthy, susan will be your most loyal friend. but watch out! cross her and you’ll have hell to pay.

her guy friends all love her like a little sister, and they’re like big brothers to her, but there’s one in the crowd who’s more special than the rest. if you are that person, you are one lucky guy. susan will devote everything to you. at first she can seem overwhelming, but don’t be put off! she just has strange ways of showing her affection. once you’ve got her though, hold on tight.

be on your toes though! susan is strong and independent, which can sometimes make her more vulnerable than the rest. she always brings something new to the day, and if there’s a smile on her face, don’t be the one who wipes it away.

susan has an amazing capacity to care about people. even the ones who hurt her.

susan will love you like a girlfriend, talk to you like a trusted advisor, and protect you like a sibling. do the same for her!
P.S. call her susie or sue and she will kill you!’

Perhaps you could substitute your name in the link and see what it comes up with.

What's in a name?

What’s in a name?

After writing this post and reading it through, I have realised that it doesn’t really matter what our given name is or what we are called.  We have been named for a reason, or just because our parents liked that particular name.

What is more important than our name, is the person who we are inside.  I know that no matter what name I have been given, or called during my life, I want to be remembered as the person who lived a good and full life showing kindness and compassion to others.  I want to be remembered as a role model for my family.

Do you know why you were called your name?  If you have children was there a particular reason you gave them the name you did? Join the conversation and share your thoughts with us.


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  • Reply Ingrid March 26, 2018 at 09:14

    I named my second son Alexander as I liked that name although I don’t like the shortened version of Alex as much. Guess what he is called by all his school mates?!

    To me however he will always be Alexander although I must admit I do have another nickname for him but it;s nothing related to his name.


    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 26, 2018 at 09:29

      I think Alexander is such a refined name but yes people just can’t help shortening names can they? Have a great week Ingrid xx

  • Reply Juhlin Newkirk March 26, 2018 at 09:32

    How interesting to wonder about your name when you no longer can ask! I know that I was named after my deceased maternal grandmother and my Mom’s stepmother. So I have a grandmother’s middle name (and great-grandmother’s last name) as a first name and the grandmother I knew middle name. Whew. It has caused no end of confusion even as to my gender and I have spelled and explained it since endlessly ever since I learned my full name at the age of 12. So a nickname was used and its spelling had little connection to my actual name so I fixed that to my mother’s dismay. Needless to say I gave my son’s simple, one syllable names.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 26, 2018 at 20:37

      Yes, I suppose I should have asked but my parents have both passed away well over 30 years ago. Names can be very divisive sometimes if you are named after a relative. People can be disappointed can’t they? Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

  • Reply Natalie March 26, 2018 at 09:49

    Thanks, Sue, for sharing the story of your name and very cute pictures. Your radiant smile has stayed the same. I always address the person by the name they introduce themselves. Have a great week!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 26, 2018 at 20:35

      Oh you are lovely Natalie! You have a great week too!

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 26, 2018 at 12:57

    Great post Sue, and your photos of our younger self are gorgeous! I love hearing these sorts of stories. I wrote a post ages ago about how I got my name and enjoyed sharing the story. So exciting with your new grandchild due soon, it will be just lovely for you all.x

  • Reply Donna March 26, 2018 at 16:43

    Wonderful post and photos, Sue. According to Wikipedia, “Donna is an English-language feminine first name meaning “woman” in Italian. The original meaning is closer to “lady of the home” and was a title of respect in Italy. It is a common given name in the United States (particularly in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco).”

    According to my mother, I was named after my father (Donald). My parents wanted to call me “Dawn” but my paternal grandmother was so upset about that name choice that they went with “Donna”. Your children are wise not to revel their name choices for their upcoming baby. I didn’t either! 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 26, 2018 at 20:33

      Oh of courses, bella donna means beautiful woman in Italian. Everyone always has an opinion on what to call the new baby that is why Rachel and Ian don’t even disclose any of their ideas. It is much easier that way 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer Jones March 26, 2018 at 19:29

    I love this post Sue. You’re right that Aussies love to shorten names. I named my son Steven, with a V and not PH so that when it’s shortened he doesn’t have to alter the spelling. My sons name is Craig – to short to shorten. So what do Aussies do? They lengthen it of course. Craigo!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 26, 2018 at 20:32

      Yes we are a strange lot aren’t we Jen. Sometimes they actually call Nathan, Nathy!!!

  • Reply Ness March 27, 2018 at 08:22

    I loved reading this. Name trends are quite interesting. Love your childhood photos, too.

    I have three sons. By the time we got to the last one we were running out of boys names we agreed on. He was born and a few days old before we decided on… wait for it…

    David! LOL

    Someone has to bring back ‘Dave’…?

    Well, so far he’s David, but it’s only a matter of time. Much to Grandma’s horror…?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 27, 2018 at 10:36

      David is a good name, Ness! I didn’t really want to focus on name trends too much because there really are some crazy names out there and I didn’t want to offend anyone LOL:) Some parents just don’t think about when their children become adults when they name them 🙂 Have a great week!

  • Reply Denyse March 27, 2018 at 17:29

    Lovely lovely read Sue! And I taught kids from that same book that we had at school. Your brother was onto a great idea there!
    I loved how you explored more on the meaning of your name.
    Mum is no longer around for me to ask ‘why, Denise?” even though Dad is…
    But the meaning of my name is incredibly boring.
    It’s the female version of Dennis and derived from the French language.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 13/52. Next week’s optional prompt is “Food I dislike”. Do Join in! Denyse x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 09:47

      Hi Denyse, I would never have thought to write about that without your prompt and I really enjoyed writing and pondering about my name and others in my family. Yes the David, Sue and Wendy books were popular although I’m not sure if I was at school when they had them, as my brother was 7 years older than me. Thanks for the link up and I’m so pleased you enjoyed my post. Have a great week! xx

  • Reply Pat March 28, 2018 at 03:32

    This is the second blog posting I’ve read in two weeks about naming! So interesting when folks who are unconnected seem to have same ideas. Shortening names is not just an Australia thing. My husbands family shortened everything. Eileen became Leen. Leslie became Lel. Bridget … bridge. Even a mere “t” can be dropped. Hubby was easier… Timothy became Tim.

    My family added the “y”. To this day, my brother is Jimmy to me….but when others around, I’ll call him James. He hates Jimmy, but Jim was my dad. Me…I’m still Patty to my side of the family…even Aunt Patty there. I’ve been Pat to everyone else since my early 20’s…in an attempt to sound more mature. Sometimes I’ll start with Patricia, especially in correspondence…to make sure I’m not then Mr Pat Doyle. Although my godchild called me Mr Pat for awhile before he understood genders…It was Mr Tim & Mr Pat. LOL. His sister would say…nooo, it’s Miss Pat.

    I call myself Tricia. Seriously. And debated switching to Trixie in retirement to signal a new me. Didn’t happen!

    What’s in a name? I do know I was supposed to be Patrick Edward. My sister was supposed to be Edward Thomas. My parents never got their Edward! Maybe I should switch to that in retirement…just for them. Eddy? Hmmm!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 09:45

      Hi Pat,maybe we were both linking up to a weekly prompt over at Denyse Whelan Blogs and it was about Names and their meanings. Tricia is lovely and Trixie would have been perfect for retirement but it is so hard to change after so long and get others to accept the change. I was going to be Warwick (after Mum’s doctor) lucky I was a girl!!!

  • Reply Leslie Clingan March 28, 2018 at 04:48

    Hi five SUSAN! That’s my middle name! Love what you found in the Urban dictionary about us. I have always disliked my first name. So this post caught my eye. Tried so hard to give my girls names that I found more feminine and pleasant than my own. Leslie apparently means ‘of the grey fortress’, which it was at least a grey castle!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 09:43

      Well we must be related Leslie – you were named after me for your second name LOL:) A fortress is something strong so that is what you are a wonderful, strong woman! Isn’t it fascinating learning about what our names mean. Have a great week!

  • Reply Chris March 28, 2018 at 07:32

    We simply called our children names we really liked (still do) and which couldn’t be shortened into fodder for cruel school mates.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 09:39

      Yes that is the thing Chris isn’t it? When they get to school the little ‘darlings’ (school mates) can sometime be so cruel and imagine today when bullying is so prevalent. I chose names that I liked rather than after a relative or famous person. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Jo Castro March 28, 2018 at 09:25

    Such an interesting post Sue, and names are wonderful. I’ve often wondered if we sort of grow into our names. I’m Johanna with an ‘h’ which is not the most usual way of spelling it and people try to say JoHanna with an accent on the ‘h’ or otherwise resort to Joanne which I don’t like. So I’ve been Jo for most of my life, or Joey to my closest friends. I wanted to call our daughter India Rose, but she ended up as Emma Rose. My husband thought that India Rose wasn’t a good idea just in case she ended up in a career which involved jump starting tractors or something similar!! She didn’t and doesn’t by the way!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 09:35

      I love Emma Rose what a pretty name although I also like India Rose. I sometimes wonder if I had my children again if I would still call them the same names. It is a fascinating subject and I wouldn’t have thought about it unless I had read Denyse’s prompt. Have a great week, Jo and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply bluecottonmemory March 28, 2018 at 12:01

    All my boys’ names were chosen with careful meaning. Mine? My dad wanted to name me after his old girl friend. My mom didn’t. When it was time to go home, the nun at the hospital said, “She needs a name or she can’t go home. Mary’s the first name. What’s the second name.” Hence, my name: Mary Leigh. I don’t like that story. I like thinking I am Mary Sue’s niece, Mary Edna’s granddaughter, Mary Eva’s great-granddaughter – and Mary Francis’ great-great granddaughter. I love that heritage. Sadly, I have 5 boys – and no Mary’s:) The name that wasn’t a tradition has ceased to be a tradition. I didn’t like my name until I smashed it together (Maryleigh) – and I love that. (BTW – one of my great-greats was Suzie Belle!!! She eloped at a convent school and had about 11 children:) I so enjoyed your posts!!! What fun!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 13:03

      Thanks for visiting and what an extraordinary story about your name. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be named after an ex girlfriend! I love the heritage of your aunt, grandmother and great grandmother. My daughter’s middle name is Clare. It was her grandmother’s middle name, her aunt’s middle name and her cousin’s middle name so we carried on the family tradition. Oh and I love Suzie Belle she was probably a real character just like her name! Have a fabulous week and lovely for you to leave a comment x

  • Reply Min@WriteoftheMiddle March 28, 2018 at 15:08

    It’s funny but I can’t think of you as Susan cos you are Sue to me! lol I loved reading this post. Lovely to know you have a brother and sister and their names etc. I was named Marguerite after my mother’s sister who had passed away (way too young – early 20’s). Mum named me after her. I wrote about it on my blog. I also wrote another post about how I got my nickname of Min (both posts are accessible via links from my ‘About’ page). Marguerite is a kind of daisy. It also means ‘pearl’ and ‘child of light’.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 28, 2018 at 15:30

      Oh I couldn’t see you as any other name than Min. I love that name! Your real name is beautiful though and with lovely memories and meanings. My aunt Grace also died in her 20s I never knew her. I know I can’t see myself as Susan either as I’ve been Sue for so long!

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 28, 2018 at 16:48

    My name was also very popular in the 1960’s – there were three Leannes in my highschool science class! I’ll have to look up what the urban dictionary says about me. Apparently my name means graceful meadow – not sure I fit into that persona – maybe the urban will give me a better definition!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2018 at 09:30

      Oh ‘graceful meadow’ sounds so peaceful Leanne! I know what you mean, Susan is not exactly rare although I don’t recall having many in my class which is surprising. It was a fun prompt which I enjoyed writing about. x

  • Reply Cherie March 28, 2018 at 17:03

    My Mom wanted to name me Michelle, but there were 5 little Michelles in her Kindergarten class that year. So, they named me Cherie Renee. My Grandmother had taught in French Quebec for some years and they mistakenly thought that she had French roots. (Her family all hails from Aberdeen, Scotland, not French in any way). So, I have a French name to honor my Scottish Grandmother.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2018 at 09:32

      Oh Cherie Renee is a lovely name and different to all the little Michelles running around. I love looking into ancestry as well but isn’t it funny how sometimes origins can become confused – like your Grandmother really having Scottish roots but people assuming she had French. Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day xx

  • Reply Kalpanaa March 29, 2018 at 15:31

    Wonderful post with the photographs of your younger self. I’m also amazed that your children’s names could be shortened even further. I chose my children’s names for how they sound when you call them in from the park (haha) but really for what they mean. Indian names will be quite strange for you so I may write a blog post about it rather than a lengthy comment. Thankyou for this great idea.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2018 at 09:40

      I was surprised my children’s names could be shortened too, Kalpanaa. I would love to read your post about the meanings of Indian names. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week! x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 30, 2018 at 02:25

    I enjoyed reading about your name, Sue. While my older sister was named after her deceased father (Connie), and my younger sister was named after my grandmother (Cindy), my understanding is that my father just liked the name Christie, so my mother agreed. Christie is the feminine form of Christian, which means anointed. So there you go; that’s the history of my name. As far as my children, both of their first names are names we just liked, and both of their middle names are after family members. This was a fun little trip down memory lane. Thanks Sue!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2018 at 09:44

      I enjoyed writing it Christie although I hadn’t really intended to. It has certainly been a popular read and I’ve loved hearing from others about how or why they have the names they do and also how they named their children. Have a lovely week, Christie xx

  • Reply shelley March 30, 2018 at 04:45

    Being a former teacher it was really hard to pick names when my kids were born. I wanted something easy to spell and it was non-negotiable with me that they be called by their first names. I happen to love all of my kid’s names but each of them has adopted their own variation of their name that they have their friends call them – despite all my efforts to always call them by their full name.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2018 at 09:46

      I hadn’t thought of names from a spelling or teacher’s point of view Shelley. I just found it amazing that they could still shorten or lengthen my children’s names. I always called them their full names and couldn’t think of calling them any other name.

  • Reply Victoria April 1, 2018 at 23:28

    I am not sure who I was named after but I am from the south so we always have two names. I am Victoria Ann and if mom used both names when calling I knew to hop to because I was probably in trouble.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 2, 2018 at 08:15

      Oh yes, Victoria. We have what we call a middle name. If Mum called me Susan Irene, yes I knew I was in trouble!! Your name is very elegant, I do love the name Victoria.

  • Reply Grammy Dee | Grammy's Grid April 3, 2018 at 14:58

    I love this post Susan, er Sue ♥ I won’t tell my given name because I DO NOT like it! Thank you for linking up and co-hosting at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty 26 with me! I shared your post x 4 ♥

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2018 at 09:37

      Thanks Dee! It is a shame you don’t like your given name but Dee is feisty to me! xx

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