A question about names


I was on another site and they were discussing three sisters, Mary Katherine, Mary Elizabeth and Mary Rose. Nearly all other the other commenters said “That’s a very Catholic thing. It’s common among Catholics to name every girl Mary.” When I told them that was don’t do that and that I only know one girl named Mary one person told me that I shouldn’t judge everything based on my personal experience (this, mind you on a site where nearly everything is based on personal experience) and that I was wrong. So tell me, do we actually do that? I don’t think we do.


I have two girls and neither one is named Mary. On my dad’s side of the family going back several generations, the first girl was usually named Mary. This stopped with my dad’s immediate family, but my one aunt is Ellen Mary. I have a cousin who is a Mary Ellen and the rest of her sisters have Ann as their middle name and they have an aunt who is a nun. Based on that message board, I’d say they are stereotyping Catholics.


I have 2 girls and none of them are named Mary…Although I do think in past generations, Catholic families did name their girls Mary a lot…I do know someone who was born in the early 60’s and she comes from a big family…all the girls in her family have the name Mary followed by a different middle name…and all of my Catholic friends have at least one Aunt Mary:)


It’s a stereotype, but one that I think has a grain of truth to it. I think a lot of Catholics are sensitive to how common the name is, though, and instead use a middle name and a variation like “Marie”. I have a friend named “Ann Marie” and there are several “Mary” girls amongst our friends, plus I know a lot LOT of people with primarily Catholic backgrounds (some Christians of non-Catholic heritage as well) with Marie for a middle name.


My maternal grandmother had eight children, four of whom were girls. My mother, the oldest, is named Mary. My aunts have different names, but all of them have some form of Mary as part of their name (Maureen, Marie, Maura, etc). This tradition is much less common among Catholics nowadays, or at least less noticable, as most Catholic families don’t have so many children.


I think it might be a cultural thing. In Latin America it happens a lot (my three sisters and I have Maria as either the first part of our first name, or as our middle name… my mom does too). I could see the Portuguese doing it, maybe the Italians, the Irish… (well, at least in more… practicing… times).


This made me smile. I am Italian american. and the name “Maria” is so common in my family. 75% of the female cousins on my side have a variation of the name…as did both my grandmothers, and mom. :smiley: By variations, I mean Maria alone or paired with another name, or in English.

On DH’s side, I have 2 SIL’s with a variant of the name, an aunt, and 2 neices.

Although, it could be stereotypical, I guess we do use it a lot, we love Mary! :thumbsup:


My sister is Marie, my middle name is Mary as is my mother’s. I have many friends with Mary as a middle name or a variation of Mary - Marie, Maria, Maureen, Moire etc. Many of the boys in my family have Joseph as a middle name.


It’s not common among Catholics to name every girl Mary. In fact, this is the first time I hear about a custom of naming every girl in a family Mary plus a second name (however, I know of a custom of naming the firstborn daughter Mary, or a custom of combining Mary with something else to differentiate out of reverence, e.g. Marianne, both old folk customs from where I’m from). The person who tells you not to judge everything basing on your own personal experience told you at the same time that everyone followed what was in fact an exotic custom. Things like that happen - some people have a limited perspective and they will undermine whatever you say without noticing what kind of information they’re giving you. I’ve learnt to shrug it off and move on. What’s true is that it shouldn’t be something to deprive you of your sleep - it may seem shocking, giving everyone the same first name, but it can be seen as a beautiful tradition. By the way, in some German aristocratic families there are traditions of practically every male getting the name of an honoured ancestor as his first or later Christian name… or every single Count of X having Y as his first name (e.g. Count Whoever LXIV of Whatever). This isn’t unknown in France, either. Isn’t Bill Gates a III anyway, in this case meaning he isn’t the third in his family to bear that name, but the third living male of his family to get it (i.e. the junior junior)? Romans used surnames the way we use first names (in Gaius Iulius Caesar, Gaius was a first name, Iulius a surname and Caesar was a hereditary nickname and Iulius is probably what he heard the most often) and some Asian nations do that as well. It doesn’t deprive a person of his uniqueness. At the same time, you do right when you resist being imposed such exotic customs on you when you don’t feel you want to share them, or being told that everyone does that when you know that’s not true.


I don’t know about “we” as in you and me, or as in “all Catholics” but it is certainly true that many devout Catholics do or have done in the past, add Mary to their child’s name, in some cultures such as France and Mexico, even to boys’ names. DH’s company hired some summer interns from DD’s Catholic college one year and we called them the Mary’s–Mary Helen, Mary Eileen, Mary Jo, Marianne, and Mary. It was certainly common in their age group at that time.

the advice you received is good, but the person who responded should have followed her own advice–do not use your own personal experience to make global judgements about entire groups of people.


Plenty of Mary’s in my family.

I also went to school with a pair of sisters named Mary – The family did not even seem to use middle names to distinguish them :whacky: I was never forward enough to ask if their mother was particularly devout, or just forgetful. :rotfl:



Maybe instead of the person meaning that it was common for Catholics to name their children this way, they meant that when you see names like that it’s mostly Catholics who do it.


I don’t know any Catholics with kids named like this, but I do know several whose kids all have Mary or a form of Mary as their middle names.


My mom and her 5 sisters have the name Mary as their first or middle name (3 as the first, 3 as a middle). My name is Mary. I have one daughter, Molly (Irish nickname for Mary).

:heart:We love Mary​:heart:

I’m looking for a variation of Mary for my next baby (if this one is a girl):thumbsup:


The parish register for my home parish, for the years 1848-1920 shows that a high percentage of girls had Mary or Marie as part of their name and most of the boys had Joseph as a first name. I would venture to guess that in my grade one class, if we’d all gone by our first names 90% of the girls would have been Marie (or Mary if they were English) and the same percentage of boys would have been named Joseph – the other 10% would have been non-Catholics.:smiley:


My middle name is Marie but I think it has ALOT to do with being born in the 80s. Most of the other young women I meet my age either have the middle name of Marie or a version of Katherine. That being said on my dad’s side of the family my grandmother id Mary Isabelle, and then my two aunts are Rose Mary and Mary Louise. I don’t plan on using any version of Mary when I have children (a long time from now), but I do want to use some saint and/or biblical names.


my dad gave me a middle name of Marie. My middle name is for the Virgin Mary.(which I think means bitter) My first name means messanger.

Yes among catholics Mary used to be very common. I have yet to meet a mary I didn’t like.:smiley:


I have also thought of two biblical names that are not overly common, yet people know them to be biblical, for a boy name him after one of the apostles- call him Judas, for a girl call her Jezebel, LOL Won’t have the problem of them being confused with other children of the same name.


:QUOTE=JustinR;5846070]I have also thought of two biblical names that are not overly common, yet people know them to be biblical, for a boy name him after one of the apostles- call him Judas, for a girl call her Jezebel, LOL Won’t have the problem of them being confused with other children of the same name.


please tell me you didn’t?


no, I didn’t

though I did help name my brother’s kids,

the girl we named Deniece, the boy we named Denephew- signed the kid’s uncle LOL … I crack myself up sometimes



That was just wrong:p:p:p You do know what DeNiece means right? ( The Niece!) sooo many ways to be wrong:rotfl::rotfl:

I can just imagine her trying to write her name in kindergarten.:eek:

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