What’s in a Name?

I feel like I need to blow cobwebs off this space or something. I’m still here, just slowly adjusting to life with a newborn and our new normal as a family of four. I have had a few people ask the inspiration behind Ella’s name, so I thought I’d start back into regular blogging with that.

What's in a name? Talking naming traditions and naming my two daughters after my grandparents.

Choosing a name is a huge responsibility. After all, this is the name your child will have their entire life, and it’s got to fit them, your family, and be a name you enjoy saying (because let’s face it, with kids you say their names all the time.) Everyone has different requirements in choosing a name, and for me one of the most important things in naming both my girls was naming them after someone. Some of you may know that I’m Jewish, and my heritage is specifically Ashkenazi Jewish, meaning my family comes from Eastern European Jews. One of the most common things we do in naming children is naming them after deceased relatives. While some people choose to use a relative’s full name, my family typically uses the first letter of their name – which is exactly what we did with Abbie and Ella.

Growing up, I was always incredibly close to my mom’s parents, and my grandfather especially. My grandfather passed away the month before I turned 12. My youngest sister and one of my cousins are named for him, but I always knew my first child would be too – and that’s exactly what happened. My grandfather was Abe (pronounced A-B), and the decision to use the name Abigail was a no-brainer. We added Ann as her middle name to honor my mother-in-law, and it’s been amazing to have a little piece of my grandfather in my life every day.


My grandmother passed away in 2012, the same day we miscarried our first baby. When we named Abbie for my grandpa, I wanted to name our second child for my grandma, Edith. Chris and I had a really hard time agreeing on a name for the longest time. Having an E name was really important to me, and if we would have had a boy I’m not sure we would have ever agreed – boy names that start with E are hard! Ella was on our girl name list for a while, but we couldn’t come up with a middle name until the day Chris and I both came home with the middle name Jane, for his grandmother. From that moment, we knew our second daughter would be Ella Jane, to honor two of her great-grandmothers.

I love the tradition of naming after relatives, and I love more so that when I look at my two girls, I see a little bit of my grandparents in them. Naming my girls after their great-grandparents has been an amazing way to keep their memory front and center in my days, in all the best ways.

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About Jess

Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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5 Responses

  1. As a longtime silent reader from Germany, I feel, that I have to comment at last: Congratulations to your darling Baby Ella. We had a Baby Girl in March, also Ella, also named after my husbands grandmother (second name Katharina, named after two of mine…)!

  2. I love love love using family names for baby names. It is just so special!!

    Last year in our (small) church we had Mabel Elizabeth, Ella Pearl, and Edith Savannah all born within a few months of each other. I die! 🙂

  3. This is so true. We named our daughter after my mother-in-law and my grandfather. My mother-in-law’s name is Julie and my grandfather’s name is Julio. So we named our daughter Julianna. For some reason, it took us forever to choose our son’s name (who I’m currently expecting). None of the typical boy names were catching our attention. My husband wanted an Italian name, so after a few months of thinking, we decided to name him with Rocco Valentino. Different and unique.


I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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