Skip to main content

How to Choose a Baby Name Inspired by Your Family Tree

We've got the complete guide to choosing a baby name that is inspired by your family tree, whether its the name of a relative, a family surname, or a name based on origins or history.
How to choose a baby name inspired by your family tree
Updated: August 7, 2019

Choosing a baby name is part of the legacy you pass down to your child. It’s an opportunity to keep a family name, quality, or history alive in a very unique way. Choosing a baby name inspired by your family tree is a wonderful option to consider to provide your child with a strong foundation and connection to the past. Fortunately, there are many creative ways to utilize your family tree for baby name inspiration.

More: The Most Popular British Baby Names the US Hasn't Discovered Yet

How to Create or Expand Your Family Tree

creating a family tree

If you already have access to a family tree, then you are ready to begin your baby name quest. If you need to create your family tree, or if you would like to expand your tree to provide more baby name options, there are many tools available to get started. DNA testing through or 23 and Me are two of the most popular ways. 

Through simply spitting into a tube and sending it off through the mail, you will begin the process of having access to more family members than you may have ever even known you had. The affiliated websites for whichever test you choose will provide you with the names of your family. You can use Ancestry’s family tree tool or a site like My Heritage to digitize your family tree and even view historical records related to relatives for further information. This process is fun and eye-opening, and it will allow you to pass along a detailed family history in addition to a meaningful name to your child.

Searching the Family Tree for Names

Searching a family tree for names

There are many creative ways to use family names from the past as inspiration for your baby’s name. Don’t feel beholden to searching through first names only. Making lists of first names, middle names, last names, and maiden names will produce a long list of options.

It has become very popular to use family surnames or even your own maiden name if you’ve taken a spouse’s last name as an interesting and unique first names for children. Popular names like Mckenna, Jackson, Harper, and Harris are examples of names that could be found as maiden names or last names on your family tree. You can feel free to use creative license when it comes to spelling and variations, but browsing that list of first, middle, maiden, and last names from both your own family tree and your partner’s will provide a wealth of inspiration.

Using Family History for Baby Name Inspiration

Use family history for baby name inspiration

Using the family tree for name inspiration doesn’t have to be a literal and exact process. As you search through the tree, be sure to take the time to understand the stories of the past connected with the names that you see. There may be tales of immigration, adoption, hard times, and triumphs that you would like to pass down as a deeper meaning connected to your baby’s name.

As you spend time learning the stories of your family’s past, be on the lookout for themes. Make a list of qualities that have been important to your family’s story. Then you can use the Family Education Name Trait Tool to look for names which reflect the traits and qualities that were essential to your past. Traits like being courageous, queenly, warrior-like, or creative are just a few of the many options. The lists of names connected to those family traits can provide endless inspiration.

Using Family Home Locations to Discover Baby Names

Use family home locations to discover baby names

In addition to the names on your family tree and the traits of the tales behind it for inspiration, you can also use family home locations as fodder for baby names. Names of towns, cities, counties, and countries connected with where your family has lived throughout the years can provide an extensive list of names to consider. 

You can use the exact names of key locations for your family history like in the popular examples of London, Brooklyn, and Sierra. You can also use the Family Education First Name by Origin Tool to find meaningful names based on origin. For example, if you’d like an Old English, Polynesian, African American, or Hebrew name, you can simply select that origin and build a list of baby name options based on that family origin.

There are so many resources for baby name inspiration connected to the family tree on Family Education. Whether you are looking for various ways to use your maiden name, ethnic variations of names connected to family heritage, or baby names to reflect your family’s past, we have lists to inspire you. Focusing on intention, meaning, and family tree history will help to stir up your creativity and to focus on providing exactly the kind of name legacy that you hope to pass on. A name that reflects the past and family roots along with room for inspiration for whatever amazing person your baby chooses to become will be a beautiful gift for your baby and your family as a whole - both past and present.

Charise Rohm Nulsen

About Charise

Charise is a Travel Planner and founder of Experience the Dream Travel, specializing in… Read more

Subscribe to Family Education

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.