What’s In A Name?

I love names. I love to know their meanings, their origins, how they are spelled, and why they were picked. I already own a baby name book (I found it for about $1 at a yard sale a year ago) just so I can look up names for fun. And I have this website bookmarked.

I do feel like it’s interesting how certain names seem to fit people. For example, before I was born, my parents couldn’t decide between “Meghan” and “Courtney” for me. They waited until I was born, and then I was named Meghan Connolly Patton. They said I “just looked like a Meghan.” But, a lot of people who know me and hear that story say they could also see me being a “Courtney,” which I find interesting. What do you think? Do I look like a “Meghan” or a “Courtney?”


Of course, I like my name, so I’m happy, but I wonder would I be any different if I was named differently? We’ll never know.

If I was a boy, they were going to name me Benjamin Ransom Patton. Honestly, I love this name. I definitely have thought about using Ransom somewhere for a little boy if we have more than one boy in the future. I love the name Benjamin too, but as that’s Tom’s brother’s name, I can’t really claim it.

So what’s up with the random middle names? Well, my dad is huge into history, especially family history. He loves to track our genealogy to learn about our ancestors. When we were born, each of us was given a middle name that was the last name of one of our ancestors. I was named after the Irish ancestors, so I got “Meghan” (a Welsh version of Margaret, but not a family name) and “Connolly” (last name of an Irish ancestor). The middle name “Ransom” was also an ancestor’s last name, but the reason my mom really loved it is because Christ paid the ransom for us, and it would be like having that as a reminder every time you wrote your name. How cool is that?

When Tom and I got married, I didn’t want to drop “Connolly” the way most women drop their middle names and use their maiden names in its place. So, I just added McFarlin on and now have 4 names. Meghan Connolly Patton McFarlin is a VERY Scot-Irish name. I love it because it is, for me, who I am (Meghan), who I descended from (Connolly), who I was born to (Patton), and who I loved enough to marry (McFarlin). Ā I’m grateful to have a name that I like.

My other favorite thing is to know the meanings of names. I always find it interesting to see how authors pick names for their characters. In Harry Potter, it’s very obvious for some of the characters that J.K. Rowling paid attention. You have Professor Umbridge, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, and more. The same is true in The Hunger Games- Katniss, the main character, and her sister, Prim, were both named after plants, but Katniss was named after something practical that can keep you alive (in the book it’s a potato-like tuber) while Prim was named after a delicate and pretty primrose.

Here’s what my name means:

Meghan means “pearl.”

Connolly means “love, friendship.”

Patton means “fighter’s town.”

McFarlin has no meaning listed.

Your turn! Please, use the link above and find out a bit about your name. I would love to know what your names mean and why your parents chose them. And if there are other names that people say you look like.

And if you think I look like a Courtney. Just curious. šŸ˜‰


28 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Justin: “fair, righteous”
    Lanier: “Wool Worker”
    Smith: “blacksmith”

    Evidently, I’m a righteous dude that can make you a formidable sword and sweater vest.

    1. LOLing over here. I would like both a formidable sword and a sweater vest, please. I mean I’m “fighter’s town” so I need that sword. The sweater vest…I dunno, just the idea of you making one makes me laugh. =)

  2. I am also super obsessed with names!! My full name, Angela Ellen, is after my paternal grandfather (Angelo) and my maternal grandmother (Mariellyn). The name “Ellen” has been in my family for over 250 years. My name means “Angel Light,” which I absolutely love. If I ever have a daughter, I will name her Lucy Angelina, which means “Little Angel of Light!”

  3. Andrew was one of my late father’s middle names, but the name originated with my paternal great-grandfather, Andrew Mastuscak, whose family came from Slovakia. I’ve never been partial to being referred to as Andy, though my family and best friend from childhood call me Drew all the time.


    Gender: M
    Origin of Andrew: Greek
    Meaning of Andrew: “strong and manly”

    Andrew’s Popularity in 2009: #15

    Andrew is among the most appealing classic boys’ names, with more character and charm than James or John, and a host of Andrew-inspired nicknames: Andy makes it friendlier, Drew adds to its sophistication.

    1. Strong and Manly. Gotta love that meaning!

      Aww, your dad was such a nice person. I was young when he passed, but I always think of him when I eat frozen grapes. He used to always share some with me when we’d all do Christmas dinner together back in the day. =)

    2. I remember how he used to mess with us as kids at the Herbert-Jones party and at the Beach. We used to have these nerf balls we’d use in guns and I remember one particular occasion when he kept hiding them from us when we were playing with them and pretending not to know where they were. šŸ™‚

  4. My name’s four long already: Sunira Sharon Jessintha Moses but my name isn’t something you can really look up. Well thankfully I was given a full explanation.

    The only reason I have four total is that I was the first born of the first son in my family so everyone wanted a say and there was apparently a huge fight over what my name was going to be . My mom tells me to thank her for not allowing me to have six names.

    My first name comes from the Tamil word for the twelfth foundational stone of New Jerusalem which translates to Amethyst. My brother was named after the eleventh, Sapphire. If my parents had gone through with their plan for four kids maybe there would have been two more. šŸ™‚

    Sharon is from the one of the names of Christ: Rose of Sharon.

    Jessintha refers to my grand aunt Jesse Moses who opened up a Christian school in India and was a very successful business woman for the time she was living in. She never married but accomplished great things in the name of her family and her God.

    Moses is the name our family took on back in the 1800’s after we converted from Christianity. It of course means : comes from the water. šŸ™‚

    When we immigrated to the United States back in the 90’s my parents gave me a choice of changing my first name to either Sharon or Jesse so that I would fit in better. I didn’t want to. I liked my name. It was unique, and it was me. I paid for it in paperwork mishaps for the rest of my life. My first drivers license had the name wrong. Any paperwork is messed up. Half of my teachers could never say my name right (and to be honest, I don’t think they cared enough to try) and my first application to GT was dropped straight into the International Student pool and by the time they fixed it the freshman pool had filled and I was told to go to Georgia State for a year and then come back after a few freshman had failed out. šŸ™‚

    So what’s in a name? For me it’s a heritage I want to live up and a complete pain in the rear when it comes to paperwork.

    And one more fun fact: My mother’s side family named their children after the few female monarchs of the British empire. My grandmother’s name is Victoria, my mother’s is Elizabeth, and I was to be Diana but my grandparents on my father’s side didn’t want me to have the name of Diana, or Artemis, the goddess of the Greeks/Romans so that idea was axed.

    If I ever have a little girl, I think I want to name her Diana. It’s a beautiful name, and a reminder of the line of strong women in both the British empire, and my own family. šŸ™‚

    And to be honest, you look absolutely nothing like a Courtney, in my opinion.

    1. Whoa, that is so cool! I’m glad you kept your “real” name. Sunira suits you, and I like that you honor your heritage by keeping it. Although what happened with GT totally bites. How funny that they gave you 4 names to start with! I love what they all stand for. Thanks for sharing!

  5. First, you were also almost named Mary Catherine, and so was I. Mom and Dad are so strange sometimes. You’re not a Courtney…I think I would have called you Meghan even if they’d named you Courtney.

    Next, apparently that website thinks that my name has no meaning. It doesn’t list one. But I know what it means, anyway…

    “Kristen” is the same word as “Christian.” In Acts 11:26, the believers were first called Christians at Antioch, because they were identified as followers of Christ. So my name is one of the versions of that…and I love it.

    My middle name “Lee” is English for “pasture, meadow,” which is a place of rest and nourishment. I don’t know if I’m THAT relaxed, but I’m sure mom and dad wish I was…ha, ha! Of course, I got this one because I was named after the British, Robert E. Lee side of the family.

    My maiden name “Patton” means “fighter’s town,” and that one fits me pretty well, I think.

    My married last name “Sagar” isn’t listed on that website, but it means “ruler of the water.” Not bad, I guess, since everyone in their family is a lifeguard!

    Also, I think that McFarlin is a version of MacFarland. And I found this about it:

    The son of Pharlan, or Partholan, the Gaelic for Bartholomew. Malcom McFarlane, descended from Alwyn, Earl of Lennox, founder of the clan McFarlane, lived about 1344, in the reign of Malcom IV., King of Scotland. Tradition gives the following fabulous origin of the name. A nephew of one of the old Earls of Lennox, having killed, in a quarrel, his uncle’s cook, was obliged to flee the country. Returning after many years, he built a castle upon an island above Inversnaid, in the Highlands, where he, and the island after him, received the appellation of Farland. Hence McFarland, the son of him who came from the Far-land.

    1. Mary Catherine?? I didn’t know about that one. It’s a very Catholic sounding name, so it’d fit with a lot of Dad’s side of the family.

      Thanks for sharing about the McFarlin name!

  6. Just returning from my family’s trip to Scotland, I found it SO interesting to learn about all the different Mc-whatevers… so you have to thank Tom for this one! The clans are still active over there; we even got to meet the chief of one, the McLeods. They’re all so proud of their heritage and being united with their own family tartan patterns, etc.

    We found out that we started as Maclellan and lived on the islands in the west. We had close ties with working for the king, too, apparently! Our motto is “Think On” because the king had promised a clansman some sort of reward for completing a task, but forgot upon his return – so the clansman told the king to “think on” about what he might be forgetting. Ha! In the 19th century we didn’t have a chief, so everybody scattered to America, Canada, and Australia. That’s when the different versions appear – Maclellan turned into McLellan, McClellan, McClelland, etc.

    Anyway, it’s all very interesting to me as well. Now I guess I need to hit up my long lost relatives in Australia to hang out at some point šŸ™‚

    1. Wow, that is cool! When I went to Scotland, I loved looking at all the variety of tartans for different clans. I couldn’t find McFarlin, but I found a book about McFarlane (I think that’s what it was). It was interesting.

  7. Kristen: “christ-bearer”
    Marie: “bitter sea”
    Boswell: “forested town”
    Thompson: “son of Thom”

    Not sure how any but my first name really apply to me, but still fun to figure out meanings of names. šŸ™‚

    My mom was a school teacher, so she wanted to be sure that both my brother and I had names that 1) had all the letters above the baseline for writing (i.e. no j’s, g’s, or y’s) and 2) had few enough letters to fit in the limited box spaces for standardized testing. So my brother’s name is Kevin Robert and mine was Kristen Marie.

    My middle name has been passed down the female line of my mom’s family for 7 generations now. So, if I ever have a daughter, she would be the 8th generation to have “Marie” as a middle name. I didn’t really like the name ‘Marie’ until I met my husband, Davey, who’s middle name is “Marion”. Then I thought it was cool, because we had similar middle names.

    1. That is so funny about your mom choosing names that fit within ease for tests and for handwriting. I love it. Don’t find you a “bitter sea” at all. haha

  8. Victoria (English): “victorious”
    Ann (Hebrew): “grace, favour”
    Griffin (Welsh): “strong in faith”, “reddish”
    Patton (English): there were two meanings listed “patrician”, “bald-headed”

    One thing I learned while looking up these names is about the name Griffin. My daddy told me his name had Welsh origin and he showed me a statue of a griffin (gryphon) downtown in Savannah when I was growing up. So I knew it was a mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle but I didn’t know that in Christendom it was sometimes used as a sculpture on churches as a symbol of Christ because the creature is the union of a terrestrial beast and an aerial bird. The griffin’s claw was believed to have medicinal powers and one of its feathers could restore sight to the blind. Kinda cool, huh?

    1. That’s neat! I love the name Griffin, and it’s becoming a popular boys’ name also. I like the meanings for your names. Where did you find the one for “Patton”? The one I found was “Fighter’s Town.” Oh, and thanks for naming something I like! =)

  9. Oh and by the way–I think you are definitely Meghan–not a Courtney (even though I also like the name Courtney)….and you do the name Meghan proud.

  10. Robert: bright, fame
    Lee: Meadow
    White: fair complexion

    So I’m a bright, fair meadow. However, the tradition behind my naming is even cooler. My great grandfather was Thomas Avery White, and then his son was Robert Lee White I, and then his son (my dad) is Thomas Avery White II, and then I am Robert Lee White II. I’ve never heard of anyone alternating names like that before, but I like it, so I plan to keep it up.

    Another interesting, and most unfortunate tidbit. My parents were considering calling me Laurie Avery White if I was girl. I am sooo glad I was a boy.

    1. Mine name isn’t staggered quite that way, but it goes like this:

      Thomas Hudson I had Thomas Hudson Jr.
      Thomas Hudson Jr is the uncle of Thomas Hudson III (my dad)
      and I’m Thomas Hudson IV

      Kind of a stair-step thing, though I don’t think we’ll be continuing that :).

  11. Meaning and origin
    Sylvia is a Latin girl name. The meaning of the name is `From the Forest `.

    Where is it used?
    The name Sylvia is mainly used in English, Scandinavian and in German.

    How do they say it elsewhere?
    Silvia (In Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, English, German, Ancient Roman and in Roman Mythology)

  12. Love the name Courtney, and while you are certainly a Meghan, I can see you as a Courtney, too!

    As for my name, I did the same thing… could not give up any existing names. You see, being a UK-US hybrid at this point, I was trying to balance two cultures. In the UK, I would have dropped my last name in favour of Patton (Sarah Jayne Patton) whereas in the US, I would have dropped the Jayne (Sarah Cormack Patton). On top of the cultural issues, I have already had some professional exposure under Cormack and I plain loved my name! So, what does it all mean?

    Sarah – Princess (duh!)
    Jayne – God’s Gracious Gift (okay, that is Jane, but the “y” is just a variation)
    Cormack – No specific meaning, but, being Scottish, this denotes my clan (a subset of Clan Buchanan)
    Patton – Fighter’s Town

    1. Oh, and for fun, I looked up Rafael’s name šŸ™‚ We had to name him very carefully because of his AKC registration. Officially, he is Dejon’s Braveheart Rafael Cormack Patton

      Dejon – No Meaning Listed (but, this is his breeder’s farm’s name and all dogs bred by her start with this)

      Braveheart – No Meaning Listed, but, of course, after a famous Scottish hero. There is more to this selection than meets the eye. All of his littermates have the word heart in their name and we were asked to select something to do with heart in his official name. This is for one of two reasons, I’m not sure which, but you may have a better idea: his litter was born on Valentines Day or his mother’s name is “Qbin’s Queen of Hearts” — probably because of the second. More than this, we received some inheritance from my grandfather’s passing and my dad had asked that we use some of the money to buy something to remember him by. We decided that there was no better way to honor my grandfather’s memory than by getting something that would bring so much love and joy into our household. Braveheart, then, is in honor of my grandfather, while still keeping with his littermates nomenclature.

      Rafael – “God Heals” (I did not know this, and just found out. But in light of our reasoning for Braveheart, this is even more poignant. We selected Rafael because of the Patton penchant for nick names – he gets called Raf or RiffRaff! Though, some have taken to calling him Raffy — a nickname I personally despise, but do not have the mean spirit to tell!)

      Cormack – No meaning listed, BUT this, too, has a deeper purpose. On my mother’s side of the family, the first born son gets his mother’s maiden name as his middle name. If we have kids, then our first son will have Cormack as his middle name, too.

      Patton – Fighter’s Town (reason is pretty obvious šŸ™‚

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