Q&A: What are some good surnames that don't sound too feminine?
We are expecting a son near Father's Day, but don't want him to be a Junior. We like surnames but are wary of picking one that sounds too feminine. Can you give us some suggestions?
One of the oldest ways to show direct lineage is patronyms or patronymics, when literally Jack’s son becomes Jackson and Harry’s son becomes Harrison. David’s son becomes Davidson, Davison, or Dawson (from a medieval pet form of David), and Carr’s son becomes Carson. Many of these names also became surnames such as Anderson, Edison, Jefferson (son of Jeffrey), Garrison (son of Garrett), and Nelson (for Neil’s son). (One exception? Samson, which is Hebrew for “sun.”)
Of all the names with the suffix “—son,” Jackson is the most popular right now, followed by Carson, Hudson, Bryson, Grayson, Harrison, Jaxson, Dawson, Jayson, Greyson, Jameson, Jamison, Wilson, Jefferson, and Lawson. And, you don’t have to be a Ben or Morris to have a son named Benson or Morrison. Of the 11,493 Jacksons born in 2008, we’re betting very few had fathers named Jack.
Other names that have “son” or “descendant” in their meanings include: Maddox (Welsh for “fortunate, benefactor’s son”), Benjamin (Hebrew for “son of the right hand”), Dylan (Welsh for “son of the sea”), Barnaby (“son of comfort”), Quincy (French for “estate of the fifth son”), and Ruben (“behold a son”).
And with all these being equal nowadays, don’t be surprised if you find patronyms being given to daughters. Addison (“son of Adam”), Madison (“son of the mighty warrior”), and Emerson (“son of the chief”) have become hugely popular for girls.