Origin and meaning of your full name
Research Paper –
TOPIC: Your Name!
You will be researching the origin and meaning of your full name using a variety of sources using your
first (given name) middle and last (surname) names. You will also interview primary sources to gather
information along with secondary resources (data bases, websites, journals)
Part 1: History of your name and the process of naming
How far back do you know your family history? Look at language(s) of origin and the entomology
(meaning) of all parts of your name. How has the meaning and/or spelling changed? Are there
references to this name in the Bible or other historical texts?? Who are the famous people with this
name? Include alternative pronunciations/spellings. How common or unusual of a name is it here and in
other countries? Is there a first time of recorded use? Did it refer to an occupation? What is the history
of naming and how did given name and surnames come to be? How have names changed in the United
States? Most popular names for girls and boys today, versus 20, 50, 100 years ago. Which names are
well known in history by just one part (Adele, The Boss) How can names be powerful?
Part 2: Your history.
What are your earliest memories of knowing your name? Do you have a nickname? Do you like your
name? Who are you named after? Any problems with people mispronouncing it? Would you change it?
Did other people have the same name? Any stories are appropriate. Do different family members call
you by different names? What about if you are in trouble? If you have children you can discuss how you
chose their names, why you chose the ones you did, are there regrets, etc. Would you change your
name if you marry and if you are married did you change your name? Why did you change it or not
Part 3: Interviews
Part 3a: Ask Parents, sibling, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins about your naming process. Was it
easy to name you? Any fights about what your name would be? Who won? What other names were
considered? Who were you named after? Were you baptized with a longer name than you use? How far
back do you know your family history? Are there other relatives in the way back who share your name?
Part 3b: Interview a friend or family member about their name following any of the questions above.
(Do they like their name, nicknames, trouble with how it is pronounced, would they give it to a future
child, change it, who are they named after, history/background where name came from, etc)
Eight sources are required to be on a Works Cited page in MLA style. Two of the eight can be interviews,
so six secondary sources from scholarly sites. Use Google Scholar, data bases on the Bailey Library site to
start. Wikipedia cannot be a source in and of itself but if there are resources listed on the page you are
viewing, you may use those.
Part 1 will be heavy on research and citations. No opinion and no first person.
Part 2 will have information you have gathered and in this section only may you use first person voice.
Part 3 will include “according to” , direct quotes and indirect quotes. If a family member is deceased but
you recall conversations with them, you may use them just like any other source. The dates can be
approximate for when you spoke.
Look at MLA guidelines for citing an interview.
These are two ‘fun” sites to look at:
If you use information from them, cite them accordingly but they are not considered scientific or
necessarily accurate and won’t count toward the six academic sources.
Length: 800-1,000 words.
Typed, double spaced.
The introduction can be general information about names. You could use an interesting quote from
literature or a story title that talk about names. Naming ceremonies, cultural differences, history of
naming are all possibilities.
Start out broadly and narrow down to a statement about your name; maybe based on a question you
had and then on what you have found out from research.
Your conclusion should restate some of the info from your introduction and leave the reader with
something to think about or create interest in researching/understanding names
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