May 31, 2012

Samuel Denn & Daniel John

Looking back through some old posts recently, I came across a letter I'd written to Danny before he was born where I talked about the meaning of his name, and I thought I'd like to have it written all in one place how my boys got their names, and what they mean to me.  Neither one of them had names chosen because of the meanings, they were both chosen because they were important to us specifically.  However, it turned out that the meanings of both of their names fit.

Samuel Denn Heiner

The meaning of Samuel is "God heard" or "requested of God."  Although I didn't know this when we chose the name, how can it possibly be a coincidence that this is what his name means?  Justin and I tried for two years to have Sam.  He was wanted so, so much by both of us, and it wasn't an easy road.  Sam really was requested of God, we whispered and begged the world for him far before he was here with us.  I longed for him and cried for him to come to me.

Samuel Denn also has meaning to us specifically.  One of the people Sam is named after is his Great (x6) Grandfather, Samuel Denn.  He was a U.S. Marshal in Medicine Lodge, KS who lived in the late 1800s and later went on to serve as a member of Washington State Legislature.

The name Samuel also has meaning specifically to me.  When I was 18, a friend of mine, an amazingly talented and incredibly smart boy named Samuel, died by his own hand.  It was my first experience losing someone so close to me, and I still think about him at least once a week.  I like that our Sam has his name, and that it's a little piece of the good part of him that kind of lives on in the world.

Daniel John Heiner

Daniel means "God is my judge." Thinking about that now, I kind of like it. To me, it means that no man is his judge. He will be free to be who he is, always. I hope that gives him strength.

To be honest, we had a much harder time naming Danny.  With Sam, things came together and we had the name picked out before he was even conceived.  But with Danny, we didn't have a starting point.  Daniel is Justin's middle name, and his mother's maiden name.  It came up as an option at some point and before I knew it, I was starting to think of him as Danny and we decided to go with it.  I believe my exact words to Justin were "If we don't want him to be named Danny, we better pick something else, because I'm starting to call him that in my head."  I found out later that it's also my Mom's husband's middle name.

John means "God is gracious." 

I was never hugely interested in naming my kids after my grandparents or ancestors, other than my Mom.  If we'd had a girl, her middle name would have been Edith.  When we started debating names for Danny though, I realized I really wanted his middle name to be after my paternal Grandfather, John Luther Hayman.  As it happens, both of my Grandfathers AND my step-Grandfathers were named John.  So I gave Justin the choice of either John or Luther, and he chose John (I fully admit that part of me wanted to name him Alexander Luther, but Alexander was nixed early on).  I figured since the rest of the boys names stemmed primarily from his family, it was my turn!  I am happy to honor my Grandfather with the name, he was an amazing, kind, smart and wonderful man.

Where did your kid's names come from?


Shana Baehr said...

How interesting! I love hearing about the origins of names. 
My family is very big into family names. There have been only one or two family members that have deviated, either from necessity or just being "weird". My children both have family names, at least for their middle names. I see it as a way to honor family history and tradition. My husband wasn't necessarily on board at first but he had no trouble dipping into the family name pool when we became pregnant the second time. :) 

Ediehope said...

Well, when I was a kid I didn't really like my name. I mean, EDITH? Come on! My mom told me that she was going to name me Sarah or Rachel, but decided to name me after my paternal grandmother instead. She also told me that since my sister was already named Rebecca that if she had named me Rachel people might think we were Jewish. How enlightened. Anyway, I always loved the name Rachel and so when I got pregnant that was the name I chose for you. I changed the spelling because I thought it was even prettier that way. I gave you the same middle name as me because I wanted to share that. By the way, I like being named after my grandmother now. She was a great woman and I loved her a lot and still miss her to this day. With Kira, Bill and I were trying to agree on names and one day he came home and said he met a woman named Kira. I had never heard that name before and I thought it was so beautiful. I looked it up in a name book and it said that it means "sunshine" in Persian. I loved that. I gave her the middle name Marie to honor Bill's mom, whose middle name is Marie.

Ediehope said...

Oh, and by the way, both of your great grandfathers were also named John. 

Patti said...

Samuel is my son's greatgrandfather x 5 also. My ex is a Denn.