Naming traditions and patterns play an important role in society and history. They're especially important to certain cultures and can be helpful for research. For example, though I didn't know where a branch of my family tree came from regionally, I found a clue by our naming pattern.
My grandfather's name was Daniel.
My father's name was Daniel.
My brother's name is Daniel.
My cousin's name is Daniel.
I remember my father saying, "Whatever you do, don't name your son Daniel; there are too many of us already."
So I didn't, I named my first daughter Dania, which is a female nickname of Daniela. I didn't intentionally follow a naming pattern, but I wanted to honor my father and the fathers in our family.
Now I've learned about the significance of them in other cultures. I could see that as far as the males are concerned, in several branches we tend to follow a system called "patronymics." According to W. Daniel Quillen's great book, Tracing Your Irish & British Roots, the naming pattern of these cultures is as follows:
The first son was named after the father's father.
The second son was named after the mother's father.
The third son was named after the father.
The fourth son was named after the father's eldest brother.
The fifth son was named after the mother's eldest brother.
The first daughter was named after the mother's mother.
The second daughter was named after the father's mother.
The third daughter was named after the mother.
The fourth daughter was named after the mother's eldest sister.
The fifth daughter was named after the father's eldest sister.
Obviously I broke tradition in every way, but my daughters would thank me if I ever told them what names they "should" have had. My son, followed the tradition of my husband's culture which just happens to match my own.
What about you? Does your culture have a naming pattern or tradition?
Family History Tip: Names are almost always significant the farther you search in your tree. Keeping worksheets is of utmost importance because you may come across several people with the same first and last name hundreds of years apart. Worksheets help contain the confusion.