Hi Jennifer,
My husband and I are expecting our first child in a few weeks and we do not know if we are having a boy or girl.  We have been set on a boy’s name for more than two years, and it is actually my great-grandfather’s name, and I love it.
My husband’s distant cousin who lives one state away just had a baby this week and gave their son the same name.  Also, unfortunately, this child shares the same last name as ours.  I feel very heartbroken over this and hate to pick another name as we have become so attached to this one.  I have never met this cousin and my husband has only met him a couple of times in his childhood.  Would it be poor etiquette to keep the same name or should we think of an alternative?
Thank you for your help!
Dear Jessica,
It’s one thing to have a close family member snipe a name (especially if you share a surname)!  That is inexcusable. But I don’t see a distant family member being that much of an issue.
My advice on name sniping:

* If the two children will not be in close proximity, i.e. not live in the same community, not share schools or friends–then it’s not an issue.

* If the two children do not share the same surname, then it’s not an issue.

* If you had made clear your baby name choice and a close relative uses it before you–close meaning a sibling or next-door cousin–then they’re just jerks! Stick to your guns and use it, anyway, following the two points above.

So, yes, stop being heartbroken and use your intended name!  I’m happy to hear from others who have actually gone through this with their relatives or BFFs.



Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.