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Naming Children in Middle-Class Families

Alice S. Rossi
American Sociological Review
Vol. 30, No. 4 (Aug., 1965), pp. 499-513
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2091340
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Naming Children in Middle-Class Families
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Abstract

Data on the relatives children were named after are analyzed as an empirical index to the subjectively salient inner core of kin in a sample of 347 urban middle-class mothers. Kin are the major source of the personal names chosen for the 951 children of these women. Boys are more apt to be named for kin than girls, and kin-naming declines sharply and uniformly with each higher order of birth. The kin for whom children were named consist largely of consanguineal lineal kin, one or two generations removed from the child. Analysis shows a trend over the past 40 years away from naming sons for their paternal kin and daughters for their maternal kin, suggesting that while a structural symmetry has long existed between the nuclear family's two families of origin, an affective social symmetry between them is only now in the making.

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