Behind the Name: Marshall Alexander

In honor of Marshall’s fifth birthday, we will be doing a special post (or two) everyday for the week leading up to his big day!  To kick it off, here is the story behind his name.

As I mentioned in Violet’s name post, Brad and I take naming our children very seriously.  We want them to hear their name and know we gave it to them out of love and with thought behind it.  We take into consideration: how easily recognizable and spelled the name is to those unfamiliar with our family (school staff, hospitals, etc), how the name ages- what is adorable for a 3 year old might not be the best for a forty year old in a professional environment, and how the name will be received on job applications and resumes.  Studies show that names have a pretty big impact on a person’s life- so yea, no pressure!

With Marshall, we actually always thought we were going to use a different name for our first son.  In my family, juniors are a pretty big deal.  Every paternal uncle, by blood, (and I have 8 of them) has a son named after them.  So I thought we would continue the old school Italian Catholic tradition and have a Bradley Paul Dingman II.  Brad didn’t like the idea, he said he would feel bad if we had more than one son; he worried that the other would feel like the Jr was favored.  So we settled on a happy medium and decided we would use Brady Paul.  Still in honor of Brad, but just slightly different.  This was well before we even dreamed of getting pregnant.

Eventually, we got pregnant and the night before my 20 week anatomy scan- when we would officially find out gender- Brad called me from work.  “This isn’t Brady.” He told me.  I was confused, as I had a very strong sense this was a boy, “do you think the baby is a girl?” I asked. “No,” he said with all the confidence in the world, “this is Marshall.”

I have mentioned time and time again that Brad and I are planners, and this pretty well displays that.  See, back when we decided we would use Brady Paul, we also came up with several names for each gender.  Names we loved for different reasons and with various meanings to us. We carefully picked names and chose an order to use them.  Marshall Alexander was originally supposed to be used for (if we ever had) a second son.  Now our plans changed, because Brad could just feel that the baby I was carrying was not Brady, but was in fact Marshall.

We chose Marshall because it is an all around pretty amazing name.  It peaked in popularity in the 1860’s, since then it has been recognizable but underused.  It has a strong masculine quality that is fitting in a variety of professional settings while slightly setting him apart.  I love the history of it, in the southern United States it is sort of seen as a “grandpa” name, very old school like Henry.  I adore that.

Marshall means caretaker of horses and it is quite fitting for him.  He’s constantly trying to take care of and corral everyone, even those much bigger than himself.  He’s gentle yet strong and can handle any obstacle put before him.  The name is also of French origin, like Violet’s.  It seems Brad and I are both very much drawn to French names and culture.

His middle name, Alexander, is for Alexander of Macedonia arguably one of the savviest world leaders in history.  At the time it seemed that Michael, John, Mathew, and Paul were pretty popular middle names.  Alexander seemed like a breath of fresh air.  Humorously, it seems like many moms thought that around that particular time because now Alexander is one of the most common middle names for Marshall’s age group, ha!  I still love it, we gave it to him in hopes to inspire leadership and adventure, not just as a unique filler.  And how beautiful does Marshall Alexander sound?  Come on!

Marshall, you have received so many compliments on your name over the years.  I hope you hear your name and know that you are loved.  I hope you hear it and know that from even before birth, you taught us that our plans aren’t one-size fits all.  Your dad was incredibly right, you aren’t Brady.  You are your own amazing person.  You are Marshall.


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