What’s in a Name?

My Rhody Blogger friend, Carla, over at AllofMeNow.com had a fun writing prompt this week about names and I decided to join in on the fun:

Prompt #1: How did you get your name? Did you always love it? Have you ever wanted to change it?

I’m lucky enough to have my Mom sitting next to me for this first prompt. Apparently, she chose my name because I was the wrong sex and she needed to come up with a name before she left the hospital. She thought I was going to be a boy (never had an ultrasound) and I was supposed to be “Jonathan Howard” (after my grandpa who Jackson ended up being named after). My Mom’s name is Joann, hers is Joan, so I guess the next logical move was adding an “a” to Joann.

Once I was born, a girl, she wrote down some name options on a hospital napkin. Joanna. JoAnna. Johanna. She finally settled on Joanna and when they asked for a middle name, she called my paternal grandmother who informed her that her middle name was Lee. On that September day, I became Joanna Lee.

I’ve always liked my name but I did get bummed when I wanted personalized pens/placemats/you name it and they only had “Joanne.” I don’t think it was an adult until I really appreciated it. I love feeling close to my Mom and Gaga with our similar names. I actually tried very hard for Sidney Ann to be Sidney Joan but my husband said no. I’ve never wanted to change it, but my last name did change in elementary school when I was legally adopted by my Mom’s husband. My initials stayed the same though: JLD to JLD.

I’d love to read how you got your name, leave a comment with your story or link up over at Carla’s!


  1. says

    I think it’s so cool that you and your mom and grandmother all have variations of almost the same name. Not many people can say that. Of course, Chad will always call you “Stepka” or “JoHonna” so there’s a couple more names you can throw into the mix. :) Maybe I’ll start calling you Jonathan. 😉

  2. says

    I was going to be either Erin or Aaron if I was a girl or a boy. I’ll have to ask my mom how I got my middle name. My husband’s family has been swapping the first and middle names of their boys for 4 generations, so his name was “easy.” My girls each have a nod to one of us in their middle names, but their first names were chosen for them. The oldest, based off the nickname we wanted her to have (the hubs and I don’t have “real” nicknames) and the youngest my mom named long before she arrived just making random combinations with our already chosen middle name.

  3. says

    I love that your name is an extension of your mom and grandmas name. I am a sap for sentimental family stuff. I always hated that I couldn’t find anything with my name on it either. The stupid thing is, I always looked anyway!

  4. says

    I have to echo what others are saying in that I absolutely love the progression of your name from your grandmother to you! That is so special. And while I love Sydney Ann, Sydney Joan is also a beautiful name – silly Greg!

  5. says

    I love that your mother was there as you wrote your post. And the story behind your name is so sweet. I love that she first thought you were going to be a Jonathan, I can just picture that little scribbled on napkin as she tried to find a name for her new baby girl.

  6. says

    I love how you kept the names in the family. I was supposed to be Ryan as a boy…and I remember wishing in highschool that she had stuck with Ryan as a girls name.

  7. says

    I love this, and just reading your opening brought tears to my eyes.
    My baby brother died in infancy. His name was “Jonathan”. When I was being confirmed and had to pick a name, I chose “Joanna” to honor him. I love your name and all the meaning it holds, personally, for me…. as Michelle (not really Chelley) Kathryn Joanna Worth Martinka.