What Do You Call Your Grandparents?



Family tree templates often have spaces reserved for Grandmother and Grandfather. Genealogists can quickly figure out which relative’s name to add in those spaces – even if the genealogist uses different words for their own grandparents. Your heritage and culture can determine what you call your grandparents.

Grandparents.com put together a list of the names children call their grandparents. The country your family came from before immigrating to the United States influences the name your family uses for grandmother and grandfather.

In Italy, children call their grandmother Nonna and their grandfather Nonno. An Italian tradition is for parents to name their first born son after his paternal grandfather. The second born son is named after his maternal grandfather. The first born daughter is named after her paternal grandmother. The second born daughter is named after her maternal grandmother.

In Japan, children call their grandmother Oba-chan or Sobo. Children call their grandfather Ojiisan, or Sofu. In traditional Japanese familial structure, the eldest son is the heir to the family. This means once his parents become too old to live alone, they will move in with their first-born son and his family to be taken care of.

Southern Living posted an article about their favorite Southern Grandma names. Some of those names include: Gaga, GamGam, Gamma, Gammie, Gigi, Grammy, Gran, Grandma, Grandmama, Grannie, Mawmaw, Memaw, Nana, Nannie, Nene, Noni, Oma, and Yaya.

The Spruce reported that the Gaelic word for grandmother is seanmháthair. In English, it means “old mother”. The Gaelic word is also spelled as seanmhair, seanmathair and sean mathair. That being said, most Irish children don’t use those words as a name for their grandmothers. They use Granny, Grandma, or Nana (which is sometimes spelled Nanna).

Children in Ireland are often named after a grandparent. The family matriarch (usually a grandmother) has a great deal of authority and influence. She becomes the “kin-keeper”, coordinating communication between family member sand arranging family gatherings.

The Spruce also reported that the Gaelic word for grandfather is seanáthair, which literally means “old father.” Children don’t usually use that name for their grandfather. They call him daideó or móraí instead.

The Spanish word for grandmother is abuela. Children will sometimes use that word, or might choose abuelita instead. Or, they could shorten it to bela, ita, or aba. The Spanish word for grandfather is abuelo. Children might use that world or abuelito. Or, they could shorten it to belo, or lito.

Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:

* National Grandparent’s Day

* Your Great Grandparents Did ‘What’?

* Your Great Grandparents were People, Too

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