Liz not Lizzy

My name is Elizabeth Anne Semeraro.

But I prefer Liz.  Up until high school, I was Lizzy (with a Y- not like Lizzie Macguire, although that’s what my elementary school bus driver used to call me).  My best friends growing up had no trouble making the switch to Liz, but their parents, on the other hand, still call me Lizzy.  Sometimes, when I first meet someone for professional reasons, I’ll introduce myself as Elizabeth.  But I quickly switch to Liz; Elizabeth just feels to formal. For my family, however, I am and always will be Elizabeth.  My mom always likes to remind me, “I did not name my daughter Lizzy!”

Both of my grandmother’s were named Elizabeth, and both women went by Betty their entire adult lives.  It was my maternal grandmother’s aunt, who was also Elizabeth, who went by Lizzie.  But I am truly named for my father’s mother, who is also Elizabeth Anne Semeraro.  Coincidentally, her birthday is Dec 17, and mine is the  Dec 18.  For years, I lived with my grandmother, who had no trouble opening up my mail because we shared the same name and address.   (This was only kind of annoying during the college application process).

My grandmother likes to remind my siblings and I that we have Good Catholic Names.  Because of the Elizabeth theme for my parents, it was no problem for my parents to decide that that their prefered girl name would be Elizabeth.  On my father’s side of the family, the first born son is named after his grandfather.  My grandfather’s name was Anthony, and so my brother is also Anthony.  And he’ll have to name his first son after my father, Victor.  (It’s a little strange to realize that my dad named his first two kids after both his parents.)  If I turned out to be a boy, I would have been Anthony.   My mom actually had a lot more fun picking out my youngest sister’s name, Christina, because there wasn’t any obligations attached to it; she just liked the name.

My namesake and me






7 thoughts on “Liz not Lizzy”

  1. It’s always interesting to hear about families who pass names down from generation to generation. Did this start with your grandparents or was it even further up in the family tree? Is it something you or your brother plan on doing someday?


    1. It’s a tradition that has gone on for generations and it will definitely continue. It puts a lot of pressure on my brother to have a son, but hopefully he can honor the tradition


  2. Pretty cool how your grandmother share the same name and such close birthdays! What do you think of the tradition of passing down the names? Personally, I think its pretty cool. Will you carry on the tradition or no?


  3. Family names are fun to trace. My name Charles has been handed down since 1832. They are a way to honor a loved one and those who came before us. I also have had to put up with many different nick names.


  4. I am right with you about the name shortening. To my Nonno, maternal grandfather, I will always be Katharine. To my parents, Kate. To my brothers, Kate or Katie. However, if someone outside of my family or that knew me before the age of 5 calls me “Katie” I usually won’t respond. It’s funny how the nicknames we choose change with time. Is there a specific reason you chose your spelling of “-y” instead of “-ie” for Lizzy?


  5. I have a similar “issue” of being called one name (Thomas) by a group of people, and then another name (Tom) by a different group of people. To be honest, it can be confusing sometimes. Also, on my mom’s side of the family, the first born son is always named after the grandfather as well.


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