APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-02 > 1203809603
From: Carolyn Ybarra <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Names for grandparents
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 15:33:23 -0800
What a pleasant lazy topic for a rainy Saturday! I feel like I'm
talking to you all on a front porch somewhere (not here, few people
have porches here in N. Calif.). I loved the "Eliza-buth-buth" story!
My family is pretty much all "Grandma" and "Grandpa," but definitely
pronounced "Gramma" and "Grampa." This is what I remember hearing in
most families in Michigan.
I called my paternal grandfather Grandpa. He was Mexican-American
(Texas). I called my maternal grandmother Grandma (she was 3rd gen.
Michigander, with a German mother). (And yes, the most common for
Spanish speakers is "Abuelita" and "Abuelito" which literally mean
"little grandma" or grandpa, but in usage mean "dear grandma" or
grandpa. "Abuela" and "Abuelo" are a little more formal.)
My niece and nephew (also Michigan, but maternal grandparents from
Kentucky) called their paternal grandparents "Big Grandpa" and "Big
Grandma," (but sometimes just Grandma and Grandpa), and their maternal
grandparents "Little Grandma" and "Little Grandpa." This was my
niece's innovation, and was based on stature...
My mother (4th generation Michigan) called her maternal and paternal
grandfathers both "Grandpa." (I just asked her.) Her maternal
grandfather immigrated from Germany at age 14, but used to say "we are
in America now, we speak English!"
My sister's children (Indiana) have a bunch of grandparents (like
Carolyn B's family) due to adoption, remarriage, etc. For some they
include the first name to differentiate: "Grandpa Joe." But when my
father (Texas/Michigan) passed away a couple years ago, one of them
said "who's going to be our Grandpa now?" They still had 3 living
My husband is Israeli, and it's all "Zafta" (Grandma) and "Zaba"
(Grandpa) on his side of the family.
Carolyn Ybarra, Ph.D
Family Research Services
1017 El Camino Real #332
Redwood City, CA 94063
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