I asked my parents this question a few years ago and was stunned with the response they gave me. The M-E-L of Melissa stands for the female side of my family. M is for Mary my maternal grandmother, E is for Eileen my mom and the L is forLenamy paternal grandmother. My middle name is Dawn, the D-A-W stands for the male side of my family. D is for David my dad, A is for Albert my maternal grandfather and W is for Walter my paternal grandfather. What an interesting and fun way for me to carry my family tree with me each and every day.