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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Baby Girl ___ Ann Hall

LOTS of submissions coming in, YAY! My plan is to use submissions roughly in order of Baby Imminence. If they keep coming in, that may mean soon we'll be prioritizing "women in labor" submissions, but let's not count babies before they hatch.

Today's baby-naming challenge is from Melissa, who writes:

I e-mailed you...oh, maybe back in August wondering if I was pregnant (and you thought I was)...and I WAS/AM so now comes the fun part. Baby girl is due at the end of April and my husband and I are still trying to pin down a name. Our son is Owen Martell (same middle name as my husband's) and so we already decided if we ever had a girl that her middle name would be Ann (same as mine). Our last name is extremely dull...Hall...and presents the challenge of everything sounding like a dorm on a college campus somewhere.

We have some ideas but I want to see what you come up with first:) Thanks!

First, can we all take a moment to appreciate Swistle's astonishing powers? I knew Melissa was pregnant FROM ACROSS THE INTERNET!

This is a fun naming situation to tackle, because we have so much information to work with: we have a middle name, a last name, and a sibling name.

Let's start where I always start, which is seeing what The Baby Name Wizard suggests as sister names for the name Owen: Ava, Lily, Isabel, Maya, Emma.

Pretty! And certainly those are good starting points. Consider:

Ava Ann Hall (AAH)
Lily Ann Hall (LAH)
Isabel Ann Hall (IAH)
Maya Ann Hall (MAH)
Emma Ann Hall (EAH)

Of those five, my favorites are Lily Ann Hall and Isabel Ann Hall. Add to Owen: Owen and Lily. Owen and Isabel. Yes, I'd say those pass the sibling name test.

I consulted with my friend Mairzy, and she says:
You'd think that with ordinary names like Ann and Hall, this one would be a breeze. As it was, I had to search quite a while to come up with ones I thought would work. I never realized how many names end in A, which doesn't work with Ann.


My favorite of the lineup is Molly.

Molly Ann Hall (MAH). Owen and Molly. Nice! I like it!

I also like to consult The Social Security Baby Name Site, to look at names that are of comparable popularity to the names already used by the family. The name Owen has been climbing steadily:

1992: #476
1997: #224
2002: #94
2006 (the 2007 data won't be out until May): #58.

Let's look at 2006, when it was #58. The girl names in that same popularity range are Zoe, Riley, Sofia, Maya, Kimberly, Andrea, Megan, Katelyn, and Gabrielle.
  • I think "Owen and Zoe" has too much O-sound.
  • I think of the name Riley as a boy's name even though I realize it's for boys or girls, and I don't like it with Ann: too much like Raggedy Ann.
  • I'm a fan of the name Sofia (of that spelling particularly), and unlike the Owen-and-Zoe combination, I think Owen and Sofia has a good level of O-sound.
  • Let's leave aside Maya, since we already considered it in the Baby Name Wizard section.
  • I'd like to eliminate Kimberly, Andrea, Megan, Katelyn, and Gabrielle: Kimberly is from the Moms generation (MY age); Andrea is from the kids-I-babysat generation; Megan is from the 1990s; Katelyn is such a perfect name, the number of girls with one spelling or another of it is legion; and I haven't liked the name Gabrielle since a co-worker of mine bragged incessantly about her "amazing" daughter GOB-briella, saying the name every single time in a reverent tone of voice usually reserved for referring to deities.
For me, the stand-out from the SSA's site research is Sofia. Sofia Ann Hall (SAH). Sofia Hall. Owen and Sofia. That's my pick.

Vote in the poll over to the right [poll closed; see below], and/or leave your suggestions in the comments.

[Poll results:
Lily: 27 votes, roughly 38%
Isabel: 6 votes, roughly 8%
Molly: 14 votes, roughly 20%
Sofia: 19 votes, roughly 27%
none of these: 5 votes, roughly 7%]

Edit: There is a general feeling in the comment section that with a surname such as Hall, the first name should be more unusual. Generally, I agree: a simpler surname can handle a more complicated first name. But I noticed, when I was looking through names, that the more unusual names enhanced the "college dorm" feeling: Lisandra Hall, for example, or Geneva Hall. Both sound EXACTLY like dorms.

Still, there is a middle ground: more unusual than Sofia and Lily, but not quite as dormy as Lisandra and Geneva. How about some of these?

Cecily Ann Hall (CAH)
Eliza Ann Hall (EAH)
Josephine Ann Hall (JAH)
Rosemary Ann Hall (RAH)
Constance Ann Hall (CAH)
Cordelia Ann Hall (CAH)
Genevieve Ann Hall (GAH)
Ruby Ann Hall (RAH)
Penelope Ann Hall (PAH)
Margaret Ann Hall (MAH)

[Update from Melissa!
Although we didn't end up going with any of your suggestions (I think we already had our name in our mind), it was great to hear all of the ideas.

Our daughter is Delaney Ann Hall yes, "Delaney Hall" sounds like a dorm somewhere but we wanted something unusual to balance out our last name Hall and we liked it with our son's name, Owen.



Susan said...

I vote for "Sophia Ann Hall." I agree that level of "O" sound is just right in "Owen and Sophia" (even though "Owen and Zoe" have too much "O" -- I'm not sure why). In fact, as soon as I read "Owen and Sophia," I thought "That's IT!" I think the two names sound GREAT together. Mairzy feels that names ending in A don't work with "Ann," and I respect Mairzy's opinion on names enough that I would hesitate to disagree with her, but ... it does seem like "Sophia Ann" works. I will say that SOME "A-ending" names sound better with Ann than others. For example, "Ava Ann" sounds good, but "Maya Ann" tangles up the back of my tongue a bit.

Maggie said...

I also agree that I am a fan of Sophia Ann. However I also like Maura, Michaela, Sarah, and Olivia with Ann (and coupled with Owen).

Swistle said...

Sofia-with-an-f is the only spelling I like. But I reluctantly agree that there is an argument to be made for "Sophia" being "the same name." It's a Jeffrey/Geoffrey to me.

Mairzy said...

Hm, I noticed that I said that A names were out, but then I included Christina. I guess the longer name lets it flow more smoothly.

I instead should say that "MANY ending-in-A names don't work." Of the exceptions mentioned, Sarah and Olivia work well. Sorry, Swistle... I find "Sofia Ann" an awkward rhythm. But how often do we throw in our middle names in life? Sofia Hall is a great name. Almost as good as Molly Hall.

LoriD said...

I'm more a Sofie than a Sofia fan, but both are very popular around here (I personally know 4 baby Sofie/Sofia's). With a surname like Hall, I would avoid something so popular. In fact, I think the very plain last name gives you license to go a little more out there with the first name. Some suggestions:

Georgia Ann Hall
Scarlet Ann Hall
Marley Ann Hall
Callie Ann Hall

JMC said...

I was going to say that I liked Lily Ann, but then I read it to myself and it's too much like Lillian (which is a nice name, but not for the middle name Ann).

I like the suggestion that maggie made of Olivia Ann. My only reservation on that is if there is a third child in the future, would they feel tied into another "O" name?

Mommy Daisy said...

I vote for 1)Lily 2)Maya 3)Sofia or maybe Sofie. Good luck, Amy, and congrats.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte Ann Hall (CAH)

Charlotte Hall.

Owen and Charlotte.


I find that I desperately need names to balance out--a very succinct last name requires a longer or more elaborate first name, and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I agree with looking for more unusual names for the last name Hall. I like Lorid's idea of Marley.

Quart said...

This blog is fantastic!! I have to chime in here, though, and say that there are WAY too many Sofia/Sophia/Sofie/Sophies out there. I have friends who regret naming their daughter Sofia a few years back because there are, like, 6 Sofias in her class now. I LOVE the name Molly but think "Molly Hall" is too rhymey. I've always liked "Genevieve." It's unusual but everyone's heard of it . . .

fairydogmother said...

Ooh, Eliza Ann Hall jumped out at me. I love it!

-R- said...

What about Rebecca? I also like Emma, Ruby, Sophia, ok I like pretty much all these names.

sally&jamie said...

Before I was married, my name was Sally Anna Hall. I always loved it and I only ever met two other Sally's my age. Also, Sally Hall doesn't sound like a dorm. Since I'm not Sally Hall anymore, I give you permission to use my name if you want. :)

Five Froggies said...

I think the double Ls in Sally and Molly are too matchy with the double Ls in Hall.

I like Rachel, Layla, Whitney, & Abby (although not as great with Ann, but you could do Abigail with a nickname Abby)

The chance of actually using a middle name frequently is low, so I like that it sounds well, but it doesn't have to be as big a factor as the first and last name to me, and blending with Owen.

I love Sophia, but it is definately being used a lot.

Luna said...

I'm with Anonymous (1st). Short surnames go well with longer first names. Charlotte is lovely, Madeleine or Catherine might also work.

samantha jo campen said...

Molly Hall sounds like Monty Hall to me, so that's a no in my book. I voted for Lily.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Lily Ann. Owen and Lily sounds great to me. Olivia Ann is quite pretty as well. May I also suggest:

Elizabeth Ann Hall
Emily Ann Hall
Audrey Ann Hall
Alexis Ann Hall
Bailey Ann Hall
Carrie Ann Hall
Valerie Ann Hall

Melissa said...

Wow! Thanks for all of your great suggestions guys!

My thoughts: Sorry to say that Sofia/Sophia is out (I'm a teacher and there are way too many in the school this year). Molly is out (for the Monty Hall reason & a close friend's daughter named Molly) and we considered Olivia but then we would have two O's (Owen & Olivia) and I'm not sure that's what we want.

We'll keep you posted as we consider the other suggestions. Keep them coming! Thanks Swistle!!

Anonymous said...

I like the name Cynthia. It's not a real common name and I think Cynthia Ann Hall flows well.

Bethany said...

My vote goes for Molly Ann. I think it sounds wonderful with Owen and flows well. Others I thought of:

Maggie Ann
Bethany Ann
Kirstin Ann
Chloe Ann
Lydia Ann
Natalie Ann
Rachael Ann

desperate housewife said...

I read the edit list of middle ground names and am going to have to vote for Cecily. I've always loved that name.

may said...

Yes, I LOVE Cecily. It was in my Top Girl Name List in case we had a girl 9 months ago, but we had a boy. That's probably good, since my husband hated the name Cecily and really wanted Mary. Mary???

My cousin's last name is Hall and her two girls are Anna and Ava. For what it's worth.

I know someone who just named their baby Juliette - what do you think? Juliette Ann isn't my favorite, but I like Owen and Juliette. Juliette Hall. Doesn't sound like a dorm, anyway. Good luck!

Melissa H said...

i vote for Katherine. Katie for short? Katie Hall? Katherine Hall? I'm not a Kathy fan but Katherine is lovely and sounds nice will Hall (as a previous poster suggested)

Also, since my name is Melissa, Swistle, will you email me when I am pregnant?? Would save me the cost of a test ;)

Magpie said...


But I'm a sucker for Shakespeare.

Anonymous said...

This name isn't for everybody, but I know a girl named "Ryan Ann" and just thought I'd put it out there. It's unique for sure.