Our baby name dilemma is choosing a name for a second daughter. I feel like we either used or rejected all our potential names girls’ names for our first daughter and now we can’t find anything we like for number two. Our surname is Cheng and as our future daughter would be of Chinese ethnicity it would be good if the name wasn’t overtly connected with a particular country (ie. not distinctly Irish, Russian etc) although it’s fine if it’s a name that has crossed over into regular English use. Our first daughter’s name is Gabriella Grace and it would be good to have a name with a similar feel (but not matching). If it’s a boy we are thinking of Ethan which we think goes pretty well with Gabriella. We are not planning on using any family names this time around as we already used Grace (my MIL’s name) and while everyone else seems to have Emilys and Williams in their family tree, mine reads like a list of the worst names in history (seriously – Maureen, Frank, Mildred, Doris, Arthur, Edith, Norman – Urgh!)
We tend to like classic names and biblical names. Actually, that’s not entirely true – I tend to like names that are a bit more unusual (Willow, Autumn, Bliss, Keiko) and my husband likes any girl’s name that was in the top 50 twenty years ago (Jennifer, Sarah, Rachel) but classic and biblical names tend to be where we find the most agreement (hence – Gabriella Grace).
Some of the names that we like but have rejected are:
- Emily (Beautiful but WAY too common)
- Isabelle (Beautiful but WAY too common and too matchy with Gabriella)
- Alexandria/Alexandra (Great name but I couldn’t live with her forever being called “Alex”)
- Annastasia (Great name but I couldn’t live with her forever being called “Anna” or “Annie”)
- Cassandra (I like it but my husband hates it)
Other names that we couldn’t do:
Olivia/Sophie/Hannah/Lily/Rosie/Ruby/Caroline/Ellen/Audrey (We have close friends/family who have already used these names)
The one name we are still considering is Taya (a diminutive of Dorothy) which we both like but my concern is that it sounds too modern to go with Gabriella (and a possible future Ethan) and that it is one of those fad names (along with Mia/Maya/Mya/Tia/Kaia) that in 20 years time is going to sound horrendously dated.
Can you help us? I am terrified this child will come along and we will end up naming her something that we don’t like that much just because we don’t have anything better. We are adopting so I can’t give you a due date but we are hoping it will be some time this year.
I see you don't like nicknames (no Alex, no Annie), and the good news is that the trends are fully on your side. When I was growing up, I had a friend named Elizabeth who had a TERRIBLE TIME trying to make people call her Elizabeth---and furthermore, I remember people being annoyed that she was trying, like she was being pretentious or something. But now, there have been three Elizabeths in my kids' classes, and all three went by Elizabeth without anyone blinking an eye. In fact, you'd be in more trouble if you WANTED to call an Elizabeth "Liz" or a James "Jim."
On the other hand, I'm totally with you about not wanting to take the chance. My daughter's pseudonym is Elizabeth, and one of the only reasons it's not her real name is that I was nervous about nicknames---not so much about nicknames other people might give her (I was planning to use soft words and a big stick to talk them out of it), but about nicknames she might give to herself. So for now, let's look mostly at names that don't BEG for nicknames: we'll take out Annastasia/Annie, Cassandra/Cassie, Isabelle/Bella, and Alexandria/Alex.
No, wait. I'm putting Annastasia back in, but I'm spelling it the traditional way: Anastasia. I think the double N invites the nickname Annie, but that with a single N it's less of an obvious leap. Plus, I love the name, I love it with your surname, and I think it's great with Gabriella.
I'm not familiar with Taya as a short form of Dorothy, and I don't see it in the Oxford Dictionary of First Names. But in any case, I don't think it's good with Gabriella or with your surname.
Emily is, as you say, very common (it's been the #1 most popular girl name in the U.S. since 1996, according to the Social Security Administration). Although, a funny thing about that: there hasn't been a single Emily in all my kids' classes so far (that's 9 classes including preschool). There have been multiple Isabellas, Abigails, Emmas, and Noahs, but not a single Emily. So if you love the name, it's worth looking into whether it's as popular in your area as it is in mine---which is to say, hardly popular at all. It's a great name, which is why it's so popular, and it's great with your surname.
Perhaps not as great with Gabriella. Emily is a feminine name, but Gabriella is practically festooned with lace and roses. I, too, am a fan of extra-feminine names (I have one girl and four boys, and my one girl has the most feminine name I could find). I'd consider Clarissa: it's one of my top favorites, it's great with your surname, and it's good with Gabriella.
And speaking of being good with Gabriella, let's see what The Baby Name Wizard thinks would be good sister names. "Gabriella" isn't listed, but the sister names for Gabriela are Daniela, Natalia, Angelica, Mariana, Iliana; and the sister names for Gabrielle are Alexandra, Brooke, Natalie, Noelle, and Jocelyn.
Any of those appeal? I could go for Angelica (Anjelica Huston is a bitchin' namesake and argues for the spelling Anjelica), Iliana, or Noelle.
Can anyone else think of a suggestion? Leave it in the comment section,
Anastasia: 17 votes, roughly 27%
Clarissa: 6 votes, roughly 10%
Angelica/Anjelica: 12 votes, roughly 19%
Iliana/Eliana: 10 votes, roughly 16%
Noelle: 18 votes, roughly 29%
Also 14 write-in votes for the name Claudia. That puts Claudia up there between Anjelica and Anastasia in popularity with the voters.]