I have a baby girl name I have been in love with for years. Whenever I think of my future daughter (no kids yet, but soon hopefully) I think of her as "the name I love". The first name is a name I think is perfect and sweet and the middle name was my grandmother's middle name. I have told some people about my love for this name, but not everyone.
This last Summer my cousin had a baby girl, and used my name! First and middle! It was absolutely a coincidence (the first name is actually a family name for my cousin's wife, whereas I just like it and the middle name was his grandmother's middle name as well). My question is, can I still use the name? If I use the first name and not the middle name does that make it any better?
I feel weirdly protective of the first name, but the middle name is Mae. If we scrap the first name (which will break my heart a bit) do you have any names that work well with Mae? I like unique names (can't be in the top 200 baby names in the social security site at minimum) and I really like old fashion names like Violet and Ruby, but my husband likes slightly more traditional names. So we're looking for unusual but not weird, sweet sounding girl names that work with Mae as a middle name. Our last name starts with C.
What if you said something to your cousin such as, "Girl Child's name is, by crazy coincidence, the very name I had in mind for my daughter. First AND middle!" and then maybe you could see where the conversation went. I'd try early on to steer the conversation in the direction of "If I did have a daughter, how would we nickname them to tell them apart?" as opposed to in the direction of "You own this name and I can't use it without your blessing." (Because they really don't own it: names are not single-use items, and they probably weren't the first ones to use it either.)
It's possible they'll be like, "Oh, cool!" and then you can use the name without further worry. Or in any case, you'd come out of the conversation with a better idea of how cheesed off they'd be if you used it, and they'd have a heads-up that it was a possibility.
If you do use The Name You Love, I do think it makes things a little easier if you don't also duplicate the middle name. Perhaps you could use the first name, and reserve the middle name Mae for a possible second daughter?
If you choose instead to give up The Name You Love, Mae is a nice flexible middle name. I think you could make a list of girl names you liked, and then just go down the list and see which ones sound good with Mae. I spent a few minutes picking names and trying them out, and I notice that names with more than one syllable sound especially good: Josie Mae, Priscilla Mae, Alice Mae, Laurel Mae, Francesca Mae, Penelope Mae, Rosemary Mae. As long as your last name doesn't create a Sentence Problem (with Mae sounding like "may"), you're all set. Oh, and I'd avoid month names such as April Mae.
If you decided for sure not to use it, you could write again---telling us The Name You Love---and we'll try to find names we think are similar.
If anyone has any advice and/or experience on duplicating names within a family, we'd love to hear it---especially if someone in your family successfully (i.e., no bloodshed or possessive feud) duplicated a name. Or answer this: If your cousin wanted to use the same name you'd given your child, what would be the best way for your cousin to handle it?