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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Baby Boy Martel

Elise writes:
I'm due in December with my third child, a boy. My husband and I both have French heritage, so we're looking for French names that are also used in America. Our last name is Martel (prn. mar-TEL.) We'd like our son's name to fit with our daughters, Adeline Claire (5) and Vivienne Audrey (3).

So far, our top names are Oliver, Chandler and Sebastien. My husband likes Benjamin and Nicolas, but they're both very common where we live, so I'm hesitant to use them. My favorite is Oliver. I love the way it sounds! Charles will most likely be the middle name, after my father.

Please help us out with suggestions - boys names are so hard! I don't want anything too popular, and it should be easy to pronounce. Thank you!

Oh, I just LOVE the name Oliver. LOVE it. I've said this before, I know, but when I was pregnant with Henry, Oliver was my first choice and also Paul's---but unfortunately we have a cat named Oliver. I asked Paul if we could name the baby Oliver if the cat died before the baby was born, and he said yes. Then we both looked at the cat in an evaluating manner.

So anyway, my vote is already for Oliver. I love it: Oliver Martel. Oliver Charles Martel. Adeline, Vivienne, and Oliver. I don't know if anything could be better.

In fact, I find I can't even concentrate on looking for more options. I turned to the French Names section of The Baby Name Wizard and I tried REALLY HARD to make a list. There are some good names there: Hugo, Jerome, Luc, Xavier. But I am sold on Oliver.

Let's put the vote to a less-biased audience. I'll add a few names to your list and put a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see below.]

[Poll results (228 votes total):
Oliver: 147 votes, roughly 64%
Chandler: 8 votes, roughly 4%
Sebastien: 46 votes, roughly 20%
Hugo: 8 votes, roughly 4%
Jerome: 3 votes, roughly 1%
Luc: 11 votes, roughly 5%
Xavier: 5 votes, roughly 2%]

Update 01-03-2009! Elise writes:
Oliver Charles Martel came into the world on December 20, 2008. Our family is so thankful for our little Christmas baby. :) Thank you so much for helping us pick the perfect name!


Jenni said...

I'm in favor of Sebastian. When you put it together: Sebastian Charles Martel it's a pleasant. Like you can't get past Oliver, I really can't get past Sebastian.

Linda said...

There's an Oliver in my kids class at school and I LOVE saying it. "Hey, there's OLIVER!" I announce. It's a great name.

This Oliver does have the nickname Ollie, just FYI. When I was naming my kids, I eliminated names where I didn't like the natural nickname that might evolve. As we've discussed here before, nicknaming without permission tends to be an older generation thing. With all the Elizabeths and Benjamins out there, I don't think most people will automatically shorten to Ollie unless you encourage it.

Verity said...

I have a soft spot for Hugo, but in this case, I agree with Swistle - Oliver Charles Martel is perfection!

Caroline said...

Just wanted to mention that Oliver in French would be spelled Olivier. Beaig french, Oliver strikes me as an English name! I do love it though.
Sebastian is Sebastien in french.

Oh, and I don't know if it matters to you or not, but Luc and Xavier sound very 70's and Benjamin and Nicolas 80's...If someone I know named their baby Luc now I would find it a bit odd, to be honest, since they are more names of the parents' generation. (in a french context of course!)
Hugo is popular now for little boys.

Catherine said...

I voted Oliver - I think it flows very nicely and works with the other names (last name and sibling names). I also love some of the other choices - Sebastian, Nicholas and Benjamin especially. Too bad you can only pick one!

Swistle said...

Oh Caroline! How useful! An inside source! What are some of the names that are currently popular in France?

The Schwant Family said...


i like charles oliver better than oliver charles but i think it works either way and you just can't go wrong with Oliver!

Elise said...

Thanks for the comments!

Yes, I'm aware that Olivier is technically the French spelling and Oliver is technically the English spelling. We figure it's close enough - we just want a name that's useable in both languages, even if it's not entirely correct.

Between the time I submitted my request to Swistle and the time it's appearing now, DH has started to slowly come to like Oliver. Yay! :) I'll keep you updated - the baby will be here soon!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I have voted for Oliver as well. I really like it.

Kirsty said...

I'm not French, but I've lived in France for 16 years... Popular boys' names here are Hugo, Théo, Léo, Enzo (can you see a pattern forming here?), Thomas, Tom... There also seem to be a lot of Mathéo, Mathis (with all different kinds of spelling), Arthur...

I agree with Caroline that Luc, Xavier and Nicolas are kind of old-fashioned, but recent old-fashioned (so not yet coming back into fashion, if you see what I mean).

Hope this helps!

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

I like Oliver a lot, but I love the way Sebastian flows with his sister's names...with that common "n" sound at the end. :)

Laura said...

Love Oliver. Hugo is good with Martel, too. An alternative might be Andre.

Jan said...

Oliver is a great name - becoming popular though in certain circles!

Mairzy said...

Charles Martel made me smile, because wasn't that the great Frankish king? Do I have my country right? And do I remember anything about him except the name, which mean "the Hammer"? No.

Oliver is a good name. It isn't one that excites me unduly, but obviously I'm a minority. :)