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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Middle Name Challenge: Baby Girl Jenna ___

B. writes:
My husband and I are expecting our second daughter anytime on or around March 20th. We have basically chosen the name Jenna for this little girl, because it's the only thing we can agree on that we both actually like.

My question is about middle names. One of the middle names that we like is Elizabeth, but my first daughter's initials are also J.E. Is it a problem to have both girls have the exact same initials? The other thing is that my husband's older sister's name is Genevieve Elizabeth. Does Jenna Elizabeth sound way too close? Will my SIL think that I'm naming my child after her, even though I'm not? (My first daughter's middle name IS after MY sister. But I don't like my husband's sisters enough to name my kids after them.)

If you do think that Elizabeth is a no-no because of initials or similarity to my husband's sister, do you have any suggestions for middle names that sound good with Jenna? We don't really have any other options. We've talked about Noelle, but I decided I didn't really like it, and we've talked a little about Beth, since it's part of my name. But we've had a hard time coming up with something that we actually like. I tend to not like really girly/popular names (pretty much anything on the top 10 list except for Emily and Elizabeth).

I'm not sure what to do, so if you or your readers have any thoughts, I'd appreciate it!

If you were very keen on the name Elizabeth, I'd say that The Best Name trumps the initials problem. But since you sound "love but not IN love" about it, and since there's the additional sister-in-law-name problem, I say let's ditch the name Elizabeth and find you something else.

One post that might be helpful: a list of 4-syllable middle names to replace Elizabeth. Most of those either don't work with the name Jenna or else are too girly.

I also like 1-syllable middle names with the name Jenna: Jenna Fay, Jenna May, and Jenna Ruth are nice; Jenna Bess is similar to Jenna Beth; and if you like repeated-consonant sounds you might like Jenna Joy.

Other ideas:

Jenna Frances
Jenna Louise
Jenna Margaret
Jenna Meredith
Jenna Morgan
Jenna Peyton
Jenna Parker
Jenna Simone
Jenna Suzanne

The middle name slot is also a great place for any name that you didn't want to use as a first name for one reason or another: didn't work with your first child's name, a namesake name where you love the namesake but not so much the name, too out-there, too common, etc.

More suggestions for B.?


Carmen said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the name Jenna and would have used it for my daughter Alexa -- except that my husband really didn't like it. Sigh.

I have little advice for middle names - I cheated and used my middle name for my daughter's and my husband's middle name for my son's.

I like the sound of Jenna Simone, if I had to pick one of Swistle's excellent suggestions.

Taylor Rauschkolb said...

I like Jenna Kate, Jenna Grace, and Jenna Claire.

For a longer, more "Elizabeth" mn, what about Jenna Catherine or Jenna Caroline?

Lisa said...

First, I love the name Jenna. Love it! Here's a few middle names that I like and I think go with Jenna pretty well.

June (if you like that alliteration feel)

I think Elizabeth is great, too. Would you feel stuck if you had a 3rd daughter to give her J.E. initials also? Or son? Something to think about there.

Anonymous said...

I think Elizabeth is beautiful, and I wouldn't worry about Jenna's name being similar to her aunt's. I'm biased though - I have a large extended family and there are many instances of middle names, first names, and even close-to-first names plus middle names being used more than once. As far as I know, no one's been upset. It's happened to me twice (both with cousins), and IMO it's no big deal.

If Jenna Elizabeth is still too close for you, how about Jenna Elise?

Anonymous said...

How about Rose - Jenna Rose? I also like Louise and Elise - I like the consonant ending, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Jenna Marissa

Jenna Kate

Jenna Miriam

Anonymous said...

I love the name Jenna, but I can never use it b/c I am a Jennifer/Jenny. My middle name is Sue. At first, I didn't think it would work with Jenna, but it is kind of one of those short names that was talked about.

I also like Jenna Kate or Jenna Katherine/Catherine. If you went with Jenna Katherine, you could also call her Jenna Kate which is a sweet name for a little girl---especially if you are from the south :)

Anonymous said...

I like for middle names to have different syllabic pulses/numbers than the first name for some variance, so Ill try a couple here. That said, Elizabeth is a great middle name (my middle name) and works great with Jenna too - I wouldn't think the sisters would mind sharing initials, though I do understand the whole SIL thing all too well. My suggestions:

Jenna Olivia (same syllables as Elizabeth)
Jenna Isabelle (comes from Elizabeth)
Jenna Sophia
Jenna Corinne
Jenna Madeline
Jenna Christine
Jenna Brianne
Jenna Marie
Jenna Clare
Jenna Lillian/Liliana
Jenna Renee
Jenna Kathleen

From swistles list Jenna Louise and Jenna Simone are my favorites. Good luck!

The Schwant Family said...

What about Jenna Leigh?

I think you could still use Elizabeth if you want to, your sister in law can think what she wants - YOU know who she is/isn't named after. I think the only problem with choosing the same initials is if you have another little girl...would you then feel like you needed to use JE again?

Frazzled Mom said...

I like every single one of Swistle's suggestions. For you, I would go with Margaret because Margaret has the same feel as Elizabeth. Jenna Meredith happens to be my personal favorite.

I also agree that I would avoid repetitive initials if you are planning any more kids. You may feel compelled to repeat the J.E. pattern, limiting your options.

You might also consider Jenna Tatum (sort of like Jenna Peyton), Jenna Hillary (I think Hillary is a great middle name because you don't have to worry as much about the Clinton association with a middle name), and Jenna Allison (normally I avoid middle names that begin with the first name's last letter, but for some reason I feel there's enough separation of sound in Jenna Allison). So you don't have to sort through my long-winded explanations, here's the list:

Jenna Tatum
Jenna Hillary
Jenna Allison

Tracy H said...

I would not use Jenna Elizabeth because it is too close to your SILs name, not because of the initial thing. I knew a Jenna Reese once and think that is a great name. My daughter's middle name is also Reese! I love unisex middle names.

Catherine said...

I'm having a hard time with a lot of the middle name suggestions above - none really seems right to me except Parker. Jenna Parker seems to fit together nicely. Regarding Elizabeth, I think it's a good option and if you love it I'd go for it regardless. But personally I don't think I would use it.

p.s. I have a J.E. also - Julia Elisabeth.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I like:

Jenna Louise
Jenna Marie
Jenna Harper
Jenna Simone

Patricia said...

I think Catherine/Katherine/Katharine is an Elizabeth-like name which goes very well with Jenna:

Jenna Catherine (/Katherine/Katharine)

I have a darling 3-year-old niece named Jenna Catherine and really like those two names together.

Patricia said...

I want to add that I too think Jenna Elizabeth is too close to your SIL's name since you don't intend that your daughter be named after her.

I just read through the other suggestions here and second all those made by Taylor:

Jenna Catherine
Jenna Kate
Jenna Claire
Jenna Grace
Jenna Caroline

- Kellie said...

I am thrilled to see all of the Jenna Catherine suggestions, because that is *my* daughter's name (she's almost 9) =) Catherine is a family name, and I figured that if she ever wanted a more "formal" name, Catherine gives her a ton of possibilities. (BTW, my younger daughter is Chloe Elisabeth, so it seems we have similar taste ;)

FWIW, if your SIL is Genevieve Elizabeth, I'll bet she will assume that you named your daughter after her. Does she go by Gen? I would for sure go for a different middle name (but not Elise - it would sound, to me, like you essentially shortened your SIL's entire name for your child). Jenna goes with almost any middle name with a 1 or 3 syllables (Rose, Grace, Hope, Faith, Catherine, Josephine), except for those starting with an A sound.

Erika said...

Jenna Louise is my favorite -- Something about it just flows nicely.

Anonymous said...

I have a niece is Jenna Leigh.


knic said...

What about Jenna Bethany instead of Beth? Other names I think sound pretty: Jenna Gabrielle, Jenna Lillian, Jenna Felicity, Jenna Paige, Jenna Phoebe, Jenna Vivian/Vivienne, Jenna Zoe/Chloe../

Anonymous said...

Love the above suggestion of Jenna Rose.

Kate said...

I really like Jenna Bess. I'm thinking of using Bess as a middle name after my sister, Betsy, and thought it might be too short, but seeing it with your daughter's name makes me feel good about its prospects. Jenna Catherine is also very nice. It's a lovely mix of a more modern feeling first name with a very quaint and traditional middle name - especially with that sweet spelling (in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a Katherine with a K and wish I had a C...).

Karina said...

i too was partial to Jenna Simone but then saw the 1 syllable names proposed and some of those are great! Jenna Kate, Jenna Claire, Jenna Paige/Grace/Rose and so on. I have to say though, Jenna Elizabeth would be too close to Genevieve Elizabeth for me, especially if you're not really interested in naming her after hubby's sister, because i'm sure that would come up. . . .

Swistle said...

I've been reluctant to suggest the name Claire as a middle name for names ending in a uh/eh/ah sound ever since someone pointed out to me that it gives the illusion of the word eclair: Jen Eclair. Eclairs are delicious, however.

bluedaisy said...

I wouldn't worry about initials or who thinks the baby is named for go with a name because it feels right. There are some good alternatives suggested above but I am a big believer in going with the name you feel truly connected to

Joanne said...

I like Jenna Kathleen, but I really don't see any reason to not use Elizabeth. My brother and sister have the same initials and except for some arguments about how they would sign emails to one another, it has really not come up in 40ish years.

Patricia said...

I hadn't 'heard' Jenna Claire as Jen Eclair until Swistle mentioned that. And really, the two names still don't run together in my mind because where I live eclair is pronounced ee-CLAR. I've always liked the combination Emma Claire and similarly like Jenna Claire.

But even more, I like the idea of using a family name as a middle name. Our four daughters have as their middle names: my sister's first name; my fn; Elizabeth (because I love that name and thinking she was our last daughter, wanted to use it [Jennifer Elizabeth]); and a close friend's middle name.

Thus, I would suggest using some form of the mother's first or middle name as Jenna's middle name. If that mn choice happens to be Elizabeth or Beth, it could be mentioned around the SIL that the mn name was chosen from the *mother's* name.

Photography by Lara said...

My sister is Jenna Renee and I love it. :)

Anonymous said...

My name is Jenna Joy.