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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Looking for Meaningful Names

Jennifer writes:
My husband and I cannot choose a name for our baby girl. She is due August 23rd, and will be our fourth child. We have one son and two daughters. There will be 8 years age difference between our present youngest and the new baby. This time around, we are having great difficulty in choosing a name. We think of something, but have a problem commiting to it.

Our children's names are common names. Dylan, Emma, and Abbey. However, they have some significance to us. Dylan is my husband's middle name and a nod to Bob Dylan. Emma was a name I had been in love with for years (she was named before its surge in popularity), and Abbey is from the Beatles' Abbey Road. Their middle names each have something to do with nature- Dylan Trout, Emma Rose, Abbey Rain. Again, these have some significance to us, Trout from a book title, Rose was a grandmother's name, and Rain shortened from the word rainbow in another book title.

We would like to find a name for this baby that has some significance to us, but seem to have run out of ideas. We would like for the first name to have 2 syllables and the middle to have 1, but are willing to forgo this for a good name. Our last name is 2 syllables and begins with a B. We also like names that won't typically be shortened to a nickname.

First names that at least one of us has liked: Maggie, Ellie, Callie, Audrey, Betsy, Charlie, Sadie and Robyn. We really have no names that both of us have agreed upon.
Middle name ideas we've had are: Sage, Reed, Ruby, and Wren. Nothing that really has significance to us.

Any new name suggestions or thoughts on names we've liked are much appreciated! Thanks so much!

New suggestions will be tricky, because we don't know what names would be meaningful. We can, however, discuss ways to FIND meaningful names.

1. Stand in front of your bookshelf. Look at each title, each author; think of the characters in each book.

2. Go to a room in your house. Stand in the middle and turn slowly, looking at everything in the room. Maybe a print on the wall will remind you of the artist you like, or a knick-knack will remind you of a trip you took. Sift through those memories for names.

3. Think about the places you've lived together: towns, counties, states. Think of places you've gone together: coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants. Think of places you grew up, places you've gone on vacation together, places you'd like to go. Any good location names?

4. Look through your CDs and DVDs for artist/actor/character names.

5. Look at a family tree for first names and for surname names.

6. Think of your friends over the years, considering their first names and surnames.

7. Think of the people who've been important to you over the years: teachers, doctors, church and community members. Consider their first names and surnames.

8. Think of the places that were important to you in your childhood: schools and churches and parks sometimes have pretty names.

9. Think of famous people you've respected and liked: artists and actors and scientists and authors and politicians. Think of causes you feel favorably toward, and the people involved with them. Historical figures are good for this too.

10. Think of the books you liked as a child, and look for author names and character names.

Since this baby is much younger than her three siblings, I wonder if you might find a meaningful name by allowing the older children to help name her? Any name they chose would have meaning by merit of them choosing it. Or maybe there are name ideas in things that mean something to you as a family, or would have significance to your older children. Dae is a one-syllable middle name made from the other children's first initials, for example; perhaps Day would make a pretty nature-y middle name. Or maybe the children would like to name the baby after someone important to them.

Most likely none of these will be meaningful, but here are some 2-syllable names I think go well with your first three:


Does anyone have other suggestions for finding a meaningful name?


Melio (MelissaInk) said...

My first son is named after family members. His name holds a lot of meaning for us. Our second son, however, we couldn't come up with any "meaningful" names, so I just named him something my husband and I really like - it had great energy and rhythm (we think). I NEVER thought I would do such a thing ... but, you know, I don't regret it. Once it's your child's NAME, it has meaning. Don't be too hard on yourself. You might be surprised how much you can love a name that doesn't mean a thing :)

Susan said...

I think "Lucy Robin" would be perfect. I realize the middle name has two syllables, but ... it's just so pretty!

Alison aka Baby B said...

I LOVE Day as a middle name. I think it also has the significance that this baby is going to be much younger than her siblings and it's a brand new day for the family. Cheesy or reaching a bit? Perhaps. I still love it :]. Plus, it is nature-y.

Other nature names to consider:
Nova: has both the "new" meaning and the star meaning, though it does have two syllables
Fleur: yes, I totally pulled that from Harry Potter
Bay: ocean significance and I think it could work, it does rhyme with Day, Rae, Fay, Mae, etc.

That's all I got! I look forward to hearing what you choose for your baby girl!

Betsy said...

I like Lucy Day.

It sounds like music has been a big inspiration to you...I think that would be a great source. Family names, too. One thing I looked at when naming my kids was the meanings of family names. Then I looked for other versions of the names or other names that meant the same thing or had the same root. For example, I had a grandma named Karen I wanted to honor, which means "pure". So does Katherine and Carina, and I like the sound of those names better. It may be a stretch for a namesake, but it does give meaning to the name!

Sarah said...

I advise care in asking the siblings for help. It might cause hurt feelings if one child's suggestion is taken over another's.

Aside from that, how about looking to our history as a couple? What town did you meet in? What is the name of the street where you had your first home together? Have you taken any special trips together as a couple? Do you have any shared ethnic history that you might draw from?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

How about Ivy? It means "four" in Roman numerals (IV), and it's pretty with your other names.

tracynicole22 said...

I agree suggesting a meaningful name is hard, not knowing what is meaningful to you, but that certainly won't stop me from making suggestions!
I love Swistle's idea of using Day or Dae as a middle name. I also love the above suggestion of Ivy. What a neat idea! Ivy Dae could be a cool name. Of the first names you listed I like Audrey (R u an Audrey Hepburn fan?) and Betsey the best. From Swistle's list I like Bella & Lucy. All of these sound good with Dae. A nature inspired name I love is Meadow, it's always been a a favorite. A literary inspired name I have also always loved is Scout. I think it's such a cute, spunky name for a girl! That's all I got! Good Luck!

StephLove said...

My son is name for the dorm where my partner and I met and his middle and my daughter's first and middle are either family names or versions of family names, so I echo those suggestions.

Of the names you mention, Audrey Sage is a nice combination.

Dawn could have a lot of the same associations as Day and works as a middle with a lot of names. Or Julia means young. If you think she'll be your youngest that could work.

tracynicole22 said...

How about Summer? It's a girls name I have always loved, but both of my girls were born in the fall. She will be born in the summer, so it fits. I also think Lark is a cute one syllable, naturey sounding name.

Erin said...

WHy cant I post to this?

test, test...

Erin said...

Ok, its finally working.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds comes to mind, and I think Ella would be a great musical tribute name. Also Zoe (Zowie Bowie?) and Jamie (Weezer) and Suzy!

My favorite with your sibset is Lucy Dae, but other middles with natury meanings are:
Dawn, Skye, Rae, and Lee

if you can give us more on the music you like or placenames that might work, Im sure the suggestions will keep flowing!

Frazzled Mom said...

Sophia and Sophie immediately come to mind because they roughly mean intelligent, which I like. I see Swistle has Sophie on her list so that's my favorite. For middle names, I think there have already been some good suggestions, but you might want to consider, Lark, Juniper (even though it has 3 syllables), and Heather.

I also agree that once the child is born, the name takes on meaning even if it didn't originate with a meaning.