Hi, my name is Erika and my husband's name is Kirk. We are having our first child, due in January.
My husband does not want any repeats of names from his family or mine, save for the middle names. Turns out his family boy names are all traditional and rather ho-hum, like Ed, John, Paul. He would like the middle name to be Lydia or Marie after his grandmothers if we have a girl. I am of Dutch heritage and would like to preserve some of this heritage in the name of our kids if possible. One girl's Dutch name I like is Marika. My maiden name is VanStralen. However, I do like Biblical names, as well. Our last name is Bode, pronounced Bodee with a long "o". I would also not like a name that is in the top 20 currently.
Thank you for taking the time...we would love suggestions!
Does your husband mind looking farther back in the family trees, or is it just current family he doesn't want to repeat? If he wouldn't mind some long-gone family names, I suggest looking in your own Dutch family tree for ideas. Or, if your husband would prefer, you can look in mine.
In my own Dutch family tree, there's Derk for a boy, which my family would all be more tempted to use (he's our Crossed The Sea ancestor) if it didn't rhyme with jerk. Perhaps this is not as big a risk as we think, considering the popularity of Cooper-rhymes-with-pooper. In your family, the bigger problem is that Derk rhymes with Kirk.
There's also Hendrik, which is like a combination of Henry and Eric, and in fact you could call him Henry for short. In fact, I wish I'd thought of this when naming my own children, since both Henry and Eric were on our finalist list, and since we have not only Hendriks but Hendrikas (one of whom was our other Crossed The Sea ancestor) in our family tree.
I have many ancestors named Willem, which is a good way to get the nickname Will without going into the Top 20 (William was #8 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration).
Ooo, and here's a Gerrit! Again, a name we're familiar with (Garrett) but with a Dutch spelling that reflects your heritage. We would have considered this name if the Gerrit in my husband's own Dutch family tree hadn't been such a jerk.
For girl names I see a lot of women named Hanna, which has a top-20 equivalent in the biblical name Hannah (#17 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration), but I still think it's worth considering: a good Dutch name that's nevertheless familiar. (I seem to be ignoring your requirements one by one, first the family names and now the Top 20.) Hanna Marie Bode.
I also have Willemina, which I think is a more U.S.-palatable spelling for Wilhelmina. I like this name anyway and would consider it for a future daughter, and it's enhanced by its excellent nickname possibilities: Willa and Mina would both be contemporary yet unusual choices. Willemina Marie Bode.
Here's Cornelia, with the cute nicknames Cory or Neely or Lia, rather than, say, Corny. Cornelia Marie Bode.
Some other English-friendly Dutch girl names:
Anna (Anna is also biblical)
Johanna (Joanna is also biblical)
Some other English-friendly Dutch boy names:
Not everyone likes to do this (I remember a comment on a another post that claimed that if the spelling of an Italian name were altered by even one letter, it wasn't an Italian name anymore---perhaps people in Italy never use alternate spellings), but in our Dutch-origins family, we've translated Dutch names into English. For example, Dutch names starting with J are pronounced in Dutch as if they start with the English letter Y: Janna is more like Yonna. But because our family now speaks English, we translate it into English and pronounce it Janna, like Anna with a J. (Another translation option would be to spell it Yonna.)
We've also translated the boy's name Jan, which is the Dutch cognate of the name John and is pronounced Yon, by spelling it Jon and pronouncing it John. In our opinion this is a good compromise between on one hand wanting to honor our Dutch heritage, and on the other hand speaking English and living in the United States (where Jan is a girl's name pronounced to rhyme with van). Every family would have to figure out their own opinion on what's okay to change and what's not.
Name update 02-03-2010! Erika writes:
Just wanted to let you know in January 18th we had a baby boy! Thank you for your comments and suggestions on your blog. It was so fun to read it and see everyone's responses. We've named him Tyler Van Bode. My husband was fussier about the first name and didn't want Van as the first name so I gave it up for his middle name.