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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baby Boy Bemelmans

Philippa writes:
It is so hard to find a boy's name! I'm due with a baby boy in mid August. We already have a girl, Rose Helen (Lastname). The last name sounds like "Bemelmans", which is the last name of the author of the Madeline books. Except my baby's last name will have an 'rk' where the first 'm' is, so we're not working with as many 'm' sounds. The middle name will be Scott (that's my last name). We are really stuck for a first name!

I need a name that is common enough to be pronounced right the first time by any English speaker. A name that has an obvious nickname. A name that's not Biblical.

If Rose was a boy, we would have named her William Scott 'Bemelmans'. That's where we are right now. Probably going with William. I'm just not wild about it. It's a family name on my husband's side (his middle name, and his Dad's name translated from Dutch). Last year, my husband's sister had a baby with the middle name William, and I'm a bit cagey on having two tribute babies to the same person (my husband's Dad). Plus, I've just never really loved that name. I really like the idea of each of our children having a name of their own, then one of my names (Helen is my middle name, and my mum's name), and then their Dad's last name.

Names that we've seriously considered and ruled out are:
Alexander (this would be my choice if a friend hadn't just had an Alex)
Anton
Martin
Louis
Henry
Wesley
Oliver

If we were having another girl, we would have debated:
Katharine Violet
Alexandra Violet
Juliet Violet
Diana Violet
Penelope Violet

(Violet is a family name on my side, it's my grandmother and great-grandmother's name)

Help, please! I know that if we go with William, it will grow on me. I just felt that bolt of lightning when we chose Rosie's name, and it suits her perfectly. I want that again!

Thank you!

I, too, get that feeling that once is probably enough for each ancestor to be honored. I think it's FINE if more than one family member wants to use the name (it isn't at ALL that I think they SHOULDN'T), but if you're looking for something different I see what you mean, and my guess is that all the other ancestors agree with us also.

One of my favorite "names that are like William but NOT William" is Wilson. It's easy to pronounce, and it still gets the nickname Will. Wilson Scott Bemelmans.

I feel like I've mentioned this name pretty often recently, but whenever I see Henry and Oliver and Wesley on someone's list I suggest Simon. The names feel similar to me. Simon Scott Bemelmans. And I love the names Rose and Simon together. But I'm not sure Sy meets your request for an obvious nickname.

Maybe Calvin? Calvin Scott Bemelmans, nickname Cal; Rose and Calvin.

Names Alexander makes me think of:

Benjamin (Ben)
Christopher (Chris)
Jonathan (Jon)
Nathaniel (Nate)
Nicholas (Nick)
Zachary (Zack)

But most of those are biblical. ...In fact, ALL? Are they ALL biblical?

Edward might get too entangled with the Twilight thing, but maybe Edmund (Ed/Ted)?

Joseph (Joe) seems like it would be particularly nice with Rose---or maybe the matching long-O sounds are TOO good together? Oh shoot! Biblical!

I like Warren and think it's underused. Warren Scott Bemelmans.

Spencer? Easy to pronounce, easy nickname, non-biblical. Spencer Scott Bemelmans. Or maybe the repeating "er" sound with your actual surname is too much "er".

I keep thinking of more names that are easy to pronounce and have obvious nicknames, but then they're biblical: Daniel, Philip, Andrew, Samuel. And then I think of non-biblical names, but they don't have an obvious nickname: Elliot, Emmett, Everett, Quinn, Ruben.

This is hard! Help!


Name update 08-17-2010! Philippa writes:
Our baby boy was born 8/10, and we decided in the end to name him William Scott 'Bemelmans'. After about seven months of searching for another name, nothing else felt right, and in fact felt like we would have been using something else just for the sake of it. We call our baby Will, and he is adorable. His name goes very well with his sister Rose: Will and Rosie. Both bright, cheerful, gently old-fashioned names. I don't care that it's popular- number one in my home country of Australia and number five in the US, or that both he and his cousin have names in honor of their grandfather. It suits him perfectly.

Thank you for your help!

16 comments:

Jess said...

Is there any nickname for William that you love? Liam, Bill, Will? If you love a nn for William, then you can almost forget the full name.

Of you list, I really like Martin and Oliver.

Of Swistle's non-Biblical names (and Ruben is a brother of Joseph in the OT), I like Edward and Everett.
I especially like the nn of Ted with Edward. You can also use Rhett (like Gone with the Wind) as a nn for Everett.

Here are some of my other ideas:
- Eugene, nn Gene
- Arthur, various nn's.
- Anthony, nn Tony (same nn as Anton)
- Wyatt. Hmm, I can't think of any nicknames.

StephLove said...

I think if you're lukewarm on William, I think it's fine to consider another name. And if you'd like the baby to have a name from your side of the family that's also fine.

Philip and Phillippa in the same family could be confusing, but Philip could be a good middle name.

Ian sprang to mind for you. I don't know if it's non-Biblical enough since Ian is a variant of John, but Ian Philip B. sounds good to me. Oh wait, no nickname. Darn, I thought I had all the requirements. I may need to come back to this one later.

Stephanie Sharples Francis said...

Ooh, Wilson is a good alternative to William! I like it.

Also, I just had a friend who named their baby Elliot and his nickname is Eli. Not something I have seen very much (obviously Eli is usually short for Elijah) but it works.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. Good luck!

Kelly said...

I want to correct Swistle on her mention of all of the suggestions in that one group being Biblical: Nicholas is not (so to the OP looking for a name appears to meet your qualifications).

Anonymous said...

I'm due with a boy on Tuesday and we are atheists so it is nice to see that there are others that are searching for nonbiblical names. It is tough! Though Justin apparently appears in the bible it isn't too much of a bible name so that might be a good suggestion. We're considering it but the tie to Justin Bieber might be weird. I'm not sure.

Love Warren as a name but our last name starts with a W and we're not sure we should go with the alliteration. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Your boy names are similar to my list, and we've decided to go with Felix- perhaps that could work? Felix Scott Bemelmans.
I like it better with your last name then with mine :D

LoriD said...

I like the suggestion of Jonathan (I know John is biblical, but is Jonathan/Jon?). How about Gregory, Cameron or Maxwell?

Erin said...

Ooooo....I really like Everett Scott. the double Ts are cool. I also like Owen, Eamon, and Frederick, and I like Harrison as an alternative to Henry. What about Corbin or Cole, Curtis/Kurtis or Charles?

Meggan said...

Just wanted to chime in and say that "Dr. Everett Scott" is the name of the high school science teacher in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the one Brad and Janet are trying to visit. Which is great if you're into that, but just something to be aware of.

I think I like Calvin a lot and it seems to fit your criteria and sounds good with the middle + last names.

beyond said...

I do like the suggestion of Oliver! Here are my ideas for you:
Arthur
Calvin
Dominic
Leonard
Vincent
These all have excellent nn potential, and are a great match for Rose.
My favorite is Arthur. Rose and Arthur; Rosie and Artie. Swoon!
(I like Leonard too! Rose and Leonard; Rosie and Leo. So cute!)
Good luck!

The Mrs. said...

Wilson Scott is a masculine and easy-going sort of name.

Other takes:
Marcus Scott (nn Marc)
Magnus Scott (nn Gus)
Lennox Scott (nn Lenny or Nox)
Quinton Scott (nn Quin)

Oh, and the name 'Nicolas' is in the Bible (Acts 6:5). And so is the name 'Jonathan' (he was the son of King Saul, the best friend of King David).

Kelly said...

The Mrs.: Sorry, but I didn't realize that Nicholas was mentioned in the Bible (at http://www.behindthename.com it doesn't mention that).

Philippa said...

Great suggestions everyone! Thanks. I'll keep working on it and keep you posted.

Jess said...

Rose peaked in 1900. Helen peaked in 1910. I looked up the Social Security top 20 boy names from 1900 to 1910. Here are the non-Biblical ones:

William
George
Robert
Frank (may make you think of gold, Frankincense, and myrrh.)
Edward
Henry
Walter
Harry
Willie
Arthur
Albert
Fred
Clarence
Harold (tho close to "Hark! The Harold angels sing!")
Charles
Roy
Raymond
Albert

Anonymous said...

I'd like to suggest Gregory. Gregory Scott is a wonderful combo. Greg is a good nickname as is Rory. Good luck to you!

Jess said...

How about Todd?