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Friday, August 13, 2010

Baby Girl Can, Sister to Simone Olivia

Jan writes:
We are having a second child, a girl. Her older sister's name is Simone Olivia. We chose Simone because it was uncommon, didn't end in the letter a, strong/sophisticated, not hard to say/spell, is a namesake for her grandfather, and we like the meaning (one who hears God). Olivia was more of a "pretty, flows well" choice. Our last name is similar sounding to "Can."

With #2 we are having a hard time coming up with a name that is similar in criteria though this time I'm okay with the name ending in an a. The middle name will fulfill the family naming tradition slot this time and will either be Nia or Nina. We chose not to put Nina as a middle name with Simone because we're not that big of fans of the jazz singer; similarly that's a reason to not use it as a first name this time. My husband likes Nia as a first name but I think it's too short (would be okay with it as a nickname for Antonia but he doesn't like Antonia) and that the style doesn't really match with Simone. In addition to the "match the style" challenge my husband really wants the name to have some significance - either to us personally or a woman who was some kind of ground breaker (if this was a boy his name would have been Malcolm, as in X).

Names I like which have been vetoed by my husband: Ramona, Claudia, Audrey, Camille, Scarlett
Names he has suggested that I haven't loved: Thea, Billie

Thanks for your help!

I won't be able to help with names that have significance to you personally, but here are a few groundbreaking women (selection chosen by whether their names seem okay as sister names with Simone):

Amelia Earhart
Coretta Scott King
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Emmeline Pankhurst
Gloria Steinem
Hillary Clinton
Ida B. Wells Barnett
Jane Goodall
Julia Ward Howe
Lucy Stone
Madeleine Albright
Margaret Sanger
Marie Curie
Mary McLeod Bethune
Maya Angelou
Millicent Fawcett
Rosa Parks
Ruth Simmons

(sources: Groundbreaking Women, Groundbreaking Women, Lighting the Way, Wikipedia: Women's Rights)

I like a lot of those with Simone: Simone and Julia, Simone and Amelia, Simone and Rosa, Simone and Margaret, Simone and Gloria, Simone and Marie. (The name Marie FEELS so common because of its use as a middle name, but it's #571 on the Social Security list.)

Nia/Nina is a tricky middle name to work with, but it works okay with some of them.

My favorite, I think, would be Celeste Nina.

Anyone else want to take a swing at this one? I'm having trouble coming up with options.

Name update 09-08-2010! Jan writes:
Noemi Nia X "Can" was born on September 2nd. We like Noemi (Italian form of Naomi pronounced No-EH-mi) because of how it sounds, its Biblical connection, meaning (pleasant; delightful) and thought it flowed okay with Nia. And since we didn't use Malcolm her second middle name is X! Thanks to everyone for their suggestions - Lena and Yvette are ones we seriously considered. Thanks, Patricia, for reminding me about the other Simone sibling post. It was nice to see that the name we chose was on the list suggested by one commenter, KMW.


StephLove said...

Would you consider using Nina as the first name but calling her by her middle name? Because Nina is one of those names that doesn't fit easily into the middle slot. (Nia, too). Whereas, just looking over Swistle's suggestions, Nina Amelia, Nina Elizabeth, Nina Jane, Nina Julia, Nina Madeleine, etc. sound great, although they're not terrible reversed.

Mary Nina, does work, I think, and these days it would be a more unusual choice than in generations past. I also like Anna Nina, though it might not fit your not too common criteria. It's in the top 30, I think, but not the top 10.

Here are couple more I think have the character you are looking for, though I can't think of trailblazing namesakes of the top of my head: Antonia or Beatrice. I like Colleen for you, too, because I think it sounds sweet with Simone. Simone and Colleen. Colleen Nina Can (or Nina Colleen Can).

Christine said...

I too am having a hard time with Nina as the middle name, but understand your dislike of it as a first with Simone.

I think Colleen mentioned above could work, but I was thinking maybe using Athena with Nina as a nn? Or maybe using Antonia or Antonina as a middle, since it may flow a bit better with some of your other choices.

ie - Maya Antonia Can
or - Athena [other family name] Can

Good luck!

christine said...

Oh more names that might get you to Nina:

Janina (my best friend's mother has this name, she's from Poland, if that helps or doesn't help?)
Saturnina, a Catholic Saint

I think Ninette in particular could be a great nn, but still an obvious twist on Nina, who you want to honor.

christine said...

Sorry, Ninette as a middle name, not nn. Friday brain.

Shannon said...

If you like names that don't end in "a" what about Blythe? I think it's a very strong female name.

Anonymous said...

My first thought was Esther. If you're religious, Esther is a very remarkable woman in the bible. Esther Nia Can. Simone and Esther. :)

Erin said...

hmmm, so you don't like Nina Simone, but that means you probably do know a few things about jazz. What about Lena, as in Lena Horne, who died this year? It sounds kind of like Nina/Nia. Couldn't use Nia/Nina as a middle though.

There is also Michelle, which I love since its french like Simone, two syllables accent on the second, and not ending in A, and totally works with Nia/Nina. Michelle. For this reason I'm very sad your husband vetoes Camille, because its also totally perfect.

Along the same lines, what about Genevieve? French, not ending in A, badass saint attached to it. Sounds great with Nina/Nia in the middle.

A couple more suggestions:
Corinne, Charlotte, Diane, Helene, Lenore, and Noelle.

Good luck!

Frazzled Mom said...

I love Simone Olivia - how beautiful. I can see how you are struggling to pick a name that holds a candle to it.

Before I finished reading your post, I automatically though of Camille, because I was going on a French theme. And then I see your husband vetoed it! Oh well...

Going on the French theme, I like Elodie and Colette. Going on the strong women theme, I like Junia - an obscure Biblical name that was mentioned in old versions of the bible as being a woman of note among the apostles, according to the Baby Name Wizard. At one point, some sexist scribes removed the mention of Junia from the Bible. Modern publishes are just now beginning to correct that omission.

As far as how well the names go with Nina or Nia, I'm not sure. My husband's grandmother is named Nina and when I was considering family middle names had my son been a girl, I too found it hard to work with and disregarded it in favor of other family names.

I think it would work best with Colette personally. Colette Nina or Colette Nia, but it doesn't have that perfect flow like Simone Olivia.

Junia and Nina or Nia have a lot of repetitious sounds that you may or may not like: Junia Nina, Junia Nia. The names are almost too similar. But you could probably use Nia as a nickname for Junia, so there you go.

Anonymous said...

How about Miriam? Miriam Nina. Miriam Nia. Simone and Miriam.

Anonymous said...

I love the Miriam suggestion:
Miriam and Simone

May I also suggest Mary? Strong woman, not too common. Mary and Simone. Or, Maria, for a twist.

Georgia - Simone and Georgia. Nice because they are feminisations of male names (Simon, George) .. in the same vein, Philippa (nn Pippa?): Simone and Philippa, Simone and Pippa


Anonymous said...

I like Miriam, too. Other thoughts for names that might work well with Simone:

Maren or Maris
Althea (Gibson)
Audre (Lorde)
Gwendolyn (Brooks)

beyond said...

I love the name Simone Olivia. a few suggestions for her little sister:
Good luck!

Megz said...

Some names that come to mind to match Simone in style (I see some have already been suggested):


I also love the suggestion of Michelle.

Don't know if any of these have any strong/famous women connections. Fleur is probably more feminine than strong, but I think it sounds lovely with Simone and Nina, and is uncommon.


Patricia said...

When I read your email, I was reminded of another mom with a daughter named Simone who consulted Swistle about a name for her second baby girl. I think you may be interested in that discussion, so here's the link for "Baby Girl, Sister to Simone Maya".

Anonymous said...

How about Genevieve Nia Can?

Megz said...

Oooh, Renee!

Simone and Renee

Renee Can
Renee Nina Can (a lot of N's but I think it still works)

From the male name Rene, meaning born again, and the name of several saints. Also Rene Descarte (philosopher).