This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy McFarland

Jana writes:
I am REALLY stuck.

Our names are Jana Danelle McFarland and Rodney Philip McFarland, but he goes by Phil.

We’re due at the end of August with our first baby and we don’t know what we’re having.

If the baby is a girl, the name will be Adeline Grace McFarland. We both love it and are in 100% unity.

The trick is, that if the baby is a boy we have absolutely have no consensus.

Here’s the criteria we’re working with:

* We have to like the nickname, as I am not one of those people who will insist on correcting people.
* We like names that aren’t too trendy, that have a life outside of this decade, but are not terribly keen on biblical names.
* Like everyone else out there, we don’t want an odd or weird name, and we don’t want it to be too popular – almost impossible combo no?
* Oh, we also don’t like names that could be confused with being a girl – it’s important for us to have distinctly masculine name.
* I don’t think I want it to have the popular “en” sounding ending – i.e. Cohen, Aiden, Brayden, Dustin, Dylan... You get the drift.

Here’s some names we’ve liked, but have crossed out for various reasons

* I loved the name Jasper, but my husband is worried that it is too feminine and I have a little nagging fear that baby will get nicknamed Jaz (which I cannot, cannot stand). It is still in the running for a middle name. Also, for the record, I didn’t even KNOW it was a name in the Twilight series until someone told me.
* My husband likes the name Wyatt. I am impartial to it. Neither love nor hate it. Hubby loves it though.
* We’ve also considered William, but the rising popularity and the nickname “Willie” turned us off it. Also, could be used as a middle name.
* We love the name Weston, and since my dad’s name is Wesley, it would have been a nice subtle tribute. Unfortunately, we have a dog named Winston – just too close.
* As an alternative to Weston, we did like the name Easton, but see that it’s rising in popularity as a girls name.
* I like Owen, but we have friends who just used that name.
* Parker has also been on the list and off the list, but not sure if we love it or if it’s just so-so.

Anyway, I hope you can help us and really look forward to what you have to say! old is the dog? Perhaps the overlap would be okay, especially if you plan to nickname the baby Wes (one of my top favorite boy nicknames). Or, since Weston ends in the -en sound, perhaps go straight for Wesley? It's a great name.

When I'm looking for well-established, non-new, boys-only names that aren't biblical, I look toward English royalty. Henry! Charles! Edmund! Edward! George! Richard! And John and James, while biblical as well as royal, don't feel as distinctly biblical as, say, Elijah or Moses. Robert and Louis, I don't think are English royalty, but I think of them as being in the same group.

I think these names can give parents a flat, "meh," "heard it a million times" reaction at first, but then grow on them with time---especially if a good nickname is found. My mom knows a family with a son named George, and they call him Geordie. Geordie! So cute! Henry and Charles/Charlie are the two most currently in style; Edward and Edmund are next, I think; and I think George and Louis will be next after that (though Louis might get a boost now that Sandra Bullock used it for her adorbs baby). Richard and Robert, I don't know. They don't sound potential-tastic to me yet, but heaven knows I've said that about hundreds of names I later can't believe I didn't realize would come into style.

The name Easton isn't in the Top 1000 for girls; for boys, it's #252 and rising. I looked on the Social Security baby name site and found that in 2009, 19 girls were named Easton, and 1,357 boys were named Easton. In 2008, 30 girls and 1,104 boys were named Easton. To me, these aren't "Danger, Danger, Girl Takeover Imminent" numbers: there will always be a handful of people deliberately giving their daughters "boy names." In 2009, for example, 8 girls were named Henry, 9 girls were named Robert, 6 girls were named George, 11 girls were named John, 15 girls were named William, 14 girls were named Owen, and 18 girls were named Wyatt. BUT: the name Easton feels "of this decade" to me, AND it doesn't meet the "not the -en ending" preference, so perhaps you want to scrap it anyway.

Sometimes I really like a repeating sound, and sometimes I don't. In the case of Parker McFarland, I don't like that repeating AR sound. Oh, actually, I think it's the repeating K sound WITH the repeating AR sound I don't like, because I like Charles McFarland just fine. And if you're trying for boy-only names, Parker is the least boy-onlyish on the list: 597 girls named Parker in 2009, and #502 on the chart.

I really like Owen McFarland; it's too bad your friends just used it. There's Ian, which still has the -en ending but maybe hasn't just been used by friends. It's in the Top 100, but it's been hovering in the 60s/70s/80s ranks for decades. Ian McFarland is really nice. No nickname, though.

More possibilities:

Adam McFarland
August (Auggie, Gus) McFarland
Elias (Eli) McFarland
Emmett McFarland
Hugo McFarland
Jonathan (Jon) McFarland
Kyle McFarland
Malcolm (Mal) McFarland
Simon McFarland
Spencer (Spence) McFarland
Turner McFarland

Elias is KIND OF biblical, in that it's one translation of the name Elijah. But I think the feel of it is more...old-fashioned, down-to-earth, man-of-the-land. Elijah makes me think of prophets and sacrifices; Elias makes me think of overalls and plank floors and Elias Howe the inventor.

Simon, too, is biblical, but the best-known one gets his name changed to Peter after he converts, and the others are far less well-known. The name Simon to me has more of an intellectual, British feel, and I love it with Adeline if you have a daughter later on. It has the -en ending you're trying to avoid and it doesn't have an easy nickname (does Sy count?), but I still really like it for you. In fact, that's my first choice: Simon McFarland. Maybe Simon Wesley McFarland.


beyond said...

I have two suggestions for you:
Sebastian (Bastian, Seb)
Theodore (Theo)
Both of these are wonderful with Adeline, if you have a girl later.
I also like Nicholas and Samuel for you. I know they are biblical, but they are such great names!
I love Wesley (or Weston) and William as mn.
Sebastian Wesley McFarland; Theodore William McFarland.

Anonymous said...

If you like Owen, how about variants Evan or Ewan/Euan? The Ew- spelling is Irish and the Eu- is Scottish (both pronounced ~ yoo-wun).

Fran said...

I have friends who loved the name William but detested Willie so they named their son Liam. I love it!!

Carolyn said...

Porter is a great alternative for Parker.

My other pick is Vaughn. Very masculine, no nicknames, no -en ending.

Good luck!

Suzanne said...

God, it's killing me to even suggest it (I HATE SHARING), but how about my own Super Speshul baby boy name: Lincoln. Not biblical, old-fashioned, reminds me of Easton and Weston, and "Linc" is the only real nickname (also super cute). It fits all your criteria.

I think last time Swistle checked, it was definitely rising in popularity but is no where near the top 50 or so, plus I like it with your last name.

My other favorites are Wesley, Liam and Parker, although I know both 1 baby boy and 1 baby girl named Parker.

The Mrs. said...

NOT in the Bible... hmmmm...

Does it HAVE to have a nickname?

West (no need to have the 'on' tacked to the ending)
Warren (does have the 'en' ending, but it still seems good)

If it DOES have to have a nickname:

Nicolas/Nick (yes, he's in the book of Acts, but almost no one realizes it.)

Best wishes as you decide who your little man will be!

Katie said...

From your list I like Wyatt best. I like William too, popular and all.

What about Lawson? Or Grant?

Best of luck.....

TRACY said...

Evan, Brody, Ryder, Liam, Carter, Samuel, Brady and Spencer is my favorite from Mrs. Swistles' list.

Jess said...

Jasper and Wyatt both make me think of the West. I'm thinking something with that great wild west feel to it that is manly enough for hubby and a name that you love.

- Wayne (#694). Wayne McFarland. It's nn proof, so no worries about liking the nn's.
- Henry (78) with the nn of Hank. Hank McFarland.
- Jack (39). Yeah, so this may have initially been a nn for John, but I don't think it feels Biblical when this is the given name. Jack McFarland.
- Travis (177).

Caitlin B said...

What about Rodney?

I think it fits your criteria nicely. And, even though its an obvious namesake, you wouldn't have to worry too much about confusing father and son, since Dad is called Phil.

I like the nickname Roddy! Its unusual, but obvious.

Rodney Jasper McFarland

Sounds awesome!

Good luck!

Frazzled Mom said...

I really like Swistle's suggestion of looking to royalty for inspiration.

As I was reading your post, my first thought was Spenser and I see it on Swistle's list. And then I thought of Ian (has the n ending, but it doesn't seem as trendy to me as some of the other n-enders) and I see it on Swistles list too!

And as I was reading the comments I thought of Clark, and then I see a commenter suggested it.

I really like the suggestion of Vaughn too.

After all is said and done, and you have racked your brain for a boy's name, I bet you will have a girl!

Good luck.

Frazzled Mom said...

I meant Spencer... not Spenser...

StephLove said...

Nicholas (Is that Biblical? Not sure.)

Anonymous said...

how about Hamish?
or Callum, Joel, Sebastian?

Kate said...

My son is Charles, but he exclusively goes by Chuck. We get so many compliments on him being a Chuck - people are pleasantly surprised when they hear the name, it is old fashioned but I think has a modern edge to it that in my mind makes a great balance. Plus it falls into the unusual but familiar category.