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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baby Girl Malmberg

Raechel writes:
We're quickly approaching our due date, Nov. 14th, with no name that we can agree upon. My husband initially wanted to use a family name, either Caroline or Katherine. I don't care much for either - they are beautiful names but I don't want our girl to be named either.

Half way through the pregnancy, his mother tells us that each first born daughter on her side has had the first or middle name of Elizabeth. "No pressure", though, but also no real alternative. Baby Girl's middle name will be Elizabeth. Though we should name her what we want (versus what she feels appropriate), Elizabeth as a middle name is 99.9% non-negotiable.

This left me wanting to use a family name from my side for her first name. My initial idea was Violet but my heart isn't set on it. The other family name is Barbara but we won't be using that.

We both liked Mari for awhile -- we liked it was a name seen in different cultures, such as Scandanavian and Japanese. We live on a Japanese island so we felt it'd be a neat tie for her when we returned to the States. Recently, though, we decided against it because of the alliteration and similarity to his mom's name, Mary.

I like 'old' names (antique if you will) but would like something bordering on uncommon. A name I recently stumbled upon was Genevie, a variant of Genevive. Vivienne is also pretty, as is Charlotte - for examples - though the names haven't reached out and said, "This may be the one."

Our last name is Malmberg, pronounced Mall-m-berg. Can you think of any names that are on the traditional side that have an antique feel? I am open for any other suggestions you think may fit as well.

The tricky part of what The Baby Name Wizard calls "Antique Charm" names is that the entire category is in style. Vivienne, Charlotte, Genevieve---all getting more popular each year, and with the potential to get VERY popular. This doesn't bother me very much because any name that's a "revival" is a name that's likely to wax and wane over the years but always be a good solid choice. I'm mentioning it only because you'd like something bordering on uncommon, in which case I'm worried this category will lead to later disappointment if a name continues to get more common. I recommend using the Social Security Administration's baby name site to track the recent progress of each name: is it making huge startling leaps, or just a slow gradual increase reflecting the increasing popularity of its category?

It's too bad the name Elizabeth means Eliza is out, because I love it with your surname: Eliza Malmberg.

I also like Stella, but it's what I consider a "startling leaps" name:

(screenshot from the Social Security Administration)
(click picture to see it bigger)
("a" = "not in the top 1000 names for that year")

Clara is rising, too, but not as startlingly. Clara Malmberg, Clara Elizabeth Malmberg.

Cecily is a name I'd EXPECT to see rising, but instead it's fallen completely out of the Top 1000. Cecily Malmberg, Cecily Elizabeth Malmberg.

Fiona isn't quite what you've asked for, but I wonder if you'd like it? Fiona Malmberg.

But here is my #1 choice for you: Felicity. I don't know why this name isn't increasing with the other sweeties like Emma and Madeline and Abigail, but it just ISN'T. Felicity Elizabeth Malmberg.

Name update! Raechel writes:
Thank you so very much for your suggestions -- and thank you to those who commented with suggestions as well!

Evelyn Elizabeth was born on November 18th at 13:41 at 20" long and weighing 6lbs 12oz. She didn't have a name until Friday afternoon as we couldn't decide but we are happy with our choice now.

Thank you again!


M.Amanda said...

I am currently reading Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death. One character's name is Ginevra. It is different, but with a familiar sound. I have never come across this name anywhere besides this book, so one complication you may run into is that people will think her name is really Geneva and she/you will have to correct them all the time. Or maybe that won't be a problem as I just googled the name and it was used in the Harry Potter series, which may mean you'd have to correct some other assumption. But still a pretty name.

Kristi said...

Vienne (Vee-en). A take from Vivian. VIENNE! Vienne Elizabeth Malmberg! Vienne!!! Who knew I was so passionate? I just love that name and heard it for the first time last year. Beautiful.

SM said...

What about Hanna / Hannah? Or spell it Hana (which I think means "flower" in Japanese)? It sounds nice with your last name and it is a name from both Japanese and Scandinavian culture.

Carolyn said...

Genevie is very pretty and unique. I'd never heard it before, and in a way it makes me think it would be a fun nn for Genevieve.

Another thought is Miriam, nn Mira. It's similar to Mari but doesn't make me think of Mary per se.

Clarabella said...

If you like Genevie & Genevieve, I wonder if you might like Guinevere (or however you might spell it)? It's a bit epic, I know, but it's so lovely, and rare, and has so many lovely nickname possibilities: Guin/Gwen, Vera, Nev, you could possibly even squeeze Vivi out. Also, the initials G.E.M. are just adorable.
Or, if Guinevere is just too much, how about Gwendolyn or Evelyn. All three sound good with Elizabeth.
Good luck!

Mrs. S said...

OK. Here are some vintage names.

other names

Hope this helps! If we have a little girl, ever, we have to use the mn Elizabeth as well. Or some form of it.
For example: Ellie, Elle, Betsy, Elise, Elsie or Elsa. I've convinced myself that these nn could be used to honour the name Elizabeth. :)

kanah said...

How about Gwyneth or Rosa? Magdalena (Lena for short) and Natalia are both different, but not too unusual, IMO. I love Swistle's suggestion of Felicity, though! Good luck!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I too love the antique names! And since my middle name is Elizabeth, I'm a big fan of that as a mn.

Someone else suggested this, but what about Marion? Then you could get Mari as a nickname... and it's not very popular. (I love it, personally.)

Marion Elizabeth Malmberg.

Some others I love...


Leah said...

What about naming her Elizabeth but calling her Eliza? I also like Eleanor with your last name. Eleanor Elizabeth would be pretty. Maybe Margaret or Margeurite?

Suzanne said...

If you liked Mari and didn't object to the alliteration, how about Marin or Merin as an alternative? Both are on my short list - it's a beautiful name, easy to pronounce, very classic sounding without being common.

StephLove said...

You know, I really like Violet Elizabeth, both on its own merits and because it's a family name for you. That would be my pick.

But just in case, here are some vintage names that aren't popular yet:

Susannah (I can't imagine why it's not in the top 1000 but it isn't)

Or there's my daughter's name, June. People are always telling me (depending on the generation of the person speaking) "Oh, I had an aunt, grandmother, great grandmother, etc. named June." In almost all cases, the lady is question is deceased. June's only been in the top 1000 since 2008 but it was at 662 in 2009 so it might be zooming up the chart soon.

I like Arabella, too, but it's another one of those rising surprisingly fast names (447 now, up from 795 in just a few years).

Jess said...

Hi, Raechel -

-- Naomi. I think this one works well for your Japanese island. There are so many great kanji characters for "mi" including beautful! So the Japanese do not pronounce it as Now-oh-me, you might need to choose three characters. Naomi Elizabeth Malmberg. I like the subtle repeating M sound. This name is 118 in the US, but it was most popular in the '20s, so I think it feels classic.

-- Pearl. Is this a little too cheesy? I love this name partially because it's Hester's daughter in the Scarlet Letter. It is classic and not in the top 1000 names. Pearl Elizabeth.

-- Ida. This name peaked in the 1880s. It seems currently popular in the Scandanavian countries and the Japanese would be able to pronounce it.

Good luck!

Christina Fonseca said...


Anonymous said...

mmmm...I love Felicity!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Gwyneth would be a really pretty alternative. Maybe with the nn Winnie.

Or the Italian form of Naomi, Noemi would be pretty too.

Other ideas:

brooke said...

my vote is for violet elizabeth. i think it is beautiful and classic.

other old fashioned names that i like:


beyond said...

I like Violet Malmberg. It's a great name if you decide to use it after all... I love 'antique' names myself, so here are a few suggestions:
Beatrice (peak year 1921)
Cora (py 1919)
Eloise (py 1921)
Fanny (py 1916)
Tilda (py 1883!)
Vivian (py1920)
I really like Tilda Elizabeth (or Mathilda), Tilda Malmberg and Vivian Elisabeth, Vivian Malmberg.
Good luck!

Patricia said...

Some lovely, vintage names for girls that aren't presently in the SSA Top 1000 names, paired with Elizabeth:

Susanna Elizabeth
Louisa Elizabeth
Adele Elizabeth
Isadora Elizabeth
Beatrix Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a name with Japanese flavor to it. I know a Japanese american girl named Maki (Mah rhymes with la or ha or Pa.)

Megz said...

Would you consider naming her Elizabeth as her first name and calling her Betsy? That's quite a vintage name.

Other vintage names:


I love your idea of using a Japanese name. How about these English names with Japanese sounding nicknames:

Victoria (Tori)
Georgina (Gina)
Amelia (Ami)
Mikaia (Miki)
Melissa (Misa)

Good luck

Christine said...

I love the suggestion of Ginevra, and I actually have a baby cousin in Italy by that name. I also have Italian cousins named Irene, Leticia (Letizia), and Lucretia (Lucrezia).

I prefer the English flavored suggestions above for you (and love the middle name Elizabeth - even if it was forced on you) :)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of naming her Elizabeth and calling her Eliza - I love Eliza!

Also, I'll suggest my daughter's name/nickname. She is Amelia, but we mainly call her Millie. I like that she has the option of a beatiful, oldfashioned-but-rising first name, and a middle name that we rarely hear. She gets a lot of compliments on it! I think Millie Malmberg/Amelia Malmberg sounds nice, too.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

What about Minerva nn Mini/Minnie? Cecilia? Elodie? Marne? Cora?