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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baby Girl, Sister to Emma Grace

Meghan writes:
My husband and I are stuck on naming our second daughter. Our first daughter's name is Emma Grace. We are both perfectionists, and thus have gone back and forth so much on her name that we are stuck. She is set to arrive October 15. We chose Emma after the Jane Austen novel (my husband was NOT a fan that it was the #1 baby name at the time; I had chosen her name for 9 years and did not care about how popular it was.) We love traditional, old-fashioned names, but nothing too rare. We also really want it to sound like a sister name without being too similar (We have friends/family with sibling names like Audrey and Natalie, Natalie and Lily, Payton and Taryn; all sound like they should go together, while still being unique.) We are hoping for at least a 2-syllable first name that is feminine and classic. So, here are names we have considered:

1. Lillian Claire (Lillian and Clara are my husband's gread-grandmother's names); nickname Lily
2. Abigail Claire (nickname Abby)
3. Margaret Claire (nickname Maggie; I don't like that this is so similar to my first name of Meghan)
4. Annabelle Claire (too many nicknames for Annabelle?)
5. Madeline Claire (don't like Maddy though, and would like it pronounced with "lyn" ending without changing the original spelling)
6. Clara?

Thanks much!

I know an Emma and Abby sister pair, so Abigail was going to be my suggestion---and I see you have it on the list. I think Emma Grace and Abigail Claire is perfect.

If I were narrowing list, I'd remove Margaret and Madeline, because of the points you mention.

For Clara, I suggest the middle name Rose: Emma Grace and Clara Rose.

Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Name update 10-29-2010! Meghan writes:
Thanks again for all the name help! My husband made the final name decision: Clara Lillian, and we love it! We decided that Lily was just too popular, as was Abigail- especially in Southern Caliornia where we live. So, we went with using both great-great grandmothers' names, and we think Clara's name is sweet and classic, just like big sister Emma's. Thank you!!


Laura said...

My daughter is Emma Grace as well (and I totally understand the popularity thing...) and I always thought that if I had another daughter that Claire Elizabeth is a great sister name! Clara would work as well, and I love Abigail Claire.

M.Amanda said...

Clara Rose sounds perfect to me.

Sarah said...

Clara Lillian could be lovely, depending on your last name.

Lisa said...

I really like the ending a sounds with Annabelle (calling her Anna or Bella) and Clara.

I also think of Jane as a great sister name. Or Jayna for a different twist (and a ending!)

Also, maybe Claire as a pretty first name.

Erin said...

I don't like Clara Rose - the double R sounds (ra-rose) sounds like scooby doo to me. Other than that, I love Clara with Emma. I would suggest Clara Jane, Clara Marie, Clara May, etc.

That said, Claire Elizabeth is possibly my favorite name of all time, so I was happy someone suggested it above. And Emma Claire is high on my list also.

Lastly, I really like Lillian Claire. Emma and Lily are also adorable together. I don't love Abigail nn Abby - Emma feels a bit more sophisticated to me. Annabelle I am so-so on. Anna by itself I like with Emma though. Maybe too matchy, not sure, but I kind of like it. Good luck!

Patricia said...

Clara Jane!

Emma and Jane are two names from Jane Austen's novels, as well as Jane being the name of the author herself.

Emma Grace and Clara Jane sound perfect together. Clara (SSA #199) Jane (386) would give you two lovely but less popular names for your second daughter.

My second choice from your list would be Abigail Claire, as long as you don't mind using a Top 10 name again (Abigail is #8).

Of your other name choices, Lily may be more popular than Emma, with all the spellings -- just checked it out and it is! In 2009, 19,052 girls were named Lily, Lilly, Lillie or Lillian, Lilian, while 17,719 were named Emma. ( Margaret and Madeline seem problematic for you. Annabelle if called "Anna" seems awfully close to Emma, but I do love Annabel Claire, calling her Annabel, with Emma Grace.

Emma and Annabel sound great together -- and a more 'surprising' pairing than Emma and Abby (two very popular names) or even Emma and Clara. To me, Emma and Annabel sound delightfully English (UK).

I voted for Clara, but if Annabel Claire were in the poll, I'd switch to that.

Best wishes.

Patricia said...

Here's some info on Annabel that I think may interest you:

Oxford Dictionary of First Names, UK: "Annabel - Sometimes taken as an elaboration of Anna but more probably a dissimulated form of Amabel. It has been common in Scotland since the 12th century and was still in use in England in the 1600s. Its recent revival in popularity in England and elsewhere dates from the 1940s." (Regarding Amabel: "From Latin 'amabilis'- "loveable" - via Old French. Although now very rare in the English-speaking world, this name lies behind the much commoner name Annabel...")

Anonymous said...

My vote is for Clara Rose! One of my favorite girls names, and SOOO perfect with Emma Grace!

Anonymous said...

I noticed your husbands g-grandmother's name was Clara. If you end up using a form of her name for your daughter's middle name, the English Clare would be closer than the French form Claire.

christa said...

I know it's not on your list, but what about Jane.

Emma and Jane

Jane Madeline
Jane Ellen
Jane Claire
Jane Margaret

Of those on your list, I like Abby best.

Good luck!

StephLove said...

I will vote eventually, but right now I'm stuck between Abigail, Annabelle and Clara. I like them all. And as for the suggestion of Jane above, I think Clara Jane would be darling.

Mrs. Haid said...

I like the suggestion of Clare above, too.

Also Jane... and I love Austen. Are there any other Austen women you love?

I don't think Meghan and Maragret are similar.

Great name choices!

kanah said...

I think Lilly is super popular, as well as Madeline. Abigail would be cute. But, I have some new suggestions, too, in case you haven't thought of these yet:

Elizabeth (though I'm not sure if you want to avoid having the same initial.)

Rosa Claire

Best of luck!

Swistle said...

Patricia- Annabelle Claire IS in the poll---or do you mean, only if spelled Annabel? (Annabel is my favorite spelling, too!)

Christine said...

I really like Lillian, even if Lily and its different forms are really popular. I think it is a beautiful classic name and there is a good reason behind the popularity. I think Clara is lovely as well, and like it best with Jane.

Good luck!

Clarabella said...

It's interesting to me that Emma and Claire go together all the time. I know multiple families with these names. That said, I know an Emma Grace with a little sister named Lucy Clair, so there's a thought. Out of your list, I love Annabelle the best.

Patricia said...

Swistle, I DID mean only ANNABEL; to me, Annabel and Annabelle just don't seem the same. I think Annabel is the older form of the name and maybe they aren't even the same name but 'merged': Annabel is said to come from Amabel (also the source of Mabel), while Annabelle appears to be a combination of Anna or Anne and Belle as in Isabelle and has a more 'Disney princess' sort of look. And the more I've thought about it, I like the spellings Annabel Clare best of all -- both spellings being classic English (UK) spellings and less common in the US than Annabelle (156) and Claire (53) (whereas Annabel ranks 722 and Clare, 718). Annabel spelled like that doesn't seem any longer than Emily or Olivia and often girls with those names (almost always with Emily) aren't called by a nickname.

Just checked "Oxford" again, which lists Annabelle as a variant of Annabel and further, a "Gallicized [French] form under the influence of Belle". And for Clare: "The normal English vernacular form of Clara during the Middle Ages and since." As for Claire: "French form of Clara. It was introduced to Britain by the Normans, but subsequently abandoned. This spelling was revived in the 19th century as a variant of Clare." (I love name history.)

I also adore Jane with Emma, as was mentioned above, and was going to suggest that but Meghan wrote that they are hoping for at least a 2-syllable first name. If a one-syllable name could be considered, I would suggest Jane Clara. (My granddaughter Emma named her daughter Jane, and just the other day someone commented on the 'Austen' connection of their names.)

I like Clara Jane a lot too, but I love Annabel! And I find the sister combination of Emma and Annabel just darling for two little girls -- and definitely feminine classics that are fine names when they're grown too. Pairing Annabel with Emma would make the 'set' unique, even though Emma is currently a very popular name.

Anonymous said...

Lillian/Lily/Lillianna and all the many many many many names that nn to Lily/Lilly/Lilli/Lillie in the SSA top 1000 for 2009 are way overdone and common. I love Clara best!! Good luck!

The Mrs. said...

Clara is lovely; Lillian, too.

One more to throw on the pile:

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

What about Clara Elizabeth? You could call her Clara Beth. So sweet.

beyond said...

Nice possibilities. I guess I will vote for Lillian Claire. Emma and Lilly is sweet. I really like Clara very much too. Emma and Clara seems like a great fit. Not sure about the middle name... How about Clara Lillian?
Good luck!

Shoeaddict said...

A friend of mine has twin daughters, Grace (Elizabeth) & Emma (Claire). They have a younger sister named Kate (Audrey). I think all of these names are beautiful.

KMW said...

Clara Jane is so darling with Emma Grace. What an adorable sibling set!!

LiciaLee said...

My LO is Clara Juliet, and we had tossed around the idea of Clara Katherine. :D. I love Clara, and that you can use Claire as a NN. Usually I call her carebear. :D. Good luck!

Magic27 said...

What about Lydia? If I remember correctly, she was one of the sisters in Pride and Prejudice... My younger daughter has the French version of this name - Lydie - with the middle name Rebecca, both of which are really uncommon here in France (Lydie is pretty old-fashioned - we've never met another child with the name in 6.5 years!). I think Emma and Lydia sounds lovely! (Emma was on my list, but was nixed by my now ex, unfortunately). My daughter goes by a wide variety of nicknames, including Lili, Lydie-lou, Looby-lou...

Meg said...

Being that I have an Emmaline and prefer traditional names I'm going to throw out...

Clarissa (nn Clara)(read up on Clara Barton for inspiration)
Harriet (nn Hattie).

Patricia said...

Congratulations on the birth of Clara Lillian. Her name is lovely, and it's very special that she has the names of two of her great-great-grandmothers. Emma and Clara are excellent sister names. Best wishes to all.

The Schwant Family said...

sweet and classic indeed, love it! congrats!

Anonymous said...

What about Liliana, Lilliana or Lilianna?

It is sort of combining Annabelle and Lillian.

Liliana Claire is beautiful.