We had no real trouble naming our first child. I guess to be more accurate, I had no trouble coming up with names for our first child, my husband would veto, we batted around a list for a while and finally came up with something we both love that really fits. Our last name is Right, but with a W. Our son is Ronan Joss. The first name is something we both just liked after a lot of debate, and the middle name is a family name to honor my husband's grandmother, who passed away before our son was born. We had a decent sized list of leftovers for another boy...so of course the baby we're expecting in December is a girl!
We are stumped for girl names. Like last time, I am in charge of coming up with ideas, my husband is in charge of naysaying. I know that we would like to use Elle for a middle name, to honor both of my grandmothers (Ellen and Eleanor). So here is my list of first name prospects, with explanations:
Saoirse--I really like this name but fear that she would be telling people how to say it and spell it for the rest of her life, and I think that's a dealbreaker. My husband dislikes this one for the same reason.
Mila (pronounced MEE-la)--might sound funny with Elle, is getting super popular. I don't wanna go too "out there" but want to avoid the super popular. My name was top 1 or 2 for my birthyear and there were a million in every class growing up. Also a little concerned about the initial problem--MEW? I am not a fan of initials that spell things.
Annika/Anya--like these ones but also showing a scary spike in popularity in the last couple years. My husband likes the similar but even more popular Amelia.
Considering something in the neighborhood of Serena, Selena, Sela, Sabina, Sabrina. I like Sabina the best of these, and I think it sounds good with Elle. The last time it was really popular was 1918. My husband thinks it's weird but I really like it. I don't mind SEW as initials so much.
Isadora--I vacillate between loving this one and thinking it's weird. Plus with Isabella being basically the most popular name ever, and the most likely nickname being "Izzy," I'm really on the fence about it. I guess the nickname could be "Zora" or something, but that is also less than ideal in my opinion. The other problem I have with this one is the "too many R sounds" problem. Say it-- Isadora Right. I like the idea of this one but it just doesn't sound right.
Scarlet--Cute but too associated with "gone with the wind?"
I kinda like Penelope, Calliope, things in that neighborhood, still kicking those around. Really like Penny & Callie as nicknames too. Penelope is getting a little too popular though.
I also kinda like Maren or Marin but those are too close to my mother's name (Marion) and thus pretty much out.
I have come up with two fairly strong recent contenders that might take some convincing for my husband--Gemma and Carys. I think Carys also has a bit of that pronunciation problem (will people think it's "Care-eez?" I would pronounce it "CARE-is.")
I obviously wanting to avoid anything cheesily holiday themed, the poor kid is never going to have a birthday party being so close to Christmas anyway, so no Holly, Noel, or anything of that ilk. Friends who are also pregnant right now with a girl are using Zoe, so that's out. I kinda like Lucinda but Lucy is so popular and I'm only lukewarm on it anyway. I like Isla but other friends just named their baby that so it's also out. I want to avoid anything that that ends with an R because I think it sounds weird with our last name. Help!
Oh, I am a little sad about no holiday names! I love those for December babies. My favorite is Eve, because it's a great name but I don't think it instantly calls the holidays to mind.
Okay, in that case my first suggestion is to use Elle as the first name. Or Ella: Ella Marion Right would be so pretty. But I realize Ella is probably too common for you to want to use it as a first name, and the initials EW are unfortunate.
I don't think you need to worry about there being a million in every class of any name. The top ten of THIS year are way way way less common than the top ten of our birth years. Ella, a name I think you should consider despite its popularity, was in 2009 given to less than half a percent of baby girls---or one Ella per thirteen classrooms. Even Isabella, the number one most popular girl name in the U.S., was only given to 1.1% of baby girls---or one Isabella per six classrooms. (Source for all this mathy stuff: Social Security Administration.) Of course, regional stuff screws up all these numbers: taking anything national and telling you it'll apply to your daughter's single elementary school would be misleading. Which on the flip side means there could be two Scarlets in her class.
And in any case I take your gist, which is that you'd rather avoid common names. And so my next suggestion is that you avoid Elle and go instead directly to Ellen. (I'd suggest going directly to Eleanor, but its popularity is rising as people realize they can get the nickname Ellie AND the nickname Nora from it.) Ellen is uncommon (#700 in 2009, and falling) and lovely: Ellen Right. Ellen Saoirse Right or Ellen Mila Right. Ronan and Ellen. I do wish that this didn't give the initials EW.
Or, go ahead and use Annika: it was getting more popular for awhile, and I would have said it was a good bet for getting even more popular---but then it stopped, and now it's getting less and less common.
(screenshot segment from the Social Security Administration
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Annika Ellen Right, maybe, or Annika Eleanor Right, or Annika Sabina Right. Ronan and Annika. Initials AW, which is better than EW.
Of the S names, my favorite is Sabrina, which is #214 and falling.
When I looked up Saoirse to get the pronunciation (SEER-shuh), one of the first hits was Saoirse Ronan. Perhaps Sasha? Anastasia?
I think Carys would work fine. Some people might need help pronouncing it the first time, but I'll bet most people know it.
Scarlet is at this point associated as much with Scarlett Johannson as with Scarlett O'Hara---but a bigger problem, I think, is its popularity: the spelling Scarlet is #610 and rising, but Scarlett is #169 and rising even faster (900s to 100s in 8 years).
Other unusual Celtic possibilities:
Bronwyn (not in the top 1000)
Cliona (not in the top 1000)
Flannery (not in the top 1000)
Gwendolyn (#585 in 2009 and holding pretty steady)
Ione (#938 and falling)
Riona (not in the top 1000)
Tamsin (not in the top 1000)
Name update! Melissa writes:
Baby Girl (W)right was finally born on 12/26/10! We had chosen Carys Elena, but it still didn't sound right to me somehow. Decided as my husband was sending out the announcement to go with Carys Eleanor and I think it suits her nicely. Thanks for the help everyone!