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Monday, November 8, 2010

Baby Girl Right, Sister to Ronan Joss

Melissa writes:
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 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
(click to biggify)

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!


Mrs S said...

From your list I like Mila, Scarlet, Carys and Annika the best. I would suggest using a longer MN or adding a 2nd one. Elle dosen't really flow Wright. When you put your choices of names the MN and LN sound too 'quick' together. It almost sounds like 'Alright.'
Ella, Elise or Ellie might be better or just something longer.

Other names you might like are: Keira, Juliet, Phoebe or Ruby (if its not too popular)

Ruby Ella Wright.
Mila Elise Wright
Phoebe Elle Wright
Annike Joelle Writh

Noelle would be a cute MN if the Christmas connect didn't bother you/ :)

Good luck you have some great names to work with!

The Mrs. said...

Gemma Ellen 'Right' sounds... well, just right.
Gemma Maren 'Right' is lovely, too. (And its initals spell NOTHING!)
Gemma Penelope 'Right' is fantastic!

Isadora has potential... but, you're correct, 'Izzy', 'Zora', or 'Dora' aren't ideal nicknames.

Oooh! Sabrina Elle 'Right' is elegant.

You have some solid options. And you parents will pick the perfect one! All the best to your growing family!

Clarabella said...

Carys is my favoritest, you know, but then I said Carys Elle Wright, and it's Carousel. So...I really like Swistle's rec of Ellen (which honors both Ellen & Eleanor, or Elen, or Elin.
OR, I also like the above suggestion of a second MN.
If Swistle's Celtic suggestions, I really like Tamsin, and it sounds good with Elle & Ellen, I think.
Hopefully you'll get some good suggestions here!

Kate said...

I like Swistle's notes about using Ella or Ellen also as middle names. I really like any variety of those names, but if you are set on Elle I think you should stick with it.

I hadn't thought of the Carys Elle --> Carousel effect, but does that matter too much? I don't know that we say our first and middle names together that often.

But among the other Celtic suggestions, I really like Bronwyn.

Other favorites from this list: Sabina, Annika (nickname Anya?), and Penelope (nickname Penny).

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I have a friend named Kirsti (pronoucned Sheer-stee) which I think is pretty (but doesn't help that it's an easy spelling/difficult pronunciation).

Of your options, I really like Sabina, Sabrina and Annika.

Good luck!

Mayberry said...

How about using Camilla to get to Mila? Then you don't have MEW initials or a particularly common name, but you still call her Mila.

Anonymous said...

I think Camilla Elle Right would be beautiful.

What about

Milena Elle Right - Mila and Lena or Leni could be nicknames. It also has a similar sound and feel to Amelia.

Phoebe Elle(n) Right
Catriona Elle(n) Right
Idelisa Elle(n) Right
Moira Elle(n) Right
Brigit Elle(n) Right
Maeve Elin Right
Lois Elle Right

What about the name Elena? It's getting a bit popular but not overly so, I would put it in the same category as Ronan. Elena Penelope Right or Elena Lucia Right would be beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Nancy Elle

beyond said...

Great list. I love Annika for you. Annika Elle. Annika Right. I really love it. And I like the sound of Gemma Right a lot.
I also like Penelope and Calliope. They make me think of Irene and Melina.
Good luck!

Carolyn said...

Amelia, nn Mila would be a nice compromise between you and your husband.

Or maybe Malia?

My favorite from Swistle's list is Ione, or Tamsin.

Another thought is using the name Eleanora, for either first or middle. It's similar sounding to Eleanor, but not nearly as popular. (And I think it's so much prettier!)

Anonymous said...

Calliope makes me think of...
Cleo, Cecilia, Claire, Claudia or Cecily

Scarlett leads me to...
Anastasia, Seraphina, Stella, Sienna

Mila ...
Maeve, Roscha, Fiona, Nora

Good luck!!

Aoife said...

I can't go with Mila Elle. All I can envision is someone with a country twang sayin' Mila Elle, Milla Elle!

Carys sounds nice. I blogger I read uses it as her daughter's name but spelles it Karis.

StephLove said...

I think Swistle makes a really important point about how today's popular names aren't anywhere near as common as the popular names of a generation ago. There is no contemporary equivalent of Jennifer.

I'll illustrate this with a Top 10 name I think would work for you. I think Mia Elle Wright is a very sweet name. I have two kid, ages 4 & 9, so I know a lot of elementary and preschool age kids and I have never met a Mia. Along the same lines, I think Olivia would work for you, too. Ronan & Olivia. Olivia Elle Wright.

Just in case you are shaking your head in annoyance by now, I'll offer one out of the top 100 and one out of the top 1000. Lydia or Una. Ronan & Lydia. Lydia Elle Wright. Ronan & Una. Una Elle Wright.

Alison aka Baby B said...

I like Carolyn's suggestion of Amelia, nn Mila. I think the nn works, and it would be a great compromise. And, I agree with Swistle SO MUCH about the AW >>>> EW. EW would be a really unfortunate set of initials. Annika doesn't seem too popular in my area (Northern CA), but it could be highly popular in your area. But, around here, I like how Annika is so familiar without it being another Ashley (my school years were FILLED with Ashleys, a la Jennifers of the, what, late 70s?)

Karis could be an alternate spelling of Carys, but "CARE-iss" is a more intuitive pronunciation for Carys than for Karis (which makes me want to say "CAR-iss") but it's something to consider.

I like Ione a lot (I say it eye-oh-knee), but if you're worried about ease of pronunciation, that is probably not the right choice.

Carys and Ione made me think of Iris. Such a pretty name. Iris E. Right sounds lovely. Cute nn Irie, Riss, maybe even Rissa.

Rissa makes me think of Carissa. That's another name related to Carys that would not have the pronunciation issue. Cara or Caroline are other Car- names to bring up.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I really like Annika but also think you might like Merran or Merryn for something a little less similar to marion. And you can down Mez as a nickname to avoid Merry

Anonymous said...

Isadora Wright also sort of sounds like a question, albeit a nonsensical one. Is a Dora right?

jac said...

I also love Saoirse so I feel your pain. I wonder if you would go for the similar Irish name Sorcha? I also had a schoolfriend Cushla, to round out a trio!

Anonymous said...

If you like Annika what about Aniko, Anouk, Anoushka, Anya, Danica.

Patricia said...

I find Elle not quite right with many of the names on your list while Ellinor (or Ellenor) would go with many names and honor both grandmothers -- a blending of Ellen and Eleanor. Ellenor would be a "creative" spelling, which I would recommend only as a middle name, while the very similar Ellinor is the Scandinavian form of Eleanor. (The Scandinavian form of Ellen is Elin.)

My suggestion for you is
Gemma Ellinor (or Gemma Ellenor)
-- lovely and unique, with a very meaningful middle name for your daughter.

Patricia said...

Some further thoughts from a nana with the middle name Ellen whose first granddaughter is named Sarah Ellen. I think it's so special that you're considering a middle name that would honor both of your grandmothers; I'm sure they would be delighted by that loving gesture. And Ellen and Eleanor are excellent names to work with. If you go with the two names as your middle name, I wouldn't use Ellen as that would seem to be far more after one grandma than the other. I think your best options are Ella or Elena -- names that aren't exactly the name of either grandmother, yet sound similar to each name -- or Ellenor (Ellinor), a blending of the two names.

I don't love the way Elle sounds with many first names or that it's heard as the letter L. Sabrina Elle Right, which is pretty when written, sounds like Sabrina L Right when spoken. Too, to anyone who has studied French at all, Elle translates to "She"; Elle is a French language pronoun, not a name given to French girls.

I really like Ella or Elena as the first name for your baby too. Great-grandmas Ellen and Eleanor and little Ella or Elena. How special would that be!

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Am loving Anya Elena (W)Right and Ronan Joss.

Frazzled Mom said...

I only had time to skim the comments, but count me in as suggesting you reconsider Gemma. It may seem unusual, but when you think about it, the name sounds very much like a hybrid of the very mainstream Jenna and Emma (I pronounce Gemma with the soft G/J sound).

I only mention these points to help you sell the name to your husband, because husbands seem to find comfort in more popular names, usually.

I was surprised Gemma wasn't getting more popular, and then I checked the stats. Gemma went from unranked in 2007, to 888 in 2008 to 568 in 2009. I consider this a dramatic leap, and could indicate the name could suddenly get trendy. But who knows. Nevertheless, I think Gemma Elle Write works well.

I also really love Lucinda, and it remains unranked. I know what you mean about the popularity of Lucy, but at least Lucy is a classic. Personally, I would rather pick a classic that has steadily climbed in popularity, such as Lucy, over a new discovery that has seen recent spikes in popularity, such as Gemma. And besides, you wouldn't name her Lucy but Lucinda, but I agree, preventing Lucy as a nickname might be difficult. Also, all those names that use Lucy as a nickname (Lucille, Lucinda, etc) might make Lucy seem more popular than its 101 ranking suggests. I guess I sort of talked myself out of suggesting Lucinda for you.

I like the names on your list, but as I think about it, I can see your dilemma. Certain names paired with Elle Write could lead to unfortunate initials. Marin made me think of Mallory for some reason, but then I though of MEW and crossed it off my suggestion list.

I would also reconsider Annika, and decided to use it as an inspiration point. Annika falls under The Baby Name Wizard's Scandinavian category. Other names classified as Scandinavian that I like and might work:

Tove, which reminds me of a recent discovery:

Good luck

Patricia said...

Just reread your post: something along the lines of

Elena Marion Right
Elena Marin Right
Ella Marion Right

would make everyone happy!;-)

(And her initials would be EMW.)

Frazzled Mom said...

Now that I think of it, Elsa Elle Write doesn't work - sound like Elsa Elright...

Frazzled Mom said...

or taking off on Patricia's idea, if you are willing to use Marin as a middle name, Elsa Marin Wright works...

Now that I think of it, Elle does run into your last name, sounding like it could be another last name, Elright. But you have such a good reason to use it. Maybe using Elle or Ellen (less common) as the first name is a better bet.

Ok - bye for now...

Patricia said...

Good suggestion, Frazzled Mom: Elsa Marin Wright could be the perfect combination - ELsa for GG ELlen and GG ELeanor and Marin for grandma/nana Marion. Elsa is an unusual, yet known name, ranking 691 in 2009; Marin isn't in the Top 1000 at all. And Ronan and Elsa sound great together.

Love ELsa for the GGs, with Marin (more contemporary sounding than Marion) including her maternal grandmother too. All in all, I think

Elsa Marin Wright

would be an excellent name for your daughter!

Lena Phillips said...

I haven't read the comments above, so I don't know if the ideas that came to my mind have already been mentioned or not.

Your idea of Sabina etc. reminded me of the name Siobahn (Shuh-bawn). I don't know if that's one you would like, but it sounded so similar to all of your other "S" names.

And I love Gemma. I have a teenaged niece named Jemma and I think it is so lovely!! That's where my vote lies.

Anonymous said...

Eliza! Not common, not weird. Eliza Marion Wright.

Clarabella said...

I'm back. Because I care, Mel ;)
I would never have suggested it, for reasons you know, Mel, but Siobhan (which I pronounce Shau-vaughn) would be quite lovely.
Siobhan Elle Wright is just cute. Her initials *would* be SEW, but if ever monogrammed SWE, & SEW isn't really that bad, of course.
Ronan and Siobhan. Ro and Sio rhymes & strikes me as extra cute. AND a nice nod to the Irish y'all got going on. Anyhow.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of another Irish name, but I think Siobhan could be a problem both with pronunciation and spelling. I just looked up the pronunciation on and found I couldn't spell Siobhan correctly without referring back to the posts suggesting it.

Usage: Irish
Pronounced: shi-VAWN [key]
Irish form of Jehanne, a Norman French variant of JEANNE.

Tirzah said...

I'm surprised no one has suggested Eloise. This has the same feel as Eleanor or Elle, but it isn't as common. I think it's lovely, and would use it myself if friends hadn't snagged it first!