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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baby Boy Poe, Brother to Shepherd

Hope writes:
My husband and I are expecting our second boy due Feb 4, 2011. We are having a difficult time coming up with a name. Our last name is Poe. Our first son's name is Shepherd (Shep), which I love, but he went without a name until he was 3 days old. I would like to avoid that this time. We had decided on the name Magnolia Beatrice for a girl, Beatrice after my husband's grandmother, and wanted to call her Nola Bea. However, we aren't having a girl, so now we need a boy's name. A few of the names we like include Canon, Abel, Rowan (too girly?), and Asher (too popular?). Thanks for your perspective.

The first time I heard the name Rowan was when Brooke Shields used it for her baby girl, so the name will always sound feminine to me despite being used half again as often for boys as for girls in the U.S. (source: Social Security Administration). And with Poe I think it sounds a bit like "Ro and Po." I suggest Roman instead, although I don't think I like the repeating long-O sound with Poe. Or Cowan, except now there's a "Co and Po" sound. Or Roland Poe, which should give me a "Roll and Po" feeling, and yet doesn't. Perhaps Ryland, which I only just saw in The Baby Name Wizard? Ryland Poe. Shepherd and Ryland. I like that.

Because the biblical Abel was a shepherd, it makes an immediate connection for me with the name Shepherd. Also, I feel like poor unfortunate biblical Abel ruined the name for secondborn sons everywhere. But I was a diligent Sunday School scholar, and not everyone would even think of those things, let alone care. I might use Abram instead. Or Abner is a nice combination of Abel and Asher, if it's not too close to Edgar.

Asher seems good: it has that tradesman sound without actually being a tradesman name, and the repeating SH-sound ties it to Shepherd.

Canon is a name I'm not familiar with. Because of that, it sounds very nouny to me with Shepherd, and makes both names seem less like names. But I think if I were familiar with it, it might seem just about perfect. Again, though, your surname doesn't quite GO with it: Canon Poe sounds OFF to me.

The Baby Name Wizard suggests these brother names for Shepherd/Shepard: Gibson, Bishop, Burgess, Fletcher, Tillman. Bishop seems much too profession-oriented to me (a Shepherd, a Bishop, perhaps next a Farmer and a Deacon?), but I like Tillman and maybe Fletcher. (Gibson always reminds me of "Gibson girl," which for me makes it awkward as a boy's name.)

Miller seems like another good option. It SHOULD give me the same feeling as Bishop, but instead for me it tips both names from Profession Names to Surname Names.

Carter and Carson and Mason and Sawyer and Slater and Turner might work, too---or might give you the same feeling Bishop gives me.

Anderson seems nice: Anderson Poe; Shepherd and Anderson. Yes, I like that: it gives that "surname names" feeling.

Avery might work: it has the gentle sound of Shepherd. Shepard and Avery.

Or Harris: Harris Poe, Shepherd and Harris.

Or Redmond: Redmond Poe, Shepherd and Redmond.

Or Truman: Truman Poe, Shepherd and Truman.

Or Campbell: it too moves Shepherd from profession to surname. Campbell Poe, Shepherd and Campbell. In fact, I think that's my favorite.

Coleman would also be good: Coleman Poe, Shepherd and Coleman.

May I offer sympathy on your surname? After working with it for only an hour or two, I am feeling like it is a very difficult surname to work with, and that everyone will have to understand that whatever you choose shouldn't be expected to flow well with it.

Name update! Hope writes:
We decided on Charles Levi. Neither name had been on any list we had, but when he was born it just seemed right. We are calling him Charlie.


sarah said...

Archer is similar to Asher but not quite as popular. Archie and Shep. Archer Poe.

good luck!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I love Asher! And I like Swistle's suggestion of Cowan, although I prefer the spelling Cohen. What about Reuben?

Karen L said...

Poe is hard to work with but I think you've got a good start with Shepherd and Magnolia. Shepherd because of the P and Magnolia because of the length. But you seem to like 2-syllable names and mostly with softer consonants, which isn't ideal (to my ear) with Poe because Poe kinda dominates them. So I like Abel, Reuben, and Abner, which didn't remind me at all of Edgar.

A few stabs in the dark:

I wonder if you plan to have more children? I wonder because Shepherd and Magnolia are both words. Would you want to play that down if you were going to have three or more? Or would you like to go with it, albeit in a subtle way, with say a place name? or not even think about it and choose whatever feels right?

The Mrs. said...

Wow! Such great names to work with: Shepherd and Magnolia!

I agree with the first poster above... Archer is a great name with Poe.

Otherwise, Swistle's suggestions of 'Coleman' and 'Truman' are excellent.

Off of your current list, Canon is pretty fantastic. (Yeah, I think Rowan and Asher have the exact problems you mentioned).

Shep, Can, and Nola... they belong in a marvelous adventure book, comfortable from the moment you meet them.

Best wishes to your growing family. We'd love to hear what you decide for the little fellow!

Anonymous said...

I love Archer, Miller, and Anderson! Such great choices! I think Miller is slightly my favorite of the group, but maybe Anderson if you think you'll still have a Magnolia some day. Love your name style!

Anonymous said...

I think Shepherd and Magnolia both sound very classic and I'd go for a first name that complements these names, even if you don't end up having a Magnolia later on. I'd stick to the classic theme, without going for something too made up.

I like the suggestion of Anderson and Asher from your own list.

Some possible suggestions:

Shepherd and Julian
Shepherd and Sawyer
Shepherd and Hayes
Shepherd and Beckett
Shepherd and Frasier
Shepherd and Rafferty
Shepherd and Jonah

M.Amanda said...

I like Sarah's suggestion of Archer as an alternative to Asher. Also, Beckett from the Anonymous list above.


Noland - may be out if you want to reserve Nola Bea for a potential future girl

beyond said...

I think Asher could work for you. Or Archer.
I was going to suggest Beckett and someone beat me to it.
How about: Calvin, Campbell, Cassius, Dominic, Laurence, Phoenix.
I like these with you last name and with Shepherd (and with a possible Magnolia!)
Calvin Poe; Shepherd and Dominic; Laurence Poe.
Good luck!

StephLove said...

I like Asher quite a bit and Asher and Abel remind me of Amos. Would you like that? Or maybe Abraham?

I also like Linus for you. Or Louis.

Tracy H. said...

I like Swistle's suggestions of Truman and Fletcher. When I saw the above suggestion of Julian, I thought "perfect!" Then I realized why they sounded so good together, because Jerry Seinfeld's sons are named Julian and Shepard. This is not a bad association at all and I don't think many people would make the association, so I really like the name Julian with Shepard. I also like Asher and don't think it is too popular. I also like the suggestion of the name Rafferty a lot. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I currently have a charming student named this, and it's one of my fave boy names, so may I suggest
Mason ?
Two professional names, classic and spellable, and nice with Mason (Shepherd Poe, Mason Poe).

Anonymous said...

Wow! You Shepherd and Magnolia are amazing names (usually not a fan of magnolia, but it sounds so good with Shepherd!) How about Andreas? To me that sounds amazing with shepherd! Othe rnames to consider would be: Isaiuh (sorry, not quite sure on the spelling), Caleb, Nathaniel, Abiel (A-Bee-Ale, too girly?)and Matteo (too crazy?) Hope this helps!

(As always, Swistle's suggestions were awesome and are all reccomended by me)

Kas said...

The only Rowan i know is a boy so to me it doesnt sound girly at all! I love the suggestion of Roman!

Out of all your names on the list i love Asher! its a great name! Also really like the suggestion of Archer nn Archie! (it was on my list when expecting my son)

all the best x

Patricia said...

Charles Levi Poe is a very distinguished name. Congratulations on the birth of your little Charlie! Thanks for letting us know what you named "Baby Boy Poe".

Anonymous said...

My name is Shepherd Cannon. I like my name :)