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Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby Girl Phones

Autumn writes:
We are expecting our first baby (a girl) at the end of March. Our last name is very common and pretty much goes with anything (rhymes with phones). My husband and I narrowed our list down to Emma, Kate, and Anna. We decided to knock Emma out because of the popularity factor. I realize all three names are common, but we felt that Emma was even more so. I recently read an article (on the nameberry website) about the names Katherine and Kate. Basically the article said that once you added up all the Katherines, Kates, Katies, Kaitlyns etc. (and the fact that it is a nickname for many of these as well as a name by itself) that Kate was a top 10 name. I was baffled! I totally thought Emma was much more used, but the article actually said "this is the reason you feel like every other little girl you meet is a Kate." So, now we are stumped. Should we throw Emma back in the mix because of this or do we definitely go with Anna now? We really like all three names. But there are other names that we liked and decided against because of popularity and the fact that they might be more trendier versus classics (Charlotte and Lila for example). Can you give us some insight? Also, if it helps - we do plan to have more children and the boy names we like for possible future children are Henry, Grey, and Jack. Thanks for your help!

I'd say that if you really like all three names, and your only real issue is popularity, then you should use Anna: it's #29 and falling. But as you say, all three are popular, and with a common surname, you may be motivated to find a first name that's even less common.

I wonder if you'd like Emeline? I don't know why this name isn't more common. It's not even in the Top 1000. I added up the four spellings that seemed most likely to me (Emeline, Emmeline, Emmaline, Emaline), and all together they bring the name to #725.

Or Annabel! This name's ranking is deceptive: it's at #722, but the spelling Annabelle is #156.

Or Anneliese is pretty. Hard to figure out the rank: that spelling isn't in the Top 1000, but Annalise is at #648. I prefer the -el- myself (and TWO Ns for SURE), to avoid any unfortunate associations.

Or Annika. That spelling is at #416; combined with the spelling Anika at #533, the two spellings together would have a ranking of about #250.

Or I love Anastasia, and you could still call her Anna.

Or Anya: so close to Anna, but #363.

Or a blend, perhaps? You could name her Anna Kate Phones and call her Anna Kate, or Emma Kate Phones and call her Emma Kate. This also gives her a likely out from being "Anna P." or "Emma P." if there's another Anna or Emma in her class. (I say "likely" because of the year my mother had a class where there were two Sarahs who ALSO had the same middle name---but probably that qualifier isn't often necessary.)


Barb @ getupandplay said...

I really think you should go with what you love, regardless of popularity. Swistle has made the point on this site before that even top 10 names today are much less common than the top 10 names of the 70s and 80s.

That being said, my favorite of your choices is Anna. I think it flows best with your last name and it's so pretty and feminine.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This may not make a lick of difference to you, but I think it's worth mentioning. If you go with Kate, and your top choice for a boy ends up being Jack, you'll end up with Kate and Jack. Kate and Jack were also two of the main characters of the TV show "Lost," and at least for someone who's watched the show (and many, many people have) that would be a standout connection. Again, I don't know if it even matters to you, but thought I'd bring it up.

I prefer Emma, despite its popularity. Both because you seem to have only disregarded it because of its top ten status, but also because I prefer it with your top boy names. I actually don't know many Emmas at all, but I know several Katies and Kates (though to be fair I also know three baby Emilys). If that is the name you love and the only issue with it is popularity, I say use it and give her an alternative if she ends up wanting one. If you don't like the full name Emmaline, what about naming her Emma Lynne Phones? It sounds the same, but her name is still Emma on its own. Or what about Emme or Emmy?

Emma and Jack
Emma and Grey
Emma and Henry (I love, love, love this!)

I also like Anna, and I REALLY love Swistle's suggestion of Annabel or Anastasia, but calling her Anna (or Ana-- I also love this spelling). Your surname is so common, that spicing up the first name a little might make it flow more nicely.

And Swistle- growing up I went to Catholic school and there were THREE "Sarah Annes" in my class, K-8! Spelled exactly the same! So they were doomed to be "Sarah M, Sarah T, and Sarah R" no matter what.

Carla said...

I like the idea of Anna-?, Emma-? names.
Annalynn is another suggestions.
Unless of course you prefer the simplicity of the name alone and in that case Anna is my favourite!

Abby@AppMtn said...

Grey is one of my favorite boys' names!

I think the question is this: are you trying to avoid your daughter answering to Emma J or Katie J? If so, using Emma Kate or Anna Kate works.

If double names don't appeal, Annika would be favorite from Swistle's list.

If you're more concerned about her common first and last name combo causing confusion, you could just choose a very unusual middle name - which isn't to say it has to be a weird name. Emma Cordelia, Anna Beatrix, Kate Juliette.

Best wishes!

StephLove said...

I agree that if you love the names equally but are concerned about popularity, Anna's the best choice. I like Anna Catherine or Anna Caitlin (nn Anna Kate). Very cute. I know a little girl named Anna Ruth, which I think is such a lovely name. She's sometimes called by both names. I also like Anna Caroline. That's a long-time favorite combo of mine.

Carolyn said...

I like Emmeline (and this might be regional, but I've always heard it pronounced Emma-LINE, not Lynn)as a way to get Emma, Em, or Emmie as a nn.

Otherwise, I think the suggestion of Emma Kate or Anna Kate would be adorable.

beyond said...

Life is strange. I know an Antonia (not in the top 1000) who goes by Antonia M because she is one of two in her class. I understand not wanting/resisting a name in the top ten (I am the same), but you just never know...
I think all of your names are great. Go with what you love. When she is born, you might just look at her and feel she is a Kate... or an Annika (my fav from Swistle's list).
Good luck!

Patricia said...

My early 20s granddaughters Cate and Emma have a baby half-sister called Anna. I think you can't go wrong with any of your favorites. Choose the one you love the most!

As for the longer forms, our Cate is Catrina. Emma's mom considered Emmeline. And I love Annabel as an alternative to Anna.

(Emma's baby is Jane, another name that fits with your favorites, but perhaps that name is too similar to your last name?)

The Mrs. said...

There are packs of Emmas in our area of the states. Kates, Kaits, Cates, Katies, Katherines, and Kaitlyns also abound. I've actually heard a few teachers refer to some students as "Kaitlyn-Katie-Kiley-or-something-like-it". Another teacher calls all Emmas "Another Emma". Yeesh!

On the other hand, Anna seems so classic, so comforting, so enduring. I know one Anna, and her name is AnnnaBeth. (Her parents were paranoid that her name would be super common; ironic, no?) That's my favorite choice.

And while it seems unlikely that she will marry someone with the same last names, the odds are up in her case! Swistle types wisdom with the idea of using Anna as a nickname for a longer option.
Do you like any of these?

Andromeda (your last name keeps this one from being 'too much')
Anela (Annelle)
Antoinette (also great with a common last name)
Antonia (great book, My Antonia, written by Willa Cather)

Anna and Jack sound terrific together! So do Anna and Grey.

Best of wishes as you anticipate your darling new addition!

MelissaInk Designs said...

I like the idea of Emma Kate and calling her just that - Emma Kate. It keeps it from "just another Emma" AND "just another Kate." Yes, Emma Kate.

Anonymous said...

I love the suggestion of Annalynn, Anna Lynn or Annalynn Kate 'Phones' sounds so classy!

Abbey said...

I vote for a double name like Anna Kate or Emma Kate. It uses your favorite names, but still adds some uniqueness to them. I have a double name & love it!

Cora said...

Anna, Emma, and Kate make me think of another seemingly popular name, Grace. I hear this all the time as a middle name, but never a first name. Grace evokes thoughts of ballet and Princess Grace for me, yet I rarely meet a little girl named Grace.

Susan said...

I like "Anna Katherine," nn Anna Kate.

If your last name starts with a J, I think Genevieve would be stunning. I like the nn "Evie."

kimma said...

From your list of both girl and boy names it seems you like short, simple names. This being the case I wouldn't worry about lengthening the name or hyphenating it to make it more unusual. Just go with one of the three you love. All are lovely, classic names.

Anonymous said...

I like all 3 name options.
For what it is worth, here is something to consider with the double name (which I am a proud owner). She will have to spell out her name the rest of her life. Anna Kate? Is that 1 word or 2, Kate with a K or with a C. It may seem silly, and with the last names "phones" to be no big deal, but if she changes her last name one day she may be spelling her 1st and last name. Which I am now. All.the.time.

Maria said...

My favorite is Anna.

WOuld you like:


Elizabeth said...

We have a Katherine, and at least in our neck of the woods, we have never met another Katherine, Katie, or Kate. People even give us strange looks when we tell them her name. On the other hand, we don't know any Emma's either. Interestingly, there's NO repeats in a preschool class of 24 kids, except the name Mia, which I don't even think is that popular. So you just never know.