I am expecting my second child in July and we have been having a bit of a challenge choosing a girl's name. My daughter's name is Clara and my stepson, who lives with us, is named Ashton. We do not know the sex of this baby, but we have decided to honor both of our fathers by naming the baby Daniel if it is a boy. While his first name will be Daniel, we will be calling him by his middle name "Murphy" to avoid confusion with several other Daniels in our family. I adore the name Murphy, and it goes so well with our last name, Collins. There has never been any question that this is the best boy name for us.
When it comes to girl's names we have been much more indecisive. The one name we love is Holland, but I am concerned that it sounds too rhymey with our last name. Holland Collins. I love it - I mean I really, really love it -but I'm worried that it sounds silly. And I'd rather choose another name that will grow on me than give my child a goofy name.
Others that we have entertained include: Mae, Murphy (for a girl?), Harriet (nn Hattie), Gretchen.
So, what do you think of Holland? Do any of the other choices seem significantly better? Do you have any other suggestions?
We tend to like more traditional names, nothing trendy. No odd spellings. Nothing with a strong Pop Culture reference (ie: Alice, Dora, Ginger, Clarice).
I look so forward to hearing your advice! I have discussed this with a few Mom friends of mine and got some very strong, but mixed reviews. Thanks in advance for your time.
Ha ha! I'll bet you'll get "very strong, but mixed" reviews here, too! I'll start! To me, Holland Collins is all but unworkable: that is, if you had a very important reason for using the name Holland with the surname Collins, I would eventually say that in the end, it doesn't REALLY matter how a name sounds all together and you should use it, and some girls change their surnames when they get married, so...it'll be fine. But, lacking the very important reason, I would consider it completely out of the running, and would add it to the names many of us have had to eliminate because of surname incompatibility (I myself mourn for Ruben and Rufus). And I am sure there will be absolutely opposite opinions in the comments section, because this whole baby-naming thing is a matter of taste, and the further along the taste spectrum you get, the more divided and adamant the tastes will be---as you've found in your social circle already.
My first reaction to the name Holland Collins was purely sound-based. But my second reaction is stylistic: you say you like traditional names, and your daughter Clara has a traditional name, but Holland is an androgynous place name. (I'm not sure what to do with the name Ashton: Holland WOULD go well with that. I'm working more with Clara in this post, though, because a style clash between two sister names or two brother names is more noticeable than between one brother and one sister name.)
According to the Social Security Administration, the name Clara was #199 in 2009 and climbing; Holland isn't in the Top 1000 for either girls or boys. Although Holland is used more often for girls than for boys (the nickname Holly contributes to this, I imagine), if I saw it with Clara I would guess boy: as a boy's name, the name Holland has an old-fashioned gentleman sound that DOES go pretty well with Clara; whereas as a girl's name, the name Holland is modern and boyish and would be an unexpected choice with Clara.
I suggest Holly instead: it works better style-wise, and lessens the impact of the repeating sounds. Holly Collins still has strong repeating sounds, and if you'd asked me about Holly before mentioning Holland I might have said it was too much---but comparing it to Holland Collins makes me feel differently about it, and in fact I kind of LIKE the repeating sound. Holly Collins; Clara and Holly.
Molly would work too, and would be even better with Clara, I think: Molly Collins; Clara and Molly.
Ooh, or Lily would work: Lily Collins, Clara and Lily.
I would like to steer you away from your idea of using Murphy for a girl. As with Holland, it is an enormous style leap paired with Clara, and doesn't fit your preference for traditional names. Also, you say you'd like to avoid strong pop culture references: on a girl, Murphy immediately calls to mind Murphy Brown. This isn't a reference her peers will be likely to catch, but you have Clarice on your list so I'm assuming you don't mean only childhood pop culture.
From your list, the one that stands out to me as the best with Clara is Mae. Harriet and Gretchen also both work. Other possibilities:
Name update! Cayce writes:
Based on the favorable response from your readers we had decided to name our baby Harriet Wynne if we had a girl. Well, we had our baby and, while I was absolutely certain we would have a girl, we were blessed with a little boy! Baby Murphy Collins was born on July 19 at 7 lb 4oz. He is so sweet and we love love love his name. Thanks so much for your help!