This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby Boy Wiedlocher, Brother to Cedric James

Laura writes:
Our second son is due to arrive on May 11, 2011 and we have everything ready, except for a name. We are in need of serious help. Our first son is named Cedric James. We love Cedric because its unique but not hard to spell or pronounce. It has a strong, masculine name meaning which we also like. James is a family name (my father). For our next son we would like to follow a similar pattern; a first name that has a strong/masculine name meaning, is unique, but easy to say and spell followed by a family name. We have decided on Jack for the middle name, after my husband's maternal grandfather. It has been really hard for us to find a first name that meets the criteria and goes with Jack. I have argued for using John or Jackson as middle names but Husband feels very strongly that the middle name be Jack. Just Jack. Here is where it gets even more tricky, our last name is Wiedlocher (pronounced weed - locker) and we want to be sensitive to the fact that this is a mouthful of a last name and will be constantly mispronounced and misspelled for both boys their whole lives. My name is Laura and my husband's is Zachary.

We have a short list of names that we both like: Ethan, Logan, and Landon. But do you notice how they don't really fit our criteria?! Ethan is the only one that has a strong name meaning and all three seem like popular baby names right now.

We have also considered: Caden (but does this sound too similar to Cedric? I feel like I would constantly be calling for Cedric but saying Caden. Or the other way around.)

Husband likes Ethan the most right now because of the name meaning and how it sounds with Jack, despite it being popular. I don't love it though. I am hoping for a first name that has a softer first syllable because I like how that sounds with our last name, which starts with a hard w sound.

If we were having a girl or if our next child is a girl, names that we love are Emelia (Emma), Elizabeth (Lizzy), and Charlotte (Charlie).

I have been diligently reading your blog for months hoping that the right name for our son would serendipitously be suggested by you or one of your readers. I have high hopes that you (and your readers) will be able to suggest name combinations that we had not considered or at least weigh in our top three choices.

Thank you so much for your help!

Here is something I've noticed in previous posts where the desired middle name was Jack: something about that particular name makes a "Panama Jack"/"Indiana Jones"/"Crocodile Dundee" sound with the first name. The first name ends up sounding like an adjective for Jack, which then sounds like the first name. I know your husband feels strongly about this, but I'd say it's one of the main things blocking you from finding The Right Name, and I'd add my opinion to yours that he reconsider this. Could the middle name be after his father instead, to better parallel your first son's name? Was his grandfather's name John, and Jack a nickname? (Though of course if his grandfather always went by Jack, the name John may not seem like him at all.) Are there other family names that could be used instead?

Well. It sounds like the middle name is fixed as Jack, so I'll proceed with that assumption. When/if you feel like you're backed into a corner trying to meet certain criteria, remember that the name only needs to fit your criteria if YOU TWO want it to fit the criteria: if a name you love fails to fit in one area or another, you can choose to decide not to hold the name to that requirement. Criteria can help to narrow things down---but when your criteria are outranking your opinions, it's time to rethink. And now I will say criteria some more, because five is not enough for one paragraph: criteria criteria criteria.

Caden and Cedric do have a lot of things in common (start with C, two syllables, D-sound in the middle), but to me their style clash is intense: Caden/Cayden/Caiden/Caeden/Kaden/Kayden/Kaiden/Kaeden is modern and part of the trendy Jaden/Hayden/Aiden/Brayden set, while Cedric is old fashioned and rare.

And you're right: Landon (#36 in 2009), Logan (#17 in 2009), and Ethan (#2 in 2009) are all significantly more popular than Cedric (#702 in 2009). (All stats from The Social Security Administration.) So let's go questing for some new possibilities.

Alan Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Alan
August Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and August
Conrad Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Conrad
Darian Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Darian
Franklin Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Franklin
Gideon Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Gideon
Isaiah Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Isaiah
Karl Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Quincy
Louis Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Louis
Malcolm Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Malcolm
Quincy Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Quincy
Roland Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Roland
Rufus Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Rufus
Ryland Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Ryland
Stanley Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Stanley
Terrence Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Terrence
Tobias Jack Wiedlocher; Cedric and Tobias

I'm not very knowledgeable about name meanings. In part this is because so many meanings are more like..."meanings." They vary from baby name book to baby name book: one of my name books says Cedric means "model of generosity" and another says it means "battle chieftain" and another says it was made up by an author for a novel in 1819 and doesn't mean anything. Very few meanings are official in any sense: some come from what someone in the Bible said the name meant (but what did the name mean before that?); some come from the meaning the name would have as a word in another language, if it were a word instead of a name; some come from a baby name book author's imagination. Many come from such a long stream of related names and their derivations ("sounds like X, which is a shortened version of Y, which is a version of the name Z from another language, which comes from the root word for..."), there's almost no connection at all. (I've written more on this subject here: Baby Naming Issue: Name Meanings and Baby Naming Issue: A Problem With a Name's Meaning.)

However, name meanings are important to YOU, and so it doesn't matter if they're important to me or not, and so I'm using The Oxford Dictionary of First Names and The Baby Name Bible to look up the meanings of the names on my list above.

Alan: possibly from the word "rock"; handsome, cheerful
August: great, magnificent; majestic, venerable
Conrad: bold counsel; bold advisor
Darian: rich, kingly
Franklin: freeman; free landholder
Gideon: he who cuts down; feller of trees
Isaiah: God is salvation
Karl: free man
Louis: renowned warrior
Malcolm: devotee of Saint Columba
Quincy: estate of the fifth son
Roland: famous throughout the land
Rufus: red-haired
Ryland: island meadow
Stanley: near the stony meadow
Terrence: [no known meaning]
Tobias: God is good

Name update! Laura writes:
Thanks so much for your help. You and your readers helped Zach and I get around our baby name road block. We moved past Logan/Ethan as name choices and thought we would go for either Roland or Nolan. But then last Wednesday (May 11) when our son was born we both looked at him and felt like neither of those names fit him! Zach came back to the hospital the next morning with the name Elias, nickname Eli and I loved it. Cedric James is now the proud big brother to Elias Jack.

Thanks again!


knp said...

What about Vaughn, Taran, Soren, Lewis, Hugo, Trey, Crewe, Galen, Neil, Tate, Wade, Tobias, Gilbert,

(I also don't know much about meanings, you'd have to look those up)

aajc said...

What about Everett? It has that uniqueness but it's easy to spell. It would also go well with Jack...Everett Jack Wiedlocher. It's strong in it's own right and sounds great with Cedric. Cedric and Everett.

M.Amanda said...

Nolan? Nolan Jack Wiedlocher. Cedric and Nolan. A couple sources listed the meaning as "champion."

AirLand said...

I love the name Logan. Whatever the meaning (and despite a few girls having the name), I think it's very handsome and masculine.

Among the suggestions, I also really like August and Everett.

Kate Croy said...

Putting in a vote for Gideon!

Christine said...

I like the suggestions of Gideon, Everett and Isaiah. I think that a three syllable name really works better with the middle name Jack. Abraham and Elliot?

Good luck!

Elisabeth said...

Some other options...

I also like the suggestions of Everett, Gideon, and Conrad.

Shannon said...

I've always thought Conrad was a wonderful and very overlooked boy's name. My hubby didnt like it so I didn't end up using it but j think it's strong and masculine and familiar, easy to pronounce and just a great choice. I agree with what Swistle said about Caden (and all it's spelling variations) my son is 4 and there are SO MANY of them right now. Not just Cadens but names starting with k (or c) and ending in n. Really trendy. I would avoid it. it's not in the same class as Cedric (awesome name btw!).

Anonymous said...

From Swistle's list, I really like Alan, Darian, and Tobias.

You might also consider -

- Eugene Jack Wiedlocher. (619) (well-borne)
- Adam Jack Wiedlocker. (72) (red earth)
- Blaine Jack Wiedlocker. (614) I'm a little hestitant to suggest this one, due to the initials BJ.
- Milton Jack Wiedlocker. (923)
- Walter Jack Wiedlocker. (393) I love the alliteration, but some people don't. WJW. It looks distinguished.

Jenn said...

Just wanted to suggest Alistair (or Alastair). It's nearly as uncommon as Cedric and I think it sounds great.
Cedric and Alistair
Alistair Jack
Meaning I found was "defender of the people"

Mrs. Haid said...

Laura, I think this is a tough one! I do tend to agree that Caden and Cedric are very opposite. I was surprised by how strongly you love Cedric's name and that you like the names Landon and Caden and etc that are more contemporary names. I think they are more "current" and like how Zach and Laura were in 80s/90s, whereas Cedric is a more interesting and unusual choice for today.

(But I think his personality really suits this name and it is wonderful with your last name.)

For this boy, I think you should either go with one or two logical steps:
1) Don't tell Logan about his name meaning hollow. Don't assume he will look it up and think about a geographic location. But of course, you have to tone down "battle chieftan" talk with C.
2) Choose a name you can tell your kid the meaning you selected. Pick a name with a meaning that is as wonderful to you so he feels special about why you named him a certain way, too.

August might seem like an odd choice. I had a student named Augie who was so masculine, and what I picture about the name now. Maybe something similar to Tobias or Franklin. Theodore? Aaron? Abraham?

You've got 2 weeks!

Anonymous said...

Cedric is such a great name! It's on our list for our next son, and although I was hesitant to love it, it has thusly been bolstered by your use of it.

I must admit, Cedric and Caden does feel a bit like style whiplash... but I'm loving all the other suggestions. Here's a few others that are on our list beside Cedric:
Felix (my son's name- love it!)

Domestic Goddess PhD said...

I just want to say THANK YOU to Swistle and everyone who has posted a comment. Your thoughtful suggestions have re-energized our quest for The Name! We are back to the drawing board so to speak, which is a good thing because we had totally hit a wall. When we decide what to name this baby, we will send out an update.

The Mrs. said...

Not sure if you're still taking suggestions, but if you are, I concur with the poster above who mentioned Nolan. Wow, SUCH a great name.

If that isn't your speed, how about 'Marcus'? Or 'Ernest'? Or 'Remus'?

All the best as you choose a name for your little one!

StephLove said...

I like Ethan for you, and from Swistle's suggestions Louis and Quincy.

How about Elias, Nicholas or Nolan?

kimma said...

My 3 year old’s best friend is Cedric and I absolutely love his name! This Cedric’s mum is expecting a girl in June and I can’t wait to find out her name, as I have high expectations it will be something equally distinctive and awesome. I would be disappointed if I found out she was using something as common as Emma, so I guess my opinion is you should keep looking for a “wow” name like Cedric.

I like the suggestions of August, Alastair and Louis. How about Lawrence? Curtis? Julius? Theodore? Verne?

Lori said...

The closest translation for Terrance is "unsure" so maybe don't go with that; although, in present circumstance, it may seem appropriate! Good Luck!

lili said...

It was mentioned already but I want to suggest Duncan again. I may be biased, as it's my 7 month old's name :) but it's a great name that hits all the notes you're going for: It's unique but not hard to spell or pronounce and it has a strong/masculine meaning (dark warrior). We had the same criteria (except for the meaning) and Duncan has been received way better than I expected. Everyone comments on what a great name it is. It sounds good with your surname and I also as a brother for Cedric! Good luck!!!

blissful_e said...

Nolan has my vote. What M.Amanda commented earlier, plus one of my all-time favorite athletes (Nolan Ryan

Christina said...

This is a conversation near and dear to my heart! We are a W-last name, 2-syllable though (like Win-top). We have a Landon and, I have to admit, Cedric James is top of my list for boy2, although hubby doesn't like it.

(I'm obsessed with finding a C-name for boy2 that isn't a Chris- derivative... And I feel an -n ending is out because we already have a 2-syllable-n-ending name. Byebye Conan, Caelen, Caeden. I like Conrad in my head, but it changes a bit when I say it out loud. Same thing with Clay. I'm starting to think this may be impossible!)

In addition to that, I wanted to say that I chose Landon because it feels old-fashioned, not modern and made up. I imagine a Landon would have been at home in a farm neighboring Terra! I'm an American living abroad, so I understand I'm out of the loop a bit. How popular is Landon *really* in the US? No one here has ever heard it (even with Landon Donovan) What does a rank of 36 (or now 34) mean? Does every classroom have one?

As for suggestions, Franklin, Everett and Nolan are favorites of mine as well. (As are William, Warner, Wyatt and Wade, but those are out because the alliteration doesn't work for me!) August is also a pleasant, beautiful surprise!