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Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby Girl Hall

Amy writes:
I really hope you can help us, I feel like I have looked at every name out there and am still not finding "our" name. Our first child, a little girl, is due July 15 and we are having trouble deciding or even narrowing down our list. We have lots of contenders, but none have really struck me as "the one." Since our last name (Hall) is so common, and short, we thought we could get away with a more unusual first name. We like names that are clearly gender specific and maybe a little old-fashioned. If we were having a boy, we would have named him either Oliver or Phineas.

Here are the names we have on our short list:

Agatha Rowan (Previously our first choice but do not like nn Aggie, and am getting a lot of negative feedback)

Gretchen Faye (pretty, but don't love)

Lucia Faye (pronounced LOO-sha, we think this is pretty safe, aside from the pronunciation issue that we foresee)

Briar Wynn (love how whimsical this is, but is it too out there?)

Imogen (cannot think of any nn)

Bryn (too short?)

Evie (pronounced EH-vee) I love this but would rather have it as a nn, however we don't like any of the names the nn would be derived from (Evangeline - I like, DH hates, Evelyn, Genevieve, etc.)

Juliette (just kind of meh)

Astrid (no nn, maybe a little too wacky for us)

Names we considered but rejected, mostly because of rising popularity, or because someone else is using them:

Olivia

Sophia

Charlotte

Scarlett

Caroline

Norah

Ella

We aren't fans of names like Madison, Ellery, Harper, Greyson, etc. or any name that is too popular.

Thank you!

I recently read a novel with a character named Imogen, and they called her Immy. You could also call her Genny or Midge. Imogen Faye Hall.

I wouldn't give up on Agatha yet. The trouble with collecting feedback while pregnant is that people don't have a visual to go with the name. If you were to present an infant and say, "This is Agatha!," some people would still dislike the name (this is true of every name that ever was and ever will be), but others who would have THOUGHT they disliked the name would find that actually they find it fresh and interesting and adorable on the little woogie-moogums oooooo look at her sweet little KEEKS. Especially since newborns can look so critical and disapproving, and it's amusing to think of a critical and disapproving infant named Agatha.

If you've already been put off the name, however, I suggest Beatrix. It's similar in style, but has the cute nickname Bee (or Bea, but I don't think I could resist the Bee spelling, and then the way I'd feel inclined toward bee-themed things her whole life). Beatrix Rowan Hall.

Or Martha, which has the -tha ending with Marty instead of Aggie. Martha Faye Hall.

Or Augusta, nickname Gussie. Augusta Rowan Hall.

Or I like the repeating double-L of Camilla Hall, and that gives you Cam and Cami and Millie. Camilla Faye Hall.

Or Philippa? Philippa Hall has dignity, but the nickname Pippa has ADORABLE. It occurs to me that you could use some of your too-common list for middle names. Philippa Scarlett Hall has a fun double-letter theme.

Or Louisa? Louisa Hall, with nicknames Lou or Lulu. Louisa Faye Hall.

Or Winifred? Winifred Hall, with nicknames Winnie or Fred. Winifred Norah Hall, Winifred Agatha Hall.

I'd also like to suggest Harriet and Henrietta. I think these are names very similar to Agatha in that the initial reaction might be not entirely positive---but that with time and cute baby cheeks, people may wonder why they didn't realize all along that these were the best names ever. Both have cute nickname possibilities such as Hattie and Etta and Ree. Harriet Astrid Hall. Henrietta Faye Hall.

For something lighter, maybe Felicity. I don't know why this name isn't more common: it seems to me to have the same rhythm and front-of-the-mouth sounds as Olivia and Elizabeth---and yet Olivia is #3 and Elizabeth is #11 and Felicity is #782. It has the appealing pioneer-days sound of Abigail, and yet Abigail is #8 and Felicity is #782. Felicity Faye Hall. Felicity Charlotte Hall.

If you like Gretchen but it's "not quite," would you like Greta? Greta Hall. No nicknames, unfortunately. Or you could go straight to Margaret Hall and have TONS of nicknames, from Greta to Maggie to Meg to Daisy to Maisie. I love the sound of Margaret Hall. Margaret Rowan Hall, Margaret Faye Hall, Margaret Olivia Hall.

Or Geneva, which could give you Evie (though I would pronounce it EE-vee, to match the vowel sound in the name). Geneva Faye Hall.

I don't think of Briar as being too out-there (like you, I consider it whimsical and botanical, like Ivy and Violet and Juniper), but it's a name that's a little trickier than usual to find a sister name for. For me, using one botanical name would eliminate all the others, so I'd need to think ahead of time whether this was my favorite of all of them.


Name update! Amy writes:
I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy baking several recipes from your other blog, so I am all set for postpartum snacking. :)
Just wanted to let you know our little girl arrived quickly and healthily at 12:57 am on July 19. We thought we would instinctively know what name to choose when we saw her - we had narrowed it down to Agatha Rowan or Briar Wynn, which were also the clear favorites from your commenters. However, when she came out, we still weren't sure so we slept on it for a night. In the morning I told my husband he could make the final decision since I loved both names. He chose Agatha Rowan, and I very happy with the decision. She's such a joy to us already! I've attached a picture of our little doll.

Thanks for your help!


41 comments:

Marla said...

What about Georgia Faye Hall?

Or Josephine Faye Hall?

Last one- Harriet Faye Hall? The nickname of Hattie is so cute. :)

Allie said...

I wonder if they would also like Britta, seems to be in their theme.

Carla said...

Being someone who likes the more whimsical names I vote for Briar out or your list and Felicity from Swistle's!
I second the comment about how people end up liking a name better once it belongs to someone they know.
I know people who have chosen names that were not my preferred style but as soon as I met and got to know the baby my opinion of the name did a 180!
Good luck.

beyond said...

From your list I love Imogen, and Swistle's suggestion of Camilla is great.
What about Louise? The nn Lulu or Lou is so cute. Close to Swistle's suggestion of Louisa, but with a slightly different feel.
I also suggest:
Estelle
Freya
Lucille
Victoria
Good luck!

Kit said...

There's a news reporter named Briar Stewart and from the moment I heard her name, I have loved it. Briar Hall is beautiful and I wouldn't worry at all about sibling names - it's a very pleasing name that seems to fit with your other choices.

Annika said...

My friend Georgia named her baby Agatha and I love it! No one calls her Aggie and I can't imagine anyone even trying - she is Agatha.

Ashley said...

Briar Wynn Hall is my favourite. Hands down.

Second would be Agatha, although I do see where it'd be hard to escape both the nickname Aggie AND the "old lady" association most people may have. But I think of Agatha Christie, who was awesomeness!

Greta is a great nickname for Gretchen, if you like Greta but want to use Gretchen, too. And in the vein of Astrid- what abouut Astoria, nn Story?

LiciaLee said...

I LOVE briar wynn. I think its perfect. :D.

Jordan and Krista said...

I have an 8 month old Evie (pronounced Eh-vee), and had the same issue as you -- we couldn't come up with a full name to go with it. In addition to the ones you listed, we also considered Evalina. Maybe that's an option for you? It was the strongest contender for us, but in the end we went with just Evie. We're very happy with our choice!

Liz said...

A friend just named her new baby "Elinor" which I quite like. There is also Stella, quite nice. I like Evie, too!

StephLove said...

I'd reconsider Agatha. It has the old-fashioned appeal that's popular today but it's definitely not one you hear all the time. Agnes is a similar name. I know an adult Agnes who goes by Nessi. I also like Imogen and Astrid from your list.

How about Penelope or Ursula?

Anonymous said...

LOVE Briar, Astrid and Felicity! All were choices on our recent girls' list. We went with Felicity as a middle name and I love to say it aloud!

Superjules said...

I know a gal named Evanthia who goes by Evie (EH-vie)....

Christine said...

I don't mind Agatha at all, but suggest Marta (rather than Martha) and Greta.

I like Imogen for what it's worth and like the nn options outlined above.

My favorite suggestion is by far and away Beatrice (Beatrix), I prefer the first way. Another one that you may like, that is still unpopular is Dorothy. I also love the nn Dot.

Good luck!

Tara said...

I am loving Agatha. Also maybe Margaret (Maggie) or Helene (Ellie could maybe work as a nn, or Lena). Or I always suggest Alivia for people that like Olivia but find it too popular. Just that tiny change cab make all the difference (my husband liked Erin and I liked Ariana but thought it was too popular and didn't want an A name so we wound up with Eriana it is wonderful).

Clarabella said...

Just a quick thought: an adorable nn for Imogen would be "Mo." I love it.
Also, I was going to suggest Agnes, but see someone already has. For some reason, I think it avoids the nicknaming potential Agatha has.
Good luck!

Hillary said...

What about Everly / Everleigh? It's adorable and unusual and gives you the Evie nickname that you love.

Auntie G said...

As a Gretchen, may I strongly urge you to consider an alternative that is more pleasant-sounding in English, such as Gretl, Greta, or Margaret? Gretchen sounds lovely as pronounced in German (GRATE-shen), but in English? I've never been a fan. PLUS people try to call you "Gretch," which is just WORSE.

Carolyn said...

I like Briar, and don't think it's too out there. Some other possibilities are:
Briony
Briarly
Brinley

I wouldn't give up on Agatha due to a nn. Nicknames can be so organic, they can come out of anywhere. Maybe as a little girl she'll call herself Aggie but pronounce it Addie. That could become her nickname.

Evie (pronounced EH-vie) is so cute! What about naming her Eva (pronounced EH-va)? Or Everly or Ever?

Mrs S said...

From your list I like Lucia Faye the best.

Instead of Agatha Rowan I like Astrid Rowan.

The name Agatha reminds me of Tabitha, Edith, Ingrid, Meredith or Daphane.

I agree with the pp about people mispronouncing Gretchen. Greta might be better.

Briar is not a gender specific name and I know this is one of your rules. Briar Hall to my ears sounds like a building's name.

Imogen Hall is beautiful. Imogen Wynn Hall or Imogen Faye work great.

Other name options: Fiona, Meredith, Emily, Eloise, Bronte, Giselle, Margot or Penelope.

Leslie said...

I actually think all of your original suggestions, and Swistle's additions, are all great options. You really can't go wrong with any of the choices. That said, can I put in a special plea for reconsidering Agatha? It's such a beautiful, underused name! Plus, Agatha Rowan Hall is such a fantastic mix of elegant and slightly spunky - it really does strike me as a perfect choice.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I love love love all the names suggested and wanted to throw in a couple more.

Along the lines of Agatha, how about Amelia? Amelia Rowan Hall.

If Astrid is not quite right, what about Aster? Aster Caroline Hall.

You like Rowan for a middle name, what about Rowena for a first name? Nickname Ro or Winnie. Rowena Charlotte Hall.

Along the same lines, what about Roberta? Nickname Bertie. Roberta Hall.

Or what about Marianne or Marion or Marilyn?

So many good choices! And I will add that I love Agatha and Imogen. I think both are lovely and either would be adorable on a tiny baby.

may said...

Hi there!
I know someone whose last name is Hall, and she said that the trouble with baby-naming is that the names will so often sound like buildings on a college campus. : ) I think it would be easier to avoid that, though, if you use a "normal," easily-recognizable name. Most of the suggestions sound fine, but I thought Bryn Hall and Briar Hall sound like places rather than little girlies. Then again, this may not bother you, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Good luck! You have some great names on the table, and I'm sure you'll find something you love.

Liann said...

I want to suggest two names that I consider old-fashioned but also have some whimsy to them:

Clementine (nn-Cleo)
Magnolia (nn-Maggie, Nola)

I think both are beautiful, underused and definitely spice up your common last name. Good luck!

The Mrs. said...

Oh, what wonderful names you have on your list!!

Briar Wynn Hall is right in SO many ways. It has charm, individuality, and instant appeal.

Agatha Rowan is a clever balance between the genteel and fresh. Gigi and Thea are fine nicknames for it, too. This one is my favorite from your list.

When I ready your post, the first name that popped into my mind (and apparently the minds of other posters) was 'Agnes'! Agnes Imogen Hall. Nessa is a sweet nickname for Agnes. The most refined, elegant, and generous woman I have ever met was named Agnes, so the name has excellent associations for me.

All the very BEST to your growing family... so excited for you and your husband to meet your darling daughter! Can't wait to hear what you pick for her!

Joanne said...

I like Briony, and I like Evaline for a longer version of Evie. I think you could use Gigi as a nickname for Agatha or Imogen and it's super cute. My friend just had a Beatrix and calls her Trixie, which is SUPER cute. My favorite, though, is Felicity, which would be my girl name for my future baby but my husband ruined it. And I am still mad. It's such a great name, though, so whimsical and classical and beautiful.

Lynnette said...

I agree that Beatrix and Philippa sound great with Hall. Greta too, mostly because that name is also on my futures list. I am with the others that think Briar Hall sounds like a building, however beautiful it might be. I think it sounds nice to get married there.

Hope T. said...

Gwyneth Rowan Hall

It has the 'g' from Gretchen and the 'wyn' from Wynn. It is unusual (in the 900's, I think) yet familiar.

vanessa said...

What about Rowena Agatha?
Astrid is love, as a mn maybe? Give her a first name that's nicknameable? Margaret has TONS of nns and Margaret Astrid Hall is nice.
I don't love Briar and the only Wynn I know is a man so that seems out there to me, but makes me think of Brownwyn. Bronwyn Faye Hall. Bronwyn Astrid Hall. Bronwyn Eve Hall (could call her Evie, then). Actually, my favorite for you is Eva Rowena Hall; Evie Hall. Or Eve Rowen Hall, which I also like. And Evie Hall is adorable.

Tara said...

Oh I know an Aimee Hall!


Anyway, I looove Imogen. With the nickname Immie (or Immi/Immy). Sooo cute!

I also love Briar Wynn that's gorgeous and I don't think it's too out there.

I also love Brynn (this spelling). I don't find it too short at all, there are plenty of one syllable girl names! Brynn Hall sounds fine too.

Or how about Piper? Or:
Georgia
August (nn Auggie?
Zara
Clementine (Cleo)
Winona (Nona/Winnie/Noni)
Clara
Cassandra (Cassie/Cass/Sandy)
Vivienne/Viviana (Vivi)
Stella
Irene
Bridget (Bridie)
Lydia
Cora
Matilda (Tilly)
Celeste
Molly

:-)

Amanda Calhoun said...

The kids downstairs from me were named Lucia (with your pref. pronunciation) and Graham. Lovely east coast WASP names if you're into that. I think you won't have an issue with Lucia plus then you can call her Lucy.

kimma said...

Another alternative for a formal name from which to get nickname Evie is Evette. Its distinctive, but not "out there" and I think has a lot of class.

Also a longer version of Bryn may be Brynley.

These are my two favourites from your shortlist.

Anonymous said...

WHat about

Althea - Tea
Emmeline Faye
Francine
Edith - Edie
Genova- Evie, Ginny, Nova
Stella Faye
Evanthe - Evie

Melanie said...

How about Lydia, Sylvie/Sylvia,or Freida

Sophie said...

Would you like Lorna?

The Author said...

I love the name Agatha and seriously considered for this baby. I also love Gretchen and Greta as well as Geneva. I have all old names for my girls. People are often naysayers, even now that my girls are born, but I think their names are beautiful and they have rich stories for my girls that we tell them often. Go with what you love.

Chantelle said...

Oooh Greta! Love that from Swistle's list. Greta Hall sounds so vintage and chic. Astrid Hall is also beautiful.

Kimmy said...

Bryn (/Brynn) is currently one of my favorite names. I don't think it's too short, even with a short last name. I also think it would make a great middle name, if you like it but don't want to use it as a first name.

Leslie said...

Agatha Rowan Hall is a GORGEOUS name, and I'm so glad you choose it! Congratulations to you and your family!

Addisun said...

I love the name AGATHA ROWAN. My baby girl is almost 2 months old and her name is AGATHA VALERI. Ive loved the name Agatha since I was a little girl and always told everyone that my first daughter would be named Agatha. Ive NEVER received positive feedback from the name but ultimately it is what you love that matters most and people respect that I was strong in my decision.

Wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas said...

So odd! I found this post while Googling names and trying to decide between Agatha and Briar for my first daughter. And, funny as well, the little Agatha above was born on my birthday. Small world! (We also have a boy named Finn :) )