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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby Girl Petersen, Sister to Selah and Titus

Allison writes:
I am hoping you can help me with a name for our daughter. Her due date is July 21st. Our process for our first two children was this: an unusual, or little used, Biblical first name and a middle name that honors a family member. Our last name is Petersen.

We have a 3 1/2 year old, Selah Mae. Mae is my maternal grandmother's middle name.

We have a 21 month old, Titus Glen. Glen is my father-in-law's name and my husband's middle name.

I love the name Ava or Eva, but I feel that it is way to common right now so I am looking for something different. Adah is at the top of my list, but my husband doesn't like it. I have also considered Kyra, Michal, Calah, Eve, Mara, Micah and Eden.

Possible middle names include Violet (paternal grandmother) and Louise (husband's grandmother). I was concerned that it doesn't follow our 3 syllable names with the previous two.

I think it's fine not to match the number of syllables in the sibling names. And trying to match it eliminates so many possibilities, for no benefit.

From your list my favorite is Eve. Uncommon (#582 in 2009, though the popularity of Ava/Eva makes it feel more common) and biblical, and very close to the Ava/Eva you love. Eve Louise would be pretty, and then you'd still have three syllables total, even if they weren't divided the same way.

Some of the names on your list are names I would use---but not if the Bible were my motivation for using them. The name Mara, for example, is a beautiful name, if I'm not thinking of it as a biblical name. But as soon as I think of the Bible, I think of Naomi, after her husband and both her grown sons had died (leaving her, in those times, completely impoverished and unprotected and unable to support herself), saying, "Don't call me Naomi anymore---instead, call me Mara, because God has dealt very bitterly with me." (Mara meant "bitter," from another unpleasant biblical connection where the water of a river was too awful to drink, so they named the place Marah.) Do you see the sort of thing I mean? Mara alone is a very nice name; but using it FOR its biblical connection and BECAUSE OF its biblical connection brings to mind the sadness and bitterness and death it was used to represent in that book.

It's the same with the name Cain (not on your list---I'm just on a roll now). If someone uses it with no intention to link it to the Bible, it's just a name, not much different than Dane or Cade. But if they use it as a biblical name, then they're using the name of the guy known for murdering his brother, and that's an odd thing to do: the deliberate biblical connection brings in the negative biblical significance.

Okay, sermon over. I'm going to ignore what I just said, and suggest names that appear in the Bible whether the associations are positive or negative, because what _I_ would want for a biblical baby name is not relevant, just fun to discuss while we're on the topic.

Naomi seems like a great possibility but at #107 on the Social Security charts for 2009, I suspect it's too common.

I suggest Miriam: it's biblical, and uncommon (#310 in 2009) yet familiar. Miriam Louise Petersen; Selah, Titus, and Miriam.

Or Esther (#267): Esther Louise Petersen; Selah, Titus, and Esther. If you decided you DID want to match the syllables of all the children's names, you could reuse the middle name Mae, or you could use Lou as a short form of Louise.

Or Bethany (#342): Bethany Louise Petersen; Selah, Titus, and Bethany.

For something similar to but more unusual than Bethany: Bethel. Bethel Louise Petersen; Selah, Titus, and Bethel.

Zorah would be pretty: Zorah Louise Petersen; Selah, Titus, and Zorah. This is my top choice for you: it seems most compatible with the style of the sibling names. I like both Zorah Louise and Zorah Violet, or Zorah Mae if you want to keep the same syllable pattern.

Or Cana: Cana Louise Petersen; Selah, Titus, and Cana. Cana and Esther are my second favorites for you.


Anonymous said...

I love Eden Violet! Also Adah Violet is so pretty!

Anonymous said...

Swistle!!!!! Thank you for suggesting Cana (a city in the Bible.) An alternate spelling for it is Kanah (the name of a river in the Bible.) I think that name is perfect with Selah and Titus. I would use Cana/Kanah Louise. Beautiful!

Sarah said...

Eden is a great name. I've seen it used a couple of times, but it's not exactly burning up the charts.

I think that Eve is a great choice, too. Very pretty, simple and familiar.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Love love love Zorah Lou (/Louise) or Cana/Kanah Lou (/Louise). So very pretty!

If you want to avoid the matching "ah" ending with Selah, perhaps Phoebe?

Phoebe Louise. Phoebe, Selah, and Titus.

Or, if don't mind repeating an initial, possibly Shiloh?

Shiloh Louise. Shiloh, Selah, and Titus.

caycecol said...

I love Miriam and Zorah with the sibling names. Miriam is just lovely and I have only met one other (my high school spanish teacher!).

StephLove said...

I like Adah a lot from your list, Adah Violet in particular. Eden, Eve and Kyra are also nice. I like Violet with all of them, but Louise goes pretty well with most of them, too.

Esther, Miriam, Naomi & Zorah are stellar suggestions.

I think Susannah is surprisingly underused and quite lovely. Susannah Violet Petersen, Susannah Louise Petersen. Both very sweet.

AirLand said...

I think it would be confusing, spelling-wise, to have one daughter have a name with "ah" on the end, and one with just "a." So if you like the a/ah ending, I would stick with "ah" names, like Calah or Adah. I really like Calah Violet.

changelivlife said...

I was completely with Swistle until I said the names out loud.

Selah Petersen has a strong sibilant S to start it out. It matches the S in Petersen.

Titus has the same sound, just at the end of the name, instead of starting it.

Really, say them out loud and you'll hear it.

That's why I'm casting my vote for Esther. Aside from loving the name and thinking it way underused, it offers that same sound in the middle of the name, which is, in its way a pattern.

I don't know if the parents to be are concerned about such things, but, if so...I figured I better point it out.

And I also vote, like others, for using Lou instead of Louise to give the similar syllable pattern.

Esther Lou Peterson. FTW!

Carolyn said...

I love Bethany and Miriam. Another little-used name is Dinah. With a long I pronunciation, it makes a refreshing alternative to Diana.

The Mrs. said...

Ooh! Great ideas!

I'm going to throw Lydia and Tabitha onto the pile. And Ruth!

Selah, Titus, and Lydia.

Selah, Titus, and Ruth (Ruthie).

Hmmm... I think Miriam and Eden are still my favorites.

Selah, Titus, and Miriam.
Selah, Titus, and Eden.

Even though neither has an 's' sound (as mentioned above), they have a demure 'eh' sound that matches with the 'eh' in Petersen.

Miriam Violet or Eden Louise.

You've got some wonderful naming taste! All the best to you as you anticipate your new arrival!

Adey said...

My favourites are Eve Louise or Zorah Louise.

I really really like Louise for the middle name.

Naomi and Eden are great names too!

I can see how Cana/Kanah would flow with the other sibling names.

Good luck!

brooke said...

My votes are for Eve, Eden or Adah. Love them all.

Catherine said...

Bethany was the very first one that came to mind. Hannah, I think, would also fit int.

kimma said...

If your hubby doesn’t like Adah perhaps he’d be more inclined towards Ayla? Ayla Louise has a nice alliteration to it.

Of the suggestions made earlier I also really like Lydia and Dinah.

Two more suggestions would be Delilah and Jemima. Both break your rule on the number of syllables, but I wouldn’t be concerned about this personally so thought I’d throw them into the mix.

Anonymous said...

Meirav springs to mind. Another transliteration is Meirab.

Other options that occurred to me:
Zillah (or Tzillah)
Yael or Jael (I pronounce Yael as Yah-ell, but have heard Jael as Jay-ell)
Keziah or Ketziah
Penina or Peninah

Melanie said...

How about Lydia, one of the first new testament Christians!

Nicole Trager said...

I vote for Miriam, Ruth, and Bethel

Anonymous said...

Acacia is another one that is very pretty and uncommon.

Ashley said...

Ah, I was going to suggest both Tamar and Yael, too! Such pretty names, and they're unique but not unheard of today. From your list, I like Eden and Adah. Eve is one of my favourite names, but it just doesn't fit in my mind for a sibling to Selah and Titus, for some reason. I still wouldn't discourage it, though- all three of the names (Eden, Adah and Eve) are very lovely!

A few more Biblical names to consider (sorry if there are any repeats):


I know some don't fit within the 3 syllables, but Mahalia Louise or Ariel Violet are such pretty names!

Also- are you wanting to stick to names of people/places in the Bible, or would you be open to virtue names? Mercy, Grace and Hope are ones that come to mind that fit well on modern children.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I really love Esther, Miriam, Naomi, Eve, Tabitha and Adah.

Kate said...

Love the suggestion of Cana. I went to school with a Havalah, which I believe is a river in the bible. I've always thought that name was really pretty.

Anonymous said...

Another Biblical name I love:
Magdalene (nickname--Maggie)

And then there is always the wonderful,simplistic, always classic "Anna" or "Sara".

Allison said...

I love these suggestions! Zorah is a beautiful name that I had not thought of. I have to say that Adah Violet is my favorite, and I have gotten over the whole syllable thing. My husband, sadly, does not care for any of these names. He has suggested the name Hannah Violet. Since I basically named our first two children, I am feeling the need to keep peace in our marriage. :) We shall see! A couple more months to decide!