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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baby Girl D_____ (Rhymes With Yellow), Sister to Landon and Brady

Charlene writes:
I have been pouring myself into researching names since I found out I was pregnant but my husband and I have not agreed on a name still! I have two months left to go (EDD due mid-July) and it truly seems hopeless. I have two sons from a previous marriage that I named myself: Landon James and Brady Kenneth. I was drawn to the English Gentlemen sound of it, as well as having last names as a first to make their names sound strong. This time, we are finally having a girl, so this is a very big deal for me! I want to give her a name that is old, forgotten and beautiful. I cannot stand picking a name from the top lists. My husband on the other hand wants a simple, traditional name that is not unusual. Our tastes in names clash heavily.

The names I love are:

Briar (my favorite)

My husband loves: Ava, Hannah and Rachel. He also would like to have an Italian name since he is Italian but has turned down all my Italian name suggestions.

Originally, we considered going with Briar Rachel (which I absolutely love) but then he admitted he couldn't love it. Several months later, we decided to pick Ava Gianna but I couldn't fall in love with the name. It was too popular although I love the meaning "like a bird" since I collect bird decor. I also struggled with Gianna even though I thought it was pretty. I suggested Ava Charlotte, Ava Christine, Ava Genevieve, Ava Isabella, Ava Marlene (after my mother) and he rejected them all. So we have dropped the name and decided to start over although we're getting nowhere now.

If she was a boy, then her name would've been John Michael (my husband's name inverted) although I would've picked Jack.

Our last name starts with D and rhymes with yellow.

This is our third child (my third, and his first to be precise) and possibly our last unless we have one more (undecided).

I will update you with the results if you help! Thanks so much!!!

The trouble with names that are old, forgotten, and beautiful is that as soon as someone DOES remember one, they take off like wildfire---which is how the name Ava is #5 and Emma is #3 and Isabella is #1. It's as if someone says, "Hey, why aren't we using this awesome name??" and society replies, "Hey, yeah, why AREN'T we?" And then suddenly, we ARE.

The good news is that this means your tastes aren't as far apart as feared: you both like old beautiful names, but your husband likes the ones that have already been rediscovered, while you mostly like the ones that haven't yet.

Will it upset you if you choose a forgotten name and then soon afterward it is remembered? Society tends to move all together toward certain sounds---and the sounds on your list are mostly in that group. Livia is very close to Olivia, which is the #4 most popular girl name. Isabelle is #105, but combined with the spelling Isabel it's #40---and of course very close to Isabella at #1. Viviana is uncommon, but Vivian and Vivienne are both rising rapidly. Emilia is uncommon, but Amelia is #41 and climbing, and Emily is #6. Rosalia is uncommon, but Rosalie is expected to get much more popular because of the Twilight character with that name. And so on.

One possibility for compromise: start with a name from your list, but then find a similar name that has already been discovered. Instead of Coralie: Cora or Clara with the middle name Leigh/Lee. Instead of Emilia: Amelia or Emily or Leah. Instead of Livia: Olivia or Lilliana or Lia. Instead of Viviana: Vivian or Vivienne or Anna.

Or the other way: start with a name on his list, but find a similar name that's less common. (This is more of a challenge, I think.) Instead of Ava: Avery or Aviana. Instead of Hannah: Anneliese or Johanna or Susanna or Savannah (Savannah also has the V sound you like).

I also suggest:


I wanted to suggest Arabella and Annabel and Romilly, but I think they're too much -ell with your surname. Iliana and Liliana and Cecily might be, too, but I was less certain.

And I encourage your husband to reconsider Genevieve. It's similar to Gianna, and it's one of the more familiar names from your list.

It seems as if Italian names would be the perfect meeting ground: he'd like to use one, and many of them are ultra feminine like the names on your list. And there are so many good ones:


But I can see from your list that you've already been down this route, and your husband is rejecting all of them. Perhaps he should go through a list of Italian names and say which ones he likes.

If you have a copy of The Baby Name Wizard, it might work to have each of you find which categories of names you tend to like, and then have the other person go through those categories and see if there's any common ground. He could go through the Lacy & Lissome section; you could go through Biblical or Timeless or New Classics or wherever he finds most of his favorites.

Edited to add: I just realized that some combinations of initials are dicey: particularly VD, OD, and GD. And an L-name probably shouldn't have an S for the middle initial. Many others aren't negative but do mean something: AD, CD, ED, ID, MD, RD, etc. And goodness, it's easy to spell words like BAD and SAD and MAD.


StephLove said...

It seems like you came pretty close to agreement on Ava if it was only the middle name where you diverged. If the bird meaning appealed to you, would you like a bird name-- Phoebe, Robin, Wren, etc-- as a first or middle name?

Also, I know an Ava with sisters Carmen and Josephine, do either of those appeal?

Or how about Avalon or Annabelle?

Jenny said...

This probably doesn't fit your naming style at all, but I can't help but suggest it. Malia. It has the 'a' ending that several of your names have. It reminds of the names Lila and even Lily which are popular, but Malia is still pretty uncommon. It has the cut built in nickname of Lia.

Another name I think of as somewhat classic and not real popular is Caroline.

Anonymous said...

Here are some others to consider:

- Barbara. It's ranked 758 in the US. Everyone I've known with this name has always used the whole name, so I wouldn't let the potential nn's scare you off. Since your favorite is Briar, I'm not worried about two B names in your family.

- Eden. It's ranked 232. To me, this is a good compromise between your hubby's Ava (short and sweet) and Rachel (Hebrew origin) with your Genevieve. Plus the gently repeating "D" sound between the first and last names is lovely. This name sounds great with your boy's names - Landon, Brady, and Eden.

- Lorna. It's not in the top 1000. It sounds so classic to me, though. Laura fits into the same category of names that your hubby tends to like but the "Lorna" twist makes it a bit more exotic.

- Lynette. This hasn't been in the top 1000 names since the mid-90s, but doesn't it seem familiar and classic? You could also use the spelling Linette.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

OK, two more...

- Paloma. It means dove, so there's your bird reference. It has the sweet association with peace. It seems close to Gianna to me. It's ranked 789 in the US.

- Gabrianna. Swistle suggested Gabriella, which is just beautiful. I think you may like Gabrianna better because it's a bit closer to Gianna. You could use the nn Bri, like Briar. It has Anna built into it like your hubby's Hannah.

Lynnette said...

Well, I can't help but second the name Lynnette. I was also going to suggest Lidia, so good choice, Swistle.

Lynnette said...

Oh! Also Daniela and Mariela. Since you're iffy on Gianna, how about Giuliana? (Full disclosure: my daughter's name is Juliana, so I am partial to that sound.)

Kylie said...

How about Gemma. Has the Italian feel. Old, uncommon but not unheard of. However, as Swistle pointed out G might be no good.

Jamie said...

What about using a less popular name that you like and a more popular nickname that he does?

A few suggestions...

Juliette (Julie)
Evangelina (Evie)
Seraphina (Sara)
Lizette (Liz)
Liliana (Lily)
Callista (Callie)

Others that I love with your surname are...


Carolyn said...

What about Giovanna? Gia or Vanna (vah-na) would be cute nn's. I believe Gianna is also known as a nn for Giovanna.

Other forgotten names:
Brigid nn Bridie (might be too close too Brady)
Aurelia (nn Ria, Lia, Aura, etc.)

kimma said...

Your list also brought to mind Celia which is a lovely old fashioned name that currently only ranks in the 400s.

I just realised that Louise/Louisa isn't even in the top 1000 in the US!! This is such a beautiful name and definitely fits in your category! I can't believe its not more popular.

However, as your husband's tastes are mainstream and Italian here is a list of names that cross over both categories (or at least feel more familiar though they aren't common):

Annalisa (Anna rank 28)
Caterina (Catherine rank 193)
Gabriella (rank 33)
Luciana / Lucianne (Lucy 75)
Violetta (Violet 123)

Anonymous said...

Old and Forgotten:


Reyzl said...

What about Aviva? It's kind of a compromise between Viviana and Ava.

Caro said...

Some of my favorite underused names:

Magic27 said...

What about Philomena? That's an Italian name, and if you go into mythology it's associated with birds (a particular bird, actually, the nightingale, which is a lovely connotation), it's an old name that isn't popular right now (though there is one at my daughters' school). Another possibility - Leda, associated with swans...

The Mrs. said...

'Avian' is very bird-oriented. 'Aviary' also works. Both could have the nickname of 'Ava'.

Hannah and Rachel are both Bible names... so what about:





Seraphina (nickname of Sera)



Magdalene (nickname of Maggie or Lena)






Briar is a lovely name... also a noun. Are you perhaps interested in 'virtue names' (Faith, Hope, Mercy, Charity, Clemency, Verity, Amity, Felicity, Serenity, Temperance)? Or do you lean toward 'nature names' (Daphne, Rosemary, Ivy, Holly, Dahlia, Iris, Wren, Calla)?

All the best as you find the perfect choice for your darling daughter!

Christine said...

What about these? (possibly?):

Beatrice (can be pronounced in English or Italian - which I love, cute nn of "Bee" or "Bea")
Edith (nn Edie)
Chiara (is an Italian name, but has a more modern sound that your husband might like)

I LOVE the suggestions of Susanna(h), Raffaela, and Francesca (pronounces with the "chesca" sound, possible nn Frankie.)

If he likes Ava, would he like Eva or Eve more? Evelyn, nn Evie?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back to the name Audrey for you, which doesn't seem like your naming style! BUT! It might be familiar enough to please your husband, yet I can name only two Audreys I have ever known of personally (one was an older woman and one will be born in October-- clearly the name ages well). I love it with your sibling set: Landon, Brady, and Audrey. I love Audrey Gabrielle, which might also satisfy the want for a more Italian middle name, as my Italian husband's little sister is named Gabrielle.

Kristin said...

What about Ada instead of Ava?
Antonia (nn Annie)
Henrietta (nn Hattie)

Joanne said...

I also just thought of Nina. That's vaguely Italian, right? It's around 300 for popularity according to the SS list.

Amber said...

I know you might have liked Gianna because of the feminine Italian version of your husband's name, but what about Giada? Yes, she's a chef on tv, but she's lovely and graceful and it's so pretty.

Along the lines of older names, on my list for our daughter was Violet, Charlotte, Merideth (nn Meri) and Eleanor (nn Nora). My husband didn't like any of those. Husbands - they put such a crimp in the baby naming :)

Anonymous said...

I love love love India. India Rose would be really beautiful.

Anonymous said...

If Ava is not quite right, would you like Ada?