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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Baby Girl DeMontel, Sister to Emery Jane

Liz writes:
We could use some help naming our second daughter. My name is Elizabeth (Liz) and my husband is William (Will). We have a two and half year old daughter Emery Jane. She goes by both names on a pretty regular basis along with an array of pet names and EJ. Her name is very family rooted. Her first name is my husband’s grandmother’s maiden name. Her middle name is my MIL middle name as well as her mother’s middle name. My grandfather went by EJ and my little sister also has these initials. I was not messing around when I named this child. This leads us to issue number one, I feel like my next child needs to have a name with as much meaning. To be honest I am perfectly fine with giving her a first name that is not a family name but…Will she be sad I didn’t give her a name with more meaning? Issue number two is the naming style I fell into naming DD1 Emery. I inadvertently landed in the “trendy unisex” naming category. This is not our naming style at all. I loved the name because of the family history not because I like unisex surnames. Do I need to keep this naming style? I personally feel the sibset needs to be cohesive. I am ok with it being eclectic but I don’t want people scratching their heads! If we had/have a son he would have been or will be August Lowell (both family names) or Byron Thomas (both family names). Our last name is DeMontel (it is a hard DE)… this nixes any name ending in EL as a first name and we cannot use Ann as a first name either because it sounds like AND. I am ok with it in the middle. I don’t want to use her first and middle name on a regular basis like we do with Emery Jane.

Here is where we are at for a girl: (The middle names are not set in stone)

Frances Eliza: Frances is a family name and obviously Elizabeth is my name but it is also my mother’s middle name, husband’s Aunt’s and Grandmother’s name.

Antonia Elise: Antonia is not a family name but we would call her Annie. My mother’s name is Ann so variations of Ann or names where Annie can easily be a nickname work for us.

Celia McBride: Celia is not a family name and is not tied into the family in anyway besides the initials being the same as my sisters. McBride is my mother’s maiden name.

Other names we have considered:


Cordelia nn Cora or just Cora

Eliza (I am really trying not to use another E name)


If I had it my way she would be Louise Larrabee. Even though Louise is not a family name I just love the alliteration and we would call or Lulu or Lola. As I said before I am not dead set on a family name in the first name spot.

Family names (or variations of these) we can use:







Isobel (even though our last name ends in EL I am fine with a little rhyming in the middle spot)








Please help! :)

"I was not messing around when I named this child" is one of my favorite lines from any baby-name question ever. I feel like we could put that on a t-shirt.

I'm envious of your family name list. What a great list. I would LOVE to have the middle name McBride. Or Margaret. Or Ruth. Or Larrabee. Or Greene. Or get the idea. It's an unusually rich list.

The good news about names for first babies is that, as a group, I suspect they contain more than the usual number of names that aren't the parents' usual style. For one thing, many families have naming traditions for firstborns, so a family might feel pressured into using a name such as, say, Robert, when their naming style for subsequent children is more along the lines of Jasper and Oliver. For another thing, it's common for parents to end up in exactly the situation you're in: realizing after-the-fact that the first baby's name is not the style they want to continue with.

In your case, I think it's completely fine to go with a sentimental/significant name for the firstborn and not continue it with subsequent children. Children will have unpredictable reactions to name issues (some won't care at all; some will be mildly pleased; some will still be talking about it in accusing tones when they're in their forties), but I think it's common enough in our society to use a significant name for the firstborn (and not for subsequent children) that it won't be hurtful or seem to "mean anything" about the way you feel about her. And "We really really loved the name" is a special thing, too. My own daughter has a name that isn't after anyone, but she likes (so far!) for me to tell her how I could barely suggest her name to Paul because I was so afraid he'd say he didn't like it---and that her middle name is the name he couldn't stand not to use for a daughter.

Emery is still on the feminine side of unisex: according to the Social Security Administration, in 2010 it was given to 1,016 girls and 308 boys. I suspect the name's similarity to other Em-based girl names will help keep it feminine. But this touch of non-frilliness seems like it will help the name go even better with some of the other names on your list. Emery may be more modern-sounding and Frances more pleasingly vintage, but both Emery and Francis are used for boys. Larrabee and Greene, too, both have the unisex sound.

This will vary from person to person, but to me, Emery and Antonia is the least compatible pair on the list. I think Emery and Celia works: the 5-letters and 3-syllables help tie them together, as do their light sounds and vowel endings. And I love the name Celia McBride---I want it for myself! If McBride and DeMontel seems like too many capital letters in the middle of names, I like Celia Greene to give her a more unisex name like her sister's (and also the same 3-1-3 rhythm, unless that would make you feel pressured to continue it), and Celia Ruth just because I like it (3-1-3 rhythm again). I also like Celia Ann, not only for sound but for significance, but I don't like the initials.

I love Frances Eliza, but I prefer for initials not to spell things. This is purely personal preference, and FED isn't bad. I like Frances McBride, Frances Greene, Frances Cordelia.

I also LOVE Louise Larrabee. Emery Jane and Louise Larrabee is a stunning set of names. I like how they'd each have one traditional girl name and one family surname.

Name update! Liz writes:
We really were not set on a name until she came out with a head full of dark hair just like her sister. I thought she might be Eliza or Celia but she entered this world and we knew she was Frances. Frances Eliza DeMontel was born Dec 22 at 8:55am, 7lbs 14oz, 20 and 1/4in. She looks basically Identical to her big sister but with slightly more hair and a dimple. Thanks again for the help!


Marjorie said...

I like all the names on your list except Antonia. It's such a "heavy" name (I know a lot of nuns by that name), I don't know I can't picture it on a baby. I also wouldn't do Isobel with your last name and because it's so popular.

I LOVE Cordelia!!! You could call her Nellie or Nella for short. So romantic, formal and underused.

Last, I think it's fine not to use a family name for every child. Every name is chosen for some good reason (you loved it, it was unusual, etc). I think as long as you have a story of how/why you chose it that makes the child feel special.

Suzanne said...

I want to campaign STRONGLY for Louise Larabee. It might be the best potential name I've ever heard. The nickname potential alone is worth forgoing a strictly family name.

I also LOL'd for real at "I was not messing around when I named this child." Swistle should make that her tagline.

Bethany said...

Louise Larabee is awesome! I would personally use both names to address my daughter though, and you mentioned you don't really want to do that.

I also like Swistle's suggestion of Celia Greene, especially if you don't call her by both names.

Carolyn said...

I like Larrabee as a first name. The nickname Bee would be soo cute! Or Larra (is it pronounced Laura-bee or Lare-uh-bee?)

Louise Larrabee sounds like it's your favorite...why not go for it? Otherwise I like Celia best with Emery.

The Mrs. said...

Frances Eliza is charming!

Celia Eliza is even better! Cece is a darling nickname. I don't think you can go wrong with giving a daughter a middle name based off of both her mother and great-grandmother's names. If she doesn't feel special from that, it may be impossible for her to feel special with the name 'Favorite Best'!

You have a great naming sense. Wishing you all good things as you and your family anticipate your newest addition!

StephLove said...

You don't mention what's holding you back from Louise Larrabee. If it's just because it's not a double family name, I'd go for it, because it's your favorite. But if your husband's not keen on it, you have a great list of fall backs. I like too many of the names to list all that I like so I will just make a few comments.

I like Frances Elizabeth better than Frances Eliza, both for the rhythm and because Elizabeth is the actual names of the namesakes.

Susannah is a lovely, underused name.

Anna Ruth would be a gorgeous combination.

Good luck choosing!

Anonymous said...

As for 'Ann' names, what about Anneliese?

Nook of Names said...

It seems to me that in your heart, honoring your ancestry is most important. Your gut feeling is telling you to go that way, so if I were you, therefore, I'd stick with that. That's YOUR style!

Frances Eliza/Elizabeth is a beautiful name, full of meaning to you and your family. If you're worried about the initials, perhaps change to Frances McBride?

Patricia said...

I hope you'll include Elizabeth or some form of it in this daughter's name. Emery's name has strong family ties, and her younger sister would have them too by including just that one name - Elizabeth: most significantly her mother's name, but also the middle name of three other close family members. I also like your idea of including your mother's name Ann in the first name and calling her Annie. I might 'update' your mom's name and call the baby Anna Eliza or Anna Elizabeth, nn Annie. Or for a name more similar to Emery Jane, how about Ansley Eliza? Other An-names you might consider: Anneliese combines Ann and Elizabeth; Annabel has a lot of spunk; Anwen, a Welsh name; Anneka or Annika; Annelie. Of all of these, I love the compatibility of

Emery Jane and
Ansley Eliza

I like Frances Eliza or Frances Elizabeth for you too. I don't see any problem with the initials spelling 'fed' (just a regular word -- nothing offensive about it, and who notices initials anyway?). I really hope you'll use your name somewhere in your second daughter's name; that would be so special for her, particularly with her sister having a totally family inspired name.

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for Louise Larrabee -- the alliteration IS alluring, but I'm wondering how much you like the name Louise. "... we would call her Lulu or Lola." Lulu is cute as a family/home name, especially when she's very young, but I don't think it works very well when she goes to school. What would she be called after age 5 or 6? Lola (which makes me think of Lolita, not Louise) would work better as a nn she could use all of her life, if you find that name appealing. But calling her Lola would compromise the classic/traditional sense of the name Louise.

Patricia said...

I just noticed that both you and your first daughter have names beginning with E, so why not an E-name for your second daughter?

Elizabeth _____

Emery Jane -and-
Eliza McBride

Anonymous said...

I love Frances! I agree that Frances Elizabeth flows somewhat better though. I also think Louise Larrabee is cute, but would choose the nn Lola, and that might not "go" with Emery Jane as well.

What about Frances McBride or Margaret Frances?

Liz said...

Thank you all for the comments! My husband is not a fan of Louise. I mention a nn of lulu of Lola but I feel Louise is a great name and would call her this as well.

A little more info I am Elizabeth Ann and my mother is Ann Elizabeth. I agree using Elizabeth somewhere would really make her name meaningful no matter the first or middle. Anna is my cousins childs name and although we do not see them often I really don't want to here that I named my child after her kid. But Anna (Larrabee) was my great grandma and she was a wonderful lady.

I never thought about the fact that both Emery Jane and I are E names. Haha. Eliza Frances is a solid name. Celia McBride was THE name for awhile but I feel Frances pulling ahead a little. I love so many of the suggestions! I need to go over them all with my husband!

Patricia said...

I like Eliza Frances much better than Eliza McBride that I suggested above. In fact I don't think you *need* McBride since you'd already have Eliza after your mom. And I agree that Eliza Frances is a very solid name -- and cute with Emery Jane. I think the two E-names go well together: they both start with E and have 3 syllables and 5 letters, but they have different rhythm and are of different styles (although Emery does sound like it could be an older name when paired with Jane and also because it's an Em- name which sounds similar to Emily).

Emery Jane
Eliza Frances

Love them together and with your name too!

Anonymous said...

I love Frances Elizabeth and Celia McBride!

What about Luana Elizabeth? This way you can honor your mom and honor the Louisa in your family, but also get the nicknames Lulu and/or Annie?


Anonymous said...

oops, sorry, I misread- I get that Luise/a isn't a family name for you.

Also, just to add. I think Emery and Luana would make fabulous sibling names! As would Emery and Luna.

Chantelle said...

The E as a first letter trend would be excellent in giving your second daughter's name some significance.

Some suggestions and favorites...

Eleanor Elizabeth
Eva McBride
Eliza Mae

I'd like to discourage the use of Marie as a middle. It is my middle and although it is also my grandmother's first name, it has always seemed like such a cop-out as we are french and it is the default French female (christian) middle name.

If your husband doesn't like Louise, does he maybe like Louisa? Sounds totally different to me.

AirLand said...

I like Frances Eliza or Frances Elizabeth. I think it would go well with Emery.

I love love love Cordelia too, but it sounds like you're not leaning that way :)

I also like the suggestion of Annaliese to get the nickname Annie.

Anonymous said...

Instead of Maria, what about Marin McBride DeMontel? or if that is too many M's, what about Marin Larrabee, nn Mally?

vanessa steck said...

I LOVE Louise Larabee. LOVE.
If not that, then I like the idea of an E name, or at least a vowel name.

Avery Frances
Eliza Frances
Eloise Frances (LOVE THIS)
Eloide Frances (love this too but might be too much "ee" ending with Emery)
Ellery Frances--I actually like this with Emery!
Elisa Frances

Dulcibella said...

Yes! This was one of my favorite letters so I am so happy to see the update! Indeed, you do not mess around. :)
Congratulations on your beautiful daughter. What a lovely name you chose for her.