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 ....you 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!