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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baby Girl or Boy Con___ly, Sibling to Madison Mae, Logan Clara, and Conor Martin

Lisa writes:
We are due to have our 4th child in two weeks and have yet to come up with a girl name that we can agree on/fall in love with. My husband is of Irish heritage and he really loves Irish type names for girls: Erin, Shannon, Caitlin, Bridget, etc… As the youngest of seven children, his older siblings have already used these Irish type names for their kids. The one name he loves is Maggie, short for Margaret. I’m not in love with it-I hear a ringing of “Maggie Moo” in my head whenever I try to talk myself into liking it. Also, I don’t think an old fashioned name such as Margaret jives with our other children’s names. We have two daughters and a son: Madison Mae(Maddie), Logan Clara, and Conor Martin. All the middle names are family names. I love surnames as first names and unisex names for girls.

I’ve considered:

Finley Holly (Holly is my mom’s name)

Adelaide Elsie (using Adel or Layla for short-hubby is not in love with Adel)

Tobin Holly (Tobin is his grandmother’s maiden name & traveled here from Ireland)

If we have a son, our list includes:

Declan Sean or Patrick

Beckett Sean

Brodie Patrick

Our last name is Irish starting with a Con and ending in an –ly (sounding like lee). I’m desperate for your input and suggestions. I don’t share our list with anyone because I hate the negative associations people love to share, “in fourth grade a girl by that name used to tease me and I’ve hated it ever since”….blah-blah-blah! Thanks so much for your time!!

The name that makes this such an intriguing puzzle is Logan. Madison is an all-girl name in the top ten. Conor is an all-boy name, #30 for boys when spellings are combined. But the name Logan is mostly boy: about 96% of Logans born in 2010 were boys, making it #17 for boys---a rank comparable with Madison's and Conor's when used for a boy.

It isn't that someone would be shocked to find out that a Logan could be a girl (it's #484 for girls), but they would be statistically more likely to assume boy, and this assumption would be supported by a sibling group where the other children have gender-unambiguous names. As a boy's name, Logan fits perfectly with Madison and Conor in both style and popularity; as a girl's name, Logan breaks the style and popularity pattern---and breaks it in a dramatic way. For a comparison in a different style, it would be like a family having an Amanda, a Leslie, and a Jeremy---where Leslie is a boy.

So this presents us with an interesting dilemma: Do we work with the name style you've set, which will further isolate Logan's name by piling up more false evidence that the name is a boy's name? Or do we add a second startling choice, which will have the counter-intuitive effect of making the sibling group MORE cohesive? A sibling group of Josephine, Kadence, Edward, and Vivian causes Kadence to stand out like a sore thumb; but a sibling group of Josephine, Kadence, Edward, and Riley merely tells us that the family likes a variety of naming styles.

This is more complicated in your case, however, because of the name Logan SEEMING to fit beautifully, until we find out it's the opposite sex we have been led to expect by the beautiful fit. It's like trying to find a fourth for Amanda, Leslie, and Jeremy. The first three names SEEM to coordinate beautifully, so adding a Kadence at the end wouldn't create that mixed-group feeling: it would instead result in two surprises instead of one. I think this is what Margaret is like in your group: it creates a second stand-out choice, instead of helping to unify the group. (Also, Maggie is very close in sound to Maddie.)

From your girl name list, I think Finley works best. One downside of Tobin is that it is currently never given to girls in the United States; it might work better as a candidate for your tradition of family middle names. Adelaide has several downsides: it's all-girl like Madison, which further isolates Logan; it's antique-revival rather than modern/surnamey like Madison and Logan; and Addie is a common nickname for it, and you have a Maddie (even if you choose a different nickname, she or her friends may choose Addie later on). Finley seems perfect: it's given to boys and girls, and so it bridges the gap between Madison and Logan. I hesitate because of the doubled -ly ending with the surname, but because the name Conor doubles the first syllable, I assume it isn't an issue that bothers you.

Brodie and Beckett both seem like good choices from your boy name list: they're mostly boy, but given occasionally to girls. In fact, I'd recommend considering both for your girl name list. Madison, Logan, Conor, and Beckett sufficiently neutralizes my assumptions about who's a boy and who's a girl.

Another possible option is Braden/Brayden. It's mostly boy, like Logan and Conor, and it fits with the style of the other names. It would work in this sibling group for either a boy or a girl. (As a girl name, it has the effect of isolating Madison, but I'm less concerned with "the only girl name never mistaken for a boy's" than I am with "the only girl name continually mistaken for a boy's".) Or Hayden would work well. Or Payton/Peyton. Or Greyson/Gracen. Or Morgan, Brennan, Kieran, Rowan, Keegan, Keaton, Quinn, Riley. Any modern and/or surnamey name that works for boys and girls seems like a good option for either a boy or a girl.


Carolyn said...

I vote for Finley from the list of names and Hayden from Swistle's suggestions.

At our school we have a both a male and a female Hayden, and the names seem to fit both them so well. I liken it to a modern day Alex. If I heard of a new student named Alex I may not immediately know if it was a boy/girl, but it wouldn't seem odd for (e.g.) a girl.

Elizabeth said...

Technically, Madison is a boy's name like Logan. So, to me, they match. With that sibset I think I like Tobin best. Tobin Margaret or Tobin Adelaide.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth- I'm not sure how this comment applies. Madison is a girl name in the United States, whether or not to you it's technically a boy's name. Your comment is like saying that because Ashley and Anne and Evelyn used to be used as boy names, they still are boy names and match well with names like Brian and Steven. I think we have to take into account the reality of the situation, as opposed to the theory.

Marjorie said...

I think Finley or Riley. Peyton and Greyson are good choices too. I know you like Irish names so what about Meara (pronounced Mare-ah) for a girl?

The Mrs. said...

There are established girl names that have a more masculine sound (like Madison... the word 'son' is right in there!).

Madigan (not that I'm suggesting this with a Madison alread in the family)

... are a few examples. So Elizabeth, I get what you're saying.

Some Irish girl names that don't sound frilly are:

Deirdre (DEER-druh)
Devany (DEHV-ann-ee)
Teagin (TEE-gan)

Madison, Logan, Conor, and Teagin is my favorite combo. Teagin Holly is lovely.

(I'm wondering if since Madison goes by 'Maddie', does Logan fo by 'Lola'?)

As far as a little man, I'd put Tobin at the top of the list! What an awesome name for a guy! Tobin Patrick is unmistakably masculine, a great brother match for Conor Martin.

Very curious to hear what you and your husband decide. Best wishes to you and your growing family!

StephLove said...

From your list I like Finely and Tobin for either gender and Declan for a boy.

Anonymous said...

I think that Finley is the sister perfect name to *bridge* between Madison & Logan, if this is a concern for you as well as Swistle - and a lovely name for a little girl, regardless of her sibling's names, with an Irish sound to it. Have you considered using Margaret as a middle name? Finley Margaret is a great name.

While Finley is my first choice by a large margin for your girl name, the boy name choices all seem great. I'd say my favourite for you is Beckett but all three are really good.

When I was a girl, I knew an Irish Catholic family w/ several children. One of the girls was named Keir which could work as either a girl or boy name for you.

Swistle's answer reminds me of two young sisters I met recently named Paisley & Griffin. I know they've got older siblings as well & I'm dying to know what their names are!

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter named Kiernan and about half the people we meet think she's a boy on first glance. It's a gaelic last name.

Kas said...

A good friend of mine just had a little girl who she named Finnlay (finley)it suits her little girl perfectly she chose to change the spelling though as she thought it looked more girly, but i think either spelling is nice!! Finley fits with your childrens names perfectly! Madison, Logan, Coner and Finley!

From your boys list i like Beckett the best!

Congrats and all the best xx

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I like Logan for a girls' name and I'm sure it is adorable on your little one. It does present a challenge when choosing another girl's name though. I've taken Conor out of the mix and just tried to find names that fit well for your daughters.

- Madison, Logan, and Ainsley.
- Madison, Logan, and Murphy.
- Madison, Logan, and Blake.
- Madison, Logan, and Dillon.

To me, Tobin is very closely linked to Toby and Tobias. I'd consider adding it to your boy's list.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm just seconding other's opinions: Finley, Hayden, or Teagen for your girl!! Love ALL of those! And by FAR Tobin Patrick is the perfect suggestion for your boy! Good luck & can't wait to hear!

Anonymous said...

Of your list I would use Finley for a girl and avoid Brodie for a boy.

Adelaide and Madison may end up with the same sounding nicknames. Tobin is just too masculine.

Declan and Beckett are fab.

Some ideas:

Aislinn Tobin, Ash or Linn


Kit said...

I know a little girl named Dalton - nn, Dolly. So cute.

plantingoaks said...

I agree with Swistle that Finley is the best fit with the sibling names. However, I'm not at all fond of the ly-ly-ly pattern of Finley Holly C__ly.

Some of the other commenters have listed other weakly gendered surnames or Irish names, and I think I would look at those. (Blaine is my favorite)

Mary said...

All your other kids share initials - MM, LC, CM. If you would want to continue this theme you could go for ML or LM initials.

Laurel Maeve
Morrigan Lean

Liam Malone
Murphy Lucas

Melanie said...

For a baby girl I think Finley or Dylan would work well! I know a little girl called Dylan and the name suits here to a tee.