Is there any name that sounds good with "Ella" as a middle name?
This is our first baby, due early April, and we're breaking all the rules, because we know what we want as middle names, but can't decide on firsts if it's a girl. Our last name is Welch, and having an unusual name myself, I want something that's not completely common for our baby. I'm not against Top 100 names, but generally shy away from Top 10. Celtic & old-fashioned names seem to go over well with both my husband & I. My middle name (Ellen) is the same as my mother's, but I don't necessarily want to give that name to a baby girl. Ella is another family name, of great-grandmother & aunts on both sides, but every baby name we like seems to sound strange with Ella as a middle. It seems like all the names I like end in "a" or "n" and then the names either sound too matchy or run together. Top first name contenders: Fiona (don't like the repeated "a" sound, also makes the initials FEW), Quinn (Quinn Ella sounds like something you might catch from raw fish, same for Corinne, another favorite), Jocelyn (JEW? I don't know that I can do that), Rhiannon (it just seems to run on & on like a stutter) and Avalon (I don't know... is the Toyota connection too much? Will I have to name her brother Camry?). My husband isn't keen on Ella as a first name, but I like Ella Corinne. Is Eleanor too long for a middle name? It seems to solve the "double a" problem and the "sounds like a disease" problem. It's not a family name, but it's close to both Ellen & Ella.
For me, Eleanor isn't too long as a middle name. But I do tend to like long names: I love names like Penelope Elizabeth or Elizabeth Genevieve, and those are seven to eight syllables before even getting to the surname.
One thing I think is working against you is your surname: Ella and Welch share enough sounds that they can run together a bit, or even turn into something that sounds like text-speak: "LOLch!" There seem to be three camps on this issue. Camp 1 says: "Who cares? No one ever says the whole name anyway. And even if they did, who cares what it sounds like?" Camp 2 says: "The whole name should flow well in each combination: first and middle, first and middle and last, first and last. If it doesn't flow, it goes." Camp 3 is the rest of us: we like the name to flow well, but we'll give up some flow for the sake of names we love, or for names that are significant to us and important to us to use. This is where you are now: figuring out how much you want to bend the middle name to make it fit and yet still be an honor name, and how much you want to bend the first name to make a place for the middle name.
And I think you're right: Ella is proving to be a difficult name to put in the middle name slot. I sat here, jaw loosened in concentration, trying to think of a first name it would work with---and finally opened up the baby name book and just started going through trying names one after another. Bianca Ella? No. Blanche Ella? No. Bonnie Ella? Better, but still no. Brooke Ella? Mayyyybe. Chloe Ella? No. Because of the name's popularity as an ending for other names (Isabella, Annabella, etc.) and for medical stuff (varicella, rubella, salmonella, etc.), I think it just attaches itself to the first name and makes either an odd mash-up or, as you've found, a disease.
I like the idea of using Ellen. I like that it ties you and your mother and your daughter together, and also I just think it's a really pretty name. Problem: as you've noticed, it's not too awesome with n-ending first names. Eleanor works better, but is a step away from family significance.
Well, how about this. How about choose the first name first, and then see which goes best with it: Ella, Ellen, or Eleanor? It sounds like you're only KIND OF decided on the middle name and that there's still some flexibility there.
Or, is there another family name you could mash with Ella? For example, if your mother-in-law's middle name were Jane, you could do Fiona Ellajane Welch. It's not my favorite way to do things, but it can be a good way out of a pinch.
In the meantime, can anyone think of any first names that work with Ella as the middle name?
Name update! Eleanor Quinn!