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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl B_____ss, Sibling to Owen Albert

Amy writes:
I am due with my second child on TUESDAY and I need HELP with a name. To make matters worse, the baby was not cooperative during the ultrasound and we have no medical reason to have another so we need to pick names for boys and girls. I love talking baby names and reading naming books & blogs, but my husband doesn't like to talk about them at all which is not helping.

My first son is Owen Albert and our last name starts with B and ends with ss. My husband and I are Bryan and Amy - VERY popular names for our generation - I was one of 3 Amy's in my first grade class and my husband was one of 4 Bryan Bs in his grade. We picked Owen just because we both liked it - its a little bit more popular than I'd hoped but so far we haven't met any others his age in our small town. Albert is after my grandfather, who died just before Owen was born.

My main concern for our boys names are honor names and sibling rivalry. For a boy, one name that was on our short list for our first son but just didn't seem to suit him was James Everett, after our 2 fathers. My issue now is that I'm not sure how I feel about naming my first son after a great-grandfather he never met (and only in the middle name) and then giving the second son a name after 2 grandfathers that he sees all the time - we all live in the same small town so we see my father and my husbands father very regularly, 2 or more times a week each. Does this seem like a reason for sibling rivalry to you? The other issue is that this "uses up" the only family names we like for boys, AND it means I've "used up" all the names from my side of the family leaving none for my sister (the only male options left on that side are Matthew which is always used for the oldest son of the oldest son and has been used already this generation and Elmer and Dudley - not appealing to either of us). On the other hand, I'm not sure how I feel about using one grandfather's name without the other - is it insulting to use one and not the other when they both know James Everett was on the table at one point? And all the other boys names that were on the shortlist for Owen are either too similar to Owen (Evan, Ethan, Gavin) or have been recently used by close family or friends (Caleb, Colin). Other names I've suggested that my husband vetoed: Miles, Elliot, Neil, Liam. We have 2 requirements for our names - not a biblical name, boys names without a -y nickname (Robert to Robby, John to Johnny) because in my family the little boy nicknames stick for life and I'm not fond of them (and yes, I know, James violates both rules - my father is called Jim and is still called Jimmy by his brothers, but I'm willing to break the rules for a family name).

For a girl, my shortlist names are Claire, Maggie (short for Margaret or Marjorie) and Paige, but we don't have a middle name yet. Claire is a family name, the others are just ones I like. My mother, grandmother & I all have "R" middle names, so that would be a fun tradition to continue but its not a 100% must.

So the overall question is: do you think its a problem to "use up" family names on the second child when you think you want 3-4 and leave none for my sister? And what about the sibling dynamics with a second boy named after such close relatives? Should I go with my gut and say that if I have to ask it, then its probably a problem? And if this is too much of a problem, what in the world should I name this kid?

Feel free to edit this down to a more managable post, the overall question above is what I most care about.

Thank you!

Name update! Amy writes:
Thanks to all your help Swistle & commenters! Although I still really liked James Everett, it just didn't seem right for this baby either, and although I liked the suggestion of Everett James I didn't like the idea of always saying "which Everett? Grandpa Everett or Baby Everett?". In the last few days before he was born, one name came forward as a top contender, which had been our "joke" name for our first son - Porter. It was an inside joke to us, since we brew our own beer. But with the rise of occupation names and -r ending names like Connor and Asher, Porter grew on us more & more. I also found out that Everett was a family name - it was also middle name for my husband's grandfather and at least one generation back as well. So on 11-11-11 after much deliberation we welcomed Porter Everett and are very happy with his name. Thanks again!


Abbe said...

1. I don't think honor names get "used up" the same way other names do. You might not want cousins living in the same town (does your sister live in the same town?) to have the same first name, but a dozen of them could have the same middle name with no trouble at all.
2. You can solve both the "no bible names" problem and the "no y-nicknames" problem by switching the order of the names to Everett James. This would also give you the "ev" of Evan without repeating the "-n" sound of Owen. (I love the name Everett, so I think this is a terrific idea. You might not feel the same.)
3. I kinda feel like once your father and father-in-law know that their names are being strongly considered, it's going to be awkward not to use them. You don't have to use that name, but I think I'd feel pretty uncomfortable about it.
4. For a girl, how about Margaret Rose?

Lauren said...

I like the idea of Everett James because I don't think it really "uses up" James. Your sister could still use it as a first name. I don't see any problem with one cousin having it as first name and another having it in the middle. Everett also gives you Rhett for a nickname (no -y).

Nokilissa said...

I love Everett James too. That was my thought as I read your post, and I think there is not a thing wrong with cousins sharing mn's. In fact, it increases closeness!

StephLove said...

I agree with everyone who says honor names don't get used up, especially those used as middles. And I don't think there would be bad feeling between the brothers. The fact that the Albert-namesake died shortly before your older son's birth seems to explain the timing.

I think the name works in either order. James Everett or Everett James.

I like Claire, Margaret and Paige. Margaret Claire would be lovely. Or if you want the R middle name to go on-- Margaret Rae, Margaret Rose, & Margaret Ruth all work. Or if you'd like a longer name-- Margaret Rachel or Margaret Rebecca or Margaret Rhiannon.

Jessica said...

My daughter's name is Margaret, which is a grandmother's name, and my son just has a name we liked. I don't think it's a problem to use some family names and some not.

Also, like everyone else said, if you used James Everett or Everett James, your sister could easily use the middle name for one of her kids. I think Everett James would work better for you, since Everett probably won't have a -y nickname.

vanessa said...

Like others I prefer Everett James, for several reasons:
It works better with Owen
No "y" nickname
no chance of using up the name (though I dont think James Everett does either)
Flows better

I do think that if the grandfathers know it was on the table, you either have to use Everett James or come up with two new names, you can't use one and not the other.
If you decide to start from scratch, I like
Andrew (but has Andy, but I love with Owen! Owen and Andrew is great)
William--love Owen and William

i LOVE Margaret and Claire equally, though I think Claire goes slightly better w Owen, and I love the idea of her having an R middle.
Margaret Rose (my fave)
Margaret Ramsey
Margaret Ruth
Margaret Rosalie
Margaret Riley
Claire Romilly (Oh, I LOVE this, use this!)
Claire Rose
Claire Rosalie
Claire Roberta
Claire Robin

Elisabeth said...

A) I like Everett James, and I don't think it would cause any problems in sibling dynamics. If they're just presented as all being "family names" to your sons, I doubt that they will worry too much about it in the future.

B)I don't think you can use up a family name. Your sister can use the same middle name you did, use the first name as a middle name, or may not even want to use family names at all.

C) Claire R_______ is my favorite of your girl's names. I think it goes well with Owen and with Everett or James.

The Mrs. said...

Marjorie Rosamund would be less popular than, say, Claire Rose, but both are lovely!

For another son, Everett James goes wonderfully with Owen Albert. Everett could even go by 'EJ' (and you neatly squelch any unwanted nicknames). Owen & EJ.

All the best to you and your growing family!

Megz said...

I disagree with the other commentors. I think if you're planning on having 3-4 children then there's no need to use all the family names you like on the first two children. (No you can't really use up names, but then you can't really have brothers called James Everett and Richard James either. Well you can, but...).

As for honouring one grandfather and not the other, you could adopt a system where the first boy gets a middle name from your family (Albert), the second boy gets a middle name from your husbands family (Everett), the third boy gets a middle name from your family (James), etc.

That way they all have a family name, there are no hurt feelings that one has more family names than the other, each family is honoured in turn, your sister can still use James as a first name if she wishes.

My suggestions for a new name:

Dylan Everett
Callum Everett
Connor Everett
Darryl Everett

Good luck and congratulations.

Crafty Beth said...

Just wanted to throw in my two cents that I love the "R" middle name tradition, and I think that an "R" middle name goes much more nicely with Maggie or Paige than it does with Claire--I think the R sound at the end of Claire would run into a middle name beginning with R too much. As long as I'm here, I'll let you know that I love Everett James too, for the reasons listed by other posters.

liz said...

Everett James. Because surely there are other family names you can use later, and you can use male versions of women's names if need be (Eli or Elijah for Elizabeth for example)

I like Margaret Rose.

Brittany said...

I agree with many of the previous commenters who say they love Everett James - it's a wonderful name that goes well with Owen Albert. In terms of your sons, I don't think that the names will be a source of sibling rivalry. However, as much as I love Everett James, I think that since you're planning on having another 1-2 children after this one, and using family names is important to you, it makes sense to use one at a time. It sounds like your father and father-in-law understood when James Everett didn't fit Owen; I would imagine they will also understand you wanting to use only one family name at a time. I like Megz's idea of using your father-in-law's name this time and then your father's name next time. You have some great name ideas regardless of what you decide - I'm sure you'll pick something wonderful!

ackabackasodacracker said...

I love James Everrett and I don't think you need to change a thing! There is nothing wrong with honoring 2 different family members in one name even if the first child just has one honor name, AND you cannot "use up" honor names. Your sister can easily use whichever names she wants for her kids later on. This could very well be your last son and so I think you and your husband should go with whatever name makes you feel the best. For subsequent kids you may very well find someone else to honor or find some creative way to incorporate Dudley by then ;)

I love your girls list too, esp Paige and Claire.

Mary said...

1. re: the middle names/living relatives issue > I don't think it will cause sibling rivalry.

2. I also don't think "using up the family names" would be terrible. Your sister can always use them as well (or use her partner's family names), and who is to say that she'll have boys or that you will have another boy after this (even then you could use Bryan as a middle name to honor your husband)? If you love both names, use them while you can :)

3. I love James Everett or Everett James, either way, you can't go wrong there.

4. Claire, Maggie, and Paige are all wonderful names. You can't really go wrong there :) I think Claire and Maggie (Margaret) have my preference. Some R middle name suggestions:

Claire Rhiannon/ Claire Rhosyn/ Claire Romilly/ Margaret Rose/ Margaret Rowan/ Margaret Rona/ Paige Rosalie

Tracy said...

our youngest daughter's middle name is Claire. I love that name. Claire Rose would be pretty.

Frazzled Mom said...

Boys tend to be more laid back about their names than girls and don't spend too much time analyzing why one brother got an honoring name while the other didn't. I wouldn't worry too much about sibling rivalry.

I also like the system of using only Everett since you used a name from your side with the first son. I would suggest explaining this reasoning with Grandpa James before the child is born since he knows James Everett was once on the table.

I realize everyone is different but once people become old enough to have Great-grandchildren, they have usually learned to let things go, and if they haven’t, then they will never be easy to please and I would give up trying.

I would personally use James as only a middle name since it breaks your requirements: it is a biblical name, and can be shortened or nicknamed (Jim, Jamie).

I want to suggest Hugh. I just love this name and how it goes with Owen. Hugh is surprisingly underused and fits your criteria.

For a girl, I would go with either Margaret or Marjorie and use Claire or Paige as a middle name. I feel Claire works slightly better with Margaret or Marjorie, I think, plus it has the added bonus of also being a family name.

Frazzled Mom said...

Oh - Ok. I tend to miss these things - I see you acknowledge that James breaks your requirements.

Ok, but since you are trying to make a decision, I would still refer back to these requirements, when you need to decide whether or not to use two honoring names on one child.

If all other things were equal, and you weren't having difficulties deciding, then I say go ahead and knowingly break your own rules - they are self-imposed rules after all : )

Anonymous said...

James Everett or Everett James both work for me. Margaret Rebecca for a girl.

Good luck!

Helena said...

I can't see siblings fighting over who got the honor names. I used to be mildly jealous that my sister's name was easier to pronounce, but this was more "aw, shucks" than "I'm going to go pull her hair because I'm so upset about this!"

plantingoaks said...

I don't think there's any way to predict what children will be jealous about. I envied my sister's name because my grandmother pronounced it with a funny accent and there was a better historical figure sharing her name than mine. She, I think, envied mine because it was slightly less common and has more options for nicknames (we both had friends with identical or nearly-identical names)

On one hand, I see you about 'using up' the family names for future children. On the other I have to wonder if they're *really* all gone. Do you have any interesting maiden surnames that might make good given names now? Middle names? Towns or street names? (that last one may be a bit of a stretch, but depending on where your family is from it could also work out very well)

Also, I don't think there's any problem with cousins sharing a family name as long as they are called different things (either using middle names or nicknames). I WOULD talk to you sister to be clear about this first so she doesn't feel slighted. She may also be like my sister and want nothing to do with family names.