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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby Girl Garnet, Sister to Brendan and Bridget

B. writes:
I never thought I'd need baby name advice, but here I am. I have a 4 year old son, and a less than one year old daughter and I am unexpectedly pregnant with baby #3 (definitely the last) due in April 2012. Our last name rhymes with Garnet (emphasis on first syllable). My son is named Brendan and my daughter is Bridget. We didn't necessarily plan on two names with Br- but we didn't see it as problematic either. They were names we both loved and had family connections.

Middle name: Probably going to be Maria in honor of my mother-in-law. Less concerned with it working with middle as I am with last.

Names we've considered:

Brynn (I like, husband doesn't, and is it too cute to have three names have Br- starts?)
Fiona (husband loves, not sure I do. Shrek association?)
Bevin (I like, husband doesn't)
Ellen (I don't love, maybe variations? Kind of like Ellie as a NN)
Nora (probably out because of negative family association)
Maeve (probably out because of negative family association)

Names that are out (due to use by family): Claire, Kayleigh, most anything ending in -een (Maureen, Eileen, Kathleen, etc.), Meaghan, Catherine. I generally don't love the idea of a hugely popular / trendy girl name (there goes Ava, Olivia, Emma, etc.) Husband likes Isabella. Feels far too popular/trendy for me. As you can see, we (generally) like Irish sounding names, but my husband balks at the more traditional names with spellings that don't "match" the pronunciation (see, e.g, Aisling, Aoife, Niamh) -- though I've advocated a phonetic variation like Neve.

I could really use some fresh suggestions and a new perspective.


I think I might not do a third Br- name in a row (I wouldn't rule it out, either, but it's a very distinctive theme so I'd want to be sure it was what I wanted), but I think I WOULD be hoping to find a B name I liked: a B name would keep the third child from standing out, but would also keep the theme from seeming too forced/cute. Some possibilities:

Brendan, Bridget, and Beatrix
Brendan, Bridget, and Bethany
Brendan, Bridget, and Bianca (similar to Fiona, but no ogre)

The trouble is, a LOT of good girl B names are Br. If you do go that route, I'd look for ones that have a distinctively different sound (i.e., not Brenna because it's so close to the Bren of Brendan; not Brecken because it shares not only the Br but also the short-E and the N-ending of Brendan). I've put Brinley on the list because the -ley adds such a different sound---but the short-I and the N might make it too close to the Bren of Brendan and the Brih of Bridget. (Spelling it Brynley might remove some of the visual similarity, and also give you the Brynn you liked.)

Brendan, Bridget, and Braelyn
Brendan, Bridget, and Bria
Brendan, Bridget, and Briar
Brendan, Bridget, and Briarley
Brendan, Bridget, and Brielle
Brendan, Bridget, and Briley
Brendan, Bridget, and Brinley
Brendan, Bridget, and Briony
Brendan, Bridget, and Britton (Britten? Brittyn?)
Brendan, Bridget, and Bronwyn
Brendan, Bridget, and Brooklyn

If I weren't going to use B/Br, I might look for a name with a strong B/Br sound in the middle (Gabrielle, for example), or I might find some other tie-in: Margaret, for example, to echo the ending sound of Bridget, or a strong D sound to tie it to the D sound in each of the other names. Some of these might not work with the surname, depending how close it is to Garnet.

Brendan, Bridget, and Aubrey
Brendan, Bridget, and Cambria
Brendan, Bridget, and Danica
Brendan, Bridget, and Gabrielle
Brendan, Bridget, and Greta
Brendan, Bridget, and Gretchen
Brendan, Bridget, and Gwendolyn (too rhymey with Brendan?)
Brendan, Bridget, and Juliette
Brendan, Bridget, and Keelin
Brendan, Bridget, and Kendall
Brendan, Bridget, and Madigan
Brendan, Bridget, and Margaret
Brendan, Bridget, and Meredith
Brendan, Bridget, and Sabrina
Brendan, Bridget, and Violet

Since you like both Ellen and Nora, Eleanor would be a nice way to get the sounds of both while diluting the negative family association. I'm also reminded of Lauren.

Ellen and Bevin and Brynn and Maeve make me think of Evelyn.

Fiona makes me think of Bianca, and also of Ione, and also of Catriona (I'm thinking of the four-syllable cat-tree-OH-nah pronunciation, rather than the Celtic three-syllable cat-TREE-nah pronunciation).

Oh, or Rowan! It's similar to Fiona, Ellen, and Bevin.

Name update! B. writes:
Maeve Teresa was born on 4/18.

We decided it was silly to choose a name we didn't love just to keep the B "thing" going (Bonnie, though, was a strong contender for a while). Though I loved a few of Swistle's suggestions for the 'br' sound elsewhere, husband wasn't on board with any. One of the commenters generated a nice list of strong Irish girl names, but I had difficulty selling husband on most of them (Deirdre, Aislinn, Caitlin each was a contender at one point, as was Maura). We went into delivery pretty set on another name (Fiona), but neither of us thrilled with the choice. Then she was born, and she just looked like a Maeve, and we haven't had one moment of naming regret since. Thanks for everyone's suggestions and help!


Anonymous said...

I really like the suggestion of Brielle as it gives the option of Ellie as a nn. I also really like how Margaret goes with Bridget. Here's one you never hear - Bernadette. There are really so many lovely suggestions.

Miriam said...

What about Brianna, or Brianne?

KWILY said...

I can definitely see why you'd be drawn to Br names. I'm of the opinion that it's too matchy-matchy. I love Swistle's last list so much! Aubrey is fabulous because it has a distinctive BR sound. It really goes and it's a beautiful name! It sounds fabulous with the sibling set. I also really love Greta with Bridget. It is the perfect little sister name! Good luck. You have a lot of great options!

Anonymous said...

Bronagh! to also keep the Irish ans Saints theme in addition to Br.

Natalia said...

I wouldn't choose another Br- name but definetely a B- name. Bianca sounds adorable: Brendan, Bridget and Bianca, love it!!

vanessa said...

I would DEFINITELY choose a B name, because it is your last child.
I like Briony a lot, but it feels a bit uncommon with Brenden and Bridget (great names btw!) and I'm not sure I'd go with another Br name.
Here's a few suggestions:
Beatrix/Beatrice (LOVE THIS from Swistle)
Bella (like Ella, but with a B! But perhaps too Twilight-y...)
Beth/Bethany is great
Blythe! (I am always suggesting Blythe on here and I want someone to actually USE IT)
Bonnie (I love this. Feels very old fashioned in a way that I think would be very fresh and lovely on a baby. Bonnie Marie! Brenden, Bridget, and Bonnie! Please use this!)
Britt/Britta, but probably way too close to Bridget top pick is totally Bonnie.

Carolyn said...

I second the suggestion of Aubrey. It's got the br sound, but not in the beginning. Complementary but not matchy. Love it!

Or another name that has /b/ as the second syllable would be cute too, like Ruby or Abigail

NameLover said...

Bianca or Briony are fantastic! Somehow repeated Br's are nearly as annoying as repeated J's.

NameLover said...

I meant to say are NOT as annoying. Sorry about that.

The Mrs. said...

I thought about your question all last evening.

Bernice has a 'Br' sound, is highly uncommon, and comes with some cute nicknames (Berry and Nini). It's from the same time period as Margret, Eleanor, and Olivia, but it has yet remained hidden away. Bernice Maria 'Garnet' sounds charming and classic.

If you just wanted a 'B' at the beginning, what about Belinda (she could be called Lindy or Bella)? Lindy 'Garnet' seems particularily darling. Although, I might choose 'Marie' as an alternative for a middle name pairing.

And, if neither of those catch your fancy, what about Brittany. It really isn't too high on the popularity charts, is remarkably close to Ireland (it's in the British Isles!), and goes well with Maria. Perhaps it's too close to Bridget though?

All the best to you and your growing family! Please let us know what you and your husband choose!

gail said...

What Brendan and Bridget have in common is that they are major and highly respected Irish saints. I respectfully disagree with those who would have you continue the "Br" naming tradition while ignoring the lineage of Brendan and Bridget and substituting modern made-up names such as Brinley. Other Irish women saints include:

Liadan (LEE-a-din)

Other traditional Irish women's names that are classic in the same sense as Bridget (but are not saints names as far as I can tell) include:

Roisin (or Rose)

I would make a case for continuing in a more classic Irish genre and avoiding modern trendy Irish surnames. I love Fiona, and know wonderful young women with this name. Also, Bridget has been anglicized from Brigid, so I think it's complete acceptable to do the same with Niamh, which is another lovely but classic Irish name.

Good luck, I love the names of your son and daughter!

gail said...

Oh--I want to add the suggestion of Elowen.

StephLove said...

As I read I immediately thought of Biana, for some of the same reasons Swistle did. I thought a non-Br B name might split the difference. I also like Bailey, Blair and Blythe for those reasons. If you do go with a Br name I like Bronwyn. And I thought Eleanor was a great idea to combine Ellen and Nora

Anonymous said...

I really like the suggestion of Margaret and Rowan. I would also suggest Riley, Morgan, Marin (Meryn) and Bella.

Joanne said...

I do like Margaret but I think Margaret Maria is problematic. Is Josephine not allowed because of the een thing? Because Josephine Maria would be beautiful and you could call her Fee.

Anonymous said...

I second Gail's suggestion of Deirdre. It sounds similar to the 'Br' of both names and the 'dg' of Bridget without being matchy. Her reasoning about the style of name that goes well with Brendan and Bridget also appeals to me (saints and traditional Irish women's names). A lot of the Br names in the first list don't have the same feel as Brendan and Bridget.

Angie said...

For what it's worth I know a family with kids Bridget, Fiona and Braeden.

While Braeden is a lot more modern than Brendan, the names sound similar, so if you are looking for support for using Fiona, there you go.

Fiona happens to be my daughter's name, and I guess I have become less possessive of it, but I actually like some of the suggestions here better, such as:


*With both Gretchen and Margaret you could use Greta and get 2 for 1.

~I love Swistle's suggestion to repeat the br in the middle of the name.

^I also love gail's suggestions to repeat the Irish Saint theme. I like the subtle themes best of all themes.

And now that I have bombarded you with footnotes, let’s move on...

If you want to repeat the B I really like:

I also personally love Bianca, Blanca, and Bethany, but I'm not sure if I love them for you, when paired with your older kids' names.

But if you went with Bianca, Blanca and Bethany, I don't think the sib set would seem strange; I just feel some of the other names suggested would go better.

Amber said...

I agree with Swistle...I think I would look for another "B" name to fit with the siblings, but not "Br."

Blair! Love this name; it's what automatically came to mind.

Brendan, Bridget and Blair --
Blair Maria Garnet

Or ...

Blythe. Brendan, Bridget and Blythe. Or Blithe.

Bellamy. Brendan, Bridget and Bellamy. Nn's Belle, Elle, Ellie.

Boston. Brendan, Bridget and Boston. This comes to mind with the Irish theme.

Blake. Brendan, Bridget and Blake. Or Blakely.

Best of luck! said...

Dear Swistle,
I'm a big fan of the baby name blog as I am an absolute name fanatic. I was wondering if you gave chances to give readers (besides in the comments) to give a solution to the e-mails instead of you like if you had too many e-mails to answer or were taking a break. I wanted to do a name blog like this, but it just doesn't feel right as I believe this was your idea and in a way, I would be "stealing" it. Please get back to me on this issue and Happy Holidays to you, your family and your other readers!


Swistle said...

Jordyn- For awhile at the beginning we did try having Guest Answerers, but it didn't work out. It got confusing (people would think it was me answering the question, even when it wasn't), and also I felt uncomfortable having my name on the blog but with other people's writing.

B -- Saying Thanks! said...

I am B who submitted the question. Thank you all soooo much!

I have printed this post and comments and can't wait to discuss it with DH. DH is being flexible on the Maria thing, so I might get to do a middle name after all.

Swistle, the BR list you generated is fantastic, but I just don't see myself going there. I love the idea of the BR sound in the middle, though. That's a great list. Aubrey especially.

Also, Beatrice, Margaret, Rowan, Elanor are great.

Maeve and Fiona are high on our list at the moment (family associations be damned).

Gail -- your suggestions are fantastic as well. I had Deirdre on my list... DH is less of a fan, but I may take another run at him.

Thank you all again! I will email in April!