NEW LOCATION

This blog has moved! Please join us over at http://www.swistle.com/babynames!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Name Updates!

Update to Baby Girl Jen___, Sister to Eliot!
Update to Baby Girl Barone!
Update to Baby Boy, Brother to Theodore!

Baby Naming Issue: Using a Namesake's Nickname

Katie writes:
Okay, it's officially Down to the Wire Time over here (T minus 10 days!), and I'm hoping you can help reassure me on a question that is dogging me a little. I wrote to you about this a few months ago, and since then there has been some progress. Here's what I wrote then:

"We have long thought that if we had a girl child, we would give her a middle name to honor my husband's aunt Jean, to whom he was very close and who died when he was a teenager. I love this idea- I like honoring the dear relative, and I expect it will mean a lot to my mother in law and to my husband's grandmother to have their family honored in this way. The issue is this: I recently learned that aunt Jean's full name was Regina. I've known my husband for 10 years and have always known her as Jean- it's what she always went by - but now I'm wondering if it dilutes the honor of a namesake somehow to use the nickname instead of the full name. Regina isn't our style, and to me feels strongly associated with a religion to which we happen to not adhere, so it would seem a little strange to select it. Plus, we like one-syllable middle names. So, thoughts? Is it okay to just use "Jean" as the middle name, or if we want to say that we named the child after her great aunt do we have to go with Regina?"

Since I wrote that, we've committed to using Jean as the middle name- and I really like it- but I want to make sure that we're not inadvertently committing some sort of gaffe here. It would be sad indeed if, instead of feeling honored, the family felt annoyed by our use of the diminutive.

Are we safe?

Oh, what a very interesting question! I generally find myself trying to talk people out of modified namesakes, reasoning that Grandma Ethel is not going to feel honored by a baby named Addison "after her," nor should she be put in the position of having to act as if she is as deeply touched as if the child were ACTUALLY named after her. I think sometimes such stretches happen inadvertently through a long line of "this from this, from this, from this..." where, for example, the parents say "We love Grandma Ethel, but um, we don't want to use her name. Is there something CLOSE to that we could use?" So first they look at her middle name, which is Hester, and then at her maiden name, which was Douglas, and oh DEAR we're not getting any closer to finding something. And so then one day while talking desperately over the issue again, they find out that the name Ethel means "noble," and the name Addie also means noble, and so how about ADDISON! Perfect! Because they got there by such small increments and over the course of so many discussions and with such good intentions, they might FEEL as if they've basically named the baby Ethel. And yet I am always cautioning that Grandma Ethel might not feel the same, and advising parents to consider if THEY would feel honored if THEIR names were so changed for a namesake.

BUT: this is not at all your situation. You're not taking a Regina and trying to name your baby Riley (same initial) or Juno (same meaning) or Juniper (after Aunt Regina AND Grandma Pearl! Two for the price of one!) or Jean (a name you prefer but she was never called Jean): you're taking the name the namesake was ACTUALLY KNOWN BY and using THAT---because it evokes that person, while her birth certificate name would not. You didn't even know her name was Regina when you first discussed using the name Jean. I would definitely say you could use the name Jean and say your daughter was named after her great-aunt.

As to whether the family will give this the same stamp of approval, it's hard to say. I SUSPECT they would, and for the same reasons I give: they know her as Jean, so the name Jean is the name tied to their happy memories of her. And if anyone shows signs of bristling, you could give that explanation in affectionate tones (ideally with brimming eyes of love): that you know her name was Regina, but that since you knew her through your husband as Jean, THAT'S the name that reminds you of her.

Baby W., Sibling to Grady

S. writes:
I am due with our second child, gender unknown, on March 14th. Our son is Grady, and our last name is one syllable beginning with W. If this baby is a girl, we have a whole list of names I would be totally happy to use (Teagan and Rowen are top choices), but the boy name list is woefully...meh. I would prefer to use an Irish/Gaelic name, but that's not a hard rule. I don't generally like common names in the first name spot. Right now, our list of boys names include Keane, Breckin, Seamus, Dewey. We have also considered Tiernan and the various Finn names. I would probably use Keane, but I'm concerned with two single syllable names. That's my main concern, will it be too choppy? I don't remember any posts about single syllable names. Any name suggestions would be very helpful.

Some 1/1-syllable names work great: previous commenters have mentioned examples such as Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Keane W___ works, I think, as does Finn W____. I think I would use Keane Breckin W____, or Finn Seamus W____. In fact, I'm reluctant to look for more names, because I think both of those are so great!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby Girl Phones

Autumn writes:
We are expecting our first baby (a girl) at the end of March. Our last name is very common and pretty much goes with anything (rhymes with phones). My husband and I narrowed our list down to Emma, Kate, and Anna. We decided to knock Emma out because of the popularity factor. I realize all three names are common, but we felt that Emma was even more so. I recently read an article (on the nameberry website) about the names Katherine and Kate. Basically the article said that once you added up all the Katherines, Kates, Katies, Kaitlyns etc. (and the fact that it is a nickname for many of these as well as a name by itself) that Kate was a top 10 name. I was baffled! I totally thought Emma was much more used, but the article actually said "this is the reason you feel like every other little girl you meet is a Kate." So, now we are stumped. Should we throw Emma back in the mix because of this or do we definitely go with Anna now? We really like all three names. But there are other names that we liked and decided against because of popularity and the fact that they might be more trendier versus classics (Charlotte and Lila for example). Can you give us some insight? Also, if it helps - we do plan to have more children and the boy names we like for possible future children are Henry, Grey, and Jack. Thanks for your help!

I'd say that if you really like all three names, and your only real issue is popularity, then you should use Anna: it's #29 and falling. But as you say, all three are popular, and with a common surname, you may be motivated to find a first name that's even less common.

I wonder if you'd like Emeline? I don't know why this name isn't more common. It's not even in the Top 1000. I added up the four spellings that seemed most likely to me (Emeline, Emmeline, Emmaline, Emaline), and all together they bring the name to #725.

Or Annabel! This name's ranking is deceptive: it's at #722, but the spelling Annabelle is #156.

Or Anneliese is pretty. Hard to figure out the rank: that spelling isn't in the Top 1000, but Annalise is at #648. I prefer the -el- myself (and TWO Ns for SURE), to avoid any unfortunate associations.

Or Annika. That spelling is at #416; combined with the spelling Anika at #533, the two spellings together would have a ranking of about #250.

Or I love Anastasia, and you could still call her Anna.

Or Anya: so close to Anna, but #363.

Or a blend, perhaps? You could name her Anna Kate Phones and call her Anna Kate, or Emma Kate Phones and call her Emma Kate. This also gives her a likely out from being "Anna P." or "Emma P." if there's another Anna or Emma in her class. (I say "likely" because of the year my mother had a class where there were two Sarahs who ALSO had the same middle name---but probably that qualifier isn't often necessary.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Baby Boy Name Needed

A. writes:
I'm so glad I stumbled on this site and am sure hoping you can give us some ideas here! We're expecting our first child, a boy, at the end of March. We're having a hard time picking something that suits our varies preferences, including: not overly common; not too "whitebread" (forgive the expression); perhaps offers a bit of international or back-in-style hipness, without being too unusual or ethnic in a way that just doesn't match who we are (or perceive ourselves to be). I've got an old country Jewish half, and a German half, and my husband has a Scandanavian background with some English and German in the mix too I think. We consider ourselves urban types who value the modern yet natural in our lives. Also, a bonus would be a name that offers baby/toddler nickname-ability... like Owie is to Owen. If we had ended up with a girl, we were already both very happy with the name Nadia or Nadya.

So, for instance, names we've liked but can't use (because someone else close to us has used them): Julian and Luca (I know, we're not Italian, but I was willing to overlook that for Luca). I was curious about Judah but that was was too biblical for my husband's taste. We each like well enough Ethan but find it way too overused now. As my only back up, I like Noah, which feels like a decent fit though my husband thinks Noah is too biblical. But, I feel guilty about the idea of giving him a top ten name (I hated how unusual my name was as a child but am so grateful as an adult that it's so uncommon) - I think it's currently #6 at the SSA! That alone makes me hesitant to fight for the only name I feel I could live with so far. We've considered Sebastian, but it feels a little too blue blood or something. I've thought about Jude, but we're not jumping up and down about it (and it spells "Jew" in German, which could be a bit weird for one half of my family). We recently started thinking about Noel, but since it means Christmas, and it's likely to get wrongly two-syllabled all his life (AND, we're not Irish), we haven't been able to settle with it either.

Can you offer us any feedback or suggestions?? I feel so horrible not having picked a name yet- I feel like he deserves to have an identity already. I know we have time, but after going through surely thousands of names each, I'm just feeling defeated.

Many, many thanks!

Name Update!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Freedman-Without-the-D, Sister to Eleni and Rhys!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Changing One's Name as an Adult

Stephanie writes:
Love your baby name blog! I'm writing in not for any impending babies, but for myself. Here's the thing. I've LOATHED my name since I was a kid. I'll be 30 this year and have decided enough is enough, I'm going to change it.

Pertinent details:

Current first name - Stephanie
Last name (which I'm keeping and plan on keeping if I get married) - P [2 Italian sounding syllables] a

I love my last name. Things I cannot stand about my first name include being lumped into that early 80s group of Tiffany/Brittany/Kelly, how it sounds as a full name and how it sounds as Steph. To my ear it just sounds like bleh and I've just never felt like Stephanie fits me. It's getting to the point where I'm cringing when I introduce myself to people.

I've had a list of possible first/middle name combinations that used to hang out in the back of my school planner and now lives in my smartphone (aaah, changing times).

My style is very pulled from romance novels. Lots of European names, surnames as first names, traditionally male names.

I do enjoy Stefania (though I'd likely keep the 'ph' over the 'f' even though that's not the traditional spelling). However, it seems like a lot of fuss to change one letter. I could just ask people to call me Stephania but it seems like it'd be going backwards - my name is Stephanie but call me Stephania. It's the same reason I'm leaning towards a legal change versus just having people call me by a different name - if every legal document, form, and identification still says Stephanie, it won't matter if people sometimes refer to me as Starlight Moonbeam, Stephanie will still be my go to name. Plus Stephania is still likely to get shortened to Steph and ugh.

Also, I'd like to be called by all 3 names in more formal situations. Document wise, is it more preferable to have one first/middle/last and introduce myself, sign things as first/middle/last or is it clearer to go the two last name or two first name route?

I work in a fairly traditional field so anything too eyebrow raising is out. Some of the names have been on my list for years and others are more recent additions (some from your blog!) but they all just felt and sounded right when I thought of them for myself. I'm definitely decided on changing, but I think I'm in a forest for the trees scenario where I need some outside opinions and suggestions. At this point, everything sounds phenomenal, not too unusual or odd, but not too common and there's no way I can pick just one :)

Top contenders:

Braeden (stuck on middle name)
Ellery Snowden
Merrielle Emerson (I love the way Merrielle looks and sounds in my head, with the 'eh' sound in the first syllable but am concerned I'll have to deal with an 'ah' sound, definitely not a fan of Mariel or Muriel or Mary)

Other list favorites:

Sadie (even though I 100% prefer this to Stephanie, it still has some of the same issues of sounding young and more unprofessional)
Grey
Winter
Vivienne
Penelope

Thank you so much!

Here is what I think is the NUMBER ONE issue: you're looking at names that are being given to TODAY'S babies---but were NOT given to babies in 1981 when you were born. The name Stephanie fits perfectly into what we expect for someone who's about 30 years old. The name Vivienne does not.

This is a problem I've noticed in novels, too: the author uses her favorite BABY names on her characters, forcing us to try to imagine a married couple in their thirties named Isabella and Noah. It's jarring. It's jarring in real life, too.

I strongly recommend choosing a name that would have been reasonable in the year of your birth---as opposed to a name that might have occasionally been used but would have been a shock. In the U.S. in 1981 only 10 new baby girls were named Vivienne. Girls named Braeden/Brayden/Braden or Gray/Grey or Ellery or Merrielle: 0-4 (fewer than 5 is recorded as "0" on the Social Security forms). Penelope: 77. Winter: 109. Sadie wins: 280. But for comparison, 20,201 baby girls were named Stephanie.

I think it would be best to find a name that is not quite as common as Stephanie was, and that feels to you like a better fit, without making you sound like you were born in 2011. A distinctly younger name can give a "Behold the ravages of time!" feeling: imagine seeing a woman in her seventies and hearing her introduced as Jennifer. It does happen (42 baby girls were named Jennifer in 1936), but it's startling and not in a pleasing way. And, if you have children in the future, we want to avoid using up the names you might want to use for them.

I'm not sure about the "use all three names for formal situations" question. What SORTS of formal situations? Very few people include their middle names in introductions, and I'm having trouble thinking of a situation where it would be anything but confusing. I think the easiest way for a woman to go by three names is for her to have a hyphenated surname or a two-name first name.

I think if I were planning to change my name, I would begin by asking my parents if they still remembered other names they were considering for me (including boy names), and seeing if any of those fit better. This has the advantage of being more "authentic" a name change (to something your own parents might actually have named you), and also of better pleasing your parents if they're still in the picture and might be fluffled by this name-change idea. I would in fact interview them extensively, asking if there were family names they considered, or family surnames they might have used as first names (or that they would be willing to consider now that such names are more often used). In addition to the previous advantages, this gives you something to say to anyone startled by your name: "It's a family name." I've found that line takes the wind out of most sails.

If those interviews and family-tree-shakings yielded no good candidates, I would take the 1981 Top 1000 Social Security name list and I would start at the top and just keep going down. Lauren? Veronica? Victoria? Katrina? Cassandra? Margaret? Bethany? Sabrina? Molly? Jillian? Meredith? Bridget? Joy? Claudia? Marissa? Those are all from the 1981 Top 200 so they shouldn't shock anyone when used for someone your age---but they have a sound that still works for today's babies. Too common among your peers? Here are some possibilities from 200-300: Audrey, Ruth, Sophia, Naomi, Evelyn, Olivia, Lydia, Esther, Eva, Amelia, Charlotte, Grace. Good names for babies now---but they were being used in 1981, too.

If by now you are saying, "Pff, Swistle, you old worrywart, I don't care about any of this! I asked about the names ON MY LIST!" Okay! I can do that, too.

I closed my eyes and imagined meeting someone approximately my age (fine, I was a 1970s baby, DETAILS, DETAILS), and hearing her introduced as each of the names on your list. To my surprise, it was some of your LEAST-used-in-1981 names that seemed least surprising to me on a 1981-born person. For example: I could imagine meeting a Braeden or an Ellery my age, but not a Penelope or a Vivienne or a Sadie or a Winter. I am not sure how to explain this. Part of it is likely regional and so will vary from commenter to commenter. Part of it might be that Vivienne and Sadie and Penelope FEEL so "now" for baby girls, with people writing in to ask if they're too trendy, whereas Braeden and Ellery are not quite here yet. Part of it may be associations (which, again, will vary from commenter to commenter): Penelope sounds ONLY like Penelope to me, but Braeden is reminiscent of Brianna and Brandi, and Ellery of Emily and Danielle and Michelle. Part of it may be that it's not uncommon for a new name to waffle around a bit between boys and girls when it first comes into usage (example: Mackenzie), so it feels like it COULD have happened that Braeden would be used for a girl before it became primarily a boy name.

For middle names, I think choosing a name from your own generation will make the first name seem more likely. I think use Snowden only if that's a family name for you. Otherwise I'd look for other family names, or perhaps use Stephanie or your current middle name there, or your mother's maiden name, or something else of that sort. Or if you're again saying, "HELLO, I asked about MY list!," then I say Ellery Snowden is good, and I'd do Braeden Winter or Braeden Ellery.

Or I might do Braeden Sofia. It's feminine enough to make it clear Braeden is a girl name in this case. And Sofia is similar to Stefania, and yet Sophia was already #211 in 1981 (and in fact made a huge leap between 1980 and 1981) so it wouldn't be odd as a middle name for a 30-year-old.


Name update! Stephanie writes:
I wrote in a couple months ago about wanting to change my name as an adult from Stephanie. You and the people who commented offered some excellent suggestions and made some great points and after using various names at restaurants and such and narrowing the field down to a winner (Ellery Braeden!), I looked at the calendar and realized that between scheduled travel and out of town things and court schedules, there wouldn't be time to make it official until next year. And the fact that residency of at least a year is required and I'm planning on moving before then and it's something I'd rather not put off till 2014 so am compromising with myself and going with something that could be a reasonable stretch from Stephanie. And I've landed on Sutton. I love it, have loved it, it's unusual enough to make me happy but still easy enough to avoid most confusion and while I'm-Stephanie-but-everyone-calls-me-Sutton isn't the most natural of flows, I think the similarity in s and t sounds make it plausible. So that's the update, hooray!

The follow up is - how do I transition into using my new name in professional/formal circumstances. It seems like it shouldn't be too complex, I think of the people who have legal names of John and are called Jack or are Mary Sue Claire Smith and exclusively go by Claire but...how does that work?

Do I put Sutton on my resume and just mention in any future interviews oh hey, my application says Stephanie but I go by Sutton? My license/credit cards will still say Stephanie but what about at doctor's offices/store loyalty cards/other non social situations where I'm writing my name but it isn't a legal document? It seems like a familiar enough situation that I should be able to discover some answers but it is proving to be rather un-googleable. So am turning once again to you and the fabulous community.

Thank you!

Name Update!

Update to Baby Girl Osbourne, Sister to Meryl and Quentin!

Baby Girl N____stat, Sister to Lincoln

Tori writes:
I am writing to you for help. I am scheduled for a c-section with our second child 03/16/2011- a GIRL! We already have a son, Lincoln Thomas. My husband and I are having a very difficult time in choosing a name for this little one. With our son, we had a few names chosen prior to his delivery, but didn't name him until we saw him. And his name we chose was actually vetoed off our list prior to him getting here.

Names we currently have on our list (and it's a short one) are Charlotte, Ramsay, Abigail, and McKinley. MIddle name will most likely be Marie. Our last name is 2 syllables- starts with N and ends in 'stat.'

Other names we had on our list that have been removed for one reason or another were:
Finley
Eleanor
Parker
Kennedy
Georgia
Mathilda- Husband HATES this
Eloise
Ruby
Reagan
Audrey- have 2 nieces named Avery, thought this might be too similar
Lucy
Olivia
Amelia

Few rules/restrictions we do have:
1.) Can't be someone in the family with the name.
2.) Don't want anything TOO trendy- we don't want her to be one of 6 in her class
3.) Really trying to stay away from the presidential theme. We did originally think it would be cute, but are now reconsidering- which is why we're not really sold on McKinley.

Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated!! I'm at my wit's end and just want to have a name for this baby!!!



Name update! Tori writes:
I know this post is MONTHS past, but we ended up naming our baby girl Charlotte Marie. Perfect for her, and sounds great with Lincoln. We get compliments on their names everywhere we go.

Thanks so much for all the input. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby Girl Toast

Laura writes:
My husband and I are struggling to agree on a name for our first baby - a girl due on March 7th. Our last name is one syllable and rhymes with "toast." I like feminine, melodic, classic names. I'd like to avoid top-ten names, but top-100 is ok, especially if they are timeless. Caroline, Natalie, Eliza and Madeline have been my top picks. My husband wants a one or two syllable name with a "hard" vowel sound and tends to be drawn to names that were popular for our generation - Amy, Lisa, Caitlin, etc. I think these names are boring and dated. He thinks my names are weird and complicated. To work with our last name, we've both agreed that anything that starts with "k", ends in "y" or has a prominent "s" sound (like Alyssa) is out. But that's about all we can agree on. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

This is tricky: based on what you and your husband each want, my plan would be to make a list of names that would be familiar to him, but that wouldn't feel to you like they were already used up by our generation. But--that's exactly what your list is! It seems like it would be perfect: familiar names that were used by people our age, but that still feel fresh enough to use now. So why doesn't he like them? If he thinks a name like Caroline or Natalie is weird and complicated, I'm at a loss. Nevertheless, perhaps if we continue to throw similar names at him, he will find some he likes? But no -y endings, no prominent S sound, no K initial, not Top 10, two syllables with a long vowel---it's a tough order. I won't try to follow all of those, but will instead concentrate on the Y/S/K part and hope he will come around a bit on the syllables and vowels.

Anna
Bridget
Claire
Clara
Elizabeth
Eva
Jane
Jillian
June
Meredith
Miriam
Piper
Sabrina
Violet

(I had some -ia names on there---Claudia, Lia/Leah, Victoria---but I'm not sure the -ia sound works with the Y of your surname.)

I think I'd start by pointing out to him how similar some names are to ones he says he likes. There is very little difference between a name like Lisa and a name like Eliza. Same with Caitlin and Caroline: quite similar sounds.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: What to Name the Siblings of a Child With a Gender-Neutral Name or With a Name Traditionally Given to the Opposite Sex

M. writes:
So we are due to have our second child late March and are struggling with names. Our first child, Micah, is a girl. We know it isn't a traditionally used as a girl's name but we felt it was beautiful and loved the writings of the prophet by that name. Since then, it is not secret that I have had some name regret worrying about how she will feel about her name when she meets boys with the name. But much of that regret, I feel, was fed by post partum hormones. And now, pregnancy hormones have made me so fearful of naming the second. I think this will be our last child and the two kids will be approximately 2 years apart.

I guess the struggle that I put out to you is what do you name the second when the first has a gender 'neutral' name? If we have a boy will folks always think we have two boys? If we have a girl and go feminine with the name are we running the risk of making Micah seem even more masculine in comparison? I am truly at a loss.


Names we like:

Emma
Dena
Ayelet
Brooke
Orly
Talia
Sivan
Sigal
Farah
Anna
Emily
Erin
Rebecca
Sophia
Zoe

Owen
Samuel
Ethan
Simon
Aaron
Evan
Emmett
Everett
Etai
Justin

Many thanks for any input you have. I am taking this very hard and keep thinking that i didn't think through our daughter's name/vet it enough.

Thank you in Advance.

[I should warn everyone that every time I went through my reply to make it shorter, I ended up adding more. So it's a bit. Er. LONG. It was just SUCH an interesting topic.]

In the early 1990s, the baby name book that was blowing my mind was Beyond Jennifer and Jason. I remember it giving this advice: that if you give one child an androgynous name, a child of the opposite sex should be given a name that is very clearly the sex that they are---and certainly not a name that leans more towards the opposite sex.

...I'm not putting this well. I need pictures. Imagine us sitting in a coffee shop, and I will draw on a napkin. I think of a spectrum of names, like this:



If the first child is a girl, and is given a name that is more often used for girls but isn't ultra-feminine, a mark goes on the spectrum:



When it is time to name the next child, we draw brackets. If the next child is a boy, it's important that his name not be to the RIGHT (the girl direction) of his sister's name---and I've drawn the bracket closer to it than I think it should actually go (I think it's better to have a nice gap). If the next child is a girl, her name could go more girlish or a little more boyish, but shouldn't go MUCH boyish or she'll sound like a brother:



But that's not what we have in your case. You haven't chosen a gender-neutral or boyish-girl name for your daughter, you've chosen a boy's name that is occasionally used for girls. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2009, 341 new baby girls in the U.S. were named Micah. More than ten times that many baby boys were given the name Micah: 3490. Furthermore, the name is falling for girls and rising for boys.

So we're not talking about a boy name that's WAY to the left (Michael, for example, which was given to 40 baby girls in 2009 but to well over four hundred TIMES as many baby boys), but we are talking about a name that falls on the boy side---in that most people hearing the name Micah would assume the baby was a boy (as opposed to wondering whether the baby was a boy or a girl, as they would with a neutral name such as Jaden):


(It looks like I've got that mark right in the middle of boy names, but the arrows go well off the napkin on either side.) Now we make our brackets, so that a future brother will not be to the right (the "girlish" side) of his sister's name, and so that a future sister will not be so much more girlish that she will make her sister's name seem like a brother's name:


Again, I'm not sure my brackets are quite right, and the left edge of the brother bracket ought to be an arrow, but you get the gist: no sisters named Clarissa, no brothers named Avery.

Our goal, then, is to find you a boy name sufficiently masculine to help people remember which of your children is a boy and which is a girl if they hear both names and know you have one of each; and to find you a girl name that isn't so feminine it creates the illusion of differing expectations for each girl. This is assuming we can find names you really like that meet those conditions: sometimes I think the only solution to a situation like this is to shrug and choose a name that doesn't work as part of a sibling set, with the knowledge that in the big-picture/long-run, it's okay: people may be a little surprised, they might make a mistake at first, but eh, they'll soon adjust, and your kids will eventually be adults whose sibling names won't be a big deal.

I think we will have the happiest result if we go into this thinking that we will do our best to diminish the issues, but YES, people who just hear the two names still WILL think you have two boys, or else a boy and then a girl: no name we find for your second child will make Micah feel like an obvious girl name. And that is annoying but it is okay. We will correct them, and then they will know. And everyone who actually knows you will ALREADY know you don't have two boys.

One thing working for you here is that by sound alone, Micah OUGHT to be a girl name. It, like many of its biblical contemporaries, is made up of girl-name-like sounds---especially the -ah ending, which is mostly feminine in U.S. English, with most of the exceptions being those biblical names (Noah, Jonah, Isaiah, Ezra, Elijah, etc.). If we separate the name from its associations, Micah belongs with Mila and Monica and Kayla and Jessica and Erica. In fact, if it were spelled Mica or Mika, no one would blink (but you'd lose the prophet association you wanted).

Awhile back we answered a question about a family with a girl named Emma, wanting to name a second girl Ezra. It may be the only time I've ever put my foot down on an issue. You're in the opposite situation: you have the equivalent of an Ezra FIRST, and one of the names on your list is Emma, and again I say no: mixing the #2 most popular (and not even slightly neutral) girl name in the U.S. with a "boy's name occasionally used for girls" is unfair to both girls. You could, however, use Ezra.

The names on your list with the most potential, I think, are the ones that are unfamiliar enough to give people pause: if you have a Micah and a Rebecca, people hear "biblical traditional" and assume a boy and a girl; but if you have a Micah and a Sivan, or a Micah and a Sigal, people feel uncertain and they think twice before making any assumptions.

For other possibilities, I'd look in these categories:

1. Biblical boy names with girl-name sounds (Asher, Noah, Jonah, Elisha, Ezra)

2. Names usually thought of as boy names that have already started being used for girls so it's no longer a total shock to hear them (Blake, Carson, Evan, Greyson, Hayden, Mason, Sawyer, Tristan)

3. Androgynous names (Avery, Casey, Grey, Hollis, Parker, Peyton)

4. Boy names that have been abandoned by the boys and might work well for girls, as Sydney worked for Sidney (Clarence, Sterling, Winslow, Murphy, Percy)


I put those examples up there pretty casually, so there could easily be disagreement with one or another ("Hey, that's not androgynous, that's a boy name starting to be used for girls!") but this shows you the gist of what I'd be looking for.


For a boy, I think any of your choices are fine. I'd lean toward the more definitely boyish ones, but I don't think there are any boy names that would make Micah seem like a girl name by comparison. And as with Sigal and Sivan, I think the benefit of using a name like Etai is that it's unfamiliar enough to call the whole sibling group into question: people will be less likely to make assumptions.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baby Girl Vivian or Caroline

Jessica writes:
I’m hoping you can provide some insight for our little baby girl due at the end of March, 2011.

My favorite name since I was in high school and read “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” has been Vivian.

Thanks to Miss Jolie, I am nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs about using it!

I very much understand Angelina’s love of “Vivienne,” it’s gorgeous, voluptuous, sultry, womanly, classic and all around uber-fem.

However…I (as most people) do not want my daughter to be known as “Vivian P.”

My husband thinks my fears are invalidated. That, just because a celebrity has used it, doesn’t mean every other woman in our small town of 7,500 will use it.

I’m just not sure. Is Vivian destined to be the next Isabella?

I’m a Jessica and was born at a time when Jessica was all the rage.

Though, I was only one of three in my school. (Validating my husband’s argument.)


Our other favorite is Caroline.


Thank you oh so much for your time.

In situations like this, I rely on the Social Security Administration. First let's look at what's been happening with Vivian:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)


The first Ya-Ya book was published in 1996. But it's tricky to figure out what impact it had, isn't it? The name Vivian had already started an abrupt rise, going from #502 in 1987 to #294 in 1993. It stayed in the high 200s / low 300s for a decade without seeming much affected by the book, and then in 2002 (the year the movie version came out) abruptly started another rise, a rise that brought it as high as #164 in 2009.

To me, what this looks like is the name coming back into style on its own (the name was last in the Top 100 in 1911-1934, so it's due for another turn in the next few years), but given a shove by an author and a movie---and an additional shove by the birth of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's daughter Vivienne in 2008.


Now let's take a look at what's happened with Vivienne:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)


I had it set to look in the last 30 years, but Vivienne has only been in the Top 1000 in one of those years: 2009. Which meant spending some time with the non-Top-1000 forms. Here's how many new baby girls were named Vivienne in the U.S. each year (it's a little hard to adjust to this "higher number is more" thing when we're accustomed to the "lower number is more" of the ranking system):

2009: 561
2008: 227
2007: 151
2006: 111
2005: 120
2004: 94
2003: 109
2002: 70
2001: 63
2000: 50
1999: 65
1998: 36
1997: 33
1996: 23
1995: 26
1994: 32
1993: 19
1992: 20
1991: 20
1990: 23
1989: 16
1988: 9
1987: 16
1986: 11
1985: 9
1984: 6
1983: 15
1982: 10

(That's probably further back than we needed to go, but when the numbers went so low I kept waiting to get down to nothing.) In this case it looks more to me as if the book in 1996 had an impact. Perhaps people loved the name Vivian but didn't like the look of it and went looking for a fresher spelling? Or perhaps it's coincidence and the name was going up anyway just like Vivian. It sure looks like the movie in 2002 had an effect, and then Vivienne Jolie-Pitt had an even bigger effect in 2008.

And now let's compare this to Isabella:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)



Isabella appeared in the Top 1000 in 1990, in the Top 100 in 1998, in the Top 10 in 2004, and at Number 1 in 2009. Vivian doesn't look like that. Vivian's been walking around in the Top 1000 all along. And Vivienne DOES sort of look like that---but it's more like the 1991 Isabella: not enough information to know what it will do next. Plenty of names appear in the Top 1000, shoot up several hundred rankings---and then stay there, never making it even to the Top 100, let alone the Top 10. Having the 2010 numbers would help a lot, but those won't be out until May---by which time your Vivian or Caroline will already be here.

Here is my guess, and it is PURE GUESS, as in "your guess is as good as mine": my guess is that the name Vivian will follow names such as Evelyn and Lillian, but NOT names such as Isabella. I think it will make the Top 50, but that it won't be a super-mega-hit. That's my GUESS. But I am as wrong as the rest of us when it comes to predicting name trends, and perhaps we will all laugh merrily at this post a decade from now.

For further comparison, let's look at Caroline:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)



This shows what I often say about name perceptions: if you'd asked me to answer without looking, I would have thought Caroline was racing up the ranks, because I feel like I'm "suddenly hearing it everywhere." But I'm completely wrong: it's just hanging around in a non-scary-trend fashion, not even up to the Top 50. And do I know a single baby named Caroline? Er....one. On a blog, not in my non-internet circle. It's just that it seems like so many people have it on their lists, which can give a false sense of commonness.

Okay! So what have we got? We've got Caroline, already in the Top 100 but not looking like it's moving around much: nice and stable. And we've got Vivian, less common but much MUCH less stable. If I were choosing solely on popularity, then, I'd choose Caroline: not only doesn't it make me nervous that it's going to make a mad rush for Number 1, but also it's so classic and traditional it really couldn't be trendy even if it DID hit Number 1.

But if you want my GUESS, I think you'll also be okay if you choose Vivian. And, it is your FAVORITE. And it sounds to me as if your only hesitation is the commonness, and you're talking yourself out of that even without my help---though I can add my usual lines about how even if you name her something statistically VERY unlikely to be duplicated she can nevertheless end up with another in her class (like in my son's class, where there are three Noahs even though statistically for their year of birth there should be one Noah per eight classrooms), and how having a year or two of Vivian P. isn't the worst thing anyway (and maybe instead they could be Vivian and Vivi, or Vivi Rose and Vivi Louise, or some other solution).

Would it help at all to have a poll? Let's have one over to the right to see what everyone else thinks: go for the less-stable long-term-favorite? or the more-stable option? [Poll closed; see results below.]

Baby Girl or Boy Pombier, Sibling to Cohen

Monica writes:
My husband and I are on baby number 2 and are expecting any day now! We aren't finding out the sex, so two names are needed. My sons name is Cohen Michael and I really like that it's a bit different without being too out there. I want something that flows well with his name. Our girl choice is Harper (at least that's what my husband hasn't vetoed). Our last name is French...Pombier. My husband and I just cannot agree on a boys name and need some help!!

Names I like are Cooper, Kellan, Landon. A bit all over the place I know. I do like the Irish/Gaelic feel. He has said no to all of these. He likes Milo, Max, Finn, Noah, and Miles. I'm not a fan of these. We are clueless at this point and I'm due 2/23/11!!

Im sure you get tons of emails but would really appreciate the help. Thanks!

Finn seems like a good place to start, since it's on your husband's list and you like Irish/Gaelic names. Would you like it better if it was Finlay? Phinneas? Griffin? Finnegan? Finlan? Finian? Quinlan?

Kellan seems a little too close to Cohen: same starting sound, same ending sound, and soft middle sounds. Something like Keegan might work better: the beginning and ending sounds are still the same, but the strong G sound helps make them sound more different from each other.

Milo and Miles make me think of Malcolm and Niall and Lyle.

Milo and Landon make me think of Leo and Lyle.

Noah makes me think of Ezra, which I think has Cohen's flavor of "a bit different but not too out there."

Cooper makes me think of Hooper, Carson, and Carter. Cohen and Carson are pretty similar (like Cohen and Keegan: sort of right on the line), but I think Cohen and Carter works.


Name update! Monica writes:
We ended up having a GIRL!! No boy name was needed. We named her Harper Kate. She's SO sweet!
Thank you all very much for the responses. I had no idea I would get so much help. Sorry it took so long to get back with you. I've been a little busy :)

Thanks again!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Boy Scott, Brother to Delaney and Amelia

Madelyn writes:
My husband and I are expecting our third child, a son in late March 2011 and we cannot agree on a name at all. We have 2 daughters together named Delaney Evelyn and Amelia Callyn. With Delaney (nickname Laney), it is my mother-in-law's maiden name and Evelyn was my grandmother's name. Amelia was a little more complicated to name. I wanted the name Mia for her, but my husband argued that it was not a full enough name and so Amelia was the comprimise, even though 95% of the time, I call her Mia. Her middle name came from her paternal grandfather (Cal) and the ending of name (-lyn). With baby #3, my husband and I just cannot seem to agree on a name. Our list is:

Jacob Landon- I love this name, but it has just become so popular these days especially where we live.
Dylan/Dillon- He loves this name, but I am on the fence about it
Nolan- my brother in law recently had a little girl name Noelle, so we don't know about this one.
Cameron- I love this name, but hubby is on the fence about it.

Names we have taken off our list:
Henry, Luca, Everett, Emmett, Connor, Sawyer, Dean, Liam, Evan

Thank you!

Since the girls have family names, are there any boy family names you'd like to use? Some other possibilities:

Austin
Braden
Caleb
Callum
Camden
Carson
Darian
Declan
Devin
Ethan
Kellan
Nathan
Owen
Quinlan
Rillian
William
Wyatt

I hesitated with some of the D names, wondering if they were too close to Delaney. But since Dylan isn't too close, and since you call her Laney, I left them in.

I was also uncertain about a number of names that could look like surnames: with a surname that is also used as a first name, it seemed like a surnamey first name might cause more confusion.

I thought Wyatt Scott seemed like kind of a cool name with all those double Ts. Elliott Scott would give a similar effect.

If Cameron is not quite right, Camden or Callum might work.

If Dylan is not quite right, Darian or Declan or Devin or Kellen might work.

If Nolan is not quite right, Kellan or Nathan or Owen or Quinlan might work.

If Jacob is not quite right, Caleb might work.

If Landon is not quite right, Logan or Brogan or Brolin or Brody or Brandon or Lachlan might work.

And any on-the-fence name might work better as a middle name. Caleb Dillon Scott. Camden Jacob Scott. Wyatt Nolan Scott.


Name update! Madelyn writes:
Well our baby boy finally arrived on April 3rd, 2011, 2 weeks late! We went into the delivery room with a choice between the names Kellan and Caleb, both from your suggestions. When our son arrived though, the names did not suit him well at all and it was back to the computer to look at other suggestions from you and your commentators. We looked back and I realized that my heart had all along been staying with Jacob, a name I have loved for a long time. So, it came to be that our son is named Jacob Rillian. Rillian was used to give the name a little flair and I love it because I've never heard it on another child before. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl Gates, Sibling to Peyton and Mallory

Meredith writes:
I finally found your site last night (remembered it from years ago) and spent hours looking through past posts. We would love you and your readers help naming our "Surprise" Third Baby. We do not know whether this baby is a boy or a girl.

Actual due date is March 31st but we may deliver closer to March 18th (we aren't sure of conception, baby is measuring big, I'm measuring 4 weeks big, and have a history of early babies) But wanted to be honest about the actual due date but this baby will most likely come mid March.

Details: This baby was a complete and utter surprise but may end up our biggest blessing. I became pregnant when my 2nd baby was only 6 or 7 months old. Because of this it has been a totally different pregnancy than past, we don't know the gender, don't know the name, and are just kind of flying through the pregnancy trying to survive each day :) we would love to have a boy and girl name to bring us closer to this baby and help us enjoy this last month or two of pregnancy before meeting this newest blessing. PLEASE HELP us!

Parent Names: Meredith and Marshall
Sibling Names: Peyton (boy, 3) and Mallory (girl, 14 months)
Last name: one syllable, Rhymes with "Gates"

I like a lot of names but my husband is picky. Here are some names that he has not vetoed but we are not super attached to any of these so we would love suggestions. I tend to like "Southern" and old fashioned names that are not too crazy or trendy but also not top 30. Our other kids were named because I loved the name Peyton for a girl after one of my good friends, so when the ultrasound showed a boy we just kept it. Mallory came into play because I always loved the names Madelyn and Lillian (my grandmother) but they were way too popular for our taste so my mom suggested Mallory as less popular blend of both.

We are trying to avoid an "M" name since we all have an M name except for my son. Don't want to leave him out :)

Here are some names that haven't been vetoed to give you an idea of our combined "taste"
Boy Names
Nolan
Patrick (but dont want nickname to be "Pat")
Nathan
Benjamin
I really loved Bennett but he really doesn't.

Girl names
Sadie (my great-grandmother, so family name)
Audrey
Kathleen (my grandmother)
I like Amelia
Clara (but I'm seeing it on your blog a lot lately)
Girl names are harder because we feel like we just did this with baby number 2.

Boy Potential Middle Names that have meaning: Austin, Hamilton, Christopher, William, Mark,

Girl Potential Middle Names that have meaning: Ann, Bailey, Judith, Rebecca, but should I just do Ann to keep with mine and Mallory's?

Both Peyton and Mallory have "A" middle names, should we keep this trend?

THANK YOU, THANK YOU for any help. I have spent hours and hours and hours pouring through lists of baby names and have decided we need ya'lls professional help. :)

I think the trouble with some of the names on your boy list is that they're a different style than Peyton. Peyton and Nolan make good brother names, I think, but Peyton and Benjamin are so very different, style-wise. Peyton and Patrick are just as different, and the matching initial P seems to draw even more attention to that; same with the almost-rhyme of Peyton and Nathan.

It's not that "not matching in style" means you should toss the names out, but I think I would look for something more modern and/or surnamey:

Cason Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Cason
Corbin Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Corbin
Elliot Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Elliot
Ellis Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Ellis
Finlay Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Finlay
Grady Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Grady
Jameson Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Jameson
Keegan Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Keegan
Reid Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Reid
Sawyer Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Sawyer
Schuyler Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Schuyler
Spencer Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Spencer
Walker Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Walker

My own favorite is Elliot. It's not very common (even combining the spellings Elliot, Elliott, and Eliot, it's barely in the top 200), and it has the surname sound of Peyton while still having the classic first-name sound of Nathan and Patrick. I like Elliot Hamilton Gates.

...Hm. I am proofreading this just prior to posting it, and suddenly I'm not sure about those boy names. I think they go well in an "on paper" sense, but not with the rest of what you've told us about your style. I'm starting to think that your reasons for choosing Peyton make the name a different sort of choice than if you'd chosen it from the boy section of a baby name book. I think in that case Nolan is your best choice, because it goes with your style but it also goes with Peyton. I like Nolan Christopher and Nolan Mark. And I still like Elliot, too, and maybe Emmett and Everett and Garrett.


From your girl name list, I love Audrey: Peyton, Mallory, and Audrey sound like a wonderful sibling set. Aubrey would be nice too. And you know I love Clara!

I'd add Nola as a possibility since you like Nolan for a boy: Peyton, Mallory, and Nola.

If you like Clara but you're nervous about popularity, I suggest Clarissa. It's beautiful and much less common. Peyton, Mallory, and Clarissa.

More girl possibilities:

Bethany Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Bethany
Bianca Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Bianca
Bridget Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Bridget
Eliza Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Eliza
Emeline Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Emeline
Jocelyn Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Jocelyn
Laurel Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Laurel
Leslie Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Leslie
Lindsay Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Lindsay
Sabrina Gates; Peyton, Mallory, and Sabrina


On the middle name issues, I think you could go either way. If you like the idea of all three of you girls sharing a middle name, or of all three children having middle names that start with A, then by all means do it. But I don't think there's any reason to feel you OUGHT to do either one of those things: twice isn't enough to make it feel awkward to break the theme. You have some very nice meaningful middle name options, and I think if I were you I'd take the opportunity to put another one of them into use.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baby Girl, Sister to Grace, Nora, and Asher

Katie writes:
We are expecting baby #4 on St. Patrick's Day, the date is pretty set unless baby decides to come earlier which is unlikely. Baby #4 is a girl and she'll be joining Grace Kathryn Mae (6), Nora Elizabeth (4) and Asher Jack (2). We are looking for an Irish/Gaelic name, my husband's family has Irish roots, we both went to the University of Notre Dame and of course the obvious is that the baby is going to be born on St. Patty's Day. Our last name rhymes with Ramble but starts with a "c".
I'm not thinking that Patricia is a good name choice but it is often suggested to us. If the baby were not born on St. Patrick's Day her name very well would have been Audrey Jayne. I love how Grace, Nora and Audrey sound together but Audrey is not Irish. I've been attracted to names that have an "a" and an "r" in them but this has proven to be challenging to find in the Irish name category. Names that we've been tossing around...
Quinn - I love, my husband grimaces. How terrible is it that my children's one and only cousin's name rhymes with Quinn, his name is Flynn?
Keira - I like, again my husband isn't sure
My husband just likes Audrey and must be banking on me going into labor before my c-section which has never happened.
Thank you for thinking this through for me!

I have such a perfect name for you, I don't even want to tell you, for fear you won't think it's as perfect as I do. It's a name I like even WITHOUT any Irish or St. Patrick's Day connection, but if I had a reason to use it like you do, I would use it as the middle name IN A FLASH: Clover. CLOVER. It is gorgeous. I love it. USE IT. I suppose it is not an Irish name, but it sounds like you guys don't really LIKE Irish names and want more like a HOLIDAY name tied to St. Patrick's Day.

And then you can use Audrey, your husband's favorite that you love with the sibling names, as the first name. Audrey Clover _amble.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Family Trees

My friend Firegirl was assembling her family tree, and she discovered she has a great-great aunt named Sunbeam Olive.

This led me to wonder, since so many of us have looked in our family trees for baby-naming inspiration: what fun/funny names have YOU found? I have a great-great uncle with the middle name Haddock. I have an actual Egbert in the family, and a Fanny, and a Hubert, and a Wilbur, and a Hulda, and a Jemima---names that are funny now, though I assume not at all funny at the time.

I have a several-times-great uncle named Justice, and I have other relatives with names such as Hannah, Emma, Eva, Clark, Adeline, Isabel, Polly, Henry---all names I could say I was using because they were family names, when I'd actually be using them because they were currently in style. (Unlike, say, "Haddock.")

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baby Girl, Sister to Eleanore and Griffin

Caroline writes:
We have a baby girl due mid march 2011 and we are really struggling with names. Older siblings are Eleanore Quincy (3)(goes by Ellie) and Griffin William (1). Eden and Evaline (Evie) are top choices right now. I also love Vienna, but we have a distant friend with a daughter by this name and since it's so unusual I'd feel like I was copying. We'd like to stay with something unusual as our last name is fairly common. Other possible considerations have been Avery, Amelia, Mildred (Millie)...but nothing is really convincing me I have to have it! Thanks for your help! My husband loves names with nicknames...

If you're trying to avoid common, Avery (#32 in 2009 and rising) and Amelia (#55 in 2009 and rising) might be out.

If you like Mildred, I wonder if you'd like Matilda (Tilly) or Millicent (Millie) or Camilla (Cami, Millie) or Romilly (Romy, Milly) or Minerva (Minnie)?

If you like Evaline, I wonder if you'd like Emeline (Emmie---maybe too much with Ellie) or Genevieve (Evie) or Edith (Edie) or Geneva (Genna, Evie).

If you like Vienna and Eden, I wonder if you'd like Virginia (Ginny), Verona, Geneva (Genna, Evie) again, Sienna, Fiona, Gianna, Liana, Zinnia, Azalea, Gemma, Karenna, Verity.


Other possibilities:

Agnes (Aggie)
Agatha (Aggie)
Alice
Beatrix (Bee)
Esther
Florence (Florrie)
Frances (Frannie)
Georgia (Georgie)
Gretchen
Harriet (Hattie)
Lucille (Lucy)
Marian
Olive
Pearl
Silvia (Silvie)
Willemina (Willa, Mina)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baby Boy Peeta-with-an-R

Jen writes:
Hi--My husband and I are due with our first child, a boy, on March 13, 2011 and we need help! My husband is Italian and I'm English. We disagree on almost all names and seem to be getting nowhere! For girls names we liked boys names that you can put a feminine twist on or classic family names-I feel like naming a girl might have been easier! Our last name is Peeta with an R and I feel like this eliminates most if not all 'R' names (We named our dog Riley bc it was my favorite girl's name, but I felt like Riley Peeta-with-an-R would never be a good match for a girl). We also agree that the name have a nickname. However, most other things we disagree on...my husband tends to like more common names; Joseph (I do like Joey, but not Joseph), Matthew, Nate, Tyler (and what he likes for names is very limited and is concerned about names not sounding masculine enough and when he's older). He definitely has said he doesn't like names that he considers more trendy: Aidan, Mason, Caden...My suggestions that he's vetoed have been: Beckett, Boden, Giovanni (no nn?), Maximo, Maxwell, Milo (love this one!-husband vetoed bc might not be masculine enough as he gets older?). I also own a preschool so I feel like there's some names that just aren't a good fit because I've known several children with certain names...

We have a super small list of options that we agree on so far:

-Callen (too feminine? Callan?) nn Cal
-William (too common in our area? but this is also a family name) nn Will
(we do not have a middle name picked out yet either so are open to suggestions here too)

First names we love but cannot use: Brian, Andrew, Anthony, James, Daniel

As you can see, we don't have much to go on so far and are coming down to the wire. Hope you can help!!!
Thank you!

If Callen seems too potentially feminine, Callum might work. Callum Peeta-with-an-R is nice. Or Calvin, or Callahan, or Caleb. Or I think my favorite would be Malcolm.

If you like Joey but not Joseph, I wonder if you'd like Josiah? Or I've liked the name Joel ever since a nice boy named Joel in 4th grade. Or Jonah might still have the slightest smack of whale, but Jonas works now that The Jonas Brothers have made it mainstream. Or I love the name George with the nickname Geordy---not quite Joey, I realize, but something of the same sound. Your choice of Giovanni also has the nickname Joe and perhaps Joey, though I'm not sure how I'd spell them: Gio doesn't have at all the same flavor as Joe.

If you like James, may I put in a good word for John? The name is so familiar, it's too easily dismissed. It feels over-common, and yet it's increasingly uncommon to run into actual little boys named John---especially since often if they ARE named John, it's a family name and they go by something else. This gives the name the unexpected freshness of a name like Mary: the mind glosses over it while perusing the baby name book, but on an actual child there is a feeling of pleasant surprise.

My favorite William alternative is Wilson---but then you lose the family connection.

Perhaps you could get your husband to reconsider Milo. I don't see any reason it would lose masculinity as the child grew. Would your husband like Miles better? Or Leo?

If you both love Daniel and your husband likes Nate, perhaps Nathaniel?

Or Isaac?

Name Update!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Boy E___n!

Baby Girl B____nik, Sister to Dahlia

Sophie writes:
I am due on the 15th and we keep selecting and then tossing out names. We have a short list and I would love your insight/advice.

This is our second child. Our first is named Dahlia Carmel. We love her name. Dahlia is after my husband's grandmother, and Carmel is the place where we were married. Our last name is three syllables and starts with a B and ends with "nik", so my husband likes soft feminine names that end in "a". I like French names as I am half-French. I also like unusual names, but not something terrible unrecognizable or hard to spell.

Here is the short list:
-Camilla (is this usually spelled with one or two l's?)
-Camille
-Kira (would you spell it like this or Keira which seems more complicated to me)
-Amelie
-Clara (my husband and I realized after deciding we loved this name that there are two ways to say this name and he likes one and I like the other)
-Nadia (we like slavic sounding names too)
-Tea or Teya/Taya (we love the name but are not sure how to spell it)

Now, for her middle name we were thinking of calling her Royale. My husband is from Montreal, and we have spent a lot of time there. Mount Royal is what Montreal is named for. The only problem is that we have shared this with a few people and they keep telling us that it reminds them of the bit in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta talks about what cheeseburgers are called at MacDonalds in France....Royale with Cheese. Did you think of that?? I also thought of using Monique (MONtreal, QUEbec), but my husband isn't sure. Other middle name options could be other places we have been/love like Rio (many places in India, Morocco, China, Australia, South Africa---we love to travel), or after my grandparents which would start with an A or H.

Please help us. We don't have much time left!!!
Thanks!

Any other ideas? Which of these do you like from the list?

Thanks for your help and advice!

If I hadn't looked it up, I would have been absolutely certain that Camilla was the standard spelling and Camila an odd variation (odd because it's not phonetically correct for the U.S. English pronunciation cah-MILL-ah). But I DID look it up, and according to the Social Security Administration, 547 girls were named Camilla in 2009, and 3707 were named Camila. According to The Baby Name Wizard, "Camila" is the Spanish version. Sometimes when I suggest the name Camilla, someone will say they associate it too strongly with the Camilla who married the Prince of Wales; perhaps the Spanish version lacks that association completely and so is more often used.

The spelling Kira lends itself to more mispronunciations: it could be KY-rah or KEER-ra. Whereas Keira is only KEER-ra. I'm not sure what I'd do, either: I prefer the look of the first spelling, but the ease of the second.

The primary downside of the name Téa is, as you say, the problem of how to spell it. I sat here for awhile puzzling it out, wondering how I'd spell it. Taeya, maybe, if what you want is the TAY-yah pronunciation. I wonder if you'd like Tia instead? Another option is to name her Mattea and call her Tea for short.

I didn't think of Pulp Fiction when I saw the name Royale. I also like Rio and India and China from your list---but both Royale and Rio seem more masculine to me, and India and China don't seem to fit well with any of the first name possibilities. I would lean toward the family names, if they fit better, or perhaps use one of the other first-name options.

My favorites from your list are Camilla and Nadia. Dahlia Carmel and Nadia Amelie, or Dahlia Carmel and Camilla Taeya.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Name Updates!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Boy or Girl Castle, Sibling to Conrad and Nolan!
Update on Baby Boy Queen, Brother to Ryan Aubrey!

Baby Boy Russell

Carolyn writes:
I'm currently pregnant with a little boy (my first baby!) and am due March 14. Until we started talking about specific names, I was totally unaware that my husband and I had such wildly different views on names, and the process of trying to find one we both like is FREAKING ME OUT! ;) (Which of course means that all ANYBODY asks us lately is what we are going to name the baby! As if traveling for the holidays, being pregnant, and having to find a new place to live all at the same time wasn't stressful enough!)

I have been leanings towards fairly traditional names that lend themselves to a shortened version and won't condemn my baby to a life of having to correct people on the pronunciation or spelling (Andrew, Edward, Jeffrey, James, Daniel, etc.). I don't want to choose a super popular name, but I'm not AS concerned about him having to go by Jacob R (our last name is Russell) because there are so many Jacobs in his class someday, as I am with the idea of him having to tell people, "No, it's spelled J-A-K-O-B" for his whole life (and I know this seems crazy, but spelling a name differently to make it unique entirely changes my feelings about the name. A baby named Jacob evokes cuddly maternal feelings from me. A baby named Jakob does NOT. It actually makes me feel kind of stabby, and I really don't want to feel stabby towards my baby!)

My husband's primary concern with baby names is that it not be common (and he's an engineer, so he's going onto websites and finding data to support what percent of the population already has a certain name. All of the above mentioned names were ruled out for being too common). It also can't be a Biblical name, and it can't be the name of anyone he knows (that last part doesn't help you out very much, but I thought you should know what I'm working with, here!) He hasn't brought very many options to the table yet, so it's important to me that I don't quash all of his ideas without being constructive. However, I'm just not fans of Kelvin (the temperature scale! And everyone will think his name is Calvin, he'll spend his whole life correcting people! And the only nickname is Kel, which is like Keenen & Kel, and I don't want to reference ancient Nickelodean shows with my baby!) or Ajax (ah, it's a cleanser, like Comet! Which makes you vomit! I don't want my baby associated with gritty sink cleansers!) I was hopeful about the name Jackson, until my husband decided that he only likes it if it is spelled Jaxon (see previous comments on stabby feelings towards unique spellings and having to constantly tell people how to spell something that sounds simple). I've tried finding out if there is something about those particular names that he is drawn to, in an effort to find similar names that I don't feel as strongly opposed to (I don't mind the idea of naming our baby after some famous scientist or a strong Greek warrior, if they were names that also seemed easy to spell and pronounce and not terribly likely to evoke beatings from kids on the playground) but I think what he likes most about them is that they are unusual.

I'm hoping that you can help me with the seemingly impossible: do you have suggestions for traditional/non-Biblical/uncommon names? :) I've tried looking at baby name books and websites, but (shockingly!) they don't usually have a column for that ;) And for the sake of my mental health, I need ideas! :)

Thanks so much!

You are among friends: many of us here won't think it's remotely crazy to feel that a name is changed by spelling it differently---whether it's a legitimate alternate spelling or one done in an attempt to make a name less common. I certainly feel differently about Jakob versus Jacob, or Madison versus Maddisyn, or Katherine versus Catherine, or Sophia versus Sofia, or Jeffrey versus Geoffrey.

The Baby Name Wizard (try to find a copy with the hot-pink "fully revised and updated" circle on the cover---Amazon claims to have that version only for the Kindle, which I suspect is losing them some cash) has a section that might be what you need: it's called Exotic Traditionals. Listen to this introduction: "You want a name that stands out from the pack ... Yet you roll your eyes at new inventions with wild spellings---you want a name with roots and resonance."

My total favorite from this section is Milo. For me, this is the one I could see as My Baby, and it was our runner-up to the name Henry for our youngest. I still love it. It's unusual, but easy to say and easy to spell. I think Milo Russell sounds wonderful: dignified and friendly at the same time. He sounds like a Great Guy with a Happy Life.

Another name I like from this section is Aidric. I've never met or heard of a single person with that name, but it nevertheless seems familiar and easy---I think because it's like a combination of Aidan and Eric. I think it has a cool look and sound, and it's great with your surname: Aidric Russell. (In fact, I am starting to envy you your surname.) Maybe Aidric Kelvin Russell.

Another name we considered ourselves from this section is Felix. Yes, yes, there's a Felix the cat, which I think I've seen only in clip shows about the history of cartoons, and which I'll bet none of our children will see; ditto for The Odd Couple, which I watched in afternoon reruns when I was a child home sick from school but haven't seen since. The name means happy and lucky, which is pleasant, and again it's great with your surname: Felix Russell. Your husband might appreciate the X, and yet the name is easy to spell and pronounce.

If your husband wasn't opposed to biblical names, I'd suggest Gideon. Why is this name so underused? And Gideon Russell is wonderful.

A name not in this section is Darwin. Easy to spell, easy to pronounce, but quite unusual and with excellent Lab Cred. Darwin Russell. I hesitate only because it seems like people might sometimes think the name was Russell Darwin.

Perhaps your husband would be willing to make a little DEAL: you get to sway the first name toward the realm of The Usual, and he gets to sway the middle name toward the realm of The Gritty Sink Cleanser Unusual. Not only might this help resolve the naming situation, I would think it would be kind of fun to have a Cool Middle Name. It could be whipped out to impress, or kept hidden---depending on the personality type and current circumstances of its owner. Milo Jaxon Russell is an indisputably cool name (BE QUIET, I SAID INDISPUTABLE), and it seems like moving your husband's preferences the uncommon name to the middle slot might make it less stabby for you. Milo Kelvin Russell works wonderfully, too, and then there's no problem with the nickname Kel. I would choose Kelvin over Jaxon, because I find it easier to roll my eyes affectionately at science geekery than at respellings, and it would earn a certain Lab Cred among my husband's co-workers.

A middle name suggestion that might please your husband: Tycho (pronounced TEE-ko). A science guy who was so tough he lost his nose in a duel! Gross!

More middle name possibilities: Faraday, Hawking, Feynman, Edison.

I love Milo Feynman Russell, or Felix Hawking Russell, or Aidric Faraday Russell.

If you like Edward, maybe Edmund? WAY less common, yet familiar. Edmund Hawking Russell.


Name update! Carolyn writes:
Our little man arrived early via C-section on February 18, and it took the full time I was in the hospital for us to finish choosing a name :) (The sleep deprivation actually made us be a bit more direct in our thinking and quit dilly-dallying around!) I loved everyone's suggestions and will hold onto them for the future, but we ended up agreeing on Nathan Isaac for our first little boy (and no, I don't know what about it ended up appealing to my husband. But I know for sure that the next time I get pregnant, we'll start discussing names ASAP so we don't end up in a bind, again!)

Thank you!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl Hill, Sibling to Brody

Chelsea writes:
Our baby will be here in 4 weeks or less and we have a short list of boy and girl names. DH won't commit to anything. Everything on our list we both agree on but nothing is sticking out to us as "the one"

Our son's name is Brody. My DH picked this name from our final short list: Levi, Eli, Sam and Brody. His full name is Brody Charles. MN after my DH and his great grandpa. He was named a few days after his birth.

We don't want to have a theme and I feel we like many names anyway. We do not want a name that is a word because it sounds like a location with our last name "Hill" eg/ Violet Hill, Hunter Hill, Olive Hill.....

I want the baby's mn to have a family connection. If it's a boy I like the idea to use Arlo or Joseph as a mn. Arlo is the italian version of Charles (we are not italian) and Joseph is the other great grandpa's name. Michael is another option.

If it's a girl the mn will be Elizabeth or a form of it. I also like Josephine b/c it is a fem. version of Joseph. Olivia May, Isabel or Maisie are all family names we could use too.

I am open to any ideas that's why I am emailing you. But I mostly just value your advice.


Here is the list in no particular order.

Our little Hero:
Eli
Leo
Arlo
Luca
Levi
Hendricks (DH loves. I'm ok w/ Arlo Hendricks or Luca Hendricks only!)

Our little Honey:
Eva
Matilda
Isla (was my number 1 but I have met 2 while I've been preggers)
Lola (cute for a child) Longer name option w/ the nn Lola?
Audrey (I find this difficult to say w/ Brody)
Maisie
Ivy
Freya
Molly

Names we are fond of but can't use: Louie, Sophia, Ruby, Jack, Finlay, Ellie, Owen, Toby, Henry, Hayden, Ella, Rhys


Thanks for your help!



Name update! Chelsea writes:
Just wanted to thank Swistle's readers for their suggestions and help. Swistle I was so disappointed you lacked input.

Our little girl Freya Elizabeth Hill was born Feb. 25, 2011 @ 0620.
She is very sweet and adored by her big brother Brody.

Baby Naming Issue: The Bilingual Factor

Marce writes:
I write to you from Buenos Aires, Argentina, expecting a baby girl on 19th of Feb! My husband and I have a 2 year old son named Agustin Marcelo (said Ah-goo-steen in Spanish) which was lucky, because it can easily be pronounced in English, and my family will be moving to Virginia, U.S.A. about four months after the new baby is born.

We have not come up with any names we are seriously considering so far because we are wanting to be extremely cautious about the bilingual factor. We will be in the US for 10 years at the least, so our children will clearly be raised very American. I myself spent my high school years in Washington, and as a Marcela, I know the troubles of having a name that is not pronounceable in the country where one is living, and I do not want that to happen to my daughter.

The only names we've really liked so far are impossible to pronounce in English, so let us start from scratch. We like very lovely, long names, although short is fine too. Hopefully it will sound nice with Agustin (with the English pronunciation too). We would also love for the middle name to be Magdalena or Isabel, but it is not necessary. Hopefully it would not be too common a name in the US. We do not really like common names (we have looked at Andrea, Julia, etc, but they do not appeal). Also, we are inclined toward nickname-able names (Agustin is called Agu, I am Marce, my husband Feli).

Sorry if that is very much to ask! Of course not all the criteria needs to be met, just some things we am looking for.

These are, for me, the hardest questions to answer. I feel pretty solid with U.S. names, but nowhere near familiar enough with other countries' names or pronunciations---let alone the connotations of names, which is the hardest part for a non-local to get a feeling for, or to research---to even make a start at it.

But this is the beauty of the internet: we can pool our knowledge. And so I post this question, even though I'm unable to answer it, and I hope others will be able to work on it.

Baby Girl J______-F_____, Sister to Ezra, Ingrid, and Winona

Trisha writes:
I write to seek help with a name for a baby girl in a blended family. My partner and I are in the process of adopting a daughter from Japan. She is due February the 14th. (we aren't looking for any holiday themed names!)

We currently have three children, Ingrid Eliza and Winona Alice (called Nona, quite exclusively), aged 5 and 3.5, my partner, Elizabeth's daughters, and my son, Ezra Arthur, 7.

We have been all over the place in our name search, but currently, our short list includes Kirstie, Autumn, Ida, Matilde "Tillie," Shea, Maya, Johanna, and Adele.

Except we don't really *love* any of those names, and we also don't see them falling into a certain "group," so it is difficult to discover similar names that may be the one.

Another thing we'd really love is to give her a middle name that somehow includes her heritage. Japanese names are completely foreign to me, so we're really just hoping for a name that sounds good with her first name.

Also, on a tangent, I really would like to somehow incorporate the name Katherine (it is very meaningful to me). I love it as a first name, but my partner isn't too convinced. She is more open if we could call her by a more creative nickname, but we can't seem to think of any, so if you know of any nice nicknames for Katherine, please do tell.

I know it's a bit of a tall order, but I am hoping you will be able to help!

Katherines used to go by Kathy, but now mostly go by Kate. My favorite nicknames for it, though, are Kay and Kit: I think they have the sass of Kate, but with more vintage charm.

I too am unfamiliar with Japanese names. Will she come with her own name, which could used as her middle name? Or will you have any information about the city in which she was born? Or depending on how the adoption is being done, could someone in Japan help you by choosing a name for her, perhaps with a specific meaning?

I have a book called The Best Baby Names in the World, From Around the World (it looks like this version is the currently available one) that has a small section of Japanese names. It looks like there are a lot of good choices: names with pleasing meanings, and pleasing sounds to the U.S. ear. Just a few examples: Aiko (EYE-koh) means beloved; Chiyo (CHEE-yo) means eternal; Hana (HA-nah) means flower; Kana (KAH-nah) means beautiful or excellent; Kei (KAY) means happiness; Keiko (KAY-koh) means happy child; Sachi (SAH-chee) means blessed or lucky; Suki (SOO-kee) means loved one.

Here are some first name possibilities I think work well with the sibling group:

Adeline
Alice
Beatrix
Carys
Cecily
Cora
Iris
Pearl
Phoebe
Stella


I like Stella Kei J_____-F____. Or Iris Keiko J_____-F____. Or Phoebe Keiko J_____-F___. Or I like Katherine (Kit/Kay) Suki J_____-F___.

Baby Girl Greene, Sister to Elias, Eliot, Alek, Owen, and Ira

Trini writes:
WOW, I have been waiting to write to you for ages! The time has finally come! (I think I delayed picking a name just so I'd get to write! Ha!)

My husband and I are due with our sixth (!!) and definitely final child on February 12th (though all of my babies have been late).

The Greene family is Elias (Eli) Fletcher (11), Eliot Jude (10), Alek Neal (8), Owen Heath (6), Ira Steffen (3).

Our naming style is quite a cornucopia, I know, so I'm not quite sure how to classify the parameters for this name. I know we like shorter names, but preferably not one syllable, because I imagine that to sound quite choppy with Greene. Also, I've realized that all of our sons' names begin with a vowel! Unintentional, but a tradition I think I'd like to continue onto the final child. It is not necessary, but it would be nice to have a sort of pattern, I think.

Oh! This is a baby girl, I've forgotten to say! (Poor girl, with five older brothers!) Our first, so this is very exciting for me!

My husband, on the other hand, was always very excited to contribute boys name, is not so keen on girls names. He tends to throw out "Madison" or "Emily" and becomes uninterested when I resist those sort of very popular names.

I like very classic names, Elouise, Augusta, Mathilda, Clementine, Eleanor, Philippa, etcetera, but my husband has scoffed at them all, so I'm not sure where to go from here.

The middle name must be a variation of Rose— what variation we haven't set yet, so suggestions on that would also be great.

Thanks so much!

Some vowel possibilities:

Adeline
Annabel
Annika
Aubrey
Audrey
Emeline
Emerin
Emlyn
Eva
Imogen

I had Eliza and Elizabeth on the list, but with two boys already starting in Eli-, it seemed like it might be too much. And I had Ellen on there, but: two boys already starting in El- and having five letters. And Elsa---but Elias has all four of those letters, in almost the same order. It started to seem like maybe E names (and especially El- names) were a bad idea. But Emeline works, I think, because it's three syllables instead of two, and it doesn't start with El-, and also because it's similar to your husband's suggestion of Emily, but without being common at all. Emlyn and Emerin work too, I think.

One of my favorites from the list is Annabel. I think it goes well with the line-up: Elias, Eliot, Alek, Owen, Ira, and Annabel. I love it with your surname: Annabel Greene.


Some Rose-related possibilities:

Rosa
Rosabel
Rosalie
Rosalina
Rosalind
Rosamaria
Rosamond
Rose
Rosella
Rosemary
Rosie
Rosina

Using Rose alone emphasizes that it and your surname are both colors---but if you're honoring a family member named Rose, I'd go straight for Rose rather than using a variation.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Four-Syllable Girl Names With the Emphasis on the Second Syllable

This list is mostly for my own reference: I frequently need such names when, for example, the parents like Elizabeth and Olivia but find them too common, or when the first and last names seem like they'd go well with a middle name of this length and rhythm. So then I think, "I know I've looked for such names before---I will look through my archives for lists." But then the lists I find are partial, because I've sorted the names for the ones that work for that particular family. SO: now I will have a full list to refer to---and so will other people who need the list. The list is (clearly) not complete yet, but we can add to it: if you think of another, mention it in the comments.

Alivia
Amelia
Angelica
Antonia
Aurelia
Bedelia
Calliope
Cecelia
Cordelia
Corinthia
Cornelia
Elisheva (maybe--having trouble finding consistent pronunciation)
Elisabeth
Elizabeth
Emilia
Evangeline
Felicity
Hermione
Honoria
Kalliopi
Lavinia
Livinia
Magnolia
Octavia
Olivia
Olympia
Ophelia
Penelope
Persephone
Serenity
Veronica
Victoria
Zenobia



3.5-syllables:

Acacia
Azalea
Eugenia
Stefania
Virginia

Friday, February 4, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Someone Else in the Family is Considering Using the Same Name You're Considering

Mary writes:
I am due March 11th with a baby girl. I have a 2-year-old son named Jack and our last name starts with an H and ends with an N and is two syllables. My husband and I had no problem agreeing on Jack as a name for our son. We have also had no issue picking a name for our baby girl. Before we knew that our first child was a boy we agreed on the name Clare and still love the name. Perfect right? No! The problem is that this name has caused some family drama.

I have a very large and close family and when I was pregnant with my son Jack everyone knew that Jack and Clare were the names that my husband and I had agreed upon. When my cousin got pregnant last year she announced that her girl’s name was also Clare. I was shocked and upset but she had a baby boy in the end. Now that I am having a girl she has made comments that she still loves the name Clare and that we can just have two in our family. But I do not know if I am O.K. with that. We are open to other suggestions but just can’t seem to give Clare completely up. We tend to like Irish names that are classic and are not fans of trendy names. So should I pick another name or just hope that she will not go through with naming a future daughter Clare as well?


Other names that we have considered are:

Bridget (my husband and I both like this name too)

Mary Clare (which would differentiate the two kids if she ever did use the name)

Agnes (I like this name but my husband does not)

Mabel (we both liked this name but have had some negative reactions from family members and friends which has moved us away from the name)


We plan to use Marie or Margaret as a middle name after one of my grandmothers (although these are not set in stone either).

We would love some advice and/or other name suggestions.

I see this as a balance scale. One one side: How you would feel if you gave up the name Clare and then your cousin didn't use it after all. On the other side: How you would feel if you used the name Clare and your cousin used it too.

You describe yourself as "shocked and upset" that your cousin also loves the name and wants to use it. The word "shocked," along with the point you make about everyone knowing you liked the name during your first pregnancy, makes me wonder if you may be thinking that by mentioning it back then, you had claimed dibs on the name. So I first want to say that mentioning a name (especially in a pregnancy where you didn't end up using the name) is not staking a permanent and exclusive claim to it. Think of it more as a heads-up than a claim: you're letting people know that it's your intention to use it, and maybe you're going on record as being the one who mentioned it first, but you're not saying that the name is YOURS and no one else can use it.

This is, in fact, the same thing your cousin is doing: she's been giving heads up, but without saying no one else can use it. And since you both want to use the name, it's good she mentioned that she doesn't mind two Clares: this gives you important information for making your own decision. Even if your cousin plans to use the name later, nothing at all is being taken away from you: not only do you still have every right to use the name, but also you get to use it FIRST. And of course it is possible your cousin will have only boys, or discover another name she likes better---which is why you need to consider how you'd feel in that situation, if you had given up the name based on a future possibility.

I would really like to urge you not to abandon your favorite name just because the child's second cousin might have the same name. In a family where second cousins see each other all the time, there are plenty of ways to tell two Clares apart that are not only easy but also fun: nicknames, first-and-middles, initials, family-significant names that evolve over time. It may also forge a special bond between the two girls, who, as long as their mothers aren't telling them otherwise, may think of it as a wonderful and special thing to share a name.

If you decide the negative feelings you'd have about both children having the name outweigh the negative feelings you'd have about giving the name up, I think both Bridget Marie and Mary Clare are wonderful, beautiful names.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby Girl Burch

Britney writes:
So, here's my information.
Due Date: March 11th, 2011
Baby: Girl
Surname: Burch
"Rules": My husband & I love names that are not very common (certainly not trendy!) but are also very easy to read or pronounce without getting wrong. We also aren't interested in any names starting with the letter "B" since both of us have "B" names & we don't want to continue the alliterations any further.

My husband & I are stuck on what to name our little girl. We've picked & finalized a name for a boy that we LOVE and that is Hayes. Hayes Cameron to be specific. They are both Irish surnames from my husband's side & we like that Hayes had meaning to us, plus it fits within our "rules" that we formulated. This is our first child, however, and since it's a girl we don't know for sure that we'll be using Hayes in the future but I suspect we will.

Names we've liked but eliminated for a variety of reasons:
Layla - My husband's favorite which I really liked until I found it's become too popular. I don't want any name in the Top 50 and Layla is still climbing at #45...
Kaylee - Another favorite of my husband's. I've eliminated for much the same reason as Layla.
Chloe - I LOVE the sound of this & my husband liked it but once again, too popular.
Kylie - Same problem
McKenna - We both love it, but we had a friend name her child this recently so that's pretty much out.
Vivienne - One of my favorites but my husband doesn't like it. I think he feels it's not "cute" enough but that's just my take.

Names we're still considering:
Jocelyn - I picked this & I like it a lot, maybe nickname of "Jocee". My husband is still deciding on this one.
Kingsley - I really like this & I haven't run it past my husband yet.

With all these names we're pretty open to middle names. Grace has stuck out as a very pretty & appropriate middle name. I'm just throwing that out there in case you can use that. Middle names aren't very important to me, I'm just as apt not to even write down a middle name. We only picked a middle name for our boy name because it's my husband's middle name & he wants to pass that along.

Thanks so much for any help you can provide! I honestly can't believe I'm one of those people that doesn't have a name. I thought for YEARS growing up that I'd name my little girl Kylie after my favorite singer Kylie Minogue but even that has become popular 15+ years after I fell in love with it. It's getting harder & harder to be "original" without being weird. =)

One of the most common problems in baby naming is that most of us like the same names at the same time. And if your tastes in names are fashionable (which I just mentioned in another post shouldn't be considered negative, any more than it's considered negative to have fashionable tastes in clothing), it's a struggle for me to understand why you'd choose a name you like less for no other reason than an arbitrary popularity-rank cut-off line. Other girls who wanted to name their daughters after Kylie Minogue are going right ahead and doing it (the name immediately started getting more popular the very year after Kylie Minogue started her career, not 15 years later), so why should you be the one to give up a name you love? Even combining it with the spelling Kiley, it's a name given to only one quarter of 1% of baby girls, and it seems to be holding steady rather than rising. Is that really so popular you can't use it?

I do get it, though: I have my own arbitrary naming preferences, as do we all---I just get frustrated at the thought of someone crossing off their favorite names when they don't have to.

If you want something less common, I suggest Kinsley or Kinley or instead of Kingsley: the boy name Kingston and the word "King" both make the name Kingsley seem boyish to me.

If you like Chloe, I suggest Cleo: exact same sounds in a different order, yet Cleo is not even in the Top 1000 while Chloe is #9.

If you like Kylie and Kayla and Kaylee, maybe you'd like Kaia or Keely or Kira or Kyra or Kyla or Kalliopi or Karis or Karly.

If you like McKenna, maybe you'd like Kiana or McKay or McKinley or Macy.