We are expecting our first baby, a surprise, February 22, 2012. My husband was very close to his grandfather, Harry, and my last name is Harris, so we think something in that vein would be meaningful. We have decided on Harriet for a girl, and both love it. (Her middle name would be Perrine, my mother's maiden name.) For a boy we had settled on Harrison, nickname Harry, but I am having doubts. (His middle name would be Matthew, after my husband.) Here are some concerns:
The baby's last name will be Hamilton, my husband's last name. I worry that Harrison Hamilton is too singsongy, and the two last names are too interchangeable (sounds very similar to Hamilton Harrison). My husband points out that Harry Hamilton, what our son will go by, doesn't come off that way (although he is a bit worried about the alliteration).
I am also worried that, although the name isn't overly popular at the moment (consistently in the 200s in the Social Security database for the last couple of decades), the -son ending for boys is pretty trendy right now (Jackson, Mason, Grayson, Hudson, etc.) and Harrison has recently become very popular in Australia and England, which might suggest it's about to catch on here in the U.S. Because my husband and I both went through school sharing our names with lots of classmates, we're hoping to avoid putting our kid in the same situation.
I do think it's a solid, sweet name with lots of significance for our family. It would be cute on a little boy and respectable on a man. And as an Indiana Jones/Beatles fan, my husband is happy with those associations.
The alternative is Harris, which doesn't end with -son and isn't even in the top 1000, popularity-wise. It also seems to flow better with Hamilton. But it is my last name--is that weird?--and my husband likes it less, although he is open to it. It also sounds less "name-y" in this day and age than Harrison.
Your advice would be appreciated!
I vastly prefer Harris Hamilton to Harrison Hamilton, for all the reasons you mention. Furthermore, I have a huge soft spot for the mother's maiden name (whether or not the mother is still using it) used as a child's name: I think it's a meaningful and touching choice, especially when the child will be receiving his father's first name as his middle name, as well as his father's surname.
Or there's the option of just naming him Harry. It's not so nicknamey that it can't stand on its own. This is particularly appealing if your husband's grandfather's given name was Harry.
Let's have a poll over to the right, to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Name update! L. writes:
Thank you to everyone for your input! In the end, all the stress was for naught: Harriet Perrine Hamilton was born on February 15, 2012. (She'll be 8 months old in a few days--here is a recent pic.) She has the perfect name for her. In the end we decided on Harrison for a boy, but I was never completely at peace with it. So everything worked out!