My husband and I are expecting our firstborn Oct 2 2012 and while we already have a boy name picked out, we think we have a girl name picked out but cannot come up with a good middle name. We are 99% sure that if we have a girl, we will name her Ellery and call her "Elle" at times. We like the middle name Gray because we both love that color and thought that a middle name ending in the long "A" sound would flow the best. However, several people have told us that Gray sounds too gloomy to go with Ellery. We can't use Mae as that is our niece's middle name is Mae and we don't like Rae. We would like a shorter middle name because our last name is Montgomery. My twin sister's name is Skye and while I like that for a middle name, my husband doesn't want to have any part of the name named after someone we know or are related to. Can you please suggest middle names to go with Ellery Montgomery?!
P.S., if our baby is a boy, we will name him Stellan Ford Montgomery as Ford is my maiden name.
I can see how the name Grey/Gray could sound gloomy, but it doesn't ring that way for me. I think more of handsome grey business suits, sweet grey mares, pretty grey skies (which I like, but I know not everyone does), unusual/attractive grey eyes, dove grey gloves, and the fashionable wall color. And I think "We both love that color" is enough to reassure anyone who might wonder about gloominess. My mind immediately turns to the fun of finding pretty grey things for her nursery and wardrobe, and to maybe sometimes using the nickname Ella Grey.
My own personal preference is for the spelling Grey. For me it evokes all those more positive feelings about the word, while Gray makes me think of Gary.
I also think the sound of Ellery Grey is wonderful. My only hesitation is that Ellery Grey Montgomery has a lot of ery/rey endings for one name.
If you like the color aspect of Grey/Gray, you could go with Blue or Rose or Jade. Blue would give you a sneaky secret wink to Skye. So would Grey, for that matter, but Blue is a more positive-sounding wink---which is odd, now that I think of it, since "blue" is a synonym for sad. Well, there it is, though: blue skies mean cheeriness and grey skies don't.
I think it would be fine to re-use a niece's middle name if you love it, and could even be a sweet tie between the girls. But if you'd rather not or you suspect it wouldn't fly with your niece's parents, and if Rae is out, there's also the vintage charm of Faye and Kay. Day would also be cute: Ellery Day. Or Ellery Eve is pretty, or Ellery Joy. Or Ellery June/Jane/Jean/Joan/Jo. Or Ellery Paige/Sage/Raine/Laine/Faith.
I think I like a 2-syllable middle name even better, rhythm-wise, especially if the emphasis is on the first syllable: Ellery LA-la Montgomery instead of Ellery la Montgomery. Other two-syllable examples: Ellery Eva, Ellery Iris, Ellery Nina, Ellery Hannah, Ellery Briar, Ellery Violet, Ellery Meadow.
Would you like Ellery Sterling Montgomery, or is that too much? Sterling evokes some of the same feelings as Grey for me, but with less potential perceived gloominess. On the other hand, that's three names in a row with -er-, and Sterling's traditional use for boys may tip the boyishness of Ellery further than you'd like. Ellery Silver Montgomery tones down the name a bit, but still has the -er- issue.
I hesitate to call a 99% favorite into question, but I think part of the challenge here is that Ellery and Montgomery have matching -ery endings and almost rhyme. As with all repeating name-sounds, this can be a positive or a negative: it can tie the name together pleasingly, or it can give it a stuttery or singsongy sound.
A name like Elena would eliminate the rhyminess while still leaving you with Elle. Elena Montgomery.
Or for something a little lacier, Eliana Montgomery.
Or for something a little less lacy, Ellis Montgomery. I'd go very feminine with the middle name, then; I probably wouldn't use Grey. I like Joy or Jane: Ellis Joy Montgomery; Ellis Jane Montgomery.
Even less lacy: Ellison Montgomery. Again, I'd use a distinctively feminine middle name.
Or Elsa Montgomery. Very similar to Ella, but much less common.
I'm not sure Eliza would be your style, but it's my style so it springs to my mind. Eliza Montgomery. That's a name I'd like to have myself.
Reading over your letter again, I notice Stellan is your boy-name pick. Is this a name you would still like to use if you have a girl now and a boy later, or is it a matter of first-come-first-serve for the -ella- sound? If you'd like to use it later, that might affect which girl names I'd suggest: Elena and Stellan seem fine for sibling names, but Ella and Stellan would not work as well.
And since this is your first child, I'll include a link to a more general post: Baby naming advice for first-time parents.
Name update! A. writes:
Just writing to update you that our daughter was born weighing 7 lbs 3 ounces, 19 inches long! The night before we found out the gender we had changed the boy's name from Stellan to Lawson and at that point were up in the air about a girls name even though we were 99% sure beforehand that we would name her Ellery. We had received some mixed feedback about her name so we had been looking for other options and were considering the name Ayla. As soon as we found out we were having a girl we walked out of the sonogram knowing her name would absolutely be Ellery! We took your suggestion and spelled the middle name Grey vs Gray. Thanks for the help, we'll be coming back when it's time for our second child!! P.S. I still enjoy reading your blog and have referred several friends who are expecting!
Here's a picture of our sweet Ellery and her beautiful lips!