I just love your blog and can't resist sending in my quandary any longer! I have four weeks to go and we're still looking for a name for our baby girl. Our last name is a bit of a mouthful, three syllables starting with "El." My only concern with matching first/last is that the first name also doesn't end in an "el" sound, nor do I want a name that also starts with E. Big brother's name is Fielding, so I want to avoid F names too. My own name is unique but easily spelled and pronounced, and I have always loved the fact that I have never met another person with my name. I want the same for my children --- an unusual name that makes them feel unique, but without the burden of having to constantly tell people how to spell it or feeling too "weird." I feel like we got that with Fielding (we also call him Field), but we're having trouble with a girl! Some names we have thought of:
Names I liked but vetoed for being too popular/trendy:
Violet (love the pretty, old-fashioned girly names)
Pearl (this has a similar theme to the meaning of my own name)
Other names we have talked about:
Lark (Not too sure about the meaning, like the idea of a bird name but not the actual harsh sound of "ark")
Sonnet (pretty... but weird?)
Lavender (love it.... but is the nickname "Lavvie" too close to lavatory? What other nicknames could you use?)
Tamsin (also interesting but how do you avoid the dated nickname Tammy?)
Dulcet (husband thinks that's waaaay too out there, but I like the nickname Dulcie)
Marigold (again... what nickname do you use here?)
Amoret (not sure people could spell this or figure out what you were saying)
Leora (maybe a bit too dated)
Lilac (like the idea, but not the pronunciation that rhymes with "sack")
Araminta (so interesting but just too much of a mouthful!)
I think we'll probably go with a one-syllable middle like Pearl or Leigh (family name) to balance everything else out.... but any thoughts are appreciated! Help please, thank you!
The name that immediately springs to mind (but that unfortunately has an equally immediate, probably deal-breaking issue) is Starling. Reasonably familiar; easy to spell and pronounce; the bird association you like with Lark but without the -ark sound; pretty and distinctive. The immediate, probably deal-breaking issue: ends in -ing just like Fielding. Fielding and Starling. I am afraid that doesn't quite fly.
There's Wren. Fielding and Wren.
A Linnet is another kind of bird, and reminds me of Sonnet and Linnea from your list. The nickname Linnie is adorable. The main issue, I think, is that it would get tiresome to have people pronouncing it lin-NET instead of LIN-net. With any difficult spelling/pronunciation issue, I find it a hundred times easier if there's a quick, easy, friendly way to correct people, and this does have one: "It's Linnet. Like 'minute'." (Of course, as soon as I write that I notice it looks like the word for tiny, with the emphasis on the second syllable: my-NOOT. But it works as a SPOKEN explanation.)
All this talk of minutes makes me think of Minuet, a little like Amoret and Araminta from your list. Very pretty and feminine, very unusual, excellent easy nickname of Minnie. Fielding and Minuet.
Or Silhouette, but really challenging spelling and no good nickname. Etta is a possibility, I guess, but it doesn't feel connected. Sil is nice, but seems like it would go quickly to Silly (do Sylvias have this problem, I wonder?).
Or Silver. I like that with Fielding: Fielding and Silver.
Or Linden is the name of a tree and would take away the emphasis issue of Linnet. Fielding and Linden.
Rosemary might be more familiar than you'd like; it used to be a bit of an exotic herb name (like using Lavender), but it's become somewhat disconnected from those herbal associations and now sounds more like Rose + Mary. Rosie is an adorable nickname. Fielding and Rosemary.
Autumn and Summer are common girl names, and even Winter gets some use, but Spring just sits there, virtually unused. It has the -ing ending that I think rules out Starling, but the one-syllable way it blends with the Spr- makes it not sound like the -ing of Fielding to me. Fielding and Spring.
If you weren't trying to avoid E- names, I'd suggest Emerald. Unusual but familiar, with the easy nickname Emmmie.
When I worked in a plant nursery, I wondered why Zinnia wasn't a more common girl name. It doesn't have a natural nickname, but Z/Zee would be cute. Fielding and Zinnia.
Primrose is another good one. It's been used as a girl name, but not much recently. Fielding and Primrose.
But probably my favorite almost-unused flower name is Hyacinth. Violets and Roses and Daisys run around everywhere, but almost no Hyacinths! Someone who wrote to us mentioned that that was her name, and that her nickname was Heidi.
My favorite from your list is Marigold. Familiar and easy to say and spell, but hardly ever used as a name (in 2010, according to the Social Security Administration, there were 9 new baby boys named Fielding, and 13 new baby girls named Marigold); and I'd go with the nickname Mari.
Or there's Magnolia, which has Maggie.
I also really like Clover.
And I would suggest reconsidering Pearl from your "too popular/trendy" list. Only 263 girls were named Pearl in 2010, which puts it in league with names such as Kai (for girls), Arya, and Lizeth. It's quite uncommon, yet still completely familiar, and the tie-in with your own name is appealing.
I agree that Lavvy seems a little too bathroomy a nickname for Lavender. I am always reluctant to create nicknames, but I can't resist a puzzle; maybe Livvy?
For Tamsin, she could go by Tams or Tamsie. I'm not sure if that would go directly to Tammy or not. (See also: Sil going to Silly.)
Name update! C. writes:
Thank you for all of the great advice and responses to our email! We were a little overwhelmed with name choices right up until (and past!) our due date. Our sweet baby girl was born in early May. We arrived at the hospital with our huge list of names not narrowed down at all - even with so many we liked, we still just didn't know which of the names really felt like OUR baby! After spending a few hours with our little one, my husband and I both fell in love with the name Linne@ Pe@rl. It's funny because while that name was on our list, it was never one either of us considered a front-runner until we saw her. We think it's a really lovely name for our pink little jewel. (I also love that Linne@ means a little pink Swedish flower -- the twinflower. So cute!)