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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Baby Girl Finch-Fisher, Sister to Felix, Lucy, Basil, Titus, and Jane

Kay writes:
My sister sent me the link to your blog and what a great job you do! My husband and I are really hoping you can help us.
We are Kathryn Dana Fisher and Ethan James Finch, and we go by Kay and EJ.
We are expecting a baby girl in mid-May. My husband and I both had children already when we married. I have 2 girls, 6 and 3: Lucy Emalyn and Jane Allaire (middles are family names). My husband has three boys (7,5,4) named Felix Augustus, Basil Sebastian, and Titus Erastus. So...he likes very old fashioned, unusual, ancient Rome-y sounding names, and I like very common, simple, classic names.
You can probably see the issue here! What name brings together Lucy, Jane, Felix, Basil and Titus? There isn't one! the boys names all tie together really nicely and so do the girls names, and I guess if they weren't going to be stepsibs we might be inclined to find a name that just matches Lucy and Jane (so many options!) but as it happens they ARE stepsibs, and this poor girl--who with five other kids is going to be our only baby together--is probably already going to feel left out. And her last name will be different too--Lucy and Jane are Fisher, and Felix, Basil and Titus are Finch, and the baby will be Finch-Fisher. and we literally have NO IDEAS. We both have extensive lists, but there is no overlap.
So we need to find a name that we both like AND a name that sounds like it might possibly be at least a little bit part of this sibset AND it has to go with the last name Finch-Fisher AND we need a middle name. We probably won't try to use family names--my family is mostly taken care of and the tradition in EJ's family is that there ARE no traditions. (if we were to use a family name it might be Samantha or Ramona, or maybe Rosabel).FWIW I LIKE my stepsons names, but I don't love them, and I want to love my baby's name...and EJ feels the same way. are our lists, in no particular order, if this helps:

Lily (couldnt use because of Lucy, obviously)
(for some reason I really love short girl names!)

Sidonia's hoping you can help, Swistle!

I strongly suggest matching this baby girl's name to her sisters' names. It's not unusual for a family to have different tastes in boy names than in girl names, and so a style divide there is familiar and unsurprising. If you have Felix, Basil, and Titus, and Lucy, Jane, and Emma, everyone fits together very nicely and no one could tell from the first names who came from which parent pairing. But if you instead blend this baby girl's name with her brothers' names, we have an odd jarring style mis-match that makes her stand out: Felix, Basil, and Titus; Lucy, Jane, and Sidonia.

When there is no overlap, sometimes there IS no name that both parents will love, and it works better to divide up the name slots and try to make it balance as best you can. I suggest giving her a first name from your list and a middle name from your husband's list. Your husband could choose his favorite from your list and you could choose your favorite from his; or, maybe it would be more pleasing for him to choose his favorite for the middle name, since he wouldn't be getting his first name choice. He could have more/full sway in the first name (but from your list), and maybe full say in the middle name, to balance your getting your style for the first name.

A possible area for finding overlap is to find a name that IS Ancient Rome-y, but doesn't SOUND quite so Ancient Rome-y. I'm looking in The Baby Name Wizard's Classical section, and I see Aemilia (Amelia or Emily), Lydia, Julia, Cassia, and Livia. Or on Behind the Name, I see Claudia, Camilla, Cecilia, Priscilla, and Virginia. I think Aida from your husband's list could work beautifully: Lucy, Jane, and Aida is not too jarring---especially if it were spelled Ada.

Another possible area for finding overlap would be to find an Ancient Rome type name that has a nickname that's more your style. If you didn't have a Lucy already, Luciana with the nickname Lucy would be a perfect example of this. Or Aemilia with the nickname Emmie. Cassia with the nickname Cass. Aurelia with the nickname Lia or Milly. Cordelia with the nickname Cora or Delia. Letitia with the nickname Lettie. Liviana with the nickname Livvy or Anna/Annie. Serena with the nickname Sara.

And finally, you could toss out both of your preferred styles and see if you can find a style you have in common. The Baby Name Wizard is a great book for this: you'd toss out Antique Charm and Classical, and you'd see if there was any category that had names you both liked.


Anonymous said...

Love Swistle's suggestion of Cordelia with the nn Cora for you. Lucy, Jane, Cora, Titus, Basil and Felix. I agree that matching the girls names makes it less jarring than matching one girl with the boys--I really like her suggestion of trying to fine an ancient Rome-y name but one familiar enough that it doesn't sound so Rome-y and fits better with her sisters. Cordelia does this well. I also like Julia and Claudia and will suggest Minerva (Minnie), Diana, Flora, Felicity (or maybe not with Felix?), Rosa/Rosalia and Victoria. And I really like Luna, but it's much too close to Lucy.

Anonymous said...

I thought of Mia immediately. I also think Ada would be nice! Here are some other ideas:

- Adelaide
- Maya/Maia
- Scarlett
- Charlotte
- Rose/Rosa
- Rosemary 'Romy'
- Abigail
- Seraphina
- Mira
- Celia
- Mila
- Audrey
- Violet
- Stella
- Ruby

beyond said...

From EJ's list I think Petra works best with Lucy and Jane.
A few suggestions you both might like (latin origin with a classic old-timey feel. Swistle's suggestion of Amelia is great):
Miranda, Mira
Good luck!

Sally said...

I've suggested this before, but I really love Thea. It has a wonderful meaning - goddess - and is soft yet strong. It seems to be ever-so-slightly on the rise in the UK, yet virtually unused in the US. It's one of those names that everyone seems to like but is basically unused. (For now!)It can be pronounced THEE-uh or TAY-uh.

gail said...

It seems to me that your best bet for straddling your naming styles would come from flower/nature/gem names--Basil falls into this category, no? And many of these names are classic choices for girls. Instead of Lily, what about Calla? Rose/Rosa blends really well with Lucy and Jane. Names such as:


Sarah Marie said...

I totally agree with Swistle! I see nothing strange or awkward about the names of your girls and his boys together. The boy/girl name divide seems pretty natural to me. Names I personally like: Amelia (Mia), Celia, Sylvia (Sylvie), etc. Names that are a just a little classic, very sweet, feminine, but not fussy- just like your Jane and Lucy. I do think Emma might be a bit too plain to unite your husband's taste with yours, but I'm sure there's something just right.

One thing that irks me a bit about your submission, Kay: your stepsons will actually be your child's sibling. Not a step-sibling. A half-sibling, just as she will be to your daughters. As someone who has and adores a "half" sister, I'm encouraging you to be sensitive to how you refer to your stepsons in relation to their sister (your baby daughter).


Anonymous said...

Considering your husband's naming style, I suspect he would pronounce the name Aida "Eye-ee-da" after the character in the opera that takes place in Roman mythic times? In which case, it doesn't go that well with Lucy and Jane (though the name Ada does).

I'm trying to think of girl names that fit both of your styles. I love several of Swistle's suggestions. I also thought of Penelope, nn Penny, or Helen, as in Helen of Troy. I'm going to try to think of more as it's fun exercise for a baby name nerd!

Anonymous said...

Here are some more:
Althaea, nn Ally
Anthea, nn Annie or Thea
Ariadne, nn Addy

Erin said...

What about Lavinia? I feel like you could get simpler nicknames out of it (I don't think Livvie would be too much of a stretch), and Lavinia is actually the daughter of Titus Andronicus in Shakespeare's play, so those two names would tie together. Actually, Shakespeare would be a good place for you to look -- a lot of classical-but-not-"odd" names in there (Juliet, Beatrice, Bianca, Katerina [nn Kate, Kat, Katie, etc.], Rosaline/Rosalind [nn Rose/Rosie], Cordelia [nn Cordy or Lia], and Ophelia [nn Lia] all come to mind). (Ha, can you tell I was a theatre and English major?)

Or what about something like Clea or Matilda (nn Mattie or Tilda)? Or Sophia might be a nice compromise between your Sophie and your husband's more classical style.

For the "Aida" on your husband's list, does he intend to pronounce it "Ada", or "Ah-eeda"? If it's the latter, then "Ada" isn't really a compromise on the same sound with a more traditional spelling.

Portia said...

My boyfriend, who loves Roman history, suggests Olivia: it works stylistically with Lucy and Jane, and her dad could call her Livy, after the ancient Roman historian, or Livia, after the wife of Augustus.

StephLove said...

When I read the names in the title and I hadn't read the post yet, I didn't see any stylistic clashing or assume it must be a blended family. I just had a wider category of "old-fashioned" in mind. I like so many of the suggestions I'm having trouble coming up with my own.

I think Roman but more mainstream is a good direction (Amelia, Claudia, Cordelia, Julia, Lydia) as are nature names that might tie in with Basil (Hazel, Iris, Rosemary, Ruby, Stella, Violet). I think Ada is a good blend of styles. If no-one's suggested Cecilia yet, that could work.

StephLove said...

Oh and I just saw Olivia in another comment- that's perfect.

The Captain's Wife said...

you could straddle simple yet old with Vera.

Anonymous said...

Victoria and Diana are both Roman goddess' names that seem to blend with Jane and Lucy.

If you like Ann and Nora, perhaps your husband may like Annora better. There is a write up on the name here:

Lucy, Jane, and Penelope? Perhaps your hubs would like this name?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...


hillary said...

I love the Penelope suggestion. Greek instead of Roman but it works nicely with the other names. I actually think Basil and Felix fit right in with Lucy and Jane, in that they all sound British (especially if you aren't looking at middle names). Titus seems like the outlier to me. A few other Roman names that are on the simpler side:


Anonymous said...

i agree with swistle... match her name to the naming styles of the other 2 girls.

Mj said...

Yes I think the girls need to match. Matching a girl name to three boys is less important and could be covered by middle name matching. Having said that, there are choices which fit with the girls and still link to the boys. Olivia and Livia are great (nickname Livi) and what I would call Classic, like Jane and Lucy, but with the Roman twist. Ada also fits wih the girls and is shorter like their names. I think those are neat solutions.

Meggie said...

When I read your list of current children's names, I immediately thought "emma" would fit nicely. And that is a name you have on your list!

I would agree in keeping the name similar to your other girls.

I think Amelia is a nice blend.

I was looking through some classic Roman names and saw "Cloeila" - you could call her Chloe from that? Elianna and call her Ellie?

What about Fiona?

Meggie said...

Also, I have a friend who is obsessed with the classics and wants to name her child Cassiopeia nn Cassie

The Mrs. said...

Olivia was my first thought as well.

There's also Rhoda. Classic but also classical.

Julia, also noted above, would be Roman and classic.

Susannah might work for you as well. She could have the nickname of Anna (or Sue, Zuzu, Suzie), but the name was popular during the first century under Roman rule.

Beth seems like a fresh take on all the Emmas and Ellas out there. Perhaps Bethany as a full name?

Other ideas: Candace, Chloe, Cleo, Hannah, Lydia, Lois, Phoebe. (Sorry for the repeats from other posters).

A note of curiousity: have you read the Hunger Games or seen the movie? The names Flavia, Portia, and Octavia are in it. In fact, most of the bad guys have strongly Roman-sounding names. That might be a deal-breaker for you.

Best wishes to your growing family!

Anonymous said...

What about going with the Aemilia that the father likes, but havin her nickname (which or course you would call her all the time!) as Emma? That way you get your favourite name ever as the name she is commonly called , but the dad gets the Roman sound that he likes in her formal name. Jane Lucy and Aemilia ("we call her Emma") sound like they are sisters, and of course she matches the boys.
Also, Be careful about calling the boys stepbrothers rather than (half) brothers. They want ownership of this baby too, and you want them to feel that she is their little sister to care for and protect. My own kids in the same situation get really annoyed when they are treated as anything other than full blood relatives to their half sister.

Anonymous said...

What about Seraphina nn Sera!!!

Anonymous said...

Or what about Gwendolyn or Gwenivere nn Gwen or Genivieve nn Gen or Genny.

Isadora nn Izzy or Dora
Antoinette nn Annie
Viviona nn Viv or Vivi
Juliette nn Jules, Julie
Bianca nn Bee
Willomena nn Willow
Lexington nn Lexi
Calliope nn Callie

Anonymous said...

Aemilia could also have the nickname Milly, which I think ties to Jane and Lucy beautifully. But it does have that Emma nickname which is your favourite, so I think that is the winner. Middle name? She has a double surname, so keep it short.... Aemilia Beth, (Milly - Beth,) Aemilia May (Milly May or Emma May are gorgeous) or Aemilia Rose (Emma Rose or Milly Rose). Stick with what you like and the answer will come to you.

Mj said...

Aemilia May is nice. She is being born in May, right? And Emma May or Emmi May is very sweet nickname.
Aemilia could also be shortened to Amy which ties beautifully with Lucy and Jane also. But not with May for middle. With Amy, the middle is better suited to something like Rose. Or Cleo.
Aemilia May, Aemilia Rose, or Aemilia Cleo.

Megz said...

You should definitely match the girls names together if you can.

One name which springs to mind that would match Lucy and Jane is Mary. I'm not sure how to 'Romanise' it though. Maria maybe?

That reminds me of the Roman name Marcus. The feminine version would be Marcia I think.

Or how about Antonia, nn Toni?

Livia or Olivia is also a good suggestion.

If you decide to use one of your names as the first, and his as the middle, you might find that with all the names on both lists ending in A that they don't flow together so well.

In fact the only name you have without an A ending is Sophie. Sophie Octavia Finch-Fisher sounds nice, if long.

Mary could fit nicely as it doesn't have the A ending. Mary Octavia Finch-Fisher. Mary Sidonia Finch-Misher.

Congratulations on your expanding family.

Anonymous said...

Hey Swistle,
I hope this comment is taken as neither rude nor disrespectful, just amused. I am an English teacher and have a very good memory for writing I've seen before. I think this is the same writer from a year ago (see April 29, 2011 -- Finchlee -- and note that Finch as appeared again on this post). Anyone else notice this?? Be on the lookout for Finches!

Jackie said...

I agree! I just looked at the April 29, 2011 Finchlee post and there are a lot of similarities. The writing style of both posts and the general circumstances mirror one another. I am also amused by this coincidence and think there is something amiss with the finch posts!

gail said...

Ditto to the observations of the above two posters.

(Oddly enough, I feel better about this outcome than some other real-life likelihoods).

Swistle said...

Hm. That is an interesting observation.

The trouble is, I think, that it's nearly impossible on a blog like this to know whether ANY of the questions are real or not. This particular one does seem to have a larger than usual chance, but any of them could be.

I settle my mind about this by considering that our main goal on this blog isn't even to help someone name a baby (it's relatively rare that one of our suggestions is taken), but to have the fun of discussing it.

I do feel foolish (and upset about how much time someone caused me to waste on a fake question, when I could have been answering a real one) if I find out a particular question was fake, but this concept helps me to deal with that feeling, considering how difficult it is to weed out the fake questions.

Sarah A said...

Real or not, it's a fun exercise :)

I personally don't think the names clash at all and I actually get a classic British Bronte sisters novel vibe from Jane, Lucy, Felix, Basil, and Titus. I agree it's best to match her sister's names and your hubby should pick the middle name.

I would also pick something a little more uncommon than Emma; perhaps popularity matters more to your husband?

My top suggestions/combos:

Rose Octavia
Cora Sidonia
Nora Flavia
Ada Valentina

Anonymous said...