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Friday, September 14, 2012

Baby Girl or Boy Nawcan, Sibling to Josi@h and Audrey

Jocelyn writes:
I recently found your wonderful blog and need your help! We always keep our baby names a secret until baby arrives so it would be great to get some unbiased opinions.

We are expecting baby #3  (probably our last) at the end of September (27th).  We don’t know the gender but are pretty happy with the name Katherine Olivia if it is a girl.  (We’d call her Kate.)  I’ve always liked the name Kate and it works out that my husband’s mom and her mom are both named Catherine so it would be kind of an homage to them.  The boy name has been harder for us to settle on though.  Our last name is Cajun with a funny spelling and pronounced like Naw-can.  Our oldest son is Josi@h Kenneth.  We liked the name Josi@h and also the biblical story behind it and his middle name is after my husband who is a Jr.  Our daughter is Audrey J@cquelyn.  I’ve loved the name Audrey forever and her middle name is my mom’s name.

We’ve always had issues coming up with boy names.  Part of it is that we’ve tried to avoid having a name that ends with N since our last name starts and ends with N but it seems a lot of the boy names I like end with an N.  Also, both of our first kids had a middle name in honor of family but there really aren’t any male names in our family that we like.  So, if we have a boy would he and the rest of the family wonder why he doesn’t have a family connection?

The top name we have picked out right now for a boy is William Hudson.  Here are some of my issues with it.

My first two kids’ names don’t really “go together” but would this be another type of name that doesn’t go with the others?  Is there some name out there that would bridge the two sibling names?  I also worry that William is too common or maybe too serious.

We like Hudson and also have read about a missionary to China from the 1800’s named Hudson Taylor that we’d be happy to have him named after.  So, maybe there is a very loose biblical theme there to go with Josi@h? (of course people would only know if we told them)

Some other names that I like but have issues like ending in N etc. are:

Jude – don’t know if having two of the three names being very biblical and also starting with J would be weird.  Also my name starts with a J.
Jack (the problem with this one is our cat is named Jack)
Benjamin (My husband is Ken so Ben and Ken would rhyme)
As you can see I’m all over the place.  Do you have any suggestions?  I’d love all of your insights.

Thanks so much!

Families vary considerably in how noticey they are about baby names. I have five children, three of whom have family middle names and two of whom don't, and I would bet cash money that not a single one of my relatives (other than my parents, who had to hear all about the choices) even knows what the kids' middle names ARE, let alone has given any concerned thought to whether one child's name matches the significance of another child's. Yet we also do hear stories of families who tally up the family names and get wounded and huffy if more are used from one side than the other, so you'll have to look at your own families and consider whether they would be more the type to talk at length behind your back about your children's middle names, or whether they'd be more the type to hear the name and give it almost no thought at all beyond whether they liked it or not.

Children will also vary considerably in how sensitive they are to their names. In my own family, I've found all four boy children almost completely bored by talk of how they got their names or what the significance is. The girl child enjoys discussing it, but has not been at all peeved so far that her middle name isn't a family name. Perhaps all this will change as they get older and there will be giant fights about how obviously mom and dad preferred the three who have family names---but I don't think it's likely. Yet we also hear stories of grown adults claiming to still have hurt feelings from their parents' name choices, so it may completely depend on the child and his/her personality.

I think much of it is spin: if there's no reason for the child without a family name to feel unwanted or otherwise out of favor or not a part of the family, not having a family middle name doesn't mean anything except that you ran out of family names you wanted to us. If he expresses interest, or if you're telling them the story of their names, his story is that by the time he was born there were no family names left you loved enough to give him, so you chose Name X, which you loved because of this/that reason.

Of my two children who don't have family middle names, one of them has a name that is nevertheless of sentimental significance; when I force them to listen to their naming stories, I feel like that story holds up very well next to the "Well, your middle name was my grandpa's name" story. The final child's middle name has no real significance other than that it was her daddy's favorite name before we came up with a name we both liked better; he couldn't stand not to use his favorite, so we used it as her middle name. That story gets a favorable reaction too, as it turns out; the important thing, I think, is to show enthusiasm for the choice, and have an approximately equal amount of it for each child's name. "Well, YOUR name was because X! And YOUR name was because Y!," as opposed to "Well, YOUR name was because X and Y and Z! And YOUR, we just liked it, I guess."

Another possibility for a middle name is to look at family surnames: this lets you look at the women in the family as well as the men, and surnames can make very dashing middle names.

I think the name you've picked out is great. William avoids the N-ending, and both boys have a good nickname if they want it, and Joe and Will go great together which I think helps form the bridge you're looking for. And Hudson is a name that can be worked into a very nice story of significance.

The rest of the names on the list don't seem as good with the sibling names, or else have the N-ending, or else I agree with the other reasons you mention for not using them.

Because it's fairly common for a family to have a different style preference for girl names than for boy names, I think you could continue with biblical boy names without worrying about leaving Audrey out. But I would avoid the J names, to avoid confusion and also to avoid a second theme Audrey wouldn't fit into.

Paul Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Paul
Ezra Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Ezra
Micah Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Micah
David Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and David
Thomas Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Thomas
Samuel Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Samuel
Isaac Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Isaac
Caleb Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Caleb
Daniel Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Daniel
Philip Nawcan; Josi@h, Audrey, and Philip

My favorites, I think, are the names we barely even think of as biblical anymore: those are the ones that make good bridge names, because they seem timeless like Audrey, while still being biblical like Josi@h. I also favor the ones that, like Josi@h, have a good nickname: Joe and Sam, Joe and Dan, etc.

Name update! Jocelyn writes:
Well, as I suspected we ended up having a boy!  Thanks to the great advice and encouragement from you and your readers we decided to go ahead and name him William Hudson.  You all helped me not feel bad about the name not having a family connection like his siblings and feel like the sibling names weren't too terribly mismatched.  I do wish it weren't so high on the popularity list but at least it is a classic name and not trendy so it won't feel out of date in a few years.  I did love the suggestions of using a biblical name that didn't sound too biblical as a bridge between Josiah and Audrey but many of the names were already used in the family so they were out.  Thank you to everyone for your encouragement and input!  We still weren't 100 percent sure we would name him that when he was born but he was a very punctual little boy by showing up on his due date so I figured a name like William would fit him well.  He was born on Sept. 27th at 8 lbs 14 oz.  He was 20 3/4 inches long.  Here's a picture of him when he was almost 4 months old.



Anonymous said...

I do think William fits a little better style wise with Audrey (both timeless). However, I don't think it doesn't fit with Josiah. If one child was named Brayden or Maverick and you wanted to use William, that I would notice more and would probably encourage you to use something else. Some styles are just more interchangeable than others, and Biblical with timeless is generally not a huge deal.
I like that Hudson has significance for you, even if it isn't a family name.
If you aren't sure about William, I do like Swistle's suggestion of using a name that crosses the Biblical & Timeless categories. Samuel, Daniel and David are all really good.

Meg said...

I like both Samuel and William. Other possibilties are Levi and Elliott or Eli.

Jill said...

I don't hear William as much as you'd expect being the #3 most popular name in the nation. I think a lot of those Williams are going by Liam because I just don't really hear straight William, though it could be my area of the country. A name that seems to be creeping slowly out of popularity (it's already less popular than William) is Matthew. It's got your biblical ties, a cute assortment of nicknames and I think it sounds a little less serious than William. Matthew Hudson Nawcan gets my vote! Josiah, Audrey and Matthew!

Auntie G said...

Audrey and Katherine are also saints' names, so going biblical with the boy name actually IS thematic. :)

I think Josi@h, Audrey, and William fit very nicely together. They all have a 1700s, colonial feel to me. As do Josi@H, Audrey, and Katherine.

StephLove said...

I don't think there's a stylistic clash with the other names, even if it's not exactly the same style. If that's the main thing holding you back, I'd use William.

Otherwise, you might want to hew closer to the style of Josiah to tie the boys' names together

Theodore (These last two seem like the kind of bridge name Swistle was suggesting.)

Jan said...

I don't know any Josiahs that go by Joe.

For a family middle name have you considered using a maiden name of a female relative?

I like the suggestions of Caleb, Theodore, Isaac and Ezra.

Eva.G said...

I love the name Kate if you end up with a girl! I just wanted to point out that if you do end up with both an Audrey and Katherine, those are the names of two famous actresses with the same last name - Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn. Just wanted to point it out in case you hadn't noticed :-)

As far as boys, I don't think you can go wrong with Biblical & Timeless.

What about Asher? Josiah, Audrey and Asher. That would give both boys a Biblical theme while giving Audrey & Asher the 'A' in common, so they all share something!

Or Abel; Josiah, Audrey and Abel.
Or Eben; Josiah, Audrey and Eben.
Or Levi; Josiah, Audrey and Levi.
Or Malachi; Josiah, Audrey and Malachi.
Or Silas; Josiah, Audrey and Silas.

Jocelyn said...

Thank you all for your great suggestions!

And Eva, I did realize (after the fact) that both girl names share hepburn as a last name. That of course was not intended and especially since she'd mainly go by Kate I'm not worried about it. I also noticed that both william and kate are the names of the prince and princess (which won't matter since we aren't having boy/girl twins). Too funny on these things. All pure coincidence.

Thanks for giving some much needed encouragement for William. I haven't decided how much he'd go by william or just will. We don't call his brother Joe though. I also like the idea of bible names that aren't thought of as bible names as a way to bridge.

I appreciate any other thoughts anyone has! It is so great to think things through with others without having to agree/disagree with family and friends.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to put in another vote for William! I know I'm a little late to this discussion but I think William is a lovely name and that you should use it if none of the other suggestions leap out at you. I think William only sounds serious on paper, a little happy, burbly William will make the name fresh again. And remember, all the Williams in history were once adorable babies too! I love William Hudson, Matthew Hudson or Asher Hudson, any of those would be top picks for me. And your girl name is timeless and I lovelove the Hepburn tie in! The girls can watch the classics together!

Laura said...

I like the suggestion of Paul. I think it bridges Josiah and Audrey wonderfully.

gail said...

Even though it's a great name, it seems to me that William is considerably more popular than either Josiah of Audrey. Also, some Williams are called William, but many more are nicknamed Will or Liam. I would search for a less common name than William, one that you both like a lot, and one that doesn't ordinarily get shortened. Of Swistle's suggestions, and using the not as popular as William/no nickname line of reasoning, I really like Paul, Ezra, Isaac, and Caleb for you.

Good luck!