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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby Girl Welch

S. writes:
I have been following your blog for a long time and love reading your baby naming advice. I am hoping that you and your readers can offer some suggestions on a name for our baby girl.

This past June my little brother (and only sibling) passed away unexpectedly after a horrible accident. He was only 25 years old. Being not far apart in age, we were always really close, and so it goes without saying that losing him has been incredibly difficult.

Two days after he died, and after almost a year of trying, my husband and I found out that we were having a baby.  This is our first, and we are beyond excited. Our little girl is due on March 8th.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I knew without a doubt that I would honor my brother somehow with our baby's name. My brother's name was Jordan, spelled with an "i" between the "J" and the "o." My parents did this because the Italian version is Giordano and they wanted that to be represented in his name. My maiden name is very Italian, so it worked. I decided that I wanted to use his name as our baby's middle name, regardless of whether we had a boy or girl.

Now that we know we are having a girl, we are having a hard time finding a name that sounds good with my brothers name.  I know it's always more challenging to pick a first name to go with a middle name than the other way around, but we are beginning to think that because of our situation, we might just have to live with the fact that our daughter's first and middle names may not go together as well as we would like.

 Our last name is Welch, spelled with an "s" instead of a "c." We have a good list of boys names that we love, but not so many girls names.  For girls I tend to like to antique charm and androgynous names.  Our favorite right now is Avery, but I think Avery would sound best with a feminine middle name, like Elise or Isabella. If we used it, our daughter will have two androgynous names. I'm not sure if this would cause an issue for her. The other girl name we really like is Alivia (or Alyvia). I love the name Olivia, but it is so popular now and Alivia sounds to me like a fresh version of it. What are your thoughts on this name? Which spelling do you prefer? Another name I like is Ainsley because it would go great with our Irish last name, but my husband does not like it (same with Aubrey).

Our list of boy names is below:
Declan (Dex)
Finley (Finn)

We would like to have 3 or 4 kids.

We would love to hear any advice or suggestions that you and your readers have.  This baby is bringing so much joy to our lives during a time when we really need it, and we want to give her a name that she will hopefully one day love and be proud of. Thank you!!!

I agree: there are situations where other issues trump flow and style, and this is one of those situations. I think people can get stuck when they try to have it both ways: a crucial preference AND perfect flow / style / everything else.

I also agree that since you have a variety of names you like, it would be nice to choose one of the more obviously feminine ones with a unisex middle name. You could save Avery for a future child, or you could see if you like any similar-but-more-feminine names such as Ava or Avaleigh.

The question about whether to use a different spelling of a name will get you every answer from the entire spectrum. Some will think it makes it completely different in a positive/fresh way; others will think it's exactly the same but with the addition of a complicated spelling issue; still others will think it makes it completely different but in a negative way. And pretty much everyone thinks it depends on the particular name and the particular spelling/pronunciation variation: Madison/Maddisynn is a different issue than, say, Isobel/Isabelle, or Catherine/Katharine. I've noticed a lot of negative word choices being used by both sides of such discussions, so clearly it's an emotionally loaded topic.

My own personal opinion is that I'd generally prefer to use a common name than to use a re-spelling or alternate spelling of a common name, and that I would myself prefer to be a Kristen than a Kristynn. Others will feel THE EXACT OPPOSITE: they will FAR prefer to change the spelling of a name, and they will have always wished their own names had a more interesting spelling. Furthermore, one of my children has an alternate spelling of a common name (it's an honor name, and we used the honoree's spelling), so clearly my opinion is only general, and is considerably flexible.

I wonder if you'd like:


I notice that some of my favorite combinations are the ones that would give you a 3-2-1 pattern: Genevieve Jordan Welch, Avaleigh Jordan Welch, Livia Jordan Welch, Eliza Jordan Welch, Cecily Jordan Welch. I find I tend to put the names that end in N toward the end of my list, because of the repeating ending with Jordan: I don't like Avelyn Jordan as much as Avaleigh Jordan, for example.

Because this is your first baby, there are some other issues you may want to consider. If you find you like antique charm AND androgynous names, it can be helpful to think through the subject before choosing any names: would you want to mix them (sisters named Avery and Isabella, for example) and, if not, which style would you prefer to allow to dominate? One good way to mix styles is to do first names in one style and middle names in another; since your first daughter will have a unisex middle name, a pattern of antique charm first name + unisex middle name might work beautifully.

I also think it's useful to consider ahead of time which names might rule out other names. If you use Alivia this time, will you still want to use Avery later, or would those two names be too similar in sound? If you use Alivia, would you still be able to use Oliver for a future boy? If not, it's a good time to think about which name you'd prefer to use.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your brother so young.

I think your instinct to pair a feminine name with the middle name Jordan is a good one. Avery is becoming increasingly "feminine," though my son has a boy named Avery in his kindergarten class (a boy who's sister is name, coincidently, Jordan!) It still reads as "girl name" to me these days.

I'd be tempted to go more toward "antique charm" for this name. To answer your question, I wouldn't find "Alivia" fresh, so much as "trying too hard"! However, I would find Livia "fresh"! Go figure. That said, I know an Avelyn and once I got used to the "A" beginning, it seemed like a great version of Evelyn.

My favourite suggestion of Swistle's is Cecily. I'm not sure why, other than the sound of Cecily Jordan Welch, which sounds both classic/lovely and spunky/fresh. My second choice in Livia Jordan, third Avery Jordan.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just thought of another name! How about Amalie? It has the same sound, rhythm and tone as Avery yet is decidedly feminine? Also fits "antique charm". That's now my first choice - Amalie Jordan, followed by Cecily Jordan.

StephLove said...

First, I'm sorry for your terrible loss.

I liked the suggestions of Ava and Amalie. How about Avalon? Or since you seem to favor A names Annabelle? Annabelle Jordan Welch is lovely.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a pattern of vintage girl + unisex middle seems like a good one for you. Of your names, I think Elise or Isabella would be nice with Jordan. I prefer the spelling Olivia. To me, she's going to be "olivia" to most people anyway(when the names are spoken, using the Alivia spelling isn't going sound different than all the other Olivias). I agree Avery & Ainsely seem to unisex/boy with Jordan as a middle. If you decide on the vintage+unisex pattern, perhaps they'd make good middles for future girls? Instead of Avery, I do like Ava. I also though of Avalon. Some other suggestions: Audrey, Molly, Alyssa, Emmaline, Alexa, Evangeline & Sofia. My favorite being Sofia because it recognizes your Italian heritage, and it sounds nice with Welch. And although I usually do not like alliteration, Julianna Jordan appeals to me to. It sounds like it would belong to a fun, spunky little girl.

Unknown said...

How sad but what a beautiful way to honor your brother's memory and all that he meant to you by incorporating his name now.

I think flow is not that important in this instant - your daughter will care much more about the reason her mn is Jordan than whether or not it flows with her first name :)

As for your questions,

I do think Alivia or Alyvia sounds like you're trying too hard. Aliza, Livia or Olivia would be better - but that is just in my own opinion. Seeing that your boys names are all classic and spelled the traditional way, I think it will look a bit odd if you have, say, a Alivia or Alyvia and a Declan (Dex). It just seems like two different styles to me.

Avery would also be fine, I think it's used so often now for girls that it won't cause any or too many issues. None of your boys names are particularly unisex so Avery + any of those would not cause confusion as to the gender of your children.

If you're still up for other suggestions, how about

Aviva - springtime, new beginnings
Felicity - joy :)

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the name Zophia?

Karen L said...

When I saw Ainsley, I wondered if Paisley might also appeal. love it with Wel$h.

Is there any flexibility on the spelling or variation of the middle? I know a Gordana, and I think Giordana, Giordanna, Jiordana or Jiordanna would be a clear honour of your brother and/or Italian heritage. They're more feminine and might make you feel that you can embrace a unisexish first name.

Clarabella said...

I am so sorry for your loss but how special to be able to honor him naming your daughter.
If you like Olivia, I wonder if you'd like Lydia? I like the repeating 'd' sound of Lydia Jordan Welch.
I don't mind Alivia so much but, like others, prefer Livia.
I also wonder if you've considered J(i)ordana as a first (or middle) name, although I don't know if adding the "a" negates the honor for you. Just a thought.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

What about the name Jordana (or Jiordana)? I think Avery Jordana sounds lovely. Or Jordana _____ . It's a nice way to honor your brother for sure!

Jill said...

Congratulations on your little girl! I'm sure your brother would feel very honored that his niece is named for him. As a first name I thought of seems to live in the grey area between vintage and trendy. You might like it as an alternative to Alivia/Olivia. I personally find it more appealing. Avalee Jordan Welch. Good luck with your choice!

Jill said...

Oh duh...I guess Swistle already suggested Avaleigh! Still, it's a different spelling!

Anonymous said...

I love the name Alivia and have a slight pronunciation difference between it and Olivia. If it makes you feel any better about it being a "real name," I know a 23 year-old named Alivia and she carries it beautifully. It was also ranked 191 in 2011, around the same number as Jordan, Miranda, Willow, Cora, Margaret, Quinn, Melissa, Hazel, Jacqueline, and Josephine. If you love Alivia, go for it!

Anonymous said...

Love the suggestion of Livia Jordan Welch. (especially if you ever have a boy one day and use the name Declan, because Liv & Dex are just too awesome together to pass up).

Also think that Jiordana would be a great way to honor brother.

Jenny Grace said...

I see a slight pronunciation difference between Alivia and Olivia. However I'm generally opposed to making names different via spelling alone. I do not wish my name was Genniphyr, despite how common Jennifer is for women my age.

Anonymous said...

How about Odilia? It's a name with a history and I find it a nice alternative to the common Olivia.

Odilia Jordan flows amazingly I think.

Anonymous said...

Im sory for your loss.

I know a Samantha Jordan and its a great name! Plus you get the androgynous nickname Sam.

Anonymous said...

I love Jordan as a girl's first name. I've known a few.

Rita said...

more suggestions:

Alina Jordan Welch
Avalie Jordan Welch
Alice Jordan Welch
Amelie Jordan Welch
Avila Jordan Welch
Xavia Jordan Welch
Amity Jordan Welch
Liv Jordan Welch
Sunniva Jordan "Sunny" Welch
Vida Jordan Welch
Vita Jordan Welch
Alexia Jordan Welch
Alya Jordan Welch
Alma Jordan Welch
Adalie Jordan Welch
Eliana Jordan Welch
Elysia Jordan Welch
Lyra Jordan Welch

Anonymous said...

Airlie is very pretty.

Airlie Jordan Welch. Too cute!


Good Luck!

Honora said...

If you like ALIVIA/ALYVIA:
Alessia Jordan Welch
Alicia Jordan Welch
Antonia Jordan Welch
Camilla Jordan Welch
Claudia Jordan Welch
Elena Jordan Welch
Erica Jordan Welsh
Fabia Jordan Welch
Flora Jordan Welch
Francesca Jordan Welch
India Jordan Welch
Julia Jordan Welch
Junia Jordan Welch
Lavinia Jordan Welch
Livia Jordan Welch
Lucia Jordan Welch
Luciana Jordan Welch
Lydia Jordan Welch
Marcella Jordan Welch
Nydia Jordan Welch
Olivia Jordan Welch
Oriana Jordan Welch
Paloma Jordan Welch
Serena Jordan Welch
Sylvia Jordan Welch
Varinia Jordan Welch
Vivana Jordan Welch

If you like AVERY, AINSLEY and AUBREY:
Freya (FRAY-uh)
Ada (AY-duh)
Ailsa (AYL-suh) - so pretty!
Ayelet (eye-YELL-it; EYE-leht)
Isla (EYE-lah)

Anonymous said...

I personally would use a more girly first name with Jordan as the middle, which is so sweet. I like Alivia, and see it as different than Olivia. I'm all for Ainsley, too. It's my niece's name and she is a spunky, adorable thing.

Liz said...

What about Aviana instead of Alivia?
(I agree it should be Olivia, Not Alivia)

Eva.G said...

I am so very sorry for your tragic loss!

I don't mind Alivia but agree with the others that I like Livia better.

I see that you like 'A' names. So do I! I think it's one of my favorite starting initials.

What about:
Adele Jordan
Adrianna Jordan
Agatha Jordan
Agnes Jordan
Anneliese Jordan
Annika Jordan
Ariadne Jordan
Aurora Jordan #1 suggestion for you is Avonlea, from Anne of Avonlea. It's pronounced Avenlee (Aven sounds just like the Aven in Avenue. In fact, the rhythm is just like Avenue too, if that makes sense). You could even spell it Avenlee if it helped clear up the pronounciation. This name is so similar to Avery and all the many Ava names that are popular right now, but it's so uncommon and underused! It's so elegant and peaceful. Like Swistle, I like the 3-2-1 syllable pattern, and this fits perfectly.

Avonlea Jordan Welch

Best of luck to you!

Sara A. said...

What about Jordana/Giordanna? Avery Jordana Welch/ Avery Giordanna Welch. Still honors your brother and you get to use your fave firstname.