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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Baby Boy or Girl Sherman, Sibling to Amelia and Norah

Marcy writes:
My husband and I are elated to be expecting our third child, gender unknown, due in June.  This little one is a surprise, but one we welcome and anticipate with great joy!  My husband is still exhausted of the naming talk of a year ago (when we named our youngest), but I am already turning all the options over in my mind.  I need a sounding board, and some great ideas.  When my friend Amy and I were both pregnant with our second daughters last year, you helped her choose the name Eliza, and I have full confidence that Swistle is just the place for us to find our third child's name.
We have a lot of time, but with 13 nieces and nephews and lots of friends with good name taste, many of my favorites are already taken (or a too-similar variant has been used).  We spend a LOT of time with our extended family.  So, while I'm sure others wouldn't worry a bit about similar cousin names, it would definitely cause concern for us.  Most of the cousins attend the same church and are engaged in regular playtime/activities together.  And of course Gram Gram would never figure out who's who with names too similiar!
We would love your input for both boy and girl names!  We're wide open when it comes to boys' names, though something more classic/traditional likely suits us best.  For a girl, her middle name will be Louise, after my mother.  I could consider it for a first name as well, but right now I'm leaning towards Louise for the middle.  I don't like the idea of modifying Louise to Louisa or Elouise.  I want to keep it as is.
My name is Marcy and my husband is Daniel. Our daughters are named Amelia Mae and Norah Lane.     Our last name sounds like Sherman. 
Amelia's name rang in at #55 on the SSN list for her year (was #68 on the list when we chose it, and we had no idea it would see such a jump.  It was up to #30 by 2011!), and Norah at #263 with the H (#137 without it, so a bit higher than that combined).  Like most folks, I think we'd prefer something outside the top 100, but really we're open to even a very common name, if it really is the perfect one for our baby.
A few of our "dont's":
  • Rhyming with our names, with sibling names, or with the middle name or last name;  
  • Name or nn too similar to Amelia's (Millie/Mil - and her sister calls her Mimi)
  • Name or nn too similar to Norah's (Nor, Norrie, Noley - her sister's name for her before she could say it properly)
  • Aything that would be nicknamed Ellie or Emmy or Addie (sooo common around here!);
  • Anything that causes a lispy-ness in the transition from the end of the first or middle name to the last name this includes most names ending in s).  That SH sound can be rough!
I'll begin with girls, since we have it a little more together in that arena!  Currently under consideration for a girl are Vivian/Vivien/Vivienne (spelling preference, anyone?), to be called Viv/Vivy/Vivie and Josie.  Both seem to work with Louise so it's not a bad place to start.  I do like Josephine for the full name, to be called Josie, but my husband does not like it, preferring Josie as-is. I think I could get into Violet too, but I feel like it only flows with Louise if it's prnounced "Vie-let" instead of "Vi-o-let".  How would most folks pronounce it?
In light of our close family and heap of cousins, these favorites of mine are OFF the table:
  • Clara (niece named Claire)
  • Anna (niece named Hannah)
  • Ada (niece named Ava)
  • Julia (niece named Julia Elizabeth)
  • Eliza (friend's daughter.)
  • Celia (same friend's older daughter)
  • Micah (we almost named our first Micah Marie, but changed late in the game to Amelia Mae afte rmy husband and I started swooning over Mae.  We now have very dear friends with a baby boy name Micah, so it's permanently nixed.
  • Abigail (niece name) - Although I wouldn't choose this with Louise anyway becasue of the L at the end
  • Chloe (friend's daughter)
We're struggling a little (okay, a LOT) more with a boy's name.  With our previous pregnancies, names considered for a boy were Cael Arthur (after my grandpa, Arthur), Grayson Paul (decided we really just like Gray, not Grayson or Grady as much), Charles (after my other grandpa) and Wilcox (my mother in law's maiden name). 
Cael is out now due to nephews named both Kade and Caleb.  I liked the name, but it was really my husband's pick. And Wilcox is already used as well.
Gray is still in the mix, as well as Charles and Paul (Daniel's middle name).  Although I actually prefer to use Daniel over Paul if we use my husband's name.  I love the name Daniel!  :)  Of course I'm not sure what's best to pair it with.  If we use it, I'd like it as a middle name instead of a first, to avoid confusion.  We also like Henry.  I Iike Mac/Mack (a nod to my maiden name, which is an Irish Mc name), but it's so much more casual than most of the other names we like.  It's probably not for us. I have just as I sit and type decided I like Benjamin, too. But we just aren't LOVING anything yet, and the list of names we like doesn't seem to be producing any amazing combinations.
I've listed a mix of my nephews' first and middle names below.  These are names we'd like to avoid. I think we can avoid the names on the Friends list too, though it's less of a priority:
FAMILY: Kade, Reed, August, Wilcox, Shepard, Wiliam, Adam, Joel, Wade, Kenneth, Caleb
FRIENDS: Micah, Jack, Christopher, Edison/Eddie, Isaac
My husband has vetoed James (he's not sure why, since we both like the name, but he just knows that's not it!) and Benjamin (I just asked him - same as with James - it's just not THE name, even though it's a name he likes). Finneus/Finneas/Phineas. I suggested Finneus Gray - which he says sounds like a storybook character and not a real person. :)  We also would not likely choose anything like Cooper, Carter, Parker, Hudson, etc.
I actually love August (a family name and one of the nephews' names).  It's obviously taken, but something with that vibe might be nice.  And I love Wiliam, as well as its nickname, Will.  It's nice to find a name that can sound both formal and a little serious (August/William) and also ornery (Gus/Will).
I sincerely hope you can help us wade through this mire of names before our heads explode trying to work it through on our own!
Thanks so much for your consideration!
I realize we're still a long way from our due date, and I'm really trying not to get all Shawshank Redemption on you by sending a new email every day/week/month, but as a quick update, I wanted you do know that my husband has now vetoed ALL of the girl names on our current list, save Josie.  Which I do like, but am not convinced enough to commit to.  EXHAUSTING.  You can see why we need to get an early start on this! :)  Anyway, I will do my best to restrain myself from begging/pleading/groveling for assistance (at least until we find out the gender :)).  I am having so much fun reading your site for inspiration in the meantime!

Name update! Marcy writes:
I really enjoyed all the feedback and ideas from you readers and from your many other posts! Thanks for posting my question! Your method of listing out all of the name options as well as listing the names within the sibling set was easy to put into practice on my own and extremely helpful to us.

We found out a week ago that we are having a girl, our third!  We are thrilled!

Despite working around a long list of "taken" names we liked, as well as sorting through our sometimes different naming preferences, my husband and I managed to produce a list of five names that pleased us both.   We finally landed on June Louise, which we both LOVE!

June entered the game late, since I had to decide if a June born in June was perfect, too cheesy, or maybe just didn't matter.   Once I settled on it being perfect (my husband's great Aunt June was a June born in June, also!), June quickly rose to the top of our mutual list, and won out over the others [the full list of names we could agree on included: Caroline Louise, Miriam Louise (my 2nd pl vote), Mariah Louise and Halle Louise (his 2nd pl vote)].

My pets that didn't pass the husband test included: Louise Adele (I love, love, love this, but I don't feel sad about not using it, since I'm now certain this baby is June!), Vivian Louise (the name I wanted for our next girl before we were even expecting, but that husband never loved) and Magnolia Faye (I think this felt too southern and unusual to the mister, but I discovered it on your site and couldn't help but swoon!  I also didn't want to give up Louise, but I liked Magnolia much better with Faye, and I my husband actually does like Faye).

Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

I adore the name Josie, and I think it goes wonderfully with the other girls - Amelia, Norah, and Josie - and with the middle name Louise.

My mother's name is Louise, too, and I feel the same way as you - I don't want to change it to Louisa or Eloise but until very very recently, I couldn't imagine sticking it in the first-name spot. Though it's growing on me, and I wonder if it is on you - Amelia, Norah, and Louise is a really nice sibling set! And imagine your mother's delight (especially if it is a surprise!)

If you go with Josie, I'd push for the full name - Josephine. I'd love to be a Josie, but I (personally) would want to have the full-out name on my birth certificate, for my resume, and what-not.

The name I like best from your list of boy names is Mac - Mac Sherman. I wonder if you can give him your maiden name as a middle name and then call him Mac. Maybe Daniel Mc_ Sherman? Seems like a great name to me. My family does that middle-name switcharoo quite a lot, and as a teacher, I can tell you that going by the middle name is MUCH more common than you'd think.

Anonymous said...

Instead of Josephine nn Josie, maybe Jocelyn nn Josie? I do like Josie, but it does feel much more nicknamey as a full name than Amelia or Norah. Just Josie Sherman also has that lispy problem (for me) you want to avoid. To bad Vivien has been nixed, as it would be lovely with Amelia & Norah. Violet is also very nice. I usually say vie-let, when forced to say Vie-o-let, that 2nd syllable is usually more like 1/2 a beat. I just don't give it the length of the other 2. Either way, I do like it with Louise.
I'll also suggest Audrey, Lucy (as full name or as a nickname for Lucinda/Lucille/etc), Victoria (tons of nicknames with this one) & Vanessa. I also like Sophia for you, but it might more popular than you want.
I'm not crazy about Gray as a first name, it has a more trendy/less classic feel than any of your girl names. I also find it sounds like too much of a descriptor with a lot of middle names. Gray Charles sounds like you're saying "Charles is gray". I do think it'd make a fun middle name though.
You like Josie for a girl, so maybe Joseph/Joe/Joey for a boy?
Instead of Benjamin maybe your dh would like Bennett better?
For names with the same vibe as August/Gus and William/Will, I'll suggest Andrew/Drew & Nathaniel/Nat/Nate.
I really like the idea of Mac for you. It has a family connection and it feels like a Gus type name to me. I agree it doesn't feel like enough for a full first name. Maybe you'd like it better as a nickname for something like Cormac or Macon? I also love the idea of using your actual maiden name with the nickname Mac.

Anonymous said...

My two cents~

Rose Louise (Rosie Lou!!)
Nathaniel Grey

Happy naming!

Dee said...

Would you ever consider using Arthur in the first name spot? As soon as I saw it, I thought it fit perfectly with Amelia and Norah, and it fits your liking of sturdy longer names with approachable nicknames. I think Art or Artie are awesome nn for Arthur.

I also really like Mac/Mack for you. Amelia, Norah & Mack don't seem too offbeat to use together, but if youw ant a more formal name, how about Macsen, Malachi nn Mac, Malcolm nn Mac (wow, adore this for you!), Merrick nn Mac, Michael nn Mac.

Yup, I think my favorites are Amelia, Norah & Arthur (Art) and Amelia, Norah & Malcolm (Mac).

Hope this helps!

Dee said...

Me again! Just realised how much I like the combo Malcolm Arthur Sherman. Yup, a winner in my eyes!

Clarabella said...

For a boy, you didn't mention Arthur again after saying it was up for consideration for a previous possible boy, but what about MacArthur, NN Mac? Two names in the space of one! Anyhow. I love Mac AND Arthur, and this just occurred to me.
I think if you both like Josie, that sounds like the name, but if your husband has vetoed everything else, maybe he can compromise with a full name Josephine or Jocelyn. I think Jocelyn Louise sounds just lovely.
If MacArthur is too much name, I really like the idea of using Cormac with the nn Mac.
Good luck.

Clarabella said...

Me again. Duh, I think McArthur looks better than MacArthur. Still using the nn Mac. Anyhow.

Another Erin from the 80s said...

I agree with the first poster. Louise is a name in my family, and I never wanted it as a first name until now. I think it sounds great with your daughter's name. I suggest this name often because it is on my list, but what about Vera? Similar to Vivian (but only has one spelling option) and doesn't fall in the top 100 AND goes with the other names.
Vera Louise flows nicely. Other options I would suggest are Evelyn or Helen.
As far as the boy names... I love that you listed Henry as an option. Sounds great with the girl names. Thomas, Brendan (brings in your Irish maiden name background), or Christian also fits. I would say go With Paul as the middle name if it gets vetoed as a first name.

Anonymous said...

When I hear Josie I immediately think of Josie and the Pussycats, but I also read a lot of Archie comics when I was a kid :) Another comic in that vein was Sabrina the Teenage Witch. What do you think about the name Sabrina? You could call her Abby or Brin.
For a boy, I second using Arthur with your maiden name in the middle and calling him Mac. Or using the mishmash name McArthur.

The Mrs. said...

MacArthur is genius! Maybe MacArthur Paul Sherman? Mac Sherman is a boss of a name!

For another little lady:
do you like Aubrey Louise?
Iris Louise? How about Gemma Louise? (Gemma could even work as a nickname for Genevieve). Louise is a fantastic middle name, and it's great that it's a true honor name, too!

Best wishes to you and your growing family! Please let us know what you decide!

Hannah said...

Vivian Louise Sherman is great! That gets my vote. A few other suggestions - hopefully some of these will stick!

Fiona Louise Sherman
Thea Louise Sherman
Cora Louise Sherman
Mariel Louise Sherman
Zoe Louise Sherman
Charlotte Louise Sherman
Willa Louise Sherman
Sophie Louise Sherman

Oliver Sherman
Charles (Charlie) Sherman
Isaac Sherman
Broderick (Brody) Sherman
Pierce Sherman
Louis Sherman (instead of Louise)
Alistair Sherman

StephLove said...

I will post more later about boy names, but I think if your husband is going to veto every name on the list but one, you get to alter it a little. I love Josephine Louise, nn Josie, for you. I think the longer version goes better with your daughters' names.

Lucy said...

I love Louise! Can you use it as a first name? I think it goes so well with Norah and Amelia! But then you would be stuck on the middle name-- but that seems easier to figure out to me. I also love Josie, though it does seem a little more nick-namey than your other girl's names. Vivienne is pretty perfect- sad that your husband nixed it.

For boys-- I adore the idea of using your maiden name as either the first or middle name and calling him Mac! It's awesome! Also, is the name Wilcox being used as a first or middle name in your family? If it was a middle name could you still use it as a first name? I wish you could because it's so great! Wilcox Daniel Sherman-- called Will or Cox. So, so cute! Is there any way?

Lucy said...

Ooh- I just read StephLove's comment above mine, and I so agree with her!

Tara said...

I love this question because I adore your family. :) I might have too much information to truly weigh in. I wonder about Sadie? Sadie Louise, and I like the repeating initial without the real alliteration. You could use Ken/Kenneth now, despite Joel's middle. Kenneth Daniel is lovely. I also like the idea of something French-sounding, since France paid a big part in your courtship. Genevieve or Madeline or Catriona or Naomi or something like that? Or Danielle? I'm partial to it (since it's both my and E's middle name), but I wonder if Daniel would take on that namesake? :)

Moomoo said...

Amelia, Norah and Vivian
Amelia , Norah and Claire

Amelia, Norah and MacArthur (Mac)
Amelia, Norah and Edward (Ed, Ned or Ted)

Marcy said...

My husband had a dog named Sadie! It's OUT! But so many fun choices here to get our wheels turning! I will definitely come back and share once our little girl or guy arrives and we settle on his or her perfect name! :)

Kelsey said...

What if you used Louisa? Still close enough to Louise that it would honor your Mom, but a little cuter. Just my opinion! And I think it sounds great with the other daughter's names.

Anonymous said...

Josephine is a beautiful name. It's a perfect compromise.

Arthur is wonderful, but I'm always a sucker for Mother's maiden name as the child's name. Daniel Mac___ is wonderful and you can call him Mac.

ideal_rain said...

Just a historical note, there was General Douglas MacArthur who was fired for not following orders.

I've heard Mac used as a nickname for Malcolm.

Good luck!

StephLove said...

I concur with Anonymous 6:32, that Daniel McMaidenName is a great solution. You get Daniel, which you love and Mac to use as an occasional (or all the time) nickname.

Megan said...

Have you considered Edmund for a boy? It's nowhere near as popular as Edward and still very classy and traditional. Formal Edmund, Nickname Ed.
Amelia, Norah, and Edmund is so nice!
Edmund Daniel is very nice.

Manday Y said...

Girls - I like Josie, but because the other girls names are more formal I would argue for a more formal name on the birth certificate. If Josephine does not fit, how about Josetta? Your boy's name discussion makes me also think of Daniella and McKayla (choose your spelling!). And the sibling set Amelia and Norah makes me think of Audrey and Rebecca. (Audy or Becky?)

Boys - I like Arthur or Daniel. I think Mac would make a great middle name and possible nickname. The other names you mention liking make me also think of the options Sterling, Irvin, and Russell (Rus?)

My favorites from all of this are Michaela Louise (Michi)
Arther Mac

Anonymous said...

For a girl I really love the names Caroline nn Carrie, Susanna nn Susie and Rebecca nn Becky with your daughters' names.

Amelia, Norah and Caroline
Amelia, Norah and Susanna
Amelia, Norah and Rebecca

All have that classic, feminine feel to them and sound great with Louise.

I love Josie too but prefer Josephine with the nn Josie.

For a boy I think that Daniel Charles sounds perfect!

Good luck! !

Anonymous said...

I like Evan for a boy. Eloise for a girl.

Alice said...

Some other ideas that came to mind: Theodore, nn Theo or Teddy. I love Amelia, Norah and Theodore. Also Macmillan could work for Mac or Franklin could have the short form Finn or Flinn. Amelia, Norah and Franklin. Franklin Arthur Sherman. Love it. For girls, I love Louise, Josephine and Vivien, but here are some other thoughts along the lines of Josie:

Susannah, nn Sosie
Persephone, nn Posy
Margaret, nn Maisie
Florence, nn Flossie/Florrie
Acacia, nn Casey/Cacie
Cassandra/Cassidy nn Cassie

I also wonder if you would like Evelyn, Imogen (I heard someone the other day using Gigi as the short form of this), Georgia/Georgina, or Calla. I also love Sadie for you. Good luck!

Alice said...

And Edie!

Mary said...

Love Vera!

Josanna Louise or Daniel Gray have my vote :)

Patricia said...

I love Josie, but not so much Josephine. Yet I agree that a more formal first name might be preferable, especially with your other daughters' names. How about Joanna, nn Josie? Some years ago a friend named her daughter Joanna and called her Jodie. Joanna called Josie would work equally well, again as a spinoff from "Jo". This is similar to the etymology of Nancy: Ann to Nan to Nancy.

Amelia, Norah and Joanna: Millie, Norie and Josie

Patricia said...

It just occurred to me that Betsy (a name I've always liked) developed from Elizabeth similarly to the relationship between Joanna and Josie:

ElizaBETh -> BETty -> BETsy

JOanna -> JO (sometimes JOey) -> JOsie

Gail said...

While I, too, love the (nick)name Josie, I think it would be ideal if your future daughter could have a full name like her sisters do....I don't think anyone has yet suggested Josepha, which would also give her the same "a" sound ending as Amelia and Norah. It's a bit softer in sound than Josephine, but still gets you to Josie. Can also be spelled Josefa, which some find prettier. Also, Johanna can lead to Josie. Other classic girls names that I'd put in the same genre (not often used, with male name as basis) and might work for you would be Carla, Georgia, Martina, Maxine, Phillipa, and Willa).

I love Daniel, as well as Charles, August, Henry, and Paul. These are all boys names that I'd put in the genre of "classic with a soft touch." Other names that fit this description are Philip, Seth, Simon, Jonah, and Thomas (but ends in "s"). You might also consider Dashiell--great nickname, soft sound. And Russell......

so many things to love... said...

Here's a list of 'J' girl's names that could give you Josie as a nickname


(I just sort of went through the Baby Name wizard browse option for a bunch of these) Of those I think the ones that end with 'a' might or might not seem to 'sing song' for you

Amelia, Norah and Josafina

But I think they look quite feminine. To stay with your other girls' traditional spellings, I might use 'ph' in place of 'f'.

Josalina is lovely

Amelia, Norah and Josalina

Joselina Louise. Very nice.

Other names the Baby Name Wizard lists as siblings for Amelia are:

Alexandra Louise
Katherine Louise
Elizabeth Louise
Evelyn Louise
Olivia Louise
Charlotte Louise
Sophie/Sophia Louise

And sibling names for Norah include:


I think with the last name Sherman you can take Shiloh off the list. :-)

Anonymous said...

for a boy: Grant, Graham, Liam, Oscar, Oliver, Asher

Patricia said...

I looked at SSA's 2011 Top 1000 Names and Beyond the Top 1000 Names for names beginning with Jos- as possible more formal given names for "Josie" and came up with a list similar to that from BNW above.

In the SSA 2011 Top 1000:
Josephine - 1708 baby girls/rank #182
(Josie - 1228 girls/rank 256)
(Joanna - 965 girls/rank 326)
Joselyn - 859 girls/rank 369
Joslyn - 446 girls/rank 631

Beyond the Top 1000, there are NUMEROUS spellings of Joselyn (as well as many spellings for Jocelyn -- the derivative name for all of them), including these that were given to more than 100 girls:
Joslynn - 207 girls
Josilyn - 178
Joselin - 168
Joseline - 103

Further down the list are several non-Joselyn names that also begin with Jos-, including:
Josefina - 73 girls
Josephina - 72
Josette - 27
Josefa - 13
Joselle - 13
Josetta - 5

It's uncertain whether the Joselyn, Joslyn, etc. names are alternate spellings of Jocelyn and pronounced that way (Joss-, not Jos -) or if the girls given these names are called 'JO -s- lyn' in order to provide a more formal-sounding given name for the nickname Josie. Most likely there are some girls with each pronunciation -- and for those with nicknames, some are "Josie" while others are "Joss".

According to, Joselyn, the most frequent spelling of this name, is a variant of Jocelyn and pronounced the same way, with the usual diminutive "Joss":
GENDER: Feminine
USAGE: English (Modern)
Variant of JOCELYN
VARIANTS: Jocelin, Jocelyn, Josceline, Josslyn

Because the other daughters in this family have traditional names with traditional spellings, I don't think using Joselyn to get to "Josie" is a good match.

Josefina is problematic too because it's a Spanish language name, correctly pronounced 'ho-se-FEE-nah'. Again, not a good fit with Amelia and Norah.

It seems to me that either Josephine or Joanna -- both traditional English language names --, would be the best way to both get to the nn "Josie" and coordinate well with Amelia and Norah

Patricia said...

I'm rethinking Josie as a given name: I just checked the SSA website and see that Josie as a given name is an "ever-present" name, steadily in the SSA Top 1000 from 1880 (when it ranked 116, its peak) through 2011 (rank 256). Josie was in the top 500 names through 1949, when the name's popularity waned for several decades, declining to its lowest rank of #851 in 1987. In 1994 Josie returned to the top 500 and the name's popularity has been steadily increasing since then.

With this long history of use as a given name, it would seem that Josie can be seen as a traditional American name in its own right, similar to Julie which is also an ever-present name and very often used as a given name (ranking #10 in 1971).

So a more formal given name may not be needed after all. I prefer Joanna Louise "Josie", but "Josie Louise" would be "traditional" too and thus fit fine with your other girls' names.

Lucy Bea said...

Hmm, what about something like Juliet Louise Sherman, with Josie as a nickname for Juliet Louise. I think Josie is a bit of a stretch for Juliet on its own but with Louise, to me at least, it makes sense as a short-hand for both names. Jet/Jett is another very cool nickname for Juliet. I do really love Juliet with your other daughters' names.

Chris said...

I have a 13 month old Charlie (full name Charles) and I absolutely love it with your Amelia and Norah. We get compliments everywhere we go on his name. I think people are pleasantly surprised how not old-man it sounds on him and is not a made up name. I'm so, so happy with it. We've yet to encounter another, also.

Alex said...

Oh my gosh, please please call her Junie Lou as a nn! A-dor-a-ble.