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Friday, December 14, 2012

Baby Boy or Girl Mack; Names That are Like Addison

Rachel writes:
My sister has been following your blog for quite some time. I recently learned that my husband and I are expecting our first child in May. As someone who has always been fascinated by names, I am surprised by how difficult this decision has been. We do not know the gender yet and plan to learn the gender at a family gender reveal party in the coming weeks.

Our last name is Mack, yet some of my favorite names begin with an M (Mason and Macy) though we are trying to avoid alliterative names.

We would love to honor close family members who have since passed on with variations of their names-- Carl, Eleanor, and William.

You may notice from our short list that we prefer unique names as opposed to the very common names such as Michael, David, Jennifer, and Katie.

Some of our top names for boys are:


Some of our top names for girls are:


Also, I love Addison but wouldn't use it as a colleague has used that name recently. I wonder what names are similar to Addison...

Many thanks,

Ah! I think the first thing we should tackle is the concept of unique/common names. Jennifer and David, for example, are RAMPANT among parents but practically unknown among the wee set. Meanwhile, Mason was the second most common name for U.S. baby boys in 2011.

It can be difficult to make this switch---to think of the common names from our own peer group (Jennifer, Michelle, Jessica, Brian, Jason) as "the Mom and Dad Names." It can lead to unpleasant shocks: how can it be that when we'd never met one single Charlotte in our whole lives, our daughter is going by Charlotte M. because there are two in her class this year? We'd have been better off if we'd named her Jennifer: there isn't a single one of those in the entire school (except for half a dozen of the staff)!

Do you have friends with children in daycare or preschool? Those class lists can be very helpful for seeing what people are currently naming babies in your area. Or you can browse The Social Security Administration's baby name web site, which is great for finding a name's current standing or for seeing how it's trending. For example, here's what Hudson and Addison have been doing recently:

(screen shot from The Social Security Administration)

(screen shot from The Social Security Administration)

Next, let's look for some names similar to Addison. Similarities can be subjective, so there may be some names on this list that won't seem similar to you at all---but it's a starting point. And I'm including some that won't work with your surname (the M ones, just for starters), because this seems like a good reference list for other parents as well:


Your lists look good to me. If it's mostly hard to PICK something, I suggest leafing through Baby Naming Advice for First-Time Parents to see if any of the advice applies. Sometimes it can help to make little mock groups of sibling names, to see which groups sound more like your family: is it easier to imagine being the parents to Camden, Riley, and Teagan, or to Caleb, Charlotte, and Nora? If you choose Riley for a daughter, does that rule out a very feminine name such as Charlotte for a future daughter? and if so, which style do you prefer?

I notice a lot of -son names on your list: Mason, Hudson, Anderson, Addison. And then I added some more to the like-Addison list. If you plan to have more than one child, and if you would rather not duplicate endings, this is an area where I'd suggest spending some time making sure you're using your very favorite of the -son names.

Because you like the name Mason and Caleb, I might add Cason. Maybe Cason William Mack.

Instead of Macy, I wonder if you'd like Lacey or Darcy or Lucy?

And as with the -son issue, if you choose Keegan, that rules out Teagan and vice versa. Which would you prefer to use? Or would you want to consider Reagan or Regan for a girl? Elena and Nora are both similar to the honor name Eleanor; would you want to use Eleanor as the name and one/both of those as nicknames?

A baby-naming tactic I use is to make some lists, as you have---but then wait until I know the sex of the baby before getting serious. I find it very clarifying to be dealing with only one set of names, and with a baby who now seems more vivid to me as a little boy or as a little girl. (And then if there is a surprise at delivery, you still have the other list to work with.)


Anonymous said...

As always, Swistle has given some great advice. I do think you should look at the name stats for all of your names though-I think you'll be surprised at just how common/popular some of them are right now. But maybe by common you aren't talking about actual numbers? I've heard some people use the description "common" for names that I would call "traditional", even if those names haven't been particularly common in a long time.

From your list, I really like Caleb, Gavin & Anderson for boys and Charlotte, Elena & Nora for girls. I do agree with Swistle that just using Eleanor with the nickname Elena or Nora seems like a great answer for you. & no, it is't an "old lady" name. Check out the stats on Eleanor, it's actually getting more use than you might realize.

Swistle's names like Addison list is very good. I only have one to add-Adelaide.

Anonymous said...

I noticed you like the name Brynn alongside some longer names. I wonder if you'd like Brynlee? You have a lot of C names on your list so I'm also going to suggest Carys for a girl. As Swistle said, a lot of the names you like are popular for the coming generation, but even the most popular names won't be quite the epidemic that Jennifer was.
I like a lot of your boy choices, but I think I prefer the longer Anderson with your last name. Harrison is another surname-name that is making a comeback, at least where I live. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Because you like Mason and want to perhaps honor a Carl- Carson for a boy?
Caroline for a girl is close-ish to Carl and is one of my favorite names!

Anonymous said...

I have a son named Edison which is similar to Addison.

StephLove said...

I like Carl, Eleanor and William as is, without needing to use a variant (and what a lovely sibling group that would be), but I also like how Charlotte, Elena and Nora from your list work them in.

I like most of the names on your list but Caleb and Riley especially. Other than avoiding M names, Mack's a great surname to work with because it sounds good with almost everything.

How about Ada or Adele instead of Addison?

StephLove said...

Oh, yes, Caroline from one of the comments above, would be very pretty.

Anonymous said...

Anderson Mack is fantastic for a boy!

Anderson Riley Mack?

For a girl I really like Elena. I suggest Helena pn Hel-n-ah too.

Elena Brynn
Helena Brynn

I love the name Caroline also.

Good luck!

Kanah said...

I would just steer clear of names ending in M and names ending with a vowel, for the most part. I like your list. How about Annalee or Ainsley? I like Carter Mack for a boy, too. Perhaps you'd like Harris for a boy. Good luck!

Gail said...

Even though Mack is an easy name to combine phonetically, it does raise issues I'd want to be aware of as a parent.

For a daughter, I would tend to want to choose a more feminine name because your surname sounds like a fairly common boys' nickname. So, Riley Mack, say, would leave a daughter with a name that was not only unisex, but one that would "read" masculine.

A similar but different situation is apparent for a son. Because Mack could be a given first name, or nickname, some names that flow very well with Mack but have a surname lineage could inadvertently create instances when it was unclear which name was the first, and which one the last. Anderson Mack, say, does have really great flow, But in some situations, someone could assume his name to be Mack Anderson. Choosing a boys' name that isn't also a surname would make this kind of mix-up far less likely. (Though I see that you strongly favor surnames as first names for boys--so this might prove tricky for you).

Anonymous said...

How about -

Anderson Carl Mack
Alexander Riley Mack
Gavin Anderson Mack

Adelaide Riley Mack
Adelie Nora Mack
Airlie Charlotte Mack

Good luck!

Melody said...

Wow, it is so exciting to be surprised by a post on Swistle Baby Names from someone I know! All the luck and locw in the world to you, Mrs. Mack. :)

Melody said...

That would be love, LOVE, not locw! I am so excited for your family!