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Monday, January 7, 2013

Baby Girl Lemon, Sister to Lily, Jack, Abram, and Alice

Sarah writes:
Hi!! My sister sent me the link to your website and I am really intrigued (she actually chose a private consultation just the other night). I am pregnant with my fifth child- a little girl due in early May. At a loss about what to name her! I know what I like, and I will share those names with you after I list her siblings (our last name is kind of like Lemon, but not a noun):

Eldest to youngest: Lily Ana Lemon, Jack Price Lemon (his middle name is my maiden name), Abram "Abe" Sims Lemon (his middle name is his great grandfathers name), and Alice Clare Lemon.

I love the fact that all of their names are old-fashioned. They go together especially well when listed without their middle names (Lily, Jack, Abe & Alice). Obviously, I would like another older name (and I prefer a name that is less common than Lily and Jack, which have become very over-used these days).

Some of my favorites are as follows: Mae with middle name Marguerite (Marguerite is my grandmother's name), Clara (but it may be too close to Alice's middle name), Estelle, Rose (but I wonder if it is wrong to name only two of the girls after flowers), Rosie, Mimi... I think you get the idea! My great-aunt's name was Heartcease (which I hate) but we called her "Aunt Heart" which I love, but "Heart" is just too free-spirited to go with my other names.

Some other names we like:
-Evelyn (but just read it is number 24 in the US! I know you say not to focus on that, but I do have a fear of another lily/jack explosion!)
-I like Eleanor-- hubby thinks it is ok.
-I am not a huge fan of Mabel but for se reason Seth is ok with it! He also likes Isabel, but I don't think it goes with the rest so I threw it out as an option.
-my paternal grandmother's name is Joyce and I like the name, but most people think it is toooo old lady to use.
-I like Ellen- Seth doesn't.
-we both love Annie, but three 'A' names in a row?
-Alice's nickname is "birdie" which I love, but obviously takes Birdie out of the running.
-my mom's name is Sally which is so cute, but I'm on the fence about naming the last after the grandmother...

We already have vetoed the following (due to family members / close friends having the name- or because we don't like them for another reason):
-Adelyn, Addison (or any other spelling)
-Avery, Ella, Ava

Just last night, Seth was telling me how much he loves Mae as a first name... Do you think it is going to explode a la Evelyn? And do you have any concerns about using it in the month of may? I thought something serious as a middle name might balance it - Mae Ellen?? I don't know!

We'd love help with first and middle combos!! Thanks soooo much.

If this is your last baby and your last chance to use the name Annie, I urge you to use it. I see what you mean about three A names in a row, but I think it's fine: the name Annie is wonderful with Lily and Alice, and you both love it, and I think in the long run those are going to feel like the important things. I might suggest using Anne or Anna (or maybe even Annabel?) as the given name and Annie as the nickname, to give her more flexibility if she ends up with a job later on where she'd like something less friendly-sounding: I can picture being, say, a trial lawyer or a professor, and not wanting to have to introduce myself as Annie. (I realize choosing Anna bumps into Lily's middle name, but I think that's another "okay in the long run"/"especially when there are more than the usual number of children" sort of thing.) Combinations:

Anna Beatrix
Anna Evelyn
Anna Frances (I like the repeated sound, but it's a subjective sort of thing)
Anna Heart (I see what you mean about it sounding a little free-spirited, but fine for the middle name, and with a good explanation for it)
Anna June
Anna Joy(ce)
Anna Kate
Anna Rose
Anna Ruth
Anna Sophia

Anne Celeste
Anne Elena
Anne Elise (I like how this goes together, like Anneliese, which reminds me of Lily Ana / Lilliana)
Anne Eliza
Anne Heart (I like how this sounds like Aunt Heart, strengthening the connection)
Anne Louise
Anne Marguerite
Anne Rosemary
Anne Ruby

Annie Heart
Annie Joy
Annie Rose

I wanted to suggest Anna Mae but then realized it sounded like "anime"; I wanted to suggest Annie Mae but then realized it sounded like "Fannie Mae." Anne Estelle is so pretty, but Ann Estelle is the name of Mary Engelbreit's cartoon girl; I don't know if that's at all well-known or if it matters anyway. Maybe Anne Esther instead?

I also love Clara. As with Anna, I think it's not-ideal-and-yet-fine that it's close to a sister's middle name. Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Clara is so perfect. I especially like how the three girls all have different endings; sometimes it can be tricky with girl names to avoid too many -y/-ie or too many -a endings.

Clara Heart (I love this)
Clara Joy(ce)
Clara Mae
Clara Rose

If Eleanor is not quite right, I suggest Nora. Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Nora. Combinations:

Nora Belle (because of your husband liking Isabel)
Nora Heart
Nora Joy
Nora Mae
Nora Marguerite
Nora Rose

And if Clara is not quite right, I suggest Cora. I'd pair it with the same middle names as Nora, except not Heart because "cor" is the Latin root for heart.

If you love Mimi, I feel tempted to pressure you to use Miriam. It's such a pretty name, with such long roots---but so underused. Miriam "Mimi" Lemon. Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Mimi. Combinations:

Miriam Eve (too biblical-sounding?)
Miriam Heart
Miriam Joy(ce)
Miriam Mae
Miriam Rose

Evelyn has surprised me by becoming so popular. I might suggest Vivian instead: Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Vivi. But I think Vivian might follow right behind Evelyn, popularity-wise, because the sounds are so similar.

All the Ev/Av names might be too popular to consider, but I'm very fond of Eve, and so far it hasn't risen as much as the others (it was #546 in 2011). Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Eve. Combinations:

Eve Celeste
Eve Estelle (but EEL initials)
Eve Mabel
Eve Marguerite
Eve Rosabel
Eve Rosemary

I love the name Sally. We used a grandparent name for our fourth child after using non-honor first names for all the others, and I was worried it would seem weird, but it hasn't been a big deal. In fact, I ended up glad we'd done it for a later child rather than for, say, the first: it made the honor name less of a big deal, which is what I wanted since the other children weren't going to get them (and so other relatives didn't get their hopes up!). My one concern is that Sally might be too similar to both Lily and Alice---almost a combination of the two names (I had to say them aloud to notice it, since visually Alice doesn't announce its S sound).

It occurred to me that Sadie and Sally are both traditional nicknames for Sarah. If you named your daughter Sadie, you and she and your mother would have a strong, fun, 3-generation link. Sadie might make a good middle name if you don't like it as a first. Nora Sadie, Clara Sadie, Frances Sadie, Ruth Sadie?

Sadie Estelle
Sadie Mae
Sadie Joy(ce)
Sadie Louise
Sadie Rose

Sally also makes me think of Molly:

Molly Celeste
Molly Estelle
Molly Mae
Molly Marguerite
Molly Joy(ce)
Molly Rose

Tessa would be pretty. Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Tess. Combinations:

Tessa Joy
Tessa Mae
Tessa Noelle
Tessa Rose
Tessa Sally

Or I put Frances as a middle name for Anna, but I also like it on its own. Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Frannie.

Frances Estelle
Frances Evelyn
Frances Joy
Frances Rose

Or Josephine. Lily, Jack, Abe, Alice, and Josie.

Josephine Elena
Josephine Elise
Josephine Joy (I love this)
Josephine Noelle
Josephine Rose

An acquaintance of mine named a baby girl Ruth several years ago, and I've been surprised at what an adorable name it is, especially with the nickname Ruthie.

Ruth Eleanor
Ruth Eliza
Ruth Estelle
Ruth Evelyn
Ruth Louise

It's so hard to predict name popularity---I would never have though Evelyn would get so popular, and just LOOK at it! But if I HAD to guess, I'd guess that Mae will follow more the path of the name Rose: becoming quite popular and familiar as a middle name, but still unusual and fresh as a first name. Right now, Mae is just barely in the Top 1000 (the spelling May has been out of the Top 1000 for three decades now), so the name is still very uncommon; even if it gets popular later on, it won't be common among her peers.

Using it in the month of May appeals to me, but I could see how someone might get weary of it: I had a co-worker named April who got tired of being asked if she'd been born in April, and also got tired of the jokes during the month of April. I suspect the spelling Mae would significantly reduce this sort of issue. And on the flip side, my mom and I read a book with sisters who all had birth-month names, and they said they felt like their entire birth-month was their birthday. Mae Ellen is pretty---Southern charm! I also love Mae Marguerite from your first email. Or I like Mae Frances, or Mae Ruth, or Mae Estelle, or Mae Louise. Or you could do Mae Belle or Mae Bella, to approximate Mabel.

Edited to add: Sarah asked if we could do a poll for these combinations: Eve Amelia, Ruby Louise, Ruby Clementine, Ruth Estelle, Ruth Amelia, Annie Louise. I'll put a poll over to the right.  [Poll closed; see results below.]


Anonymous said...

I would have voted for the last option if it was Anne instead of Annie. I don't think Annie is enough for a given name, even though I love it as a nickname. Instead I voted for Eve Amelia, but I like Eve Louise even better.

Anonymous said...

I love the middle name Heart especially for the family connection. So sweet. I knew a girl growing up with the middle name Dove and everyone called her Dovey. Reminds me of Heart.

StephLove said...

I'm still trying to decide how to vote because I like all the options (though I'd prefer Anna or Anne to Annie), but I was sorry to see Mae go. I really liked that one. I would want to know how close to Lemon the surname is before deciding about Clementine as a middle. I love it, but if the name calls Lemon to mind it might be a tad too citrusy.

nikkirm said...

How about Annalise with the nickname Annie? Annalise Mae?

Anonymous said...

I would personally let Annie go because of the three As in a row (and because Ana is already your oldest daughter's middle name)--since the two you already have are the two youngest, that sets up a pattern that makes me think there is is a link between the youngest three that the oldest two aren't part of (e.g., second marriage) and it sounds like that's not the case. Like others, I agree that an Annie should formally be an Anna or Anne or Anneliese, etc., and you've already used Ana. Unless it's the one name you have your heart set on, I'd choose one of the other great names on your list.

How about Maeve? This is one of my favorites, and I don't hear it too often; it's a little more name than Mae if you're concerned about that. Maeve Eleanor? Maeve Marguerite? Alternatively, you could do a twist on an honor name and use Margaret as the first name, which goes beautifully with your other children's names and brings with it a huge array of possible M nicknames.

Lucy said...

I LOVE your naming style! I liked every single one of the names you mentioned! Funny thing- I have an aunt who has a Sarah (nn Sally), Alice, and a Marguerite (nn Daisy). Marguerite is french for Daisy I believe- maybe do Marguerite as a first name and call her Daisy-- much like Rose/Rosie, but her actual name wouldn't be the flower name- just the nickname- so that you wouldn't be bothered by 2 flower names. Just a thought. I also love the name Ruby, but I wonder if it is too popular? I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the names you have mentioned though-- all lovely!

Sarah said...

Thank you all for taking the time to reply! I am soaking it all up. While I love the name Annie, I am not in love with Anne or Anna (and my own middle name is Anne!)- I also agree that it sounds like a second family with three "A" names after the first two ("L" and "J")...

StephLove- my last name doesn't evoke thoughts of citrus (although I would love if it did!) but I can totally see why that would alter your opinion of Clementine!! I love Mae, too- but I already (personally) know 4 people who have named their daughters Mae in the last year or so. :(

Lucy- we DO have amazingly similar naming style. Baby number 4 (Alice) was going to be Daisy!! It literally came down to Alice and Daisy. But I had NO idea Marguerite meant Daisy!!!! As for Ruby- my one concern is the rising popularity. It seems to be the name most of my friends gravitate toward, but I am pretty sure it is only because they've started hearing it more & more.

Ruth seems to be the name generally liked the least, and for that reason alone- I'm really considering it! To me, "Ruthie" (as Swistle suggested), seems ADORABLE for a little girl. I would like to pair it with a softer, more feminine middle name to counter the "harshness" of the sound. I also find myself warming to Eve... decisions!!!!!

Crafty Beth said...

I was thinking as I read that Mae makes a great nickname for Mabel--Mabel gives you the more unique old-fashioned name, but still the option to call her Mae if it doesn't end up feeling too popular to you! Personally, I don't know any little Maes or Mabels, but I do know little Rubys and Eves.

Patricia said...

I think Ruth is the best choice for you. Ruth is the least popular -- a solid 362 in the SSA Top 1000 names for 2011 -- and unlikely to suddenly get extremely popular, while Eva ranked 83 in 2011 and Ruby ranked 109 and is headed for the top 100 girls names too. Ruby has been very popular in other English speaking countries, especially in Australia as I recall, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it continue to climb. As for the middle name, I think either Amelia or Estelle works well -- whichever one has a special connection or feel for you. "Ruthie" would be a darling name for the baby of your family -- similar to your "Annie" but far less common and also not adding a third A-name to your sibling set.

I also want to suggest that you reconsider Mabel, with the nickname Maisie or Maisy. I know someone who is planning to name her daughter this, and I think it would go well with your other kids' names too. Neither Mabel nor Maisie is in the Top 1000, and yet from 1880 (and most likely before) through 1922, Mabel was in the SSA top 100 names.

Patricia said...

Sarah, I just read your further comments above. I think the reason Eve and Ruby are doing better in the poll is that they're more in tune with today's naming styles. (Just noticed that you said Eve -- #546 -- and not Eva as I mentioned above. Yet with both Evelyn and Eva in the top 100, Eve ties in with them and feels like a presently trendy name.) You're right on target with seeing that Ruth is not an 'in' name at all at this time -- exactly what you're looking for. My friend Ruth (Ruth Ellen) is a grandma now and is still called "Ruthie" by her close friends.

Anonymous said...

I think Rose is just adorable and I don't see a problem at all with the two flower names.

Rose Eliza
Rose Marguerite
Rose Elise
Rose Cecilia
Rose Louisa

Rosa is also pretty.

Rosa Mae
Rosa Jane

Nell/Nelle is also cute nn Nellie

Nell Cecilia
Nell Marguerite

Carrie and Jane are great too. Jane is such an underused first name.

Jane Miriam nn Janie. Too cute!

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I voted Ruth Estelle. I would love that name for myself out of all the options. Ruthie as a childhood/family nickname and Ruth for business...and Estelle or Stella if I ever felt like changing things up! It's a beautiful combination. I'd urge you to use it, or at the very least Ruth paired with something.
Good luck, your children's names are lovely!

Anna m said...

I saw you have Elena as a middle name ALOT on your list why not make Elena a first name you seem to like it engulf to think about it that many times.

Sarah said...

You guys are great!
Patricia- I DO love Ruth the more I think about it. I don't love Mabel, though... Name images have so much to do with personal history, don't they? Mabel is my idea of a total grandmother name- but my husband thinks Marguerite and Joyce are complete grandmother names! Funny how personal perception is everything.

Anna M- I like Elena a lot, but I wouldn't like to explain (over and over again) how to pronounce it (and there seems to be a lot of room for interpretation there). I like it pronounced eh-LAY-nah, but not everyone will see it that way. I just think it just has a nice, feminine flow to it which makes it lovely for a middle name. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the name Nora (Nora Claire is my daughters name). Also like Lydia, Lola and Mae

Jennifer Kelly said...

I vote for first name of Miriam or Molly for your little one :) I also love relatively unpopular old fashioned names--I have three girls: Rosalyn Elisabeth, Caroline Grace, and Elaina Joy. Caroline is the most popular name of those three but I still love it. Rosalyn is my oldest and although I got a couple strange looks when I was pregnant with her over the name choice, I now get tons of compliments about her beautifully uncommon old fashioned name and it fits her perfectly:)

Jennifer Kelly said...

Also--I just saw your comment about the name Elena little one's name is spelled Elaina and we never have any problem with it being pronounced incorrectly!

Anonymous said...

My sister is Marguerite, named after our mother, Margaret. Our next girl will be Margaret. These names have lots of great nicknames - Peggy, Peg, Meg, Maggie, Marge, Madge, Margie, Rita, and (surprisingly)Nora.

I like Ruth with Abram, and Ruth has a wonderful biblical story. Ruth Heart is cute, but Ruth Eve might be too much Old Testament.

I also like June as a name. I love the name June Ellen. Or June Eleanor.

And what about Edythe or Edith? Edie as a nickname?

Best Wishes - Janinne

Sarah said...

Jennifer- I just noticed that! Somehow never even considered that, but it makes perfect sense phonetically!!

Thank you for the advice!

emp said...

Ruth Estelle is very cute. I think Cecilia and go be CeCe would be great with your other kids names. I like Amelia and call her Emmy or Mimi. My niece is Elaina Rose. Kate is a good middle name that is classic, that's my daughters ;)

Anonymous said...

What about Junia?

Anonymous said...

I know an Annie Louise and she is wonderful. Her parents call her Annie-Lou

Carolyn said...

Ruth is so cute on a little girl. What about Ruth Louise? Or if Joyce isn't quite right, what about Joy for the first name?

The Captain's Wife said...

and older name that I think goes well with your other's and is uncommon is Vera. Vera Anne? Vera Heart? Vera Mae? Vera was my great grandmother's name and I love love love it.

emp said...

Im sure you want to eliminate and not add more but how about Aida, Farrah, or Helen. Those are oldies but goodies! In my opinion one of the best parts of being preggo is playing with the names;) with our son we had two names we liked so it was easy. But with girls, oh the possibilities!

Gail said...

A vote for Ruth Estelle here! Or Ruth Amelia.....

Anonymous said...

I voted Ruby Louise only because I loved the nickname possibility. Ruby-Lou, how cute is that?!?!

Anonymous said...

My daughter's best friend in preschool was named Ruth and went by Ruthie. It was so unexpected, but really cute.

jess said...

I love Swistle's suggestion of Cora. Also wanted to throw out the suggestion of Annora.

Anonymous said...

I like Rachel, Constance, Annelise.

Mrs S said...

I agree that Mae might be getting a little popular. But not top 30...if that helps. I really love Ruth. NN Rue is sweet too.

Here are some names and combos you might like from my list. Since I like most of your names and your childrens names.:)

Amelia Mae
Camilla Bell ( maybe too close to Lily and you couldn't use Mille)
Luella Ruby nn Lou. Maybe too close to Lily too.)
Phoebe Adele
Eleanor Ruby
Lena Rosalie
Lena Clementine
Tessa Louise
Olive Amelia
Fiona Harper
Lydia Briar
Audrey Eve
Eva Josephine

Hope that helps.
I voted for Ruby Louise. I like the way it flows best. Annie Louise sounds nice too. I agree it is nicknamey but it is such a lovely name. I do really like Eve Amelia quite a bit. Amelia Eve is more my style.

Anonymous said...


Good luck!

Sarah said...

Thank you all SOOOOOO much for your input and encouragement! I think we've narrowed it down to Eve and Ruth, despite the fact (or due to the fact?) that they are the least popular! For some reason, when I think about this little girl, she just feels like an "Evie" or a "Ruthie"!! Plus, my 2-year-old is convinced her name is "Eebe" (Eve). It sounds so stinking cute coming out of her mouth.

Middle names are totally negotiable, but we are leaning toward one of the following:
Eve Helene, Eve Isabel, Eve Elise OR Ruth Helene, Ruth Elise...

We'll keep you posted on the final decision but will probably wait until we see the precious baby before we decide!

Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

How about Evangeline nn Eve?