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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby Girl Miller, Sister to Harley Anne

Lindsay writes:
I hope you can help us. We are expecting our 2nd daughter in February 17. She will join big sister Harley Anne and likely complete our family. Our surname is Miller and flows with most names which is nice.
A quick history on Harley. Both of her names are honor family names. Harley is my husband's grandfather and Anne is my sister's middle name. My sister named her daughter after our grandfather and my middle name (Ashton Brooke.) Very neat for the cousins to share this-named after great grandfathers and aunts. When I got pregnant I was immediately sure of 3 things:
1. I was having a boy.
2. We weren't telling potential names to our families.
3. If by some crazy chance it was a girl, she would be Emma Claire.
Then in the excitement of sharing pregnancy news with my family, I blurted out the girl name: Emma Claire since I wouldn't be using it...Big Mistake. They hated that Emma was so popular, they did love Claire, blah, blah. Of course then I found out I was having a girl and all they said for the rest of the pregnancy was "no Emma!" We had developed Harley Anne as our back-up name and now love it and couldn't imagine our daughter as anything else. We call her by a mix of both Harley and Harley Anne as I do like double names.
If we were having a boy this time around he would be Henry Thomas, not because Henry and Harley go so well together, which they do, but because both are family names and with names that have potential nicknames I have to like the nickname and I do like Hank. The problem for Baby Sister is that we are out of family names that we both love. My husband likes the idea of Mary as our 3 Grandmothers (one on mine and both on husband) were Mary, but Mary Miller is slightly sing-songy for me and it doesn't work with Claire without sounding like the magazine and I have come to love Claire. Nevertheless, I wanted to support  him so I identified Belle as a possible middle name with a family history (my great grandmother.) I keep coming back to Emma Claire but Emma continues to be so popular and the family story may have ruined it for me. What if she heard that and thought her name wasn't special? I love Audrey Claire and Audrey is a family name on my side, unique and goes with Harley. Of course husband doesn't love Audrey.
We definitely don't want a Harper, Harlow or any of the other popular H names. And if we aren't using Emma due to the popularity of it I would just as soon stay away from the other top ten of Isabelle, Sophia, etc. I could use Claire as the first name but struggling with a middle name to accompany.
So our options as they stand: Emma Claire; Mary Belle; and Audrey Claire with each of us pulling for one and my family rooting against the one we both like and keep coming back to.
Help us so Harley's baby sister can have a name of her own! Any suggestions welcome!

When I read that you like Emma and Mary, the name Emery/Emory came to mind. Emory Claire Miller; Harley and Emory.

Since you were considering Henry for a boy, I wonder if you would like Henrietta for a girl? It has the nicknames Henry and Hattie and Etta and Hennie. Harley Anne and Etta Claire, perhaps.

Mary seems like such a startling style change from Harley. And I agree: putting it with Claire immediately brings the magazine to mind. But I love that one name could honor three grandmothers! And the magazine isn't a negative association. But it's too bad I can't add "And the two names will hardly ever be said together, either." Hm. Mary and Claire share the same middle sound; I wonder if Mary could take the middle name slot instead of Claire, or if that would be too painful at this point? Mary coordinates so well with Harley's middle name Anne. But it doesn't settle into the middle name position as well as Claire does. Well, it's a dilemma.

Do you have any more grandfather names to consider?

Your family would likely come around to the name Emma, but I agree that the name story is one that would require some spin (or ideally silence, but your family sounds quite vocal). And as with the name Mary, the name Emma seems a bit startling after the name Harley. I wonder if you'd like a variation such as Emlyn? Harley Anne and Emlyn Claire.

Or Emerson? Harley Anne and Emerson Claire.

Or Emberley: Harley Anne and Emberley Claire. The spelling Emberly was slightly more popular in the U.S. in 2011, according to the Social Security Administration: 62 Emberlys and only 15 Emberleys. I prefer Emberley because of the connection to the artist Ed Emberley. There's also Emberleigh, which makes me think of Everleigh/Everly. Harley Anne and Everly Claire. With all these options, though, the double -rley endings might be too much. Maybe Emberlyn instead? Harley Anne and Emberlyn Claire.

Audrey has been increasing in popularity (it was #43 in 2011), but Audra is still uncommon (not in the top 1000 in 2011). Harley Anne and Audra Claire.


Kim said...

Because Harley is a unisex name, and sounds surnamey to me, I would be looking at other names with a similar feel.


I also urge you to use Mary as it has such family significance.

Taylor Mary
Kendall Mary

Although, Claire is such a pretty name. Avery Claire perhaps?

Love Harley Anne by the way!

All the best!

Lucy said...

You are so lucky to have such usable names in your family tree-- Belle, Mary, Audrey, Henry! I would try to convince your husband that Audrey is awesome, because it is, and then name her Audrey!

Anonymous said...

I was going to be an Avery Rose, so I wonder if you'd like that combination? Avery Claire as already suggested is lovely though and stylistically similar to Harley. I liked Swistle's suggestion of Emory! I don't know where you live, but there is an Emerson epidemic in Texas otherwise I'd be behind that one too. I know no less than 12 baby Emerson/syns and only 2 Emmas if that puts localized popularity in perspective! I think however you're leaning, I'd be inclined to suggest a name that works with Harley Anne. I like the pattern of her name so much, unisex first with classic, feminine middle. For firsts I might also suggest Briarly, Briony and Avalee

StephLove said...

I like how the suggestion Emory combines sounds from Emma and Mary and fits wit the style of Harley.

But it seems a bit too far from Mary to really be an honor name and three grandmothers, that seems almost too good to pass up.

Maybe a name derived from Mary-- Mariah, Marina, something like that. Marina Claire is lovely.

JenniferB said...

This one hits close to home for me. I have four daughters and each of their names (first and middle) are family names. It was hugely important to me to use the name Mary with my fourth daughter, as it honors 3 Marys (including my grandmother and MIL), but especially because it honors my beloved Great Aunt Mary who was still living at age 104 at the time I was pregnant. I didn't really want to use Mary as a first name, as I wanted my girl to have her own identity separate from my MIL, but Mary can be difficult as a middle name; it just doesn't seem to fit well with most names. Then, we considered a double name of Mary with my Aunt's maiden name (also my maiden name) and with a couple of other family names. Nothing felt right enough and our third daughter uses a double name.

In the end, we returned to a name I had always liked and that had come up in the process over the years. It is ironically close to Emma, so I share this with the thought that our daughter's name might be a fit for your daughter as well. Our last names are vastly different, but I still see this working for you:

Emmeline Mary

Emmeline Mary Miller
Emmeline Miller

Most of our family, my daughter's teachers, and her sisters all call her Emme, so

Emme Miller

Emme and Harley
Harley and Emme

While I certainly considered my children's names together, I've never believed that sibling names need to work perfectly together, as children only live in the same house for a short portion of their lives. As an adult, our names must stand alone in business and personal lives and most people we meet never know the names of our siblings. However, I really like Emme and Harley together.

We did consider different versions of Mary and I wonder if you might like Claire Marie or Marilyn Claire (Mari or Mary for short)? I believe that Marilyn is the dimuitive of Mary, so "little Mary" which makes it perfect for a new Mary named after another.

Good luck!

Erin said...

If you're open to Claire as a first name, why not just flip-flop the original choice and do Claire Emma?

Or Claire Marie (still honors the grandmothers, doesn't have the magazine connotation [to me, anyway, even though it's actually MORE like the magazine!], and doesn't have the emphasis on the first/A syllable in both names)?

Or Claire Elizabeth?

Maybe this is cheesy as it ties your daughters' names together, but what about Marianne Claire?

Or Molly Claire? Molly is a nickname for Mary.

Or Brianna? (To separate from your older daughter's naem you could go with the -ah sound -- Bri-ah-na.) Brianna Claire is really pretty.

Liz said...

How about Maribel? (Or Maribelle, etc)

Maribel Claire. So pretty!

Brigid said...

Mary Belle works really sweetly as a double first name.
Mary Belle Claire Miller.

Mary Belle and Harper.

Brigid said...

Shoot! I meant to type Mary Belle and Harley, of course.

Frondly said...

I like the --a ending of Emma before Miller. This made me think of other names ending in A:


I like Belle as a middle name and Claire, too.

Although, honestly, I think Emma Claire is so pretty, and you should use the name you both love!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My first thought was Henrietta. In addition to Swistle's list of nicknames I will add Hettie. Henrietta Claire or Henrietta Mary (one of the few names that actually sounds good with Mary as a middle name).

Instead of Mary, maybe a Mary variant like Miriam? Miriam Claire called Mimi, Miri or Mira? Very different style than Harley, but I think it can be overlooked because of the family meaning.

Instead of Claire, you might find Clara easier to pair with a middle name. Clara Audrey perhaps?

Or what about Gemma Claire instead of Emma?b

Anonymous said...

I second Maribelle! It was my first thought reading this post :) Maribelle Audra Miller sounds divine!

Anonymous said...

Rosemary is a version of Mary that flows slightly more easily as a middle name.

Carolyn said...

I think Emmerson and Harley are great sibling names! Emmie and Harley sound great together. I also like:

Lashley said...

I like the suggestion of Gemma Claire and Swistle's Emory Claire. Or McKenna Claire.

Putting Claire as the first what about Claire Maribelle (or Marybelle if you want the full Mary in there)?

Elizabeth said...

What about Mary Emma?

Eva.G said...

I agree that the names you mentioned above seem startling compared with Harley. I don't think sibling sets have to be matchy-matchy, but I do think it draws attention when the styles are so drastically different. Even though I really do love Mary!

Here are some names I think go better with Harley.

Ainsley; Harley and Ainsley.
Beatrix; Harley and Beatrix.
Ever; Harley and Ever.
Or Everleigh; Harley and Everleigh.
Finley or Finlay; Harley and Finlay.
Honor; Harley and Honor.
Juniper; Harley and Juniper.
Juno; Harley and Juno.
Piper is a great suggestion! Harley and Piper.
Sonnet; Harley and Sonnet.
Story; Harley and Story.
Waverly; Harley and Waverly.
Willow; Harley and Willow.
Winslow; Harley and Winslow.

My favorites are Juniper, Piper, and Willow. Love them! :-)

Anonymous said...

I also think Harley and most of the names you identified are just so very different stylistically that it is a bit startling, with the exception of Audrey. Harley and Audrey seem to match up a bit more than say, Harley and Emma. However, they are all lovely names and if you love one, just use it and forget what other people think!

With Emma, Mary, Audrey, Claire, and Belle being names you love, here are some additional ideas:

Mary- Maryse, Mariel, Marin
Audrey - Aubrey, Ariel, Auden
Claire - Clary, Cecily,
Belle - Bellamy, Bronwen, Blair, Bryony
Emma - Elowen, Elodie, Amity

I like the sound of Harley Anne and Bellamy Claire.


What about your maiden name? Or a variation of your first name? Linden? Harley and Lindy?

Another Erin from the 80s said...

I also think you should consider Claire as a first name because it sounds like you love it. Or Clara to get the a ending like Emma. I also thought of Betsy, but then you get BM as the initials. I like the sing-songy Mary miller.

Rita said...

This is why we need to really think ahead when we name our first children. In this case Harley is so different in style from your other favourites that it makes it really hard to make a coherent sibset. If you use Emma, Mary, or Audrey now either this girl will feel bad that she has an oldfashioned, girly name or Harley will resent she got the trendy, androgynous one.

Instead of Emma:
Harley Anne & Ember Claire
Harley Anne & Emer Claire
Harley Anne & Embry Claire
Harley Anne & Emmette Claire
Harley Anne & Embeth Claire
Harley Anne & Emerald Claire

Insteady of Audrey:
Harley Anne & Audley Claire
Harley Anne & Auden Claire
Harley Anne & Aubrey Claire
Harley Anne & Amery Claire
Harley Anne & Avely Claire
Harley Anne & Hadley Claire
Harley Anne & Austen Claire

Instead of Mary
Harley Anne & Maren Belle
Harley Anne & Maira Belle
Harley Anne & Maris Claire
Harley Anne & Marlowe Claire
Harley Anne & Maryse Belle
Harley Anne & Mallory Belle
Harley Anne & Madeley Belle
Harley Anne & Miley Belle

And some more light, surnamey names you might like:
* Bellamy
* Bonamy
* Darby
* Delaney
* Ellery
* Fleury
* Henley
* Kembry
* Kemmery
* Maxey
* Quinney
* Romilly
* Selby
* Sibely
* Waverly
* Willacy

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of Audra (and then saw that Swistle suggested it, too) and wonder if your husband would consider it. Audra Claire is lovely.

Anonymous said...

My brain went to Presley as a sister name.

Erin said...

Mae Belle
Mia Claire

What about Paige?

Anonymous said...

I loved the name Emma, but my husband did not. I also did not like how popular it had become. We chose to use the name Emmeline. Her nickname is Emmy. I love that it is unique and everyone that we meets is interested in her name and most people have never heard of it before. Just a suggestion!

rachel said...

What about using Mary as the first name, and a more androgynous or unique middle name but having her go by her middle name? Mary Arden "Arden and Harley" etc.

Or you could go with 3 names Mary Arden Claire Miller (Mac? for androgynous nn?)

What about Emary Claire? A nod to Mary but pronounced like Emory.

I like a lot of the name suggestions in above comments as well -- I just thought there could possibly be some other types of creative solutions. :) Good luck! Harley Anne is so pretty, whatever you choose will be great!