So...apparently we are very indecisive people when it comes to names. There are so many names I love I find it hard to discard anything off our list until I’m sure it doesn’t fit. Needless to say, this has left us with way too many possibilities! Your blog helped us name our first daughter, Eliza Cynthia, now 3, and we have been extremely happy. It was a hands down favorite of yours and your commenters, and that was all the encouragement we needed to pull the trigger. We get compliments on her name all the time. Now we are expecting our second in early March and are seeking guidance once again. Gender will be a surprise, which of course makes the name choosing a bit harder. I don’t believe that there is one perfect name out there for any given child, but I do want to have it narrowed down to a handful of possibilities before the baby is actually born!
There is really only one condition we have to stick to which is that the middle name will be Dow no matter what the sex (family name, usually given to first born son, but seeing as how we may never have a son…). Other than that we are open. Our last name is Edgerton…rather long and sometimes difficult to pronounce (think edge, as in edge of a sword rather than Edgarton or Eggerton, which we get a lot). As you will see from our lists I’m not sure we have a clear favorite when it comes to naming styles. Name popularity bothers me less for boys names than for girls names, but in either case a name being popular is not a deal breaker for us. I would be interested to hear if you can detect a theme and then identify those names that don’t seem to fit--this would be a hint to me that they made the list because they are interesting rather than “our style”.
Anyway, without further ado, here are our (already extensively culled) lists:
Hazel (current front-runner)
Gwenyth (nn Gwen; husband doesn’t like)
Josephine (another favorite, nn Joey)
Campbell (nn Benny…don’t know why, but this makes perfect sense in my head)
Aila (another favorite)
Jacob (nn Jack; current front-runner and a family name…yes I realize its uber popular)
Asa (another favorite)
Alexander (another favorite)
Thanks in advance!
Oh, what a fun request! I can see this as a regular feature called "Cull My List!" Okay, if I were culling your lists, here's how I'd do them (in my own order of favorite):
Here's what I did: I paired each name with Eliza, but also looked at the group of names to see which ones stood out as likely style outliers. So for example, in the girl name list, Amy is the only one that feels like a Mom Name, and Campbell and Hadley are modern boyish surname names in a sea of traditionally female first names. I took out Aila because "Aila and Eliza" seem very similar to me: Aila is almost like just removing the Z from Eliza. And yet Aila is also too DISsimilar with Eliza, reminding me of more modern names such as Kayla. I also took out Gwenyth because your husband doesn't like it. And so on.
Then I tried each name with the surname. Most of them were fine with the surname, but when I said them all at once in a list, I noticed that some seemed better than others. Alexander Edgerton seems like I went on saying it for quite a long time; it reminded me of Laura Wattenberg's remark in her book The Baby Name Wizard that she liked the name Kennedy but that Kennedy Wattenberg sounded "like someone falling down stairs." Owen Edgerton feels like it runs together. Logan Edgerton seems like the non-matching G's would make it even more difficult to get people to pronounce the surname correctly. And so on: all of these would be completely fine if you used them, but the goal was to cull so I erred on the side of culling.
Sometimes I ended up putting names back on. For example, I took out Josephine and Nathaniel for being too long, and Anna for being a bit run-together with the surname---but then I put them both back in because of how well I thought both names went with Eliza and how minor the other issues seemed in comparison to that. And then when I was re-reading the lists, Josephine and Nathaniel didn't seem too long anyway, and Anna seemed rather striking with the surname, and anyway this is what makes my own lists end up LONGER when I'm done.
I also took out Simone just because I felt like it didn't fit the list somehow, but then when I tried it with Eliza I was kind of blown away by that combination: Eliza and Simone! Now that's probably my favorite of the girl names. It is not perhaps ideal with the middle name Dow, but I didn't take that much into consideration: since the middle name is absolutely set, I assumed that all the names on your lists were acceptable to you with the middle name.
I probably would have eliminated Hazel if it weren't a front-runner. It has five letters like Eliza, and four of the five are duplicate letters, and the matching Z's were immediately noticeable. These issues could make the names beautifully matched, or could really put the pressure on if you might need to name a third child.
One thing that's fun about having someone else cull a list is that their choices can reveal to you your own preferences: if your heart sank at seeing I culled a particular name, that might mean it should be immediately UNculled.
Would anyone else like to try their hand at culling the lists?