This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Baby Boy or Girl M@ttia, Sibling to Camden and Avery; Avoiding Trendy Names

Elizabeth writes:
My name is Elizabeth Mary and my husband’s name is Christian Jack. Elizabeth and Christian, plain and simple, exactly what we didn’t want for our children. Our last name is M@ttia (pronounced mah-tee-uh). We have two children already whose names we absolutely fell in love with and fit them to a tee. Baby #3 is due March 27th, 2013 and we’re really hoping to go into the delivery room with two names.

Our (almost six(!) year old) son is Camden Jack, whose name we selected because of its uniqueness. But now, due to two celebrities selecting that name for their own children (one with the same exact name!), the name is on the rise which is exactly what my husband and I were trying to avoid. As of right now, he is the only Camden that we know of in his school, at soccer, etc., which is what we wanted, but now it looks like this will be changing in the future.

Our (21 month old) daughter is Avery Catherine, who is affectionately called “Avery Cate or Ava Cate” around our house and by friends and family. Now in our state, the name Avery is not popular at all, and both my husband and I never realized the popularity of it until we visited some family out east, and the amount of Avery’s in my nephew’s elementary school was astronomical.

So both of the names that we thought were so unique are both on the rise and were looking to not make the same mistake with baby #3. We want to choose a name that sounds fresh off the tongue, yet isn’t too “weird” of a name.

For boys, we’ve believed we’ve narrowed it down to two choices. When I was pregnant with Avery, our boy name was going to be Brayden Mark, but Brayden has climbed the charts rapidly over the past two years, so my husband and I both agreed to settle on something else. The two names that we have come to are extremely similar (almost rhyming), but we’re stuck on what to ultimately choose. Name #1 is  Bennett Mark and name #2 is Beckett James. We’re split 50/50 on the names and we’re hoping you could give us your opinion on the two names.

Now a girl’s name is where we come to some difficulty. We also have two names that we narrowed it down to, but both names don’t seem to be the right ones for us. Name #1 is Hadley Isabelle and name #2 is Lucia Aubrey "Luci or Lucie". Now, we love both names, but both are getting more popular with each passing day, and this is what we are trying to avoid. We’re open to suggestions if you have them.

Names that we've nixed for both genders include:
Caden, Landon, Ryder, Luca, Bria, Liliana, Reagan and Brooks

Please help us Swistle. We're very open to your suggestions, along with your readers.  We wouldn't be asking for help if we didn't need it. We understand that you have an abundance of e-mails to answer, and you don't know how much we would appreciate if you answered ours.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Here is what I think is making you stuck: you want to avoid trendy, common names, but your tastes are absolutely on-trend. Every single name you like, every single sound you're attracted to, is what is in style right this minute. What it comes down to in these cases is which is more important to you: a name that fits your preferences for unique, or a name that fits your tastes?

If you want a name that fits your preferences, you'll have to look among names that aren't in style, which may mean finding a name that you don't like as much. That's not a route that makes much sense to me. I'd suggest instead the route of Going With It: you love on-trend names, and this baby will have two siblings with on-trend names, so I'd suggest going with what you love. Do you love the name Brayden? It hasn't climbed rapidly in the last two years: it's climbed rapidly in the last twenty. Beckett and Bennett are following right on its heels:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

Of the three, Bennett is the best bet for avoiding trendiness: Brayden didn't appear in the Top 1000 until 1991 (though we have Braden as far back as 1970) and Beckett not until 2006, but Bennett has been in the Top 1000 since 1880 (the first year we have online records for). It still has a current sound, and it's surnamey like the sibling names, but it's not a modern invention.

(With all three names, I like how your children's initials would then be A, B, and C.)

For comparison, here are the charts for Camden and Avery:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

Camden and Avery hit the Top 1000 for the first time in 1990 and 1989, respectively, and then made fast progress from there. The comforting thing about the Camden chart is that it shows Nick Lachey and Kristin Cavallari have nothing to do with the current popularity of the name: it was running up the charts long before you or they chose it. (Though they may now give the name a boost for new babies---who will luckily be seven years or so behind your son in school, so it won't affect the number in his classroom or on his team.)

Here's Hadley and Lucia:

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

(screen shot from the Social Security Administration)

Hadley is like Avery and Brayden and Camden: it appeared in the Top 1000 fairly recently and then went rapidly up the charts. Lucia is more like Bennett: it's come back into style recently, but it's been in the Top 1000 since the data begins in 1880---so if you're avoiding trendiness, that's the way to go.

The trouble with looking for new suggestions is that every name I think of that fits well with Camden and Avery is of that same style (surnamey, modern, somewhat unisex)---and that style is what's IN style. Even if I find names that aren't in the Top 1000, it's more like "not in the Top 1000 YET": any name I suggest could appear in the 2012 data and then quickly follow the same path as Hadley and Avery.

With a fairly unisex sister name (in 2011, there were 7303 new baby girls and 1776 new baby boys named Avery), I think I might look for something more unisex than Lucia (1308 new baby girls and no new baby boys)---or something with a unisex SOUND such as Everly (currently used exclusively for girls in the U.S. but sounds like it could be for either). Everly is too similar to Avery, but maybe Ellery? Bailey? The nice thing about the name Bailey is that it had that familiar rapid rise---but then it stopped. For the last 17-18 years it's just been hanging around in the same popularity area.

Because of that, however, Bailey may not have the fresh sound you're looking for. Berkeley instead? It's not yet in the Top 1000, so even if it gets there someday, your girl would have beat the rush.

Or Brinley. It has unfortunately already started what looks like a similar rapid climb (appeared in the Top 1000 in 2009 and has already made it to #525), but it's so good with the sibling names. Brinley M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Brinley.

Carling is a name I found in the surnames section of The Baby Name Wizard. It sounds sweetly like darling, and it has the feminine nickname Carli. It's a surname name, and it's currently completely unused in the United States. Carling M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Carling.

Hollis is similar. Only 60 new baby girls and 101 new baby boys were given the name in 2011; it's not in the Top 1000. The nickname Holly feminizes it. Hollis M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Hollis.

Or Ellison. Not in the Top 1000, with the nickname Ellie if she wants it. Ellison M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Ellison. I'd be inclined to match it to Avery Catherine by giving her a long nicknameable middle name: Avery Catherine and Ellison Josephine; Ava Cate and Ellie Jo. 

Or Ellis: 311 new baby boys and 183 new baby girls in 2011.

Lane is in the Top 1000 for boys but neither Lane nor Laine shows up for girls. Laine M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Laine.

Or Larkin: not in the Top 1000 for boys or girls. Larkin M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Larkin.

Lennox has just hit the Top 1000 for boys, but not yet for girls (44 new baby girls and 262 new baby boys in 2011). The nickname Leni makes me think of it as more girlish, despite the numbers. Lennox M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Lennox.

I think Padgett is an adorable surname name. Padgett M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Padgett.

If you wanted something very on-the-edge, I think the boys are done with the name Winslow, and that it has a lot of potential as a girl name. The Win- sounds like Winnie and the -slow sounds like Sloane. But I don't think it quite hits the right sound with Camden and Avery. Winslow M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Winslow.

I think Bethan would work well, and gives the A/B/C initials. Bethan M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Bethan.

Oh, or Mirren would be pretty, if you don't mind alliteration with the surname. Mirren M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Mirren.

I just saw Locklyn on, unfortunately, another celebrity baby, but the name caught my eye. Locklyn M@ttia; Camden, Avery, and Locklyn.

Name update! Elizabeth writes:
Well here it is. I promised you an update and an update is what you shall get. We loved yours and your readers suggestions and we were debating for a few days, but not too intensively as we thought we had more time, except our little one had other ideas. Baby M@ttia decided to make an early arrival on March 1, 2013,and SHE(!) is absolutely perfect! She spent 11 days in the NICU as she was on the small side and had a bit of jaundice, but everything cleared nicely. She also spent 4 days without a name because we could not agree, The hubs wanted Lennox, and I had no idea what I wanted, just not Lennox. We searched the internet and finally, my husband found the name that eventually became our baby girl's. It's not exactly something you hear everyday nor was it even on our namelists or thought of before. It took me by surprise about how much it fit our little princess. So without any further suspense, our little girl is:

Kensington Grace M@ttia
4 lbs. 6.5 oz. 19 inches

Camden and Avery have affectionately dubbed her "Kenzie" and my husband and I alternate between "Kensington, Kensington Grace, Kenzie, and Kenzie Grace". As this was not our last child, we may come to you in the future for some more naming help, but in the meantime, thank you for everything. (Oh, and by the way, our boy name was Beckett James) 


Another Erin from the 80s said...

I agree with swistle. You first need to accept that you may want a popular name because that is what appeals to you. After all, popular names are popular for a reason... They sound good! I would look for names that are familiar but not trendy. Barrett is example. Everyone has heard this name at least once in their live, but it isn't one you hear all the time. I think Beckett would be more "trendy." Another example would be Tanner. I would also recommend Lucille instead of Lucia because I think it goes better with the sibling names. I also like Julia for you. Popularity of this one is actually going down. I can't wait to hear what you choose!

Gwennan said...

Please do not name your daughter Carling; it's a brand of beer!

I'm not from the USA so I can't comment greatly on the popularity of these names but the following leaped out at me for you:

Boys' names
Ramsey (or Ramsay)

Girls' names

Anonymous said...

I am commenting because I have an Avery and am expecting another girl and Hadley and Lucia are both names I have strongly considered. It appears we have very similar taste in girls names. So I thought I'd post some of the names I have been thinking of. It may be totally out of your style, but maybe not? My Avery was born in 2003 and I have been a little disappointed that it has definitely increased a lot in popularity since then, but as Swistle has said before, even a top ten name is not given to nearly as many children today as it was a couple of generations ago. I didn't want a "trendy" name, but I have learned that I do like a lot of trendy -ish names, or at least I'm looking for the same things in a name that most people are...not too common and not too unusual. :)

Anyway, here are the names on my list:

Auntie G said...

Swistle's answer is very thorough, and I agree that you should pick a name you like and not stress too much about trendiness. We tried hard for "familiar but not popular" names for our boys, and Boy #1 refuses to sign his name as anything but "Theo K." despite being the only Theo in his class...and I worked so hard to convince my husband that Gus (August) was not too "out there" for Boy #2 -- and I've met at least three Gusses or Augies out there since he was born. :) I am choosing to feel like a TRENDSETTER!

Secondly...I don't want to rain on your parade, as I like all the B names you've selected -- but I must confess that I wouldn't give a child the initials "B.M." :( I may be pickier than most about this, as I actually know plenty of people with those initials...Gus was almost Fritz, but the initials "F.K." were just too close to inappropriate for me.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

i love becket & bennet but i have to agree with the initials issue as you seem to be someone who likes to use 1st & middle name together & BM & BJ seems like it is inviting trouble in the future.

Anonymous said...

While I like the name Lucia very much, if I heard it with the sib set Camden and Avery, I would without a doubt assume Avery is a boy. I think of Avery as a boy's name that is now used more commonly by girls, not like a modern gender neutral name like Riley or Taylor.

For your family, I would try to go with a girl name that is more gender neutral.

Anonymous said...

I was going to be an Avery had I been a boy back in the 80's ;) How times have changed! For a boy or girl I like the name Auden. It feels very unisex to me. Auden sounds enough like Audrey to work on a girl. For boys I would avoid B as well, even though the ABC pattern would be fun. How about Tucker? I think it's adorable on a boy with the nickname Tuck. I hear Harper on girls once in a while though it may be on the upswing as well.

Anonymous said...

Also Arden for a girl. That would be a good one.

Anonymous said...

I live in middle america and I have noticed that Bennett is quickly taking over as a girls name. I wasn't so sure at first but I have come to love the nickname opportunities this presents.

Swistle said...

Anonymous 2:05- Interesting! I looked it up and here are the 2011 stats for the United States: 67 new baby girls and 1,481 new baby boys named Bennett.

Manday said...

Swistle gave some great advice and she has a number of other posts that discuss WHY names are popular. The fact you love them is why the are popular, people who grew up with the same types of experiences as you (generally speaking) all like them. I don't think of either Bennett or Beckett as unique, but I love both names.

As for the girls, Lucia is a totally different style than Camden and Avery. If I heard the sibset Camden, Avery and Lucia I would assume two boys and a girl. Hadley matches better, but of course is trendy. Other ideas -
Burdette (Birdy for short?)

Elizabeth said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question with such a detailed response. When my husband gets home later, we will go over what you said together. I also love the idea of a "B" name, but this isn't going to be our last child, and I think we'd feel inclined to give another baby a D name, which is a lot to consider. Also while combing through a baby name book, we stumbled on to the name Roman which we love, but do you think it fits? Also Brooks is back on the table for a girl name. Is this too odd?

Thank you!

Swistle said...

Elizabeth- The trouble with Roman is that it was very popular with celebrities and I know you'd prefer to avoid that. Debra Messing, Holly Robinson Peete, and Cate Blanchett all named sons Roman---I think there were others, too.

The main issue with Brooks is that I'd think it would be exhausting having to constantly correct everyone that it was Brooks, not Brooke. In the United States, it's used almost exclusively for boys: in 2011, there were 19 new baby girls and 870 new baby boys named Brooks. Also, it's a B name.

Another Erin from the 80s said...

I know a little girl named Rome which has really grown on me lately. Brooks seems more suited for a male when paired with Avery and Camden. Maybe Brooke or Brooklyn?

Kim said...

Here are some more suggestions for a girl's name:

Blair (Love)
Marlo (Love)

For boys I really like Deacon, Chandler or Lincoln with your other children's names.

Camden, Avery and Deacon (favorite)
Camden, Avery and Chandler
Camden, Avery and Lincoln

Deacon James(DJ)/Mark
Lincoln James/Mark
Chandler James(CJ)/Mark

Chandler Luke perhaps?

Hope this helps and good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think Roman is great. Also maybe Ronan or Rowan could work for you?

Angela said...

I just have to plug Larkin since it's the first time I've seen it in a while. It's been at the top of my list for a while. Larkin has the unisex, surname sound, and isn't too trendy. Camden, Avery, and Larkin. Plus, Lark is an awesome nickname.
I'm a bit surprised not to see Finley on the list. Avery, Camden, and Finley.

Angela said...

Oooo. I just saw Arden. That's a good one.

Anonymous said...

You like on-trend names. It's not the end of the world. Pick the names you love the best and go with it. I love how you've personalized the trendy Avery by calling her Avery Cate & your Camden was way ahead of the curve. So maybe aim for something that matches one of the those-climbing, but not yet super popular and/or can be personalized and made to stand out a bit.

Other ideas, for a girl I did think of Darcy (probably because of Bennett). For a boy, Brennan also seems to fit, but it feels more classic than your other options. Oh-or maybe Brynn or Brenna for a girl?

Gail said...

If you have a baby girl, I think the name Hadley Isabelle is spot-on perfect--it fits really well with Camden and Avery, and no one is likely to mistake a little Hadley for a boy.

And, aside from the BM initial issue, if this is an issue, I think either Bennett or Beckett is also pretty perfect. Both of these names come with ready nicknames, and if I was choosing between them, I'd probably lean toward Beckett simply because there are likely to be fewer boys called Beck than there will be called Ben.

I wouldn't worry all that much about Roman having been used by celebrities, but will point out that it's similar to Christian in at least one way: It is also an adjective used to identify a type of man, a Roman. On Nameberry, Brooks is written about a lot, but so far, always in the context of a boy name.

In general, I haven't seen a single suggestion that I feel is a big improvement over where you've already landed, though I do agree that Lucia is too feminine to pair with Avery. But simply going with Lucy would nudge the name into "going better" with Avery--Then the feminine ending of "a" would be side-stepped, and both girls would have a name that ended with the same sound.

Eva.G said...

Have you read The Baby Name Wizard? If not, that's a must read! When you read the categories, you'll find that you like Modern, Surname, Unisex names. I think once you realize that and embrace it, you'll have a much clearer idea of what you really do like, and you'll have peace with your name choices and find the right match!

I think Harper is perfect for you! And Sloane. And Lane. All great selections for you!

I also wanted to add Harlow, Paige, Piper, and Willow.

Camden, Avery and Harlow.
Camden, Avery and Harper.
Camden, Avery and Lane.
Camden, Avery and Paige.
Camden, Avery and Piper.
Camden, Avery and Sloane.
Camden, Avery and Willow.

Anonymous said...

What about Bronte? Bronte Rose.

Anonymous said...

Why not use Aubrey as a first name? Aubrey Isabelle, Avery and Camden has a nice ring to it,. Avery Kate & Abby or Brea Belle.

Anonymous said...

Roman is nice - if the celeb associations put you off what about: Roan, Ronan, Rogan, Rohan, Roscoe,, or Rowan, Riordan, Rona, or Romilly?

StephLove said...

I agree that if rising names are the ones that appeal, you should use one of them. Of your top two choices for each gender I like Bennett and Hadley best for your family.

But if you really want to avoid a rising name, I liked Swistle's suggestion of Bailey and you might appreciate that it's more or less standing still.

Or how about Maya for a girl? That one is rising, but very slowly. Camden, Avery & Maya. Or Griffin or Jesse for a boy ( the first is stable and the second actually falling)? Camden, Avery & Griffin. Camden, Avery & Jesse.

Sarah said...

I don't think Roman really fits as a boy name, but Romy or Romilly are cute girl names that seem to fit your style.
I also think Audrey is too close to Avery.
I like the suggestion of Arden.
Other girl ideas:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to point out that if the surname is pronounced like 'ma-TEE-uh' and Lucia was going to be pronounced like 'loo-SEE-uh', they'd sound pretty rhymey together. I love Lucia and it pains me to discourage someone from using it! And of course if I'm wrong about either or both pronunciations (like 'LOO-sha' 'MAT-ee-uh' would be more accurate), don't worry about them together.

Allyson said...

I love the name Hadley, and will likely name my baby girl that when she comes in August. It is trendy, but still just barely in the top 100 so naming her that now I wouldn't expect many duplicates in class just yet. Lucy on the other hand is extremely popular (at least around here!), so if you think you'll end up calling her Luci, rather than Lucia, you may want to consider that she'll have other Lucy's in class (I know two born this year) plus everyone will want to spell it with a Y. Although I have the same issue being Allyson, and it's not all that bad! :) Good luck- please send an update!

Anonymous said...

If you like Locklyn but don't want the celebrity-baby association Swistle mentioned, how about Lakelyn? I heard that one for the first time a year ago, but it has stuck with me ever since, and my coworker (whose daughter she is) says she gets tons of compliments on it.

K said...

Some unusual names have hears recently (both friends have named their daughters): audra and elka. Also cohen for a boy.

Katie said...

Carling is a really popular beer in England. It'd be like naming a girl Coors or Budweiser.

On the Roman theme, how about Roma?

Also, Camden is actually a place in London, with a famous market and bohemian atmosphere. With this in mind here are some other London placenames that could maybe work as given names:
Ealing (ee-ling)
Thames (temz)
Euston (u-ston)

I doubt many of these are popular (especially not in the UK) and it could give you a link between the boys names that is not obvious.

Anonymous said...

Kensington is great. It's the best neighbourhood in Toronto.