Today's baby-naming challenge is from Melissa, who writes:
I e-mailed you...oh, maybe back in August wondering if I was pregnant (and you thought I was)...and I WAS/AM so now comes the fun part. Baby girl is due at the end of April and my husband and I are still trying to pin down a name. Our son is Owen Martell (same middle name as my husband's) and so we already decided if we ever had a girl that her middle name would be Ann (same as mine). Our last name is extremely dull...Hall...and presents the challenge of everything sounding like a dorm on a college campus somewhere.We have some ideas but I want to see what you come up with first:) Thanks!
First, can we all take a moment to appreciate Swistle's astonishing powers? I knew Melissa was pregnant FROM ACROSS THE INTERNET!
This is a fun naming situation to tackle, because we have so much information to work with: we have a middle name, a last name, and a sibling name.
Let's start where I always start, which is seeing what The Baby Name Wizard suggests as sister names for the name Owen: Ava, Lily, Isabel, Maya, Emma.
Pretty! And certainly those are good starting points. Consider:
Ava Ann Hall (AAH)
Lily Ann Hall (LAH)
Isabel Ann Hall (IAH)
Maya Ann Hall (MAH)
Emma Ann Hall (EAH)
Of those five, my favorites are Lily Ann Hall and Isabel Ann Hall. Add to Owen: Owen and Lily. Owen and Isabel. Yes, I'd say those pass the sibling name test.
I consulted with my friend Mairzy, and she says:
You'd think that with ordinary names like Ann and Hall, this one would be a breeze. As it was, I had to search quite a while to come up with ones I thought would work. I never realized how many names end in A, which doesn't work with Ann.
My favorite of the lineup is Molly.
Molly Ann Hall (MAH). Owen and Molly. Nice! I like it!
I also like to consult The Social Security Baby Name Site, to look at names that are of comparable popularity to the names already used by the family. The name Owen has been climbing steadily:
2006 (the 2007 data won't be out until May): #58.
Let's look at 2006, when it was #58. The girl names in that same popularity range are Zoe, Riley, Sofia, Maya, Kimberly, Andrea, Megan, Katelyn, and Gabrielle.
- I think "Owen and Zoe" has too much O-sound.
- I think of the name Riley as a boy's name even though I realize it's for boys or girls, and I don't like it with Ann: too much like Raggedy Ann.
- I'm a fan of the name Sofia (of that spelling particularly), and unlike the Owen-and-Zoe combination, I think Owen and Sofia has a good level of O-sound.
- Let's leave aside Maya, since we already considered it in the Baby Name Wizard section.
- I'd like to eliminate Kimberly, Andrea, Megan, Katelyn, and Gabrielle: Kimberly is from the Moms generation (MY age); Andrea is from the kids-I-babysat generation; Megan is from the 1990s; Katelyn is such a perfect name, the number of girls with one spelling or another of it is legion; and I haven't liked the name Gabrielle since a co-worker of mine bragged incessantly about her "amazing" daughter GOB-briella, saying the name every single time in a reverent tone of voice usually reserved for referring to deities.
Lily: 27 votes, roughly 38%
Isabel: 6 votes, roughly 8%
Molly: 14 votes, roughly 20%
Sofia: 19 votes, roughly 27%
none of these: 5 votes, roughly 7%]
Edit: There is a general feeling in the comment section that with a surname such as Hall, the first name should be more unusual. Generally, I agree: a simpler surname can handle a more complicated first name. But I noticed, when I was looking through names, that the more unusual names enhanced the "college dorm" feeling: Lisandra Hall, for example, or Geneva Hall. Both sound EXACTLY like dorms.
Still, there is a middle ground: more unusual than Sofia and Lily, but not quite as dormy as Lisandra and Geneva. How about some of these?
Cecily Ann Hall (CAH)
Eliza Ann Hall (EAH)
Josephine Ann Hall (JAH)
Rosemary Ann Hall (RAH)
Constance Ann Hall (CAH)
Cordelia Ann Hall (CAH)
Genevieve Ann Hall (GAH)
Ruby Ann Hall (RAH)
Penelope Ann Hall (PAH)
Margaret Ann Hall (MAH)
[Update from Melissa!
Although we didn't end up going with any of your suggestions (I think we already had our name in our mind), it was great to hear all of the ideas.
Our daughter is Delaney Ann Hall yes, "Delaney Hall" sounds like a dorm somewhere but we wanted something unusual to balance out our last name Hall and we liked it with our son's name, Owen.