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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Baby Naming Issue: Acquaintances Using the Same Name

Stacey writes:
Hi Swistle! My name is Stacey and we just recently found out we are having a baby boy! Since the start of this pregnancy we have only talked about 3 boy names: Lucas, William and Michael.

Recently our neighbors found out they are also having a boy and naming him William because in their family it's tradition and he will be a third. Understandable.

And even more recently some friends of ours had a baby boy and named him William.

This gets my husband thinking we are not allowed to use the name "William". (FYI, we would call him Will)

We are not super close with either of these couples. I personally feel if it was an uncommon name then yes, it would seem odd but William is such a classic name that I don't see it as we are copying, per se. Also, yes we do have couples that we are VERY close too, and in that case I would probably avoid it because our children would be around each other often, but I don't see that happening with these other couples I mentioned.

What is your opinion on this?

We both like the name Michael, which would be after my brother but we have also thought we would save that name if we have a second boy someday UNLESS this baby pops out and resembles him, then we might change our minds.

I am not feeling the name Lucas. I don't hate it but it's just not IT for me.

Any thoughts?

I'm totally with you on the William issue: if the name were Oswald, and your neighbors used it and then some friends of yours used it, I'd say maybe you should reconsider---not because they have exclusive rights to the name, but just because it would be getting pretty silly to have a third Oswald right in a row.

But in the case of a name such as William, I don't think some mild duplication among acquaintances is going to be a problem. It's a terrific name: classic, long roots, and I like the nickname Will. I seriously think it's one of the best boy names. (You might be thinking, "Um, duh, it's your son's name"---but it's only his pseudonym.)

Michael is another truly terrific candidate. It's been in the top ten forever, and yet there are no Michaels in any of my kids' classes. And again: classic, long roots, and great nickname. I really don't think you can go wrong with either William or Michael.

With Lucas, the only thing wrong with it is that you're not feeling it. I had that same experience with some of the names Paul and I considered for our kids: the name was great in every way---except that it didn't feel like "My Baby." It felt like a great name for somebody ELSE'S baby.

Tell your husband not to be silly: use William. And next time, use Michael. What great sibling names!

[Update! Stacey writes: "He arrived August 1st, 7lbs 10 oz and we went with the name Lucas Robert. Initially I wasn't feeling it but the closer it got the more I liked the name and now I can't imagine him any thing other than a Luke. Thanks for your help!"]


Lara Jane said...

Stacey, since you aren't super close to either one of these families, don't hesitate; use the name you love.

William is one of those great masculine names that will never go out of style and never "cross over" to the girls' side.

Go for it! And congrats!

Bird said...

I completely agree. Some names are classics, and William is one of them. I was a little worried that my son's name was becoming trendy, but decided that some names are just a constant. Go with William if it's your first choice.

Clarabella said...

I agree that if you love the name and are not too close with the other couples, use William. Their boys might end up going by Bill/Billy anyway, so the names would still be different. The three could be Billy, William and Will. Perfectly reasonable. That said, I have a friend whose given name is Will. No "-iam" in sight. Also, I (sorry I've typed this here like 40 times) named my son William, but we call him Liam. You always have options for using the name even if you think it's being oft-used around you. Good luck.

Susan Delfino said...

How about Maynard?

Nowheymama said...

Whoever wrote the Susan Delfino entry--HA!

Also, I agree with Swistle.

F8hful Lo said...

I agree with everyone else. If you really love a name, I think you should use it regardless. I had a similar situation with my SISTER. I have loved the name Jacob since practically birth (my own, that is) and I thought I had made this clear to my family. Well, my sister is a few years ahead of me in baby-making. When she found out she was having a boy and it was her last child, I thought for sure they would name him Daniel as they had been saying they would forever. Come to find out, they named him Jakob. It hurt my feelings at first, but it is kind of a first come, first served situation. But your neighbors are acquaintances, not family, so I would do exactly as you want. In the meantime, why don't you consider looking at more names and maybe you will find one you like even better? I am constantly updating my baby name list (but I am not preggers yet, so there is probably a difference!) Good Luck!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Use William! No biggie!

Pann said...

William is a very nice name. I say, Go For It! It's not as if your acquaintances will be offended.

Michael, though... I have to say it's such a common name around here, it's way over used. So many Michaels. Though it's a very nice name, it pales in comparison to William. (And Will is a fantastic nickname!)

Mairzy said...

Swistle is, as usual, right.

Leah said...

I know a family who was in a similar situation almost forty years ago. One set of parents wanted to name their daughter Michelle but then another couple, who they weren't that close with, had their baby girl first and named her Michelle. When the second baby came, the parents called her Michele with one "l" and figured the duplication wouldn't really matter because they weren't that close with the other couple to begin with.

What eventually happened, though, was that the couples became the best of friends, the Michel(l)es became the best of friends, and you know what? NOBODY CARED. Having two Michel(l)es was not a big deal at all.