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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Baby Girl, Sister to Gabriel

Jennifer writes:
I am two weeks out from having baby #2 (a girl), with a 2 year old toddler son named Gabriel.

My dilemma is that my husband will not focus on having a worthwhile and productive discussion about the name for our impending arrival. So I seek outside input on a variety of combinations that I like, and perhaps this might help spur a decision making discussion for the two of us. Our last name is a crisp one syllable name.

Here are some that I'm mulling over:

Keira Madeline
Keira Allison

Madeline Fiona
Madeline Jane
*Is Madeline just too popular these days?

Fiona Madeline
Fiona Jane

If there are other names that one might suggest to include as a new combination(s), I'm certainly open to it.

Thank you very much for your input!

Fiona! Choose Fiona! ...Er, I mean, let's get started on a discussion of the options!

Fiona is my favorite from your list, I won't try to hide it. It's a steady resident of my own personal Girl Name List, and I think it has a lot going for it. It's uncommon but completely familiar, and that's a hard combination to find. I think it's beautiful, feminine and strong, and I love it with Gabriel. Gabriel and Fiona. I think either middle name is good with it.

In my opinion, Madeline is not excessively common. It was #61 in the U.S. in 2007 (source: Social Security Administration), which makes it less common than the names Brooklyn, Destiny, and Nevaeh. Furthermore, its popularity is holding steady: it's been hovering in the 60s/70s/80s rankings for the last thirteen years without any big lunges toward the top ten.

The name Keira, in contrast, was #1004 in 2001, but #128 in 2007. It's a less common name than the name Madeline---and yet that's a much more alarming leap in popularity. I'm also less certain of the name with her brother's name when I say them aloud: Gabriel and Kiera.

Let's put your six options to the vote. Poll is to the right. [poll closed; see below]

[Poll results (254 votes total):
Keira Madeline: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Keira Allison: 10 votes, roughly 4%
Madeline Fiona: 13 votes, roughly 5%
Madeline Jane: 42 votes, roughly 17%
Fiona Madeline: 49 votes, roughly 19%
Fiona Jane: 125 votes, roughly 49%]

[Name update! 09-29-2008: "Thank you all for the fantastic and very helpful feedback on baby names. We were blessed with the early arrival of our daughter on September 9th and decided on Fiona Madeline."]


Karen said...

I also love Fiona and think it is a wonderful match for Gabriel. I voted for Fiona Jane but on second thought, I think Fiona Madeline might have a nicer flow with a one syllable surname.

Robin said...

You know, I like Fiona and Gabriel together, but my beef with Fiona is that I think it will inevitably get shortened to FiFi, which I hate. If you think that's unlikely or it doesn't bother you then Fiona is a great name.

Joceline said...

I LOVE the name Fiona, but it sounds terrible with my last name. If it didn't, it would hands down be my girl name pick for the baby we're expecting now.

I think that Madeline is too popular these days, in my opinion. I know quite a few, and then with Madalyn (and all of the other spellings) and Madison (and other spellings) there are just too many Maddie's for my taste.

Anonymous said...

As much as I love Madeline, I have to go with Fiona as a first name. Maddie is just too popular a nickname for my tastes, what with all the Madelines, Madeleines, Madelyns, Madisons, etc... Fiona Madeline and Fiona Jane are both equally beautiful names, but Madeline might balance out a short surname better than Jane would.

Sherry said...

I vote Fiona.

My beef with Keira is that I don't know how to pronounce it. At first my thought was to say it like the actress, Keira Knightly. But then I wondered if it was yet another spelling for Chiara/Kiara. Looking closely, I don't think it is, but it still tricked me at first.

Also, I knew a real twit named Chiara, so I would veto it anyway. (Then again, I knew a real gem named Kiara, so maybe it's not so bed.)

Alison @ Pennythoughts said...

Fiona! I don't think the nickname FiFi is inevitable. I know of a little girl named Fiona, and she doesn't get called FiFi. I agree with previous commenters that even though Madeline isn't too common, when combined with alternate spellings Madeleine/Madelyn/etc and the nickname Maddie that overlaps with Madison, it does seem overly popular. And Keira seems like it might be rather trendy. But Fiona? Nice. It sounds wonderful with Gabriel!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I love them all with Gabriel, I think they coordinate quite well.

Fiona/Gabriel is very hip and artsy to me.

Madeline/Gabriel is classic and preppy.

Kiera/Gabriel is modern and fresh.

So, depending on what you're going for, that may help.

I love them all, but I think Fiona is my fave!

janet said...

Of the three, I like Fiona. I knew a cute little blonde 4-year-old Fiona so that helps...I don't think anyone called her FiFi.

Madeline seems to be the most popular, and with all the Madisons out there, Maddie is such a popular nickname.

Other ideas? Harper. Katherine. (Kate & Gabe sound cute together!) Johanna.

Anonymous said...

My vote was for Fiona. I think it's a lovely name and it sounds great with Gabriel! I am not a fan of Keira. For the love of god the world does not need another Maddie!

How do you feel about...

Eleanor and Gabriel
Natalie and Gabriel
Amelia and Gabriel
Catherine and Gabriel

Clarabella said...

Fiona has always been one of my favorites, but my partner won't let me use it. So I vote Fiona! I think Fiona Madeline sounds just lovely, and then you get to use both those beautiful names.

ZestyJenny said...

Fiona was always on my list until the whole Shrek thing. Maybe it doesn't matter, though, becase no one has mentioned it?

USE IT. Fiona is lovely.

Verity said...

Fiona is fabulous and fits well with Gabriel! I voted for Fiona Madeline, but I like Fiona Jane nearly as much.

The trick with Madeline is that it will probably feel far more common than a #61 ranking suggests. If you tally up all the variant spellings of Madeline currently ranked in the US Top 1000 (Madeline, Madalyn, Madalynn, Madeleine, Madelyn, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn) the name leaps up the list to #22.

And if you plan to call her Maddie? Add in another 20,000 girls known as Madison (or Maddison, Madisyn or Madyson) and there's serious potential for confusion.

Madeline is a lovely, lovely name, but I know two moms who already lament that it's more common than they every imagined.

Giselle said...

I would pick Madeline, it being 3 syllables and more traditional like Gabriel. But if you are concerned with it being too popular, I agree with the tons of spellings making the SS list ranking a bit null and void. And lets consider the increasing popularity of the name Addison and Adeleine (at least in my circles), making a whole new group of little girls named Addy. Maddy's and Addy's coming out the whazoo!

But I really like Keira too. I just can't get into Fiona. It seems trendy to me all of a no one would have named a kid that 10 years ago, but suddenly it is "cool". And Shrek ruined it for me too.

Susan said...

I have no clue how to pronounce "Keira," and it makes me feel irritable to try. One vote against Keira.

Fiona! What a great name with Gabriel! I put in a strong vote for "Fiona Jane," which sounds sassy in a totally pleasing way.

hope said...

This is really funny because my sister-in-law is due in about 3 weeks with a girl and has a 2 year-old also named Gabriel.

I like Fiona Jane the best, and have to agree that the nickname Maddy is far too popular right now.

Just fyi, my sister-in-law has not picked a name yet either, but they have a long complicated last name to contend with. I only know that Anna, Emma, Faith and Rose (or some variant of Rose) have been in the running.

Anonymous said...

There's a Maddy at my church and I NEVER call her by her full name because I can never remember if it's pronounced MadeLYN or LINE. And forget spelling it with the numerous variations!

Fiona was on my list, too--DH wouldn't go for it though. Great name--don't know any kids running around with it in my circle.

Keira--don't love it.

Interesting that more than one post suggested C/Katherine. I like it, too--a nice length with your short, crisp one-syllable last name.

Frazzled Mom said...

Don't use Fiona! I only say that because that's my daughter's name, I'm possessive of it, and I sense it is getting trendy. So ridiculous I know, since names are in the public domain. But I picked the naming thinking I was picking something uncommon yet recognizable, but I don't think it will be uncommon for long. I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong.

Besides that, it is a lovely name, and I do prefer it to the other two. I'm not thrilled with either middle name option though. I gave my daughter my middle name (and my Mom's middle name), which is rather dated, because carrying on a family tradition was more important than being fashionable. So my Fiona is Fiona Dawn, but I would not recommend that combination for aesthetics alone. I picked it for sentimental reasons. If I had to pick a middle name for pure aesthetics, I would have gone with Fiona Katherine.

Jan said...

I second Fiona Katherine. :)