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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baby Boy Herron

Liz writes:
My husband and I are expecting our first child (boy) on July 20th! We cannot seem to agree on names at all!!! We would like a name that is easy to spell, not weird or too trendy, but something that is not common. We do know that his middle name is going to be Knight (a family last name) and our last name is now we are just trying to find a first name to go with the other two. Our top pick at the moment is Obadiah, and we would call him Obie for short. My absolute favorite name is Finley, and my husband loves Finn, but hates Finley. AGH!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I like Finley, too. I suspect it's headed for Girlnameville, if that is any comfort. Do you like Phineas? Phineas Knight Herron. I like Finian even better, but I wonder if it's too much N with Herron.

Obadiah is biblical-sounding like current popular choices Noah and Isaac, but less common. Other possibilities of this type: Phineas, Isaiah, Judah, Malachi, Barnaby, Abraham, and Silas.

However, with a noun-like middle name and a noun-like surname, I think I might err on the side of commonness for the first name. James Knight Herron sounds distinguished, as does Charles Knight Herron and Jonathan Knight Herron.


tracynicole22 said...

I totally agree with Swistle that Finley is headed the girls way. But I think Phineas is a great alternative. I also like her suggestion of Silas, that has always been a favorite of mine. I have to admit Obadiah, took me a second to get used too. It sounds quite unusual to me, not sure I'm feeling it personally, but Obie is kind of cute. What about another "O" name like, Omari or Omar, Orlando has come up a few times on this site, I also saw the name Osiris in the Namipedia and thought that sounded pretty cool, he was apparently an Egyptian ruler. Well good luck! And Swistle, Jonathan Knight is a member of "New Kids on the Block" so she might want to stay away from that one, unless she is fan of course!

Fine For Now said...

I totally agree with Swistle. As someone with a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb last name (Fine) common names seem like the best choice for the first name :)

Jen said...

Friends of ours just named their baby girl Finley and I've only met one other Finley, also a girl, so I think Swistle is right on with that trend. What about Finnegan? Close to Finley, probably not going to be taken over by the girls, still cute nn Finn. I personally love Phineas (never could get my husbands buy off on that one).

Obadiah feels a little...I don't know how to explain it...maybe it is just nms. I guess I think it is highly uncommon. And the nn Obie would get a lot of Star Wars references, I would think, although I do like the nn. Plus there really isn't a name anywhere that people won't come up with some reference to popular culture.

Abby said...

I disagree on Finley. Once upon a time, names used for girls were verboten for boys - and so Ashley, Kelly and plenty of other once-masculine monikers ceased to be options for our sons.

But Payton/Peyton, Bailey, Riley and company seem to be holding up well as gender-neutral choices, as are the -adens (Jayden, Caiden, Haydin, etc.), Jordan and a few others.

If you love Finley, I'd still use it.

That said, your husband doesn't like Finley, and Finn Knight sounds a little awkward. Phineas seems like another choice. There's also Finbar - but you'd really Irish, or married to a Kennedy, to pull that one off.

You might also consider using a third name - Finn Edward Knight, Finn Elliot Knight, Finn David Knight, whatever suits ... it breaks up the rhythm.

Best wishes!

Kristin said...

I agree with Finley trending towards a girl's name. Why can't you just name him Finn? I know two boys with that as their full first name. Finn Knight Herron sounds cool.

Anonymous said...

Yup. I agree with the previous poster. I know a 2-yr old Finn (actual first name), and he's adorable! If you don't like Finn as a first name (maybe too much "N" with Herron?), I'm a fan of the Phineas option.

I, too, am not big on Obadiah . . . I think both Obadiah and Obie would be tough names to take to the playground. Oh, and just FYI on the suggestion of Osiris - I agree that it's v. cool sounding indeed, but he's the Egyptian god of the underworld. Maybe OK, but maybe not.

Patricia said...

"We would like a name that is easy to spell, not weird or too trendy, but something that is not common."

Obediah certainly is uncommon, but I'm wondering if it tips a little towards the "weird". I think there's often a very narrow gap between uncommon names and those that many people might find "weird", which you are wisely trying to avoid. On the other hand, Obediah fits in with, yet stands out from, the many biblical boys' names ending in 'ah' that are so very popular right now (definitely a naming "trend").

If you're set on an uncommon name, then I think Obediah would work better than any of the names that end up with the nn "Finn" - which are showing signs of catching on for both boys and girls in the USA, just as they have for boys in England and Wales:

SSA 2008: Boys - Finn, #368; Finnegan, 647; Finley, 818; Girls - Finley, 665

England/Wales top 300 for 2007: Boys - Finley, 47; Finlay, 59; Finn, 106

On the other hand, I agree with Swistle that a more usual first name might be a good balance with your son's noun-like middle and last names and second all of her suggestions in that category:
James Knight Herron
Charles Knight Herron
Jonathan Knight Herron

There are other classic male names that would sound distinguished with ____ Knight Herron too. Names like these are timeless, never really trendy.

Patricia said...

I agree that Obie is a cute nickname for a little boy; it reminds me of Opie -- played by the young Ron Howard on "The Andy Griffith Show". Opie was a darling little boy, but I wonder how the name Opie -- or Obie -- would suit a grown man.

I did a quick search to see why the name Opie was chosen for that show: "There are two explanations of the name's origin. One is that Opie Taylor was named by Andy Griffith after bandleader and radio actor Opie Cates [given name was Opal]. The other is that he was named for Opie Shelton (1915–1999), a childhood friend of Griffith."

I also found that Opie is a a surname: "its English. it started out as a last name of a family in Cornwall where they were anciently seated as lords of the Manor of Penhargard. The OPIE surname was created from the Medieval personal names Oppy or Obby, which are short forms of names such as Osborn,osbert and osbald."

So while the names Obie and Opie aren't the same, they are very close.

I've always thought that a good test of a name is to have the parent of the same gender 'try it on'. If your husband would like to be known as Obediah/"Obie", then it could be a good choice for your son.

Anonymous said...

Another choice for a formal name that allows for a Finn nickname is Griffin.

I love the "Finn" choices you have: Finnegan, Finian, Griffin, or Finn by itself. I like Finley as well, but I agree it may be trending female. It's so frustrating for moms of boys that the choices keep dwindling!

I also absolutely adore Finbar. Love love love it.

Patricia said...

I checked out your Obadiah on and found a favorable take on the name:

Gender: M
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: "servant of God"

For the seriously audacious biblical baby namer who wants to move beyond Elijah and Jeremiah, this name has considerable old-fangled charm."

The authors of that blog include Obadiah in their "Cool Bible Names", "The O Names", and "Colonial Names for Boys".

You might be ahead of the curve with this name.

erin said...

since you likw the sound of Obadiah, what about Jeremiah?
Jeremiah Knight Herron still sounds distinguished, biblical, and its a bit more common but not too common. Otherwise, more in line with swistle's traditional suggestions (which I like) I also really like Edward Knight Herron,
Eddie Herron sounds like someone Id like to hang out with.

Anonymous said...

Oooh! The name Jeremiah rocks! Excellent suggestion. (could be Jeremy or Jerry for short)

Another biblical name along those veins is Josiah. I went to grade school with a Josiah, and I remember teachers always commenting on how much they loved his name. It's a cool-sounding, yet not too "out there" alternative to Joseph and Joshua.

Anonymous said...

I think Josiah is a great suggestion. Josiah feels like a known name with its similarity to the classic name Joseph, and yet it has some of the more remote biblical quality of Obadiah.

Josiah Knight Herron sounds very distinguished. If you want a nn, he could be called Joey, especially when he's little, but also the full name Josiah works well as is.

erin said...

I actually LOVE Josiah and can't believe I didn't think of it for this baby! Good call! and Joey as a nn is always adorable. I used to have a crush on a Jeremiah who went by "Miah" as well, which I thought was pretty cool.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I think both Finn and Obadiah are great choices. I think if Unique is your priority, than go for Obadiah. If Not Too Weird is your bigger concern, go with Finn (just Finn is great!)

Frazzled Mom said...

Phineas was the first name I thought of when reading your letter. I like Phineas Knight. And Phineas may have been on the "too weird" side a few years ago, but now has seemed to move into that golden mean of "not common and not weird."

But, with more parents choosing unusual or exotic names for their kids, you may be pleasantly surprised if you go with Swistle's suggestion and use a more traditional name to balance out the noun, Knight. I have a collection of "traditional but less common than they seem" names that I admit I often suggest, but as far as I know no one takes my suggestions. While I know it's a long shot, I'm still going to take a chance and throw them out there for you (with their 2008 US rank):

Curtis #380
Kenneth #136 and trending down
Paul #155 and trending down
Peter #183 and trending down
Stuart #962
Timothy #108 and trending down

But if Biblical is what you're after, I like the previous suggestions, and want to add these that fit the "traditional but surprisingly uncommon" or “uncommon but not weird” themes:

Reuben #947
Simon #261 was trending up but seems to have hit a plateau over the past 5 years
Tobias "Toby" #531

Goodness I wrote a book again! Good luck. said...

Totally agree with the common names. Obadiah is a mouth-full. But I also think just plain "Finn" seems to be a perfect solution for you and your husband. Maybe you'll have another boy some day and you can name him Obadiah with a more common middle name.

What about Oliver? Ollie is like Obie and it's easier than Obadiah Knight Herron. Oliver Knight Herron. Easier to picture him on the Supreme Court, too.... said...

Whoever said Griffin nn Finn - that's a great idea.

tracynicole22 said...

Oooh, I like the above suggestion of Oliver nn Ollie.

Gretchen said...

FYI since I don't see that anyone else has mentioned it, Obadiah is the real first name of the main character in the musical Guys and Dolls. It's a plot point, and basically a joke, that he goes by "Sky" and doesn't tell anyone his real first name until he falls in know, because guys in love do these things for their dolls. :) Don't know if that matters at all, but quite frankly, I think more people would make THAT name connection than recognize the name as biblical.