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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Blended Families

Liza writes:
I'm due August 18th with boy/girl twins & the husband and I are totally clueless on what to name them!

We're a blended family, both of us having children from previous relationships (he brought 3 children into our marriage while I brought 2) but when we married I chose to keep my last name at the request of my daughters (they didn't want Mommy to have a different last name than they have), & so for the twins (who are our only children together) we've decided to go the hyphenated last name route, even though our surnames are totally different (mine is Celtic & his is Spanish). So their last name will be Aberdeen-Flores.

Adding to the difficulty of finding names that sound good with our two last names is trying to decide on what style of name to go with. My 2 girls have very Celtic names, Brietta Wynne & Keelin Gilda. My husbands children all have very Spanish names. The boys are Alonzo Turi & Donzel Berto and the girl is Carlita Abril. So do we go Celtic for the twins? Spanish? One of each? One style for first names and the other for middle? None of the above? We're so confused!

Also, just to make things even harder, we want the twins names to sound good/go together. I'm not talking rhyming/matchy names or anything, but names of a similar style at least. Please help!

Just to give you an idea of our taste here is our (rather long) list of names that we like but can't decide on. Ideas/input/new suggestions much appreciated!

Names we've considered so far for the girl(a mix of Celtic and Spanish):

For the boy(another mix):

Names that are neither Celtic or Spanish for the girl:

And for the boy:

Any input as to what everyone thinks sounds best as twin names/with the last name(s) and what combinations sound best for first & middle names would be great, as would any other name suggestions y'all can think up for us!

Thanks again (& sorry this was so long)!

Blended families already include naming compromises, as you've found with the surname situation: roughly 1/3rd of your children will have one surname, roughly 1/3rd a different surname, and roughly 1/3rd yet another surname. I think it is okay to do the same with their first names.

Your husband's children's names are the result of adding his tastes to their mother's tastes. Your daughters' names are the result of adding your tastes to their father's tastes. If you and your husband now add your tastes to his, in the same way you did when naming the other children, I think you'll end up with names that gently coordinate with the other children's names without causing you to lose your minds looking for the names that will tie everyone together.

A useful exercise in this situation would be starting fresh and thinking, "If we DIDN'T have any children already, what names would we consider for the twins?"


Abby said...

I think Swistle is right in this case - why not just approach naming them as if they were your first children? It isn't possible to match both your kids' names and his kids' names to the twins. Starting fresh cuts down on one set of possible headaches.

The other approach I might take is this: try to find those very few names that actually work in both languages. I'm not coming up with any off the top of my head, but surely there are a few that cross boundaries?

After all, my Venezuelan sister-in-law has a French name and a brother called Brian ...

Abby@AppMtn said...

And from your list? I love the sound of Cristiano for a boy and Katherine for a girl. Or Christian and Katherine. Christian Alarico and Katherine Morrigan are probably my favorite combos. Best wishes!

ambient said...

Out of your list of names, I really like Oriana and Cristiano. I think this is because the N at the end of both names echoes the N at the end of Aberdeen. This helps incorporate the celtic name into the flowing hispanic rhythm rather than interrupting it.

The fact that both names have a vowel after the N makes them easier to say than the names that just end in N (such as Arden and Broin) — and ease/speed of pronunciation is important when you've got this many syllables in your name.

Plus, they're just an adorable pair — similar and not at the same time, perfect for twins.

Brietta, Keelin, Alonzo, Donzel, Carlita, Oriana, and Cristiano. Oriana Aberdeen-Flores. Cristiano Aberdeen-Flores.

Patricia said...

I agree with Swistle and would suggest using "all-American" names for the twins in your blended, multi-ethnic family. Looking at your lists of such names, I like Amelia and Alexander best: both names begin with the same letter which ties them together, and yet the beginning 'A's are pronounced differently. Also,you have the option of calling them Mia and Alex, which would give them nicknames beginning with different letters. I like the short forms too for 'everyday' with use with their rather long hyphenated surname.

Anonymous said...

Lucas would work for Celtic and Spanish (I've seen it in lists of Gaelic names, and since it's actually a Latin name, it works well in Spanish also).

And a Gaelic name with a slightly Spanish flair is Katriona.

Luke and Kate if you want all-American nicknames.

And congratulations on your growing family!

Anonymous said...

My strong preference on your list for a girl is Nola-it goes well w/ your last names and other children's names, and will suit several boy options. It also has such a sweet ring to it. For boys, I liked Alexander or the variant Zander, or Lucas is nice too. Best wishes!

Carolyn said...

Catriona was the first name that came to mind for me, too! Trina would be a cute nickname.

I love Oriana and Cristiano for the same reasons mentioned by the previous posters. The syllables, the repeating n's, and the feminine/masculine endings sound great.

Could you give a very distinctive Celtic name to one and a distinctive Spanish name to the other? That way they'd compliment each other and their last names.

Karen said...

his is quite a puzzle! I think that you might do very well to follow Swistle's idea to start fresh - just choose names that you both like.

The surnames already do tie all the children to each other and to you. Or use middle names to reinforce the tie: each twin could have one Celtic, one Spanish name. They could be in the same order or opposite orders. If I had a hyphenated surname, I might skip middle names all together.

The more interesting approach is to try to find names that work both as Celtic and Spanish names. Katriona (or Caitriona) and Lucas are good suggestions. So how about:

Some other Celtic names I came across that would sound nice if "read" as Spanish are


StephLove said...

My picks:


Alexander (or Alejandro?)

Jan said...

With the hyphenated last name I would choose a longer/multi-syllable first names to hold up to it. I wonder how the current children would feel if you choose more Celtic or more Spanish names for the children. I'm tempted to suggest using a Celtic girl name and a Spanish boy name. I like Muriel Alandra Aberdeen-Flores and Gilberto Broin Aberdeen-Flores.

Frazzled Mom said...

I agree that Nola is my favorite of your girl list. It is a nice simple, short, 2 syllable name that I feel works with the long hyphenated surname. I'm not actually sure if Nola is Celtic or Spanish, because it seems like it could be either to me.

Another good girl name for you is Fiona like another poster said. I rarely suggest it because it is my daughter's name, but the qualities that make the Celtic Fiona work with my Italian surname, make it seem cross-cultural to me. And when I think about it, Fiona is a made-up name, inspired by the Celtic Finola, which to me means Fiona isn't really authentically Celtic, anyway. You are using a Celtic inspired name to honor the Celtic side, but it is vowel heavy, which makes it fit with the Spanish names.

Or maybe you can just use the original Finola. It incorporates Nola and it is sort of like Fiona. I think Finola Aberdeen-Flores would work really well.

For the boy, I'm drawing a blank. Good luck.