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Friday, August 7, 2009

Middle Name Challenge: Baby Girl Jane ___ Miller

Traci writes:
We're due with baby number four - our first girl! - on August 7th. Her brothers are Calvin David, Henry Butler, and Charles Fenn. (Cal's middle name is his Dad's first, the other two have family names that we loved.) Her first name is Jane. We've loved it forever and the boys already refer to her as Baby Jane or Janie. However, we cannot come up with a middle name!

My husband is absolutely adamant that if we are going to call her Jane, that will be her FIRST given name - none of this naming her something else and just calling her Jane. I had hoped to use a family name for her middle name like we did for the boys, but the rhythm is all wrong as a middle for Jane (not to mention the fact that our female family names are not entirely beautiful).

Everything else that comes up as a pair for Jane is a first name, too - Mary Jane, Sarah Jane, Eliza Jane, etc. - since Jane has historically been a middle name. We're also getting a little guff from family and friends about "Plain" Jane, and a few people have even commented that girls don't really need middle names since their maiden name becomes their middle once they're married anyway. (I'd love to know people's thoughts on that!)

Anyway - I'd like a middle name that's maybe a little fanciful or flowery, that has a good rhythm after Jane and before our surname Miller, and/or maybe has a beautiful meaning since it won't be a family name. The only one that I've really loved so far is Lisette, so I'd like more ideas to toss around. Elizabeth is out because it's in reserve for another girl (if and when:)). Also - we've been living in Ukraine for a year and will be for the first year of her life, and she will be born in London, so maybe something with a Russian / Slavic or British flavor would work?


I am usually of the mind that there are different strokes for different folks, ESPECIALLY with baby names, and so I am trying VERY HARD to allow into my universe the "girls don't need a middle name" idea people are attempting to sell you. The option of taking the maiden name as a middle name after marriage is by no means universal---and in fact, neither is the option of taking a married name at all. Besides, around here we LIKE names, so we WANT to choose a middle name, and in fact sometimes TWO. So I suggest we dismiss this whole theory as silly and turn our minds to the more interesting task of choosing a middle name (or maybe two!) for Jane.

Here are a few possibilities (I left out options that would give monograms of JAM or JIM):

Jane Beatrice Miller
Jane Belinda Miller
Jane Callista Miller
Jane Carissa Miller
Jane Cecelia Miller
Jane Celeste Miller
Jane Cordelia Miller
Jane Corinne Miller
Jane Evangeline Miller
Jane Felicity Miller
Jane Linden Miller
Jane Mirabel Miller
Jane Miranda Miller
Jane Meredith Miller
Jane Penelope Miller
Jane Rosabel Miller
Jane Verity Miller
Jane Veronica Miller
Jane Victoria Miller
Jane Wilhelmina Miller

I especially like the meaning of Felicity, which is luck and happiness. Wilhelmina is the feminine form of the German form of William, if you follow that, and William means "resolute protection," which I like too. Evangeline means bearer of good news. Meredith means great ruler, and Carissa means grace. Belinda and Callista mean beautiful, and Beatrice means happy, and Cordelia means heart (or daughter of the sea, depending on whether you want it to be Latin or Celtic). Verity means truth, of course. Veronica means true image, and Victoria means, creatively, "victory." Mirabel means miraculous beautiful one, and Miranda means marvelous. Penelope means weaver---or, er, duck. Celeste means heavenly. (I got all the meanings from The Baby Name Bible, which is one of those total overkill name books that obviously had to strain super hard to come up with enough names to meet their "50,000+ baby names!" boast, and in fact would have been better off stopping around 20,000, but on the other hand it's sometimes handy to have such a book.)

Do you have any pretty surnames in your family tree? Those seem like they'd be nice with Jane, too.

Name update! Traci writes:
After all of our angst, we ended up naming her Jane Elizabeth - she was born in London, so her 5-year-old brother kept insisting that she should be named after the Queen of England. That made us smile, so we went for it. The middle names that came in close behind were Lisette and Ophelia. Both of which I still love. Maybe if I can talk us into one more baby. :)


Jessica (jesswho) said...

Jane Valerie
Jane Anya
Jane Emily
Jane Stephanie

kristin said...

I really like the sound of -a ending names with Jane and I like the idea of using a Ukrainian inspired name for something a little fanciful.

After a little poking around, these would be my top picks. Ukrainian but not so strange to English speakers.

Jane Katerina Miller
Jane Natalia Miller
Jane Oksana Miller (although JOM looks like a word)
Jane Tatiana Miller
Jane Valentina Miller
Jane Lilia Miller
Jane Larissa Miller
Jane Magdalena Miller
Jane Theodora Miller
Jane Lydia Miller

Many of these names also have alternate more ukrainian looking spellings, eg. Kateryna and Magdelyna

Scarlett said...

Almost all of the women I know that don't have middle names wish they did. And I've known a couple of women who didn't get middle names, who then married men who were too insecure to let them keep their maiden names at all, so they're stuck as just plain Kathy R. and Beth S. forever.

*Maybe* if her maiden name was going to be something *incredibly* awesome (and to be perfectly honest, I can't think of an example), I'd go for it. But for a name like Miller or Smith or Johnson? That's just unfair when your sons have such cool names.

Personally, I like Cordelia and Miranda.

Fine For Now said...

Amen Swistle, my maiden name did not flow AT ALL (especially because it started with the same letter) with my married name, so that was a thought that never crossed my mind!

Voting for Miranda, Felicity, Meredith, Penelope, and Victoria :)

The Schwant Family said...

I like Jane idea on the meaning but I think they sound great together.

choirfiend said...

I love the name and meaning of Nadezhda, but that may be TOO ethnic for you.

Jane Nadezhda Miller
Jane Maria Miller
Jane Alexandra Miller (Love this one!) or Aleksandra or Oleksandra for a more Ukrainian feel. JAM?
Jane Sofiya Miller

Jane Michaela Miller
Jane Emily Miller (JEM?)Has a nice classic feel. Like she could grow up to be a famous poet!
Jane Aurora Miller (JAM?)

Rayne of Terror said...

I like the middle names that end in an A also. I especially like Jane Cordelia and Jane Victoria.

tracynicole22 said...

Wow, I didn't realize how hard it would be to pick a mn for Jane, but it is hard. Here's a few ideas:
Jane Alessandra
Jane Audrina
Jane Brinley
Jane Ellery
Jane Kiersten
Jane Natalia
Jane Olivia
I seem to like then names that end in "a" also. I think i'm drawn to Jane Natalia & Jane Olivia the most.
And yes, she NEEDS a middle name.

Clare said...

I did not change my name when I married (and neither did my sister or most of my friends), so I am glad that I have a middle name. In fact, the expectation that you name your BABY with the idea of her eventual marriage in mind gives me the heebie-jeebies. She may not marry, she may not change her name, or she may not want to make her maiden name her middle name if she does marry and change her name. Ahem, it's getting chilly up here on this soap box, so I'll get down now.

Of the names Swistle suggested, I like Cecelia and Felicity the best. Feminine, classic, and lovely. And I think Jane is a beautiful name as well.

Other Slavic names I like are Anastasia and Tatiana. Jane to me seems quintessentially British.

Anonymous said...

Another vote for Jane Cordelia!

The Cochran Fam said...

I like Jane Catherine (or Kathryn).

I also agree that she needs a middle name. I have a middle name and when I got married, I kept my middle name not my maiden name.

Erin said...

Just one more for the middle name question:

My husband and I both changed our last name to something that we mutually felt honored both our heritages. Because my ancestry was honored with our new last name we chose, there was no reason to use my maiden name as a middle, and I happen to love my middle name very much. Plus, I want to use my mothers middle name to name my daughter, and so on and so forth.

I think it is very important that you don't choose for your baby a certain naming structure, posited on the assumption that she marries a male and will change her last name to his, when there are so many choices out there and the choices are likely to increase.

I might add also that there is the possibility she will not marry, making the maiden name issue moot.

Jane is a lovely name and I hope you can find a lovely middle for her as well!

Anonymous said...

Jane is a lovely name-strong and versatile-and not overdone! Here are some middle name ideas...

Jane Susannah Miller
Jane Audrey Miller
Jane Eleanor Miller
Jane Nadia Miller
Jane Hadley Miller
Jane Emerson Miller

Best wishes!

hope said...

I vote for:
Jane Katerina
Jane Victoria
Jane Evangeline

I did replace my middle name with my maiden name, for many reasons, the main one being tradition; my mother had done it, her mother, etc. But to EXPECT that your daughter will do that is kind of ludicrous. It's not LAW that you make your maiden name your middle.

Carolyn said...

Jane sounds like such a regal British name, I like the idea of pairing it with a strong 2-syllable middle name:

Jane Bronwyn
Jane Arden
Jane August
Jane Rowan

kayt said...

Wow, this is hard! We had Jane Margaret on our list, but our son is James, so Jane is out as a first name. As for the no middle name thing, I hate that, sorry. I added my maiden name on as a second middle name, and I think it's a great compromise between the no middle and two middle people, as well as the keep your maiden name vs. dropping your maiden name options.

Jane Callista
Jane Camille
Jane Mireille
Jane Emilia
Jane Rosalie
Jane Hermione
Jane Fiona

Good luck!

Flibberty said...

I didn't know it was common place for women to replace their middle names with their maiden names. I know a lot of women these days who don't even take their husband's name at all. I would say that's too limiting in her options, and what if she elects not to get married at all?

Jane is a wonderful, solid, beautiful name. I know a little 3 year old named Jane and the name makes her all the more precious. Sweet Jane. It's a wonderful name, and I like middle names with it that end in a -a sound, like "Victoria" and "Katerina"

Anonymous said...

I love the name Jane! Fantastic choice. I like the combos Jane Felicity and Jane Cordelia. And Jane Cecilia. I seem to like the sound of the stress on the second syllable of the middle name (JANE feLIcity MIller); I think it works well with the one-syllable first name.

How about Jane Odessa? It popped into my head and I looked it up: according to the Baby Name Bible, the naming of the Ukranian port city was inspired by Homer's Odyssey. And by the sounds of it your Jane will be quite the traveller from the get-go!

Jane Odessa Miller.

Karen said...

Jane Miller is a great name but, yes, Jane deserves a middle name. I wouldn't discount A or I names either. Of those already suggested, my favourites are Beatrice, Carissa, Larissa, and Alexandra/Alessandra.

Other commenters have already mentioned some of my ideas but here are some more...

Christa said...

Ooh! Jane Ellen was my grandmother's name. I think it flows nicely, so I'm voting for that!

Jane Ellen Miller

I only know one woman who changed her middle name to her maiden name when she got married, and it was because she didn't like her middle name as much as her maiden name. Baby Jane definitely needs a middle name.

jill said...

i like first or middle names that mean something since she will be born in london, how about jane london miller, it's close to jane linden miller but w/more meaning

also bothered by the maiden name thing.

congratulations and good luck

StephLove said...

Jane Bianca Miller
Jane Christina Miller
Jane Petra Miller
Jane Rosemary Miller

Allison said...

Jane Alexa Miller
Jane Eloise Miller
Jane Isabella Miller

Those are my suggestions!

Anonymous said...

I just love that if you chose and 'E' name that her initals would spell JEM.. how precious, and it could be a cute nickname.

Evangeline, Emmeline, Emilia, are all nice choices.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I've never even heard of the "your maiden name becomes your middle name" thing before, ever. So I don't think that's too universal.

I absolutely adore the name Jane as a first name, it's so timeless and classic and beautiful! And I think "Janie" is a really cute nickname.

From some listed above, I too like:

Jane Felicity
Jane Cecelia
Jane Emilia
Jane Audrina
Jane Susannah

I like the softness of these middle names with the one-syllable Jane (which sort of has that hard-J sound hit you, so a soft and feminine middle name sounds lovely, I think).

Another idea that I think sounds quite British is:

Jane Arabella

Also, how about:

Jane Addison
Jane Evelyn

Another idea could be: If you don't particularly enjoy the exact names of your female family members, are there are of them that can be changed in just some slight way (just a different form of their names, I mean) so that you can still use close to a family name? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I love the name Jane! Our DD also has a classic, one syllable name that can be challenging to pair with a middle name. We decided to give up on the concept of "flow" and we went with a beautiful family name as the middle name. So I'm biased - I think you have a lot of middle name options, especially if you decide you don't have to have a perfectly melodious sound to the first name + middle name when said together.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the comments so forgive me if I repeat a bit...

I like three syllable names because they create a nice 1-3-2 pattern. My preferences are for:

Jane Davina (beloved)
Jane Lydia
Jane Feodora (Russian - gift of God)
Jane Helina (Russian - light of the sun)
Jane Nadeah (Russian - hope)

Of the original, I like Mirabel and Cecilia best.


Amanda said...

I think Jane is beautiful, not plain at all. As a matter of fact, it was on my list before I fell in love with Catherine. It is still on my list should we have a second girl.

I definitely would give her a middle name. If she chooses to keep Miller as a middle name or as her last name upon marriage, then she can. Meanwhile, she can have a middle name all of her own.

I like the flow of a name ending in "a" or E sound:
Jane Melora
Jane Christina
Jane Olivia
Jane Cecilia
Jane Emily
Jane Cassidy
Jane Bethany

Using a Ukrainian or British name is a lovely way to connect her to her beginning, but I'm drawing a blank on names. Best wishes!

Frazzled Mom said...

I must say, I too never knew about this practice of maiden name as middle name until a couple of years ago. I guess my grandmother did this, but I didn't even know that until a year ago. My Mom, my other grandmother, my friends, and myself, we kept the middle name and dropped the maiden name. Anyway, I agree, it's pointless to name your baby with her marriage in mind.

I like Jane Cordelia and Jane Felicity the best.

Patricia said...

A family member plans to name her baby Jane Catherine if it's a girl. I like that name very much, and it fits in with some of the suggestions above:

...using a name with meaning, especially a family name for the middle name (which Catherine is, as is Jane)

...using a very British name as the middle name to go with the English sounding Jane

...and the mother who named her daughter Catherine after considering Jane

I second all of these suggestions and will pass along to my relative the enthusiasm for the name Jane (she sometimes worries that Jane may be too "plain").

If at all possible, I would choose a family name -- or a name similar to the name of a female relative -- as the middle name to give Jane's full name the family connection and special meaning that each of her brother's names has.

Anonymous said...

For more Russian / Slavic middle names, how about:

Jane Irina
Jane Marina
Jane Daria

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I think not giving a daughter a middle name solely based on the future marriage/new last name criterion is not. cool. at. all. Especially if the brothers in the family get to have middle names. I can think of so many reasons why it isn't a good idea (what if she never marries? What if she never takes her husband's name? It is sexist? It implies that a woman can't make that decision for herself when she gets there...) Anyhoo, off that soapbox.

I love short, one-syllable names with three-syllable middle names, like Swistle has suggested.

I really like:

Jane Alexandra
Jane Felicity
Jane Victoria
Jane Katerina
Jane Catherine
Jane Matilda

Congratulations on your daughter!

Mrs Lemon said...

I'm liking Jane Susannah or from the original list, Jane Miranda.

Lovely lovely names.

Jewels said...

Coming from a family with a lot of Janes, I can tell you Jane is neither plain nor undeserving of a pretty middle name!

Jane said...

From first-hand experience, growing up with the name Jane I was not ever teased (except by my brother) over my name. And I really liked that it really grew up with me, and it isn't overly common.

(I'm Jane Marie as are the other Jane's I know!)

Joanne said...

Jane Violet
Jane Elizabeth

Cindy said...

We're in the process of adopting a little girl from Odessa, Ukraine whose nickname is Katya, short for Kateryna. We will most likely keep her name as Kateryna but give her a middle name and then our surname of course. So ... my vote is for Jane Kateryna.

Anonymous said...

I know the cutest little girl named London and another cutest little girl named Odessa (her mom was from Ukraine and married an American). I love those two names.

Theresa Jane said...

Coming from someone with the middle name Jane, I think Jane would be a wonderful first name...I had 2 boys so never had the chance to use it. How about Jane Olivia, Jane Opal, or Jane Lillian?

Jane Mira S. said...

Mira because its my middle name!And I love it!
-Jane Mira S.

Patricia said...

Jane Elizabeth -- love it! So regal, so British (so Jane Austen). Congratulations.

(And by the way, my family member considering the name Jane Catherine named her daughter, born in Feb. 2010, Jane Violet instead. Violet is a name from the dad's family, as Jane is from ours. How we all love our darling Jane -- and her name!)

Anonymous said...

My name is Jane Theresa.