Hi Swistle! I’m Zoë, and my husband is Jamie. (Zoë Isabelle and James William Martin). We are expecting a baby boy on September 21st, and we still can’t decide on a name for him. This is especially important because he is our first son (we have three girls) and he will be our last child.
Our girls are Mathilda Rosemary (Rosemary after Jamie’s mother, who passed away about a month before she was born), “Tilly,” and our twins, Hazel Beatrice and Amalia Claire. Beatrice and Claire are both after family. Our naming style seems pretty consistant; names that have a classic, slightly old fashioned feel, but not too common. Amalia was most popular in 1924, and Mathilda and Hazel 1918, respectively. But we just can’t seem to agree on a boy’s name.
We’d initially agreed on Henry, which we both liked, but we don’t want a very common name, and Henry is number 78 and on the rise. So that’s out. The same goes for Benjamin, which we’d thought about, but it’s number 25. Popularity (or, for us, lack of it) is very important to us. We want a name that’s somewhere in the middle – not a name that people do a double take when they hear, but we don’t want him to be one of five in his class.
Other names we’ve thought about are Owen (too popular), Griffith (I liked it, he didn’t), Toby (vice versa), Oliver (too popular), Grant (our last name is Grande), and Julius (too popular). I also really love Jack, and Jamie does too, despite it’s popularity, but I feel like it has to be short for something, and neither of us likes Jackson. And we also discussed Trevor and Fletcher, both of which are more modern and popular and don’t really go with our daughters names, but we kind of like them.
Oh, and we really want to honor both of our fathers (Lyle and Earnest) in the middle name, but we don’t particularily like either of their names.
Oh my, we are in a pickle here. If you could help us with a classic, early twentieth century name that isn’t too common now, as well as finding some way to honor my dad and Lyle, that would be amazing.
Thank you so much!
Let's talk for a minute about commonness. The name Jacob (not on your list, I know, but stay with me) is the number one most popular boy name in the United States, and it was given to 1.0355% of boys born in 2008 (source: Social Security Administration). This means that out of 100 boys, approximately 1 is named Jacob. Assuming a class size of 30, where 15 are boys, that gives you roughly one single Jacob per SEVEN classrooms.
And that's the most popular boy name in the U.S.! The name Julius, which is on your too-common list, was given to only .0501% of boys born in 2008. That's 5 boys named Julius for every 10,000 boys---or roughly 1 Julius for every 667 classrooms.
My point is that if you want a classic and non-double-take name, I think you're dramatically over-limiting your options---even if you want it to be quite uncommon.
But I can still take on the challenge! Here is a list of names that were common in the time period you want, but AREN'T common NOW (source for 2008 name rankings: Social Security Administration):
Carl (#490; Karl is #864)
Rufus (not in Top 1000 in 2008)
Edmund (not in Top 1000 in 2008)
Here are a few more to consider; these were around (though not common) in the time period you have in mind, and I think they have the right sound:
Arlo (not in Top 1000 for 2008)
Now it's a matter of seeing which names from those lists go well with your surname and with the sibling names. I think I'd use both grandpa names as middle names: I favor using people's actual names to honor them (in my experience, even a bleah name has grown on me with time because of the family connection), and I don't mind the use of two middle names for this one child since it's your last chance to use the names. A few sample possibilities:
Frederick Earnest Lyle Grande; Mathilda, Hazel, Amalia, and Frederick
Everett Earnest Lyle Grande; Mathilda, Hazel, Amalia, and Everett
Rufus Earnest Lyle Grande; Mathilda, Hazel, Amalia, and Rufus
Edmund Earnest Lyle Grande; Mathilda, Hazel, Amalia, and Edmund
Franklin Earnest Lyle Grande; Mathilda, Hazel, Amalia, and Franklin
Calvin Earnest Lyle Grande; Mathilda, Hazel, Amalia, and Calvin
Would anyone else like to give opinions on which names work best, or opinions on the middle name situation?
Name update 09-26-2009! Zoë writes:
Hi, Swistle! Thank you so much for posting our name dilemma. When people suggested John with Jack as a nickname, we decided to do some more research to find out what other names we could use as a full name for Jack. And we agreed on Jasper (#452, but also popular at the turn of the century). Earnest and Lyle just weren’t appealing to us, though, so we’ve gone with both of our fathers middle names instead (both of which were on your suggestions list!). Jasper Franklin Louis Grande was born a day early at 8:07am on Sunday, September 20th. The girls are already referring to him as ‘Baby Jack.’ We’re very happy with our decision.. how do you think the name sounds? Thank you so much for your help!
P.S. My father’s middle name is pronounced “Loo-ee,” but we’re not sure if we should pronouce Louis in Jack’s name that way or as “Loo-iss.” Which you think sounds better? Just wondering:)