We are expecting a baby girl (our first child) due July 7. I thought we had settled on several possible names but the closer we get to the date, the more unsure we are. Our last name is 8 letters long and two syllables, starting with a hard K sound. Looking through name lists, we have tended to like long'ish feminine names (Alexandra, Evangeline, Madeline) with cute, spunky nicknames for when she is a little girl (Alex/Allie, Eva, Maddie). I definitely want a name that has a nickname. I want to use a name (either first or middle name) that has a meaning for me - whether a family name or tied to a beloved childhood book. I was named for a character in my mother's favorite book (Little Women) and I always loved having that connection to her. For that reason, I love Madeline, one of my favorite books as a little girl. But, my husband does not like the nickname Maddie. We rejected Charlotte (nn Charlie - too popular in our area), Josephine (nn Josie - husband doesn't like it), Gabriella (nn Ella - I'm afraid she will be called Gabby). My husband likes Hannah, but I'm stuck on there not really being a nickname for Hannah.
So, we thought about combining two - Alexandra Madeline, for example. But, combined with a two syllable last name (total of 9 syllables - and 25 letters total), is that too long? Are we saddling our little one with a little too much name?
One possible family name is Lilian, though my husband does not love it. We thought about Emerson (which doesn't seem to go with our usual feminine names though) with a nickname of Emma (a family name) - but is it way too popular?
thank you for any suggestions you have.....
Emerson isn't too popular, I don't think, but Emma is the second most popular girl name in the United States (source: Social Security Administration). I've said before that I don't think the Top Ten is the kiss of death, but if your goal is to avoid popular I'd stay away from Emma (and Addy and Maddy and Ella).
I can think of lots of long feminine names with cute nicknames (Francesca, Philippa, Willemina, Calliope, Penelope, Cassandra, Meredith, Raffaella, Philomena, Cordelia---but the trouble is, I won't know if the name has meaning for you or not.
When you were a child, did you also love the book Madeline's Rescue? If so, I suggest Genevieve with the nickname Evie (or Nevvie, or Genna, or Gennie). I think it's wonderful with your surname. I like Genevieve Lilian K____, or you could use one of the problematic/rejected first names: Gabriella, Charlotte, etc. (If you use Gabriella, a cute nickname possibility is Gigi, from the initials G.G.)
If you considered Charlotte because of Charlotte's Web, the name Fern would be a good middle name.
Another possibility is using another of the sister names from Little Women. You've already thought of Josephine, but perhaps Margaret? Margaret has so many great nicknames: Meg (the nickname used in Little Women), Maggie, Daisy (the nickname used for Meg's little girl, also named Margaret), Greta. You could even use "Marmee," which is what the mother in Little Women (ALSO named Margaret) goes by.
The fourth sister is Elizabeth, and we recently discussed a lot of good nicknames for that.
I don't think a name like Alexandra Madeline is too long with a 2-syllable surname. I think it sounds very pretty and feminine.
If your husband likes the sound of the name Hannah but nicknames are a problem, you might be able to find a name he likes that starts with the similar-sounding Anna, and then use Annie as a nickname: Anastasia, Annabel, Anneliese, etc. Or perhaps a name that ends in -anna, to get the sound of Hannah but access some new nicknames up in front: Liliana, Luciana, Joanna, Susanna, Adrianna, Eliana, Georgianna, Lianna, etc.
Name update 07-24-2010! Amy writes:
I was due to deliver on July 7, but as it turns out, our baby girl was born one week early on July 1. I was in the middle of contractions and waiting (impatiently!) for my husband to get home from work to bring me to the hospital. I checked the Swistle website as a way to distract myself, and was so surprised to see my question pop up that morning. It really helped get my mind off the contractions - what perfect timing! We ended up going with Alexandra Madeline (nickname Alli) - everyone loves her name and we think it suits her perfectly. Thank you and your readers for the great suggestions, and for confirming that our first choice wasn't too long of a name for a little baby.