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Monday, October 18, 2010

Baby Girl Pollack

Patti writes:
Hoping you (and your readers) could help me name my little girl who is due to arrive in early November. This will be our second child (and last!!) who is a sibling to Benjamin Ray. I chose the middle name Ray which was my maiden name (Rae) as well as my grandfather and aunt's middle name. This time it's a little harder. I would like to honor my grandmother whose name was Esther (no middle name), however, she hated her name! I stumbled across the name Estelle and discovered it has the same meaning as Esther, "star". So I'd love to use that in the middle name slot. I've considered it as a first name but a close friend just named her daughter Stella and I'm afraid it's too similar. If Estelle doesn't work in the middle name slot, I've also considered using the initials EJ, as that was my grandmothers maiden name initials. Other possibilities to consider in choosing our daughter's name is that my husbands background is Scandinavian (I'm a bit of a mutt) and my husband LOVES aviation.

Thought so far:

Audrey Estelle
Anna Estelle
Avery Estelle
Lilah Estelle
Eliza Johanne
Juliet Estelle
Olivia Estelle

Other names we haven't ruled out: Freya, Helena, Amelia. Names my husband (shockingly) suggested: Matilda, Imogen (too similar sounding IMO to Benjamin), and Ingrid.

Thank you for your thoughts... We are open to new suggestions that you think might suit our style!!!

Sometimes a namesake is difficult or even impossible to achieve. You'd like to honor your grandmother, but her first name won't work and she didn't have a middle name. By the time you're as far into it as using not even her maiden name but her maiden INITIALS, or using a name with the same MEANING and putting it in the middle name slot, I'm not sure we have a namesake at all. On the other hand, it may still remind you pleasantly of your grandmother, and restricting your choices may make it easier to choose a name.

I do think, though, that her first name DOES work, even if she hated it. I'm assuming from your verb tenses that she has died, and even if she hated her name it was still HERS. The name represents HER---which is why namesakes are considered an honor: our names become a stand-in for our SELVES. You wouldn't be naming your daughter "after the name my grandmother hated," you'd be naming her "after my grandmother." Your grandmother's feelings about her name are unconnected to your feelings about your grandmother, and unconnected to what it means to use her name.

So my suggestion is that you name your daughter Esther. It's a beautiful name, and it's perfect with Benjamin. I like Esther Rae if you want to use your maiden name again, or practically any one-syllable name: Esther Jane, Esther Rose, Esther Mae, etc. I also like Esther Matilda and Esther Imogen and Esther Eliza. Or to give her even more flexibility, Esther Olivia or Esther Avery.

From your list I find it hard to choose favorites because I think they're all such good options. If you twist my arm, I'd choose Audrey Estelle and Eliza Joanne.

Name update! Patti writes:
Happy to say this week we welcomed Eliza Rae into our family! Thanks for your input!


StephLove said...

I think Esther Rae is perfect. But I like Anna and Amelia from your list, too.

Amelia Estelle
Amelia Rae
Anna Estelle
Anna Rae

More ideas:


Linda said...

I agree. I vote for Esther.

Anonymous said...

I like Ingrid from your list!

Carolyn said...

I love the nn Esti or Essie for Esther and Estelle, so that might solve the Stella/Estelle similarity problems.

Esther Rae
Ingrid Estelle or Ingrid Esther
Elizabeth Rae

You could also give 2 middle names to include Esther/Estelle and Rae. I like Ingrid too, because it makes me think of Casablanca and the final flight scene at the end of the movie, hence an aviation tie-in :)

Bethtastic said...

I like Esther. It was my Grandma's name also.

And for perspective on the "hated name" problem. My husband's name is Harold. He hates it. And will likely go to his grave hating his name. But, it is also my beloved Grandpa's name, and when our son, Tim, was born, I wanted his middle name to be Harold. Timothy Harold.
My husband at first objected strongly, but in the end, when I told him that I have loved every Harold I have ever known, he understood that it was about giving Tim the name of his Daddy and his great-Grandpa...not giving him a "hated name".

So. After that big long story. I say use Esther. And while I love it as a first name, you could use it as your daughter's middle name, too.

Esther Rae
Esther Jane (for both Esther and EJ)
Anna Esther
Avery Esther

Lisa said...

I love your name lists. I really like Lilah, Avery, Juliet.

I like Estelle, but if you like Esther, I would use that over Estelle.

Another name suggestion: Norah

Christine said...

I like both Esther and Estelle, in either name place. And I like your name choices, my favorites are Audrey and Matilda.

Good luck!

Mrs. S said...

Hmm, Estelle made me think of Celeste. But I think Estelle is not too similar to Stella. They are not sisters.

Some "E" names that I think are great are: Ellie, Elsa, Elsie, Elise and Eleanor.

My favorite from your list is Audrey Estelle, Amelia or Matilda.

Patricia said...

Eliza Joanne -- love Eliza and think it coordinates well with Benjamin Ray. I also like Anna Estelle with Benjamin.

Best wishes!

The Mrs. said...

Is there anything wrong with telling you lovely daughter, "Where did Estelle come from? Well, your great-grandmother was a wonderful woman, and her name was Esther. We wanted to name you after her, but she hated her name. So we found a name that meant 'star'... just like Esther. We think Great Grandma would have liked it, too!"

Seren means star in Welsh.
Estee means star in French.
Astra means star.
Danica means 'morning star' in Dutch.
Hesper and Vespera mean 'evening star'.

Best wishes to your growing family!

Patti said...

Yay! So excited to see my post here:) Thanks so much to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions, keep them coming!!! You raise two interesting points.

1) It hadn't occurred to me that in an attempt to find a name similar to Esther, I am moving further and further from the namesake. That being said, I might consider Esther in the middle name spot, but not as a first. I think I was trying to find a "prettier" version that might have pleased my grandma (yes, she is no longer living).

2) I had ruled out using Rae as a middle name figuring I had already "used" Ray for my son. But it seems like you and your readers think that isn't too strange. Something I will reconsider.

Thanks so much...I LOVE hearing what people think of our list and what names "go" with Benjamin. And of course for the combos and names I hadn't considered.

beyond said...

I think Esther is a beautiful name, and so I hope that you will use it in the middle spot...
You have great names on your list. Lilah Esther would be my first pick for you. Benjamin and Lilah, perfect.
Good luck!

Kayt said...

I adore Esther. However, I see Amelia on your list. How about Amelia Esther? You get the aviation link for your husband, and get to honor your grandmother.

How about Freya in the first, with Rey as a nickname? It's a bit of a stretch, but I think it works. Freya Esther sounds really nice to me.

Twee Poppets said...

I actually disagree with Swistle on this one - I don't at all think that Estelle is too far from Esther to be a name sake. Not only does it have the same meaning, but it sounds VERY similar to me. The only difference is that one ends in an "el" sound and the other ends in an "er" sound. I think Estelle is a great way to honor your grandmother without using a name she hated - and yes, I have to say that I think Estelle is much prettier than Esther.