This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl S____l

Julie writes:
I hope you can help us decide on a name for our new baby. This is my third pregnancy and we do not know whether we are expecting a boy or a girl. Our living daughter’s name is Rebecca Ann. In addition, we have one who was born extremely premature and did not survive who we named Emma Eiliyah (/uh-LIE-uh/). Our last name is a two syllable word that starts with S and ends with the sound /ul/.

We are Jewish, and as such, traditionally name after loved ones who are no longer living. Rebecca is named for both of my grandmothers and for my husband’s brother (Rosalyn, Agness, and Richard). Because we knew that our second child would not live, we departed from the tradition and chose names based on their meaning (We found a meaning for “Ema” that means “loved one” so we changed the spelling a bit to be more conventional. Eiliyah means “beautiful one to grow in peace and love with God”). We would not have used either Emma or Eiliyah had she lived – partly because we don’t have relatives to name after who had names starting with the letter “E” and partly because of the combination of trendiness (Emma) and unusualness (Eiliyah) of the two names. We’re looking more to have the name sound appropriate with Rebecca than with Emma, since Emma doesn’t get spoken as often.

This time, we would like to name after each of our grandfathers, whose names began with “M” and “S,” preferably in that order so as to avoid the initials “SS” (not good for Jews) when the middle name is not used.

We lean towards names that are traditionally recognized, gender specific, with obvious spelling, & not extremely trendy/popular, super unique, or particularly ethnic. We would like to name the child what we call it – we're not looking to use a nickname or to primarily use the middle name. Also, we try to avoid word names (Mark, Trip, Chase, Pierce, Hunter, Parker, Mason, Wendy, etc). Can you tell I used to be a teacher? ;) Rebecca fit the bill perfectly for us because it’s commonly recognized and while not currently particularly popular, it’s also not “dowdy.”

In my experience, our last name– two syllables & the /ul/ sound at the end – combined with the first letter constraints makes a difficult task all that much more challenging. As an example, although I love them both, we nixed the names Rachel and Abigail when I was pregnant with Rebeccca because of the rhymy-rhymy sound between first and last name. We also 86ed first names that end with the /s/ sound so as not to run into the /s/ at the start of our last name.

Names on the possibility list:

Mia (but is this too much of a rising star?)

Meg (my husband doesn’t like Margaret)

Matthew (although this is my brother’s middle name which poses a bit of a problem w/the tradition of not using the name of someone who is living)


Sidney (for a boy)


Names we have eliminated for one reason or another: Max, Sarah, Sam/Samuel, Maris, (all names of living relatives), Michael, Mitchell, Miles, Mark, Maura, Megan, Saul

Thanks so very much for your help!!

M possibilities for girls:




Mary (feels common, but isn't; there was a Mary in my son's class, and I was surprised how fresh it sounded on a little girl)


Mira (similar to Mia, but without the Top Ten problem)




My favorites with Rebecca are Marissa, Meredith, Miriam, and Molly.

Marissa Simone
Meredith Shea
Miriam Sophia
Molly Samantha

M possibilities for boys are trickier: with Michael, Matthew, Mark, Max, Mason, Miles, and Mitchell eliminated (I'm eliminating Matthew since it breaks the tradition you're trying to follow---and, as I understand Jewish naming traditions, which is only partially, using the name of a living relative seems to be a worse problem than declining to use a name of a no-longer-living relative), that leaves very few names. I've got three:

Malcolm Sidney
Micah Sawyer
Milo Steven

But I wonder if you have other relatives who could be honored, since so many M names are out.

Name update! Julie writes:
Hi! I wanted to update you and your fantastic readers. Our daughter was born on Thursday, January 6th and we chose the name Margaret Suzanne. Despite his initial lukewarm reaction to the name Margaret, my husband warmed to the name over time without pressure from me. Even up to (and beyond) the moment when Margaret was born, we were unsure about what name we would choose, particularly if she'd turned out to be a boy. But Margaret (instead of Meredith, our other leading choice for a girl) was the winner. We think it goes well with Rebecca and it feels so wonderful to have named her for both of our grandfathers. Thanks so much for all the help you and your readers provided! Now...on to finding a Hebrew name. ;)


brooke said...

Mae or May

I like Swistle's suggestions of Micah and Malcolm.

I have also known a Micah that was a female, if that is appealing to you.

Giselle said...

How about Martin? I babysat a little boy with that name and it was so cute on him. And he could be Marty for short...if you like that. Martin Saul.

millennialkelly said...

Although you said that you don't really want unisex names, since Swistle mentioned Morgan for a girl I think that one could work for a boy too.

Some "S" boy's names that I like are Sebastian and Sullivan.

brooke said...


Also, I love Mia and Meg from your list.


StephLove said...

Mia is popular, but so pretty and I think Mia Susannah would be lovely. I almost don't want to endorse anything else because I love it so much, but from Swistle's suggestions I also like Miriam and Marissa and Simone is one of those names that works as a middle with almost anything.

For boys, Micah is a particular favorite of mine. Micah Steven, or Micah Simon are both great choices.

Christine said...

Girl names with M:

Mia (I love!)

With S:

Shoshana (I know you said not ethnic, but I LOVE it, and won't ever be able to use it)
Shana (pretty!)
Syvlia, Silvana

Boy names with M:
Marshall (but maybe too rhyme-y with last name?)

with S:
Sidney (which I LOVE)

Good luck with everything!

Mrs S said...

Milla Sylvia
Mable and Matilda are so cute. Molly Samantha is my favorite from Swistle's list.

Miller Silas
Morgan is a great boys name. Micah Sawyer is my favorite from Swistle's list.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think Mia Susannah is gorgeous and I like how it's a flip of Rebecca Ann.

What about

Molly Susanna
Macy Sharon
Madeline Shay
Mara Salome

Meyer Sebastian
Milo Sampson
Malachi Seth

Jenn said...

Some of my girl suggestions have already been added in the comments, but I also thought of
My favorite though is Miranda: Rebecca & Miranda, so cute!

For boys I really like
Malcolm & Martin
Both classic names you don't hear very often.
Marcus ends in the "s" sound, but that might work as well.

Carolyn said...

I love Meredith and am always surprised at how familiar, yet rarely used it is. I also like Meg a lot.

For boys, I like Miles or Mitchell

Megz said...

All the names that have been suggested are really good. I like Malcolm or Martin for a boy.

I think Melissa would fit really well with Rebecca as siblings - same number of letters, placement of vowels, etc.

For the middle name I would suggest something one-syllable if you choose a longer first name. Sue or Sean would fit well.

My favourites would be

Malcolm Sean S___l
Melissa Sue S___l

I also like Mariah too. Good luck.

Megz said...

Meant to also say that a short middle name would tie in nicely with Rebecca Ann's name too.

Rebecca Ann and Melissa Sue.

Or is it too matchy?

beyond said...

Mia is pretty but it was at number 10 in 2009, which is very popular.
Maya Selena
Mila Sylvia
Miranda Sophie

Martin Solomon
Marlon Sebastian
Melvin Simon

Good luck!

kanah said...

For girls, I like: Malin, Madigan, and Mary Kate. MN: Sada or Summer, etc. For boys, I suggest: Mason, Miller, Mayer, or Michael. MN: Solomon. Best of luck!!

Anonymous said...

My name is Meg, really Meghan but I always go by Meg. I love my name, the simplicity, easy to spell, say and goes with almost any last name.

I have a two year old daughter named Mary that I named after my deceased grandmother. Although I originally thought of using a more modern off-shoot of the name (mae, maeve etc.), I just went for it. I have had so many comments about how many people love the name and how it often reminds them of someone that they cherished too.

Good luck,

M & M

di@KidKraft Kitchen said...

Mia is a gorgeous name and is my favorite..............I also love Mia Susannah. I think Mia is a lovely name for a baby and an adult , it would be easy to call out to a child called Mia and no one is going to shorten it.

Erika2005Lincoln said...

I love Mira. I also know a charming little girl named Minna.

Jan said...

I like Mirah with an h on the end. I also like the suggestions of Miranda or Mara for a girl. For a boy how about Micah?

with Sarah said...

Mia Sophia would be LOVELY, but probably too sing-song. So I will agree with the user who said Mia Susannah- but I also agree that Mia is a very popular name, enough so that I might advise against it.

My favorite for a girl? Miriam Suzette, I think it flows nicely- Miriam is my favorite Hebrew name and Suzette is a nice spin on Susannah.

Martin, Milo and Mattias for boy M names. Silas, Sebastian, Steven, and Samson for boy S names.

I realize Silas is probably not an option, however because of the "S" at the end- but it's so great I had to suggest! Best of luck to you! :)

Frazzled Mom said...

I also immediately thought of Miriam and Mallory for a girl. For a boy I was stuck. I love Susannah, but feel Simone will probably work better as a middle name. I like Swistle's suggestion of Malcolm.