My husband and I are expecting our second boy due Feb 4, 2011. We are having a difficult time coming up with a name. Our last name is Poe. Our first son's name is Shepherd (Shep), which I love, but he went without a name until he was 3 days old. I would like to avoid that this time. We had decided on the name Magnolia Beatrice for a girl, Beatrice after my husband's grandmother, and wanted to call her Nola Bea. However, we aren't having a girl, so now we need a boy's name. A few of the names we like include Canon, Abel, Rowan (too girly?), and Asher (too popular?). Thanks for your perspective.
The first time I heard the name Rowan was when Brooke Shields used it for her baby girl, so the name will always sound feminine to me despite being used half again as often for boys as for girls in the U.S. (source: Social Security Administration). And with Poe I think it sounds a bit like "Ro and Po." I suggest Roman instead, although I don't think I like the repeating long-O sound with Poe. Or Cowan, except now there's a "Co and Po" sound. Or Roland Poe, which should give me a "Roll and Po" feeling, and yet doesn't. Perhaps Ryland, which I only just saw in The Baby Name Wizard? Ryland Poe. Shepherd and Ryland. I like that.
Because the biblical Abel was a shepherd, it makes an immediate connection for me with the name Shepherd. Also, I feel like poor unfortunate biblical Abel ruined the name for secondborn sons everywhere. But I was a diligent Sunday School scholar, and not everyone would even think of those things, let alone care. I might use Abram instead. Or Abner is a nice combination of Abel and Asher, if it's not too close to Edgar.
Asher seems good: it has that tradesman sound without actually being a tradesman name, and the repeating SH-sound ties it to Shepherd.
Canon is a name I'm not familiar with. Because of that, it sounds very nouny to me with Shepherd, and makes both names seem less like names. But I think if I were familiar with it, it might seem just about perfect. Again, though, your surname doesn't quite GO with it: Canon Poe sounds OFF to me.
The Baby Name Wizard suggests these brother names for Shepherd/Shepard: Gibson, Bishop, Burgess, Fletcher, Tillman. Bishop seems much too profession-oriented to me (a Shepherd, a Bishop, perhaps next a Farmer and a Deacon?), but I like Tillman and maybe Fletcher. (Gibson always reminds me of "Gibson girl," which for me makes it awkward as a boy's name.)
Miller seems like another good option. It SHOULD give me the same feeling as Bishop, but instead for me it tips both names from Profession Names to Surname Names.
Carter and Carson and Mason and Sawyer and Slater and Turner might work, too---or might give you the same feeling Bishop gives me.
Anderson seems nice: Anderson Poe; Shepherd and Anderson. Yes, I like that: it gives that "surname names" feeling.
Avery might work: it has the gentle sound of Shepherd. Shepard and Avery.
Or Harris: Harris Poe, Shepherd and Harris.
Or Redmond: Redmond Poe, Shepherd and Redmond.
Or Truman: Truman Poe, Shepherd and Truman.
Or Campbell: it too moves Shepherd from profession to surname. Campbell Poe, Shepherd and Campbell. In fact, I think that's my favorite.
Coleman would also be good: Coleman Poe, Shepherd and Coleman.
May I offer sympathy on your surname? After working with it for only an hour or two, I am feeling like it is a very difficult surname to work with, and that everyone will have to understand that whatever you choose shouldn't be expected to flow well with it.
Name update! Hope writes:
We decided on Charles Levi. Neither name had been on any list we had, but when he was born it just seemed right. We are calling him Charlie.