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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Castle, Sibling to Conrad and Nolan

Lindsay writes:
We could use some help. Our due date is February 7th but I will most likely be induced up to two weeks before that date. Our last name sounds like Castle. I have two sons, Conrad and Nolan. We are not finding out the baby's sex so we'll need names for both a boy and a girl. My husband and I have different tastes for names, and it's been really hard coming up with something we both like.
For boys he likes old, common names and the one,s he likes are usually associated within his family somewhere. Examples: Jack (his grandpa), Henry (another grandpa) and Max (great grandpa!). My favorite name by a long shot this time around is Beckett. Hubby thinks it doesn't sound like a 'real' name. I thought it was perfect because his give name is 'Buck' and since I refuse to do a junior Beckett has three of the same letters. Anway, some others on my list are Atticus, Arthur, Magnus, Mathias, Abel and Hendrik. I also considered naming him Hendrik and having Henry as the nn. The middle name will be after my husband's father who has passed away, David.

As for girls I like Harper, Hazel, Briar, Everly, Verity and Vanora. I want to honor one or two people with her middle name. My dear friend that passed, Sheryl, for sure. And possibly hubby's mother Janis. I'd like to go with either Sheryl or a combination of the two. I was thinking Sheris. I'm concerned about Hazel Castle with the same sound at the end of each name. And I don't want anything that's up and coming with popularity so that might cut out Harper. (Nolan became waaay more popular than I ever thought it would.) My husband has only suggested one girl name that really surprised me-Basil. We were cooking and he said it sounds like a nice name. I think he's more open to unusual girl names.

I'm on the same boat with the idea that thinking since baby is getting his last name I should get a strong say in baby's name. Especially with the boy name since the mn is after his dad too. I would highly appreciate your expertise.


I wrote to you a few months back in need of help for baby names. Since then, we have evolved a bit and I wanted to update you.

For a boy, we will take Hendrik, Beckett and Arthur to the hospital with us and decide from there. We are both satisfied with all three of these options if we have a little boy, and the middle name will either be David or Henry.

Our main problem is with girls' names. We've finally come up with a middle name, thank goodness. My options for people to honor are named Sheryl, Mary Lou and Janis, so I came up with Meryl Jane. I've decided that two middle names is okay with me and if we have another girl in the future I will do the same for her.

For first names my favorite was Harper...but I took if off the list due to popularity rising (esp. in our state). I prefer uncommon names, and I learned with Nolan's name how fast some can rise. He's six years old and it wasn't very common then...but there are quite a few around now. I hardly ever hear Conrad's name, which is something I love about his name.

On our narrowed down/reinvented list consists of:

My husband and I like all five of these names, but his favorite is Albany while mine is Juniper. I still have tiny reservations with each of these names though. Does Albany Castle sound too much like a place? Can you see Juniper on a grown woman? Is Penelope getting too popular? Will people be able to say/spell Hermione? And is Matilda going to be associated with the movie/Heath Ledger's daughter constantly?

I'd love your opinion on these and maybe some new suggestions that fit our style. I don't like repeating initials so C and N names are out. Also, I like there to be a natural nickname that goes with name that doesn't fall into the popular category....for example, we would call Matilda "Tillie" instead of "Mattie" or "Maddie". Someone had suggested Felicity for us but the only nickname I can come up with is Fliss which we wouldn't be able to use (last name of an ex) and I don't like Lissy. I also think I prefer the three syllable names over the four syllable names which might be making me a little more hesitant about Penelope.

I look forward to reading your suggestions!

I see that you're getting into February and I'm getting so excited to see what you have to say.

Just thought I'd send over a few more names that we've been considering though DH is not overly excited about them....yet. It usually takes a couple weeks of repeatedly hearing a name before it sounds 'normal' to him.

Oh and I thought I had the middle name narrowed down to Meryl Jane but have since changed my mind...the middle names will now be Meryl Lane...not a huge difference but something to note.

Added to our girls list are:

I think the front runners are Matilda, Albany and Winslet for me....Albany for DH.
I hope this is not too confusing and you can seem this together with my last emails :)

Thanks Again!

I think with a surname that sounds like Castle, I would eliminate all place names and surnames: Albany Castle, Galway Castle, Winslet Castle all sound exactly like tourist attractions to me. I would in fact suggest going as far as you're willing to go on the side of established, easily-recognizable-as-names names: a name like Margaret Castle clues us that we may be looking at a person's name in a way Verbena Castle does not.

From your list my favorite candidates are Verity, Juniper, Matilda, and Penelope. Right now it's difficult to picture Juniper on a grown woman, but that's only because it's a new name this generation: names like Madison and Caden are difficult to picture on grown-ups, too, but when this generation of kids grows up those'll be perfectly ordinary mom and dad names.

The Harry Potter books/movies have dramatically improved the general population's ability to spell and pronounce the name Hermione---but I think Hermione is far more associated with Harry Potter than Matilda is with the movie or with Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger's daughter. I think the same of Winslet: the association with Kate Winslet is the ONLY association most of us have with that name, unlike the name Matilda which has a variety of associations.

I recommend the Social Security baby names site for monitoring popularity, since that aspect is important to you. The names we've used for our children "catch our ears" the way other names don't---so using a name can make it seem as if the name is suddenly EVERYWHERE, when it didn't seem that way before. The name Nolan is a perfect example: it's made only a slow and small increase in popularity (#175 in 2003; #122 in 2009), but it feels to you as if it's skyrocketed. Looking at the actual rate of popularity increase (nationally and by state) can be reassuring ("Oh, I'm just noticing it more because it's on our list") or can give you a heads up ("Holy cow, apparently everyone else likes Penelope too!!").

And indeed, everyone else does like Penelope, so I'm taking that off my finalist list of four: I think the increasing popularity will bother you. That leaves Verity, Juniper, and Matilda, and I think Matilda is the most recognizable as a name, so that makes it my first choice. Matilda Meryl Lane Castle. I would also vote for returning to Jane instead of Lane, to cut down on the noun problem.

I'm trying to make a list of other candidates to consider, but here's the problem I'm running into: the names I think would go well with your style (names like Avalon, Azalea, Clover, Emerald, Fable, Harlowe, Langston, Magnolia, Padgett, Paisley, Story, Tilden, Winslow, Yeardley) are names I don't want to pair with Castle. And so then I'm inclined to look for more "established-name-y names" like Matilda, but I'm not sure those names (Adelaide, Alice, Eloise, Frances, Henrietta, Ramona) are ones you'd necessarily like. In short, I see the problem you're facing!

Maybe Lorelei? It's uncommon, yet recognizable as a name. It's nice with Castle. It's nice with Conrad and Nolan. Lorelei Meryl Lane Castle.

Or Imogen: Imogen Meryl Lane Castle; Conrad, Nolan, and Imogen.

Name update! Lindsay writes:
Baby Castle has arrived! And she's a GIRL!

She was born on Wednesday at 3:40 a.m. during our massive snowstorm leaving no way to make it to the hospital on time. She was delivered by her daddy and grandma in our bathroom!

When it came down to it, our mutual favorites ended up being Albany and Juniper. Since we decided to definitely use Jane in the middle (in honor of the grandma that helped bring her into this world!) we decided on Juniper because we liked the alliteration and the nicknames to boot. Loryl after my mom and dear friend. Jane after my mother-in-law.
Thanks to everyone here who gave me feedback and helped me through the naming process! I appreciated everyone's comments.

Here is our sweet baby, Juniper Loryl Jane:

Name Update!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Naming Issue: Names for a Baby Born Near Christmas!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baby Boy Poe, Brother to Shepherd

Hope writes:
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.

Baby Girl Osbourne, Sister to Meryl and Quentin

Megan writes:
My name is Megan and my husband's name is Eric. We're expecting a baby girl on February 2, 2011. We have everything all prepared for her arrival... except for her name! Our two kids are named Meryl Alexandra (5) and Quentin Thomas (3). Meryl and Quentin's names were easy to pick: Meryl is after Eric's grandmother Mary and Thomas was my maiden name, Alexandra and Quentin were names we just liked. This time around, we're having more difficulty. Here are our current front-runners:

Clementine - This is probably my favorite. I would shorten it to Cleo as a nickname, but I'm not sure if we're brave enough to use it! I love it, but is it too much for a little girl?
Tess - This is Eric's favorite. I like it, but I dislike the way the "s" in Tess runs into the "s" in Osbourne.
Renata - Again, we love it, but is it too much? I don't think we would use a nickname.
Celine - Eric likes this one more than I do. I think it's pretty, but I don't see it as "the one."
Allegra - I'm a little bothered about the way Allegra Osbourne runs together. Is this a problem?

I think it ultimately comes down to Clementine "Cleo" versus Tess. Tess is a safe choice, Clementine is much more unusual. Is it too big of a name to saddle on a little girl? Ultimately, Eric says he would be fine either way, but I know he prefers Tess and I wouldn't feel right about naming her Clementine if his heart wasn't in it.

Is Clementine the right name? Tess? One of our other choices? Something else entirely? Help us out!

This is the fault of my 5th grade teacher, who for music class had us sing nothing but the folk songs she enjoyed in her youth: the name "Clementine" automatically and without fail causes me to think "Oh my darling." Because of this, if you knew me I would tell you it was better to use Clementine in the middle-name slot: you get the full fun of the quirkiness with none of the downfalls (such as Swistle humming the song cheerfully whenever she's around you, without even realizing she is doing it).

I like Tessa Clementine. Adding the -a gives a nice separation between the S sounds in the first name and surname, and you can still call her Tess whenever you want. It gives you a nice combination of safe and quirky, and gives you the option of calling her Clementine as an endearment---and she can go by it later, if she wants.

Another option is to name her Cleo. I think of Cleo as a completely different name than Clementine, and not a natural nickname for it. Cleo has some of the quirkiness of Clementine and some of the safeness of Tess---a nice compromise name. Cleo Clementine or Cleo Allegra or Cleo Renata plays up the quirkiness; something like Cleo Celine or Cleo Maria or Cleo Samantha plays it down.

Name update! Megan writes:
Thank you so much for all your help! Cleo Celine Osbourne was born on February 4, 2011, at 6 lbs, 10 oz. She's absolutely delightful and her name fits her perfectly.

Baby Girl Garner, Sister to Beckham

Brittany writes:
I have been reading your blog for a while now and I am hoping you can help us out! I am due January 19th with a baby girl (will be induced on the 12th if I haven't had her though) and we are still trying to decide on a name. I think the closer it gets, the more unsure we become. We have a two year old son named Beckham. His name was one we just really liked, although it took us two days after he was born to finally decide on it, we were going back and forth between two names. His middle name is my husband's name. With how long it took us to decide on his name I should have realized this would happen this time around too, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it. We are just so indecisive! Our last name is Garner, and her middle name will most likely be my middle name which is Kylyn. If it doesn't flow with the name we pick we will find another family name to use, but I find it fits with most.

Here are the names we like-

Landry- This is one of our top two. I know it's traditionally a male name/surname but it sounds feminine to me. We both like it a lot and I love that it's different. The spelling is what's giving us a hard time. My husband doesn't like the traditional spelling, it reminds him of all the male sports players with the name. I don't mind the normal spelling, but I do think it looks like laundry. The two ways we are thinking of spelling it are Landree or Landrey. Neither is sticking out to me though, which spelling is best? Also, any nickname options you can see?

Elle- The other part of the top two. We are normally drawn to surnames/unique names but we both really like this one. I love that its cute, simple and girly. Plus it's easy to spell! The thing I think is missing is the Wow factor. I just feel it doesn't have that fun, unique quality about it. Is it boring? Plus it's short, is it too short for a name? My husband jokes we should just spell it L.

Others we like that are still on the list-

Savvy- I really like this one, hubby is luke warm about it. Is it too crazy?
Ruby- Hubby really likes this, I don't love it. I don't like how popular it is or will become.
Arden- I really like this one, Hubby is unsure about it.
Aven, Olive, Isla, Saylor, Charlie- We like them all but not sure if they are the one.

Names we have decided against for one reason or another-
Sloan, Story, Arabelle, Harper, Hartley, Briar, London, Bentley, Penelope

Names my Hubby vetoed-
Campbell, Harlow, Coco, Monroe, Lux, Luca, Sawyer, Piper, Hadley, Lola, Stella

Names I vetoed-
Journey. (even though I first suggested it)

I feel like we are just going around in circles and need to pick one! Other suggestions you think would fit are welcome too though! I just really wish someone would tell us what to name her. I would like to have something picked out instead of going to the hospital with a list. Please help us out!

Also our next boy's name is already picked out. It starts will an 'L' and is another surname that is similar in style to Beckham, in case that helps.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Little Girl _________ Dinkenesh Sanderson, Sister to Faith and Eli

Jaime writes:
I heard about your blog today from my husband's cousin. I LOVE to talk about baby names and have never had a problem coming up w/ baby names for my children before....until now!

We have two children right now. Faith Kinder Sanderson and Eli Burkhalter Sanderson. (Kinder and Burkhalter are family maiden names). We are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. She is 3 1/2 years old. (Just 10 days younger than our son.) I do like for sibling names to go together but not be matchy. We have a few "rules" when it comes to naming our kids. I think I may have to bend them a bit for our new daughter in ET.

Here are some of our rules (or preferences)
1) Biblical first name....but doesn't have to be a Bible character's name
2) we use family maiden names as middle names
3) we use the first name as their name (don't like to "go by" another name)
4) easy to say/spell....HATE "unique" spellings

I CANNOT come up w/ a name that fits our new daughter. Since she will look different than her siblings, I REALLY want her to have a name that fits her but also makes her feel apart of our family. I think we have decided to use her given Ethiopian name as her middle name (this bugs me a little b/c we are not giving her a "family maiden name" like her big sis and bro have....but I also want to honor her culture too, so I am feeling better about using that. We will definitely tell her "her story" and teach her about her culture. Her Ethiopian name is Dinkenesh (pronounced Dink--en--esh).

Here are some of the names we like:

Scout-- LOVE this name, but don't think it "goes w/" Faith and Eli very well. It's not obviously Biblical, but it is in the Bible when the spies "scout" out the promise land. It's a stretch, I know and doesn't have the Biblical feel that Faith and Eli do. I also LOVE the character from "To Kill A Mockingbird."

RuthAnn--I don't like the name Ruth by itself and Ann is my SIL's middle name so that is one way to give her a family name but RuthAnn Dinkenesh Sanderson is quite a mouthful. I think Ruthie is a cute nn for a little girl and she can grown into RuthAnn. Not sure she looks like a Ruthie/RuthAnn though. Hubby is not a big fan of this name.

Honor--I really like this virtue name. I don't like Hope, Charity, Gracie b/c they sound too matchy w/ Faith.

Esther--like this one, not sure she looks like an Esther though

Naomi--like this ok, but not "lovng it"

So....our request is for a first name. We are pretty sure the rest of her name will be Dinkenesh Sanderson.

I know you requested a "due date" and since she is already here, we don't have one :) We are hoping to travel in late February/early March for our first trip. I am REALLY wanting to find a name soon so that we can begin to "bond w' her" and get used to calling her by her name. This will help our kids a lot too! Right now we are calling her Dinkenesh. (which sounds like a normal name to us b/c we use it so much, but others keep asking us to repeat it and have a hard time pronouncing it.)

I appreciate you reading this long request and look forward to any feedback you can give!


I think Scout goes fine with Faith and Eli, but there's no stretch stretchy enough to make it a biblical name. Since Faith isn't particularly biblical, either (it's religious-sounding, but doesn't belong to any specific religion), I think you could just change your mind about using biblical names---unless there's some particular reason you're working with that restriction.

Regardless, I suggest using a more serious name than Scout, since your first two children have more serious names. The Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird was not actually Scout but rather Jean Louise; perhaps that would be a good candidate. Jean Dinkenesh Sanderson, or Jean Louise Dinkenesh Sanderson. Or spell it Jeanne to reference Jeanne d'Arc, if you want to continue the religious theme.

Honor sounds too matched with Faith to me, especially if you say just the girls' names: "Our daughters Faith and Honor." The name Joy is a possibility: it definitely matches with Faith, but the meaning of the word is so nice for this situation, if it were me I'd be more willing to tolerate the matching. Joy Dinkenesh Sanderson.

I think Esther and Naomi are both wonderful and underused names, and very good with the sibling names. Either of those would be great, I think.

But I'm drawn most to Ruth because of the famous "Your people will be my people" quote, which was meant for a mother-in-law but feels extra meaningful and poignant for an adoption. I would use it without the Ann: I think the repeating AN sound in Sanderson (as well as the -en in Dinkenesh and the -on in Sanderson) is what makes RuthAnn Sanderson seem like a mouthful. Ruth Dinkenesh Sanderson is perfect. I hesitate pushing this name only because of the matching -th ending with Faith, but I think that's fine.

If you'd like to continue the tradition of family maiden names, remember that you can use two middle names. We've done that in our family, and the hassle has been minimal---even less than I'd been expecting. You could name her Ruth Dinkenesh [family maiden name] Sanderson, or Joy Dinkenesh [family maiden name] Sanderson, for example. It's a lot of name, but it's very rare for middle names to be said. This makes her given name a special bonus name---instead of a replacement for the family name. But I also think it's fine to not use a family maiden name: the idea of using her own first name instead makes so much sense.

Name update! Jaime writes:
I am SO EXCITED to report that we passed court earlier this month and our new daughter is officially ours!! We loved all the feedback we got from you and your readers. We have decided to name her, Eden Dinkenesh Sanderson. We love the name Eden for many means "delight" (which she is to us!!), all the letters in Eden are in her Ethiopian name, it's Biblical (like her big sister and brother's names) and it has a strong "D" sound like her Ethiopian name. We will continue to call her Dinkenesh until she is ready to make the switch to her new name. Children her age are really attached to their names and since she has to adjust to so many other changes in her life, we want her name to stay the same. We LOVE her so much! Her name just fits her! Here are a couple pictures to share!

Thanks again!

Name Updates!

Update on Baby Girl Malmberg!
Update on Baby Girl or Boy Reese, Sibling to Harper Grace!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Geez-brekt, Sibling to Caitlin, Olivia, Emily, and Curtis

SIL writes:
I'm emailing you for my sister in law, they're last name sounds like Geez-brekt. She's due January 26, gender unknown. This is the fifth baby, they have 3 girls and boy- Caitlin Naomi, Olivia Lynn, Emily Megan and Curtis Evan. Here are they're top contenders at the moment:



They loved Evan (other son's middle name), and didn't use b/c friends already did. They also like Ivan, but it's taken as well. I suggested Everett or Gavin, both of which weren't liked.


Amanda- dad likes, mom- meh
Hannah- mom likes, dad dislikes
Lauren- not sold on it

Looking forward to seeing what your commenters have to say!

If they can't use Evan or Ivan, I wonder if they might like Ian, Owen, Eamon, or Ethan? Or Aidan or Avery or Kyle?

For a girl, would the dad like Anna better than Hannah? Would the mom like Miranda better than Amanda? And if Lauren is "sort of but not quite," they might prefer Laurel. More possibilities:


Name Updates!

Update to Baby Girl Annest-Clark!
Update to Baby Girl or Boy Webb!
Update to Baby Girl Acksum, Sister to Jonathan!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Baby Girl MacNamara, Sister to Grady

Teresa writes:
Need some help choosing a name for our baby girl due Jan 26th. This is our second child; we have a son whose name is Grady Stephen. Last name is MacNamara. My husband and I have been discussing names for months and have a list going, but just can't settle on a name and now DH isn't sure he likes any of them. Here's our list: Carolyn; Ellen; Nola; Alice; Erin; Lucy. I also like Etta and DH likes Althea. Names we've discussed and rejected: Evelyn; Rowan; Eleanor; any B names (don't want initials BM); any name that ends in -ara (too rhymie with last name). Names of nieces so can't use: Olivia; Abigail; Emma; Laura; Natalie. We'd like to use River as a middle name, so long as it flows well (no pun intended).
I guess I'm looking for any feedback on our list names and also any suggestions I can bring to DH.
Thanks for the help!

Name update! Teresa writes:
I enjoyed reading everyone's comments, and getting such positive feedback for Nola really helped swing us back around to the first name on our list. And as much as we loved River, we decided to go with a more traditional middle name, choosing to honor an aunt and great-aunt of mine. So Nola Catherine was born on February 2nd, our little Groundhog Day baby.

Baby Girl Pascale-Hague

Jillian writes:
My husband (David) and I are expecting our first child, a girl, on January 31st and felt absolutely no rush to come up with a name for her because 9 months feels like FOREVER and picking a name is SO HARD, and now here I am in my 8th month, still calling her babygirl. I was of the persuasion that we'd go in with some ideas, but that we should wait till we saw her face to make the final decision, but you've had all these name regret posts recently, and I'd really like to avoid that stress and hassle, so the time for procrastination has passed--we need to name this baby!

Her last name will be Pascale-Hague, since we both hyphenated when we got married and we are pretty set on using my late grandmother's name, Carmela, as the middle name. So, names that start with or contain el or that are too long are sort of ruled out. I love nicknames and feel strongly about some nickname options.

Names we like, with comments are:

Ruby nn bee - this is my favorite. It is short, but has a cute nickname and goes well with Carmela. My husband likes it, but is afraid to commit to it for some reason. My only concern is junior high "Ruby Boobie" teasing, but junior high sucks for everyone, regardless, so I'm okay with this. Final issue: my husband has bright red hair. If this baby inherits this trait, would a red-headed Ruby be ridiculous or adorable?

Magnolia nn Nola - I think this is my husband's favorite. While I love the nickname Nola,we both fear the nickname Maggie. Also, is Magnolia Carmela too much?

Juniper nn Junie - So cute, but I don't think the name Juniper will age well.

Eleanor nn Nora - I love this name, but it is a no go because Eleanor Carmela sounds funny to me.

Penelope nn Penny or Poppy - Same problems as Eleanor

For extra information, if this were a boy, we really liked the names Oliver, Ezra and Jude.

I am definitely open to new name suggestions and am excited to see what you and your readers come up with!

Thanks so much!

Ruby is my favorite, too, and I think a redheaded Ruby would be adorable. More possibilities: Lucy, Sadie, Olive, Rose, Molly, Alice.

Your mention of the nickname Bee makes me think of Beatrix.

I love Magnolia, but I think your fears of Maggie are justified. You could probably work with it early on ("This is Magnolia, we call her Nola"), but she might choose Maggie herself later on.

If you like Juniper but want something with less risk of aging poorly, the name June is lovely. Plus, it's nice and short! June Carmela Pascale-Hague is a very good name.

If you like Eleanor, I wonder if you'd like Eloise? I know you're avoiding names that start with El-, but I think that one might work with Carmela: Eloise Carmela. Maybe not, it's hard to tell---but the EL sound might tie it together.

Name update! Jillian writes:
We had our beautiful blonde (not red headed!) baby girl on 1/28 and, thanks to you and your very kind readers, we had settled on Ruby, but we decided to a middle name. Our plan was to use just my late grandmother's name, Carmella, but I got to thinking of how great it would have been if she were alive to enjoy her namesake and how fun it would have been to tell her we were naming our child for her. David is really close with his grandmother (who is still living), so we decided to also use her name, Lucille, as a middle name. So, now we have a child with five names, but I'm happy we did it, because David's grandmother was over the moon and it was meaningful to both of us to be able to share that with her. So, Ruby Lucille Carmella (affectionately Ruby Lu) it is.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy McD______, Sibilng to Ronan

Raigan writes:
I am panicked. I am due at the end of January with a baby which will be a brother or sister to our three year old son Ronan Darren. We went into the delivery room with a few names we liked and as soon as we saw him we knew he was a Ronan and Darren is his father's name. Our girl name, had Ronan been a girl, would have been Lily. It has been "my name" ever since I was a little girl and although I hate the popularity of it, I'm not sure if I could actually name a girl anything else. I have also never heard of a Lily in our area and trust me, I've put some effort into snooping around about the name. Her middle names will likely be Noelle Elizabeth after my sisters.

Now, boy names..... we have problems. My husband and I are both teachers and are therefore VERY aware of common names and I really do not want my son to be a multiple name in his class (this is the only reservation I have about the name Lily). We also have very large families and groups of friends which eliminates many names that aren't already associated with a student. Some names that we have considered but just aren't right are:

Hudson - I have liked since Ronan was born but my husband isn't sold. Honestly, neither am I.
Oliver - My husband doesn't think it's strong enough.
Lincoln - I just can't get the car, band, president out of my head.
Finn - My husband liked this with Ronan but I didn't think it was serious enough and friends now have a little boy Finn.
Sam -'s whatever to me.
Milo - I liked, husband wasn't sure but we now have friends with a little Milo.

I don't want an overly traditional name like Mathew or Joshua. These names are great but not my style. Some names we have in our families/friends are Max, Grady, Tate, Owen, Cole, Reece, Duncan, Dane, Logan, Marco, Simon, Will and Kade among many many others.

I read your blog very faithfully and have yet to come across something that stands out to me. My son is also registered in every tot class they offer so I truly feel like I have heard every name out there. I'm starting to worry that the strong yet cute, original yet not made up name that I want just doesn't exist. Please help me come up with the perfect name. Oh yes, our last name is a a three syllable McD______ name and the middle names will be Christian Leo after his grandfathers. Any help or suggestions would be fantastic.

I think Declan, if it's not already in the family, friends, or classroom. Declan Christian Leo McD____, Ronan and Declan.

Or Keegan: Keegan Christian Leo McD_____, Ronan and Keegan.

Callum: Callum Christian Leo McD_____, Ronan and Callum.

Emmett: Emmett Christian Leo McD_____, Ronan and Emmett.

Camden: Camden Christian Leo McD_____, Ronan and Camden.

Felix: Felix Christian Leo McD______, Ronan and Felix.

Carrick: Carrick Christian Leo McD____, Ronan and Carrick.

Teague: Teague Christian Leo McD____, Ronan and Teague.

Lorcan: Lorcan Christian Leo McD____ Ronan and Lorcan.

Lachlan: Lachlan Christian Leo McD_____, Ronan and Lachlan.

I also like the idea of using Leo as the first name. It's similar to the name Milo you liked. Leo Christian McD_____, Ronan Darren and Leo Christian.

I think this would be a happier and easier process if you could bring yourself to avoid an insistence on the child being the only child of your acquaintance with that name. Total non-duplication isn't a practical goal for parents who are teachers with large social circles and large families. Even if you find a name that (1) you love, AND (2) is not the name of any student, friend, or family member---you're highly likely to encounter the name in one of those groups in the future. Coming to terms with a duplicate now is like getting the first ding or scratch on the new car: nice to get the inevitable over with.

Name update! Raigan writes:
Although we were unsure about a boy's name throughout my entire pregnancy, the closer I came to my due date the more I was sure about our original choice of Hudson. So during my surprise c-section (we found out he was coming face first when I was seven cm), my husband and I finalized our name choices; Hudson Christian Leo or Lily Noelle Elizabeth. Minutes later our perfect baby boy arrived and he was absolutely a Hudson. Thank you for your help - I'll probably be asking for more in a couple years.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Boy Tempulltin, Brother to Arden

Kelly writes:
Ever since we found out that we're having a boy, my husband and I have had a few name battles. I would LOVE to pick a name and have a peaceful pregnancy from here on out! I am due Jan 25. We have a daughter, first name Arden, middle name Grace, who is 3. It was so easy with her, we picked Arden years before we were even engaged, married, was a done deal. Now, it seems so difficult to find a good boy name! We would love a name that sounds nice with Arden. It would be too much, though, to choose a name that ends in "den". Our last name is like Tempulltin, so it would be better to avoid suffixes of "ton" and "son".

My daughter names all of her babies Noah since she could talk (and they're all girls, so cute!). We like that name, it's a contender but not our fave. We had picked Finn as a boy name the first time around, and considered Griffin, with a nickname of Finn, but ever since Glee, it seems like it might get to be overused. We don't love it like we once did. Other names I have considered are Evan, Cooper, Hudson. Hubby has vetoed all of those. On his list, in no particular order, were Lane, Trey, Cormac, Levi, Lee, Bo and Abram. I don't like ANY of those names. I went through old family archives on and found some family names: Boden, Conrad, Grayson, Kern, Ezra, Salvatore. The only one of these that hubby liked was Ezra, and I am just not that crazy about Ezra. Then I came up with Emmett, and really like it. Hubby is "thinking about it". Something with the "feel" of Arden.... but for a boy.... would be PERFECT!!

I am just at a loss-- we both are.

If Emmett is "almost but not quite," other possibilities are Elliot and Everett. I especially like Everett with Arden: Everett Tempulltin, Arden and Everett.

If you like Evan, I wonder if you'd like Ian. Ian Tempulltin, Arden and Ian. That's a little hard to say, but I still think they go well together. I think part of the problem is merely that "Arden and" is a little hard to say no matter what.

Ezra IS really good with your surname and with the sibling name. One thing I particularly like about it is that I think of it as "the new Noah": a name that went from almost-unused-biblical to mainstream. Ezra Tempulltin is a pretty hip name. Arden and Ezra is wonderful. And I am very fond of family names.

Wyatt is another possibility: it is sort of like Ezra and Levi and Lee and Bo, but also sort of like Emmett.

I wonder if you'd like the name Redford? Redford Tempulltin, Arden and Redford.

Or Harris: Harris Tempulltin, Arden and Harris.

Or Ruben: Ruben Tempulltin, Arden and Ruben.

Or Silas: Silas Tempulltin, Arden and Silas.

Or Lucas, potential nickname Luke: Lucas Tempulltin, Arden and Lucas.

Or Joss: Joss Tempulltin, Arden and Joss.

Or Isaac, potential nicknames Zac and Ike: Isaac Tempulltin, Arden and Isaac.

Name update! Kelly writes:
Thank you for your help! We went with Noah Hudson. He's a doll!

Baby Girl, Sister to Will, Kate, Spencer, and Jack

Kara writes:
I am due January 23rd with a baby girl. I would love some input. This will be our 5th child and our 2nd girl. Our other children's names are:

Willard Dale (nn of Will)
Kate Lynn
Spencer Wayne
Jack Dennison

Here are a few names we've thought of, but are still unsure.

We would like to do a middle name. All of our kids have middle names that are from our family, so we'd probably do that again this time, but we really don't have any suggestions or ideas for that yet. If you have any suggestions for middle names, we'd take them though. :) The only suggestion I can think of would be Ann for a middle name.

Since Will, Kate, and Spencer are all giving me royal-family feelings now (I may or may not have read ten million articles on the recent engagement), I like the way Jack breaks that unintended theme and I think it would be good if the new baby's name also stayed away from royalty. From your list I think Nora is the nicest fit. Jane to me sounds a little too close to Kate, and I'd use it as a middle name if you don't find a family one you like. Nora Jane---really nice. Nora Ann is nice, too, and I love family names as middle names.

Another name I really like with the sibling names is Eliza: it adds an additional multi-syllable name to the group, and it leaves all the children their own initials. I love it with Ann, too. Eliza Ann. Will, Kate, Spencer, Jack, and Eliza.

I like Emily for the same reasons. Emily Ann. Will, Kate, Spencer, Jack, and Emily.

Clara would be pretty. Clara Ann. Will, Kate, Spencer, Jack, and Clara.

Ooo, or Rose, but with a different middle name. Will, Kate, Spencer, Jack, and Rose.

Name update! Kara writes:
Just wanted to update and thank you for your suggestions. We actually decided to go with Hannah Elizabeth. We both really liked Hannah and it just seemed to fit her well. Elizabeth is my grandmothers name and we thought it sounded good with Hannah. Luckily our last name is fairly short, so we felt it was okay to have both her first and middle name a bit longer. Thank you again for your help and suggestions!

Name Update!

Update on Baby Girl or Boy Hartung, Sibling to Samuel and Dixon! (This is the one where the family had two boys, and the mother didn't find out the sex of the baby beforehand but the father did, and he told her "You know what it is." Now we really DO know what it is!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skylar, Annaleigh, or Emilia

Meghan writes:
My husband and I are expecting baby number one on 1/23/2011. We have a name that we love for a boy, Noah Daniel. We can't seem to settle on a girl name. There are three that we really love, so possibly some combination of the following would be good, but we just can't decide. Here are the names we do like: Skylar, Annaleigh, and Emilia. Your thoughts?

The first baby's name sets the tone for future baby names. It also eliminates certain names from future consideration (e.g., if you name a baby Anna, you're ruling out Hannah, Annabel, Liana, etc.). This makes the decision more difficult, but can also help you narrow your choices: imagine all your potential future children as a group, and think about what sorts of names you'd like them to have. If you use the name Noah, and then later on you have a daughter, will you want to use the name Skylar, or does that not seem quite right with Noah? Do "Annaleigh and Noah" sound like Your Children? "Emilia and Noah"? "Annaleigh and Skylar"? If not, which of the two names is the one that you'd eliminate? That sort of game can help you figure out which of your name candidates is most Your Style.

We've talked before about how names like Annaleigh make me nervous. (Your spelling is fine, but I've now considered the issue afresh for so many submitted questions, I don't think I'll ever see the name without thinking of it!) I'll suggest to you the same name I've suggested before to avoid the situation entirely: Avaleigh.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baby Girl Schloff

Jess writes:
I hope you and your readers can help. You'd think that after reading your Baby Name Blog for so long that I'd have more ideas and wouldn't need help...but I do! My due date is January 15th, but my family is very crafty and wants a name to embroider on bibs, quilts, etc., ASAP Which is stressing me out! I have a daughter who is 9.5 and name choosing for her was EASY. I knew at least a month before the ultrasound what her name would be if she was a boy or a girl. My daughter's name is very uncommon, it's like Mattea but spelled differently. Our last name sounds like "Schloff", I'm not really concerned with the name flowing since she's a girl, and her last name may change one day. Plus, nothing really sounds right with it anyway. The one name I did fall in love with for a girl was Ava. But it is so popular, and I feel that since my older daughter has such an uncommon name, that I should follow that trend. Plus, my name was extremely common growing up, and I hated being the fourth girl in class with that name. The middle name will be Jane (after my mother) and Ava Jane just sounded so cute to me. I also would prefer an obvious girl name. Some names we have considered:

Lila (Layla and Lola are out as close friends have daughters with these names)
Emmalyn (I like it and it didn't rank in the top 1,000)
Annabelle (which is a familiar name, but not popular)
Eliana (I really like this one because the meaning in Hebrew is "My God has answered me", and we didn't know if I'd ever be able to get pregnant again, which I desperately wanted....but don't know if it's the one, also, my neighbor is pregnant and this is one of her favorites too, but her husband hates it, and she doesn't know if she's having a boy or girl, but mine is due first, and she did say the name was mine if I wanted it...but I feel like I'm hijacking!)
Elena (which my daughter vetoed because a girl on her bus has this name and is "mean")
Ellery (which my family associates as being a boy name, so that's out)
Olivia (too popular)
Amelia (also rising)
Nora (I feel so-so about this one)
Adah (which I also liked for the meaning, "A beautiful addition")

Also, to make matters worse, another neighbor of mine is pregnant (the three of us form a triangle) and due in December, she also isn't finding out what she's having, but I'm paranoid that it will be a girl and she'll pick the name I settle on (not intentionally), so I feel like I need a lot of backups! Also, don't drink the water here unless you want to get pregnant, NONE of us were trying, and now we're all due weeks apart!)

Thanks to you and your readers for any suggestions!

To me, the clear stand-out from your list is Eliana. It's one you love, it has extra meaning for you, and I think it's the best one with Mattea. I mean, that is a gorgeous combination, similar in style yet still nicely separate: Mattea and Eliana. I love it. I feel like pressuring you to use it.

Is the reason it feels like hijacking that you got the idea of the name from your neighbor, or did you both just happen to have it on your lists? Though the former would give me some pause, too, it still seems to me that you should use it: she's fine with it, and it would feel so awful if you gave up the name you loved and then she had a boy, or had a girl but her husband wouldn't agree to the name anyway.

Also, I would like to send a message to your family: STEP BACK. Let's not put additional PRESSURE on such an important decision. There is PLENTY of time to personalize items in the days after the baby is born (the baby will not need a personalized bib or quilt IN THE HOSPITAL), and in fact it gives everyone something fun to do right after they hear the happy news of the birth of baby Eliana.

Name update! Jess writes:
It seems like everyone was pulling for "Eliana" (both due to how beautiful the name is and the special meaning behind it), but on 1/25 she was born and we named her Ava Jane. She was 8lbs 1oz and 20 inches long. 6 1/2 weeks later, she's nearing 9lbs, but not quite there. She is a petite little thing, and I read once that Ava means "bird like" (which...boring!), but she is! I wanted to thank you and the readers for the help, even though I ended up going with my first choice. It's safe to say though that I *might* be having a bit of name regret. Everyone I introduce her to says, "Oh, my new granddaughter is named Ava" or "Oh, we just enrolled two Ava's in our class!" Argh! But, I knew that was bound to happen and for the most part, I call her by her full name of Ava Jane, so it sets her apart a little bit...right?

Thanks again!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Favorite Baby Naming Resources

Bethany writes:
Is there an updated Baby Name Wizard book, or one that is so much like it but made more currently? I bought my copy (well loved, well used, excellent hemming and hawing resource!) four years ago before Ava was popular in that book's opinion, and that is what we named our first child/pregnancy experience. I love that the name is short and sweet and its perfect to describe our little girl who died prematurely. BUT... to me it is evidence that the book is a little dated in opinion and cultural stuff.

I looked online and kind of like Nymbler and What a Lovely Name!, but they aren't as good as Baby Name Wizard. The SSA site is not too helpful either, because I am looking more for inspiration and for the styles/families of names like the book has.

Thanks in advance for your help finding a resource. I hope I have the opportunity to select a few naming options and have your readers give feedback or suggestions!

Oh, I KNOW people are going to want to chime in on this one!

My 2005 edition of The Baby Name Wizard says the name Ava is "suddenly soaring"---and that's the first edition of the book. There's a second edition that came out in 2009; I had to buy mine from an actual physical book store because STILL claims to have the first edition and not the second. The covers look the same except that the 2009 version has a hot-pink circle that says "Fully revised and updated with new names." That's definitely what I'd recommend, above all other baby name books: it's even better than the 2005 and continues to be my favorite baby-name resource of all. I think of her as the absolute expert on style families and sibling names.

This won't help with your question, but since we're on the topic of favorite baby name resources, I also enjoy having a few name dictionaries on hand: I find them useful when I'm looking for a name starting with a certain letter, or names that begin with certain sound, or when I want to find the meaning of a name. The two I use most are The Baby Name Bible (I see it's on Amazon's bargain table for $4.78), even though I get very sick of the snarky tone and the many, many entries that are clearly there only to allow them to put "50,000+ Baby Names!" on the cover; and 100,000+ Baby Names (goodness, that one also is on the bargain table; perhaps this is an indication that it is time for me to update my reference section). For origins and to resolve disputes about meanings, I use The Oxford Dictionary of First Names.

I also buy a lot of other baby name books, just because they're fun and I'm interested. I recently added Baby Names Made Easy, which sorts name into lists by meaning; and The Complete Book of Baby Names, which is basically a name dictionary but with a small section in the front where names are grouped into lists such as "Most Popular in New York" and "Surfers."

I occasionally look up a name online, but it's rare. I find most online baby name sources to be cluttered with ads and misinformation (incorrect origins, incorrect meanings), and if I get a list of search results I have to click to a new ad-filled page every 10 names. However, I know many readers of this blog find information online, so I know they'll have found the good ones and can tell you more about them.

Oh, wait, I have told a lie, because there IS one online baby name source I use, probably more even than I use The Baby Name Wizard: The Social Security Administration baby name site. I know you said you don't find it helpful because you're looking more for style families, but one of the huge advantages of the SSA is that it's where, for example, you can go before you've ever met a single baby named Ava and see information like this (which is how The Baby Name Wizard knew as she was writing her 2005-publication book that the name Ava was soaring, even though she only had access to 2003-and-earlier data):

(screenshot taken from The Social Security Administration baby name site)
(click it to see it larger)

The SSA site doesn't give style information, but if you have name candidates in mind you can find out if the name is rapidly increasing in popularity or not. You can also look in the same popularity range as a sibling name, or look for inspiration in a certain popularity level (for example, names that aren't in the Top 100 but aren't too far away from it either).

Now I hope others will be able to answer the specific question about resources for name styles and inspiration---but also comment on the broader topic of favorite baby name resources.

After These Messages

Pardon this interruption in our usual programming, but in case you would be interested in a Tassimo coffee machine, I got the unusual opportunity to give one away on my review blog, and the Tassimo peeps say the winner might even get it by Christmas if I do a short contest, so the entry period is only until this Sunday night.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Middle Name Challenge: Reese ______ Ogle

Nicole writes:
We're expecting our first child, a girl, on 1/11/11, and cannot decide on a middle name. Our last name is Ogle. Her first name will be Reese, but can't settle on a middle name that we both like and that flows nicely with our last name. The middle names we've considered are:

Elizabeth - don't want to use because of a family dispute
Irene - my grandmothers' names, but don't think it sounds right
Nicole - my name
Renee - my middle name

We're not attached to using a family name but kind of liked the idea of honoring both great-grandmothers. We mostly just want a middle name that sounds good between Reese and Ogle.
Any suggestions?

Similar in rhythm and sound to Elizabeth (but without the family dispute) is Felicity: Reese Felicity Ogle.

Another name with the rhythm of Elizabeth is Olivia: Reese Olivia Ogle.

I also like Reese Miranda Ogle.

Another possibility is a hybrid I saw recently: Elizabelle. It gives you Elizabeth and Isabelle, and it sounds very pretty with the other names: Reese Elizabelle Ogle. This does give the initials REO (as in REO Speedwagon), but I'm guessing a '70s/'80s band isn't going to be the kind of thing elementary school students will be familiar with. I mention it only because that's the sort of thing I like to think through and accept in advance, rather than suddenly realizing it after the baby has been named.

The name Irene isn't perfect as a middle name for Reese, but it's good---and in fact, the more I think of it, the more I like it. I think if you don't have a strong feeling about a particular middle name, you might feel pleased later on if you used a name that reminded you of both of your grandmothers. Then if anyone ELSE didn't think the flow was perfect, they'd think, "Well, but it's a FAMILY name"---an explanation that covers a great deal of imperfection. And it's so rare for a name to be said in full. Yes, I think if I were you I'd use Irene.

Name update! Nicole writes:
We went with Reese Nicole. We just thought it sounds better together. But we're planning on using Irene for our next girl's middle name (assuming we have another girl, that is) :)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Names for a Baby Born Near Christmas

Suzanne writes:
I know you need MORE requests like you need a hole in your head, but with Baby Girl due in just a few days we're getting closer and closer to the holiday baby we're (I'm) hoping for and I thought this might be a quick/easy/fun question for your readers. Although we've got a "probably" for the first name (Caroline) I would LOVE to do a Christmas/winter themed middle name. I know it's kind of cheesy and some people are going to totally roll their eyes at this but I LOVE Christmas and with Baby Girl expected December 26th I figure I shouldn't pass up this opportunity.

Besides Eve for a baby born on Christmas/New Years Eve or Natalie for a baby born ON Christmas (the internet informs me "Natalie" actually means "born on Christmas") what else should we consider? Holly? Ivy? I feel like I'm missing a lot of options.

For the record, our last name is a common two-syllable "D" name so middle names that start with vowels may fall into the dangerous category of initials-that-spell-things - not that that is a dealbreaker for me.

Thanks so much!

Oh, I LOVE themes for middle names, I just love them. I'm the same as you: I know some people roll their eyes but I CARE NOT. It's not like I'm suggesting the middle name Snowflake or Reindeer or something: it's that there are some legitimate, solid, traditional names that just happen to be MORE FUN to use at a particular time of year.

ANYWAY. So you've got Eve and Natalie and Holly and Ivy, which are all good. I've seen people suggest Stella or Estelle, too, since they mean star; it's not quite obvious enough to please my holiday-name-loving heart, but Estelle really is lovely with Caroline.

Noelle and Joy are both great with Caroline, too. I especially like Joy because it's two-for-one: a holiday-type name and also a feelings-about-the-baby name.

Chris and Carol and Mary all work, but I feel meh about them, and Carol of course won't work with Caroline, and Chris is awkward as a middle name. For a boy baby, Nicholas would be very nice.

When I was five I got a doll for Christmas and named her Jeanette Isabella after my favorite Christmas carol. If I were expecting a girl at Christmas I might be tempted to give her two middle names.

More suggestions for Christmassy/wintery baby names?

Name update! Suzanne writes:
Thank you to everyone for the Christmas name suggestions! I didn't make it all to the 25th before going into labor but decided when baby girl was born on December 19th that it was close enough to go with a holiday name. Caroline Noelle joined us at 2:39 am on December 19th weighing 8 lbs 5 oz and 20.5 inches long. I am SO EXCITED about this name (and the spelling of n-o-e-l-l-e) I can't even tell you. Thanks again for helping us choose!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baby Girl P.

D. writes:
My husband and I are expecting our first baby, a girl, in mid-January (EDA 13th). With just one gender to focus on, and so much else in common, I really thought picking a name would be easy. However, I was completely wrong and we cannot agree.

Since our last name is a tricky one (Greek origin, starts with P), we should be considerate to give her a strong first name. My husband loves the name Sofia (with an ‘f’), and wants nothing but his name. He’s been calling and referring to her as this from the moment we found out we were having a girl. Although I adore the name for its strong, feminine character, I do not like the popularity of it at this time – top 10 for the past few years. My husband and I were both blessed with unpopular names and never had to go by our last initial in school like many others. I want this same thing for my child.

I love different, yet still not off-the-wall names like Portia, Matea, or even something Greek to honor her heritage. Every name I come up with, my husband declines. At one point, it was okay with Alia, Riely or Emma (again, quite common), but ended up back at Sofia and that one and only name.

Please help! Even a Top 5 list would be more desireable going into the delivery room with.

My secondborn, whose blog pseudonym is William, has most years been in class with two other boys who have his same name. In fact, the year he was the only "William" in his class, kids who'd been in class with him before still called him "William T."---and soon everyone was doing it. And as a mid-seventies Kristen, I went by a surname initial or nickname a couple of times myself. I talked it over with William to make sure we agreed, and we do: it is no big deal. I know a lot of people disliked it in their own situations, but neither of us cared at all, or wished we had a different name. (In fact, he says it's fun: he says "Hi, William!" and the other boy says "Hi, William!" and the third boy says "Hi, William!," and so on.) And as I feel like I keep repeating, the common names of this generation aren't the same commonness as the common names of our generation: the spellings Sophia and Sofia combined beat Isabella for the highest-ranking girl name in the U.S., but at 1.12% of baby girls born in 2009, that's still only about 1/4th the percentage of baby girls given the name Jennifer in 1974 (4.03%). (Source: Social Security Administration.) That's just over one Sophia/Sofia per 100 girls, or about one per six classrooms (assuming 15 girls per classroom).

In short, if your husband loves the name and thinks of that as his daughter's name already, and you adore the name for all the reasons you mention, it would be foolish to abandon it merely because other little girls are also being given the name, or because she might have to endure the common experience of occasionally using her surname initial or middle name along with her first name. I think it's helpful, too, to remember that you can reduce the odds of your daughter having the same name as another child, but you can't prevent it: even if you give her a much less common name, sheer chance can make her Portia P. anyway (and I'd avoid the initials P.P.), as in my other son's class where there's not a single Michael or Joshua but are two boys who share a name that wasn't even in the top 100 when they were born.

Name her Sofia. It sounds like you won't be able to get your husband to agree to anything else anyway, no matter what you or we say. Give her an uncommon name as a middle name, and then if she DOES find it unendurable to sometimes need to use a surname initial, she can instead use her middle name, or have a fun first-and-middle combination instead of using the first-and-initial. (This could be a bargaining chip with your husband: he gets the final say on the name Sofia and you get the final decision on the middle name.)

Baby Girl or Boy Lah-nah

Jack writes:
I am Jack and my wife is Emily. Em's stressing that we will never find the perfect name.
She says that it needs to be made up of one 1 syllable name and one 3 syllable name because our last name has 2... (first I've heard of this rule!)
And we'll find a name we like and then she finds something wrong with it (eg Finn... nick name Finny, sounds like Fanny)
We're looking to give our child one middle name and a first name this is either easy to nickname or only one syllable

Isabelle Kate or Aveline May - we'd choose when we see her...

Harrison Finn - Would probably go by Finn, but as I said above, a problem has been found with this.
Sebastian Jake - Don't know if Sebastian sounds a little frilly (Jake is trying to counteract that) We would like a little Seb, but wonder if he'd like a 'proper' name for job interveiws etc
Seth Everett - Don't like Seth as much as Seb, but it's good because it's a full name rather than a nick name
Tom Everett - Again, the 'proper name' dilemma.

So, if you could give your opinion, esp a different middle name for Harrison we could use as his primary name, that'd be great!

Thanks so much! Ps, baby will have my last name, which starts with an L and ends in an 'ah' sound.

Emily writes:
My husband, Jack, emailed you earlier today about our dilemma of finding the perfect boy's name...
I just wanted to let you know that he left Miles off the list!
It has an L in it, which I'm not a fan of seeing as 'it's last name will start with an L
We're from the UK and pronounce the last name Lah-nah (like Car, but with an L and then again with an N!!)
Thanks so much, I hope you read this in time... I quite like the idea of having a little Milo!

Let's immediately loosen the unnecessary syllable restrictions: an individual might prefer one rhythm of syllables over another, but there are absolutely no naming rules about it. But this means you've been concentrating only on names of one or three syllables, and have neglected whole SWATHS of name candidates.

I definitely think it's a good idea to consider nickname potential---but I don't think you need to worry about the words that only rhyme with potential nicknames of the MIDDLE name. And so I think Harrison Finn is fine the way it is and the "fanny" connection is distant at most. If Finn is nevertheless out of the running, Harrison Jake is also nice. I personally prefer the rhythm of 3-2-2 here: Harrison Jacob Lah-nah.

Wait---re-reading the letter, it sounds like you want to call the baby by his middle name if Harrison is used as a first name? Why? If it's because Harrison is a family name but you don't want to call the baby by it, I'd move it to the middle name slot: Everett Harrison Lah-nah, for example. I'd likely use a 2-syllable first name: Emmett Harrison Lah-nah, Jacob Harrison Lah-nah.

But Sebastian Jake is my favorite from your list. I also like Thomas Everett, with the nickname Tom, although the repeating "ah" sounds of Tom Lah-nah might be too much.

Miles Lah-nah sounds nice to me, but Milo Lah-nah starts tangling my tongue.

You mention that the baby will have the father's surname, which means there is another option for the middle name: using the mother's surname.

Name update! Emily writes:
We didn't even go with a name on the list - But Sean Jacob was born on the 8th at 7 pounds- Ten fingers, ten toes, and a name both Mummy and Daddy love!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy Knuffman, Sibling to Sophie and Harper

Lisa writes:
My name is Lisa and my husband is Vincent (usually goes by Vince) and we are expecting baby #3 on January 11, 2011. Our last name is Knuffman pronounced Ku-nuff-man. We have two daughters named Sophie Marie and Harper Lynn. If we have another girl she will be Tess Rose or Tess Olivia.
We are struggling with boy names. There are names that we like, but nothing seems to be "it." The middle name will be Paul, which is a family name.

Names in the running:

Beckett - I love this name, but hubby isn't thrilled with it.
Warren - This is hubby's favorite, but I'm not that into it. He suggested the nickname Wren/Ren and I like that, but I don't want to name my child based on a nickname.
Simon - only issue with this name is the middle name with it. Simon Paul just makes me think of the Paul Simons.
Miles - I like, but hubby doesn't.
Roman - both of us like this name, but we are very close friends with a family that has a boy named Rowan and we thought they sounded too similar.
Keaton - doesn't sound very good with our last name

Any suggestions?

Name update! Lisa writes:
Our baby girl was born on January 19, 2011. About a week before she was born I told my husband we had to go back to the drawing board with girl names. For some reason I just couldn't name her Tess. So, she is Stella Rose. It fits her perfectly.
Thanks to all your readers for their suggestions! If we ever have a boy we'll definitely keep them in mind.

Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Cameron, Jacob, and Amelia

Savannah writes:
We are really hoping that you can help us out so I'm writing to you way in advance, so I hope you can get to my question!

We are expecting our 4th child, gender unknown, due around January 10th, 2011. Older siblings are Cameron John, Jacob Ryan and Amelia Emily "Cam, Jake and Mia". We would like a modern name with a nice nickname for them, but still their full name to fall back on. We seem to have a good list of girl's names going, but we would still like your opinion. Boys on the other hand? We have absolutely no idea and have no names in mind. Please help us. Our list of girls names:

Abigail- we love this name, but we have tried as hard as possible to avoid same initials with the kids
Lucia- we're worried that everyone will pronounce it "loo-sha" instead of "lu-see-ah"
Brooklyn- love the name, but we have a nephew named Brooks
Delaney- I LOVE this name, but the hubby isn't that thrilled with it

Please help!!!!

Name update! Savannah writes:
So sorry this is so late, but I just wanted to let you know that our daughter Lucia Brooke (last name) "Lucy" was born on January 6th, 2011, weighing in at a petite 5lbs. 9 oz. Thank you so much for your readers help with her name. We have had no problems with pronunciation of her name, even though we do introduce her as Lucy to most people. We compromised and instead of Brooklyn as a middle name, we used Brooke. Thank you again!

Baby Girl Ramsey, Sister to Judah

Sarah writes:
My name is Sarah and my husband's name is John. We are expecting our second child, a daughter, on January 8. We have an almost 2 year-old son named Judah and our last name is Ramsey. We are struggling to name our daughter, and I would really appreciate your help. Her middle name will be a family name, and I'm not too concerned about how it works with her first name.

Our first choice is Luella, nickname Lulu, but I am concerned because it hasn't been in the Top 1000 names since 1955. We prefer names that aren't too popular, but I'm worried that there's something about this name that makes it unpopular that I'm not seeing. Other names we like:

Elise / Elisa
Ruth - my least favorite, but we've been using this as her "interim" name and it has grown on me.

I'd really appreciate any feedback you have on the names I've listed, plus any other ideas you have.

Thank you!

I think you should use Luella! If other people haven't noticed it, it's because they're being dim: the combination of Lucy and Ella SHOULD be irresistible! I like it with Ruth as a middle name.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl J_______ss

Somer writes:
We're expecting our first child the first week of January (due date is 1/6/11). We don't know whether it's a boy or girl, but quite truthfully we're comfortable with our girl names and are truly struggling with boy names. And, we're both convinced it's a boy - go figure!

Just for informative purposes, we're pretty certain that the girl name will be Ruby Marie. We both love Ruby because it's simple, classic and not too popular or too out there (plus it's my birth stone:). The middle name is my grandmother's name and my husband's grandmother was Mary, which wouldn't go with Ruby (ends in Y), so Marie is a good mix and a solid middle name (we think). Other possibilities we have for a girl include: Stella, Penelope, Olive, Mia or Camilla (calling her Milly, though I'm not huge into naming one name with the intention of calling the baby something else).

Our last name is pretty long. When spoken properly, it's three syllables. Begins with a J and ends in ss. So, that basically nixes anything ending in an S.

Even without knowing the gender, we get asked about the name all the time. I think this is what's causing us our boy name trouble. We both really love Winston. But, mostly everyone that we've told hates the name. My Mom says it reminds her of the cigarettes, some say they know yappy dogs by that name and others say it's pretentious (among other critiques). It's definitely still on the top of the list - the front runner - but something inside me is not quite 100% sure. If it's a boy and we go with Winston, the middle name will be James. That's my husband's middle name and his father and grandfathers' as well. Plus, it sounds nice together. Other possibilities that we have for boy are: Oscar (my husband loves, but I'm not sure), Liam (my husband loves, I'm not sure), Milo (I like, my husband doesn't), and Oliver (we both like). There is one more thing.'s a boy and IF...he happens to come on January 9 (which is possible with a January 6 due date), then that would be my grandfather's 100th birthday and I would LOVE to use at least one of his names (plus it's the same name as my Dad) - Norman or Cornelius.

So, that's where we are with our baby naming issue. Any help, suggestions, or advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.

Oh, now I am all excited for a baby boy to be born on January 9th! Wouldn't that be FUN?? I might use either of the names as middle name---or, and I think this is more likely, I'd use both: [First name, whatever you choose] [Norman Cornelius] [Surname]. This lets you dramatically increase the namesakey impact without having to use the name(s) in the first name slot. And in my own experience, two middle names isn't too much of a hassle.

Winston does make me think slightly of cigarettes (or, more accurately, of a handsome rugged man on a horse in a cigarette ad), but only a little bit, and only because I haven't yet known a little boy named Winston. For me a far stronger association is Winston Churchill, and I've had a crush on Winston Churchill ever since seeing a musical version of one of his speeches. Yappy dog versus "Lift up your hearts, all will come right"? No contest.

But if it continues to seem not quite right, I suggest Winslow. It has much of the same sound, but softer and no associations with cigarettes or with British politicians, and it goes well with Ruby in case you later have a girl. Weston would work, too, though it seems to me it drifts away from your style. Maybe Warren? Wilson? I seem to be getting hung up on W names. Oliver is another of my long-standing favorites, and it too would go very well with a potential future sister named Ruby.

I also suggest not telling anyone the name until the baby is born and they'd have to state their objections to his soft little newborn cheeks.

Name update! Somer writes:
Hi there - thanks so much for your input and help with our baby name (posted December 10). Our baby boy (we guessed it) came a week early and was born on December 30 at 7:26am. We actually had gotten the name from Winston as in Churchill - I forgot to mention that my husband is British - and we ended up going with Winston James. We're even going to put some famous Winston Churchill quotes on his bedroom wall. Like you said, once he was here, nobody really cared about the name; people now even say they like it. Perhaps Norman or Cornelius will find their way into a future child's name.

Baby Girl Annest-Clark

Ashley writes:
My partner and I are expecting our first on January 2 (That's the truth so no crying baby Jesus) and we are having some conflict on the perfect name. We are set on the middle name Mae as it is a family name for us both. I like the name Taylor but was quickly shot down as she has a huge dislike of Taylor swift. We also liked Harper for a long time, but its growing popularity has made us shy away from it. Georgia,Charlotte, and Caroline are in the same boat. She really loves McLaine, but its a total no for me. We have a few parameters for choosing the name. 1.) we do not want an overly trendy name i.e. Aiden, Braden, Caden, Emma, Ava, etc. 2.) must have nick names 3.) we would like a name that is feminine, in other words we don't want the little girl with the 2 mommies to have the boy name, but we are open to Unisex names like Reagan and Jordan. 4.) because the last name, Annest-Clark we don't want the baby to have a too long of a name.

So far the top names in no particular order are:


Thanks for your help.

I have trouble adding to your list---it seems like exactly the right list! I will see if I can narrow it down a little.

Madigan has the nickname Maddy, which means she would be sharing with all the Madisons and Madeleines; it might be a little annoying to have people continually assuming your daughter's name was Madison.

Rory lacks nicknames.

I think my favorite is Everleigh: it's pretty and feminine and has good nicknames and sounds good with the middle name. If you want to reduce the length of the name, you could spell it Everly.

Name update! Ashley writes:
We welcomed our baby girl on December 18th, more than two weeks early! She is a healthy, happy baby. We went a totally different direction with our name than we thought. Her name is Olivia Mae, and the name suits her perfectly. Thanks for your advice and all the suggestions of readers, Merry Christmas!

Baby Naming Issue: Baby Name Regret 2

Terra writes:
So, I am coming to you again.....wrote to you earlier about Baby Girl Patterson. She is here and is now 2 weeks old. We went to the hospital with Catherine "Cate" Hazel in mind, but with a few others from our list as well. We didn't name her until they were kicking us out of the hospital and we went with what we had liked the longest - Catherine Hazel. We couldn't decide between that and Caroline "Carly" Harper. Again, my son is Grady Owen, and we call him Gray.

For some reason, I felt liked she looked like a Carly in the hospital (although I have always thought people were crazy when they said a newborn "looked" like a certain name). But I was afraid I would regret not using Cate and so I went with that. My husband wanted me to decide. He likes all the names fine, but his biggest thing is he doesn't want her to have a name like a dozen other little girls in school. He is Josh and hated that when he was growing up for that very reason.

Now that we are home and she is Cate, it just doesn't feel right. When I say it, when I hear it, any of it. I don't know if this is just a case of name remorse, b/c Baby Name Wizard specifically says that you should NOT wait until you are looking at the baby to decide. That you will second guess yourself for weeks. So maybe that is it. I also think it could be that we just need to get used to it. Since we had not decided for sure, we haven't really been calling her that before she was born. Or, is the name wrong???

The other names we are considering are:

Charlotte Harper - do you think Charlotte will make it to top 10? My husband loves this name and I like it too. Think it goes well with Gray. But if we are trying to avoid overly popular, maybe we shouldn't go this route.

Caroline "Carly" Harper - I have always liked the name Carly, but we do wonder if the style of the name goes well with Grady/Gray. I have also had several parents mention the TV show icarly to me. I wasn't aware of this. Do you think this name will become trendy? Is it a totally different feel than Gray?

Hazel Sutton - I am falling more and more in love with Hazel, but I don't know if I want to use it for a first name. One issue is the color thing. Do you think of a color when you hear Hazel? Because my son is Gray, I want to avoid sounding like I am naming my children after a box of crayons. That is the reason I didn't use Violet, which i love. Also, I adore the name - but I wonder if she will like it one day or think it is too old lady sounding? The other option here is to call her Sutton, which is my husband's favorite. I like that it is different, but wonder if it is too boy sounding.

And finally, my issues with Cate - I was already concerned about the popularity of it, especially with all the close names like Kaitlyn, Kate, Katherine, etc. And then the whole Kate Middleton thing isn't helping right now. I also do not want her called Catie at any point since my son is Grady. BUT, we exclusively call him Gray - so I don't think we need to worry about him going by Grady and her being called Catie later. I also feel weird saying it, like it is so short and the "ate" sound. Maybe I like the way it looks better than sounds...or maybe I am just overly emotional right now and totally sleep deprived. :)

So, please give me your feedback and advice on all the names. We want something that goes well enough with our son's name, that isn't too popular, and not too strange. My only musts are I want to use either Hazel or Harper somewhere in the name, and using Harper as the first name isn't an option (husband doesn't like it). We also don't want to call her Catherine (for family reasons I won't go into).

Baby Girl needs a final name! I feel so bad that I am still undecided!!!

We recently answered a similar question, and I'd say the same answer applies to this one: i.e., that you certainly can change the name, but that if there isn't a specific name you feel is the perfect one to switch it to, you're likely to continue feeling indecisive even after you change it.

I do think that a "baby already named" naming decision is much different than a "baby not yet named" decision. When the baby is not yet named, we can all discuss the merits of various names, and which we'd prefer, and which combinations work best and so forth. Once the baby is named, it doesn't work to re-open the discussion as if the baby had not yet been named: it's a matter of whether you want to switch it, and whether you think switching it will make you happy, and which name you feel strongly enough about to be worth the hassle and kerfuffle.

If the baby were not yet named, I'd be advising you to start over: the names you have on your list are causing you to go in circles. Since the baby is named, I find I have a very strong opinion: I think you should keep her name and call her Catherine instead of Cate. It seems to me that most (if not all) of your current uncertainty is about the nickname: too short, wrong sound, too common, too much like Grady/Gray, not wanting it changed to Catie. Calling her Catherine solves all of these problems, and Catherine is a wonderful name: one of my children has a classmate named Catherine, and it is a pleasing fresh surprise each time I hear it. At only 3 syllables, I don't think it requires a nickname, though a nickname may come about naturally (I knew a Katherine who went by Kitty as a child, and a Catherine who in her high school years went by Cat). Gray and Catherine is a wonderful sibling set.

I think you made a very good, solid choice when you chose Catherine Hazel, and I think you would be sorry in the long term if you changed it to Charlotte (which is widely predicted to get even more popular) or Carly (which is a less solid choice to begin with, and then has the iCarly complication) or Hazel (which does sound like a color to me when I hear it with Gray).

[Edited to add:] Dang it: as Elle pointed out in the comments, I missed the part about not calling her Catherine for family reasons. In that case, I don't have any ideas. None of the other names/combinations on your list seem right to you, either, and shuffling them around seems to be increasing the "NOTHING WORKS!!" anxiety. I think you'll have to choose between calling her Cate or starting all over with a new list. Or perhaps find a non-name-related nickname to call her. Or call her "Rinnie" for the second half of Catherine. Or perhaps the "family reasons" can be overcome?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Name Update!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Y___er, Sister to Rose, Tess, and Eli!

Baby Girl Sullivan, Sister to Emery

Michelle writes:
We just found out we are having another girl due Jan. 2 and are struggling with a name.
We named our first daughter with relative ease. Emery (after my grandfather) Margaret Sue for her grandmothers. Our last name is Sullivan.
The husband vetoed Violet and Fiona and I vetoed Lily. Her middle name will be Sarah after my sister so that eliminates any A names because I would prefer her initials not spell profanity. I also don't think any S names will do.
I want to avoid anything in the top 100 baby names. I do like slightly unusual or something that sounds older.
We need help!


Because the name Emery is androgynous, I hesitate to go too feminine for a sister name. And because I think of it as a more modern name (for girls, that is---for boys it's a throwback), I hesitate to go too traditional or classic for a sister name.

Chauncey Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Chauncey
Delaney Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Delaney
Hadley Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Hadley
Harper Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Harper
Macy Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Macy
Paisley Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Paisley
Trilby Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Trilby

But I'm thrown off because your contenders (Violet, Fiona, and Lily) are so very feminine and established.

Maybe something like Hazel? It's a recent revival but still fully steeped in that old-timey sound. Hazel Sarah Sullivan; Emery and Hazel.

Or Willa: Willa Sarah Sullivan, Emery and Willa.


Hello! This is a reminder that if you submit a baby name question, and then some time goes by and we haven't gotten to your due month yet and you want to change your question (like if your name contenders have changed in the meantime, or if you didn't know the sex of the baby before but now you do), go right ahead and don't be shy!

Name Update!

Update to Baby Girl Ho, Sister to Clare Elizabeth!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Baby Name Regret

Amy writes:
You probably don’t get emails like this often (about re-naming a 4 month old baby) but I am struggling with baby name regret right now – probably because I didn’t discover your site until after my daughter was born. We named our daughter Evelyn Suz@nne. Our last name is Qu1nn. Suz@nne is after my mother. Evelyn is a name that my husband and I agreed upon – but I always felt kind of on the fence about it. It was always at the top of my husband’s list. I have trouble making decisions and went with my husband’s (2nd) fave because I couldn’t decide. His favorite was Virginia, his mother’s name – which I do like - but had reservations about using.

I have not felt good about her name since she was born and am seriously contemplating changing it. At first my husband was adamant that we would not change the name – but has reconsidered if it would truly make me happy. We also may add a name instead of changing it altogeter. The other names on our list before she was born were Sadie, Sarah and Molly. At this point, I don’t really like any of those and realize that I did not put enough thought into naming the baby during my pregnancy. After she was born I came up with a new list of names, Anna being on the top of the list. I later found out my sister-in-law is using this name in January for her daughter and then that it was my great-grandmothers name. I had always meant to look at my family tree for a name but never did. I did suggest Anna to my husband when i was pregnant, but he shot it down. However, I would have fought for it harder if I knew it was a family name. Catherine is another family name that we both like but can’t use because we have a niece named Katherine/Katie. My husband and I were looking for a name with a good nickname. We call our daughter Evy (rhymes with Chevy). While I think Evy is cute, I’m not sure it feels like a name to me. I also worry about childhood teasing and Heavy Evy – a connection I did not make before. My husband does not want a top 10 name. I thought the same before the baby was born, but have reconsidered now that she’s here. I would much prefer a name I really liked over a name I liked less but was less popular. Here are some names I’m considering changing it to:

– Elizabeth (great-grandmother’s name and grandmother’s sisters name) nn libby?
– Clara
– Emma (too popular?)
– Isabel nn Izzy (too popular?)
– Amelia nn Milllie, Mia
– Chloe
– Rose (great aunt)
– Keira
– Maia

Names I would pick if I had the courage (or my husband would let me)
– Violet
– Francesca
– Maisie
– Clementine

Family names
– Louise (great-grandmother)
– Beatrice (great-great aunt)
As you can see, I’m a bit all over the place. With my two favorites – Anna and Catherine – out of the running, I’m not sure where to go. I’d appreciate any advice you have to give. Thank you!

I remember writing about this twice, once for a baby boy and once for a baby girl---but I can't find the post about the baby girl. Oh wait---I wonder if it was before I had the baby name blog? YES! here it is, on my regular blog. I also sort of wrote about it again on my regular blog.

I can sum those up for people who don't want to click through:

1. I'm not opposed to changing a baby's name, and I think there are many good reasons for doing so.

2. If you're going to do it, the earlier the better.

3. There will be SOME kerfuffle no matter what, but probably everyone will get over it, and the paperwork stuff will be a bit of a hassle but then it will be done with, and one day it will be an interesting story.

4. One exception: if the name is a family name. In that case, the repercussions of changing it are too hurtful to the family member to be outweighed by a dissatisfied feeling with the name, and better to find a nickname you like and use that instead.

So in your case, according to me, you may not change your daughter's middle name. And Anna Suzanne doesn't really work anyway (because of the repeating "ann" segment), even if there wasn't the issue of your cousin planning to use the name, or of your husband not liking the name.

However, you MAY move your daughter's middle name into the first name slot. Not only is it a family name, but Anna or Annie would be a fine nickname for it. And unlike the name Anna, where you didn't even know it was your great-grandmother's name and perhaps didn't know your great-grandmother either, the name Suzanne has an actual family association for you.

And you also may choose a new first name. If the repeating "ann" segment DOESN'T bother you (it bothers me a little, but not enough to be a total dealbreaker if I loved the first name and had to use the middle name), maybe you would like other Ann-based first names such as Annika, Annabel, Anya, Anneliese. Annabel in particular is a nice alternative to Isabella (the most popular girl name in the United States), and Annabel Suzanne puts some distance between the two "ann" sounds.

But reading your email, it sounds like it might be better to keep the name as it is. If you had another name you LOVED and felt it fit your daughter exactly, it would be different. I'm worried in part about your husband here: it sounds like he's only willing to change the name to keep you from being miserable about it, but I don't feel confident that changing the name will help with that, if even now that she's here in front of you there isn't a name that feels right. And there's no net benefit to changing the name to one that makes you happy and him miserable.

Would it help at all to know that the name Evelyn, as we've discussed, has a good chance of joining the top ten soon? It's a name people are thinking of very positively. (This sort of thing doesn't help everyone but it does help me: when I was considering Henry for my fifthborn, I was very swayed by the number of people who DIDN'T say, as I'd feared they might, that it was an old-man name.)

And if you're not as fond of the nickname Evy as you'd hoped, would you like Linny (or Linnie or Lynnie) better? I love the light and feminine sound of that name. I can just picture holding a little baby girl and calling her Linnie.