Hello!! I should have written sooner, but I don't know - I thought we'd come to a few names on our own? But, this is not a drill... our 2nd baby will be here in 2-3 weeks; this is serious business. I don't know how you would even publish the mess that I'm about to go through, but I'd love your help in one way or another. Even if you decide what part of my question you want to answer, I know the following is a ton. PS I said on twitter - it's going to be convoluted, consider yourself warned - though maybe just long winded is a better description?!
Here's our story:
Our first daughter's name is Lilliana Avery Guarraseemo (not really our last name but close enough to give you the sound of it - I know doozy). We call her Lilli, though I always envisioned Ellie for a nickname, I know it's a stretch. BUT L - Elle/ but since you don't call people just one letter? Go with Elle or Ellie - anyway I'm the only one that calls her that, it never really caught on. Her name both first and middle are mixtures or derivatives of great grandmothers & grandfathers (Avery is a derivative of Alfred, for example). I LOVE the family connection, but with baby 2 just moments away, we might need to step away from that, because I need something I just love. Lily was always a name I have loved, my great grandmother, Lillian - was always a name I wanted to use. I did not, however, realize at the time how freaking popular Lily/Lilly would be - and the way we spell it kind of just happened it wasn't meant to be annoying or different on purpose? It kind of just started to be the way we wrote it, so we aren't really trying to take names that are spelled one way and throw a wrench in it. It's kind of annoying considering one of things we did want was to avoid super common names (coming from a Jennifer & Christopher born in the 70s - which is everyone's name born around then - I do believe).
Another fan favorite name was Jackson (again don't love how popular it is) but I love the sound of Jax - and my father-in-law's name is John - so that brought in a connection (of sorts) - and middle name to be Cole (for Coleman, my maiden name). My sister-in-law unfortunately just snagged Jack though, so it can't be done now. But I do still love the name... for reference.
In terms of boys we were thinking: Jamison Cole (nickname: Jace) OR Owen Coleman.
I don't know if I'm 100% on these. Apparently there is some kind of a show called 16 and Pregnant that people keep telling me about every time I say Jace... which will eventually go away - but side note, why do we put ourselves through the anguish of telling people names we are thinking?? Also, Owen is kind of popular and I would love to think of another name that ties in some kind connection to names like John or Jack that are uncommon? Although I did find something somewhere that Owen came from Evan, which actually is a version of John... which kind of in a long division/ degree of Kevin Bacon gets me my "family" connection. I could also use John as a middle name and get that connection if we need to, but not Owen John (OJ - no thanks). Owen isn't really as long as I like a name- I love names to have TONS of nickname possibilities? I don't know why - but it's something I think about. That said, I am gravitating toward Owen, so maybe I'm more open to that rule than I think?
For girls, we love: Luella or Evalena.
The nickname for Luella we seem to be leaning toward Lulu - but I just feel like for our 2nd child, to have a Lilli & Lulu - it sounds like a kid's clothing line - and for our Christmas Card we'll all have to wear the same outfit on the beach ... nothing wrong with this - but it's not really who we are? It's also like - can they use more than 2 letters? But I LOVE the name and I don't know that can or want to go Ella for the nickname, again super popular? My mom's name is Lucy, so this is a perfect connection to that. For Evalena - we love the nickname Lena... again with the L's... it's not ideal but I can't walk away from them yet? We are stuck on middle names, if we use these names... though I'm open to different ones, in fact I feel like I need a dark horse to come in from nowhere.
For a middle name - I NEED some kind of variation for Mary or Claire - and Marie is NOT an option.
Names for boys & girls that we love that haven't made the final list are:
I know you said you give preference to boy OR girl name help request, but I'm not 100% on either I don't think... and since I don't know if it's a boy OR a girl... I feel like I can't choose - so if you have to choose, you go ahead and pick a section to share.
What the heck are my questions?
I basically have some names or some name thoughts, but none of them scream to me - THIS IS IT! I feel like with my first I had some strong contenders that I really thought - once we meet him/her one of these will be it - and it was. Now, I'm not sure!
I'm looking for a boy name - that is uncommon(ish), nickname possibilities are semi-important and if it had some kind connection to the name John or Joseph that would be great but I don't think there is. Although we could maybe do middle name John in a case we pick up a totally different name.
For a girl, most certainly I need some kind of idea to tie in Mary, ideally - but not Marie. I do love Louella & Evelena as names... but again all the L's and the nicknames might be TOO much for me so suggestions welcome.
OK - work your magic won't you? Name my kid! (said in the same robust way as Ty Pennington in "Extreme Home Makeover" screams "Move that bus!" at the end of a makeover...
There are so many fun topics here, it is hard to know where to start! I will go with my impulse, which is to find a Mary-based middle name that is not Marie. Because you like Ella and Lena and Lulu, what leaps to mind is a Mary combination: Maryella, Marylena, Marylu. Depending on how far you want to go from the original name, there's also Mara, Miriam (The Oxford Dictionary of First Names says Mary is the New Testament form of Miriam), Mair(e), Maris, Moira, Maura, Mariel, Marin, Marina. Most come from the same Latin root meaning "sea." Maire combines Mary and Claire. I like Luella Marin and Evalena Mariel.
For the name Evalena, I suggest the nickname Evvie. It's similar to Ellie without the Lilli/Ellie problem. Evalena Marylu Guarraseemo; Lilliana and Evalena; Lilli and Evvie. I have a feeling this name would lead to tons of cute nickname combinations: Lena Lu, Evvie Lu, etc.
To get away from names that have sounds in common with Lilliana/Lilli, I suggest Josephine. I like Josephine Mariel. This gives you the Joseph connection, but with cute nicknames like Jo and Josie. Lilliana and Josephine; Lilli and Josie. That's my favorite solution, I think: two family tie-ins just like Lilli's name, good nicknames but not too similar to each other.
Another possibility is Felicity (Fliss, Flip). I like Felicity Claire. Lilliana and Felicity; Lilli and Fliss. Possible problem if you end up with Lilli and Lissie.
Or Genevieve. Lilliana and Genevieve; Lilli and Evie.
Clarissa would give you a connection to Claire. Clarissa Maribel, maybe. Not very many nicknames (Lilli and Clare?), but it gets two family connections and I think Lilliana and Clarissa are very nice together.
Or Anastasia (Annie, Stacie). Lilliana and Anastasia; Lilli and Annie.
Or Emmaline. Lilliana and Emmeline; Lilli and Emmie.
Or Penelope (Penny, Nell). Lilliana and Penelope; Lilli and Penny or Lilli and Nellie if that's not too similar.
For a boy, would you consider Coleman as a first name? I find the "mother's maiden name as first name" idea totally charming. Coleman John, perhaps, or Coleman Jax.
To me, Jace is not a natural nickname for Jamison. After making mental note of both names, halfway through this sentence I still had to scroll back to remind myself what the full name was. If you don't want to use Jace as the given name (Jace Coleman works particularly well, I think), Jacen would work as a full form. Jacen Coleman; Lilli and Jace.
Lilli and Owen sound like excellent sibling names to me.
Boy names with tons of nicknames are few and far between: our culture is more likely to do that with girl names than with boy names. The boy names that do have a lot of nicknames tend to be the old traditional ones that NEEDED a lot of nicknames because so many boys had that name---and they tend to still be common now, because there are so few of them to go around for everyone who likes lots of nicknames. William has Will and Bill and Liam. Nicholas has Cole and Nick and Nico. Alexander has Al and Alex and Xander and Xan. Robert has Rob and Bob and Robin and Bert. Edward has Ed and Ned and Ted. But I don't think any of those names are your style, and/or they're too common.
This is why you're going in circles, I suspect. You'd like a name with lots of nicknames...but all the names with lots of nicknames are too common or not the right style. So you look for something less common...but it doesn't have any good nicknames, or the name isn't the right style. So you find some nicknames you like, but all the names associated with them are too common. And so on. I think there are three basic options here: (1) Choose a common name with lots of nicknames. (2) Choose an uncommon name with sparse or absent nicknames. (3) Choose an uncommon name and choose nicknames not usually associated with that name. With the third choice you will have plenty of company: lots of people are taking letters or sounds from names and making their own nicknames. You will find me an old stick-in-the-mud on the subject, however. My friend and fellow name aficionada Mairzy periodically has to take me aside and tell me gently that resisting a certain newly-used nickname is now officially a lost cause and it is time for me to stop being stubborn about it.
My first choice for you is Coleman, but my second choice is Nicholson. This adds an option 4 to my list above: (4) Modify a common, nickname-rich name to be less common. Nicholson is unusual, it makes a slight reference to your maiden name, and it has all the nicknames of Nicholas: Nick, Nico, Cole. It's good with the sibling name: Lilliana and Nicholson; Lilli and Cole. Nicholson Joseph, maybe.
Another possibility is Wilson. Less common than William, but still gives you Will if you want it. But Lilli and Will may give you the same feeling as Lilli and Lulu. To me it doesn't, I think because Will is one syllable and so traditional: I definitely notice the repeating -ill- when I type them both out, but for me it lands on the side of fun and appealing coincidence.
Robertson would be a more current version of the name Robert, giving you all the nicknames: Rob, Bob, Bert, Robin.
Redford would work, I think and it gives you both Red and Ford.
Name update! Jenn writes:
Hello! First, THANK YOU so much for helping me - I read through your response a few times and of course the comments. They helped us to think about different arrangements of names and keep playing around with some options. Your post & suggestions (like Josephine for a girl or a commenter saying to use John as a middle name) helped to narrow down some choices and inspire a new one! My husband threw this name out there 3 days before the big day and when we met her, we just knew it was the one...
Josslyn Jane arrived healthy and happy and perfect fit for her name! Attached is a picture of Joss & her big sis, Lilli. Thanks again!!