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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Middle Name Challenge: Annabelle ____, and a Poll to See if Leigh Works

Jennifer writes:
Hello Swistle and readers! I am Jennifer, my husband is Kyle, and we are expecting our first child in March 2012. We do not plan to find out the sex. I have a question that I would LOVE to see as a poll! We are weird and have already chosen baby names for all possible children! We don't think we will have more than three total, so we have three boy names and three girls names! The boy names were easy- first would be Samuel Gene (we both love Samuel, and Gene is my hubby and FIL's middle name), second Wesley Jon (my grandpa's middle name and dad's first name), and third Issac Wade (love both the names). You can see there is a two-syllable/one-syllable pattern, which we love!
Girls were a little harder. Our SECOND girl name is Emmeline Claire, and third is Philippa Kate. We just adore these, and love the similar three syllable/one syllable theme.
Here is my question! Our first choice girl's name (which my hubby is in love with and I love but am not quiiiite sold on) is Annabelle Leigh. Some of you may already know the problem- "Annabel Lee" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe in which the main character, Annabel Lee, DIES. this a deal-breaker? Several people I've spoken to have made the connection immediately, and I am unsure if giving my possible daughter the accidental namesake of a dead EAP character is terrible! We can't find another middle name that we LOVE with Annabelle, though Jane is a possible contender. Please help! I would love to see poll numbers and general thoughts on this! Also, if you have a (very preferably one-syllable) middle suggestion, please let me know.
P.S. Our last name is German and phonetically sounds like HERkit.

I would not have made the connection, but I also haven't read much Poe. I think I read The Tell-Tale Heart in high school and that was it. Oh, and I watched the episode of The Simpsons that spoofs the poem about the raven. So it is not exactly surprising that it wouldn't ring a bell for me, and I think you're right that what's needed here is a poll. Let's have one over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Even if the poll comes back with a high recognition factor, I think it might be okay---unless you plan to call her regularly by first and middle. The different spellings help, and it also helps that Lee/Leigh is such a common middle name.

But I think I might change the middle name regardless, because of the way the L ending of Annabelle merges with the L beginning of Leigh. I like Annabelle Jane a lot. Or Annabelle Kate, if you want to gamble on not having three girls. Other possibilities:

Annabelle Eve
Annabelle Faith
Annabelle Grey
Annabelle Jean
Annabelle Jo
Annabelle Joy
Annabelle June
Annabelle Lou
Annabelle May
Annabelle Paige
Annabelle Quinn
Annabelle Reese
Annabelle Rose
Annabelle Ruth
Annabelle Sue
Annabelle Tess

Name update! Jennifer writes:
I wanted to give you an update on our daughter's birth- and name! Annabelle Jane Hirchert was born on March 5th, 2012, at 12:35pm, exactly one week before her due date. She is a petite 6#12oz and 18.5" long. We decided that the Annabelle Leigh connotation was too eerie for us, so Jane it is! We hadn't noticed the Philippa Kate connection in our other girl name option, so if it ever comes to a third girl, we may reconsider that name then. In the meantime we are loving our little Annabelle Jane! Thanks to you and your readers for all the advice and opinions- I printed out the post and all the responses for my pregnancy journal.


melissa.cureton said...

I read the title and immediately thought, "Whoa, Poe fan!"

It's a pretty name, but the strong association would probably make me change one of the names. Just my opinion, of course.

Amy said...

I do immediately think of the poem Annabel Lee when I hear Annabelle Leigh - even though I've never read it - I am familiar with the title. I love Annabelle Kate and Annabelle Rose. I like them better than Annabelle Leigh - and they both avoid the possible Poe connotation.

Liann said...

When I read the title, a different issue came to my mind. I would not think of the Poe poem, but Annabelle Leigh sounds to me like Anna Belly. That would be more of a concern for me than the poem.

Annabelle Jane is lovely. As are:

Annabelle Joy
Annabelle Ruth
Annabelle Rose

Good luck with your decision!

Anonymous said...

I voted 'yes,' of course it makes me think of Poe, but I don't see what's wrong with that. It's my favorite name. Do eeeeeet!!! I would name her Annabelle Leigh and call her that. There's nothing embarassing about being named after a Poe character and it sounds great.

Bethany said...

I voted yes, but I think its an okay association. I like the way it sounds, and I think that's why Poe used the names instead of Annabel Ruth or something. I think its as catchy as Samuel Gene!

KimmyGoat said...

Didn't get the Poe reference, but I too immediately heard Anna Belly. Annabelle Kate?

SM said...

I thought of the poem, but that's not what deters me from this name. It's the way the L runs together, the Anna Belly sound. I would prefer a name that doesn't start with L. From Swistle's list I like Joy and Rose best.

Anonymous said...

I do immediately think of the Poe poem when I hear the name Annabelle Leigh. Even though the spelling's different, people won't know the spelling when they first hear the name. This wouldn't be a deal breaker, but agree with Swistle's point about the Ls running together -- I also had the "Annabelly" thought mentioned above

I would switch up your first and third girl middle names if I were you, due to the Poe issue plus the existence of Philippa and Kate Middleton. Annabelle Kate and Philippa Leigh. Lovely.

Over the Rainbow said...

I got the Poe reference immediately, and I immediately thought of the character's tragic death. And, after reading the other comments, I can't even say the name without saying Annabelly.

Annabelle Kate, however, works beautifully as does Annabelle Jane.

Peyton said...

I'm with the first anonymous--I did think of Poe, but I think it's a wonderful name, and I thunk you should go for it!

Anonymous said...

I also made the connection right away and I'm not a huge Poe fan. I also don't love how the L sounds run together, and after reading other comments the Anna Belly is starting to bother me a bit. I love the suggestion Annabelle Kate or a couple reasons: 1. It sounds great and you obviously already love Kate as a middle name. 2. Your name for A third daughter, Philippa Kate, makes me think way too much about the Middleton sisters. Unless that is intentional, I think a good solution would be to switch the middle names of the first and third daughters. Annabelle Kate and Philippa Leigh.

Brittany said...

I hadn't ever heard of the poem, so to me Annabelle Leigh just sounded like a beautiful name. I also heard the blending that others have talked about (Anna Belly) but I heard it more like Annabelley as a cute little nn. I think that if you love the name, neither of these things should matter - use it! I do love an above suggestion to switch the middle names Kate and Leigh, to avoid associations with Poe or the Middleton family if that's important to you.

Allyson said...

How about switching your choices to Annabelle Kate and Philippa Leigh, as others have suggested? This avoids the Poe problem and the "Princess Kate and her sister Philippa" problem.

Anonymous said...

Immediately thought of Poe. Lotsa big Poe fans out there. What about Abigail Leigh alternative? Although that gives Abbey Galley. Not sure that's any better than Anna Belly?
I like the suggestion of Annabelle Eve. Especially if born at night. Sounds so pretty. Beautiful night.

Kailee said...

I would not have made the connection, but I do agree that Annabelle Lee sounds like Anna Belly when said together! It's sort of a precious nickname though!

I agree with previous posters that switching Lee for Kate avoids the Poe reference for Annabelle, if that's too worrisome, and a reference to the Middleton sisters with Philippa.

You have some lovely names picked out! Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and, of course, your little babe!

Giselle said...

Before reading the other comments...

I did not think of Poe...but I'm like Swistle in the amount of Poe that I've read.

First thought...Anna Belly. Cute nickname, but maybe not great when read on stage at graduation.

Kudos for having the names all picked out, though. I really like your naming style and hope you enjoy pregnancy!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I immediately thought "Poe!" when I read the post title. I love Poe. But I am imagining my moony high-school self reading that poem and thinking "why oh why did my parents name me after this poem?" and trying to find dark and depressing connections between myself and the poem.

Okay, so maybe your little girl wouldn't be quite as melodramatic. But I wanted to put it out there.

I love so many of Swistle's alternative suggestions. "Annabelle Eve" has the same sounds as "Annabelle Leigh," so that would be my vote.

Guinevere said...

Another knee jerk "Ooooh, Poe fans!" reaction to the post title. If I had had your hypothetical daughter in my class, there would almost certainly have been a fraction of the poem recited on the first day of class before I could stop myself. :)

I would only consider it if you're intending it as a literary homage name and you are okay with the fate of the Annabel Lee in the poem. I would not consider the frillier modern spellings of Annabelle and Leigh to be a significant enough change - I had to look up which spelling the poem used, and I really loved the poem when I first read it in a melodramatic teenage phase.

Rae said...

So I'm not an avid Poe reader and did not make that connection, however, the merging L's that Swistle mentioned immediately jumped out at me.

When I say it aloud, it sounds like "Anna Belly." :)

My cousin and his wife also considered Annabelle for their first baby, and while they ultimately went with Abigail, the middle name they selected for either first name was Rose.

Annabelle Rose Herkit. I like that very much. Best of luck!

cdisab said...

we named our daughter Annabel, and lots and lots of people immediately mentioned the poem when we told them her name. And we were not aware of the poem. And her middle name is Patricia (after her grandmother). One person even goes so far as to call her Annabel Lee, even though that is not her name. It drives me crazy!

Guinevere said...

That said, I really LIKE the Poe poem and I think that on the spectrum of Poe poems about a beautiful beloved woman dying this one is pretty upbeat because it's very clear that they will be never be parted because their love is just. that. strong. Contrast that to "NEVERMORE." - much more positive!

Swistle said...

The comments about Anna Belly have me noticing that this also happens with my suggestion of Annabelle Eve (Anna Believe). Annabelle Lou and Annabelle Tess also seem to merge into word-like sounds.

Meredith said...

My oldest is Annabelle Marie and I often find myself calling her Annabelley or Belley as a silly nickname. Anyway - when we first told people that we were naming her Annabelle, a lot of people asked if it was for the poem (which is wasn't). Also - every high school in the state where I grew up does a whole unit on Poe, so many people are familiar with the poem. :)

AmyRenee said...

Annabel Leigh also has another literature reference - in Lolita, she was the childhood sweetheart who died young and thus started the main characters obsession with young girls. I found this on wikipedia - and
I don't know if that makes a difference to you or not. As soon as I saw the post I immediately heard the poem in my head and I would have a hard time separating the name from the poem.

bellaf said...

I voted yes on the poll but the association wouldn't bother me at all. I love the poem and everything Poe.

Anonymous said...

I have not read the poem, and so did not make the connection. When I read the title, I thought you were referring to how Anabelle Leigh runs together to sound like Annabelly. And I immediately thought, "Oh, no, I wouldn't do that."

So, no, Annabelle Leigh doesn't make me think 'Poe', but it is still not a combo I would choose.

I can say, without doubt, that I *was* immediately drawn to the Philippa Kate/Pippa & Kate Middleton connection when I read your full girl list. So that, combined with the Annabelly thing, plus my belief that the names just sound BETTER when switched around a bit, I would go with Annabelle Kate and Philippa Leigh.

I really loved the sound of Annabelle Eve, but then Swistle's comment about "Anna Believe" popped up, and there' just no way I'll ever NOT hear "Anna Believe" now, lol.

plantingoaks said...

Wow, I'm much less literary than I thought I was. I had no association whatsoever, but apparently everyone else does. Oh well, never did like Poe.

Could I suggest, unless you intend your third girl to be a Middleton family / royal wedding tribute, switching to Annabelle Kate and Philippa Leigh? I think that avoids two potentially sticky associations, keeps the names you like, and is as or more phonetically pleasing.

StephLove said...

I used to teach that poem, so yes, I most certainly did think of it.

I like the suggestions Annabelle Paige, Annabelle Rose and Annabelle Ruth.

StephLove said...

Or how about Annabelle Claire?

Taylor said...

Wow! My daughter's name is Annabel, and I also wanted to use Leigh as the mn (Leigh is my mom's mn). But I couldn't get past the Poe reference OR the Annabelly thing. 2 strikes are enough for the veto in my book. Strangely enough Annabelly is one of her nicknames now, but I am glad its not her given name.

We thought about Annabel Grace, Annabel Mae and Annabel Claire, which would fit your criteria. I also like the idea of using Kate (Phillipa Kate reminds me of the Middleton sisters).

We ended up using my mom's fn as my daughters mn. It is perfect for her.

Butterfly Chaser Photography said...

Isn't Annabelle a lovely name? I'm thrilled for your daughter that she's getting such a pretty name. :)

However, I did immediately think of the poem, and the line "Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee" which is not something I would even want to think when I looked at my sweet newborn's face. Additionally that poem was written after the death of his wife (the cousin he married when she was 13) that gives it an additional uncomfortable edge.

I think Annabelle Kate, is perfect!

Meg said...

I immediately thought "haha, Poe", but I'm a total nerd so take that with a grain of salt.

That being said, I don't see ANYTHING wrong with using the name Annabelle Leigh, it's a lovely timeless name with a lovely cadence to it. So my verdict is who cares? Just go with what you love :)

Karen L said...

Add me to the chorus for Annabelle Kate and Phillipa Leigh.

Anonymous said...

I like Annabelle Kate and Philippa Leigh better too. Philippa Kate makes me think of Princess Kate and her sister Pippa.

Patricia said...

I thought of Poe's Annabel Lee --"the beautiful Annabel Lee" -- immediately. And then, before I came to your mention of it, I thought "Annabelle Jane!" -- love it! I find Jane, Claire and Kate very compatible for middle names. As for the spelling of Annabel(le), I prefer the English spelling Annabel, rather than the French Annabelle. Emmeline would seem to 'match' with either spelling, while Philippa seems so British that I like Annabel best with it.

I too was reminded of royal bride Kate Middleton and her sister Philippa by your combination Philippa Kate. When you're expecting your 3rd daughter, you may want to check back with us. ;-)

Best wishes!

Jenny Grace said...

I made the connection just from the post title. I'm not a big Poe fan, but I'm quite familiar with that poem. I think it's in a poetry book of my parents' maybe?
For me, a definite (and possibly negative?) association.
The main character dies, but isn't she also an admired and loved character? IDK. People name their kids Clementine, which makes me instantly think of the song, in which she drowns.

Leah said...

Josh Ritter wrote a fantastic and dramatic song a couple years ago about a ship called the Annabel Lee.

Claire said...

I thought of the Poe connection immediately as well. I don't think of it as a negative. I didn't think of "Annabelly" until I started reading everyone else's comments, and then my first thought of that was that it would not be fun if you were a pudgy child. However, I think if you don't intended to go around calling her "Annabelle Leigh" - rather just Annabelle, Anna, or Belle - I wouldn't worry about it.

Heidi J said...

My vote goes to avoiding Annabelle Leigh as I do instantly think of Poe. I'd instead go with Annabelle Faith or Rose, or using Annabelle Kate and later Philippa Leigh as others have suggested.

Frazzled Mom said...

Count me among those who didn't immediately get the Poe reference but did see the Middleton reference. (Guess I didn't pay too much attention in high school.)

Regardless, I think you can find a better middle name than Leigh for Annablle. I also immediately thought of Annabelle Jane before I saw that you thought of it. I like most of Swistle's suggestions, especially Annabelle Faith, Annabelle June, Annabelle May and Annabelle Paige. I also thought of Annabelle Hope. I agree Annabelle Kate sounds nice.

Personally I would avoid Leigh as a middle name with all three of your potential daughter names. All three names (Annabelle, Emmeline, and Philippa) have a strong L sound somewhere in the middle. Good job picking sister names that all have that subtle tie-in that makes them coordinate without being too match-y. However, the L in these names all runs together with Leigh. None of these combos do anything for me: Annabelle Leigh; Emmeline Leigh; Philippa Leigh

This is all a matter of taste of course. You have plenty of time to come up with a middle name for Philippa, but since you sound like you would like to have it all worked out, I believe most of Swistle's middle name suggestions would also work with Philippa.

Good luck. You picked three lovely names. I hope you do have three girls just so you can use those names!

Frazzled Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frazzled Mom said...

P.S. I like Annabelle Kate / Emmeline Claire / Philippa Jane or Philippa June. If you plan to use nicknames: Annie / Emmie / Pippa

liz said...

I immediately thought of the poem.

Juju at Tales of said...

I too immediately thought of the rather tragic poem. But hey it's lovely. Go for it.

Patricia said...

Love the name you went with! Congratulations on the birth of your darling Annabelle Jane!