I've enjoyed reading your advice. I wonder if you could help my husband and I....I'm due in two weeks (end of Jan. 2012) and we're still struggling (stressing a bit) with baby names. We have two children (Hugh Thomas age 4, Claire Ann age 3). We don't know if we're having a boy or a girl. (Hugh is a family name...starting with my grandfather and it goes way back and Thomas is my father-in-law. Claire was just a name we liked and Ann is a favorite family name on both sides.) Our last name is Irish - sounds like Fitzpatrick. My husband's ancestry is all Irish - I'm of Irish and Scottish descent.
One boy name that we both like is Grant Regan. Grant is another family name and Regan is a family surname. I would love your thoughts on a quick question regarding this...do you think we're crazy to have sons named Hugh and Grant since there is an actor named Hugh Grant? (For the record I like Hugh Grant so I don't have bad associations with his name.)
Some of the other boys names we're considering are:
George Regan (George - after my father + husband's grandfather)
Cormac Regan (Cormac - a shortened version of a family surname name)
Our hesitation with Cormac is that there are conflicting defintitions - one is impure son (not so nice), others are son of charioteer or raven. I'm not sure how much weight to give these definitions or if I should let the family tie of the name matter more.
For girls we're even more lost. Here are some we've been thinking of:
Alexandra Christine (I've always loved Alexandra and Christine is after my late mother-in-law)
Any thoughts or ideas would be most welcome!
I will make this quick so the other commenters can get at it too: it's already been a week since you wrote, so TIME IS SHORT.
Brothers named Hugh and Grant immediately bring the actor to mind, and for me it's to startling and comic effect. Like siblings named Ronald and Reagan, or Charles and Darwin. I vote no---but with great regret. If nothing else, I think you and they would get completely fed up with people remarking on the connection.
Instead I suggest Graham (even this is a little close, but it helps that there is a sister in between), Reid, or Dean. (I wish I could recommend Clark, too, but I think it's too close to Claire.)
And I love your idea of George, and feel like pushing you to use it. George Regan! Very handsome. That's my favorite.
The iffy definition of Cormac wouldn't bother me. I looked it up in The Oxford Dictionary of First Names, and it says "Traditional Irish name of uncertain origin." This name, like many, many, many others, has no standard meaning; meanings found in other books have been made up (with various degrees of legitimacy) to please people who like all names to have meanings.
The family tie is definitely more important here: the meaning of the name becomes THAT connection, rather than something from a baby name book, just as the meaning of George for your family is "mother's father and father's grandfather" rather than "farmer." And I would get a copy of the Oxford book, put it on the bookshelf, and refer to that if little Cormac ever looks up his name in some other book and comes to you to confront you with your choice. "The Oxford Dictionary says so, Cormac!" you can say. "Uncertain origin!"
Wasn't I planning to make this SHORT? Then we'd better move along to girl names.
With Claire, my stand-out favorite from your great list is Alice. In the next tier of favorites are Georgia, Abigail, Flora, and Mollie (which I'd spell Molly unless the spelling has significance).
I also suggest Eve and Eliza and Rose.
Let's turn it over to the commenters now. Which boy name and girl name are your favorites for Baby Fitzpatrick?
Name update! Sarah writes:
Hello everyone - Thank you all for your help! We had a little (6 lb. 2 oz.) girl at the end of January. I was so convinced that we were having a boy that I had to ask twice when they told me we had a girl. My husband and I were set on using either Cormac George or George Regan so we were surprised to have to come up with a girl name! We named our daughter Alexandra Jane - even though it is a longer name than our other children it really seems to suit her well.
Thanks again for all of your comments!