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Friday, June 29, 2012

Baby Twin Boys Brown, Brothers to Catherine and Nora

T. writes:
I’m due with twin boys in 2 weeks, and we still aren’t settled on names.  Our last name is like Brown, but with different vowels- which works well with a lot of names.  Our daughters names are Catherine and Nora- both old family names and sum up my style- classic, vintage, a little Irish, not over-popular, easy to recognize and spell.  The twin names we are considering are Doyle (family name) and Daniel (solid timeless name, and I like the nickname Danny for a kid, and Dan for an adult).  What do you think?  I don’t love either one like I loved my girls names and neither does my husband, but there are none that we like better.  Some names that we both really liked, but can’t use because they are totally overused in both our families are Patrick, William, James, Thomas- they will be our selections for middle names depending on which first names we choose.  I feel like we are overlooking some great names that we just haven’t thought of yet.  We don’t want to do “B” names, but are otherwise open.  We don’t want to be matchy matchy, but want names that sound right together. 

I guess our first concern is “Doyle” too strange for a first name?  I like that it’s unique and it has lots of family meaning to me , but don’t want to sound weird.  Then, is Daniel way too common?  To give you an idea of other names we liked:  I liked Cormac, Colin, Bennet, Theodore (Teddy), but hubby hated all.  Hubby liked Christian, Jonah, Andrew, Peter, but I hated all.  Help.

The first thing that catches my attention is how different in popularity Daniel and Doyle are: according to the Social Security Administration, Daniel was #10 in 2011, and Doyle hasn't been in the Top 1000 since it dropped out in 1982.  (For comparison, Catherine was #161, Katherine was #61, Nora was #137, and Norah was #263.) In 2011, there were 15,138 new baby boys named Daniel and 10 new baby boys named Doyle.

The second thing I notice is that the name Daniel has a couple of natural nicknames, and the name Doyle doesn't have any at all.

The third thing I notice is that as a twin set, Daniel and Doyle will please the public's taste for a twin-name gimmick: in general, people will react favorably to the matching rhythms and matching D and Y and L sounds. But they are QUITE sound-alike:

d + an + yul
d + oy + yul

The different letters help make them visually dissimilar, and the familiarity of one and the unfamiliarity of the other help as well, and those matching rhythms/sounds will help tie the name Doyle in with the style of his three siblings' names---but even with all this, I'm hesitant about the names sharing too many sounds.

One exercise I used when trying to name my own twins was to pretend they were being born separately: I'd think, "Okay, what if I were just having a girl now, what would I name her? And then let's pretend she's here and named, and now I'm expecting just a boy---what would I name him?" It may help to think about what you might name a boy if you were expecting only one---and then what you might name another if you had a fourth child later on, if you found you were having another boy.

Another exercise I used was to find a name I really wanted, and then see if I could find a name I liked that went with it. (This failed me, but was still useful: it helped me conclude that I wasn't going to be able to find the gimmick I was hoping for. I'd wanted at least matching initials or same number of letters/syllables or SOMETHING.)

I'd thought I might suggest names based on the other names you'd considered, but I'm having trouble getting a feel for what each of you loves/hates. Instead, I am going to indulge in a little Fantasy Twin Naming, pairing up some of my own favorite boy names that are even within spitting distance of the style of Catherine and Nora:

Frederick and George
Edmund and Henry
Simon and Frederick
Simon and Isaac
Isaac and Frederick
John and Daniel
Elliot and Malcolm
Louis and George
Milo and Emmett
Milo and Malcolm
Oliver and Benjamin
Oliver and Henry
Daniel and Jonathan
Ian and Rhys
Ian and Leo
Davis and Harris
Ruben and Rhys
Rufus and Ruben
Rhys and Aidric
Felix and Aidric
Calvin and Sullivan
Calvin and Malcolm
Anderson and Sullivan
Anderson and Harrison
Keegan and Declan
Daniel and Declan
Simon and Oliver
Milo and Felix
Wesley and Henry

Since you have two D names you like, one idea is to use Daniel as one baby's first name, and Doyle as the other baby's middle name---or the other way around, with Doyle as one baby's first name, and Daniel as the other baby's middle name. Then find another pair of common/uncommon names that also share an initial, so that the twins have swapped initials and matching commonness/uncommonness of names. ...I'm not explaining this well; I'll do an example. If you liked Felix and Frederick, for example, you could have Daniel Felix (D. F.) and Frederick Doyle (F. D.), or Felix Daniel (F. D.) and Doyle Frederick (D. F.). Or if you like Henry and Hugo, you could have Daniel Hugo (D. H.) and Henry Doyle (H. D.), or Hugo Daniel (H. D.) and Doyle Henry (D. H.).

Or, since Doyle is a family name, maybe you can use it as Baby A's middle name and find another family name you can use as a middle name for Baby B, and then you can find a first name for Baby B that starts with the same letter as the new family name. Urg, it is hard to explain these things! I mean if you find another family name, and let's say it's Murphy, you can have M____ Doyle and D____ Murphy.


Slim said...

No no no, keep "Doyle," lose "Daniel." Daniel is one of my favorite names, but after reading Swistle's discussion, I am feeling convinced that it's too similar to "Daniel." The lack of nicknames seems like a minor problem because it's a single-syllable name. You don't need a nickname.

Could you do another single-syllable first name? Doyle and Hugh? (Maybe Hugh Daniel? Doyle Simon and Hugh Daniel?)

Ali said...

I don't think that Doyle is too strange, but it seems like you taste in names is really more classic/timeless. The difference in popularity from the other names you love (and used) makes me agree with Swistle that it's a better fit as a middle than a first.
I actually really like the rhythm of Daniel Doyle Brown, but would it feel unfair to give one twin two of the top names? Maybe Benjamin Doyle and Daniel B____?

StephLove said...

I find myself going back and forth about whether the sounds in Doyle and Daniel are too close or not. How about Dylan or Declan? If you don't go with both, I'd keep Doyle because of the family connection.

Doyle Thomas and Dylan Patrick perhaps?

Doyle William and Declan James?

Jan said...

I like the idea of going with twin boy names that more match your girl names and like Swistle's suggestions of John and Malcolm. I do think Daniel and Doyle are too close. I like keeping Doyle is one slot but if it's the first name then it needs an equally distinctive partner name.

MelissaInk said...

I don't Doyle is too strange, or strange at all. I like it! What about Duncan? Doyle and Duncan. Doyle and Devan. Doyle and Daryn. Doyle and Dylan. Doyle and Dante. Doyle and Dennis. I like Duncan and Dante out of all those with a twin bro Doyle. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think Doyle and Daniel are too close. If the boys were born alone, would you use Daniel after you've used Doyle? If the answer is no, I think one name should be moved to the middle. Since Doyle is least consistent with the style you seem to prefer, that'd be my suggestion for a middle.
I do like Swistle's suggestions of swapped initials for the twins (it's actually the only twin gimmick I'd consider using myself). Daniel James and Jonathan Doyle. Danny & Jonny. Dan & Jon. I like the symmetry that exists in the possible nicknames for this combo.
I also think your list and your husband's aren't too far off, maybe you could each name one twin? Just eliminate names you really hate, making your husband pick between names you are OK with & vice versa? This could also work for middle names if prefer more agreement on the firsts.

AirLand said...

I like Doyle- I've never heard of it as a first name before, but I don't think it's so different that you shouldn't use it. Also, I think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which makes it sound classic to me.

It doesn't have a natural nickname, but I think "D" would be great. Which would mean dropping Daniel, which I think you should do anyway. I agree with all the points Swistle made about them sounding too similar but at the same time being wildly different styles.

Maybe try finding something literary and/or surname-ish to go with Doyle? Do you have another surname in your family you could use?

Anonymous said...

I would avoid the combination Frederick and George, because of the Weasley twin association.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the same initial twins I've known disliked their matching names a lot (Raye and Rachel, Jennifer and Jessica, one or both went by her MN). Twins have to share so much already that I always thought they should get unique names. I second the idea of naming them something you love first and avoiding a gimmick if you can help it. I think they will appreciate it too! And I like Doyle, it's refreshing on a little boy.

Anonymous said...

What about Dominic and Damien? I have an identical twin sister and I appreciate that our names "go together" but they are very different in that mine begins with an "A", hers with a "S". My first name has two vowels while her first name has one, etc. So I do like Swistles options of different names but names that go together.

What about Doyle and Smith?

Anonymous said...

I think the test the average person goes through in deciding whether a name is "strange" or not is not whether it's in the top 1000, but whether it sounds familiar to them...and then if it sounds familiar is that because it's a common name but not for modern babies, like Hubert? Doyle passes as completely normal, if uncommon, on both of those counts in my mind...I've both heard of people named Doyle and wouldn't expect them to be any particular age. I don't see any problem with using it with Catherine, Nora, and Daniel...or Catherine, Nora, and something else.

The Mrs. said...

It might be quite nice to have your boys have more unusual names than your girls. After all, "Brown" will always be their surname. Your girls have versatile names that will compliment any married name they may have.

I'll echo several of the ideas above for your boys:

Murphy and Doyle
Declan and Hugh
Barnaby and Rufus
Ted and Dan
John and Philip
Bartholmew and Thaddeus

(Hmmm... I just remembering that you didn't want names that began with 'B'.)

What about:
Leonard and Ernest
Kenneth and Howard
Angus and Callun
Arthur and Cormac
Clancy and Fergus
Conroy and Hogan
Glen and Lane
Gilroy and Lorcan
Lachlan and MacArthur
Nigel and Shamus
Rafferty and Tavish
Torrence and Waterford

Sure, some of these are different, but maybe there's one that you'd like with Doyle.

All the best to you and your growing family!

Elle said...

I think John is a fantastic and underused boys name that fits SO WELL with Catherine and Nora. And it pairs brilliantly with the name Doyle in the middle name slot. And I love Swistle's suggestion about the swapped initials, and you're already considering James for a middle name, so I would go with:

John Doyle and Daniel James.

Anonymous said...

I agree with swistle act as if your naming your babies separately.

Anonymous said...

I like Doyle but think of "O'Doyle rules!" from Billy Madison. I think it's nicest as a middle name.

Megz said...

I think you should keep Doyle and choose another underused name for the other twin.

The name Roderick comes to mind for me, I'm not sure if it's the association with author Roddy Doyle (who was not a Roderick). Doyle and Roderick might work. Doyle and Roddy possibly not.

This also brings to name the name Royce. Doyle and Royce. Too similar maybe? I personally love the name Rhys - Doyle R__ and Rhys Daniel.

Good luck.

StephLove said...

I just re-read Swistle's list and saw Ian and Rhys, which I missed before. Catherine, Nora, Ian and Rhys. I like it. I really like it.

Wicks said...

I absolutely love the name Doyle. It's traditional and classic however it goes very well with the girls. I agree with some of the other posts that it would be nice to have a different initial to give a little more distinction between the boys. Plus it allows for "D" to act as a possible nickname occasionally where there doesn't seem to be another that I can think of. I feel like the name Daniel just doesn't seem to fit the group and does seem to common or popular.

With that said, here are a few other ideas:

Doyle Harrison and Thaddeus(nn:Thad) Daniel
Harrison (nn:Harrison;)) Daniel and Doyle Weston
Doyle Warner and Wesley Daniel (cute initial swap)

And just to throw out a few unique options that I've seen and loved:


How cute! Doyle and Everett :)

Ok, best of luck!

Heidi said...

I really like Doyle! It sounds to me as if you're quite lukewarm about Daniel are mostly considering it because it seemed a reasonable fit with Doyle (and by the way, I don't think Daniel seems too similar to Doyle). Just my 2 cents here, but I'd encourage you to keep looking for boy names that you really like, and THEN think about how they fit with Doyle.

Anonymous said...

Just remembered that you have a nora so noah and Nolan eon't work. But I do like the idea having an n in the twins names then all 4 of your kids have that connection. So I'll add Greyson and Henry to the list and Nathan.

Anonymous said...

I think Doyle is a great name. What about Doyle and Finn? Or Doyle and Hayes for that surname feel?

If you wanted longer names with a nn Finnegan (Finn) and Rafferty (Rafe) are great names. Finnegan Doyle and Rafferty Hayes/Daniel.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to buck the trend but I really dislike Doyle as a first name. It does not work at all with your daughters' names while Daniel does. I appreciate it has significance to you as a family though and think it would make a fantastic middle name.

Catherine, Nora, Daniel and...

Stanley (although Dan and Stan would be a bit saccharine!)
William (Billy)
Jonathan (Jonty)
Oliver (Ollie)
Philip (Pip)
Frederick (Freddie)
Sebastian (Seb)
Timothy (Tim)
Edward (Eddie; Teddy)
Alexander (Alex; Alec)
James (Jamie)
Nicholas (Nicky)
Christopher (Chris; Kit)
Thomas (Tom)
Joshua (Josh)
Joseph (Joe)
Tobias (Toby)
Roland (Rollo; Roly)
Theodore (Theo)

Anonymous said...

I like Doyle. I think it sounds a little like a surname as a firstname and I am not for sure if that is the case. So I think I would try to find another family name surname like swistle suggested. Or use a family common name as Daniels middle name so they both have a family connection. I these pairs

Doyle (non family name like maybe Matthew that seems to fit your style)

Finn Patrick (common. But still family name). Other surnames as first that I saw and like are


gail said...

I'm with the above commenter (anonymous 2:48 pm)....I think Doyle doesn't fit well with Catherine, Nora, and Daniel, all of which I consider classic names, all of which I love. I'd keep Daniel but choose another classic name for his twin.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Even though I like the name Doyle I don't think it fits in with your daughters' names either.

I know that you commented that William has already been used in your family but you could use the nn Liam to get the Irish feel that you like.

Catherine, Nora, William (Liam) and Daniel (Danny/Dan) are all classic names that sound good together.

You could still use Doyle as a middle name for one of the twins and another surname as a middle name for the other.

William Doyle and Daniel Reilly for example.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Edward is another great classic name too.

Edward(Ned, Eddy) and Daniel(Dan,Danny) or William(Liam).

Catherine, Nora, Edward and Daniel
Catherine, Nora, Edward and William

The Irish surnames Brady,Ryan and Kelly would also make great middle names.

Anonymous said...

I like the name Doyle, but not with your dd's names, & not with Daniel. Looking at the names that both you & your dh like, perhaps a name like Lucas you might both like? Or Evan, or Emmett?

How about Daniel Liam and Lucas Doyle or Daniel Ethan and Evan Doyle or Daniel Edward and Emmett Doyle?...

Anonymous said...

Daniel and Doyle are two different name styles. What about

Anonymous said...

I love Doyle, but I may be biased because that is what I named my son! Doyle is a family name for me as well, specifically the surname of my favorite grandfather. The name never sounded strange to me, instead always felt special. I think it fits just fine with the names of your other children. I also named my daughter a more "traditional" name, but one that is also not wildly popular. Maybe Doyle and Ronan...Doyle and Charlie

Anonymous said...

Sorry, scratch Charlie! Just saw your last name is Brown!