I LOVE your blog, follow religiously, and would appreciate yours and your readers' advice. We are having such a hard time naming our second child! I am Kelly (Jean) and my husband is Brian (Paul). Our last name is Hennen (Hen-nen). We have an 18 mo old little boy, William Andrew, who will be 22mo when this baby is born in the middle of February (17th). I love William's name, he goes by William. Frequently, William Andrew when I want his attention. I love the way William Andrew Hennen are all two syllable names and flow really nicely, in my opinion. When we started thinking of names I love the way Kelly, Brian, and William sounded together when picturing introducing our little family to people. I love his name so much; I can't find one that I like as much.I thought I didn't like "trendy" names, but I realize that William is top 5 and has been a top name for...forever. But I still love it. William was my grandpa's grandpa's name, and also a name on my husband's side. Andrew was my mother's father's name and is big on my side of the family. But big as a middle name, I kind of want our boys/children to have their own first name. (Not a name that is the name of our siblings, sibling's kid, cousin or cousin's kid). This rule eliminates some favorites: Grady (love that this is different but not unheard of...it's my brother's name, he's Grady Andrew), Thomas, Timothy, Jonathan, Noah, Zachary, Patrick, David, Daniel, Matthew, Michael, Nicholas, among others.We've kind of eliminated names ending in N, because, Bri-an Hen-nen just doesn't flow well. So, no Aden, Stephen, Simon etc.Middle name I would like to keep from the family...I know this contradicts my first point. But Andrew is so big in my family, and I like that it ties William to the past. Some middle name options: Lee, James, Joseph (don't like for first name because I don't really like Joe or Joey, and my husband has several Uncle Joe's and Cousin Joe), Frederick, Russo. Russo was my mom's maiden name, and I really wanted William to have Russo for a middle name but hubby nixed that idea. My top middle name besides this would probably by Lee. It's my grandfather and father's middle name. My grandpa's first name is Clinton and my dad's first name is Kim. Dad would kill me if I named a boy Kim, and Clinton doesn't seem to flow well with Hennen.Names hubby didn't like but I did (not enough to fight for them):Jeffery, Miles, Caleb, George, Vincent, Bradley, MiloNames we like but we're not sold on:Samuel - sister in law's dog's name. We have a nephew (Matthew) who'd be 3 1/2ish when this baby is born and would that be confusing to have baby Samuel and dog Sammy? For my hubby, he thinks that it's okay to name a kid "after" a dog, I don't.JoshuaEric (1 syllable) - also my husband's boss' name, he feels weird about naming a kid "after" his boss.Paul (hubby's middle name, but 1 syllable)PeterTheodore (nickname Teddy) - hubby doesn't like it.Lucas (all I think of is George Lucas and a big gray beard)Nathanael (nn Neal? 1 syllable) - probably a front runner. Hubby has a cousin whose kid is Nathanael nn Nate or Nathan.Elliott - hubby doesn't like.August - maybe middle name option? Giving both boy's A. initials but not family names?Alexander - hubby has a cousin Alex (a girl) and I'm not too fond of Alex Hennen. William and Alex?Benjamin - like, but worry that Ben Hennen is too rhyme-y.Oliver - with middle name Lee, would it sound too much like Oli-Lee?Oliver is it too trendy? I'd love Henry, but isn't that Prince Harry's name? Prince William and Henry...? And also, Henry Hennen, definitely too rhyme-y.When we were pregnant with William we also liked Wesley, but now we don't like having boys with the same initials. Plus, that might rope us into using W. for first name initials for more kiddos.I'd like one more child. If this baby was a girl, we like Julia, Molly, … now I can't think of any more. They must have left my mind when I saw those boy parts on the screen a few weeks ago. :)Any thoughts or help would be appreciated.Hope this email made sense; it was kind of hard to type out all of our criteria once I got started!Thank you in advance!
I think it would help to start by separating two kinds of common names, but I'm not sure what to call the two categories. One category would probably be called "trendy" names: they're currently popular, but they weren't even on the charts ten years ago, and in ten more years they might be gone again. Sometimes they're groups rather than individual names, like "the Addy/Maddy names" and "the -aden names" and "the tradesman names."
The second category is also common, but we wouldn't call them trendy. Maybe classics, or traditional, or basic---something like that. This category is the category the name William falls into: it's currently in style, it's currently popular---but it's been popular for ages, and we expect it to remain popular for ages. It might come and go a bit, fashion-wise; the fashionable nickname might change from Billy to Willy to Liam to Will; but we wouldn't call it trendy.
There tends to be some overlap. For example, the names Oliver and Henry have definitely come into style recently in a way we might call trendy---and yet they're also classic/traditional/basic names. I wouldn't even call them trendy, I'd call them classics enjoying a resurgence of popularity. But if someone said those names were/felt trendy, I would know what they meant by that: there's a trend for antiques, and Henry and Oliver fit in with that trend; there were no Henrys or Olivers in my classrooms growing up, but they're all over the place now. They're in an overlap area. And in the other direction, names that are "new/modern/trendy" in one generation can go on to join the ranks of the classics.
So I think it's perfectly understandable that you would (1) not like trendy names, AND (2) name your first son William. It also makes perfect sense that you would want the first name to be the child's own, but want a family name for the middle.
You have so many good names on your list, I'm more inclined to sift through those than to come up with more to add.
I think the name Samuel would work beautifully. Samuel Hennen; William and Samuel. If Sammy were the name of your own dog, I would probably reluctantly rule it out (we wanted to use Oliver but had a cat with that name), but a sister-in-law's dog seems fine---especially if the dog is Sammy, not Samuel. You wouldn't actually be naming a child after a dog, any more than you'd be naming a child after any of the other holders of the name Sam/Sammy/Samuel, or any more than you named your William after my William; they'd all just happen to share the same name. It doesn't seem like it would cause any major confusion: if the 3.5-year-old was briefly confused even after having it explained to him that sometimes people have the same name (other family/friend examples can be used to support this point), he won't still be confused at, say, age 5. I like Samuel August, or Samuel Joseph.
Eric is two syllables. But I too would feel a little uncomfortable using a boss's name, unless that boss seems likely to be quite temporary. Aidric might work instead, or Derek, or Jared.
I think Paul is another great choice. I know you like the 2-2-2 rhythm, and so do I, but other rhythms are nice too. Paul Russo Hennen is great. If your husband is going to veto Russo again, I'd choose Paul Frederick Hennen or Paul Joseph Hennen.
Nathaneal is another good one, though I think the nickname Neal would be a hard-sell. If it's important to you that it not be Nate/Nathan, I'd say it's a poor gamble.
And of course I love Oliver. I think Oliver Lee is fine, but if it's likely you'll use first/middle a lot, and it seems like it IS likely, I'd choose something like Oliver Joseph or Oliver Frederick or Oliver Grady.
Name update! Kelly writes:
I wrote you back in October wanting help for our little brother to William. Just thought I'd let you know we had our baby boy last week! A little early at 37 weeks but healthy and happy. Our top two favorites after seeing this little man ended up being Samuel lee or Lucas Clinton. I know. I was shocked I liked Lucas Clinton as much as I did. But as soon as he was born it was like a light bulb "oh, that's Lucas!" I did agonize about 36 hrs ish with the, would I be disappointed if I didn't use Samuel since it really had been a top choice question. But in the end, he really is our little Lucas. We're all adjusting and getting into our routines now that he's here. I wanted to thank you and your readers for your input. I kept coming back to the post over and over weighing the opinions and advice. So, thank you!