17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: What's in a Name?

I need help! I am four months pregnant with my fourth child. My husband and I are in the process of choosing potential names for the new baby. We are so overwhelmed!

For our other children, it always happened that one of us would think of a name fairly easily and the other would agree, and that was that! This time around, that's not the case. We are at a loss for how to even start the name search. I've contemplated baby name books, but those are neverending SO intimidating! I always have several favorites in mind, but they change every few weeks. I'm lost! My question for you is: How have YOU gone about the name search? or, How would you go about it?

Name suggestions are welcomed, as well. As far as the scoop on my family goes:
My name is Evelyn (Evie) and my husband is Benjamin (Ben). We have a son, Nathaniel (Nate) Grant, who is 6, and daughters Hanna Madelinn (4) and Lily Violet (almost 2). In general, we like classic (but not stuffy!) names.

We don't know the sex of the new baby, and aren't planning on finding out.
Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions!


  • We also like classic, but not stuffy names!! We totally struggle with boy names. We have one daughter and her name is Cecelia Shannon. Cecelia is my great grandmother's name and I just fell in love with it. It took some time for my husband to fall in love with it, but now we can't imagine a more perfect name for our little girl.

    Other names we've liked... Nora, Eleanor (Ellie or Nora), Charlotte, Lydia, & Camille.

    Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Claire at 9/25/2008 09:59:00 PM  

  • I named my boy after the prophet of my youth, Spencer. And my girl, Michaela, after reading the the name means, "who is like the Lord." I haved loved being able to tell them what their names mean and why that was important to us. All the best.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/25/2008 10:10:00 PM  

  • My husband and I always made lists. We usually knew the gender, so it would be one list (obviously), but in your case, I would just make two lists of names that both you and your husband can agree on. It doesn't necessarily mean you will name the child that particular name --it just narrows the search a bit. Then, when your child is born, you'll have a tiny, narrowed list to choose from.
    It makes it a little less overwhelming.

    I have friends that name their kids up to 2 weeks AFTER the birth, so no pressure! It's a myth that the child should be named as soon as it's conceived (not that there's anything wrong with it). ;)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 9/26/2008 05:02:00 AM  

  • My criteria became more specific after my first...because I wanted their names to have something in common....here is the criteria:

    5 letters in all three names, first, middle, last

    upon reading (arguably I guess), 1 pronunciation possibility

    must be a high number in the Social Security Website's ranking of names. DD 1's is climbing as of now...but still higher than 500. DD 2's is higher than 1000, doesn't even have a ranking.

    They are both feminine names too. DD1's is male in Ireland, but I have only come across females with her name in the US. DD2 can have letters added to make it male, but it is undeniably female.

    The other day I pulled out a 15-gen family tree chart I made YEARS ago and it was fun to read the names....sadly I wouldn't have used any of them, but it is a nice place to start b/c of the family linkage, and it might help you decide why you do or don't like a name.


    I see that these names are all shortish, so maybe think short. The girls end with a vowel sound, might be something to consider. My suggestions:



    I am feeling some V's for some reason....

    What do the kids think? I got DD2's name idea from 3-y-old DD1...crazy!

    Good luck....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/26/2008 05:12:00 AM  

  • Hi, All, hope you don't mind me commenting---I read here all the time, but have been silent. I'm a little opinionated on this topic!

    My name is Deb. My brothers married Debbie and Deborah. Don't do that. A woman in our ward looks at the Most Popular Names This Year lists,and named her kids the top one, every time! How can you look at a child and say, "you are wonderful, you are unique, and in every group you will ever see, there will be 5 more of you." Also, if you live in the US, don't name a kid any more than 9 letters...that's all that fits on legal/school/government forms. I know that because my first has 10 letters in his name, and gets irate when the last letter is chopped off. We were also careful to pick names that fit a little child and look good on a business card--- not cutsy ones, like Sally, Susie, etc. I know an Edith, Dorothy, and Geraldine, all under age 5; seems a bit of a handicap. In a world where kids get teased, you dont' need to set them up! That said, our kids's names were a contraction of two names we loved but could not agree on (He was 3 weks late; this may have been why), after a Swiss skiier (during the Olympics), a semi-common name from the country where my husband served a mission, two short names we loved, but not alone (he's hypennated, and loves it), a Germanic name I read in a book while on bedrest, and our only daughter's name was one of those cutsy ones that we "bent" into a more adult name--unique, but easy to spell. Some call her the shortened, cute version. She is now at college in Hawaii, and many people have been surpsised at her "obviously Polynesian-sounding name. " Nope, made it up. And, for goodness sake, name the baby! Babies don'tsneak up on most people. I had a friend who had to get three 30 day extensions on the birth certifiicate, because the baby had no name. After MUCH deliberation, they named him Tom! Told you I was opinionated!
    posted by Anonymous deb at 9/26/2008 05:25:00 AM  

  • I scour the name sites and books, and every time I see one I like, or my husband suggests a name, I write it in a spreadsheet. One worksheet is for boy names, another for girl names. Then, I start combining names I like. I appreciate a rare first name and a common middle one.

    Then, I narrow down the name combinations to three with the help of my husband, throw out either the boy's or girl's set when I discover whether the baby is boy or girl, and wait until the baby is born. When I first look into his/her eyes, the right name of the three seems to fit into place.
    posted by Blogger SilverRain at 9/26/2008 05:53:00 AM  

  • We like classic names too (my husband is Ben, I'm Anne, our son is Will, and our dog is Sam) but I agree about the stuff names.

    When we found out we were having a boy, I printed out two copies of the top 100 list from the year before and we each went through and crossed out what we didn't like and circled our favorites. It was fun to compare and gave us an idea of the direction to go.

    Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Anne at 9/26/2008 07:18:00 AM  

  • I decided long ago that naming babies is akin to choosing a paint color -- really hard, you have to live with your decision, and it's a pain in the neck to get it changed. For almost my entire pregnancy, I thought I wanted to name DD Avery...then a few weeks before she was born, DH said, "What about Elizabeth?" and it just felt right. Even then, we spent our 2 days in the hospital just staring at her, trying to figure out which name was right for her...and did. So don't stress too much...I mean, geesh, you still have five months to decide!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/26/2008 07:29:00 AM  

  • We always prepared a list, narrowed it down and arrived at the hospital with three or four that we really liked. Then, when we spent a little time with the baby outside of the womb, one of the names seemed to click.

    Like Kage, my husband and I looked back on old geneology group sheets and found some names that we liked. We named our son after a town in England that we both had ancestors from.

    We expected to have a houseful of boys (I have 6 brothers and my DH has 5) so we had a lot of boy names. My favorite boy name that we didn't use is SETH. My favorite girl name that we didn't use is CLAIRE.

    Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Jolene at 9/26/2008 08:54:00 AM  

  • Ooh...I like jolene's idea of looking at towns and stuff...b/c all my names were repeated multiple times and I think it would have been more interesting if I had looked at other aspects, good idea.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/26/2008 09:12:00 AM  

  • I'm a random lurker but i love names. Here are some that i've liked--
    Veda (vee-da)

    (and a bunch of italian ones such as Dante, Nico, Giacomo [jack!],Orlando [lanny], etc. but you're probably not italian)
    posted by Anonymous Jenn at 9/26/2008 10:01:00 AM  

  • My dh and I looked through the baby names books and each wrote a list of the ones we liked separately. Then we looked at the lists together to see if there were any repeats. It helped narrow the choices down a bit. We also had criteria. We didn't want any repeated names of family members and we wanted Gaelic names.
    posted by Anonymous MKC at 9/26/2008 10:03:00 AM  

  • Not sure if anyone has suggested this yet, but you have to try Nymbler. My husband and I love it. It allows you to type in up to 6 names--names of your other kids, names you like, etc.--and brings up a neverending list of names that "go" with those names.

    I am 38 weeks and we still don't have "a name" chosen, but we also don't know the sex of our baby and so aren't too worried about it. With #1 we had a few girl names and a few boy names, and he was a boy, and there was one on our short list that fit when we looked at him. So it wasn't too hard. Middle names on the other hand, those can be tricky for me.

    Also, I find girl names a lot harder for some reason. There's kind of a glut out there, hard to decide.

    Aaaanyway, you would probably like Laura Wattenberg, who is one of the creators of Nymbler and the author of the book The Baby Name Wizard. That's where we found our son's name...and I think it's fun just to read! I recommend it! She groups names by category ("Porch Sitters," "Antiques," "Bell Tones"), gives sibling name suggestions, and a little commentary on each one. Plus a little sociological insight on naming in general.

    She also has a blog, babynamewizard.com, which is fun to read. One of the tabs at the top of the page takes you to the NameVoyager, another tool that helps you look at names and how popular they are (and have been in the past).

    Sorry for the long post, but baby naming is on my mind too these days!!
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 9/26/2008 11:41:00 AM  

  • I just realized after thinking about it that it's probably a stretch to say that my husband loves Nymbler. I think he thinks it's cool, but it's more likely that he loves anything that distracts me from trying to talk about names with him constantly. Not that he's not excited about the baby or naming the baby, but I think he just doesn't quite feel the need to think about names day and night.
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 9/26/2008 11:51:00 AM  

  • Our criteria was that the names had to have something important behind them: Our first is named after my mom, and her middle name is DH's mom; our second is named after a strong woman in the Old Testament (the one who saved her people -- and so what if it's an "old lady name," it suits her just fine and nobody teases her about it); our third is named after two great aunts of DH's who were strong, funny, independent women. If we were to ever have a boy (I think we're done, but you never know) he would be named after all the historical / religious Josephs and his middle name would be DH's.

    We happen to have mostly family names (with the exception of our OT Queen), but I would have gone the literary route just as easily. I had hoped to name someone Matilda, after the Roald Dahl character (sweet and kind and resourceful and smart and sticks up for herself and others) but even with cute nicknames like Maddy or Tillie, DH said no. The bum. I was thisclose to naming DD3 Theresa Clare (that one with DH's approval, lol) and calling her Tess; my ancestors came from the same region and social class as Thomas Hardy's characters, so it felt like a way to honor family even if it wasn't a family name. But then I realized that Tess is waaaaay too close to DD2's name, and I'd be giving them both plausible deniability ("No, Mom, I thought you were telling HER to clean her room, not me!"). So we went with the aunts' names instead.

    Anyway. I like names with power, with history behind them. I want my girls to look back at the people they were named after with respect and with a desire to live up to their good qualities.

    Some other favorites (beyond Joseph, Matilda, and Tess): Claudia, Camilla, Mae, Jemima (I know, I know; nobody else likes it either, but I LOVE IT), Hazel, Amelia, Jane, Margaret, Charlotte, Caroline....

    Sorry, I don't appear to be much help on the boy front, lol. I guess it's lucky I never had any (or two; I do have that one boy name ready to go).

    Congrats and good luck on the name search! :-)
    posted by Blogger RCH at 9/26/2008 12:14:00 PM  

  • Our name choosing isn't too involved.... not sure why, it's just how it is for us. Almost from the minute we find out we're expecting we start a list of names. Even if we just kind of like the name it will go on the list. Middle names and first names. For us, middle names are always family. Anyway, we make sure to bring the list to the hospital and pick out the name there. I don't know why, but I have to hold and see the baby before I pick the name. I think choosing a name is so personal. Stick to your guns and try not to be swayed too much by others opinions. Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 9/26/2008 09:50:00 PM  

  • I like names that have meaning. Hebrew names are especially good for that. My kids are:

    Nathaniel Si
    Catherine Elizabeth

    Nathaniel = "gift from God"
    Si = a mountain near where we lived

    Catherine = "pure, unsullied"
    Elizabeth = "God is my Oath"

    Elijah = "Jehovah is God"

    Elijah doesn't have a middle name for a very good reason I won't go into now, but if he had, it would've been Samson (which means "sun").

    I actually don't really like the name Catherine, but she was named for my grandma, who I did like.
    posted by Blogger Susan M at 9/27/2008 05:45:00 PM  

  • I didn't read the comments, so forgive me if someone already mentioned this. You must google 'the baby name wizard.' It's an amazing resource for baby naming.

    As for me, I am loving the name Hadley for a girl, and for a boy-Ari or Asher.
    posted by Blogger the Rew Crew at 9/27/2008 07:16:00 PM  

  • One more thing--after googling the wizard, click on 'baby name blog' at the top. Each post has HUNDREDS of comments from people trying to name their future bambinos. Lots of good stuff!
    posted by Blogger the Rew Crew at 9/27/2008 07:17:00 PM  

  • baby naming isn't easy as it sticks with them for the rest of their lives, and you don't want them to be made fun of right?

    I have two boys and theyir names are Tyson and Jamen. Both of them are named after someone, but i researched them out, and neither one of them are on the top of the SS administation website either. THey are not even in the top 1000 so I had to go with them. Best wishes
    posted by Anonymous liz at 10/02/2008 07:10:00 PM  

  • We wanted names that were uncommon but not weird. Our son is Levi. Our daughter due in 13 days (not that I'm counting!) will be Miriam. Our other names are Asher and Abigail (ok - we have an OT theme going too...)
    posted by Blogger Amy at 10/18/2008 10:28:00 AM  

  • You may want to check out this great online baby name search tool that can provide you with more name options before you get to decide: allthebabynames.com - it lists a lot of popular and unique baby names plus their meanings and origins.
    posted by Anonymous Baby Names Dictionary at 10/12/2009 02:57:00 PM  

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