Changing my first name. Help please.

Hello I have always disliked my first name and I have got to the point where I would dearly like to change it to something I like. At the moment my first name is Lauren. I have no middle name so I don't have the option to go by my middle name instead. My surname begins with A. I live in the UK.

I don't have much knowledge about names in general so any help is appreciated. I really would like some help in the popularity, uniqueness, can you see a 25 year old with the name etc. 

What I want in a name is one that either has been used in the year I was born (1990) and if not used in that year then 5 years each way is good.

I am looking for a name that is familiar but not to popular. However the popularity of names now are not a concern for me just around the years I was born. Any names ending in A are not usable for me either.

I would love suggestions either based on the list below or not. 

Some names I like ... (though bare in mind these are just ones I like the way they sound or it's meaning.) I am not sure on any popularity of these names.




Naomi or Noemi (which spelling is better?)

Renee (would this name be mispronounced as Ree-nee?)


Other names I like but can not use for different reasons...


Thank you for any input.


May 29, 2015 12:38 AM

Caitlin would be the most appriate name for your age (most common age 22 years). Seren is very uncommon, and sounds poisonous.  Isobel, Kayleigh, Naomi, and Noemi are more common on 2 year olds than adults.  That said, I think Naomi would work on an adult.  Isobel will give a spelling headache as Isabelle is so much more common.  I wouldn't want to change my name to Kayleigh for a few reasons: I pronounce Leigh rhymes with neigh, weigh, sleigh, etc., it has spelling issues, and I would have trouble seeing it on an adult.  I think Renee would be a good choice, though the most common age is 46. 

Have you considered slight modifications of your current name, like Laurel?  The most common age for Laurel is 54, but the peak is pretty flat and the popularity is 969th.  Or Aura, which is very uncommon but quite lovely. 

You can look at the comparison curves for these names at:

Names I think would work best for you:
Caitlin: perfect age and you like it
Naomi: age skewed to toddlers, but could work will on an adult, good biblical story
Renee: uncommon and beautiful, probably uncommon enough that its most common age of 46 doesn't matter
Laurel: one letter change from Lauren, but what a difference that letter makes, it has a good nature connection as well as a good Greek mythology connection (Daphne and Apollo story).

Would you like to chose a middle name as well, or honor your parents choice for your name and all of your previous accomplishments by using Lauren as a middle name?

May 29, 2015 1:05 AM

Aura makes me think to suggest Aurelia - containing all the letters in Laura, just in a different order, plus two more vowels.

May 31, 2015 12:09 PM

I like Aurelia but names ending in A are a problem for me. I don't like the way it looks with my first name which starts with A. How about Aurelie?

May 29, 2015 1:33 AM

I have considered Laurel and I like it but don't love the name. Using Lauren as my middle name is a good idea.

May 29, 2015 1:20 PM

How does Seren sound poisonous? 

May 29, 2015 2:04 PM

Probably because of sarin, the nerve gas that was used in the Tokyo subway terrorist attack in the nineties. It is the kind of thing that's hard to un-hear, but I hadn't made the connection until this thread.

May 31, 2015 12:10 PM

Seren doesn't sound poisonous to me. It reminds me of stars in the night sky.

May 29, 2015 12:55 AM

I agree with weatherly that Laurel is a fabulous choice that would be an easy adjustment for your friends and family to make, but to me has a very different feel from Lauren.

Daphne would be another spinoff suggestion for you because it is Greek for "laurel". While Daphne is more popular now than it was in 1990, it was by no means unheard of, either.

If you do NOT end up going the route of trying to preserve any part of your birth name, I like the idea of using Lauren as your middle name, in part to make it easier to deal with the fact that any degrees you've accumulated to date will no longer be in your first name.

I have never heard the name Renee mispronounced -- it is quite familiar. It had a spike in the 60s and 70s but it was fairly broad -- didn't really drop off until the end of the 80s, just before your birth, and in any case was not an abrupt crashing down. In the US, you might thus be mistaken for a little older than you actually are. I particularly like it for your situation  because it preserves the "ren" part of your birth name. It's my favorite from your list for that reason.

Naomi is a name that strikes me as a timeless classic. Noemi is much more obscure, at least here in the US - I'd choose Naomi unless I had a clear reason otherwise. This is my favorite of your proposed names, in the abstract.

Caitlin is timestamped in a very age-appropriate way. I teach students of your age, and there are always a loooot of Caitlins in my classes, though the spellings vary greatly (Katelynn, Kaitlyn, etc). I'd be making this choice knowing that you'd be spelling it out a bit, though there may be more uniformity of spelling in the UK.

Similar caveats about Kayleigh, where I think the spellings are possibility even more fragmented. Kayleigh is skews a bit "younger" for you - I'd expect a Kayleigh to be somewhere in the 6-10 year old range, but it's not glaringly out of place on a 22-year-old, just a bit ahead of the curve.

May 29, 2015 1:40 AM

Can you clarify a bit more why you don't like Lauren?  I think that would help us help you sort it what you want in a new name.  Is it too common?  You just don't like the sound or style?  Is it the same name of a relative you are estranged from?  Do you want a new name to symbolize a trasnition to a new era in your life?  Etc.  I think that would help with guidance.  I personally like Lauren better than most of your preferred alternatives, but I don't know if your objection is style or what. 

I know several people who have changed either their first or last names for various reasons, and those reasons were central to what they wanted in a new name.  For example, I have a cousin who just had never been crazy about her common and timestamped first name, but her main incentive to change it was that she came out as a lesbian and wanted a new name to go with her new identity.  This is totally different from the friend who dropped Jennifer because, well, EVERYONE her age was named Jennifer.  She also works in the performing arts and needed a more distinctive name, but wanted soemthing similar enough that it would be easy for friends and family to adjust/transition.  Voila, Jen (Jennifer) became Gwen (Gwenyth).

My friends who have changed their names have all commented that the paperwork can be a hassle, especially for first names, and also that old friends/relatives can have a difficult time with the transition.  A lot of my relatives have not caught on to my cousin's "new" first name, and it's been 10 years already!  She ended up with a family nickname that is a mash-up of her old and new first names.

If you don't want a new first name similar to Lauren and since you don't have a middle name, it might be a good idea to keep Lauren as a legal first name, but add a middle name and go by it in everyday life.  This will make it a LOT easier re: transcripts, professional reference checks, etc.  You will almost certainly need to jump through some major paperwork hoops sooner or later to prove that you are the same person whose name appears on the documents.

For what it's worth, I love the name Laurel.  I also know a French woman named Laure-Anne which is so pretty and would be a super-easy transition from Lauren.  You could also nudge that towards Anne or Annie over time if you wanted.  Of your names listed yay for Caitlin!  :)


By Fly
May 29, 2015 7:00 AM

I'm about the same age as you, but in Australia.

I like Lauren, but if you don't then that's fair. Do you have a middle name you could use, or perhaps a family name of a grandparent or great-grandparent?

Caitlin, Naomi and Renee would not be out of place on someone our age, and Naomi and Renee could be up to ten years older.

Other names that were popular enough at school are Kate (Katherine, Kathleen or Caitlin), Brittany, Stephanie, Carly, Sarah, Emily, Samantha, Christina, Michelle, Claire, Brooke, Shannon, Maddison, Jayde, Stacey, Danielle, Jessica, Melissa, Alicia, Emma, Ashley/Ashleigh, and the Laur- names (-ina, -inda, -a, -en).

May 31, 2015 12:17 PM

The names I like from what you suggested are

Sarah but I think it is far to popular for me.

Emily but I have a cousin with this name so it is unusable.

Brooke but for a middle name only.

Jayde but spelling Jade also just as a middle name.

Stacey but reminds me of the girl off Eastenders.


I prefer Alice to Alicia, though another cousin is called Alison, would this make Alice unusable?  

By Fly
May 31, 2015 10:17 PM

Alice has the same root as Alison (Alison being a Norman French diminuitive of Alice), as does Alicia/Alecia (the Latinised version of Alice).

Alice itself comes from Adelhais, or Adelaide meaning 'noble sort/kind'.

If you like Alice though, you could go to a version that is less like Alison? Alicia could work (but you don't like that one), Alix (medieval French, unrelated to Alexander/Alexandra), Adelaide or its deriviatives (Ada, Adele, Adela, Della, Adelina, Alina).

I saw the conversation about names meaning 'star', so there's also Danica, Stella, Elanor (not Eleanor), Tara.

Lauren means 'Laurel', is derived from the male name Laurence and is the name of a well-loved Saint.  Other names that mean the same include Daphne, Laura and Kelila.


Names that feel similar (according to a few sources) to the ones you picked out (I've tried not to repeat a name so if it appears in Sarah and Emily, I've only put it in Sarah):

Sarah - Leah, Angela, Eve, Bethany, Melinda, Rachel, Mary, Rose

Emily - Heather, Anabel, Nicole, Hope, Lily, Nina, Ivy 

Brooke - Alannah, Keira, Kristen, Madelyn, Maia, Gemma

Jayde - Robyn, Teagan, Renae, Chloe, Breanne, Kimberley, Madison, Nikita

Stacey - Janae, Nathalie, Tahlia, Amelia, Kayla

Danielle - Belinda, Samantha, Abigail, Candace, Charlene, Isobel, Nicole, Olivia, Vanessa

Alice - Thea, Sonya, Naomi, Melanie, Julia, Joanna, Eva, Denise, Violet, Grace

May 29, 2015 1:46 PM

Out of your name choices, I like Caitlin and Isobel, they have a Scottish leaning - is that important to you?

Seren is popular in Wales, and means 'star', which, judging by your user name, you like (snap!) :-) another great Celtic name is Siobhan and Megan. I'm also really liking Faye at the moment, and I know a girl your age named that.

I know too many Naomis, Renee is an older name, Kayleigh is unappealing to me and sounds too young. Sophie is nice, but you can't use it.

I hope you keep Lauren as your middle name. I think that would be really nice to honour your parents choice. And if Lauren isn't a family name, and you want a family name as your middle name, you can always have 2 middle names, so you could also pick a family name as well!

May 31, 2015 12:18 PM

I have Scottish ancestary but not enough to make it important. Isobel is just the spelling I prefer.

May 29, 2015 3:06 PM

I looked at the name rankings on the social security website for the year 1990. Here are some girls names ranked between 200 and 500, so not too popular, that seem like they might be your style.

Robin, Savannah, Chloe, Cassie, Kristy, Brianne, Isabel (#339, perhaps an easier alternative to Isobel), Lacy, Johanna, Celeste, Corinne, Sadie, Mollie, Blair, Connie.

I also tried the Matchmaker. Some ideas from that and their 1990 rankings: Meghan (#91), Caroline (#116), Morgan (#58), Bridget (#191), Shannon (#68), Camille (#243), Kelly (#41), Simone (#347).

You also seem to like names that have C, K, and N sounds, so I tried the name matchmaker for names that start with C or K and end in N or Ne. Cameron (#676), Christine (#62), Karen (#120), Kaden (unranked), Kaylin (#717), Kiersten (#621), Kristin (#65).

May 31, 2015 12:19 PM

I like Chloe and Isabel but still prefer Isobel spelling and Sadie. Karen is my mothers name so that is out.

May 31, 2015 12:41 PM

If I was to keep my first name Lauren can you suggest a pretty middle name?

By Fly
May 31, 2015 10:25 PM

Do you want a long or short middle name? Depending on how long your last name is you might prefer to do the opposite (long middle and short last OR short middle and long last).

Also, do you want something that is relatively common as a middle name? Anne, Rose, Mary, Elizabeth?

Or something more usual as a first name? (Any of the suggestions above)

Or you could go to something that is more personal and meaningful, but which may be really uncommon (or even never used as a name before).  It could be the name of a favourite character or inspirational person, a family member or just a random noun (fruit, occupation, activity).

Have you considered adding to rather than changing your name?  So having two middle names?  That way no one gets offended about you changing it.  I once considered adding a family name as a second middle name, though I never went through with it (my first and middle names were chosen for sound, not meaning, although other family members have family names or derivatives thereof).

May 31, 2015 1:17 PM

How about Lauranne? How would you pronounce it? Laura plus Anne or Laure (law) plus Anne? Or is there another way to pronounce it?

May 31, 2015 2:20 PM

I would pronounce Lauranne Lore-Anne, or possibly Lo-Ran. I imagine it would be different in a non-rhotic dialect (where Rs get dropped after vowels). It seems like it might be a good alternative to Lauren if you like it better--I imagine folks who already know you as Lauren wouldn't hear the difference if you didn't tell them, which could make the transition easier.

Have you considered Lorelei? It still contains most of the sound of your original name, but with a pretty different feel and several nickname options. (The mythical creature was something like a siren, so magic and scary--I think historically more scary but nowadays the connotations seem more magical.)

May 31, 2015 8:18 PM

Thoughts on Serenah, Selenah and Savannah.

June 1, 2015 11:03 AM

If I were going to use Serenah or Selenah, I'd use the standard spellings -- otherwise you'd have to spell them all. the. time.   Both of them are lovely-sounding names.

Savannah is less my style.  Is it common in the UK?  I ask because it's a US placename-name. 

June 1, 2015 11:04 AM

Yes Savannah is quite common. If I were to use Serenah or Selenah though it would be a middle name for Lauren.


June 1, 2015 11:22 AM

I like the idea of Serena(h) or even Serenity as a self-chosen middle name, especially if you're aiming to have more peace of mind about your name. I also think they're lovely names in their own right.

June 3, 2015 2:03 AM


June 4, 2015 4:19 PM

I think out of your favorite, Caitlin would make the most sense for your age and area. I think Laurel is also a nice option, because it's similiar to your original name and can make the transistion easier.

Naomi and Noemi are actually two different names and not different spellings of the same name. They're pronounced NAY-owe-me and NO-em-ee, respectively. 

June 4, 2015 8:47 PM

(::pedant mode ON::)

Naomi and Noemi are actually different versions of the same Biblical-origin name (Ruth's mother-in-law). Noemi originates in medieval Latin versions of the Bible, and is the usual Italian form of the name. It or close variants are also the usual forms in many other European languages: Noémi in Hungarian, Noémie in French, Noemí in Spanish, etc. Naomi is the usual English form, and it's closer to the original Hebrew in spelling, although the Great English Vowel Shift means that the actual sounds are really nothing alike.

(::pedant mode OFF::)