Help Naming Baby Girl!

We're expecting our first, a girl, in July, but are struggling with naming choices.  We both like the idea of honoring family and like "Iola Rosalie" in honor of our respective maternal grandmothers.  Two things that we think about with Iola though is (1) it's an older name, not heard much, but (2) it would be shared with my mom somewhat.   Specifically, Charlotte Iola long standing family name for first born daughters (I'm the first exception in about 5 generations) but Charlotte has gotten way too popular lately.  Charlotte Iola is also my mom's name and she goes by Charlotte generally, but Iola with our large family, so we aren't sure if a "little Iola" is good or if we should give her something a little more her own.  On that note, I've really fallen for the name "Iona Rosalie," which seems to arguably also incorporate my husband's mom's middle name Anne with the "n".  But, I have a noun last name, which causes pause even though she will not have a hyphenated last name, we want to put my last name in among the mix, so her name would be something like Iona Rosalie Pond Lastname.  Not a big deal, but something to think about I guess as she could someday decide to take a noun last name from her own partner.  

Other names we like, but lack the family connection: Coralie/Cora, Gwen, Althea, Athena

Other family names we could incorporate but don't love on their own for various reasons: Lydia, June, Jean, Marcella, Barbara, Charlotte, Sue, Catherine

Any thoughts are appreciated.  We've been sticking our heads in the sand on this and time is running up!


June 11, 2016 2:49 PM

I think there is a huge difference in honouring familiy members and naming your child to go with tradition! I really respect the dedication that was put towards making Charlotte a family name, and since it is a family name for me as well, I am more than a bit bummed by how popular it's gotten. There are ways to address this, and go with variations of the name Charlotte if you're open to that!
Charlene is a popular name with the same nickname as my Aunt Charlotte (Char) and it is the name of a beautiful young girl I work with. It is a fantastic sophisticated name that will be super professional and appropriate all the time.
Also, if you're looking for a more unique name than Charlotte but what to keep its roots, you can go with Lotje, which is the dutch variant of Charlotte. It is pronounced Lut-che with a bit of a flick at the end for the Dutch accent to come through. Both of these Charlotte variants are super pretty and girly, and would suit either a girl and a woman, and would do really well in a professional capacity. (I always think to prepare the name so if my kids decided to be lawyers they'd be have no obstacles in the way of naming and being taken seriously in whatever field they are drawn to)

You also have Iona, Lola and Rosalie that you're playing around with, and these names are all super wonderful!.  I think your last name (Pond) is stunning and would be the cutest middle name. I would also urge you to consider your partner's moaternal name in full if you are planning on going with a full family name as well, but if you choose to mix it up (like Charlene Iona Pond Lastname or Lotje Catherine Pond Lastname - I took Catherine because Anne is a segment of Catherine even though they are spelled differently) or you can go the fuller more traditional route with Charlotte Lola Anne Lastname. I would suggest not giving too many middle names, so therefore would not reccomend using your last name in the name unless you are using one of your partners maternal names in the name already. If you both want to have a name in the full name of the baby girl, it is best to incorporate both sides rather than have names from only one side of the family! Unless, of course, you are planning on having a second child named almost fully from your partner's side of the family!

I hope this helps! 

June 11, 2016 6:01 PM

I hope I understood this right.... First Cheers to Rosalie!  I triple love that name! 

As far as Iola the Elder and Iola the younger is concerned I wouldn't stress about it.  Lots of families have shared names among generations or names that just sound similar i.e. cousins named Ella, Malia, and Ava. 

If your mother is usually Charlotte in most cirlcles and Iola in large family groups (is this like her siblings and cousins? is this a weekley get together kind of group?) I think it won't be terribly confusing in the beginning (no one will be calling across the room to ask baby Iola to help with dinner.)  If it starts to get confusing little Iola can use a nickname among that fam or she can be Iola Rosalie or just Rosalie (I really love that name!)  I don't think she'll feel like she doesn't have her own name, her name is special because she shares it with grandma.

If you absolutely love Iona most, just do it.  As an adult the prospect of being Iona Greenhouse or Iona Bank is much less daunting than as a child.  

As for your other names I vote Coralie (maybe Coralie Iola? or Coralie Charlotte?) or Lydia Rosalie or June Rosalie.  

  Please make this complete stranger happy and use Rosalie!

Good luck and congratulations!  Babies are wonderful.

June 12, 2016 2:51 PM

Iola is possibly related to the Greek word for "violet", so if it's pronounced how I think it is (/eye-OH-lah/), then Viola seems like a good way to both disambiguate and update it.

Another idea which more clearly incorporates both Iola and Anne is Yolanda or Iolanthe.

But on the topic of disambiguation: I have the same name as my mother and grandmother, and it was never a problem growing up. The family used "big" and "little" as needed, but that was (and is) totally standard for our culture. (We all still call mom's 70-year-old cousin "Little Johnny", even though he's over 6 feet tall and his father died thirty years ago.) Later when I was living at home after college, it sometimes got a bit annoying, but that would be highly unlikely to be a problem between grandmother and granddaughter.

On the topic of Charlotte's popularity: don't eliminate a name based on numbers. Baby naming in the U.S. has gotten so diversified that the statistics utterly fail as a predictor of a name's usage in your specific environment. Local and random factors far outweigh the national averages. Some anecdotal evidence:

-- The repeated names at the local elementary school last year included Sophia (ranked 9th in 2006), Jacob (1st), and Dante (291st).

-- At the preschool, out of fewer than 50 pre-kindergarteners, the sole repeat was Juliana (147th in 2011)/Julianna (176th in 2010).

-- I know exactly one Charlotte (over 500 babies/million throughout the past 15 years), but two Eleanors (reached 500/million about five years ago) and three Loreleis (all spellings still below 250/million).

June 14, 2016 12:57 PM

Wow.  Thanks for the thoughtful comments.  One note, it's "Iola" with an "I".  That's something someone else pointed out to me--that Iola will look like Lola in some fonts and people might go with that.  

Rosalie is a certainty on the middle name.  I've only seen positive responses on that.  We like that there's also a tradition enough with family going by middle names so if she decides she hates Iola or Iona, there's great options with Rosalie, Rose, Rosie, Rosa, etc.

By Dr.M
June 27, 2016 1:56 PM

For what it is worth I think Iola is a beautiful name, as are your other ideas. we had a Viola in the family but husband nixed that for our soon to be daughter. i love three syllable names and he loves short names. I wonder how he would feel about Iola.

June 29, 2016 1:54 AM

I agree with the other posters that Charlotte isn't so popular that it should turn you off to the name if it's the one you want.  This isn't like when I was in gradeschool and the girls were all Jenny - popular names are, well, less popular than they used to be and she won't have too much overlap.  Also, there are a number of lovely nicknames that can be derived if you want something more unique: Char, Charley, Harley, Lottie etc.  On the variant front, I love and adore Charmaine (which evokes Ann as well, you said that was a family name too?)  The one Charmaine I know well sometimes went by Charms which is super-fun especially for a little girl.

Iola is perfectly fine as well, if that's where your heart is taking you.  And my grandmother was Viola so of course I'm a fan!





July 1, 2016 10:11 AM

What if you keep Iola and use Coralie as the middle name? The -lie ending still honors Rosalie, but you throw in some of your personal style to make her name more unique. I personally would say that Iona is too risky, in case she marries into a noun last name. Good luck!!

July 5, 2016 6:38 PM

Ahh!! I love the name Iola!! You are the first I've seen to consider it though. I think Iola Rosalie is a gorgeous name. I've definitely considered using Iola, and I like the fact that it isn't common. 

July 5, 2016 8:47 PM

I would be so excited to meet an Iola, especially with the middle name Rosalie.