It's a boy!

We just found out we are having a boy! We have the most common last name in the U.S, so I want to use something that is going to be a bit different, but I still like classic names, I want the name to have a bit of weight to it.

Our other son's name is Asher before there were a lot of them. Our families thought it was so weird, and now it is sort of trendy. Which I don't mind because there aren't many in his age group.

Anyway, our finalists are:

Gideon-We worry it is a little too "out there". What are your impressions?

Thomas-family name, not super common in the age group, but worry it is just a little too plain with last name

Caleb-I love this name, but we know a few. My husband works with kids and knows several Calebs

Henry-another family name, but I just can't shake the image of an old man

Quentin-We just like this name. It is not uncommon, but a little unusual. Worry people will hear Clinton

I was just looking for feedback. Thank You


September 30, 2013 12:33 PM


Asher and Gideon or Asher and Caleb both have a strong Old Testament theme, so you would have to decide if that is positive or negative for you.

I like Quentin best for you. It's unusual enough to balance your common last name, but most people would have heard of it as a name.

Good luck!

September 30, 2013 12:44 PM


From your list, I like Gideon best. If it's any comfort to you, Gideon is on the trajectory of an up-and-coming name, as you can see here on this graph

In 1990, there were 78 boys named Gideon, and in 1999, the number had gone up to 130. In 2000, there were 176 boys, and the numbers go up from there. There were 255 in 2001, and by 2005, it was ranked #683 with 304 boys.

Finally, in 2012, there were 754 boys - which is still a rather low number, but put it at rank #390, which clearly shows that the numbers are going up.

All that to say that Gideon is no longer "out there", and it will become less and less so over time. If that's your biggest worry about it, rest assured that it is a great name that is actually following a similar shaped path to Asher.

September 30, 2013 1:10 PM

I don't mind the Old Testamnet connections, in a way I like it. I have vetoed any names that are other tribes of Israel though so no Benjamin or Levi!

September 30, 2013 2:14 PM

As someone with a very common surname, I would advise that either the first or middle name be (very) rare.  In the days of no-fly lists, confusion in the credit reporting industry, and all around googling, it's important to have a name that isn't borne by numerous other people, who may have criminal records, poor credit records, etc.  For example, I wouldn't use Thomas Henry, since there are bound to be many Tom Joneses or Tom Smiths out there, some of whom will no doubt have dubious backgrounds, and Henry won't contribute much as a distinguishing factor.  I would google Gideon, Caleb, and Quentin along with your surname, and see how many turn up with the exact (or very similar) name you are considering.  An ideal way to go with a very common surname:  common first name like Thomas which would allow for anonymity when used alone with surname and very uncommon middle name.  That way, using the full name (e.g., Thomas Tarquin Jones) on the passport, driver's license, financial and legal documents, etc.) would forestall any damaging confusion.  I named my son 34 years ago, before googling and no-fly lists, and he has two very standard and common given names, and there is constant confusion with others of the same name  (so far, thankfully, nothing that has involved credit or criminal records).

September 30, 2013 2:35 PM

Thanks for your input. I am planning on using my maiden name as a middle. I love how family names tie the generations together. However, if I do go with Gideon I would go with Thomas as a middle, just because the initials would be unfortunate. I don't think Gideon is common enough that it should matter too much, and a more common name might balance it out.

I really think our two favorites that we can agree on are Gideon and Quentin. Deciding between those two is proving nearly impossible.

September 30, 2013 2:37 PM

I just wanted to add that Thomas is still a family name that means a lot to me so first name is my first priority

October 8, 2013 2:11 PM

I have always loved the sound of the name Gideon. It has a wonderful, strong, dynamic rythmn. Historically, it seems to me that the name is a brave, heroic warrior name. In the scriptures, Gideon stands for that which is true and right, even if he must stand alone, and no matter what the consequences.

All the Hebrew names also have these multidementional meanings that I don't think you can get with any other language. Each name has a superficial meaning, and Gideon's superficial meaning is 'hewer' or 'feller' (in other words, lumberjack?). But each character also has a numerical value and a pictographic origin. The pictographic history of each character also (and most meaningfully in my opinion) gives it a metaphorical 'rabbinical' meaning. The only one I can remember is that the character for 'n' stands for a nail and represents a covenant. [If you consider the pictographs in the name Channa (Hannah, in English) it could be read as a covenant between God and Mankind and thus the Atonement. This works beautifully with the superficial meaning, 'grace'.]

I don't currently have access to my brother's book (He is fluent in mondern Hebrew and interested in the ancient version) that explains the rabbinical meanings. I'd purchased it as a gift for him at an LDS bookstore and it was paperback, bright yellow and dark blue on the cover. I believe the Author's surname was Cohen, posibly Levy, but am not sure. I KNEW I should have bought two copies.

October 9, 2013 8:45 AM

My husband also has a common surname. We also went with the common but not top 100 first name (Alice) and my very unusual surname for her middle.

It helped to use the website to see just HOW common the first and last combo would be.

Initially, I wanted to use a first middle combination like Alice Genevieve, Alice Ruby, or Alice Dorothea. However, after Googling each combination in quotes (example: "Alice Dorothea Commonlastname"), we discovered that there were already dozens of people with those names, some even with domain names registered to that exact first middle last.

Since our name is only among the top 10 last names and your name is actually the top last name, I would highly reccomend Googling the complete name combination you are thinking of. I'm willing to bet that you will be surprised by how many "Gideon Thomas Yourlastname"s are already out there. Gideon is rare, but not that rare, and Thomas is a very common middle name for boys.

Good luck. I've had some trouble with people mistaking her middle name for a double-barrel last name, but that doesn't bother me as much as the thought of possible identity issues she might have in the future. My husband and in-laws all have common combinations and the ID issues seem endless and are often a hassle in both time and money to solve.




September 30, 2013 10:31 PM

See, I *like* that if people only know my first & last names, they don't know *which* Laura [surname] I am upon Googling.  (My middle name is sufficiently uncommon that Laura [Middle] [Surname] is unique to me, and I rather wish it wasn't.)  It is much easier to have plausible deniability if people can't readily tell which of 15 people you are except that you're the one with, say, that resume URL you yourself provided them.

September 30, 2013 10:42 PM

Yes, that was my point.  If the name is John Aloysius Jones, then John Jones is completely anonymous when he wants to be.  But if he uses the name John Aloysius Jones on financial and legal documents, then he will not be troubled by someone else's bad credit, outstanding warrants, and so forth.  Best of both worlds IMO.   With our common surname we have had constant annoyance, like police knocking on the door at night looking for someone with the same name and getting someone else's check (similar but not identical name) deposited in our account and on another occasion our check depoisted in someone else's account.  Fortunately so far we haven't gotten confused with any suspected terrorists.

October 2, 2013 2:16 PM

Fair. I was suggesting that a common *first* name might be a good choice -- because leaving the middle name out when you want to makes the Google life easier.

October 2, 2013 9:45 AM

I second this! My poor father has had the WORST luck because all three of his names are incredibly common. His name is Michael Scott [surname] and the number of people in the US alone with the EXACT same name as him is astounding. He's had his credit ruined MULTIPLE times because someone with the same name's spending or bankrupcy gets put on his report; it's a CONSTANT battle. Being the name enthusiast that I am, I could never understand why his parents didn't give him one more unusual name, especially since neither of his names are family names (and after getting into our family ancestry, he has a number of really interesting names on his side and I can't understand why they didn't use any of them!)  

October 8, 2013 1:55 PM

Yep. My surname is Scott too and my parents were none too creative with any of our names. There are at least 12 other women in my small city of about 600,000 with my same first and last names. That's not counting those who choose not to be listed by the phone company. My dad who has a somwhat less common first name was nearly arrested for some incredible number of unpaid parking tickets stacked up by a man whose three names were all identical to Dad's, whose wife had the same first, middle and married surnames (doubt a match on the maiden names). The police came to our door and Mom solved the problem by proving not only that Dad was at sea at that time, but had been for the past nine months, thus proving he was not the culprit. (Don't ask me about the liscense plat numbers. I was six when it happened.) They both worked at the same Naval base; Dad was one rank above the other guy (soon two) and there was also a great deal of confusion at the bank and other places as well.

Besides all that, it annoys me that there are other people out there with my name. I hated it in the fourth grade when I was one of three Pamelas in my class. One was called Pam, another Pamela, and I got stuck with Pammy. Ick.

October 9, 2013 4:31 PM

A former coworker got annoyed with Pammy, so I called her El(l)a.  You didn't have to be Pammy!

September 30, 2013 5:26 PM

I have always liked Gideon.  That would be my vote!  Quentin is nice too, but my taste would be the Old Testament names. My boys are Jonathan, Daniel and Noah (so i am definitely biased that way) and if our last name didn't end in "-er" Asher would be near the top of my list :)

September 30, 2013 10:55 PM


Oh, and my first choice is Quentin. 


October 1, 2013 8:25 AM

Gideon is one of my very favorite names, so that easily gets my vote! It's a great match for Asher too imo. Good luck!

October 2, 2013 9:39 AM

My favorite is Gideon. I tried to sell this to my husband, but he wasn't going for it. =) I also liked that he could go by Ian as a nickname. <3 My second favorite is Quentin. 

By Guin
October 8, 2013 1:29 PM

I love Gideon, I don't think that it is to out there. Plus it goes with Asher, in my opinion.   You could always go with Gideon Thomas and then if he doesn't like it or has trouble with it, he can go by his middle name if he likes.   Then you have the best of both worlds, a name you like and a family name, with the option to use either.  Personally, I don't think you'll have any trouble with Gideon, it is an awesome name! 

October 8, 2013 6:17 PM

Gideon is fine and goes well with Asher, but I love Quentin! It's quirky and cool. I think it's common enough (esp. with Tarentino) that no one will here Clinton. But Gideon doesn't sound out there at all to me and I have two young children.

October 8, 2013 8:15 PM

Of all of your choices, Gideon is by far my favorite!

October 9, 2013 10:52 AM

I think Gideon Thomas would be a great combination. G.T. would be a great nickname.

By Coll
October 9, 2013 4:09 PM

Quentin's my favorite for you. I know a little Quentin and it is just so fresh and adorable on him. They call him Q quite a lot, which us zippy and fun.

With the common lastname, I think Quentin is dinstict enough to help. I'd echo the suggestion to google search the full name to see how many pop up. Even my relatively rare first and last names yeild five or six other women in the US with my full name, though none in NYC.

January 13, 2014 6:39 PM

I love Gideon, and considering you chose Asher before it was popular (and actually, I've never even heard of anyone wth the name, so I was surprised when you said it's getting more common.) I don't think it's too out there. I love Caleb too, but it's common enough that it could be an issue with your last name.

I have the opposite problem from most of you posting here -all three of my names are extremely unusual. I would be shocked if there's another person in the world with my exact full name (especially considering that all of them come from completely different languages! They're close enough to more common names, though, that they don't sound too weird combined.)