Name for a Little Gentleman

Hello naming enthusiasts!

My husband and I are expecting a boy and I'm so excited to pick a name! I've been reading the forums for years and finally have a reason to post. We have plenty of time (and I've had a name list for years) but I'd love some advice. We both have similar tastes in names, preferring more the more old-time, gentlemanly side of masculine. We'd prefer unpopular yet familar names. Our last name is Kline, which can be difficult to pair names with because it's so short and clipped sounding. The middle name will most likely be James, a family name on both sides.

I find boys names to be more difficult than girls names, so I'd love some suggestions, advice, and/or impressions regarding our list. 

Our current short list:

Arthur- my longtime favorite, but my husband's brother, who he is not close to, named his dog this and it put him off the name a bit. Is this an issue? I still love the name.

Sebastian- possibly my husband's favorite. I like it, though I don't love it's popularity.

Albert- a longtime favorite

Alistair- another longtime favorite

Henry- lovely name, even more popular than Sebastian.

Frederick

Lawrence- I love this, but hesitate to use it due to similar names in the family.

Thanks :-)

 

Replies

1
July 12, 2018 5:15 AM

Congratulations!  I think you have a pretty good shortlist there.  I also find boys names much more difficult, despite also having a decent shortlist for boys.

Arthur is a name that has grown on me a lot.  It used to be firmly in the 'old man' category but is definitely much more wearable on a baby/toddler these days and I would like to meet a little Arthur. The nicknames Art/Artie are pretty cute too.  I used to feel similarly about Frederick and have met a few little Fredericks so no longer find it strange on a kid.  The Fredericks all go by Freddie as a nickname.  I don't think the dog association is much of a problem unless it particularly bothers you and your husband.  

Albert is also a name that I can definitely see making a comeback and works well.

Alistair is my personal favourite from your list, I've always loved it. Although my preference is for Alisdair (the Scottish variant) which has the traditional nickname of lad/laddie.  Either way I love it.

While I really like both Sebastian and Henry, both are far and away more popular than any of the other names on your list. Both are solid choices but if you are bothered by popularity maybe use one of the others? If you weren't set on James for a middle I'd suggest either Henry or Sebastian as a middle.

Lawrence I also like although it seems further down your list. Would Louis interest you?

I'm not sure if you are interested in other suggestions but I though of Edmund, Rupert, Louis, George, Gabriel, Clarence, Clement, Gilbert, Charles, Walter

 

2
By rfb
July 12, 2018 6:13 AM

I believe lad/laddie is just a generic name for a boy or young man, similar to 'chap' or 'guy' (see i.e. https://www.etymonline.com/word/lad)

3
July 12, 2018 5:39 PM

Indeed it is a generic name for a boy and young man but it's also a traditional nickname for Alisdair.  No reason you can't use it with any name, I was just pointing out that I enjoy that connection!

4
July 12, 2018 9:29 PM

Thank you for your suggestions! I'm pretty solidly into the "old man" style. I love Louis, but we have a close friend with the name. I also really like George, Rupert, Edmund, and Walter--all were on my long list! I wasn't able to convince the husband though :-)

5
July 12, 2018 6:05 AM

If you're looking for a reason to knock Henry off your list, look no further than author Henry James. If that thought makes you really sad, then either choose another middle name or brush up on his work and be prepared for the occasional  comment.. 

6
July 12, 2018 9:43 PM

I should have mentioned that if we went with Henry, the middle name most likely wouldn't be James. I'm familiar with his work, but I'm not a particular fan despite it being a handsome name combination. Thanks :-)

7
July 12, 2018 9:46 AM

I like Sebastian, Alistair and Henry.  Albert is ok.  Not keen on the others

8
July 12, 2018 12:54 PM

We have similar tastes so I LOVE your list!

Frederick is my favorite right now, and if we used it we would use Fritz and Freddy as nicknames. I do see a problem with Frederick Kline, the K ending and K begining right in a row can be difficult to say, but I don't think it's a deal breaker. 

I also love Albert, Alistair, and Lawrence. 

I don't think it would be a big deal to use Arthur for your child. I feel like as people choose more "human" names for their dogs this is bound to happen more and more often. Especially if you don't see that brother often, then it's definitely fine to use. 

9
July 12, 2018 9:50 PM

Thank you! I really like Frederick, it's such a strong name. And I love the nickname Freddy. Thanks! :-)

10
July 12, 2018 6:17 PM

I like the name Arthur, it is my middle name. I wouldn't necessarily let the fact that your husband's brother has a dog named Arthur scare you away from the name. I have a dog named Cody, and I would have no issue naming my son Cody, other than that name is already taken by my firstborn (the dog). I also like the names Sebastian and Henry. I would also not worry as much about a name being somewhat popular on today's list because there is more variability in naming today than there was 30 years ago. You have to look at what percentage of births are named a name at the SSA. I was considering Oliver for my son, even though it is near the top of the list, but my wife didn't like the name as much as I did. Also, you are correct, I think boy names are harder!

11
July 12, 2018 9:56 PM

The difference in name variety is an important point to remember--my husband has been all over the data and comparing popularity via percentage. He's better with data than opinions. I'm trying to remember the rank is not that important, though we do seem to be in a bit of a Henry pocket so it seems much more popular than Sebastian. Glad to know that someone with Arthur in their name appreciates it. Thanks!

12
By EVie
July 12, 2018 10:02 PM

Your list is very, very close to my own :) I also adore that gentlemanly, professorial style. So I'll offer up my current frontrunner, Theodore. Our alternate choices are Arthur and Oliver—Oliver may be too popular for you if Sebastian is, though. I'm leaning toward Sebastian in the middle slot, if I can convince husband that Theodore Sebastian isn't too much name... he vetoed it for the first name because he thought it was too long for daily use and didn't care for the nicknames, but didn't actually dislike it (my nickname choices would be Bastian or Baz). He also vetoed Alistair and Julian from my original list.

I think dog-Arthur can be totally disregarded, but I sympathize with the difficulty of convincing husbands on this point. My in-laws had a dog named Teddy, and though the dog is now deceased, I still haven't been able to talk him around to Teddy as a nickname for Theodore. Luckily, Theo is acceptable to both of us.

13
July 15, 2018 9:51 PM

I really like Theodore Sebastian. I hope you can convince your husband to use it! A handsome name combination with great nickname options :-)

14
July 13, 2018 3:34 AM

Henry was on our list a decade ago, and we eliminated it also due to concerns about rising popularity. Now that we are parenting children, it turns out we know a lot of little Henrys. Popularity doesn't mean what it once did, etc. etc., but my demographic pocket seems to consist of an awful lot of people who really love the name Henry. My kids have many, many friends named Henry.

Sebastian is a name which my spouse loved but which I couldn't quite wrap my mouth around the English pronunciation of, so off the list it went. Last year our son also had two Sebastians in his class, ..in retrospect we are happy that he wasn't the third Sebastian, and the second Sebastian G., in his class. Although they're fairly tied in terms of national statistics, Sebastian is a good bit less oversaturated among people I know.

I do think that names are more pockety than national statistics describe - I also know multiple young Edmunds, another name not taken, even though that one is a good bit rarer in use than any of the names on your list. 

So: in re popularity concerns, I think one option is to reconciling yourself to the fact that you might find an occasional Frederick or Lawrence or Arthur, and more than the occasional Henry or Sebastian, in your child's life because you have the good fortune of being surrounded by other people who share the same interest in quaintly old-fashioned gentlemanly names. Another option is to go for super obscure variants or truly unusual names and be prepared to spell it out a lot (did that with one kid). Yet another option is to dust off a porch-sittery name that isn't broadly ready for revival yet (which we did with another kid). My experience with the truly clunky fusty name is that people are taken aback at first but then the name quickly grows on them once it's attached to an actual baby, so it's certainly a way to achieve the "familiar but unusual" balance. Names that feel ready for revival usually HAVE been revived already. 

I think the first option is probably best for you... resign yourselves to accepting that traditional, courtly gentleman names are one of the styles being revived right now and the things that sound fresh to you probably will to others, so you're unlikely to end up in unpopular territory without deliberately wading into the bizarre or outmoded. I think that picking the name you love best and that feels most like your child is ultimately more important than picking a name based on popularity trajectories. (However I feel like a giant hypocrite offering this advice because it is definitely not the choice I ended up taking. I just ended up feeling more at home in the exotic traditional category when it came to naming actual children.)

I would have wanted put Albert into the clunky unfashionable porch sitter category - don't get me wrong, I love it and would be delighted to meet one, but it just doesn't feel as currently fashionable as the other names on your list. However, it turns out I'm wrong. There are more Alberts than Fredericks and Alistairs born in the US last year, to my surprise. 

Arthur, Alistair and Frederick might be my favorites on your list, in that they spent substantial time on my own lists with a naming partner whose names gravitate more towards the sleek courtly classics. (We also ended up with one son named from the Gentlemanly category that I've been surprised to find used less than I'd have expected, so I will suggest Rupert to you.)

In re Frederick I do have reservations about the -rick ending running into your surname, though. It's not an absolute dealbreaker but when you have a longer list of other choices that don't run together with the surname, I would upvote those. 

Ultimately, I think you can't go wrong: lots of great choices!

15
By EVie
July 13, 2018 11:08 AM

I've had the same experience with Henry in my social circles. My guess is that Sebastian's national popularity is driven much more by usage in the Hispanic community (which I conclude based on it being #1 in Puerto Rico, #2 in California, #3 in Arizona, #3 in Texas, etc.), whereas Henry is more popular among overeducated white people (#2 in New Hampshire, #3 in Minnesota, #1 in Wisconsin)... explore the state-level data here if you are interested: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/state/

16
July 13, 2018 12:45 PM

I suspected as much. If I were in a primarily Spanish-speaking environment, Sebastian would not have been stricken from my own list!

17
July 15, 2018 10:28 PM

Thank you for the advice. I'm trying to focus on the name and not become overly concerned with issues of popularity. I'd prefer to pick a name that is unique, but we do need to focus on picking a name we love and accept the possibility of meeting another with that name. I have an unusual name and have met maybe three others with my spelling--rather than be annoying, it becomes a conversation starter. Hopefully the name we pick isn't so popular that when we encounter another it is suprising. 

I really like the traditional gentleman names with a dash of porch sitter, but I've had a hard time convincing the husband to accept many of those for our boys list. Oddly enough, he was a big fan of the more porch sitter-ish names for girls (Winnifred and Rosamund made our short list). 

By the way, I really love your name selections. You have excellent style :-)

18
July 13, 2018 1:57 PM

Based off of your list and the last and middle name you have picked out, I think Franklin, Arthur, and Albert are your best options. The pronunciation of each name with the middle and last name you listed sounds strong and fuild, which I like.

I will list some name suggestions below just in case

Archibald (Archie)

Gregory (Greg)

William (Will/Willie/Liam)

Leeroy (Lee)

Casper

 

19
July 13, 2018 3:01 PM

I, too, am a fan of the "old man" or "underused classic" style.

From your list, I especially love Frederick / Freddie.

A few others that name to mind that I love:

Ralph

Martin

Wallace

Leonard (Leon)

Franklin

 

20
July 16, 2018 4:44 AM

Another vote for Alistair!

In terms of old man names - can I also interest you in Clarence, Ambrose, Jasper, Emmett, or Richard?