Please Help Us Name Our New One!

Hi Everyone,

My husband and I have agreed on top contenders for names for our future son/daughter who is due in January. We are not finding out the sex, so want to have a boy and girl name at the ready. We are not sharing our potential names with friends and family, so really need your input in helping us!

* = family name, so we are slightly more inclined to use it

Boy names (middle name will be Hawthorne, a family surname):

We'd love other suggestions for boy names!

Girl names (middle name will be DeBaisieux, a family surname):

Eleanor* (nn Nellie)
Rosanna* (likely nickname Anna)*
Gwyneth or Winifred (nn Winnie)
Moira, which is a family name that we both love. Our concern is that my name is Laura so they'd sound awfully similar.

If it helps, our last name is 2 syllables and starts with N.

Thank you in advance - we are really looking forward to your feedback!


September 10, 2013 4:19 PM

I really like Joel Hawthorne! Family meanings always sway me a bit so I'd say that is my favorite of your boys names. Calvin is a close second, as I love the nn Cal. I do know a little boy named Rory which has made me see it in a better light since I had only known girl Rory's in the past.

I'm not sure how to pronounce your girls' middle name so for now I'm just guessing on it. I really love Moira; I've always thought it was just a classy name that you don't hear very often. When I hear it I think of a classy business woman or doctor or something, but I can definitely picture it on a sweet little girl, too. I think it's ok that the names are close in sound; it might even create a special bond between the two of you. Winnie would be my second place choice (really like Winifred!), followed by Rosanna (nn Anna), Eleanor and Fiona. I do quite like alliteration so I think "Nellie N___" would be really cute. The Fiona's I've known always end up going by "Fi" which isn't bad, just something to be aware of.

Congratulations and I hope you have a safe and healthy pregnancy!

By mk
September 10, 2013 6:29 PM

I like Joel and Moira best. I don't think the similar sound to Laura is a problem. If not Moira, than I like Fiona and Rosanna.

September 10, 2013 9:09 PM


I think you guys are off to a great start! I actually REALLY like Joel Hawthorne N. That surprises me because I don't normally particularly like the name Joel, but I like the combination. I also like that - as far as I know - there's only one way to spell it and most people are familar with it so they should pronounce it correctly. I'm not as much of a fan of Calvin or Rory, but I THINK I'd place Calvin in the number 2 spot. I quite like the sound of Rory, but I prefer it as a nickname instead of a full given name.

I, also, don't know how to pronounce your girl's middle name (I was never any good at French!), so I'm guessing. I think having clarification on how to say it may change my opinion.

I have to say that Moira is my favorite. I think that it's beautiful and elegant, but also spunky and fun. I love that it's Irish  and it should be familiar enough that you shouldn't have to worry about spelling/pronounciation issues. I understand where you're coming from with the Laura/Moira sounding similar issues. (My name is Megan and my family joked for SO LONG that I needed to name my daughter Reagan.) I don't think it's a HUGE issue, but I'm not the one who has to live with it. =) If it really bothers you, my second favorite is Eleanor. I love that you can actually get multiple nicknames out of it (Ellie and Nora are other options), if she wants some options when she's older. My third favorite is Winifred and the ONLY reason I put Eleanor higher is because of the nickname versitility. I have a soft spot for Winifred because of the Wonder Years and Angel (giant geek alert). My husband actually vetoed Winifred from our list because I had Fred and Fritzi listed as possible nicknames for her. I also suspect that he felt it was an "old lady" name because he thinks that most of the names I like fall into that category. I do like Fiona, I'm just more partial to the other names on your list. Same with Rosanna. But I don't think you have any BAD names on the list.

September 10, 2013 11:11 PM

My name is exactly the same as my mother's, and her mother's. (Before I got married, my _entire_ name was completely identical to my mother's -- neither of us had a middle name.) It's occasionally confusing, but really not that big a deal -- once you have a child, your name changes to "Mom" anyway! So I don't think the similarity between Moira and Laura needs to rule out that name.

That said, of your girl's list, my favorites are Rosanna and Eleanor. I also like Winifred, but Gwyneth is all Ms. Paltrow for me, and I've never really much cared for the sound of Fiona. (It's not a bad name, just not one of my favorites.)

I have no clue how to pronounce the proposed girl's middle name. I'm fairly certain it bears little resemblance to the spelling, but I'm not sure which of the many letters are actually superfluous.

Of your boy's names, I think Joel would be somewhat unexpected on a baby -- it's a bit of a dad name -- but as someone else commented, it'd be easy to spell and pronounce. Calvin is "and Hobbes!" for me, but the comic strip is no longer current, so I think it's useable. I also applaud the thought of reclaiming Rory for a boy -- it's an Anglicized Irish masculine name. (The Gaelic spelling is something like Ruaidhri, which I *don't* recommend.)

Other suggestions, off the top of my head: Joseph, Corvin or Corbin, Gaspar/Jasper, Gregory.

September 11, 2013 8:59 AM

Chiming in again about the Laura/Moira dilemma. I was thinking about this post earlier and realized that I have known a mom Carol/daughter Carrie set my whole life and never put two and two together that they are extremely similar. I don't think it will be that much of an issue!

September 11, 2013 10:38 AM

I like Joel Hawthorne. I have a suggestion for your dilemma. Use Moira as a middle name for a girl. I like it paired with Fiona. Fiona Moira is a great option. The other possibility is to name a girl Moira with a nickname. Moira Jane (MJ or Mori). I had a name growing up that no one knew how to say or spell and would respond to any name close to the sound of mine. I hope this helps

September 11, 2013 10:48 AM

I really like Joel Hawthorne.  Rory Hawthorne would be my 2nd choice.  Calvin is fine, I just don't like as much as the others.

My French is very rusty, but I think DeBaisieux would be something along the lines of de-bah-show.  I'm generally a fan of family surnames as middles, but I have to admit this one would give me some pause.  It is a doozy of a middle name.  FWIW, I really like the idea of Hawthorne for a girl.  It strikes me as similar in feel to other feminine nature names like Hazel or Briar.  However, I'm sure you have reasons for using the middle names you've chosen, so don't let my hesitation stop you!

I love Moira & I don't think it is too close to Laura to use.  The middle syllable is similar, but not quite the same and I think that is what makes it work for me.  I also quite like the combination of the Irish first name followed by the very French middle, unexpected in a nice way.  For the same reason, I really like Fiona for you.  It's probably my 2nd choice.

Between Gwyneth & Winifred, I like Winifred better.  Gwyneth does make me think of Ms Paltrow, who I don't really care for. I also think Winifred is more likely to consitently get the nickname Winnie.  I'd be concerned that a lot of people would default to Gwyn with Gwyneth.

Between Eleanor & Rosanna, I think I prefer Rosanna.  Eleanor and all the other names with the "elle" sound just seem a bit oversaturated right now.

By EVie
September 11, 2013 3:56 PM

Not quite on the French name. DeBaisieux in French would come out something close to deu-beh-SYEU; the pronunciation you're getting would probably be spelled something like DeBachaux, DeBachaud, etc. (not sure of those are real names, just rendering the spelling with French phonetics). Of course, the OP could be using an Anglicized pronunciation, so I have no idea how she's saying it. 

Calvin is my favorite of your boy picks, but Joel Hawthorne does sound great, and it's nice that it's a family name. I'm not so crazy about Rory—it comes across as very nicknamey and young to me, even though I know it's a full Irish name with history.

On the girls' side, Eleanor is definitely my favorite, and I love Nellie. Rosanna would probably be my second choice, though I prefer Rosie to any of the Ann- nicknames. Winnie is cute, and with a little more exposure I think I could grow to really like it, but I'm not quite there. I'm tied on Gwyneth vs. Winifred—I think Gwyneth is prettier, but Winifred is more striking and unusual. I think I would lean toward Winifred. Fiona would probably be my next choice—it's nice, just a little less distinctive. If you really love Moira, I think the similarity to Laura doesn't have to be a dealbreaker, but personally, it's my least favorite of your choices—I just don't care for the "Moi" syllable, visually or aurally. I prefer the spelling Maura, although that one probably is too close to Laura, or the more authentically Irish Maire.

September 11, 2013 1:19 PM

I like Rory and Eleanor the best.

September 11, 2013 4:32 PM

Congratulations!  For your boy list, my favorite is Rory Hawthorne - I know many people will say it's becoming more of a female name but I still love it for a boy.  I also think Joel Hawthorne is a great choice, especially if it is significant for you!  From your girl list, Moira is my favorite (and it does not sound too similar to Laura for me) but if you wanted to use a meaningful family name for a girl I would vote for Eleanor.  I agree that the middle name you've chosen is a mouthful but you should definitely use it for it's meaning as your family's surname.  Is it pronounced de-bAz-yuh (as in it rhymes with the French "yeux" meaning "eyes")?  If so, I think either Moira or Eleanor sounds good but I still prefer Moira.  I do think that Hawthorne as a middle name for a girl would be really cute as well!  Good luck, great choices!

September 12, 2013 10:09 AM

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your great feedback.  It looks like Joel Hawthorne is the front runner for a boy, unless he is born and just looks so much like a Calvin that we can't help ourselves!

For a girl, your comments inspired us to keep thinking and we're now really loving Eleanor Rose. It incorporates two names that we love and Nellie Rose is just the cutest nickname I can possibly think of.

Thank you again!


September 12, 2013 5:05 PM

I may be the only one, but I like Gwyneth.  Yes, I associate it with Paltrow but I think associations will fade once you get to know the new little one. Also, the baby's generation won't know who she is.  If you want the nn Winnie, I think Gwyneth will probably default to Gwyn or Gwynnie. So,   If you really want Winnie, I would go with Winifred.