Starting to look at ideas/possibilities

Hi guys!

First off, let me say that I am not pregnant. However, my boyfriend and I have been discussing the possibility of getting married in the next year or two, which has me (a name enthusiast) starting to consider names for a baby. That will be still a few years off :) However, his last name is a bit more out there than my last name and it also is a spelling challenge. It starts with the sound Ol as in old (but spelled with more letters and in a more coplex way) and ends with m3y3r. We are also thinking about having a large family (God willing), so that'll mean lots of names.

I have had lists of my favorite names since I was young. I have learned that my style of names is very all over. I like old-fashioned, words, Biblical, foriegn, literary, etc. But I haven't tried many of them with said last name. I just would love your thoughts. If any of the names are too out there or sound dread awful with the last name, please tell me. Also, if you have any suggestions or ideas, I'd love them!




August (for my dad and would be called"Gus". Probably my second favorite name)




Dominic "Nico"


Edward (which was my very favorite name ever. Then I met my BF...Edward "Eddie" :0 I still would love a little Edward (nn Teddy), but then he would be a Jr. and I'm not so sure about that)























Alethea "Thea"


Azaria "Zari" (my favorite girls name. However, he has a niece whose name is Zahra, so they share the "zar")


Eleanora (another niece's name)




Gwendolyn "Wendy"





Magdalene (but his sister is a Maggie)







Susanna (that's his mom's name)




I'm sorry this is so long. I just want ideas :) about names, Jr., how all the women in his family are named my favorite names, suggestions, etc. Thank you in advance!



October 4, 2015 5:52 PM

Just a note: a son is only a junior if he has the exact same name as his father. Thus if the father is Edward James and the son is Edward Charles, no junior.

October 4, 2015 5:54 PM

Thank you for letting me know. I really haven't met very many juniors and I didn't realize that!

October 5, 2015 12:16 AM

Wow, I didn't know that! That's pretty interesting. I wonder how many people refer to their children as "juniors" without realizing this.

I have a little anecdote related to this: Men on my mom's side of the family have been named John for generations. My grandfather, his father and grandfather, my uncle, and my cousin are all John (although the youngest boy in the family goes by JD, for John David). They have entirely stopped keeping track of who is Jr, Sr, III, IV, V... It would be pretty cool to trace it and see how many Johns there really are, and how many actually have the same name as the first one!

October 6, 2015 3:27 PM

My husband recently 'broke' this news to his cousin's 21 year old son (who previously thought he was a Junior) at a recent family gathering. He wasn't actually upset, but was definitely surprised that the differing middle names meant that he's not a Jr., as his parents referred to him. He laughingly said "I don't even know who I am anymore!!". My husband tried to pin the bad news on me, as I'm the only reason that he's aware of the various 'rules' of naming. :-)

October 5, 2015 3:06 AM

Children's names don't have to coordinate, so if you wanted to have an Aspen and a Boaz and a Leander you totally could! However, when I was making abstract name lists versus naming actual children on the way, I found that my name styles restricted themselves quite a bit more. I truly love names like Eleanor and Josephine and Henry, but they just aren't the sort of names that feel right for my kids, as it turns out. You may find a comparable shift, where your long eclectic lists become more honed when you're becoming increasingly less hypothetical. You could try outloud saying things like "this is my son/daughter, Firstname Surname" and see whether any of them feel more natural to you.

If I were you, I might find it pleasing to name a first son something OTHER than Edward, and then let the honor of being a Jr (or just sharing the first name, which, as Miriam pointed out, is a separate issue) go to another son that does not have all the honor/glory of being the eldest. (This is obviously only a good idea if you are not super-duper sold on using the name Edward, because if you are, then I think it should be used when the opportunity presents itself, lest another one not come along.)

Another Jr-type woolgathering thought: while naming doesn't have to be tit-for-tat at all,  I sometimes find it a little weird-feeling when a family has a Jr for the dad but none of the mom's names, first, middle or last, get passed on to any of the kids at all, especially given how frequently that scenario presents itself. I might see whether you might consider some nods to your own names that would be pleasing, if you're using your boyfriend's surname and first name on children.

Relatedly, have you considered names like Edmund and Edwin? (Or, my 6-year-old invented the name Edwick recently, hee.) They might allow you to have a little Teddy and honor without entirely repeating your husband's name.

Alden - I like Alden very much, but I would find it a bit difficult to say with your surname. However, one person's repetitive is another person's melodic, and this is a very subjective one. Full disclosure, one of my kids has a consonant cluster repeating, too (internal rt) and I think that one is pleasing. I like this name for you because it hits several of your styles simultaneously, and again, while I don't think kids have to coordinate at all, this can be a pleasing way to have your cake and eat it too, when one name has many different style categories that it ticks off.

August/Gus is really fabulous. Names that are beloved and also sentimentally meaningful get upvoted to the top of the list for me!

Boaz - not the most beautiful sound, to me, but I can certainly see why it appeals. I might want to see whether the term "bozo" is still being used as an insult by anyone other than my mother-in-law before using this one.

Chandler - I find it a little cumbersome with your surname.

David - a bit of a "dad-name" to me since I know so many in my age group, but certainly a very unobjectionable, classic choice.

Dominic "Nico" - I really like this one - I always find it nice when a nickname has such a different feel from the full name, to me. Nico is androgynous (my children know two, both girls, though one has a variant spelling) and very laid back and cool, Dominic much more traditional.  I would be aware of the earworm song, Dominique, by the Singing Nun, which is going to be in my head for-freaking-ever now.

Easton - a little more generic to me than many others in your list.

Ezra - One of those "gentle strength" names, and a nice sleek name with your more weighty surname. I'd file this with Gideon and Jude ... it's a genre I appreciate more as many boy names are becoming increasingly hypermasculine.

Felix - I really love this one! It's a little more hipstery than many of your other choices.

Forrest - I prefer some of your other naturey choices to this one.  The two-Rs always strikes me as a bit odd given the disjoin with the vocab-word forest.

George - love this choice, which is still very underused in places where Henry is quite the rage.

Henry - I love this name. I'd be aware that this choice is being much more frequently used in particular areas. We have to use surnames to distinguish between Henrys in our lives. This isn't really a problem - it's a name that is well loved for a very good reason -- but I would want to go into that situation knowingly, which can be hard to do if you're a first-time parent.

James - a really classic choice, still feels fresh to me.

Leander - evicted from my own list only for particular love of Lysander. One of my favorites on your list.

Lorenzo - this one is just super-fun to say. I would consider the -o O- combination with your surname, though.

Moses - I know a little one and it struck me as quite unusual at first, but it turns out to work surprisingly well.

Roland - such a fun, courtly classic, underused and I think primed for revival! I find the ol repetition with your surname to be on the pleasing side, here, proving that it's really completely subjective and irrational as to when I like the repetition and when I don't.

William - I'd be aware that there are a lot of birth-certificate Liams, too, that make this name feel more popular said-aloud on the playground... I'd be less concerned if you were not intending to use Liam as a nickname for William, as several I know.

I might as an exercise try grouping your names into sets (like a concept map), and maybe also sound similarities, and see what comes of that. Perhaps you'll find that there are some categories of names that you wouldn't want to use together, and then you can figure out which is your favorite, and shink your list down a bit if it's seeming too long.

October 6, 2015 4:22 PM

I love your suggestion of grouping names! What I posted was only a small group of my lists and even then I felt like they were too long. I will have to try that!

I like Edmund a lot, particularly with the literary references and such a historical name. Edwick is also nice :) I agree with you that it feels off not to use some of mom's name when there are jr.s and kids having dad's surname. I probably would use my own middle name (Ashleen) as a girl's middle name at some point. I also think there will be a lot of names from my family tree because I could see myself using my mother's maiden name and any of my grandparents names, as well.

Thank you for all the thoughts you gave on the names. I love seeing others opinions on hypothetical names especially since I feel like I won't be one of those people who will be sharing name/ideas when there is an actual baby coming.

One of my big things is I love classic names but I do not want my kids to be one of three Henrys in their class. My little brother was named one of the most popular names/name sounds and he always has an initial attached. But then again there's no guarantees of what will be popular a few years after a kid is born...

Thank you for your suggestions and help!


October 6, 2015 11:48 PM

It's sometimes hard to predict which names will be doubled up in a class. The list of backup names we had for our eldest is entirely comprised of names which are worn by his friends and classmates, even though none of them are that popular on a national level. This year, his class has one repeat name requiring use of an initial to distinguish. That name? Sebastian. (A name my spouse lobbied for. She turned to me on parent night after looking at the cubby and said, "I think you were right to veto it!") I think this is because we tend to live with other people who share traits with us, and they tend to be drawn to similar names, too.

October 7, 2015 10:38 AM

I would go further and say that in today's U.S. naming climate, it's impossible to predict which names will be repeated in a classroom.

Back in the heyday of Jennifer, it was mathematically virtually guaranteed that any largish group of children would have multiple bearers of that name. The probabilities were such that "largish" covered a class year at most schools.

I'm lazy to do the actual math, but with today's numbers, the size of group needed to virtually guarantee a repeat is larger than most schools, and certainly larger than a single class year.

This means that "style clumps" -- people with similar backgrounds and traits choosing the same neighborhoods and the same names -- far outweigh any broader trends on the national or even state level. We'd need statistics by postal code (or something) to make meaningful predictions.

October 6, 2015 2:10 PM

Ones I like of your list the most are:










I am guessing with Lydian you meant Lydia. If so, I love that, as well. I feel like Azaria is a mouthful and a bit too made up for my tastes. I would also suggest if you like Leora then maybe Leona would be appealing to you, as well. Aspen seems very feminine to me, and Boaz is way too out there for my tastes. Other ideas may be:

Adeline, Cora, Pauline, Esther, Maeve, Lillian, Ruby, Hattie, Laurel

Hudson, Gray, Emmett, Jonah, Zachariah, Isaac, Micah

October 6, 2015 4:07 PM

Thanks for your thoughts!

I did actually mean Lydian, both for the Musical scale and for Lydian Emerson (wife of R. W. Emerson)

I do agree that Azaria is a mouthful, but I'm kind of curious about what you mean by "made up"?

I love Leora because it is my mother's middle name but you're right, Leona is also very nice. It could be a way to use my mom's middle name without doing the same one.

From experience I have learned that a lot of people see Aspen as kind of feminine (I wrote a novel with a male Aspen as the protagonist. Several of my editors thought Aspen was a girl until about page 10 and my dad discreetly told me that he didn't know Aspen was a boy until I told him.) The thing with Aspen is that I really do like it. Is it bad that some people think it's kind of feminine?

Adeline, Esther, Laurel, Jonah and Isaac are also on my longer list (the ones presented above being a short list). I like Pauline but does it seem to old fashioned/grandma -y? I do like it and have thought about it before but I've always thought that maybe it was too old. I also like Hudson a lot.

Thank you for your suggestions and ideas!

By Eko
October 6, 2015 4:23 PM

If you're open to Espen instead of Aspen that might help with people guessing the wrong gender. But it doesn't have to be bad that people think Aspen is a bit feminine, I mean people use boy names for girls on purpose so why not the other way around too? And it's not as feminine as ...say Aspelina or Aspenetta would be.

October 7, 2015 11:50 AM

Thanks for your thoughts! I really like Aspen mainly because of the tree, so I do prefer that spelling over Espen but that is a good idea. And I agree about boys names to girls. It seems like a lot of boys names have been becoming used more on girls recently which kind of makes me sad.

By Eko
October 7, 2015 12:15 PM

If you like the tree you should keep the spelling Aspen! If you went with the name Espen instead the meaning would be God(norse)+Bear.

October 7, 2015 10:53 AM

No problem! I have never heard Lydian- very interesting. Azaria is another name I haven't heard ever before (only as a last name from Hank Azaria) and seems like something that would be a character's name in a futuristic fiction story... If that makes sense haha. I just have never encountered it.


I think Pauline is less grandma-y than Esther! I am generally fine with "grandma-y" though, so maybe I am the wrong person to ask :)

October 7, 2015 11:48 AM

The only way I ran into Azaria was BNW and I loved it. It is the name of two men in the old testament Bible, so that made it a plus for me.

Thanks again!