Talk to me about Sarah

So I know it's not going to win points on originality but it's been a long time favorite of mine and my husband likes it as well.  But maybe my taste skews a bit boring ;)  I am expecting our 8th baby at the end of the summer.  Gender is unknown.  Our older kids are P@ul, Cl@re, M@rk, K@th@rine, J@mes, Andr3w and G@briel (G@be).  I know Sarah was widely used in the 80s and 90s and that does cause some hesitation.  It's popularity graph is a bit like Andrew's actually but it seems easier for boys to wear names falling in popularity.  Sarah's also a bit close to Cl@re's name but the age gap between the two is significant.

Thanks for everyone's help


March 2, 2018 1:16 PM

Sarah is one of those names that I cannot imagine going out of style or feeling dated. My great-grandmother was Sarah, I have friends (born in the 1980s) named Sarah, and if I met a baby Sarah, I wouldn't think that she had a dated name, just that her parents liked tried-and-true classics -- which you clearly do. In my opinion, a Sarah would fit seemlessly into your brood.

Another thought. I think that the popularity graphs bear out my hunch that Sarah and Sadie have inverse profiles in recent years, with Sarah falling and Sadie spiking. If you were into nicknames, that could be a way to go, but with your kids, I'd do Sarah all the way.

March 2, 2018 4:46 PM

I agree that Sarah seems pretty timeless and it fits well with your other children's names..  I've several in my family, some going back 3+ generations and some as young as late elementary age.  

I also thought of Sadie as a nickname that seems fresher, if you wanted something a little less "boring."  Though I really don't think you'd need it.

By EVie
March 2, 2018 1:17 PM

I love Sarah. I should find it tired, as I grew up in a real Sarah pocket in the 80s (it was very popular nationally, and even more so amongst American Jews, which were a big population in New York where I grew up), but it just hits that sweet spot of being so pretty, simple and unfussy that it never gets stale. I wouldn't use it myself for all sorts of reasons (already owned in our family in combination with our surname, not wild about the flow with our surname anyway, my preferences generally tilting toward more ornate names for girls), but I give it an A++ for anyone else, and especially for you given your style preferences -- which I wouldn't call boring! Just classic :) 

March 2, 2018 1:34 PM

SO embarrased!  I realized I left J@mes out of my list.  Maybe a moderator can insert him before Andr3w in my list. 

By EVie
March 2, 2018 1:50 PM

Done! I *thought* you had a J@mes in there somewhere, and I was thinking, "oh, maybe it's one of the names she considered but didn't end up using?" ;) With seven going on eight kids, I don't blame you for losing track once in awhile!

March 2, 2018 1:57 PM

I also thought that there were more little ones born in recent years! Haha :)

Also, Sarah would continue your amazingly consistent use of the letter A in your kids' names!

March 2, 2018 1:57 PM

I love Sarah for you! One way to make it feel a bit fresher would be to make it part of a double name, like Sarah-Grace. Otherwise I love it as is!

March 2, 2018 2:15 PM

Sarah is a great fit and a classy choice.  If you went with something that did win points for originality, it would stand out like a sore thumb. :)  It's a pretty name and works well with your established style.

March 2, 2018 2:17 PM

I think Sarah is timeless and classic! I also find that it fits well with your other names. I actually know someone who just named their baby daughter Sarah in February, and I didn't hear any comments about it being dated at all. I think it's a great choice.

March 2, 2018 2:39 PM

Congratulations! You know I have long loved Theresa for you, but I know you don't like the alliteration with your surname. How about Sarah Therese? As the mother to a Sarah, I heartily recommend it. Despite the fact that the name was in the top 10 the year she was born, she has rarely met another. 

March 2, 2018 3:57 PM

Sarah Therese is the combo we've picked!

(And on the boys side I'm ignoring my husband's dislike for alliteration and the top choice is Thomas.)

March 2, 2018 4:58 PM

I used to be vehemently anti-alliteration and, wouldn't you know it, I ended up giving my daughter an alliterative name and now find the style rather charming. Granted, my daughter's name has 4 syllables compared to Thomas's 2, so there's a larger buffer, but still. Thomas is a great choice for you!

March 3, 2018 8:23 AM

It's a beautiful combination and you can't get much better than naming your daughter for the Little Flower! And I like Thomas as a top choice for a boy. Keep us posted!

March 2, 2018 3:59 PM

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback.  It's put me in such a great mood...and with my pregnancy hormones that's hard to do.

March 2, 2018 4:51 PM

I think Sarah is lovely and fits great with the sibset, as does Thomas

March 3, 2018 11:46 AM

Why do you think it's easier for a boy than a girl to have a name that's declining in popularity? (Other than that girl's names tend to go in and out of fashion quicker than boy's names - but Sarah is no flash-in-the-pan name, but rather a classic.) In any case, I think Sarah is a good fit with your other children's names.

March 3, 2018 2:15 PM

Oh maybe it’s not.  I think I’ve named my boys classic names without any regard to current fashions but with a girl I’m always second guessing how she’ll feel about her name. 

March 3, 2018 6:00 PM

A lot of 80s names feel extremely dated to me, but Sarah isn't one of them. I think its longstanding popularity helps a lot in that regard -- I also have a Sarah nn Sally in the great-grandparent generation, and it makes me think of Sara Crewe of A Little Princess.

March 3, 2018 9:20 PM

The only issue I could see with Sarah would be her sharing the same first and last name with someone else, and having identity mix-ups (not necessarily malicious). But, with Therese as a middle name I think it’s distinctive enough to clear that up quickly.

March 4, 2018 7:37 AM

Had we used Sarah 10 years ago (we were still debating on the way to the hospital) we were going to use Elizabeth as a middle name. I've since leared how super popular that particular combo is.

March 4, 2018 12:12 PM

Good point - but if you used names that are/were similar in popularity to Sarah for your boys you probably shouldn't worry. If anything, I think there would be less issues with a girl having a common full name than a boy (at least in the practical sense) - namely because it's much more likely she'd be changing her last name later in life and there are fewer female criminals, etc.

March 6, 2018 7:02 AM

Beautiful & classic! It is my sister's name and has grown with her.  I love your name choices & congrats on #8. I named my daughter Laura without realizing the similarity in sound to Sarah (my sister). When I am around both of them, I call them by each other's names sometimes. Not a bad thing ... I just wondered if you had noticed. 

March 6, 2018 7:41 AM

I agree that they are similar in sound especially with the Law-ra pronunciation. I prefer Loh-ra and of course at home I am mostly Mom. I am more worried that Clare and Sarah are very close and Clare thinks Sarah is a sweet name but is afraid she’ll be inadvertently called Clara.

EDA: I am named (in part) after my dad Lawrence (Larry) and my mom and husband wll both call him Lar(e) and over the years that has caused a lot of confusion for Clare when he visits our family. With my husbands tendency to shorten names (he calls me Lo) I guess there is a good chance a Sarah could be Sar(e) and that could be problematic.

March 6, 2018 11:11 AM

OK, so your name has an [o] in your family's pronunciation. What are the vowels in Lawrence, Larry, Clare, and Sarah for you? For me, it's [ɑ] (wasp, law, cot, car, etc. -- I'm totally cot/caught merged) in Lawrence (and Laura) and [e] (marry/merry/Mary, mare, there, bear, etc.) in the rest (and I wouldn't dream of calling someone [sɑr], as that's Hungarian for sh!t).

I think in actual usage, there would be little chance of aural confusion between Clare [kler] and Sare [ser], because the sibilant in the latter is very distinct from the consonant cluster in the former. Sibilants are generally very audible sounds. The other kind of name confusion -- saying Bob when you meant Jill -- is totally independent of the actual name sounds, in my experience.

How old is your Clare? Yes, a sister named Sarah may cause people to mis-speak her name as Clara occasionally, but (a) is that really such a tragedy? and (b) if they're more than six years apart, they will never even be at the same school at the same time, so the opportunities for confusion will be few and far between.

March 6, 2018 5:04 PM

I did terribly in phonics as a child so it all makes my head spin.  Clare and the first syllable of Larry and Sarah definitely rhyme for us.  My parents actually call me Law-ra which is similar to the vowels in Lawrence but not Larry.  I noticed as a child some teachers called me Loh-ra and I learned in French 1 that au says [o] like in restaurant and I adopted that pronounation and it's what my husband calls me.  

I think in general the Cl@re and Sarah confusion wouldn't be too bad.  She's starting high school when the baby's due. So she'll be in college before this baby even starts kindergarden. Plus lot of our little ones barely use their names at first.  Andr3w who is nearly 4 keeps trying to tell us that he's Andr3w not Honey Bear. I had worried about confusing G@briel and J@mes and I was correct there is a bit of confusion when we call through the house because G@be sounds a bit like J@mes but we're all surviving and they also won't share the same peer group.  



March 6, 2018 1:16 PM

It is tough to anticipate all the sound similarities and possible confusions.  IMO, Sarah/Claire's similar sounds aren't a deal-breaker but it depends on your comfort level.  Are you still considering another girl's name or are you pretty set?

March 6, 2018 4:52 PM

We're still considering others.  My husband would love me to pick a name (any name) and stick to it, but those days of clear favorites seem to be gone.

I didn't mention other names in my original post because I wanted a good discussion about Sarah otherwise it's easy for the commenters just to say I like X or Y better than Sarah.  Lucy's been my husband's faithful number 1 choice through the last 3 boy pregnancies.  I've been liking names like June, Thea, Alice, Veronica but I'm not sure any of them are the one.  And of course I routinely wonder what if any names are too similar to our older kids names (like Grace - G@briel, Anna - Andr3w, Mary - M@rk, Caroline - Cl@re, Rosemary and my daughter's middle name of Rose).

March 6, 2018 5:01 PM

I think I remember the Mark/Mary discussion from your last pregnancy! We have a Mary so I track those discussions pretty faithfully.  It sounds like lots of good options... Lucy is sweet! 

March 6, 2018 5:06 PM

My 12 year old M@rk has become quite devoted to Mary and now thinks we should name a baby after her.  So even if I don't ever have a daughter Mary I may get a granddaughter by that name.

By EVie
March 6, 2018 5:18 PM

Sounds like that obviates the concern about Mary being too close to Mark! I remember that discussion from last time, too. The similarity is all visual anyway, so no worries about the holler test. That could be a great option if you decide against Sarah (but I still really like Sarah).

March 6, 2018 5:34 PM

Yes, we like Sarah as a name more than Mary too; Mary just has the emotional pull.  I also heavily rely on using first initials in organizing us so I would like a different initial for those purposes.

March 6, 2018 6:47 PM

If Sarah were the older daughter and Cl@re the baby, I could see Clara as a likely mix-up.  But Cl@re's name is well-established at this point!  I don't think she needs to worry about being called the wrong name herself.


A couple other ideas (without repeating initials), if you're interested: Laura, Rachel, Emily.

March 6, 2018 9:03 PM

That's actually interesting. When the parents and kids all have totally classic names, you can't tell who is who from a list. Anyone would be able to pick out the parents in my family, but here, the mom could easily be one of the kids. And depending on the dad's name (can't remember if it's ever been mentioned), it might even seem more like a kid than Paul, Mark, or Andrew.

March 6, 2018 10:13 PM

On name forums people will unknowingly suggest my husband‘s name, N@th@n as a potential baby name. It happens even more often than people suggesting Laura.  And when we were a young family with just P@ul peoole we met would always get confused and end up thinking P@ul was my husband and N@th@n my baby.

March 6, 2018 10:30 PM

Totally!! I know quite a few young ones with that name and would almost certainly make the same assumption :)

March 7, 2018 12:30 AM

I wanted to chime in and say congratulations! It's been neat to follow you on your naming journey for many kids now, and I'm also impressed that you have exactly twice as many kids as I do... because there are times when four kids seems like a lot more than that, so I can only try to extrapolate and I am impressed!

For all that I grew up in an incredible Sara(h) pocket, and I know that I've shared anecdotes about how my children having a teacher, a preschool teacher, a neighbor mom, a babysitter and several visiting auntie-type friends all named Sarah, to their confusion, it is a name that is both a classic and also one that seems much less frequently used on younger people. Your Sarah would have the advantage of it being more of a unique identifier among her generation. I think it's classic enough not to feel dated, and she can always be Sally or Sadie or Sal (or Sarita or Sarina) if she'd ever want a freshmaking new identity to try on. 

March 7, 2018 3:20 PM

Thank you.  It is crazy around here.  I've laughed that I'm more hormonal than my teenagers which makes for some crazy moments especially when discussing hot button topics like paying for college. Not many pregnant moms are doing that.

I was actually surprised looking at the numbers how many Sarahs and Saras continue to be born.  It actually is more popular nationwide than our likely number 2 choice of Lucy which I totally didn't expect.  Though now that I look at our state data I see that Lucy is more popular here than Sarah.  I also notice that Sarah peaked the year before I graduated from high school so generationally I didn't grow up with near the number of Sarahs that younger moms did.  

March 10, 2018 1:50 PM

I was born in the mid-80s and I'm Jewish, so I know TONS of Sarahs/Saras.

I do think it fits in nicely with the rest of your kids' names though - all of them are in the "timeless classic" style. 

I don't think Sarah and Clare are similar names.

March 12, 2018 6:08 PM

I think that being in an area with a larger Jewish community for sure drives up the Sara/h useage rates... but I still agree that it's in the timeless classic category. If the absolute numbers are falling it's because names overall are becoming more fragmented, so even the #1 names are falling in popularity (just not as fast as all the other names).

I also wouldn't find Sarah and Clare to be too close to use, especially in a larger sibling group with a big age gap. I'm guessing that with 8 kids you're going to mix up names regardless.

March 13, 2018 11:15 AM

Andr3w, M@rk and J@mes are a big jumble in my head and particularly when I’m frustrated I run through all of three of names when talking to any of them. K@t and Cl@re are also easily mixed up. But, I typically don’t confuse the names between genders or of children with large age spacings (For example, I am not calling Andr3w P@ul) so if I do have a girl it will be interesting to see if I confuse her with anyone.

March 14, 2018 12:05 AM

According to my mom, my grandmother would just rattle off "Évajulimárti" and hope that the appropriate offspring would respond. :)