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My Favorite Names
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July 3, 2016 08:17 PM

The thing that kind of kills me about the whole surnames as first names trend... whether it's the cowboys or the preps or whoever, is that overwhelmingly it's WASP names that are used, and that give whatever feel it is that the parents are going for.  I don't think it says anything bad about the parents - they are going for a cowboy or preppy sound, or honoring a family member... but it says something about culture that probably 90% of these popular names are from the British Isles.  We just don't see babies named Lopez or Goldstein or Mandela or Slovinski.  For some reason only a certain segment of surnames "sound" like first names.  When I search my family tree I see a lot of names that would leave people scratching their heads.


Augusta?  I love this name, and the nn Gusty, which has such a whimsical flavor to it.

Willa, Louisa, Virginia, Eleanor, Cordelia, Adela come to mind, and I also like the Theodora and Rowena suggestions.

A little more out there- Cornelia, Lavinia, Maida

Boys - I agree Quentin is not nerdy.  suggestions: Roderick, Frederick, Florian, Hugo, Blaise, Jerome, Dominic?

September 24, 2013 01:11 PM

I teach 70 college students, probably about 75% of them are freshmen.  What struck me about their names is that of the 70, there are only two repeats - two Matthews, two Joes.  

BUT, among the girls (and about 40 of the 70 are young women), there are about 8 similar names - Kaela, Kylee, Kiley, Micaela, Mikaela .... you get the idea.  All varients of these sounds, but none with identical spelling.  It was tough to get those ones straight!  If you would have picked 70 students from my college class (I'm in my early 30s) there surely would have been more than two repeats: Emilys, a few Sarahs, Ryans and Matthews etc.  I'm sure that this reflects national trends which are becoming even more pronounced with the kindergartners (smaller percentages selecting Isabella and Sophia, more and more spelling variants).

Beyond those two observations, yes, the usual suspects are in my classes: Jessica, Megan, Lauren, Nathan, Brandon, and Mike, definitely 


If you name your cowgirls Mayson, Cooper, Konnar, Carsen, Maddox, Rylee, and Remi... I wonder what you name your cowboys?  Does the hyper-masculine trend (Gunner, Axle, Colt) correlate with these same states?  I also just have to wonder if some of the boy names we currently think of hyper masculine will be given to girls in 10 years.  I also wonder if the map in last fall's article should now include Texas! 

February 4, 2013 08:48 AM
In Response to Really need help!

I agree with this!!  I think it totally fits.  Although I consider Blake slightly more recently popular than the rest (became pretty popular in the late 80s - 90s maybe?) - Emily, Ryan, and Matthew probably peaked in the early to late 80s, just a little earlier than Blake.  And they all have English origins, although Blake is a surname.

I like Blake best, followed by Alexander (nn Alex).  You would have no issues with Al.

January 30, 2013 09:42 PM

I'm not sure anyone's mentioned George yet, that's one of my favorites.  A nn that I would love to use but haven't encountered yet is Geo - pronounced like the geo in geode.

Milo is a bit trendier, but what if it was a nn for Emil?  That would make it fit better.

Wallace or Walter?  Andrew?  Archie?  Nicholas?  Francis, Frank, or Franklin?  Sorry if these are repeats.

Any of the Ed- names could also have nn Teddy.

January 22, 2013 08:47 PM
In Response to It's official...

I'm liking Jack Emrys!  It's different and since Jack is pretty popular I really like paired with something very unusual.


January 22, 2013 08:44 PM

I like Michael Kendrick the best, it has the best flow IMO. I have a young (he's 4 i think) cousin who goes by Kenny (full name Kenneth) and it is so cute on him!

FYI, Michael Bennett is a senator from Colorado!  For me that would rule it out, but it's not a bad connection and probably people won't remember him in 20 years, unless he has a super long tenure.

I also dislike the combo of Michael Merrick.  Not sure why cause I like Merrick.

Michael Beckett would be my second choice.

January 21, 2013 07:29 PM
In Response to Pailyn or Paitlyn?

Yeah, you're just not going to get any support for either of those options on this site - sorry.  I agree with the previous poster, they just aren't appealing, interesting, or pretty.  Sure, adding -lyn makes it look a little girlier, but also just makes it look made up and would be confusing.  I agree that Payton (or Peyton) would be the best option.  It's really not all that common - #90 or #60 respectively in the US.  I've always liked it alright.  But I think you need to common to some compromise with your husband.  If you don't like it I think you should go back to square one.  Or maybe he'd be up for putting it as a middle name.  

I'm trying to think other names that have a -pay- sound in them somewhere and am coming up blank.  

What about a name with lyn in it, with Payton in the middle: Lynn Payton, Lindy Payton, Lindsay Payton...

January 20, 2013 09:38 AM

I think it's very nice!  Although I also love the suggestions of Hannah, Nora, and Emily.  Emily Katherine is a great combo.  Also Ethan reminds me of a brother-sister pair I know Ethan and Ellen, which is also nice.  Of these choices I think I like Emily Katherine the best but Julia is lovely so if that's what you love you should go for it!

January 16, 2013 12:15 PM
In Response to Ways to get to Iggy?

This makes me think that Gideon nn Iggy could work.  The sounds are there.  I also like the I.G. initials idea and just picking a formal name you love without any relation to Iggy and calling him Iggy.

I acutally have met people with a number of the names listed above: Ignas (not sure how he spelled it but pronounced Ig-niss - I think he's Lithuanian), Rigel (pn like Nigel so doesn't really give the Ig sound in Iggy), and my friends almost named their baby boy Rigby but axed it at the last minute for sounding too much like a dog name.  I also know a guy who almost exclusively goes by Iggy but it comes from an Ig in his last name. 

So there's certainly options.  

January 14, 2013 07:52 PM
In Response to Too much alliteration?

Maybe Charlotte (could still use Callie), Antonia, Celeste, Cordelia (maybe still use Callie?), Martina, Angelique, Aurora, Veronica, Miranda, Clarissa, Carissa, Magnolia, Aurelia, Marcella, Maren, Althea, Loretta?


January 9, 2013 08:47 AM

Tinley also sounds a little made up/trendy to me.  Lainey is okay, I've never loved it for some reason, I guess it seems a bit too much of a nickname to me.

Tansy is interesting, I don't think I've ever heard it before.  I guess it strikes me as a little "fancy" only cause it rhymes with fancy and I've never heard it!  Sound-wise I like it with Piper and it's a refreshing floral inspired name among all the Lilys and Violets.  

Nadia would not have been one that I would of paired with Piper but I do think it works and gives the set a bit more of a sophisticated vibe.  Katia is similar bit it does seem more eastern bloc than Nadia for some reason.  Bianca is similar to these in my mind without the eastern bloc sound - it is less sporty, but it has the added bonus of Bee as a super cute, cheerable nickname.  

Ariel also strikes me as uber-girly and it isn't very cheerable.

I think I still like Bailey the best for you still, with Bianca, Nadia, and Tansy all viable alternatives. 

Any thoughts on my previous suggestion Larkin?  I love this name and it seems like it would work!

January 8, 2013 02:45 PM

I love the name Bailey.  I know two Baileys, they are both 25-30 and very sporty and fun.  I think it goes great with Piper.

January 8, 2013 01:41 PM

One that immediately came to mind is Teagan.  Definitely more snappy in my mind than Tatum.  Of you're others, I like Skylar.  I don't think it sounds outdated but I could be wrong.  But I don't love the matching -er ending.

A few more: Jalyn, Kadyn (some would veto these two very quickly cause of the trendiness factor), Whitney, Brenna, Haley, Bailey, Effie, Courtney, Darby, Larkin, Devon, Blair, June/Juno (Junie), Georgia, Greta, Kaia, Calla, Seneca.


I ran into a 4 year old or so B3tty and thought it was the cutest thing ever.  I really like Lel@nd Er!ch and J0hn Maur0.

January 4, 2013 03:28 PM
In Response to Which girls name?

I love Maria and Anna.  Maria gets the slight nod in my opinion just cause it's a little less common (where I live, but I'm sure it's more common than Anna in other areas).

Holly is nice but I don't think it goes as well with Elijah.  And as the others said, no to Ella.  What's your boy's name?  



I can't see Tris without thinking only of the common lab chemical (it's short for tris-aminomethane and is a buffer).

January 4, 2013 12:36 PM
In Response to A brother for Caspar

Darn, I was loving it too.  

And I also meant to give Caspar praise.  I love it, it's on my list but husband won't go for it (talking about conservative namers...)

I like Frederick the best by a lot.  As I mentioned, I know a grown Freddie.  I agree with some others that Grady just doesn't seem to fit to me, and Lucian I just don't love, probably cause of Lucius Malfoy/Lucifer connection.  Since I love Caspar (and Thomas and Frederick) maybe you'd like some of the more exotic names on my boy list: Dermot, Francis, Baird, Errol, Adrian, Sylvan, Robin, Malcolm, Aldo, Earl?  I like the Rafferty suggestion too.

January 4, 2013 12:28 PM
In Response to A brother for Caspar

I don't know about that, I know a Freddie who is my age (30's) who never goes be Fred, or Frederick for that matter, though I do believe that's his full name.