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My Recent Blog Comments
February 20, 2018 10:38 PM
In Response to A Team of Kims

Since surnames come first in Korean, I've changed all occurrences of "last name" to "surname" and "first name" to "given name" in your post. It's a whole lot less confusing that way. :-)

February 20, 2018 07:00 AM

Heidi feels very nicknamey to me, especially in your list of classic names. The English form of the full name is usually Adelaide, but Alice comes from the same root (by a slightly different route). I think it'd be a fun name-geeky thing to use Heidi as a nickname for an Adelaide or Alice, and as sisters, Johanna and Adelaide/Alice would not evoke "Swiss Alps" the way Johanna and Heidi do.

In my experience, none of the reasons for avoiding longer names (too many kids, long surname, not wanting nicknames) are actually a problem in day-to-day life. Die-hard nicknamers will lengthen names if they're too short, once you have more than two kids you don't call them en masse by given name even if all the names are single-syllable, and the length of one's full name doesn't really ever affect anything. (If you're really lazy, you can develop a nice florid signature using just your initials.)

February 18, 2018 10:34 PM

The sibling clouds in Namipedia for all four of those names have James, Matthew, and Sarah in them.

Benjamin, David, Elizabeth, Emily, Emma, Jacob, John, Lauren, and Ryan each feature in three out of the four sibling clouds.

February 18, 2018 09:52 PM

(It's funny: the only Lewis I know is about my age, and has a little daughter Eleanor...)

A few stealth-match pairings that stood out to me:

Adriana and Caspian (names of seas) (Adrian and Caspian may be a bit too much, though)
Catalina and Johanna (Latinate forms of classic, international names)
Adrian(a) and Lawrence (Roman placename-derived names), Lydia and Bethany (placenames mentioned in the Bible)
Nicholas and Vincent (etymologies related to victory and conquest)

February 16, 2018 09:45 AM
In Response to Sunset for baby girl?

If my computer's search function is to be believed, then interestingly, Sunrise only makes the list once:


This seems strange to me, because the "sunset years" (old age and death) associations for Sunset are very strong for me, and I would find Sunrise to be preferable as a name, even though I am totally not a morning person.

February 14, 2018 12:25 PM

In languages other than English, the letter 'a' almost always represents a sound from the bottom row of the IPA vowel chart, i.e. something between /eye/ and /awe/ (inclusive).

February 13, 2018 08:53 AM

There are 240 exact matches for "Benjamin Franklin" in the 1940 U.S. census (as indexed on FamilySearch). This is not counting the thousands of men named Benjamin with Franklin as their middle name. Times have changed: most people nowadays would consider this sort of thing cheesy (or worse).

I would definitely avoid knowingly duplicating the name of a current (or recent) celebrity, but the question gets murky pretty quickly once you start considering historical figures and fictional characters: one person's "yeah, obvious" is another's "uh, who?"

Personally, I would be OK with something like Bennett Franklin, but a bit put off by Sam(uel) Adams. Samantha Adams would be basically doable, though.

So yeah, it depends on the specific association.

If you have a surname that lots of other people have, then there's always the possibility of someone with that name becoming famous later on. I think this is yet another reason that nicknames-as-full are not a good idea: if you're Sam "just Sam" Smith, and someone publishes a popular book under the name Sam Smith, what are your options? Granted, Sam versus Samuel is not the sort of difference that people are likely to notice or remember, but it would help with the Facebook-type problems.

February 12, 2018 05:05 PM
In Response to Elizabeth vs Veronica

I wasn't thinking of virtual acquaintances -- I was trying to picture faces to go with the name. :-)

February 12, 2018 06:59 AM
In Response to Elizabeth vs Veronica

I'm wracking my brain but can only come up with one Elizabeth in my acquaintance, and it's not even her real name, just the persona she's chosen for medieval reenactment. There's one Elizabeth in the elementary school's student directory (out of over 450 students). It's well-represented on the family tree (my daughter's great-grandmothers were Julia, Erzsébet, Erzsébet called Lili, and Edith), but the closest the current generations have gotten is a ten-year-old Lily.

It just goes to show: the popularity numbers are utterly meaningless for actual real-life name encounters and experiences.

February 10, 2018 08:27 PM
In Response to Elizabeth vs Veronica

I've met a few people named Veronica, and none of them were even remotely Spanish.

I would absolutely swoon over sisters named Elizabeth and Veronica.

(Ditto for Elizabeth and Natalie, or Anastasia, or really, any polysyllabic classic feminine name.)

February 10, 2018 05:19 PM

Note that this thread is from three years ago; it was revived by someone who posted a comment about also considering the name Shaelyn.

February 10, 2018 04:46 PM
In Response to Wesley- for a GIRL!

Your use of profanity in the last paragraph is not a credit to you or other people named Wesley. I have censored the word you used.

This is generally one of the politest places I know of online. Please help keep it that way.

February 10, 2018 04:30 PM

Zeker: Millicent?

February 9, 2018 08:04 AM

In the 19th century, parents would've cheerfully named Eve's twin brother Adam. It's a common enough pairing that I've come to wonder if all uses of Adam and Eve can be traced back to twins. (The way names were passed along in families, it's hard to tell the ultimate source of any of them.)

It's slightly less important for boy-girl twins, but I do encourage your friends to NOT go the matchy-matchy route: give each child his or her own initial, and name them as the individuals they are, not as a set.

As for suggestions, it's hard to judge people's style based on just two names, especially when the suggestions need to be the other gender (people's tastes often differ fairly widely for boys versus girls). Name Matchmaker comes up with things like Simon, Noah, Jonah, and Luca. This is echoed if you compare the sibling clouds in Namipedia: the overlap between Maia and Eve is Adam, Alexander/Alex, Daniel, Jacob, Lucas/Luke, and Noah. I don't recommend Adam for a twin sibling, but any of the rest of them would be fine.

February 8, 2018 05:03 PM

The Princess Bride was Buttercup, so that's rather taken. Bluebell and Snowdrop have probably been used by some Disney franchise or other, but I didn't actually check. Whirl conjures up washing machines and tornadoes, which are probably not appropriate to your story. Nature doesn't work for me because of "call of nature". Starfish is a mermaid name, not a fairy. That leaves Mulberry and Dragonfly; of those, I think Mulberry works better as a name.

Newt is too... frog-like? (If you kiss him, will he turn into his namesake? Or turn *you* into one?) Pyro is too close to "arsonist". Comet is a reindeer.

The most name-like are Nimbus, Timber, and Cedar. For a fairy king in a forest, the latter two would work well, but I'm not so sure for a king just *outside* a forest.

Hmm. All in all, King Cedar and Princess Mulberry would work for a certain sort of story. (They're a bit, dunno, allegorical? for a "serious" story.)

February 7, 2018 01:22 PM

All three of the Nell(ie)s I've known were named Cornelia, and the Nikki I knew in high school was Veronika, so those pairings are quite the opposite of surprising for me.

February 7, 2018 09:51 AM

I love Emmett for you: it originates as a matronymic (mother's name used as a surname), based on a medieval diminutive of Emma, but its modern use is almost exclusively masculine. (16 girls versus more than 3000 boys in 2016.) This makes it feel similarly pleasing on a boy as Rowan (to me).

I second the suggestion of Elliott. I also suggest Morgan, and if you don't mind repeating initials, Rhys or Riley.

February 7, 2018 07:37 AM

I haven't seen the movie, but in the book, Miss Trunchbull's given name is only revealed toward the very end of the story, so it doesn't ruin it at all for me. (I re-read it very recently and yet didn't remember that she was Agatha. If pressed, I may have come up with Agnes.)

I haven't read or seen Willy Wonka, so I can't comment on its effect (if any) on the perceptions of the name Violet.

February 6, 2018 03:19 PM
In Response to Charlotte vs Natalie

There's really nothing much to differentiate those combos. Maybe initials?

Looking back through your various threads (to see if you mentioned your surname, or its first letter), it struck me that Natalie is in all of them. Go with it.

February 6, 2018 06:58 AM

It definitely shows up fairly frequently in 19th century Quebec on FamilySearch, but it's not in any of the name dictionaries that I have access to, so I have no guesses on its origin or pronunciation.