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Back to gun names: Another one I am surprised not to see is Walther. Also Sig, as in Sig Sauer, Winchester, and Thompson. OTOH I am not surprised that people are not naming their kids Glock, very unfashioable sounds.
Dracling also calls to mind (mine anyway) hatchling, and baby dragons, like dinosaurs and alligators, hatch from eggs, at least according to Game of Thrones. :-)
There were NO ALexes and Nickys when I was growing up. LOL
My first year of full-time teaching, I taught tech writing in an Institute of Technology. This school attracted many Iranian students (in the days of the Shah before the days of the Ayatollahs). Two-thirds of the students in my tech writing classes were named Mohammed combined with an assortment of Persian surnames. Fun for me! One of the students once thanked me for learning all of their names with correct pronunciation--apparently the rest of the faculty didn't bother.
I knew a woman from West Virginia called Eva (EE-va) Kaye (always double-barreled), but then there's the late and glamorous Eva (AY-va) Gabor and the far from glamorous Eva Braun (also Ay-va). So the pronunciation is ambiguous as far as I am concerned.
Why would you find Nicholas and Alexander to be so very different? Nicholas and Alexander were names that alternated in the Romanov dynasty. I can hardly think of names that are more similar in feeling.
Disclaimer: I am opposed to surnames as first names unless they are plucked from one's own family tree or unless they have been first names so long people forget they were originally surnames (e.g., Howard, Sidney). However, rather than Sayer let me suggest Thayer. General Thayer was an early leader of West Point and the originator of engineering education in the US. Thayer is a not entirely uncommon name, particularly on the East Coast, and occurs as a first name. I think that Sayer would be forever confused with Sawyer to the point of annoyance.
Since my students were all adults, I called them by surname with honorific. Never had to pronounce their given names at all.
Just read a news article which included a very upscale middle-aged male Britton, clearly a family name because there were Roman numerals attached.
Maybe Marlin is considered more fishy than gunny. :-)
My sister, who is now of retirement age, had a college roommate whose brother was named Marlin, explicitly after the Marlin rifle. I don't see Marlin on the list above. No more baby Marlins? (I am too lazy to look it up.)
America was a personal given name well before it was the name of continets and then a country. India is not infrequently used as a given name in the UK. France is a French given name, often used in the combination Marie-France. I don't see what's so bad about these. They are well-established given names with considerable history.
Rhys is Welsh, not Irish.
Um, the lovers in The Tempest are Miranda and Ferdinand, proving the point that no one remembers their names except college English professors. FWIW The Tempest is my favorite of all Shakespeare's plays, and I taught it almost every term for thirty years. For those who haven't read it, I heartily recommend it.
PS: there is a Sebastian in the play. He is the brother of Alonso, King of Naples, and thus Ferdinand's uncle, but he is certainly not Miranda's lover.
I grew up with a couple of Genevas, but I haven't heard of any recently. I do know a Genevra at the moment though.
I keep hoping someone will use Melisande. I personally think it is ever so much nicer than its descendent Millicent.
Belarus is a country, one of those formed after the breakup of the Soviet Union. My paternal family is from what is now Belarus. At the moment Belarus is a horrible place to live. I wouldn't be so eager to name a child Belarus.
Has David totally gone out of style? I never see it mentioned.
Saul, Solomon, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Jerah, Moses, Ezekiel, Joshua, Caleb, Aaron (a personal favorite), Asher, Dan, Daniel, Ephraim, Abraham/Abram, Adam, Seth, Omri, Asa, Boaz, Eli, Ezra, Enoch, Gabriel, Hosea, Jared, Ira, Judah, Jethro, Joel, Joseph, Levi, Josiah, Michael, Malachi, Samuel, Raphael, Tobias, Ari(el).
Deborah, Judith, Rebecca, Leah, Sarah/Sarai, Adah, Shifra, Ariel(le), Dina(h), Edna, Eve/a, Jerusha, Jemima, Keren, Kezia(h), Keturah, Mara, Naamah, Sela, Salome, Tamar, Tirzah, Zillah
Since you are considering Miriam, let me add, "It worls for me!" :-)
My best favorite cat Edgar knew his name and responded to it, but his relationship with his humans was in general rather more dog-like than is usual for a cat. All of my other cats, and there were many over the years, didn't give a damn about their names or anything else we had to say. They did, however, respond instantly whenever they heard the sounds associated with cat mealtime.
First of all, it is not the custom of Ashkenazic Jews to name children after living people, period. It has become a custom for American Ashkenazic Jews to give a child an English name that starts with the same initial as the English name of a deceased family member, although in fact it is acceptable to give the child any vernacular (English) name. The English name doesn't really matter. The important name which is passed on exactly (or as exactly as possible if the child is not the same gender as the person he/she is being named after) is the Hebrew name (or sometimes in the case of girls, the Yiddish name). Sephardic Jews name their children after living relatives, and in that case the name is usually passed on exactly--not just the same initial.
I myself was named in the kind of circumstances you describe. My mother's father died of lung cancer while I was in utero. Although my grandfather had a very vexed relationship with his family (I never heard a single good word about him), my mother felt obligated to name me after him, and frankly I feel that she passed her bitterness toward him to me along with the name. As a result as a child I had a very negative relationship with my name. Only after I grew older did I come to appreciate its history and dignity.
When I was pregnant my parents had both been deceased for many years. There were no lists, debates, negotiations, etc., about names. If a son, he would have my father's name, and if a daughter my mother's, end of story, no discussion. I have a son, and he has my father's names (English and Hebrew). However, I went to great lengths to be sure that his call name was different from my father's. My father was always Ed or Eddie to his friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, but not to his family. His parents and siblings called him Ellie, derived from his Hebrew name Eliyahu (Elijah), and my mother called him a nickname based on our surname. I therefore insisted in calling my son Edward, because I would have been uncomfortable with Ed or Eddie. However, as a teenager he decided in spite of my absolute disapproval to call himself Ed. His wife and friends call him Ed, and he publishes his books as Ed (to my immense chagrin). There is nothing I can do about it, and I and my family and friends call him Edward whether he likes it or not (and he doesn't).
From my experience, I would suggest thinking about whether you and your husband would feel sufficient emotional distance between your child and your parent if they have the same name, so that your child would be an individual, rather than a reminder of sadness and loss. Many many people have exactly the same names as family members, living or deceased, so for many people the repeated names don't seem to be a problem. But in this type of situation where the birth and the loss are almost simultaneous, only you can know whether that would cause an emotional problem that might persist.
An alternative possibility might be to choose names that are associated in some way with your parents' interests and life history, so that there would be a connection and an honor, but at some emotional distance.
My name skews heavily Democratic according to that site. Makes sense because Miriam is most popular among Jews, and Jews (except for the ultra-Orthodox) tend to be Democrats.