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Well, certainly not John--there hasn't been a King John since 1200 and he is not remembered fondly (to say the least). King Arthur seems too mythical. I wouldn't be surprised at a Richard or a Henrietta.
What about Brittany--was it spurred into being from Battle of Brittany?
Robert is a French king's name--seems close kinship to British King's names!
I mostly think of the horse named Bree, in the Horse and His Boy in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Even though it is a male horse, Bree seems closer to the the female world of Br names such as Brandy and Gabrielle. In the book, it is short for Breehy-Hinny-Brinny-Hoohy-Hah (I had to look this up).
It isn't so secret, but I love the name Ophelia. I love shakespearean names. However, the suicidally tragic character and the book "reviving Ophelia" about the troubles of adolescent girls gives me serious pause. Maybe as a middle name it could work....
Excellent post, Laura. As others have alluded to, it is patriarchal whether one keeps one's father's name, or take's one's husband's, or gives one's children their father's name. I kept my (father's) last name at marriage (because it comes early in alphabetical lists), but the reasoning in giving my children my husband's last name was that there were so, so many people on my side of the family with my/father's last name, and he comes from a small family. So we tried to work around the patriarchy inherent within the system simply through numbers. Nevertheless I remain uncomfortable with that choice, as a feminist and as someone of Icelandic ancestry (I heard on a visit that one can choose either father's or mother's last name, but usually fathers--in my case a grandmother Gudmondsdottir).
If I were in charge, we'd adopt the idea supported by Miss Manners, that every child receive her or his mother's last name. I quote from p. 54 of her Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior: "Miss Manners suggests sticking to the original family surname--but in the female line. The basic family unit has now become the mother and the children of whom she has been awarded custody, and it is simpler if they all have the same name and keep it no matter who happens to join them later. The system of the matriarchal line worked fairly well in ancient societies, before women made the mistake of telling men that they had any connection with the production of children."
Great post, Laura. Thanks for your work.
Just had a two-week apt for our new baby girl; this community was great for suggestions and feedback. Her name is Sylvi@ @nneliese. We are proud and thrilled.
Good luck to all who are expecting and choosing names!
why not Beau for a Bonnie--both mean beautiful!
Just thought of something. Her last name will start with M. Can we still name our daughter Sylvia? She'd have a middle name to break up the initials but....is this a concern?
Thanks for your opinions so far! Edith BB, where are you (roughly) in an Iris pocket?
OK, friends, we're nearing the end...I'm at 33 weeks after an eventful pregnancy, which has meant multiple girl-confirming ultrasounds. My husband and I have basically come down to two favorites: Iris and Sylvia. I fear that Iris is just too popular and rising and too close to 0ri0n our son's name; and I like the forest meaning behind Sylvia, Sylvie as a nickname, and its more international flavor/pronunciation. So that's where I'm leaning. I, too, have an intergenerational name that is not popular in my generation, but was huge in the early 20th cent, and is coming back now (at #99 I think). I like really unusual but feminine names (Minerva, Imogen) but my husband is susceptible to names that are "too weird", so I think we have done some good compromising. (Also are there overlooked teasing possibilities? Virus? Saliva?)
I think we'll take both names (after adding middles) to the hospital just in case. BUT I need some confirmation here. Is Iris too popular? is Sylvia on the cusp of rising (I know Laura did a post on this name, concluding "not for a while")?
In the throes of name-panic here....confirmations welcome. Suddenly our responsibility to Nomen Bonem, Bonem Omen seems huge.
What about other names in the top ten? Samantha, Sophia, Madison?
I think some of these alternate names should be considered, but I doubt that they will ever be as popular as the top names.
I haven't had time to read everyone's comments yet, so I apologize if this idea is already out there. I think there should be a space on each name that makes a note of any androgenous characteristics. Thus, there would be only one page for "Ezra" (a boy page) with part of its description, probably as part of the "share what you know" or "alternate spellings/similar names" sections, which would say "x% of Ezra's are girls; similar to Esra, a female given name in Turkey" and other such facts. That way, a prospective parent of an Ezra would search for it, find it, and be under no qualms that it is predominantly thought of as a boy's name, because of its Biblical roots. Then there would be only one page per name, instead of two. Because there will always be exceptions and evolutions as to the gender associated with each name, this solution is pretty simple and more notes can be made under the name on its page.
This way a single page might be longer, and include both names; so a search for "Andrea" would yield a page that would be mostly girl (since this site centers on the US and its statistics) with a section for boys, since the name is the Italian equivalent to "Andrew". I think parents of a female "Andrea" should just be aware that that's the case, and having a separate page might mean the male name would be missed.
sol's mom, I'm another one for Violet Emily. Violet can have Vi as a nickname, which is super cute with Sol. I also like that they are both 3 syllables--and if this is your favorite name, definitely go for it! It's the one you'll say daily. You won't regret it.
The name Naomi is lovely; other suggestions: Jonina or Johanna, Lillian or Laura, Mira or Moira, or Rosalie or Rosaline. Mira might be my favorite for you--I think of it as pretty timeless.
Re: Penelope; it is a great name. I wonder how it came up in conversation with your mother? Did you bounce the idea off of her, prompting her response? In that case, I'd tell her you're planning on using a name that she likes worse....I don't know what that would be, but you could have a bit of fun with it...and then she'll breathe a sigh of relief when her granddaughter is a Penelope. (and next time, keep it a secret.)
If she out of the blue said she hated the name, I'd find out why she hates it. Is it a mean former classmate? A death in the family? A dog? Most of these reasons would disappear with a grandchild, but a tragedy or the like should be cleared in the open before you name your daughter (anything).
Ah yes, and I have a niece Ar1adne, so that's out!
Also, I have an Eliana on my block, about 8 years old. It is a flowing name, but I find it to be two names put together, a mishmash, but still pretty, if that is your style.
Anna S: Your comments point to exactly the kind of compromising that spouses have when naming a child. It is hard. We each make separate lists of ten, then come together and veto...and the interesting thing is, that both of us take into account casual conversations about names in the past, that is, I knew he would think some of my suggestions were "wierd" and so I tried to come up with things that he wouldn't knee-jerk veto; and he, bless him, tried to be as unusual as he could, knowing that if it is in the top 200--at least--I find it too ordinary or popular.
We settled on 0ri0n at the hospital--and it wasn't on my husband's list originally, but I had several experiences (O was a January baby) that convinced him that was the name for our son. Plus he is an Astrophysicist, and also the name is close to "ryan" so that isn't too wierd. And he insisted on an "ordinary" middle name at the hospital out of the blue (thereby our son has two middle names). I want to avoid last-minute decisions like that this time, and take two or three complete names to the hospital.
I would, as you guessed, like a name that fits thematically with 0ri0n but is not immediately obvious. I generally like names from Shakespeare and before, with history and gender specificity, and I've always been a fan of Greek, Roman and Norse mythology. To me, the best star names come from mythology, so that literary angle is stronger than the star names. I think Roman mythology is still thematic enough to go with O, as well as mythology from the British Isles--especially perhaps with our Scottish last name. But this is America, and none of us have "Scottish" names--mostly biblical/romance in our family--so the last name just has to sound good with no terrible initial spellings.
When I mentioned other types of names, I'm just trying to be as broad-minded as possible within my own preferences, so that my husband will warm up to something I like before I give birth! He just goes with anything he likes from the top 1000 names from the SSN website, and I just find that limiting, but he doesn't want "wierd" (his characterization.
You're right--I don't want "nice and normal"--but I am confident that we can agree by October. After all, he suggested Penelope, Jade, and Esmeralda--so I think he's coming round.
By the way, our overlaps were Sylvia, Iris, and Ophelia. We'll give it some time and settle (before we close our lists and our minds to the other names on them) in September.
Sorry I didn't see the Eileen post. I think it is a lovely name, ignoring the "I lean" joke. Very sweet and she'll thank you that she has an intergenerational name. And it goes well with a long middle name, like Elizabeth.
Thanks, everyone! RAMgirl, welcome.
Husband says he's trying to like Thalia, but failing, because of the pronunciation issue. And I mentioned it to my sister (who I trust as a keeper) over the phone and she had no idea what I was saying. I had to spell it twice. [sigh.]
The ones we both like are Sylvia, Iris, Ophelia, and maybe Clara since he has a gma Clarice.
I'm not worried--we have til October!
Thanks, friends, for brainstorming with me. I'm excited that it is my turn!
Luckily, there were a few overlaps with my husband's list, so we're doing OK. I had to veto Alice, Anna, and Jade. Jade?! Just shows you our combined range of style. Added to our combined list: Charlotte (NMS, too popular), Elizabeth (too popular), Claire (too plain), Esmeralda (Esme for short--too much?), Annabelle, Penelope, Rhiannon (is this really us?), Diana (too Princess Di), Vivian (NMS). I think lots of these have potential for a middle name.
I'd probably spell Selene Selena for pronunciation purposes. Thalia was new to him, so he's giving it a chance--his main worry is that it isn't immediately pronounceable. I like every pronunciation I can think of, so I'm OK with that but maybe my daughter would get annoyed? Ophelia is lovely, but might be middle name contestant at this point.
Some suggestions that I like but can't use: Celeste (a sister-in-law), Astrid (well, nms but cool), Daphne (a colleague's baby), Artemis (too bold, and yes, the mythology...
On that note, most people wouldn't think of it but "Sylvie/a" is a ballet, with the character Or1on as the rejected love interest--this doesn't bother me but what if it came up?
So, ultrasound today yielded a 99%chance healthy GIRL! We're thrilled.
My husband is making a long list. It is cute. He goes through the top thousand, marks any name that stands out, and then will narrow to ten. I think my NEship is rubbing off on him!
Anyway, if you could name the baby sister of my son 0ri0n, what would her name be? Last name sounds like MacKinney.
My initial leanings:
Off to mine the last post. Would love thoughts.