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Like others mentioned, I‘d throw out all names ending in an -ee sound (Lucy), -ia or -ya (Freya, Aya, Lucia), and -in or -en sound (Evelyn, Vivienne). That leaves Eleanor, Violet, Iris, Valentina, and Eliza. I wouldn‘t do Violet, I think in part due to the colour and the fact that many people will associate Yin with Yin and Yang, and in part because it sounds a bit like violent.
What ulis it that you like about these names? Are you also going to choose a Chinese and/or Japanese name? I think if you do, I’d do that first, because it will likely be a much more meaningful choice, and thrn come back to see if you can find an English name that complements either or both of those names in a nice way.
I think you should definitely stay away from Jesus (or Jesús), but I wasn’t worried about that anyway :)
Given that it’s your son whose name is Joseph, not your husband, I wouldn’t worry too much about Gabriel either.
Peter is on your list twice - maybe that means that you actually like that name so much that you could get used to the sound of Peter Ke***er? Or otherwise maybe Peter as a middle, eg. Thomas Peter Ke***er?
I’d second Daniel and Gabriel, and would also suggest Raphael if Samuel feels awkward.
And what about Benedict instead of Benjamin?
Other than that, you have a nice list; maybe it’s time to let go of a few of these names (Simon, maybe Augustine) to narrow things down?
What about Jeannette or Jeannine? It’s the (very French) diminuitive version of Jean, so that’s two birds with one stone (that assuming you actually want to name your daughter after your mother and MIL, and it’s just the name or the flow you don’t like). I’ll also second the two middle names solution.
I actually disagree with the idea that naming a younger brother as a little kid (I’m assuming there isn’t an enormous age difference) and using that same name on your own kid once you’re an adult is the same like giving two of your children the same name - the relationship to that person is completely different, and while OP may have suggested the name or voted for it, but I presume she wasn’t allowed to make that decision all by herself. If anything, I’d compare it to naming a doll or stuffed animal, and it shows a remarkable consistency in style!
Of course this is radically different if there’s a large age difference between OP and her brother, say 12 years or more.
I’d try to think about which criteria would probably most affect your son throughout his life. Especially if you don’t live close and don’t see him often, most people in his life won’t know about his uncle Peter, so that might matter way less to him than it does to you (1). At least in his younger years, many people will know his siblings’ names, but that, too will cease after 20-25 years (2, 3, 5). He will likely keep his first name-last name-combo for life, though (4).
Personally, I’d try not to worry too much about the connection to your brother. Of course this is a name you like - you’ve heard it all your life! And it’s not weird to have several family members with the same name, until a few decades ago it was actually common and often even expected. If you like your brother, go for it.
I think Leah and Levi would be a bit close, as they share half their syllables. Leah and Lucas is way less of a problem, especially if you stick to Lucas instead of Luke, though of course this isn’t sonething you can control, longterm (and I foresee a set of adorable Halloween costumes when they’re about 10 or so :) )
I don’t think I really see the problem with Reuben Abe-lyn, other than that they share a prominent /b/-sound? It’s not even a rhyme, is it? (disclaimer: I’m not American) Would a name like Sebastian Abe-lyn feel different to you?
Titus... I don’t think it matches well stylistically with James and Leah (though that shouldn’t matter too much, see above), and you seem less enthousiast about it than about the others. It sounds a bit like this is your fallback name, the name you’d use if all others turn out to be unusable. I don’t think they are; other than Levi, I don’t see any true dealbreakers, so I’d take Titus off the list, if I were you.
Good call on Sebastian! I’d actually use it in a heartbeat, only that it’s DH’s name (or rather a variant thereof). So I guess it belongs in the ’names I love but can’t use’-category.
Samuel is in about the same as Simon, for me. i’d much rather not use another biblical name, it seems too boring and predictable.
I think I can add Jasper to my list (though I regret that it’s another name beginning with JA-), and Julian (though there’s a cousin with a very similar name...)
Granted, ‘Europe’ is maybe too wide - I’d expect people to know her in Germany, but also in Luxembourg and parts of Belgium and France (she supposedly was a siren who sat on a rock near St. Goarshausen, there’s a statue of her there).
In contrast, S!byl has a long history as a given name, which Lorelei doesn’t have, at least not in any European country that I know of.
Lorelei is a figure from a folk myth. It’s a bit akin to calling your daughter Snow White. If you’re planning on living in Europe, I’d probably stay away from that name.
Also The Great Gatsby (though not children’s literature, obviously)
Congratulations! Zinnia Delphine is a great name!
What’s the story behind Taylor? Who/what do you want to honour? Is it a given name, surname, place name or something else?
Congratulations on the decision, so far! I think the flow is better with Zinnia Delphine, the -a E- needs a short pauze inbetween. But maybe more inportantly: as this will be your last child (I believe?), which name will you regret if you haven't used it?
Fun fact: my name is the German female version of Frederick, so I don't get -key, but I do get -ka, and also Frederick and Fr(i)ederique, both ending in -k. Even when I was working in a very small company (<10 persons) in the Netherlands, and my direct colleague and client were, say, Lieke and Mieke, my Dutch colleagues would still say Frederique. You really would have thought they'd know better.
Zinnia. It's a gorgeous name, both spunky and flowery, and I really like it with your other kids' names.
My daughter's name is H3l3n@, and people get it wrong all the time, although the way we pronounce it (the British way, like Ms Bonham-Carter) is the standard way around here. We even get El3n@ quite often! And it really bothers me. It wouldn't bother me all that much if it weren't so often, but unfortunately, it is. Also, I'm German, my very German name ends in -ke, and my name is butchered any time I set foot outside of Germany, it's just so annoying.
Also, with Elke, be prepared that your daughter might want to have a popular name and go with Ella instead, or be mistaken for/misremembered as an Ella all the time. Much less risk with Zinnia.
If you do go for Elke, I'd recommend Elke Delphine, despite the El- Del-, as otherwise she'll probably have two names prone to being mispronounced.
That website you mentioned is indeed about first names, but their data isn't reliable as given names aren't recorded officially. The table makes it look like Elke was the equivalent of a name like Jennifer of Germany in the 1940's-1960's - while it was somewhat popular, I'm not sure it was that popular. In addition, it's quite dated to that period.
Here's a Dutch website (using reliable data AFAIK): http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nvb/populariteit/relatief/vrouw/eerstenaam/Elke - again, the table makes it look like a popular name, but in fact only 0.03% of all girls were given that name. Probably in part due to the fact that 'elk' and 'elke' means 'each' in Dutch (my favourite Dutch name with the opposite effect: Joke. Not useable nowadays, I guess). The note on the bottom says that Elke is mainly known from German and Belgian women.
@Chimu, congratulations! My vote is for Zinnia and Cordelia, both due to what you wrote and my own preferences.
> Even he can't really place where he's heard the name before.
It's probably worth it to point out that there's this theory that we tend to like (and remember) names with similar sounds to the names of our own, which in the case of Ace and Alice, uhm..
I think it's a beautiful name, and it's really cute that he came up with such a usable name right away. If you like the name, using it as a middle name would be perfect.
I also wouldn't worry too much about the kid not liking the middle name. My personal theory is that much of that comes from those names usually not being used, but still being there, tied to you, which can make it a bit weird... sort of that you're chained to this name you don't really identify with because it's never being used, but it's still your name. It's very different, by the way, if it has been given with a very specific and personal story attached to it.
Not lucubratrix, but...
In my accent (fairly standard German, from the North), wär and wahr are distinctly different; kind of like care and car. There is a difference between wehr and wär as well, but it's pretty subtle. Lucubratrix, what about you?
(funny enough, my captcha this time started with 'ich' and then numbers)
I wouldn't do it. 'Lilian and Ian' sounds fine, but just imagine shouting their names: 'Lilly! Ian! Dinner is ready!!' sounds an awful lot like 'Lilian, dinner is ready!!'...
Petra Silly also sounds a lot like the German and Dutch words for parsley, Petersilie and peterselie, respectively. Not that words in other languages should hold you back, but if you do have ties to continental Europe...
Silly Lilly happened to be my plannend name of endearment if we had gone for Lilian or Cecilia, but with a surname in the mix I wouldn't do that either.
Sounds like a challenge, good luck!