Celebrity vs. Fashion: The Kate Middleton Baby Name Effect

Dec 2nd 2010

The upcoming royal wedding in England has stirred up flurries of talk around the classic nickname Kate. The first headline-grabber was Kate Middleton's prenuptial shift to Catherine. (Good luck making that change stick, Ms. Middleton.) Now, the name speculation has moved to the broader English name landscape.

Genealogy website Ancestry.co.uk analyzed U.K. birth records from past royal wedding years and found consistent popularity spikes for the princess names. This makes plenty of sense. What better public platform could a baby name have? The Ancestry team felt so confident in the power of the princess effect that they made a bold prediction. Based on the historical trend, Kate is "likely to be [Britain's] number one girl’s name in 2011."

The prediction has history, celebrity and the global media industry on its side. Putting an attractive name on the news 24/7 generally makes it rise, as we've seen with hurricane names.

But facing off in the opposite corner is a formidable foe: fashion. The problem is that in England, Kate has already come and gone. The given name Kate was a steady, top-100 English favorite in the early 1900s. It fell out of fashion for several decades then reemerged in the 1970s, peaked in the '80s and began a slow fade in the '90s. By now Kate's been out of the U.K. top 100 list for years.

That makes 28-year-old Kate Middleton the typical Kate. In other words, the name may be a classic, but it's a mom name.

If you're American, you probably can't hear the mom-ness because Kate is more current on this side of the pond -- it hit its U.S. peak in 2007. For an American name with a curve similar to the U.K. Kate, think Amy or Angela. Or for a celebrity parallel, think Michelle. Michelle Obama becoming First Lady of the United States had zero effect on the name Michelle; her name says "First Mom." Is Britain's royalty culture strong enough to chart a different path?


p.s. Look for the Name of the Year announcement next week! It's shaping up to be a doozy.


December 6, 2010 9:30 AM

Lucubratrix, your story of the Evelyns Waugh reminds me of a married couple I know named Cary and Carrie. Everyone calls them Mr. Cary and Miss Carrie. The latter, in my opinion, is an absolutely horrible nickname!

December 6, 2010 10:15 AM

Newby-I prefer Evelyn (3 syl) over Katherine (2 syl) with Jane for the flow also. Additionally, Evelyn seems fresher to me and not so much overused. Katherine especially with the nn Katie seems like a been-there-done-that kind of name. Around me it is also much more common to have Katie be a nn for Katelyn or even a stand alone name, so you may run into that confusion along with sp confusion as someone mentioned.

December 6, 2010 10:52 AM

Chimu - I'm in the UK and managed to sign up for the Expert without too much difficulty, where I could put in the correct info, I did, then I got my husband to give me the zip code (is that what it's called?) of where he went to college in the US to get past the few US lines! It is definitely worth the money.

Katie has been the top name in my area for a number of years and I know many families with their kids under 7 with a Katie (full name). I wonder how many will now start to use Katherine as the given name, giving their daughter the option of Katie/Kate/Katherine/Kitty. I love some of the nicknames for old names (like Kitty from Kathleen, Pippa from Philippa, Polly from Mary), but think giving the formal name makes it so much more versatile. I always thought I'd love to use Elizabeth, but there are actually too many variants to pick from - could she be a Bess, Lizzy, Beth, Libby, Eliza? Too many choices! Think I'm going to add Katherine to my list.

Interestingly, how does everyone feel about the numerous spelling variants for Katherine? My parents wanted to call me Katherine but did a trial run writing the name down and my dad spelt it Kathryn and my mum Catherine. They decided I'd spend my life saying, "With a K/C and ryn/ine" to people so chose a very 1970s/80s name. I would prefer to spend my time explaining Katherine with a K than have the name I do have, although I'd never actually change it.

December 6, 2010 11:22 AM

NJ - I also find the sheer number of nicknames for Elizabeth makes me less likely to choose it as a name. I also have the same concern about Eleanor. I think the nns Nell and Nora are both so terrific that I'm not sure how I'd pick. My first 3 kids all had names without nns so it wasn't an issue but sometimes I still don't feel like I know what to call my Katharine. Is she Katie? Kate? Kit? and now my hubby has been calling her Kat! On the boys side we've added Andrew to our list but I'm not sure if I'd go with Andy, Drew, or just use the full name.

By Amy3
December 6, 2010 12:47 PM

@NJ, I prefer Katherine, followed by Catherine and Katharine. I'm not a fan of the -ryn ending.

Katherine is my daughter's middle name and I sometimes wish we'd used a nn for it as a term of endearment for her (my mn is Christine and my dad calls me Chris), but we've never done it and I'm pretty sure my dh would think it's ridiculous. He's not much of a nicknamer to start and then using one based on her middle name? Crikey! He could never do it! She might really like it, though, as she wishes we used a nn for her.

December 6, 2010 12:49 PM

NJ- My friend almost got called Katharine, but her dad complained he would forget how to spell it! She's now the much simpler Emma.

Newby- I prefer Evelyn Jane slightly over Katharine Jane, but they are both great choices.

Also in the Telegraph: Z3bed33 Eb3nezer Jay, brother for Badger, Florence and Clementine.

December 6, 2010 2:39 PM

NJ-I prefer the spelling of Kathryn, then Catharine, then Katherine. I have a Y in my name so I always wanted to pass on the Y. It didn't work out but it was a nice thought.

another Laura-That's one of the reasons I didn't pick Elizabeth as a name for DD. I don't care for the nn Liz. Libby is cute though. I like Beth but hubby didn't. Picking a name based on its nn's is definitely something that mattered to our family. We ultimately used names without nn's although we do have "cutesy" family names.

Awkward Turtle-Badger as a given name??

December 6, 2010 3:24 PM

Zoerhenne- I get the feeling it's a cute family name (I once saw a birth announcement with Mouse listed as a sister, probably the same thing). But I can't find Badger's proper name, no matter how I search the Telegraph website. Although I did find Badger's sisters (Florence Liberty Opal and Clementine Bessie Catherine, which are gorgeous) and there is an 1vo Arthur Badger from six years ago.

December 6, 2010 3:55 PM

Hee, Elizabeth T, I love that you pluralized it as Evelyns Waugh!

Re: Cary and Carrie -- I do like Carrie, I think because its ties to the Little House series make it more retro-1870s to me than retro-1970s. But, if I were in that couple, and Carrie were short for Caroline, I would start shifting one of the many other short forms (Caro, Carol, Lina) - anything that would enable clearer marital name divisions than relying on titles! Of course, that might not be an option - the Carrie I know is a Carrie by birth, not a Caroline or some other longer name. I guess another argument for long forms on the birth certificate!

As for names like Elisabeth and their versatility - I do think if you established your child as a Libby or a Beth, it's very likely that others would follow your lead... until your child reaches an age where they start having opinions about it. Maybe Libby would stick beyond the childhood nickname stage, but it's also possible that Elizabeth might one day announce that she will only answer to "Liz" (or "Beth" or "Betsy"). If you actively dislike one of the nicknames for a name, then I agree that's ground for moving on to another name.

Of course, nothing will stop an Elizabeth from going by Spider or Red or George or whatever else, but most nicknames seem to riff off the given name, so I think it's not a good idea to invite a nickname you wouldn't want to use for your child, especially if it's a nickname commonly in current use. Super archaic nicknames (Hodge, Dickon) are exempt, because I don't think you run much risk of those being used unless you actively encourage them.

Re: Catherine spellings. I think all of the permutations [C/K]ath[a/e]r[ine/yn] are well established enough that your child will be clarifying often anyway. If it's a family name, I would use that spelling. Otherwise, I'd the one that brings to mind your favorite literary/historical namesake. Failing that, the one that looks best with your surname. You could also use the one that more neatly yields your favorite nickname (e.g. Kate is a bit more intuitive to me than Cate, Blanchett notwithstanding)... but as the topic of the post makes clear, the letters can switch for the nickname spelling!

Oh, and I very much say [C/K]ath[e/r]ine with three syllables, but Kathryn with two, so if you wanted the two syllable pronunciation, I'd pick that spelling to make it clear!

Because of Wuthering Heights and wanting to discourage Katie, and just general K-name-overdose in recent past, if I were chosing I would probably go with Catherine. However, my second favorite is Katharine (two letters away!), I think due to the Hepburn influence.

December 6, 2010 4:59 PM

Figured I'd chime in with the full story of how we ended up at Katharine with the extra a. My mom is a Catherine so that spelling would have been obvious. Dh and I like the child to have a saint's name and there are several Saint Catherines. But, as I mentionned I wanted Kate with a K so I found out about Saint Katharine Drexel. I'm of course concerned with how much it will be misspelled especially as I frequently see Saint Katharine's name spelled Katherine - at a nearby church with a mosaic of her and in my husband's missal. I am glad we went with the "K" especially as we've played around with Kit and Kat as nn. With Katharine I got sorta lucky to find a really great saint with the K spelling. Our next girl is likely to be Theresa/Teresa and I'm agonizing over how to spell it. Both Saint Teresa and Mother Teresa do not have an 'h' and the 'h' spelling seems to be falling out of use (sorta like Katharine's spelling). But I think the name is much lovelier with the 'h'.

December 6, 2010 5:40 PM

lucubratrix: "Because of Wuthering Heights and wanting to discourage Katie, and just general K-name-overdose in recent past, if I were chosing I would probably go with Catherine."

Wuthering Heights was one of the influences that led me to name my daughter Catherine and call her Cathy. As an adult she has preferred to be called Catherine, but Cathy was such a dear name for her when she was a little girl. And to me, Cathy didn't seem the same as Kathy at all. From time to time I've wondered how Emily Bronte came to chose the nickname Cathy for the heroine of her novel; Cathy doesn't seem to fit as a mid-19th century name. I need to research that sometime. My husband preferred Katherine for our daughter, after his Aunt Katie, but "Katie" sounded too 'country' to me at that time.

When Catherine decided to name her second daughter Katrina, she just assumed the K-spelling, but then reconsidered and decided to follow the C-spelling of her own name. I later discovered that the Scottish name Catriona is pronounced "Catrina", which fits well with the Scottish ancestry in our family. Catrina was soon being called "Catie" -- later "Cate" -- so we ended up with a Catie/Cate after all. But as with Cathy/Kathy, Catie/Cate doesn't seem quite the same as Katie/Kate to me.

I want to add that I love the name Kate too (and I now think Katie is sweet for a little girl). I still prefer Catherine-with-a-C, but also like the spelling used by Katharine Hepburn.

My daughter Catherine and I are thrilled that Prince William is marrying lovely Catherine "Kate" Middleton!

December 6, 2010 7:13 PM

@chimu and other international users:
Several international users have managed to register for Expert subscriptions using our current system. I'm afraid the costs for us to set up a more sophisticated billing system are more than our little business can bear right now. If you are truly stuck in the billing process, please contact me or Laura using the contact form on the site and we can set up a manual subscription process for you.

December 6, 2010 9:15 PM

Another Laura,
I also prefer the Theresa spelling. I have a Sarah, so the 'h' doesn't seem superfluous to me at all!

December 6, 2010 9:45 PM

E. G. Withycombe's "The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names", originally published by Oxford University Press, 1945, lists C/Katherine under the K-spelling: Katharine, Katherine, Catharine, Catherine. Some interesting information about the name: "...The usual Old French forms of the were 'Caterine' and 'Cateline' (the latter under the influence of the common diminutive suffix '-line), and in Middle English it usually appears as 'Katerine', 'Kateline', or 'Catlin; the spelling with 'th' came in about the 16th C, and in the 17th C the usual spelling is 'Catherne, Katherne'. The name has been a steady favourite since its first introduction, changes in fashion only affecting the various pet-forms: 'Kitty' seems to have been an early one, and by the end of the 16th C it had met the usual fate of common pet-names... and became a term for a loose woman. In the 16th and 17th C 'Kate" was the common diminutive; 'Kitty' came in again in the 18th and early 19th C [brings to mind Kitty, the youngest sister in Pride and Prejudice], 'Kate, Katie' in the late 19th C. All are now used, as well as 'Cathy' and 'Kay'..."

December 6, 2010 10:34 PM

Thanks for posting that Patricia. So interesting!

December 6, 2010 11:52 PM

According to UK General Registry Office (GRO) statistics for the top 100 baby names in England and Wales during the 20th century (Historic Baby Name Ranks - http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=15282), Catherine was the most favored spelling of that name during the last century. This chart gives the top 100 names for girls and boys beginning in 1904 and continuing every 10 years through 1994. Three spellings of the name Catherine made it into the top 100 at some time during the 20th century -- Catherine, in the top 100 throughout the century; Kathryn, in the top 100 from the 1950s into the 1990s; and Katherine from the 1960s through the 1990s. Katharine was never a top 100 name in England and Wales during the 20th century. Kate and Katie ranked as top 100 names from the 1970s through the 1990s, Kate ranking 61 in 1994 and Katie, 14, that year.

Other data shows that Catherine remained in the top 100 through 2001, while Katherine, which began to overtake Catherine in the 1980s, remained in the top 100 through 2004. In 2009 neither name was in the top 100s, with Katherine ranking 169, and Catherine, 267. Kate placed at #278, while Katie was the most popular form of the name at #31.

It will be interesting to see if Catherine makes a comeback in 2011 as the preferred spelling of the name in the UK and if the popularity of Kate as a given name increases again too.

By Sharalyn (not verified)
December 7, 2010 12:22 AM

Ok, so I'm a bit dismayed. The names we can agree on are very "classical" in feel and style. (Otherwise my husband and I have *very* different tastes in names).

I'm due May 14th. As my oldest was a preemie (6 weeks early), it is likely I could go early again, but not by as much. In fact, my midwife thinks I will deliver in the last week of April.

Only names we can (mostly) agree on right now?
Katheryn (he wants the -yn, I want 3 syllables)

I don't know if I can do it now, knowing that the week I'm likely to deliver during is also their wedding week!

As for going back to the drawing board, it will be horribly difficult. My husband likes: Augustus, Maximillian, Octavian, Julius, etc., while I like Patrick, Matthew, Benjamin, Samuel, etc. For girls he's in the Cassandra, Cassiopeia, Angelique, Gabriella, etc. camp while I'm in the Margaret, Evelyn, Eleanor, Lydia, Charlotte, etc. camp.

Any helps for such differing styles? We had agreed on on 3 names for each sex 10 years ago when I was pg with my son--he was easy: Alex@nd3r J@mes


By Sharalyn (not verified)
December 7, 2010 12:22 AM

Oh, for nn, Katheryn would be Kitty and William would be Liam.

By knp-nli (not verified)
December 7, 2010 1:07 AM

Sharalyn: I wouldn't worry so much. First of all, while your top names for each gender do match the royal couple (mostly), you aren't having twins, right? So it won't be like you will have Katheryn AND William. ;) I always believe going with what you love- and if both your hubby and you agree with those names, go with it!

You do have have very different styles (your husband's style is suprisingly-- fancy??), but it seems like your middle ground is timeless names on the longer side-- Alexander, William and Katheryn all fall into that category for me (and are in Laura's book too). Other names:
Claire (not longer, but I like it, and may be a nice mn for you)

Julian (rather than Julius)

December 7, 2010 1:50 AM

Sharalyn, this is a fun challenge for me because I think your husband and I have a very similar naming style (except for the Gabriella/Angelique part - he's on his own there).

I would myself probably try to avoid naming a baby Kate or William during the week around the royal wedding, but if it's the only name you can agree on, then do it. I think it's the sort of association that would become very mild with time, since there are many other associations and most people won't keep the royal wedding date burned into the forefront of their consciousness. Also, since you would be dealing with a Kitty and not a Kate, that really removes it quite a bit... ditto Liam rather than William. However, as I think someone said earlier here, you can now either have a Kate OR a William, but I think both in a sibset would start getting noticed, unless it were a really, really large sibset. So, if more children are a possibility, I would think about whether you're more attached to one or the other.

August, which is a little bit less gladiator (and I say that with affection) than his preferences but just a little bit more out there than yours? Similarly, Julian or its variants (like the awesome Jolyon, which for me is a wee step in the direction of Julius since it's a bit medieval and a bit less soft than Julian)?

Is he into non-classical heroic names, too? If so, Arthur might capture some of the spirit of the names he likes while also having some of the gentle strength/regal association of your names. I think that would be my top rec to you actually. And maybe he could be won over to George which to me is a little bit fresher and unexpected than the other kingly names? I'd include Tristan as another accessible hero name except that it's been really flipping direction girl of late.

How do you feel about Octavia for girls? I think it sort of fits in more with your naming style for the girls. Cassandra would also be top of my list for a crossover between his classical tastes and your classic tastes - it's a lot like Alexander in that it's a classical name that's also a new classic!

Can I say how much I love that he has Cassiopeia on his list? It's awesome! I can see how it would be not your cup of tea, though.

What were the other three names for each sex that you agreed on 10 years ago - are any of those still in the running?

I'll keep thinking about this and see if I can come up with anything else constructive!

[ETA: I think that Penelope is a brilliant suggestion for you two-- wholeheartedly seconded, knp! I love it because to me it is very classical, but it's also now very much accessible and a "new classic" in the making The same reasoning applies to knp's Helena and Marcus... I would also expand that to include Helen, too, for more classical association.]

December 7, 2010 4:05 AM

Thanks for the responses on my issue with name expert. I managed to sign up using a post code from a US state and it seemed to accept that! A lot of the time these things don't work unless you have a full US address. Pleased to see that isn't the case here. Now off to play.......

By Bue
December 7, 2010 8:51 AM

A couple of people have mentioned pronouncing Katherine with three syllables and Kathryn with two. Really? Is this common? Having lived in Canada and the UK, I've only ever heard it with two. I would say there's not even a slight breath in between. I'm quite interested to hear others pronounce it differently.

Re: Badger - that one is so wacky, even for the Telegraph, that it got a mention on BBC Radio 2 last night!

December 7, 2010 9:56 AM

Bue-I say it like this..Katherine=Kath-er-in OR Kathryn=Kath-rin. It's more of a difference in the syllabication and where the name is split more than an actual pronunciation difference. Not as much of a distinct thing as the Alistair thing.

Sharalyn-Your boy style is much like mine. Very cool! I love Al3xander Jam3s. Interestingly enough, your husband's girl choices are very much to my liking.So I'm a great mix of both of you. I agree with the worry about Katherine AND William together and agree with the other posters that you might need to decide on just one of those based on if there will be more children. I might go with Carolyn or Madelyn for the -lyn ending and 3 syl. However, getting back to the names to give you some other choices..Take a look at my profile for more suggestions.
Elliott; Maxwell (rather than Maximillian); Bianca; Samantha; Olivia; Cecelia; Josephine; Rachael; Noah; Simon; Victoria; Iris; Spencer; Audrey; Celeste; Phillip; Preston; Isaac; Vaughn
Also try Nymbler for more ideas. Good luck :)

December 7, 2010 12:43 PM

Bue, in my family Catherine is pronounced with 2 syllables, but I have -- very occasionally -- heard the name pronounced with a faint 'uh' in the middle. (I live in the US midwest.)

By Sharalyn (not verified)
December 7, 2010 12:51 PM

Thanks for all the comments so far. We have put the name discussion on hold until the 20th as that is when our ultrasound is. Hopefully we'll be able to eliminate one set of names based on what we'll be having. However, I'm stressing about it anyway since we're *so* different on both!

Ok, so originally, we were going to have:
Christoph3r J@mes
P@trick Alex@nder
M@tthew Rich@rd
K@theryn Elis3
M@rg@ret Ruth
L@ura G@briell3

Our son's name got changed when we were about 8 weeks along. Christopher just didn't feel right, and we both came up with a new combination that ended up being the same!

So I have some specific naming criteria:
~No first initials the same as another family member (I grew up with all "S"s and it drove me nuts), so A, G, J, S, and X are out.
~Any thing that starts with the sh- sound is out because our last name starts with Sh- (thus, one of my favorites, Charlotte, is out)
~We are not opposed to names with nn's and prefer names with multiple choices for nn's, although that is not a hard criteria.
~We have a close, large, extended family. Therefore, some of the names we agree on are out because of living family members that would cause confusion and/or are not people we want thinking we named our child after them.
~There is the possibility of more children. We may have one more ourselves, and we do plan to adopt, but those children may come with their own names. ;-)

By Sharalyn (not verified)
December 7, 2010 12:58 PM

That was getting long, sorry.
Ok, so names listed above that are out for family reasons are:

Of those, we liked Elizabeth and Stephen.

My list of boy's names that I like are:
Richard (middle name only)*
Ryan (middle name only)
*Family names of deceased

I know a lot of those rules I listed above are broken in this list, but I was getting desperate as my husband won't give me a list, but just crosses things off of mine.

Gabrielle (middle name only)

He crossed off anything that sounded "old" to him or were plant names right off the bat.

By Sharalyn (not verified)
December 7, 2010 1:05 PM

So we were left with:

Willow (why this escaped the plant crossoff?)

Problem is, neither of us is really thrilled or in full agreement. He is calling the baby Katheryn (which I'm not sold on for several reasons) even though we don't know what we're having yet!

I love Helena, Caroline, Madeline, and Claudia, but he refuses to even have them on my list. Rachel was an ex-girlfriend, so that's out. Victoria is my cousin. Tristan is my brother's Bassett.

We both love the nn Max, but he refuses to have Maxwell ("That's a coffee!" "You like coffee!"), and I cannot stand Maximillian or Maximus.

If anyone has more suggestions, I'd be thrilled to hear them. Otherwise, I think I need to re-approach this after the 20th. Knowing our genes, we'll probably end up with a child not showing the goods, and we'll have to discuss both. *sigh*
Thanks for listening and helping!

By Sharalyn (not verified)
December 7, 2010 1:29 PM

Oh, and I can't stand Cassandra or the nn Cassie. Mostly bad associations with every single one I've ever met, so I just can't do it. I like the *idea* of it, but when it comes to practicality, I just can't.

December 7, 2010 5:50 PM

The Spouse and I had similar debates about Maxwell vs Maximilian vs Maximus or even Maxim, (including the "It's a coffee." "But you LIKE coffee!" "Not THAT coffee!"). We ended up just using Max (in the middle spot). Neither of us is generally a fan of nicknames as given names, but Max has a long history as a given name, including in my family tree, so we just went for it, and we're all happy we did. A fringe benefit is that just Max can help balance out the most other multi-syllabic male names to give some good cadence to the final full name.

What I recommend - get the expert subscription for a trimester and then use the matchmaker to generate vast quantities of names for your husband to veto... or force him to actually generate a list using it. :)

But it seems like you also still have some names on your list from years ago, and if you still like those names, by all means, keep them on the list to see if they fit your little one!

Good luck, and let us know if you get some more data at the ultrasound!

By Bue
December 8, 2010 8:43 AM

lucubratrix, I too was about to point out that Max is a perfectly legitimate name on its own. It was my great grandfather's name - in Germany (where he was born) it is very often "just Max".

December 8, 2010 11:31 AM

I'm a little surprised by your take on "Kate". I've never ever thought of it as a "mom's" name.

Kate has always seemed very strong, young, bold, fresh, zingy and sassy to me. Maybe growing up watching Kate Jackson on "Charlie's Angels" had something to do with that...

Then there was Kate Winslet -- who is of course a mom -- but who gave the name a very sexy boost from the screen after Titanic, as well as Cate Blanchett, who of course, rather ironically played another legendary sassy Kate (Hepburn) in film.

I guess it just depends on ones exposure. For example, Olivia was a huge surprise hit to me, as I had always known that name as a "mom's" name (from the Waltons).

I always thought that the name Olivia sat rather uncomfortably on the wee shoulders of adorable Raven Symone on the Cosby Show. And, now, one can't move an inch without trapping over an Olivia! :)

And as for Kate/Katie, "becoming" a hit, I think it is well on its way. I already know tons of Kates and Katies, all under 30. I think the new princess will definitely prompt a surge!

Great name with a bit of everything: history, culture, Shakespeare, classic feel, and a pre-packaged nickname!

By NicolaL (not verified)
December 11, 2010 5:35 PM

"Britain's royalty culture"? There isn't one. The media care about 500% more about the wedding than the public. I'd be willing to bet that most British people don't really care about the wedding, or the royal family in general. They're an outmoded, outdated symbol of all that is wrong with the country, and the more this non-story is shoved down my throat the more I'm turned off names like Kate and William, which I usually love.

By Gina D (not verified)
January 10, 2011 12:18 PM

Please, please revisit this topic! I have been searching for just these kinds of "classic" names--they are unmistakably recognizable names (they don't sound "invented") but still uncommon and unlikely to be shortened into involuntary nicknames. It's hard to find these particular kinds of names even on this excellent site!

By Gina D (not verified)
January 10, 2011 12:20 PM

I meant to quote the earlier post I was replying to--which now I'm looking for it may not even be on this page--about "flat" names, timelessly "popular" but nevertheless uncommon. Sorry for the mixup.

January 10, 2011 9:09 PM

I've really been enjoying reading these comments and wanted to weigh in on the C/Katherine/C/Kate debate.

Growing up, I hated my given name because kids at school made up inane rhymes about it (incidentally, now I love it). My mother once mentioned to me that she almost named me Katherine, and for the rest of my childhood I wished she had.

When DH and I were expecting our daughter, we decided almost immediately that we wanted to name her Katherine. We would call her by her given name, and if we used a nn it would be Kate. Then I did some research on old Gaelic names (both DH and I are of Irish heritage as far back as we can trace). I found that the Gaelic form of Katherine is Caitrin. As a kid, I thought I made up the name Caitrin and couldn't believe it when I found out it was real. I told DH about it and we decided DD was going to be Caitrin (we chose to pronounce it KAY-trin) Emily (mn is my sister's mn).

Fast forward three years and everyone who hears our daughter's name loves it. So does she. Her dad occasionally calls her Cait, but for the most part she goes by her given name. Of course, she does get called "Caitlin" a lot, but we knew that would happen. I think most people assume we were just "creative" namers. That couldn't be farther from the truth! It sometimes annoys me, but it also opens up opportunities to tell the story of her name, and when people find out that it's an old Gaelic name they like it even more.

By Guest1 (not verified)
January 17, 2011 5:52 AM

You can also find the meaning of the names given above.

By Guest1 (not verified)
January 17, 2011 5:53 AM

You can also find the meaning of the names and I think it's important :)

January 20, 2011 12:41 AM

I'm quite fond of Kate, but never considered using it as there's already a Katie in my family. I can't imagine calling a baby Catherine, but Kate or Katie feels much younger. I'd definitely call a child by the full version of the name though, simply to give her the choice later in life. The pros of this are amply illustrated by Ms Middleton.

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