My Husband and I are expecting twin girls in October and are stuck when it comes sticking to names or at least to a style we both like. Alberta is a name that has come up casually lately and for me was always a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I can't help but wonder why that is.

Alberta would perfectly honor me and my parents (last name B3rtram) and Alberta is also the name of a blues song we both love and listen to a lot at home by Eric Clapton. To top it all off, it actually fits with some other names that have been on our list and up for consideration, like Josephine, Theodora and Wilhelmina which were all at some point considered clunky, dated and grandmotherly but are now going back into style. I also like that it lends to a handful of lovely nicknames: Albie, Alba, Bertie, Bear, Birdie among others.

It would really be helpful if we could get some honest feedback on Alberta since we don't plan on announcing the names until we're 100% sure or, as it's looking like, after the twins are born.

Thank you in advance!


July 10, 2017 6:38 AM

I like it. it's serious with fun nicknames. Bertie and Birdie would be adorable for a little girl.

July 10, 2017 7:44 AM

It's one of my guilty pleasures, too, and now that you mention it, I have no idea why the "guilty"! I would be absolutely delighted to meet a little Alberta, and I would totally swoon over twin sisters with any of the names you mentioned. One caution, though: two feminized masculine names, such as Alberta, Josephine, and Wilhelmina, may come across to some people as "we really actually wanted boys". I don't think this is actually true, of course -- many of these names feel totally different from their masculine counterparts, and besides, cross-gender namesakes are a Good Thing, in my book -- but the possibility of such an impression is there.

July 10, 2017 8:40 AM

Thank you, so nice to see someone else liking Alberta as well! We probably wouldn't use two feminized masculine names as you said, it would be either Alberta or one of the others I listed. We're really indecisive and it's getting to be hard enough naming one baby that I wouldn't know where to start with the second.

Alberta has made us realize how much we like names that have to do with Jazz and Blues music which are our favorites. My husband plays harmonica, saxophone and a number of weird little percussion instruments with the amateur band he and his friends have been a part of since college. I think Alberta is very bluesy and it makes me like her more.

July 10, 2017 9:50 AM

Objectively, Alberta is a great name and very much other names I really like. However, being Canadian, it's 100% the provincial name. Though I'd never make such an obnoxious comment aloud, there certainly are those who fancy themselves hilarious who would ask if the other twin had a different province name. "Oh, this is Alberta? And who's this? Saskatchewan?"

However, as long as you aren't Canadian, especially one from Alberta or near there, you should be fine because, in my experience, Americans don't know much about Canadian provinces. 

July 10, 2017 10:25 AM

I second this but also underline that I don't think it's an issue for non-Canadians. I wouldn't look at all strangely at an American or English girl called Alberta. It would definitely make me wince on a Canadian though.

July 10, 2017 10:50 AM

Really?  This is so interesting to me, because I've come across lots of U.S kids with State names like Georgia, Dakota, Carolina & Indiana, and I have a great aunt named Virginia. As far as I know, none of them have gotten similiar comments/jokes.  I could maybe see an argument because Alberta being a bit fusty/uncommon, but Georgia was pretty fusty until recently.  Do you think it would have been an issue a few generations back when Alberta would have been more stylish?

July 10, 2017 11:18 AM

No, Canadians do not name kids after provinces or territories, but if you look at the list, you'll see that vey few lend themselves to being used as given names. 

British Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba, Ontario; Quebec: New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Yukon; Northwest Territories; Nunavut.

And it would feel really odd. Perhaps it has to do with Canada's more subtle form of patriotic identity, or maybe because using such names lacks historical precedent in the country, so by now it just feels weird. Alberta is the only name of the bunch that has historical use as a name, but since we haven't grown up hearing about people with the name, we can't dissociate it from the location.

Georgia has been used as a name for much longer than the state has been around, and many people probably know of a great aunt Georgia, so the name feels more person than place. And I suspect that quite a few American people naming their kids Georgia, for example, do it in spite of the state, not because of it. 

July 10, 2017 12:44 PM

If anyone has the drive to do so, I'll love to see the stats of state name use within and outside the state in question. 

July 10, 2017 5:19 PM

I played with it for just a bit, but am not sure how to see more than the top 100 names in each state.  If someone wants to point me in the right direction, I'd be willing to give it a go.

Currently, Georgia, Dakota, Virginia, Indiana, and Carolina are not in the top 100 nationwide or in their respective states. I was surprised to find that Caroline is #16 in N. Carolina and #10 in S. Carolina, despite ranking #56 nationwide.  

July 11, 2017 5:39 PM

There are oodles of wee Carolines in my neck of the woods (central NC).

July 10, 2017 8:04 PM

I don't have time to look further into it right now, but I know on "The Girls' Names that Define Your State's Style" blog post from about a month ago Caroline was listed for both of the Carolinas and Virginia in Virginia. Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia as given names all pre-date the United States' existence, though. Quite frankly, Dakota should not be used as a given name.

To NAGA, you can download the files of every name given to 5 or more boys or girls in each state on the SSA's website.

July 11, 2017 4:10 AM

i think Nova and Edward and Columbia also obviously work, though they are only parts of name... And Manitoba and Ontario and Nunavut would all have a sufficiently namey sound that they wouldn't surprise me all all. Just not as sibling names!!

When I am back in possession of my computer I will do the state name analysis!

July 11, 2017 8:50 AM

I actually do wince at place name names generally. I wouldn't for Georgia, Carolina and Viriginia (unless the child in question was actually from/living in that state, or right next to it) but I agree that a lot of the difference is in those names pre-dating the states in question, and probably also because I've known multiple (older) people with those names or their variants, so my brain thinks 'classic name' before it thinks of the place. Alberta definitiely falls into that category for me. I have the same thing with many city names-Brooklyn, Paris, London etc would make me wince but Florence wouldn't. 

July 10, 2017 11:27 AM

We're definitely not Canadian, but I did know of the existence of the province! Hard not to when you google Alberta, but that isn't a negative to me, I'm actually quite neutral about it. Thanks for pointing it out!

July 10, 2017 11:42 AM

Yes, *you* googled it because you're researching the name, but I'd wager that many people your daughter would encounter would not make the connection. I've been absolutely gobsmacked at how many Americans (living on the eat coast, especially,) have no clue about Canadian geography. I've literally been only a few hours south of home and had this conversation many times: 

"Are you from around here?" 

"No, I'm actually from Quebec."

*Blank stare* "Oh, I've never heard of it. What state is it in?" 

The same thing happens with the city name. Come ON! It's one of the three biggest cities in the country! I can understand if you've never been there, but surely you've *heard* of it! 

All that to say, it's a lovely name and most people will likely not make the connection. 


Oh! Haha! There is one other association with the name that musical theatre nerds might know.  There is a song in Avenue Q where a gay man is making up his "girlfriend who lives in Canada". It's a very funny (though slightly raunchy -- overcompensation, anyone?) song and will only be a plus to anyone who thinks of it :)

July 10, 2017 11:46 AM

I just listened to it, it's hilarious! Definitely a plus, lol!

July 10, 2017 12:22 PM

I'm actually shocked that you've had that conversation multiple times. I mean I've heard jokes about Americans being awful at geography outside of the US but I assumed that they'd know Canada! 

July 10, 2017 12:42 PM

I've had variations of that conversation more times than I can count. It always ends with me saying that it's in Canada, which finally triggers some recognition. I mean, I admit that I can't place the central states on a map, but I know approximately where all the US states are and have certainly heard of them all. 

July 10, 2017 12:43 PM

Um, there are plenty of Americans who don't know the difference between Mexico and New Mexico. When I started schools, history and geography were part of the standard curriculum, although the way geography was taught in those days would make today's hair stand on end. Before I graduated, these disciplines were mushed together as social studies, and the content was watered down. So, essentially don't know much about geography--or history, for that matter.

July 10, 2017 5:05 PM

Also sad.  If it makes you feel any better, my son seems to be getting more world geography (going to be a HS freshman) than I remember getting at his age.  So perhaps things are starting to swing around.  

Though, now I think about it, geography is one of his geeky obsessions. It's possible he has learned more on is own and/or just talks about it more than I remember talking about it at his age.


July 10, 2017 5:02 PM

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I guess I'm really not.  I am at least familiar with the names of the Canadian provinces, though I admit I can't place them all correctly on a map.  I could manage British Colombia, Quebec, Ontario & Yukon for sure.  The middle onces are all kind of a jumble for me, and I'd struggle telling the difference between PEI, NB & NS, but if someone told me that's where they were from, I'd at least know they were Canadian.

July 11, 2017 8:10 AM

Even if you were Canadian, I can confirm that I have met a Canadian named Alberta and my jaw didn't drop to the floor with horror ;) She's about 70 now, but still. It's the name of a province, but it IS actually a name so I don't see it as an issue in any scenario. Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nunuvut, Yukon... just, no. They're indigenous words and it just seems weird/wrong to use them as a name out of the blue given the difficult history, unless you are perhaps of that First Nation. Nova is a trending name locally, and I'm in Nova Scotia. I've even heard of Scotland locally, as well as Scotlyn (Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland) so apparently we have no shame whatsoever.

July 15, 2017 3:14 AM

Scotlyn... Wow. Maybe to honor a dad named Scott?

I know a little Irelynn. I don't know if her family is Irish or not.

July 17, 2017 3:29 AM

When my cousin had a baby my mom sent a text to say "name is apparently 'Irish' but I'm hoping she actually meant 'Iris." The name actually turned out to be Niamh. :-D

July 11, 2017 12:00 PM

I'm American, and Alberta is absolutely the province as well.  I feel the same way about American state place names, although since there are more states that sound name-like it might register a bit less.  However, I would imagine that even people from the province of Alberta are aware that it is sometimes used as a name, even if that use is rare there.  I can imagine anyone from any country joking about it, but not seriously thinking that the name is unacceptable.

Where I teach I have frequently had students named "America."  I have even heard "California" used as a name.  Also, a few local towns are "namelike" enough that I have had students with the same name as nearby schools we play against in sports.  It comes up every so often, but not constantly.  For instance, an America might say "thanks" sarcastically in response to someone saying or reading "God Bless America," but usually it is easy to tell the difference between the various uses for the word "America."  I would guess "Alberta" would work similarly.

July 10, 2017 10:44 AM

I've loved the name Albert for a boy for about as long as I can remember, but honestly Alberta never occured to me until your post.  I really like it!  I also adore the nickname Birdie, and would probably be tempted to find a name for the other twin that would lend itself to a nature-y nickname.

From your list, I really like Alberta & Josephine.  Bidie & Fi, Allie & Josie, or Al & Jo would all be super cute without seeming too matchy for twins.

Some other names I like that would fit well with Alberta include Winifred, Matilda, Martha & Harriet.

July 10, 2017 11:25 AM

I love your nickname ideas, thank you! Josephine is definitely one of our top contenders, but we're still not sure about anything! I also really love Harriet and Winifred, but my husband isn't a fan of either.

If you all could give us some ideas of names that have an animal-related sound or meaning it would be pretty helpful, preferably something vintage or in similar style to Alberta.

July 10, 2017 12:45 PM

Well, there are the lion names. Leona strikes me as similar in style to Alberta.

July 10, 2017 5:11 PM

Oh, I really like Leona with Alberta.  

Perhaps Ursula, Rosalind or Mavis?

July 11, 2017 3:47 AM

I second Ursula! Probably my favourite animal name and I think it goes spendidly with Alberta.


July 10, 2017 12:16 PM

I actually really like Alberta. I think it definitely fits in with the fusty/clunky names that are back in style now and I also love all the potential nicknames (I'm a nickname person so that's always a huge plus in a name for me). I did think of the Canadian province but only after I'd considered the name for a minute and as you're not Canadian/living in Canada I don't think it would be an issue.

By cj34
July 10, 2017 8:09 PM

I think it's beautiful and charming, especially since it's meaningful to you. I haven't met any Albertas, but could see it fitting in with the kids I know. 

July 11, 2017 4:07 AM

This! I do know of the province but that seems like a total nonissue given the other placenames which were originally named after people, which continue to be popular as people names too. If it did strike you as a problem, there is always Albertina,  middle name of my grandmother. The nickname Birdie is such a pleasing contrast with the full Alberta that I don't think the name would have any trouble fitting in!

July 14, 2017 11:14 PM

Hi ladies, so we have officially decided on Alberta for baby A and are now on the hunt for baby B's name. We really liked the idea of the Leo- names and have taken to Leontine (Leon-teen). What are your opinions and impressions on it? Another name that we have suddenly fallen smitten with is Magnolia, though it doesn't have the desired animal connection, it feels very southern and jazzy to me.

July 15, 2017 1:55 AM

Talk about having to choose between bacon and ice cream, but I think Magnolia is a better match for Alberta, if only by a hair. Leontine is just a tad bit more glamorous than southern ladies Magnolia and Alberta, if you know what I mean? For different-age siblings it would be fine, but twins will get compared all the time, so it's good to make sure neither name is "prettier" than the other.

July 15, 2017 2:58 AM

Leontine is certainly musical and southern, Leontyne Price being my immediate (and only) association, but opera is not jazzy...

I think Magnolia may feel prettier than either Alberta or Leontine to many people, because of the flower. (Based on sound, M & L are about equal: adjacent vowels, mostly-liquid consonants.) Leontine is not as obviously a feminized masculine name as Alberta is, but it is based on Leontius/Leontios. Of course, Magnolia is a French guy's surname with -ia tacked on at the end...

Gah, I'm no help, I like both choices! Draw one out of a hat, or wait until the girls are born to decide which one fits better?

July 15, 2017 11:24 PM

I adore the idea of twins named Alberta and Leontine! They feel very stylistically similar without sharing similar sounds or being matchy-matchy at all. Leontine gets my vote! I do like Magnolia, too, although it's not my favorite floral name. I get more of a stately Southern than jazzy Southern vibe from it. Leontine actually feels jazzier to me. If those are the only two names in the running for baby B, then maybe you should try the coin flip test. Flip a coin and if you're happy with the winner, then that's the name. If you feel disappointed with the result of the coin flip, then you know you actually prefer the other name, so either way you end up finding your favorite. Are you also giving the girls middle names? I actually really love the combination Leontine Magnolia.

July 16, 2017 6:26 PM

I'll second the vote for Leontine Magnolia if you are looking for middles, that's a great name. You could look for another unusual flower name for Alberta to make a nice balance (Alberta Jessamine, Alberta Iris), it would be a nice subtle connection for them as middle names are mostly hidden.

July 16, 2017 6:18 PM

I'm glad Alberta made the cut. :)

It's not a name I'm overly familiar with but I really like Leontine. I like it more than Magnolia (both on it's own and paired with Alberta) and disagree that Magnolia is prettier; while magnolia has the flower connection going for it I think Leontine is the prettier/lighter name in terms of sound, there's just something quite heavy about Magnolia to me. Alberta and Magnolia as a pair put me more in mind of older ladies whereas I think Alberta and Leontine sound fresh and fun. Plus sisters Alberta and Leontine nicknamed Birdy and Lion is just too cute an opportunity to miss! 

By EVie
July 17, 2017 12:23 PM

I also think Alberta and Leontine are a fabulous pair. I'm in the camp that finds Magnolia "prettier" (well, maybe more flowery and feminine is a better way to describe it), and I like the match between the heftier Alberta and Leontine. They feel like a very Victorian pair to me, which is a style I really like.

I have a strong personal association with Leontine--it was the name of my great-great-great-grandmother (though spelled and pronounced the French way, Léontine, lay-ohn-TEEN). She was born in Paris, but moved to Tehran to work as the French teacher to the children of the Shah of Iran. In 1907 at the age of 64 she was murdered and her body found thrown down a well. We don't know for sure what happened, but the family legend is that she was a spy working for the French government. I have always imagined her as a very tough and resourceful lady, and that's what I associate with the name. 

July 17, 2017 2:59 PM

EVie, that story just demands a book! What a horrible but fascinating story it must be.

By EVie
July 17, 2017 10:23 PM

My mother has said the same thing! She's done some digging in the French national archives and is still hoping to find some explanation, but we may never know. 

July 15, 2017 12:03 AM

not fussed on Alberta,  nor Leontine,  Magnolia is ok and the nn Nola or Maggie are sweet,  Magdalena is pretty


Branwen has a similar meaning to Bertram or Corbin/Corvina, Fiacra, Raven

Bertina, Bertrice, Liberta, Liberty - still contain the Bert honour - even Elberta sounds a little more feminine or Elbertina,  Auberta, Reberta, Luberta


Leona, Leonie, Leora, Eleanor, Eleora, Lenora, Leola - Ariel, Aria, Ariella, Ariyah, plus Leona, Leonie and the other Leo names Leya, Ruslana, Leandra  have the same meaning as Leontine


love Josephine



July 18, 2017 1:41 AM

Leoda is another old-timey leo-name that's not around much anymore.