I Can't Decide--Please Help!

A co-worker told me this is the best forum for thoughtful opinions on baby names.  That's exactly what I need!  I cannot commit to a baby name and my husband says it gives him anxiety to think about.  My first three kids have very meaningful names, so I need to name #4 (due April) to have a story as well.  So here are the two stories:

My father's biological dad left when he was quite young and when his mother remarried, the new husband legally adopted my father and my father changed his last name.  After my father got married, his biological father called him and asked him to meet.  He said, "Son, I am not a good person.  I have done a lot of things I'm not proud of.  But your grandpa was a hell of a man and because of me, he doesn't have a namesake.  If you will change your last name to Mitchell, I will leave you the orange groves and the two motels as an inheritance."  My dad didn't do it out of loyalty to the man who raised him.  In the past couple years, I have caught the genealogy bug and I like watching "Who Do You Think You Are" and stuff.  I've learned more about that grandpa and he WAS a cool guy.  He was a black belt martial artist and used to teach at the police academy.  So, for that reason:

Mitchell Knight (Knight is my mother-in-law's maiden name)

Story two:  I love to read.  I was named for a character in "Gone With the Wind."  My favorite book of all time is "The Count of Monte Cristo."  I live in the South.  For that reason:

Rhett Alexander (Rhett from "Gone With the Wind" and Alexander after the author of "The Count of Monte Cristo")

The first story is more compelling, but I feel like the second name is more handsome and flows a bit more nicely.  What do you all think?


January 10, 2014 10:36 AM

Wow, what a story!! I see your dilemma! I feel like this is a question only you and your husband can answer, because I think it really depends on which one you can't live without. 

That said, I can tell you what I would do -- family names and connections are huge for me, so I'm sure I'd want to work in Mitchell somehow. Mitchell Knight is a really cool combo, and I like that you include your mil's maiden name. But perhaps, if your husband or you have any qualms about using Mitchell because of how your fil (the man who raised your husband) might take it, Mitchell is better in the mn spot? I'm not sure I love the flow of Rhett Mitchell, but Alexander Mitchell is very handsome AND (huge bonus!!!!) with Margaret Mitchell having written GWTW, you still have connections to both of your favorite books. I also like Mitchell Alexander, if you prefer Mitchell in the fn spot.

Good luck!

January 10, 2014 10:38 AM

Also, with my vote being for either Alexander Mitchell or Mitchell Alexander, I'd love to know your other kids' names to see which combo works best with the style you already have going.

January 10, 2014 12:05 PM

Mitchell is a great name, and it is an interesting story.  However, I would worry about using it.  How will your husband's father (who raised him) and his mother feel about it? Combing her maiden name with bio-dad's surname (especially with bio-dad's surname first) might not sit well with them.  If this grandfather your husband never knew was such a great guy, maybe a better namesake would be to use his first or middle name instead.  These are more directly connected to him & less likely to bring up old memories with your MIL (I assume Mitchell was once her last name too).

I think I'd be more inclined to include a name that has meaning to you, plus one with (positive) meaning to your husband & his family.  Along those lines, maybe Alexander Knight or Rhett Knight (though flow isn't ideal).  Or even Edmond Knight could work.

By EVie
January 10, 2014 1:26 PM

I agree with all of this, and I think that Alexander Knight is just gorgeous. 

January 10, 2014 6:08 PM

What was grandpa Mitchell's first name? Is that an option?

I prefer Mitchell over Rhett, on the grounds of timelessness. If you look at each name's popularity history in the Name Voyager, you'll see that Rhett was nowhere before Gone with the Wind, and has a huge spike in the last few years as people have gotten more adventurous with names. Part of the appeal of a name like that is it's novelty, so it will probably crash back down once it becomes "too" popular, and end up date stamped. "Mitchell" on the other hand, has a long history of consistent use, but is unusual enough that your son won't meet many (if any) his age.

Agreed that Mitchell Alexander or Alexander Mitchell are very good solutions.

January 10, 2014 9:08 PM

I hands down prefer Mitchell Knight, both the story behind it and the actual name. I'm not fond of Rhett, though I love Alexander (who dosen't?) To me Mitchell Knight flows excellently, though that culd change based on the last name, and depending on that, Knight could end up sounding like a hyphenated last name.

January 12, 2014 10:36 PM

Wow.  My buddy was right.  What thoughtful responses from all of you!  I never considered Mitchell Alexander, which sounds so nice together.  I will have to see if hubby will let me use two names significant to me and ditch the Knight, which is significant to him.  Another one he considered using was his first name (which he doesn't go by because it was his father's first name also) in the middle name position: Richard.  Thoughts about Mitchell Richard?  I don't think Rhett Richard would work.  But maybe Alexander Richard or Richard Alexander?  I am not sure whether I like the name Richard.  Rich? Ricky? Dick?  None good, really, right?

To answer some of your questions:

There seems to be some confusion here.  Mitchell is not the surname of my hubby's biological father.  It is the surname of my FATHER'S biological father--my biological grandfather.  I would be naming the baby after my biological great-grandfather.  My dad did know his biological grandfather, his biological grandmother, and even all his grandmother's sisters.  He has some nice memories of them, but they died before he reached his teens.  I would use my great-grandfather's first name, but it was Dewey, which I don't like, and besides, the next two generations were named Dewey, including my father's jerk dad and my pedophile uncle, so I don't want to use it.  (TMI?). I would use the man's middle name to keep it unique to him, but it was Ami.  Y'all probably understand not wanting to use that one.

Other kids in the sibset are Coleman Bryant, Audrey Paris, and Stella Lenore.

Thanks for all your feedback. Let me know if the above info changes your opinions at all.

January 13, 2014 11:12 AM

I really like Mitchell and think that Mitchell Knight is a nice way to honor both sides of the family. Mitchell Alexander sounds awesome (full disclosure: one of my sons is named Alexander). So your great-grandfather's name was Dewey Ami Mitchell? You could use Adam, Damon or Damian as a way to include his inititials (there's also Damocles and Saddam, but neither of them seem to fit the bill!). Adam might be nice as a tribute to your great-grandfather but also as a symbolic new start: Adam Mitchell?

January 15, 2014 1:04 AM

You got it! Dewey Ami Mitchell.  I like your suggestions and will run them past hubby.

January 13, 2014 11:45 AM

Oh geez, so sorry -- I did misread your original post and thought you were talking about your hubby's dad and grandfather! I like Mitchell Knight much better now that I see it represents both sides of the family, and names significant to both you and your husband.

I don't mind the idea of using Richard, and my favorite nn for it is Ritchie (I knew a Ritchie in high school who was hunky and kind, a good association for me!), but I don't like it with Mitchell or Rhett. Richard Alexander has the nicest flow to me of the ones you mentioned, though I think Richard Knight sounds the best of all, but then you lose the whole Mitchell thing, which I'd be reluctant to do.

My vote is still for Mitchell Alexander or Alexander Mitchell, and I think both go nicely with your other kids (I like all their names!).

January 13, 2014 11:59 AM

Oh!  I did totally misunderstand.  I feel a little better about Mitchell now that I know it's from your side of the family. Though, I honestly would still be hesitant to use it as a first name.  To me, the surname is more of a representation of the whole family-and it sounds like the whole family isn't exactly worthy of a namesake.  

Honestly, if you use Mitchell, I'd suggest you change the narrative a bit.  "I used Mitchell because it was the surname of Margaret Mitchell, who happened to write one of my favorite novels!  It just so happened to also be a name found in my family tree a couple generations back."  For me, it puts a much more positive spin to the while thing.  As a kid, I'm not sure I would wanted to be saddled with a name at the center of so much family drama.  But I would have loved being named after one of my mom's favorite authors.  Easy explanation to people you & your son don't know very well, but still acknowledges a family connection.  As your son gets older, he can then decide which narrative he prefers.

January 13, 2014 3:47 PM

I like the "I used Mitchell because it was the surname of Margaret Mitchell, who happened to write one of my favorite novels!  It just so happened to also be a name found in my family tree a couple generations back" narrative suggestion a lot.

January 13, 2014 7:03 PM


January 17, 2014 5:08 PM

I agree. I definitely prefer Mitchell. It's a surname, so it fits right in with the trends, but it's also timeless and underused, so it stands out :)