Lil' brother needs a name

I am due in three weeks with my second little boy. I am having a lot more trouble deciding on this child's name. My first son has two family names, Seneca from my mother's side and Charles, my father's name. I love his name! But I cannot decide on #2 at all.

My current favorite names are:








Any thoughts?

Joseph is a family name I might use for the mn. Other than that I have no family name inspirations. 


Thanks to all.




By Guest (not verified)
April 23, 2012 7:45 PM

Those are some mighty names! Of your list, I like Octavius and Luther best.

Here are some other Great Men of History type options:

Julius or Julian

Cato (sounds like Koa)






By Guest (not verified)
April 23, 2012 9:36 PM

Seneca is an Indian tribe and a finger lake - are there others that work as names? Just an idea. Shawnee. Ithaca.  Cayuga. Keika.

You have some good names already. My least favorites of those are Lafayette and Nehemiah, because they seem girly to me. I'm a bit gender rigid in my names, though, so it's fine if you disagree!

April 23, 2012 10:29 PM

If I understand your original post, it sounds like your son's name is Seneca. In this case I might think of a similar style name like Dakota which is western or maybe something like Rowan with a nature theme. So combos:

Dakota Luther; Atticus David; Sawyer Ryan; Koa Victor; Rowan Xavier   What are your thoughts on these?

By Guest (not verified)
April 24, 2012 10:14 AM

I like Hyz's suggestion of Rowan.  Seneca Charles & Rowan Joseph.  Seneca works because if the family name connection, bu I hesitate to suggest another Native American tribal name as many Native Americans find this practice offensive.    Nature names would work well- Afton, Linden, Cedar, or Sorrel maybe?  From your list, I think I like Cyrus and Koa best and they'd both work well with Joseph as the middle.  I really, really want to like Luther, but it seems a little blah next to Seneca.

By hyz
April 24, 2012 11:13 AM

lol, Rowan wasn't my suggestion, but I like it too, and agree that it sounds great with Joseph. :)  From voxverve's list, my favorite is Cyrus--since my first association with Seneca is the Native Americans and not the Roman, Cyrus doesn't immediately feel similar to Seneca in origin, etc., but nevertheless still feels right in terms of sound, gravity, and style.  Atticus works well, too.  I love Octavia (for girls, of course), but Octavius feels like a little too much for me--kind of the way I love August, but Augustus seems kind of, I don't know, pompous or something.  Speaking of which, how about August?  Or Augustine?  Nehemiah and Lafayette seem like they'd be hard to wear--I think you'd need to be ready with a friendly nn for them.  That leaves Koa and Luther, which are both fine, but don't speak to me personally.  I'd need a good back story or something to feel more enthusiastic about them (which you may have--not saying you need to share it here, just that some personal significance could push these names from "meh" to "oh, that's pretty cool" for me--relating back to Laura's current blog post).

Other ideas--Sumner, Shiloh, Hudson, Leander, Elijah, Cassius, Julius, Roman, Constantine, Lysander, Dominic...  Anything on the right track, here?

April 24, 2012 11:21 AM

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I'm interested to see that everyone associates the name Seneca with the Native American tribe, because the name actually originates from the Romans, Lucius Anneaus Seneca was a Roman philosopher. I've always thought of the name Seneca as a Roman name, not a Native American name. Besides Koa, I don't really have a penchant for nature themed names. 

Rowan is a great name but have a friend named Rowan,  so that's out. 

Just came from the doc and no progress to report, so it looks like I have another week or two to think about it.

April 24, 2012 12:53 PM

Given that you're thinking Roman instead of Native American, what do you think of Augustus/Augustine, Julius, Cornelius? From your list, Atticus is my favorite -- I've always liked it.

By EVie
April 24, 2012 1:30 PM

Count me as another vote for Cyrus! I think it's a great name—cool but dignified, with a distinguished history, and the jaunty nickname Cy. I like Octavius, too, but I like Octavian even better. Cyrus Octavian could be a fantastic combo. 

Atticus and Luther are ok for me—I like the classical connection of Attiucs, but find that the association nowadays is primarily To Kill a Mockingbird. Some people like that, some people don't—there has been discussion of it over on the blog before. Apparently the book is also controversial in some circles because of the way it uses the white savior trope (somehow I never got around to reading it, so I'm reporting this secondhand). I like the sound of Luther, but it's inextricably associated with Martin Luther and Lutheranism, so I wouldn't use it unless that's what you're going for. 

I'm not a fan of the heavy Biblical style, so I don't care for Nehemiah. Lafayette could work well in the middle, but I think it's a but much as a first. Koa is a name I'm just not familiar with. Is it a family name? Do you have a particular connection to its meaning or origin?

April 24, 2012 4:16 PM

LOL EVie. When I think of Luther I think of Lex Luther of Superman fame. I do think of TKAMB when I think of Atticus. Cyrus makes me think of Billy Rae or Miley Cyrus. Nehemiah sounds like an old Indian name and Lafayette was an explorer. I don't think any of these are "bad" or unsurmountable just what I and maybe some others will think of in association with the name till they get to know the child.

April 26, 2012 7:08 PM

I'll second all of your associations with these names-except for Cyrus.  I didn't think of Billy Rae or Miley at all until you mentioned it.

April 24, 2012 4:23 PM

I don't know if this would sway you one way or another on the name Lafayette, but although it is a French name, I associate it strongly with a character from the musical Hair, who goes by name Hud among his friends. This is what he looks like in the movie.

April 24, 2012 6:21 PM

Ha! I had no idea there was a character named Lafayette in Hair. Thanks for the photo link. Also, interesting to hear the connection to Lex Luthor in Superman, as a friend of mine said if I name my child Luther she's going to call him Lex for that same reason.

Koa is not a family name, it's just the name of a Hawaiian tree that I heard and thought was a lovely sounding name. 

For what it's worth, my three-year-old son loves the name Cyrus and, in fact, cried the other day when I told him the name was still being decided. 

April 25, 2012 10:48 AM

That's how my friend's 4th child is getting named (she's due with her 2nd boy soon). She and her husband discussed their top 3 names, all B names, with their 7, 5 and 3 year old. The kids all agreed to B0ston and started referring to the baby by "its" name. Later, when she and her husband said they were still thinking about it, the kids all started crying b/c they thought the name was already decided. Now it is and B0ston he will be.


April 24, 2012 6:42 PM

From your list I like Cyrus and Atticus with Seneca. Cato is a great suggestion, and what about Octavian as an alternative to Octavius? Koa is cool sounding, but is a bit choppy with Joseph (though it doesn't sound like that's set in stone for you).

Nehemiah and Lafayette are my least favorite partly b/c they don't strike the right note for me with Seneca (and I always want to pronounce Nehemiah like neh-him-ee-ah instead of neh-heh-my-ah).

Good luck.

April 26, 2012 4:33 PM

Wow, such an interesting list - clearly your name interests range in many directions! First, I'm aware of the Roman Seneca, but my first association (and I'd guess most people's) is with the Iroquois Nation. If you want to emphasize the Roman roots, choosing another classical name will for his brother will help others make the connection (though of course, most people will know them as individuals rather than brothers over the course of their lives). On the other hand, you may not want to have a strong "theme," especially if you're thinking of more children and would like your naming options to remain more open.

Still, Cyrus and Octavian would be my favorites for you from the list. (Octavius works too, but Octavian fits in better with modern trends, with the -n ending, and is a bit more approachable/less imperious.) Atticus is also classical, but the dominant association for others will be To Kill A Mockingbird, so if that's not what you're going for, I'd probably avoid it.

Nehemiah and Lafayette are both "a lot of name," with a strong style, and very different from each other and Seneca. If the Old Testament book of Nehemiah is important to you, I could see this fitting in with - but at the fringe of - the crop of obscure less traditional biblical names that are becoming more common (e.g. Asher, Jonas); however, it's not as approachable as most of those and has no ready nicknames to make it more so. My associations for Lafayette are French, American revolution, Louisiana, rather feminine sound. You will almost certainly find spelling confusion, if you care, and though the general is a worthy namesake, your son may wish for something more boyish (lacking other obvious nicknames, I can see kids latching onto Fay, which might not be a lot of fun for him).

Luther brings Lutheranism strongly to mind, secondarily Martin Luther King, Jr. It's not as unwieldy as Nehemiah and Lafayette, but the old-fashioned sound and the theological associations make it come across as a bit stern, serious, and, again, less approachable. With Seneca it makes me guess that yours is a very learned, somber family with interests in history and philosophy.

Koa on the other hand comes across as short, sweet, and a bit more light-hearted, conjuring up nature and Hawaii. The tree is majestic, tall with pretty red puffball flowers, and integral to traditional Hawaiian culture, with the wood being used for boats and musical instruments and the flowers in leis; however, most folks probably won't know those details, though some may recognize it as Hawaiian. Unfamiliar names with an -a ending often read as androgynous, so that's something to think about, especially using it with Seneca. (What have your experiences been with his name, and how do you feel about them? Adding Koa may amplify gender misunderstandings, if this matters to you.)

I think the most important thing, though, is having a name you love, with a story you love behind it. If other people think of other stories and associations, your son will always know your intentions for the name. With that in mind, I'd ask what it is that draws you to each of these names. (Of course you don't have to tell us, though I'd love to know, since you seem to have such diverse sources of inspiration!) If you're just going on sounds that appeal to you and don't have other compelling reasons, for example, I'd say skip Nehemiah and Lafayette (as first names; you can get away with almost anything in the middle slot!) because they could be hard names to wear. If your son's name is honoring an important place/ person/ inspiration in your or your partner's life, though, that will make a potentially difficult name easier to live with - and even a badge of pride.

Anyway, I think Cyrus Joseph is a handsome choice, both on its own and together with Seneca Charles, and one that leaves you a lot of flexibility for naming any future siblings.

April 26, 2012 10:12 PM

Wow! I could hardly have hoped for a more descriptive and insightful response to my post. Thank you for your thoughts, ideas, and research into each of the names. 

I will have to think more about why I like each name, but I fear it won't live up to your great analysis. I definitely feel like I have some great options here, and I know based on everyone's feedback, that the right name is in the list.