No Idea Where toStart

So I stumbled accross this forum, and think it's really cool! I wanted to see if I could ask for some help in narrowing down my huge name lists!! I have these long lists and just want to see if anyone has any tips.. Not sure of the babys gender, but wanna start thinking of names early. Thanks!



*I am 100% using the name "Nicholas" if it's a boy, I'm just not sure if I want to use it as the first, or middle name. I am using it because it's the main character in my all time favorite book that I love so so much! So I need to see what matches you think wouold go well with it.*







Jack (also Jackson, but only for a middle name)




Oliver (only for a middle name)


























Caiden (middle name only)





Eloise (middle name only)

Erin (middle name only)


















Marlena (I also LOVE Marlie, but don't think it's sophistocated enough to be on it's own)

Olive (Middle name only)









TIA (:


October 7, 2014 7:44 PM

Wow.  Those lists are really, really long.  I won't comment on all of them, just the ones that stand out to me for some reason.

You've got a few different styles of boy names, but they all seem to work pretty well with each other.  If you know Nicholas will be one of the names, have you considered how you want the entire name to flow?  If you want something that compliments the style of Nicholas, then names like Alexander & Oliver would be nice choices.  If you'd prefer something a little different maybe Wyatt or Vance.  

Some of your boy names are very trendy.  If you are concerned about popularity at all, I'd suggest you stay away from the surnames as first (Spencer, Paxton, Ryland).  You can check the popularity of all your names on the SSA Baby Name website (assuming you are in the U.S.)

Your girl names are much more varied according to style.  I'm not a fan of the more unisex choices like Peyton or Ryland. Since you like this style for boys, you may find yourself running into trouble if you use them for girls.  For example, I would assume siblings named Ryland and Spencer were both boys.

I'm also really, really, not a fan of Scotland.  I don't care for place names in general (so Ireland & Arizone are also out for me), but the similarity to the boy's name Scott makes Scotland feel especially wrong off as a girl's name.  

I have no idea how to even say Alivinana.  I'd pass on this one unless you want to set her up for a lifetime of spelling & pronounciation corrections.

I'm also not quite sure what to do with Atley.  Chryler looks like Chrysler, and it looks like it should rhyme with "crier" which seems especiallly prone to  teasing.

I really like Marlena/Marlie.  They are both pretty and familiar, without being too common.  I'm surprised you have Carley since you don't think Marlie works as a stand alone name.  Carley is pretty, perhaps as a nickname for Caroline or Clarissa or something?

Olive is nice, I'd urge you to consider it as a first name option.  I also like Violet, Abigail, Isla & Hazel.  Talulah is also reallly nice, but it seems a bit off style-wise with the rest of your list.  Perhaps it'd make a good middle name contender?

Alexa is pretty, though you may want to decide if you like it or Alexander better since using one would rule out the other (assuming you plan on more kids later).

Some people on these forums have had good luck narrowing down lists with an elimination style voting.  You'd pair your names up, pick the favorite from each pair and then pair the favorites up against each other.  Continue with that until you have it down to a number you feel is managable.

October 7, 2014 11:15 PM

I won't comment on personal opinions regarding the names just yet. Instead, I will just focus on narrowing down the list. Some tips:

if there is a significant other, ask them to cross out any name they will absolutely not agree to.

Go through and cross out your five bottom boy & girl names. Ditto for SO.

Split the lists, as you've already started doing, into Boys Firsts, Boys middles, ditto for girls, so you can concentrate on smaller subsets of names.

Consider popularity. Consider if you'll mind constantly correcting people on spelling/pronounciation.

Check for duplicate names among friends, neighbors, cousins, etc. & eliminate those if that's the kind of thing that bothers you.

October 7, 2014 11:40 PM

Thanks so much! Alivianana is a typo sorry, haha.. its supposed to be Aliviana..(uh-liv-e-on-uh)... i really loved your suggestions! Im definatly gonna look at my list in a new fresh light haha. Thanks(:

October 7, 2014 11:46 PM

Nicholas Carter, Nicholas Hayes or Nicholas Oliver sound the best together to my ear.

October 8, 2014 2:12 PM

I also like Nicholas Hayes the best...The unusual middle name balances out the more usual first name. 

For a girls name from your list I like Carly and Holly the best.


Enjoy!  Its great that you have so many names that you like!

October 8, 2014 1:50 AM

I'm going to stick to commenting on the things that stuck out to me.

Typos: Jeffrey (you've switched the r and e around), Aliviana (I think!).

Please spell it Alison. (Alicyn is downright painful!) I do like the idea of using Alison in its original (medieval) role, as a diminutive of Alice, but the spelling of the diminutive doesn't have to match the full name.

Chryler looks like a typo for Chrysler. Do you really want to name a child almost-after a minivan?

Addisyn makes a name I dislike even worse. Addison is a surname that means "son of Addy", so it's really not appropriate as a girl's name, and it's also the name of a disease. Spelling it wrong doesn't change these associations, it just adds new problems: in general, respellings like Alicyn, Addisyn, Aubree, Gracyn, Kylee, Peyten, and Sidnee look immature/juvenile, and they doom the bearer to a lifetime of spelling corrections.

Arizona, Ireland, Scotland, and even Brooklyn are places, not people. You have other choices that are much better people-names, such as Georgia and Sydney; I'd stick with those.

Speaking of Sydney: there's an old English feminine name Sidony, derived from the name of a type of fine cloth (sindon, from Greek via Latin).

Names that I'd move to the top of your lists:

Alexander, Drew (especially if it's short for Andrew), Jeffrey, Jesse, Max, Oliver, Scott, Stanley, Vance, Wyatt

Alison/Alice, Alexa, Abigail, Corrina, Camilla, Giselle, Georgia, Helena, Hazel, Holly, Isla, Lana, Lilly, Marlena/Marlie, Violet.

October 8, 2014 2:36 PM

My advice to you would be to focus on a style that you're most drawn to. Your names are kind of all over the map stylistically. That's not a bad thing in the beginning! I love names from all sorts of different styles too. It's just that when it comes to naming an actual family (assuming you will have more than one child -- if not, just ignore me haha), I prefer that the names be stylistically cohesive. I think considering style will really help you narrow down your lists and get you thinking about what would feel right to actually use on a real child. It's easy to love all sorts of names in the abstract, but as it becomes a reality I think there is a certain style you'll feel most comfortable with. So with that in mind I'm going to separate your names into different style groups and you can see if one of them feels more like your family than the others. 


1. Modern classics. Alexander/Alex, Drew/Andrew, Jeffrey/Jeff, Scott

2. Vintage revivals. Jack, Max, Oliver

3. Rugged cowboys. Jesse, Wyatt, Brody, Ryland, Carter, Vance/Van, Hayes, Forest

4. Prep school. Paxton, Prescott, Preston, Spencer, Stanley


5. Frilly & feminine. Aliviana, Alexa, Giana, Ilyana, Leyla, Marlena, Talulah, Corrina, Giselle

6. Unisex & modern. Atley, Alicyn, Addisyn, Aubree, Bailey, Brooklyn, Caiden, Chryler, Gracyn, Harper, Kylee, Peyten, Ryland, Sidnee, Skyler, Aspen, Arizona, Auburn, Ireland, Scotland

7. Vintage revivals. Alice, Abigail, Corinna, Camilla, Eloise, Giselle, Georgia, Helena, Hazel, Isla, Lena, Lana, Lilly, Olive, Violet, Marlena, Talulah

8. Modern classics. Carly, Callie, Erin, Holly, Kate, Cassidy, Allison, Marlena


Okay, that was a tough exercise as it's all very subjective. I'm sure someone else could break it up entirely differently and many of these names could fit into multiple categories. But the point is just to get a general idea of where your tastes fall stylistically and perhaps pick a direction you want to focus on. 


My personal tastes lean toward the "vintage revivals" category for both boys and girls. I would also echo some of the previous posters' thoughts about creative spellings setting your child up for a lifetime of headaches. I'm also not a fan of unisex names or straight up boys' names on girls at all. But I especially don't like respelling an accepted boys' name to make it more "girly" (such as Peyten, Sidnee and Addisyn). I also prefer giving a more formal name with nickname options rather than just a nickname as the full name, for example Carly and Callie -- both very sweet nicknames but I would prefer to have Caroline and Calliope as the full names. (Just the first ones that came to mind. I'm sure there are other options for full names.)


Some example sibling sets for you: 

Jeff(rey), Scott, Erin, Holly

Alex(ander), (An)Drew, Cassidy, Allison

Jack, Max, Lena, Hazel

Jack, Oliver, Alice, Violet

Wyatt, Vance, Harper, Aspen

Preston, Spencer, Alexa, Gianna


A few notes on spelling:

Jeffrey not Jeffery as noted by other posters, I prefer Gianna not Giana, Iliana or Eliana not Ilyana (but I could get on board with Ilyana), Leila or Layla not Leyla, Tallulah not Talulah, Corinna not Corrina, Alison or Allison not Alicyn, Addison not Addisyn, Aubrey not Aubree, Kylie not Kylee, Peyton or Payton not Peyten, Sydney or Sidonie not Sidnee, Skylar not Skyler, and Lily not Lilly. This is just my personal preference but it mainly lines up with the most accepted spelling for each name. Of course, Corrina/Corinna depends on how you are pronouncing the name. If you are saying "cor-EE-na" then spelling it Corrina makes sense, though I'd prefer Corina for that pronunciation. But I much prefer the pronunciation "cor-INN-a" which should be spelled Corinna.  


Enough of my rambling! I hope any of that was helpful to you. Good luck!

October 8, 2014 3:24 PM

I agree with almost all of this, except I wanted to say that I reeeeaaaallly dislike the spelling Skylar--it's like nails on a blackboard for me. The original spelling of this name was Schuyler, and unless you're going to pronounce it Sky-LAHR the -a- spelling just looks wrong to me (I'm not a fan of Lynsay for similar reasons). It's a very personal pet peeve, so if this is your child's name and you love the spelling please don't take offense!

Also, if you have a reason to prefer a non-traditional spelling, I think they're more acceptable (e.g. Lilley instead of Lily b/c it's a family surname rather than a flower name to you).

October 8, 2014 3:51 PM

Oh, I don't know why I always thought the traditional spelling was Schuylar but I just looked it up and you are absolutely correct, it's Schuyler. In any case I suppose if one is already changing the Schuy to Sky it doesn't matter all that much what one does with the second syllable. It just comes down to personal preference. I'll admit to thinking Skylar looks prettier and more feminine than Skyler though I don't often succumb to that way of thinking :-)

And I totally agree that if one has a legitimate reason (family surname or what have you) to use a non-traditional spelling that's a whole different ball game. But in the absence of something like that I don't see the point of divorcing Lily from its floral origins. 

By EVie
October 8, 2014 4:04 PM

I did know that Schuyler was the original spelling, but I just don't associate that spelling with use as a personal name in the U.S. I just looked it up, and it's very rare--16 girls and 24 boys born in 2013. So I think this is just an unusual case where a variant spelling has taken on a life of its own as a personal name. What did surprise me was that Skylar is much more popular than Skyler as a girls' name--3,764 girls vs. 866 in 2013. For boys, it was 484 Skylars and 1,112 Skylers. So maybe Skylar is emerging as the feminine spelling and Skyler the masculine? For some reason, I had just assumed that Skyler was the more common form for both. 

October 9, 2014 11:43 AM

Oh, how interesting! I guess I'm not alone in thinking Skylar looks more feminine than Skyler. And I would have thought that Schuyler was used more than that, especially for boys. 

By EVie
October 8, 2014 3:29 PM

This is all very excellent advice, and I agree wholeheartedly. My personal preference is also for the vintage revival girls--I think you could pick any name off that list and have a well-named child. I don't mind some of the frilly & feminine names as well, with the spelling adjustments that raykissian recommended, but I don't like a lot of the creative spellings as is, and elaborate inventions like Aliviana are really not to my taste. I also don't really care for nicknames as given names, but if Kate were Katherine/Catherine, Callie were Caroline or Calliope, Carly were Caroline or Charlotte, etc. then I'm on board. 

I would probably move Cassidy to the unisex & modern category, but I do like the name. Of that category, I don't mind Cassidy, Aubrey, Sydney, Skyler and Aspen, but only with those spellings.

For boys' names, I tend to like traditional and formal, so Alexander, Andrew and Oliver are my favorites. Jack and Max are fine as nicknames for John and Maximilian (or Maximus, if you prefer... I'm not a big fan of Maxwell). The others are not really a style I care for, but I don't mind Spencer, Preston, Prescott and Forest. Jeffrey and Scott both strike me as very dated to my own generation or even a little older (plus I have bad associations with both of them), and Stanley is an even older generation. Jesse will always be Uncle Jesse to me, no matter how many other Jesses I meet.

October 9, 2014 11:50 AM

I totally forgot to add Nicholas to the modern classics category! I think Alexander and Nicholas make the absolute perfect brother pair. They complement each other so well!

October 9, 2014 12:48 PM

Well, yes, of course they do.  Czar Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs, was the son of Czar Alexander III and the husband of Czarina Alexandra (born Alix of Hesse).

Another historic Nicholas is (St.) Nicholas Owen.  He was a Jesuit lay brother and a very accomplished carpenter who was responsible for building the priest holes in the houses of the English Catholic aristocracy during the reigns of Elizaeth I and James I.  He was eventually captured and tortured to death.  He was canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.  His is a very interesting story even for those who are not Catholic, and I find Nicholas Owen an appealing name, whether for one person or split between two brothers. 

Owen's mentor was a Jesuit priest named Henry Garnet, who was eventually executed for his part in the Guy Fawkes Gunpowder plot.  I think Garnet is a hidden gem of a name.  At one time it saw some use as both a male and a female name.  As a female name it was part of the Victorian enthusiasm for names like Ruby, Opal, and Pearl.  As a male name it was derived from an occupational surname for a seller of hinges (in that case it is sometimes spelled Garnett).  It fell off the top 1000 list in the US in 1944 (I just looked it up.)  So it hits the sweet spot of an established history as a unisex given name, but in vanishingly rare use today.  It also hits the trends of revival of Victorian names (like Ruby) and of obsolete occupational surnames.  And the sound is not off current preferences.

October 13, 2014 12:16 AM

I knew there was some connection between Alexander and Nicholas but was too lazy to look it up. I'm always amazed at the wealth of information you can spout out on a moment's notice!

I actually met a male Garnet(t) long ago. I think he spelled it with two Ts but can't remember. He was a director at the opera and I thought it was just the perfect sort of name - a bit artsy, a bit quirky, but very easy to take seriously. And I totally agree, with the current popularity of Garrett, Everett, et al, it would fit right in!

By mk
October 8, 2014 3:44 PM

I like Camilla, Violet, Georgia, Abigail, Lena, and Lily

Nicholas is a great name and I like it best out of your list. I like Alexander and Andrew (or Drew) as well. Middle names for Nicholas: Oliver, Paxton, Hayes, Carter