you guys, I had to name my baby without you!!!

So I've just logged in for the first time since the SPAM filter woes were, apparently, resolved. Simply here to complain.

I've been a fairly regular visitor for... I don't know, 5 years, since I was first trying to conceive my daughter whom you all helped me three years ago.

I could not believe my bad luck when, after having a son in early April and realizing that the names we had picked out for him didn't suit him at all, I logged on here and COULD NOT POST! 

It took us three weeks to name our son, and I blame the spam filters. Kind of kidding, but kind of not! 

Perhaps it was productive to have a crutch removed by not being able to rely on you guys. And in any case we are all missing out on Miriam's sage advice, which makes me very sad. But...

Can you believe the bad timing? 

I'm taking it all very personally, as you can tell.



May 4, 2018 4:04 PM

I'm so sorry, and I share in all your frustration. You kind of have the right to blame the spam filters ;) but I'm sure you did a great job naming on your own. What did you end up choosing? 

We're all missing Miriam! If anyone is in communication with her, please send our love!

May 4, 2018 6:43 PM

so what do you name your son?

May 4, 2018 8:35 PM

May I add my apologies (and congratulations)? The silence here was definitely tough to take!

We're still working on balancing spam-fighting with openness of access, it's an ongoing process. Thanks for bearing with us!

May 5, 2018 12:28 AM

Oh, no! (But really, congratulations!!!) I feel let down on your behalf, and also on ours--I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing we could have been a part of your naming saga. It's always lovely when a regular has a new little one to name.

In any case, I'm sure you picked the perfect name even without our collective wisdom. And if you feel like sharing any part of your name story, please do!

May 5, 2018 4:52 AM

I'm sorry the timing of the site breaking worked out so badly for you, not only because you couldn't get advice/feedback like you wanted but also because your threads had some really interesting names and discussions and I'm sad we missed that. 

Congratulations on the birth of your son though, and on finding what I'm sure is a great name by yourselves. I'll second everyone else in saying if you feel like sharing your process and/or final name choice I'd love to read it. 

May 7, 2018 7:54 AM

So wait?!?!  What did you name him?

May 8, 2018 4:07 AM

Oh man, I'm so sorry dorit... I was thinking of you in the offline times, and had been hoping your naming journey was going well albeit unassisted. I'm sorry to find that it was such a slog, and even sorrier that we couldn't be there to hel.

I hope your son found an excellent name... and if you'd like, I can email Miriam an update, too. My latest email didn't get a response so I don't know how she's doing, but just I sent her another message letting her know we miss her contributions and are all wishing her the best.

May 8, 2018 6:46 PM

Miriam responded! Huge sigh of happy relief from me! She inquired as to how you ended up choosing a name, Dorit2!

May 8, 2018 9:44 PM

I'm delighted to hear she responded!  I've missed her pithy, knowledgeable comments.

May 9, 2018 10:43 AM

Please send Miriam my epic update. If you would be willing to get me her contact info somehow, or can give me yours, I'd love to tell her the actual names, since she's been such an inspiration. 

May 9, 2018 10:41 AM

Hi all.

Thanks so much for empathizing! It was actually pretty hard. You think the internet community you find yourself a part of isn't that important emotionally or intellectually, or at least I did, but this kind of put it into perspective.

So let me tell you a bit about this naming journey. I think it definitely would have gone more smoothly with you all.

As you may recall, my husband has a very Anglo last name and I one that sounds Ashkenazi but is actually just German. In fact, I'm Ashkenazi on my mother's side. Both my husband and I share German heritage, so that's the sort of shared culture we like to indicate in our naming. (This is all my perspective on the situation, natch. Who knows how he'd put it). To put it otherwise, I'm uncomfortable with names that sound too exclusivley Anglo and he's become uncomfortable with Old Testament names because we all (he, I and our daughter) all have them and he's afraid we'd begin to sound like a very religious family if our son also had an OT name. 

We also travel a lot (or used to pre-kids. We'll see if it ever happens again!), so we like names that are recognizable internationally, especially in Europe, the ME and South Asia where we've spent significant time. 

Our daughter has the perfect name for all of this. It's an OT name that has near cognates in many languages. I don't feel like posting it, but I think you all know it. We brought two names to the hospital, and were choosing between her name and Oona, which has its pros (sounds like a South Asian name and a European name) and its cons (sounds like "one" in Spanish, but then so does Ann in English, sort of, and that's no problem). I'm so glad we went with what we did, because I realize my Oona fixation was largely about sound, like the long oo-sound that was quite trendy then with Luna and Loula etc. Our daughter's middle name is my dearly departed grandmother's first.

Fast forward to about when the Spam Filter woes began here. We were nearing the end of pregnancy with a boy. Husband didn't want an OT name, and I began to realize that I have some sort of weird relationship with my partial Jewish ethnicity where I really want my kids to sound like they could be Jewish or could not be. I realize Jewish kids can be named anything, but found myself really objecting to very Anglo names that my husband liked like Edward and Lawrence etc. Even though Edward and its variants are very widely used in Europe, I just couldn't get over the Anglo (to me) sound of the -ward ending. We did the whole using various names at the coffee shop exercise and Edward sounded like a real contender, but I just didn't love it.  

I found myself leaning toward OT names that honor my Ashkenazi family, but since our daughter had my (German, not Jewish) grandmother's name as her middle, it didn't seem fair to honor my family once again and leave husband's unhonored. But Edward, like I said, which had some family resonances for him, I just couldn't quite do. 

Somewhere I got the name Emil and got fairly affectionate for it. I love the look of it. We also both wanted a somewhat androgynous name because we believe in allowing gender fluidity for people and are generally uncomfortable with masculinity (a bit of an issue as we contemplated raising a son). The fact that it was only one letter away from a much more popular girl's name made me happy, even though I don't have strong positive feelings about Emily.  

We also had a foreign name that is similar to a common American name come to us in a very inspired manner, so we thought about that for either the first name the middle name (and have stck with it in the middle spot).

My son came a few days earlier than we expected, with his birth timing requiring a lot of decisions(to induce or c-section or try for a VBAC), so we had not made a name decision. We brought Emil and the foreign name to the hospital and chose Emil ForeignName My Last-His Last. My husband wanted ForeignName Emil, but agreed with me that it would be too difficult for him to explain in the  US context. 

Then we told people. And realized that Emil was really not cutting it. 

Although I love it hypothetically, and apparently in my hypothetical life I'm European and surrounded by Europeans, and we love how it looks written, it just does not sound good coming out of our friends' mouths. Some said M-uhl. It sounds weird when I say it because of my lingering pin/pen merger from a childhood in the South-Southwest. My mom couldn't get her mouth around it at all. My dad corrected her by telling her it sounded just like "a meal" which made me not love the name. It gets autocorrected to Email and pronounced that way by some friends with Middle Eastern and South Asian accents. We were thinking it was the perfect happy medium between Amir and Adeel, but nope. It sounded more like Email when they said it, and they were super uncomfortable with it. 

Also he kind of didn't look like an Emil.

So we had Emil Foreignname on the birth registration, but we knew we had a problem. I was logging on here maniacally to see if I could post for feedback, but no luck.

We called him various names for three and a half weeks!!! Foreignname, Edward, Julian (which I also love in a similar way to Emil but feels a bit trendy and lacking in particular meaning for us) some others, a new one each day. Nothing was any better than ok. We were flummoxed. 

We had settled on something. I can't even remember what! Perhaps Edward, although clearly I wasn't settled.

Then all of a sudden I added in some wildcard names that we had never considered. Thes included a name I had never particularly liked. But one that is found in the New and Old Testament, is very widely known but not too popular, and is easily recognized and pronounced internationally, with, we discovered, some near-cognates in the Middle East and South Asia.

Moreover, it suits him! 

So now he's Thatname Foreignname Mylast-Hislast. And I find that I love it. LOVE IT!!!

I'm uncomfortable specifying the first name for privacy reasons (which is probably ridiculous given how common it is--in the 200s or 300s for boys in the US I think), but if you could find a way to message me individually or tell me how to message you, I'd love to tell you. 

All's well that ends well, I suppose, but it was fairly agonizing. And it would have been much more fun to have you all weighing in!


May 9, 2018 10:42 AM

Wow, that was an epic post! Sorry for the length.

May 9, 2018 10:53 AM

Congratulations both on the birth of your son and on landing on his name! You can email the moderators at and we can put you in touch with Miriam. And I know we'd love to learn the names of your children!

May 9, 2018 10:59 AM

Thank you for the long description of your naming journey, and I'm truly sorry we weren't able to help!

Since you haven't specified any surnames, nor even the middle name, I think it'd be fine to just post the given name, perhaps slightly obfuscated with numerals or punctuation. This is a names forum: a lot of different names of varying popularity get mentioned here. There is no way a single mention, without the rest of the name, would show up in a search targeting your child.

(Alternately, and selfishly, I suggest you email the moderators at bnwmod at gmail. That'll be half a dozen people's curiosity satisfied.)

But in the "every cloud has a silver lining" department, we now have spam-fighting tools that actually appear to be working (knock on wood).

May 9, 2018 11:02 AM

Hi HNG. My internet-related phobias and desires for privacy exceed logic. I'm emailing the moderators now and hopefully you'll get the actual details that way! Please don't share even though the name is so, so common. Humor me. Humor my phobias. 

May 9, 2018 11:05 AM

Sis, there's spam from "JamesGrasy" on the Alfie & Anna thread.

May 9, 2018 11:53 AM

We are trying to figure out the best way to deal with spam this morning as we have a whole new array of tools at our disposal. I am strangely excited to see spam! Now we just have to figure out the best way to zap it and the bots producing it.

May 9, 2018 11:01 AM

Can you post a masked version? You know, @ for a, ! for i, that sort of thing? The curiosity is killing me...

May 9, 2018 11:03 AM

Do you get the moderator's emails? Or does your sister? 

Is everyone here a moderator except for me?! 

May 9, 2018 11:06 AM

I'm not a moderator, but I do tend to read my sister's emails. :)

By EVie
May 9, 2018 11:02 AM

I'm so sorry this happened at the worst time for you! If you feel like sharing the name with the mods, at least, you can  email, and we can probably also put you in touch with anyone else you want to share with.

(I say that, but I'm having issues signing into the account right now. But one of us will eventually get to it). 

May 9, 2018 1:01 PM

If anyone who does not have access to the moderators' email account wants to know the actual names (including mine!), please send an email to the address EVie posted and I'll email you!

May 10, 2018 5:52 AM

I'm emailling the moderator account to find out. And I would love to learn your daughter's name too (I wasn't around when you were naming her and I'm bad with Old Testament names).

I really love Emil (although I can certainly understand being agnostic on Emily), but thinking on it now, it's clear that it's one of those names that certain accents can mangle. It'll be interesting to see if it has a mini-trend though. I wouldn't even be surprised if it's one of those names people start using for girls.

May 10, 2018 7:39 AM

Your email address has been passed along!

And you're so right about Emil being used on girls. It would feel like the "taylored" or "gender neutral" version of Emily.

May 9, 2018 11:35 AM

I am so sorry that you had to go through that whole process without our support! I must, say, however, that you did a fantastic job. Despite having different preferences, your husband seems to be very supportive and willing to compromise, which is a huge thing for someone who cares so deeply about her children's names. 

I've read your email and thing that you did a superb job balancing all of your wants and have given your son a name that will serve him well through his life.

(Also, for real, I'd never guess that your surname was from the German side. I'd think Ashkenazi Jew -- perhaps Jew from Germany, but still -- all the way! In fact, change the first vowel and I know Jews with that name.)

Re: Lawrence. I actually know way more Jewish men named Lawrence/Larry than any other background. Granted by sample is highly skewed, but I'd never associate Lawrence with "not Jewish". I wonder how Miriam would feel about Edward feeling "not Jewish" ;)

To me, living surrounded by French speakers, I am shocked at how many people have trouble saying Emil. I wonder if spelling it the French way, Emile (well, Émile), would make it better or worse. Emil sounding like Email? Oy, that's painful! No wonder that name never felt right to you!

May 9, 2018 1:15 PM

I hear you on all of the above! Thanks!

Yes, on my surname. The one with the other vowel is very much associated with Jewish folk. And there are actually a lot of Ashkenazi people with my exact last name. I think because it's a locanym (is that the word? Place-name.). But my Ashkenazi side isn't associated with my last name. 

Now that you mention it, I also know several Jewish Larrys, one of whom was rather dear to my family and recently passed away. But my little guy just isn't a Lawrence. I guess that was the objection, actually, more than it being too Anglo-sounding.

I know Miriam will disagree with me on Edward being not great on a part-Ashkenazi kid, perhaps even be offended! I just found it Anglophilic, especially with my husband's very British Isles last name. 

And on Emil, I know!!! I really think I and everyone around me should be able to pronounce it fine. But no. Even I can't pronounce the vowels consistently. Eh- or Ay- or Uh-. And then I have trouble with the -mil, again given my pin/pen troubles. Meel? Mill? M-schwa-ll? 

But yes, I would never have suspected it would morph into Email on some tongues and in texts and emails with autocorrect. YIKES!

I've seen the name mentioned a lot on the more juvenile name sites (on which I was forced --FORCED, I tell you!--to post when this one was down). I think it might be due for a little trendlet. But I wonder if others will encounter the difficulties in actually using it that I did.

I think I'll always have affection for the name, but it just didn't quite suit the boy or any of our friends and family (other than the super Euro-oriented among them).

May 9, 2018 5:24 PM

Thank you for sharing your naming story and such bad timing we couldnt help in your time of need,  I'd love to find out your sons name

May 9, 2018 7:08 PM

Your email address has been passed along to dorit :)

May 10, 2018 9:41 AM

Thank you for sharing all this! I'm sorry we weren't around to be a sounding board, but you landed on a great name regardless.

On Emil: There was a venerable Italian restaurant in my Midwestern hometown named Emil's--it was one of those "town institution" type places, been there forever (or since the 1950s, which felt like forever to me), everyone knew it, etc. But there never seemed to be a settled pronunciation for the name. One of my friends went to work there as a busboy in high school, and he honestly thought the restaurant was "Emily's" until one of our other friends told him it wasn't (after he'd been working there a week). Most commonly I heard something like A-ml's, stress on the first syllable which sounded like Fonzi's catch-phrase/the letter A, with a schwa or zero vowel in the second syllable. But both vowels and where the stress fell all seemed to be subject to change, depending on the speaker. This sounds a lot like the difficulty you're describing.

May 10, 2018 1:33 PM

Nedibes, that's so funny! Yes, very similar difficulty.

My husband wanted to spell it the French way, Emile, but I was afraid people would take it as a cre8tive spelling of Emily. 

I still quite like the name. It certainly feels hipper than what we chose. But I think we went for something much truer to who we really are and what makes sense in our social milieu. Emil was a bit hypothetical, even aspirational, to be honest.

May 9, 2018 5:24 PM

Is it 5 letters and the name of a game??


Congratulations on your son!

May 10, 2018 1:26 PM

MollyCatherine: Please email the mods and all will be revealed!

Thanks for the congrats! 

May 16, 2018 9:36 AM

Congratulations!  And good job navigating your way to a new name when Emil didn't fit.  I'll now think of the word email everytime I see the name Emil.