Rebecca Lynn

About Me

Originally from a small town in Alberta, Canada, I spent 6 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland pursuing my undergraduate degree and doctorate (in Irish politics and history). I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow in Newfoundland. I am married to wonderful man who tolerates my obsession with (mainly Irish) names, and a 5-month old daughter, Sorcha Verity, who was named with the help of BNW members!

My Favorite Names
My Recent Blog Comments
May 24, 2013 08:16 PM
In Response to BabyPunkPhD

What a fabulous list, Miriam! Thank you :)


DH loves Tycho (thanks to a popular webcomic), but declares the rest to be "too out there". Says the man who wanted to name our first born Ichigo (Bleach fan).

I would go with Bran in a heartbeat but unfortunately Bran flakes seems to trump Game of Thrones/ASOIAF and the meaning of "raven" for the majority of those polled. I like all the Finn names, including Fintan, but they are huge here in western Canada. ANYTHING to get to Finn. My MIL suggested Finnegan to us just last weekend. Also, I have a secret wish to name a future daughter Fionavar, and don't want to take it off the table ;p

Speaking of the MIL, she suggested Callahan/Callaghan to us out of the blue - with no knowledge of our current choice. I kind of like it, as I have a dear friend and mentor with this surname. However, with our double-barrelled last name it makes poor babe sound like a law firm.

Maybe I can get away with Taliesin in the middle...

May 24, 2013 06:46 PM

Again you have a list I would love to pilfer! Good taste, woman!

Of course my instinct is to highlight all the fabulous Celtic choices you've got, but the ones that really stand out to me - on thier own and with Astrid - are Soren and Balendin. Soren echoes the scandinavian vibe you have with Astrid (though it does imply a pattern for a third child). Balendin is lovely: exotic but legitimate, and once you make the connection to Valentine, it seems like a quirky twist on a classic. Can I suggest Corentin, in the same vein?


Again, happy thoughts and best wishes on your pregnancy :)

May 24, 2013 06:39 PM

Chimu, many congratulations! 


For what it's worth, I love Saskia and Isolde (in any form) with Astrid. The only drawbask I see to Saskia is its shared "AS" sounds with Astrid, but that's also part of why they mesh well together. As long as you're not prone to calling for "Sastrid and Askia"... ;p


Isolde is a guilty pleasure of mine, partly because of the Tristan and Isolde legend but mainly because of Maud Gonne's daughter, Isolde Gonne MacBride, who infamously inspired many of WB Yeats' poems and plays (along with her mother, but that's another story). Anyway, the "I sold a" problem is potentially best solved with a variant spelling: I'll second (or third) Yseult, which carries a kind of continental air, a la Yvonne/Yvette while echoing the mythological Ygraine. 


In any case, with such a lovely list, you can't really lose :)

Best of luck in your pregnancy & best wishes for a happy healthy and well-named babe!

May 24, 2013 11:18 AM
In Response to BabyPunkPhD

Thanks for this, NotAGuest,

It's somewhat more difficult when there's nothing "worng" with the name - I can't explain why it doesn't feel exactly right. 

May 24, 2013 11:17 AM
In Response to BabyPunkPhD

Thanks, Chimu - as always very sensible and balanced advice!


My hubby says I'm "worrying about nothing": from his vantage point, we have a name we both like, that has family meaning, and isn't spelled Caoilfhinn ;p 

So even though he isn't being confrontational about it, it seems to be very set in stone for him. I'd have to have an amazing alternative to change his mind.

So I might be resigned to tinkering with the middle name, to counter the familiarity with a bit of "dazzle". But I'm not sure what direction to go in... as usual, my heart takes me to Ireland, but most of my favourite Irish boys' names are a)even more popular b) confusingly spelled (see above) or c) share too many sounds with Sorcha (eg. Lorcan). I like word names and virtue names, names from literature (usually fantasy) and history. That's a wide swathe to cut through!


If anyone is hanging onto a really unusual, historically-loaded, boys' name, please share???

February 1, 2013 12:36 PM

Thanks, Chimu and Karyn, for your votes!


Karyn: we also considered Orlaith, but DH knows someone unpleasant with the name, so it was vetoed. Actually, all the "laith" names were on our list: Orlaith, Gormlaith, Tuilelaith, Dunlaith, Saorlaith, etc. Cobhlaith is the least common, I suspect. 


Chimu: It appears that Serenity and Evangeline will battle it out if DH gets full rights on the middle. I'm also still pondering Alice. At least we have 26+/- weeks to figure it out :)

January 31, 2013 10:28 AM

Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions and comments! I thought I had all my future babies' names locked down years ago, so it's strange to be debating (yet again).


Sharalyns: DH *loves* Evangeline. Seriously a front-runner. I worry that it's a bit of a mouthful, especially with the "v" and "l" sounds in Cobhlaith, plus our double-barrelled surname. But it sounds so elegant.


Traleerose: Elise is lovely but DH's cousin, and not really a namesake consideration (she's 16, and nice, but not close). We've tossed around Susannah, and also Louisa, as variations of family names, so we're thinking on the same lines!


Chimu: Verity is not a family name - DH got the veto on Sorcha's middle because I (supposedly) got to choose her first name. We're both into Steampunk and semi-victoriana, so names with that feel usually work for both of us. We would have gone with another virtue name for Cobhlaith, but again worried about the the "matchiness" of say, Cobhlaith Serenity, which was DH's nod to Joss Whedon. I love Honoria, though :)

January 31, 2013 10:21 AM
In Response to Brother for Odin

For Odin's brother, I like Laird - possibly with Hawksley as a middle. So different from my own style but really distinctive and strong!


For Odin's sister, my first thought was the Finnish name Lumi - it means "snow". If you want to avoid Scandinavian names altogether, I'd suggest Hazel.


Good luck to both Odins' Moms!

January 30, 2013 04:43 PM

Hi all,


So, after a very long road of raised expectations and heartbreaking losses - the most recent on September 28, just days after my last post - I am relieved to be able to finally say: I am 14 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby!

My husband and I never expected that our family would endure multiple miscarriages, so we have been especially cautious with this pregnancy. Getting the "healthy baby" stamp at my last midwife's appointment was second only to my daughter's birth as far as happy moments go.


After all that, than you to everyone who continued to post well wishes and suggestions regardingmy last post. I'm sorry for leaving you all hanging.

Now that we have reached a tentative "safety zone", my husband is ready to talk names. After our loss in September, we both felt strongly that the first names we had chosen were *the* names, whenever and however that child should come along. So, a boy will be Callum, and a girl will be Cobhlaith (COVE-la, so you don't have to scroll back).

The problem is now with a middle name. DH is set on Reade (a family surname) for Callum, but we are both stuck for Cobhlaith. DH loves Cecily, a reference to his grandfather Cecil. I have 3 issues with it: 1. very matchy with DD Sorcha Verity 2. Grandpa is in the doghouse with the entire extended family and we might face some flack for "naming after" and 3. The disparity between the hard C of CObhlaith and the soft C of Cecily sets off my OCD alarm.

My pick would be Razzell (rhymes with Gazelle), a family surname on my mother's side. But both DH and I feel that with a very unusual name (google only lists 4 girls with the name), it's better to give her a solid, classic, or at least slightly familiar middle. He suggests Elizabeth. I agree with the sentimentbut find Elizabeth too generic. But all the names I love for middles seem to accentuate the "out-there" quality of Cobhlaith: Sinead (too much Irish), Reverie (too fairy tale), etc.

Compromise name is Alice - my grandmother and great-grandmother's middle name. But neither of us love it. It sounds nice, it fits the bill, but doesn't light a fire. I'd be tempted to go with Alys, but DH vetoed the old spelling :(


Can anyone make heads or tails of this for us? Suggestions of names with a solid lineage that aren't boring or over-familiar? Lesser-used names (victorian, literary, historical) that sound familiar? Or have we found the perfectmiddle but are arguing ourselves out of it?

Love to you all,

R aka PPP

September 26, 2012 09:04 AM

Thanks very much for the link, HNG!

September 25, 2012 12:32 PM

That is a *sigh*-worthy name! Very beautiful. As for the nickname, I'd stick to Guin, or even Guinn ("rhymes with Quinn"), because once people make the connection to her full name the consistent spelling will be a helpful mnemonic. Congratulations!

September 24, 2012 12:00 PM

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the suggestions, comments, and support. I really ought to have titled this thread "Another Irish Name Melodrama", given all the ups and downs :)


As a happy update, we're pregnant (again)! Only 4 weeks, so we'll have to be cautiously optimistic until an ultrasound in 2 weeks. We've decided not to tell family and friends until we reach the "safety zone", due to all the heartache and disappointment in the past. So thanks for letting me share here!


As for names, I Aoibheann has been shelved, at least for this pregnancy. My husband has, unexpectedly, fallen in love with Cobhlaith, and we both feel a strong connection to its connotation of cove or harbour. So we'll see how it goes! But as always, suggestions in the obscure, bafflingly spelled Irish vein are particlularly welcome.

It turns out that my brother-in-law and his fiancee have chosen Caleb for their boy's name, so our pick of Callum might be too close for cousins. Suggestions for a strong Irish/Scottish boy's name to go with big sister Sorcha would be helpful just in case!


Again, heartfelt thanks to all of you.


August 17, 2012 12:21 PM

Hi everyone,


Apologies for lack of replies. Turns out I was way ahead of myself on the name front: pregnancy was ectopic, my doctor discovered it early so no real complications, but we are now back to the status quo ante. Thank you all for your support - I know where to turn when we are finally ready to name baby #2.

July 9, 2012 09:28 AM

Argh! the double posts above were mine - got an error message the first time and then it re-posted. Apologies for the redundancy!

July 5, 2012 11:41 AM
In Response to 4th Child, First Girl

The county is spelled Clare.

July 4, 2012 11:26 PM

Re: Saoirse

I know, it's almost laughable! Now that saoirse Ronan is high profile, more people will expect to hear Saoirse than Sorcha (which is fairly uncommon even in ireland). But alas, the politics of the name have taken it permanently off the table. Aoife was on the list but we know too many, as well as Aines and Orlaiths. Dh also likes Saorlaith but I think it's tongue twister with Sorcha.

I appreciate the thumbs up on Callum: seems to be getting more popular everywhere in the English speaking world but yes, meaning trumps ranking. 

July 4, 2012 11:14 PM
In Response to Need help!!

As a fellow Canadian, I don't think the hockey connotation would hurt him too much, aside from the bread commercials...


I love Sullivan, but agree that it might get tricky with Sybella (which is lovely btw).


It seems like you are both trying to incorporate a meaningful personal connection to your son's name. Maybe there's another option that will fulfill both criteria. Maybe an hour or two flipping through old photos might yield something, like a special trip to Digby or Fraser Valley, or a concert you both enjoyed like Rush, Buble, or the hip...


Middle ground between Crosby and sullivan: gatsby, Callaghan, donovan as suggested, or just bing. 

July 4, 2012 10:54 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the replies. I do know that I'm way too ahead of myself on this, but mostly I just want to be able to focus on *something* rather than the 'what ifs'. 

Elizabeth T: Thanks for the sensible advice, as ever.

Mk: I think my main difficulty is trying to figure out what he really means - if he's just being non-committal or if he really truly dislikes the name. Because I love it so much, I worry that I'll automatically read his reactions as "growing to love it". The intentions of the observer skew the interpretation of the phenomena observed...

Guest: point taken, but as a professional of Irish political history, most of my circle of family, friends, and colleagues will be familiar with garlic rules of pronunciation. And we're in Canada, with several trips to Ireland and Northern Ireland a year. In my daughter's preschool, you'll find tatiana, Lamar, tekla, kasper, desmond, nouran and fionn. So either Aoibheann or Cobhlaith would fit right in, alongside her sister.

Chimu: thank you.

Sorcha's middle name is Verity, which was dh's choice, and got us onto the trend of Reverie, Serenity et all. Cecily is after great grandpa Cecil ( who goes by doug), so it's. Our top contender for a middle. We haven't had much hassle over pronunciation issues with sorcha - most people kind of get it after one explanation. Mostly they say "Sor ka" rather than "Sor-ah-kha" but it's subtle and we don't fuss about it. Occasionally she gets sasha. Or even saoirse (irony). Reactions to Aoibheann tend to be Aven, Eva, or Evan, or Abban if read pseudo phonetically. Cobhlaith is trickier in a way, as in some gaelic dialects it's pronounced "Cow-lee". We'd have to emphasize the cove connection ;p


Again, thanks to all for your considerate suggestions. It all helps! 

July 4, 2012 11:34 AM

Apologies for the apparent double post!

July 2, 2010 05:38 AM

Fantastic post - definitely an issue I've come up against throughout my life - with my own name (is that Rebecca or Rebekah?) and with my daughter's (for the small minority who are familiar with her name, the alternate/anglicized spelling "Sorka" is almost equally common).