Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's In a Name ...

We were positive that Cub would be a "William" when we first got pregnant. We loved the name and thought it would be just right ... until we realized it just didn't feel right. My husband came up with Cub's name, which is a biblical name, and followed it with his own middle name. And it's perfect. We love it.

So, this time around, I think we are going to follow the same pattern of using a biblical name first, followed by a family name for the middle name.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a HUGE NERD WHEN IT COMES TO NAMES.

My parents were certain I was going to be a Kristen until I was actually born, and then they changed their minds and gave me the name Kathryn, with my Dad's first name as my middle name (don't worry, his name isn't Bill). And, I recently discovered I was born on St. Catherine's Day, which is kind of cool. My brother's name is Joshua Paul, and J. Paul's run on my mom's side of the family.

So, at least the nerdiness is somewhat inherited, yes?

How about you? Do you (or did you) have a process when you think of names you like, or do you pick what sounds good?

Of course, I've learned that it's the baby that makes the name, not vice versa, so in the long run, the process doesn't really matter. You could name your kid John Doe and they could be the most unique, successful, pivotal character in history. Or you could name your kid Neveah Jayden Diamond Gweneviere Prefontaine ... and they could be a total dud.

BUT, I still like to hear how people come up with names! So, do share, please!

Have a lovely day.


  1. i too am dorky when it comes to names. we wanted our children to have a biblical or family name and a traditional welsh name (husband being welsh and all...) thats where the eleri ann comes from. eleri is welsh and ann is a family middle name. little eleri makes for the 7th generation with ann as a middle name.

    i am also a stickler for meaning. every time you call your childs name you are speaking those words over them. so it should be something great :)

    good luck picking out names for your new little girl

  2. Read Ashlee's name in a book when I was 15 and knew if I ever had a girl, it would be her name (although the spelling is odd because my dad's middle name is "Lee" and Grace was my grandma's name and Ash was born on her birthday); I tried to think of every horrible name little boys would call my children; did it sound good with our last name; have too many syllables; easy to say with middle name when mad (ha!); and finally, is it something Steve and I could agree on? That was surprisingly difficult. I tend to like "normal" names and Steve came up with some doozies! Meanings weren't as important to me as the sound of the name. Both of my kids have two syllable first names, one syllable middle names, and two syllable last names. Quite pleasing to my ears. Ashlee Grace and Tyler Cole - nice names, great people.

  3. I love the story of how you guys came up with Cubbie's name. So special that it goes with his Daddy's name. Our thought process sounds pretty similar to Pam's--how do the names sound, can we agree, etc. We also had the added problem of us both having been teachers--seemed like every name we kind of liked also had belonged to a student in the past. Not a huge deal, but if I pictured that student instead of our baby when I said the name, then it was out! ;) We tried really hard to make our name choices have 'meaning' behind them, but, in the end, it felt forced and unnatural. We decided that since we liked the name and gave that name to our kid, that was meaning enough for us in our situation. I think it might be different if we have a boy sometime in the future, because I'd want to pass on Russell's middle name. Who knows. Choosing a name is SUCH a personal thing, and whatever you guys pick will be PERFECT for your little Bean! :) Can't wait to hear the final choice!!!

  4. We love using biblical names/concepts as well. I'm not sure what we'll do this time around, but more than likely the same thing you're doing...a biblical first name and a family middle name. We did Grace Maureen for our first, Grace was always our favorite girl name plus what an incredible biblical concept! Maureen is a midddle name that we've passed down amongst firstborn females for 5 generations now. A name is a big deal, they keep it forever so it's not silly to fret over it! :)

  5. I have a Spanish sounding last name - so we want the names of our babies to flow really well with that, ESPECIALLY our boys. I want STRONG boy names. Girl names are MUCH easier to me to pick out. The first name for either gender though is something that we just like really well...Alex is a name we both agreed on and loved the sound and everything. His middle name is a family name after my husband, Michael. That's how we're rollin' with this baby #2 as well..picking a first name we really like and the second name is a family name. Although, if it's a boy, that'll be a much harder task - we'll see tomorrow!!

  6. I was listening to a country song when I was 7 months pregnant with our little boy (who is 6 months old today) and there was a line in there about naming your child after your grandma's maiden name...So, I started to think of our grandmother's maiden names and my mom's mom maiden name is Porter (sorry, longest sentence ever...). So, that is how we came up with our son's name, Porter. We used my father's name for his middle name (Douglas). We waited until he was born to announce it, so it was a surprise and also to make sure he *looked* like a Porter. Even though we loved the name, and he was totally a Porter... it was still scary deciding on it for sure! Big responsibility.

    p.s. I love your blog. Congrats on the little girl! So happy for you :)

  7. I knew if I ever had a boy that I would want to use my brothers middle name. Since he was taken from us too soon, I wanted him to always be remembered. And every time I say " Nathan Allen" I always think about my brother. And if we ever have a girl... well I've already picked out her name. Katlynn Jean. My mother-in-laws name is Kathleen and my mom's middle name is Jean. I like the way it sounds, but we will probably call her Kate. But chances are we will have another boy... and i have no idea what we would name him right now!

  8. We don't have any family traditions to pass on, which makes me very happy! so...we just go with what sounds good. Since our last name is impossible to pronounce and spell, I'm making sure that the first names can easily be pronounced and spelled and that you know for sure if it's a boy or girl name. our kids are going to have enough trouble with the last name we're giving them, so I don't want to add to it! I look forward to hearing your final name choice!

  9. I stumbled upon your blog today and had to smile when I read your method of name selection. We did the very same thing. Bible name for the first name. Family name for the middle name. We love that our kids hear their names read from the Bible and can relate to that Bible person more personally (we made sure they were vertuous Bible characters, not Jezebel or Ahab!). Our kids also enjoy hearing about the family member whose name they also share.

  10. Andy wanted to name a baby girl after me -- Christen Elizabeth. However, I did not want my baby to have exactly my name. Elsie is the German form of Elizabeth and Christine just sounds enough like Christen to work :) So viola! Elsie Christine's name was decided on :)

    Coming up with a name that we both liked was uber hard :) Good luck! It's one of my favorite processes of being pregnant.


  11. I know you know this story, but ... before we knew the gender of this baby, my boys thought Deuteronomy would be the greatest name for a little brother because his nick name would be Dude. :)

    In reality we like STRONG boy names with powerful meanings and girlie girl names with equally powerful meanings.

    Hudson Alexander
    Pierce Maxwell
    Alayna Serene and
    Adelle something :) I'm leaning toward Susannah :)

  12. Well, we just liked the name Levi, so we went with it. His middle name is Alan, which is D's middle name and also D's dad's middle name. It's kind of crazy to think that you are choosing the very thing that your child will go by for the rest of their life! Funny!

  13. We loved the name Baylee when we thought we were only having one. Then there ended up being two in there, so we had to come up with a different plan. We settled on Madison & Macy and that was who they were up until the day I delivered. I got all hormonal and said I would NOT name them that and said I had to have a Baylee. We always hated the concept of rhyming names, but Caylee was a perfect choice. B, for Brandon and C, for Cari. Cute, huh? Bran's middle name is Lee, and that's why their name is spelled the way it is. And they each got their grandmother's middle name - Baylee Kaye (after my mom) and Caylee Lynn (after B's). It worked out just perfectly and now our initials are BCBCB and we love it! :) It kinda makes the thought of adding another kid in the mix so stressful!!! ;)

  14. I don't have kids yet, but I've read several social psychology papers that have discussed the idea that if you have a name that sounds too ethnic, is spelled weird, or is hard to pronounce you are much less likely to be offered job interviews, and what not... They say it's because people don't even realize that there is a prejudice associated with names, and on paper they can't catch themselves and say, I have to make sure not to be prejudiced because this person is white/black/muslim/female/male etc... they are prejudice without ever even knowing it....

    Phew that was a long explanation... all that to say because of that I want to make sure to name my kids things that sound like good solid WASP names... but I also like the family connection, I love the names Owen and Olivia.... and my grandfather's name is William, so I'm partial to the name Owen William....

  15. I am a huge fan of having a few choices and then waiting until you meet your baby. Maybe they look like a certain name or positively look unlike a name. I would hate to get my heart set on a name and then meet my baby and feel like Oh - you certainly aren't a Bob or Betty.

  16. The best baby names typically evolve from 7th grade girl sleepovers. So, I think you should stick to the plan and name your child...Leeanahthany. :)

    I've always loved the name William too...who knows what will happen though!

  17. I agree with the other teacher's comment above! Naming your child after teaching is hard! So many (not-always-positive) pictures and references are attached with many names now.

    I love old-fashioned names, family names and the meaning of a name will always be key for us. I've always thought my first girl would be named Adelaide, which is a family name, has that classic sound, and a good meaning ("noble, kind"). However, with the hubby's input to consider, we decided on a different old-fashioned one we both love. We settled on Cora ("heart") Lisbeth ("consecrated to God"). Lisbeth is my mom's middle name. I realized a little later that the first initials of our little family will be A, B, and C!

    Naomi is a really beautiful name!