Category: family names
By Pamela Redmond Satran
Many couples are shocked to find that, while they agree about so many more seemingly important things, they’re locked in an enormous battle over baby names. Why do arguments rear up about an issue that should be fun and pleasurable? And how can you solve these Baby Name Battles?
RECOGNIZE YOU’RE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT NAMES. Name discussions often tap into deeper issues like religion, family, people’s experiences from their pasts that they may not have discussed openly or even be aware of themselves. It may take more time, patience, and care to thoroughly discuss name tastes and their implications than you anticipate.
DON’T COMPROMISE. Finding a compromise name — one that may not be either of your favorites but that you both like okay — might not actually be the best solution. It can provide a quicker, easier fix to the name problem, but may cover up the deeper issues still lurking.
DIG DEEPER. It’s worth uncovering the reasons BEHIND the names you and your partner like. Let’s say your partner is campaigning for a name from their family — which may be more about pleasing their parents than loving that particular name. That can help you both look for other names that might fit the bill in a way that’s meaningful to the other person but that you also like.
My husband loves the name Cora for the baby girl (our first) that we are expecting.
I initially was opposed, but it really has grown on me. I like its simplicity and sort of vintage feel.
The only problem? My name is Laura!
The rhyming factor seems very weird to me. Our last name is one syllable, so I fear rhyming first names would make us sound like a Dr. Seuss family!
But I can’t deny we are both drawn to the name. Help!
The Name Sage replies:
By Antonia Malchik
I was sitting at the lunch table in fifth grade when I decided that if I ever had a daughter I’d name her something normal.
I grew up mainly in two different towns in Montana. In the first, all my friends had names I coveted: Katie, Stacy, Tiffany, Angie. Their names were pretty, and, importantly for an early 1980s childhood, normal. My name was not. I was named “Antonia” for Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia, “Louise” after my maternal grandmother, and “Evgenia” after my father’s cousin who still lived in the Soviet Union where my father had grown up. All of which got shortened to the decidedly unmusical and definitely not normal “Nia.”
My love for genealogy came from my interest in discovering names I had never heard before. There is something special about being able to connect yourself to a rare gem of a name, and being able to connect that name to your ancestor’s history.
In addition to individual names, there are also some interesting patterns I’ve noticed while researching the branches of my various family trees. Some eras favored word names while others preferred patriotic names. Some branches were filled with unique names, while others stuck with the more traditional. One trend I’ve noticed is that “sibset” naming wasn’t considered until the 20th century. There often seemed to be a wide variety of names among siblings, yet, it wasn’t strange to have two sons named Joseph or three daughters named Elizabeth.
Some of us think about renaming our babies. We may also fantasize about renaming ourselves. And pets — well, yesterday’s Tuffy could easily morph into tomorrow’s Toto.
So why not indulge our name-changing fantasies, if only here on Nameberry? Here’s your chance to rename your entire family — you, your partner if you have one, your children, your parents and/or your siblings, even the goldfish if you’re so inclined. Define who’s included in your family however you wish.
The rules: In the interest of sanity, the new names need to start with the same letter as each person’s old name. And you have to change everyone’s names, even if you think they were perfect to begin with!