A Celebrity Mom Talks About Her Surprising Name Choice
In her second blog for Nameberry, celebrity mom and name lover Natalie Hanson, who has five children with musician husband Taylor, reveals how and why they chose the adventurous Wilhelmina for their second daughter’s name.
Hello Berries! Last time I wrote to you, I shared that I was expecting a little girl and that we were searching for her perfect name. Our daughter arrived in October, and we named her Wilhelmina. Wilhelmina is a form of William, which means “resolute protection”. Right now I am so in love with this strong and beautiful name, and even more in love with the girl who bears it!
The story of Wilhelmina’s name starts in October 2010, two years before her arrival, when I came across the name Wilhelmina on a Nameberry list! My first impression of the name was how strong it sounded. It was like the “Isabella” you wouldn’t want to mess with.
I decided to pass the name along to my sister-in-law, Jessica, who is a fan of strong, Germanic-warrior sounding names. Jessie appreciated the suggestion and told me it reminded her of Willa Cather, the author of Oh, Pioneers!, a book she had read a few years before. Her choice of books did not surprise me, as I have always thought of Jessie as a sort of “pioneer woman”. She is one of the strongest, hardest working, most loyal women you could ever know.
“Really?!” I had to process for a minute. I’d only thought of the name for Jessie and had absolutely not considered it as one we might use.
However, he was right. It was a beautiful name. It was clearly feminine, with quite a heritage, and a plethora of pretty nicknames to choose from. These were all qualities I appreciated in my first daughter’s name. I began to think Penelope might have met her match!
Over the next year or so the name hung around as one we were both fond of, and when we found out we were expecting a little girl, it seemed the perfect choice. Wilhelmina sounded lovely as a sister to Penelope, and, in a way most wouldn’t recognize, she would be named for her dear Aunt Jessie.
Wilhelmina. It was settled. She arrived and being the name enthusiast I am, I proposed we hold off on a nickname commitment until everyone was acclimated to the name in its full glory. It wasn’t long before I got a call from Taylor’s mother, telling me she was having a Christmas gift monogrammed, and “Wilhelmina” just wouldn’t fit. I decided to go with Willa. It is ode to the Oklahoma pioneer spirit, and the symmetry to Penny is the icing on the cake!
Although Wilhelmina isn’t a very popular choice, I have yet to get the “Huh?” response, like I did with Viggo, my youngest son’s name. It seems to hold some sense of familiarity with people. So far, all of her siblings and little cousins have had no trouble saying her name. I think the spelling is a little intimidating for some, but in speech, the sounds are fairly simple. We all think Wilhelmina is wonderful, and I hope you do, too!
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on March 7th, 2013 at 12:24 am
Thanks for sharing your story! I love the name and it sounds beautiful with Penelope. Willa is a perfect nickname. That picture of your two daughters is adorable. Very sweet.
on March 7th, 2013 at 1:21 am
Thanks for sharing. Wilhelmina is a lovely choice and matches beautifully with your other children’s names. Congratulations!
on March 7th, 2013 at 1:43 am
interesting how it is actress Jane Seymour’s birth middle names: Joyce “Penelope” “Wilhelmina” Frankenberg.
Love the names though… just wondering if they picked up on that
on March 7th, 2013 at 5:38 am
Wilhelmina is a pretty name! I never heard of it, until now. I really like it!
on March 7th, 2013 at 6:27 am
What a gorgeous, gorgeous photo of your two girls, Natalie! Love all you Hansons! Take care
on March 7th, 2013 at 6:44 am
Wilhelmina is one of my favorites! Willa as a given or nickname is also one of my favorites. I love that you used it.
The only downside (for me) is that I find Wilhelmina hard to spell, but spelling is not one of my strong points. For years I had to remind myself that Phoebe is NOT Pheobe.
on March 7th, 2013 at 7:12 am
And here I was hoping that the babys nickname would be Mina. [I have a relative with the same name, and her nickname is Mina :)]
on March 7th, 2013 at 7:19 am
While both Penelope and Wilhelmina are NMS, they make a wonderful, timeless sibset. Both will age beautifully, though I prefer the nickname Mina instead of Willa.
on March 7th, 2013 at 8:58 am
I initially found Nameberry after reading an article elsewhere online years ago about how you came to name Viggo. Your kid’s names are so adventurous and fun, while still having a hint of seriousness to them, such a great combination. Thank you for sharing, and for introducing me to this wonderful site!
on March 7th, 2013 at 9:28 am
I adore the name Wilhelmina, and though Willa isn’t my favorite nickname option for it, it’s a nice choice too.
(And I LOVE the name Viggo)
on March 7th, 2013 at 10:37 am
Ah I love Wilhelmina! I know I wouldn’t get to use it as my partner wouldn’t be a fan, but I do love it. Willa is a very pretty nick name for it too, love it! 🙂 All of your children have such wonderful names – I love it!!
on March 7th, 2013 at 10:59 am
Wilhelmina is such a wonderful addition to your other kids names. What a perfect match for Penelope!! Congrats to your and your beautiful family!!!
on March 7th, 2013 at 11:12 am
Those girls are so beautiful. And I love Willa – it’s the perfect nickname for Wilhelmina. The character wasn’t exactly from Oklahoma, but I also think of Willie Scott, the uber-glam heroine played by Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. (Her stage name was supposedly short for Wilhelmina, according to imdb! So it gives the name a bit of an action-hero twist, ha.)
A Celebrity Mom Talks About Her Surprising Name Choice Said
on March 7th, 2013 at 11:33 am
[…] NameBerry.com Share:Like this:Like […]
on March 7th, 2013 at 12:43 pm
I have always loved Willa and I adore Wilhelmina! I actually heard it at the park last summer, and I was absolutely tickled to hear it!
A Celebrity Mom Talks About Her Surprising Name Choice | HansonGuy.com Said
on March 7th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
[…] her second blog for Nameberry , celebrity mom and name lover Natalie Hanson, who has five children with musician husband Taylor, […]
on March 7th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Congratulations on Wilhelmina! She is perfect in the sibset (and the photo is just gorgeous); thanks for sharing. She has a lovely naming story, as do the other children.
on March 7th, 2013 at 3:05 pm
Willa is such a lovely nickname for Wilhelmina. I love hearing names that aren’t as common. We had a lot of negative remarks from family and friends when we named our first daughter Isla, but it fits her so perfectly.
on March 7th, 2013 at 4:49 pm
Wilhelmina has been on my list if I ever have another daughter! I love the name so much. I would also go with Willa for the nickname. It’s just so beautiful, and does have meaning for me as I have ancestors with the name. Funny that you bring up Isabella in association with Wilhelmina. My oldest daughter is Isabela. I wanted to go with one “l” to make it a little different since it’s such a popular name.
on March 7th, 2013 at 5:23 pm
Thank you for sharing your story with us Natalie. I’m a huge fan of your children’s names and Wilhelmina is no exception. Oh and I love the nickname Willa.
on March 7th, 2013 at 5:49 pm
I love Wilhelmina, great choice!
on March 11th, 2013 at 12:56 pm
I love your name choices! They’re so original and fun!! Although, I prefer Mina as a nn. Willa is still one of my favorite nn ever!!!! You go girl!!!!
Names You Never Thought You Would Like | Upswing Baby Names Said
on June 7th, 2013 at 6:01 am
[…] (Willa, Willie, and Mina) and lovely sound won me over. Those qualities, and former teen idol Taylor Hanson naming his second daughter Wilhelmina, may win others over. This is one name from my former “dislike list” that I would even use […]
on June 13th, 2013 at 12:15 pm
I had to register just so I could tell you that my baby girl Willamina was born on October 2nd. Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later I discovered you had a little Wilhelmina the very same day:)! Considering how uncommon it is, add in that I’m a Hanson fan, I think it’s so cool! I absolutely adore the name and, to my surprise, it has been very well received.
I agonized over spelling choice. Typically, I always favor traditional spellings, and admit that Wilhelmina looks more classic and regal. We ultimately picked Willamina because it seemed more suitable for our purposes of honoring her grandfather, William, and for the straightforwardness for non-name nerds (my hubby included;). Reading through a recent nameberry thread had me questioning my decision a little, but I still find it to be a legit alternative and not too kreativ/yooneek. (I hope)
Willa seems to be the the nickname that is going to stick for us, too, though I am also fond of others such as Mina and Minnie and hate to rule them out just yet. I like that you waited awhile before commiting to a nickname because I don’t know how it will be to switch or interchange between these nn’s now that many people just shorten it to Willa. Luckily, I do love Willa and it suits her sweet personality. My husband has also taken to calling her Willie a lot, which I thought I wouldn’t like but has grown to be very endearing and fun. I often use her full name, though, which despite being long sounds very light, and even our 2 1/2 year old son (Silas) can pronounce it without trouble.
Love all of your children’s names, especially my daughter’s birthday/name buddy! Congrats on a beautiful family.
on January 1st, 2014 at 1:40 am
Wilhelmina and Penelope are perfect together!
Four notable celebrity families | Namesfrenzy Said
on September 11th, 2016 at 12:08 pm
[…] of the combinations! She then gave birth to their fifth child, Wilhelmina Jane in October 2012 and explained her pick on the site as […]
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.