Family Name Drain: They’ve Used Them All!
We also decided on the name of our baby girl fairly quickly. She will be named Eva, which honors my grandmother. My only hesitation was the popularity of Ava, but we decided that that wasn’t a deal breaker.
On to our twin boy: we are stuck! We don’t even have a good list going. We came to the other two names almost effortlessly, so we are starting to panic a bit. I am obviously partial to family names, but we have a lot of names in the family that are tough to work with. (On my side, Edwin, Harry, and Melvin; on my husband’s side, everyone is named James.) We also have a lot of cousins’ names to avoid, including two we would have considered: Sebastian and Simon.
I do like two family names: Frederick, but we are not on board with Fred. Same with Edward and Ed. So at this point, we have decided that our second son’s middle name will most likely be either Frederick or Edward, depending on which goes better.
Our last name is two syllables and starts and ends with L. I feel like it rules out L names.
Where do we go from here?
The Name Sage replies:
Keeping it all in the family simples up naming our children, doesn’t it? There’s an instant shortlist, layers of meaning, and chances are that your nearest and dearest will be thrilled with the decision.
But family trees have only so many branches and leaves. And no matter how beloved your Uncle Melvin, it is tough to imagine a child inheriting that name in 2016.
When you’ve run out of obvious choices, there are a few alternatives:
- Keep looking for a family name. Thanks to online archives, you might find a great-great-grandfather or another relative to inspire.
- Reinvent a family name. More on that in a minute.
- Move on. Choose something in the style that appeals to you, even if it isn’t a heritage choice.
Assuming the first approach isn’t working, let’s look at some reinvention possibilities.
Or you might consider another form of a family name. James is cousin to Jacob. The original Greek was Iakobus; it eventually became Iacomus in Latin. Jacob or Jake could be another way of honoring all those men named James on your husband’s side. Of course, Jacob is a long-time Number One pick in the US, so you might already know a few.
If none of these feel like The Name, there’s no reason you can’t move on. Your son will still have a family name in the middle spot. Happily, there are dozens of possibilities that are traditional, but not too buttoned-down.
Leo – It’s always tempting to link twins’ names. And yet, the best connections are usually subtle. Eva and Leo are both short, complete choices that are connected by their letter count. Since you like Nico, I wonder if other o-ending boy names would appeal.
Gus, August – Ancient Julian always makes me think of August. August needs no nickname, but Gus and even Auggie are options. August means venerable, and comes from a title given to the first Roman Emperor, Octavian.
Miles – Miles brings to mind Mayflower passenger and Plymouth Colony leader Myles Standish, jazz great Miles Davis, and a handful of literary characters, too. Another option might be related name Milo.
Overall, my favorite is Henry. It’s very nearly a family name, and works beautifully with Julian and Eva. But if it feels like time to move beyond the family tree, then Miles gets my vote. A bonus? Miles Edward L. spells Mel, as in Melvin – a very subtle nod to another family name.
Readers, what would you suggest to Meredith and her family for their son?
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on August 9th, 2016 at 11:09 pm
I vote for Leo or Frederick…..those are my young sons’ names. Frederick is such a wonderful, strong name with an awesome meaning! Our Frederick is Freddie. I read on here one time that another poster’s brother was Frederick but they called him Fox. I love that too, but our Freddie is not a Fox, he’s definitely a Freddie. You could also use Fritz as a nickname.
Leo is a classic name with a fun meaning. My son loves that his name means ‘lion’. It’s easy for kids to spell too.
on August 9th, 2016 at 11:09 pm
I like Harris with Julian and Eva. Harris to honor Harry, perhaps?
on August 9th, 2016 at 11:14 pm
This dilemma speaks to me because we’d used up most of the family names we loved for children #1-3, and struggled to name #4 & 5.
For a brother to Julian and Eva, I think Henry “Harry” is a very handsome choice.
on August 9th, 2016 at 11:45 pm
I like the suggestion of Henry. You could also do Frederick, nn Rick/Ricky (maybe even Rico?), or just Eric.
on August 9th, 2016 at 11:58 pm
Henry is a classic, but awfully popular.
In the vein of Edwin, I love Edmund and Theomund. Winston also has that win sound at the end: Julian, Eva, and Winston.
Akin to Harry, what about Hal or Hale or Hartigan.
Although I like Melvin, I get how someone might not! Melville is cool: Julian, Eva, and Melville.
And a bit like the already taken Sebastian and Simon: Struan, Swithin, Sterling, Stuart, Stewart, Silas, Sylvan, Sinclair, and Soren.
What a fun challenge to have! Good luck.
on August 10th, 2016 at 1:52 am
Julian, Eva, and Miles gets my vote.
on August 10th, 2016 at 3:09 am
I love Henry too!!! I personally love the name Harry as well, though.
Henry Frederick gets my vote because H.E.L aren’t the best initials….
I also really like Miles and Owen, Owen!!
Suggestions from the names you’ve said you just like:
Julian, Eva & Otto Frederick
Julian, Eva & Oscar Edward “Ozzie”
Julian, Eva & Sidney Edward “Sid”
Julian, Eva & Seamus Edward
Julian, Eva & Dean Frederick
Julian, Eva & Wesley Edward
Julian, Eva & Vincent Edward
Julian, Eva & Victor Frederick “Vic”
Julian, Eva & Grant Edward
on August 10th, 2016 at 8:32 am
I actually think Melvin is perfect! I also love the suggestion go Frederick nn “Fritz”.
on August 10th, 2016 at 9:25 am
So many great options! I LOVE the suggestion of Harris.
I think it meets your “fresh but not hip” requirement and I believe it has a more obvious link to Harry than Henry. Plus the strong A sound in Harris ties it in with Eva I believe.
Julian, Eva and Harris: )
on August 10th, 2016 at 10:14 am
Can we go back to Edward? It shares a first initial with Eva but also offers lots of great nicknames beyond Ed/Eddie. There’s Ned, for instance, which is a personal favorite of mine. And some Edwards are called Ted/Teddy. If you like Nico, could you call him something like Edo? Eva and Edo? (I’m thinking ee-do….though maybe that presents more problems than it solves.) Or even be radical and call him Edward.
on August 10th, 2016 at 12:23 pm
I use family names as middles and understand the reluctance to deviate from that tradition. I’ve used some names that I don’t adore because it’s that important to me. Granted, it doesn’t matter so much in the middle, but if you’re set on using a family name I don’t think your options are horrible. For instance, there are many nicknames for Frederick; I’m partial to Red, and Derick is nice too. What about Derry or just Ric/Rick?
I also really wouldn’t rule out Melvin. I know it’s kind of dorky, but old man names are pretty awesome and I love that it shares a V with his twin. Plus, you could call him exclusively by Mel or Vin, which are both FANTASTIC nicknames.
My final suggestion is to look at family surnames to use as a first. Perhaps the maiden name of a great grandmother? There could be a real gem in your family tree!
on August 10th, 2016 at 12:26 pm
My son is a Frederick nn Freddy, and we use Fred as a fun joke name. As he gets older, I’m finding we actually use the full name more! We really wanted to use Fritz but it just didn’t take with our little guy. I think Julian, Eva, and Frederick sounds great-especially if Julian goes by his full name. Frederick Edward repeats a sound but sounds wonderful. There’s always Ward for Edward as well.
on August 10th, 2016 at 12:30 pm
Instead of Edward, how about Edmund? I think Eddie and Ed are really cute nicknames. It’s a shame your husband isn’t a fan of Alexander, as that is a lovely name. I think Julian, Eva and Edward sound adorable, though.
on August 10th, 2016 at 1:22 pm
I like Frederick too. It’s so cute and it’s on my short list of possible future son. Freddy is just a fun nickname, but the fact that he could go by Erick or Ricky (though Fritz is an awesome suggestion) means he could easily fit in on the playground, but would stand out when/if he chooses.
And I agree with bjoy that Melvin is worth considering since both the nicknames suggested are ‘cool’ names, but Melvin is kind of fantastic on its own.
Since little Baby B will be both a twin and one of two boys, maybe relooking at family names to help him stick out and/or blend is a good route to take and his personality can determine if the nicknames are more appropriate, or the family name helps him be one of a kind.
on August 10th, 2016 at 2:19 pm
Have you considered looking at international variants and forms of the names in your family or the ones you like but your husband isn’t a fan of? The possibilities for Alexander are numerous: Alec, Xander, Iskandar, Alex, Alasdair, Alistair, Alister, Alastair, Eskandar, Aleksandar, Alastar, Sawney, Alexis, Alexei, Aleksei, Alexey, Aleksey.
If Henry’s too popular for you to get to Harry, there’s: Henrik, Hendrik, Hendry, Henning, Hendrix, Anraí, Einrí, Enric, Henri, Harold, Harmon, Harding, Harlan, Harper, Harlow, Harvey, Zahari.
on August 10th, 2016 at 3:16 pm
I think Miles Edward is a lovely way to connect your baby to Melvin. Miles is not to trendy and classic. Miles Davis, awesome namesake too.
on August 11th, 2016 at 3:00 pm
If Frederick needs a nickname, how about Derick?
on August 11th, 2016 at 3:18 pm
What about a first name of Edward with the nn Ward?
on August 11th, 2016 at 8:08 pm
I love love love the suggestion of MEL initials as an honor for Melvin! Henry is also a nice option.
Toya B Said
on August 12th, 2016 at 6:09 am
I love Henry and I already know a sibset that includes an Eva and a Henry, but that might make me biased. Otherwise, Miles MEL is soooo cooool!
on August 12th, 2016 at 6:35 am
How about Ivo?
It’s unusual enough and goes with Julian. It echoes with Ava (Eva and Ivo / Ivo and Eva), unless you think it’s too similar. Frederick is also a great name!
on August 12th, 2016 at 7:18 am
Julian, Eva, and:
* August (nn suggestion : Augie)
* Silas ( nn suggestion : Las, or Si)
* Ambrose ( apparently ‘Berries’ can only come up with Rosie as a nickname for the awesome Ambrose, but honestly, I thought it was obvious…..’Bro’ xxx……even Ross would work)
* Wallace (nn : Wal)
* Fano (Fah-no): short for Setefano (Seti-fah-no) …a pacific islander version of Stephan
* Rata : (Rah-tah) meaning tree… A nice touch to the family tree, or family rata 😉
I’m sure you’ll both agree on a fantastic name either way x
On a last, but amusing note, my great- great grandmother couldn’t decide ( I’m assuming) on Ava or Eva, and instead named my great grandmother Eva Ava. And that was 1889. If you like a name, forget what others think. After all, its your baby and none else’s xxx
on August 12th, 2016 at 8:47 pm
I like Frederick and Edward. I also dislike Fred and Ed but my solution to that is to deal firmly with people who try to use them, not avoid such excellent names as Frederick and Edward.
on August 17th, 2016 at 3:26 am
From Abby’s list I really like:
Julian, Eva and Felix
But I really wouldn’t rule out Edwin or Melvin – honestly!
Eva & Melvin – lovely double use of letter ‘v’
Eva & Edwin – lovely double use of letter ‘E’
Living in the UK, these names are in use even for children and I think they both have great history but are not as popular as Jacob, Oliver or Harry.
on August 17th, 2016 at 7:12 pm
I like Miles Edward the best out of all the suggestions 🙂
on August 20th, 2016 at 1:38 pm
I would go with Harrison or Harris.
Julian, Eva, and Harrison Frederick
Julian, Eva and Harris Edwin
I kinda of also enjoy Melvin. It has the Jul, Mel and the V in Eva.
on September 7th, 2016 at 8:14 am
You could always call a little Frederick, Derrick as an alternative to Fred or Freddie. This would allow you to use a family name, or you could always use the family name as a middle name. Then people wouldn’t be tempted to call him Fred!
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