My husband and I are currently expecting our second child, due on January 1st. We have decided not to find out the sex, which, although special, is making deciding on a name twice as difficult.
Our son’s name is Dougray Dawson, but he goes by Gray primarily. I absolutely adore his name. It’s unique and meaningful – Dougray is after my father, Douglas, and Dawson is after my father-in-law, David – but also familiar because of his nickname.
Thank you so much!
The Name Sage replies:
But if you’re not absolutely sold on your top names, I do think working through more ideas is a great approach. Either you’ll have a eureka moment and find a name you love more – or you’ll realize, like Dorothy in Oz, that you had the answer all along!
Dougray is an interesting name to match. It’s originally a surname, made more familiar by actor Dougray Scott. (It was his grandmother’s last name.) It’s also very, very rare. Nearly any name that you give to a second child will be more common!
And yet, you’re quite right that nickname Gray makes the name feel accessible and more familiar.
Based on the names that you like, I think we’re look for something that feels unexpected but vintage, has ties to a family name or to running – or both, and possibly shortens to a nickname for everyday use.
I’ll start with my suggestions, and I know our readers will have some great ideas, too!
Donovan Dashiell, called Van – Donovan is one of my favorite ways to update Donald, and I think Dougray and Donovan, Gray and Van, make great brother names. One hesitation? They’d share the same initials, which could feel like a pattern if you’re hoping for more children. Donovan Miles is another combination that sidesteps that problem. Donovan is more common than Dougray – over 1,200 boys were given the name in 2014 – but it still hits the right note.
Dashiell Warden, called Dash – Dashiell seems like a great name in the first spot, too, especially with easy nickname Dash. Warden is a spin on Edward, though it’s pretty rare. Other Edward-inspired names include Edison or maybe Edmond.
Matteo Boston, called Teo – There are plenty of forms of Matthew to consider. Matteo is one of my favorites, but I’m never sure how to pronounce Teo. It could rhyme with Leo or with mayo – and chances are that you would hear both.
Judah Anthony, called Jude – We name boys after men, and girls after men, but it’s much less common to name our sons after our aunts and grandmothers. But it can work beautifully. Judith could inspire a boy named Jude, and while it’s a stretch, Anthony incorporate the sound of Anne. Jude and Judah are more popular than Gray and Dougray, but I think it’s a style match – especially brothers called Gray and Jude.
Moving on to the girls:
Thora Jude – Dorothy can be re-arranged to become Theodora. Drop a few letters from Theodora, and you’ll have Thora. Thora shares the ‘th’ of Thaddeus. It’s another unusual name, and a strong one, too, just like Miriam. One possible drawback: no easy nicknames. Of course, you could also name a daughter Theodora and call her Thora – or Thea!
Annika Dashiell – There are countless elaborations of Anne, so if this is a family name, it’s worth considering which ones might appeal. Dashiell is originally a French surname – just like Dougray. And while it is almost exclusively used for boys, it could make a great running-related middle name for a daughter, too.
Marjorie Jude, called Rory – If you like Miriam, I wonder if family name Marjorie appeals? It’s recently re-entered the girls’ Top 1000 in the US, but remains pretty unusual. Fewer than 400 girls were given the name in all of 2014. Like Dougray, Marjorie offers a modern, accessible nickname possibility – Rory.
Davina Jett or Jette – Would you considering using another David-inspired name, or is that too much after giving your firstborn the middle name Dawson? I mention it because I think Davina is exactly the kind of name that might appeal to you. It feels vintage, but very wearable. I wouldn’t use the middle name Jethro for a girl, but Jett and Jette have potential. Jette – pronounced Jetta – is a Dutch nickname for girls’ names ending in –ette.
Edith, Edie, or Eden Pearl – I think Eden might be a little too popular for you, but Edith and Edie are far more rare. Any name starting with Ed– might be a good way to reinvent family name Edward. As for Pearl, Marjorie is the medieval English form of Margaret – which comes from the Greek word for pearl, margarites.
My favorite from the girls’ list is still your original suggestion of Miriam Jude, with nicknames Mimi or Miri, but I’d list Edith Pearl as a close second. For boys, I’m a little more divided, but I think Dashiell is too good to pass up! Donovan Dashiell is one of my favorites, though I do think that Dashiell makes a great first name, too.