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Name Sage: Honoring Grandma Beverly

What's the best way to update a 1930s favorite?

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
baby girl names

Christina writes: 

I’m just a few weeks away from my due date and my husband and I are having major naming blocks! With our first I knew her name before we were even married. My grandmother is Theresa and I knew Tessa would be the perfect way to honor that, as well as a beautiful name without being too unusual. 

This time around we’re trying to honor my husband’s grandmother who passed away earlier this year. But Beverly is a hard one for me to get on board with – and my husband agrees!

We’ve been trying variations on Beverly but haven’t really stuck on anything as a first or middle name. I’m not a huge fan of B names in general, but I could get on board with an E name. I have liked Erin for a while now, but still not sure it is The Name.

Suggestions?

The Name Sage replies:

Ooh, yes! I knew the second I saw your letter that I wanted to suggest Everly.

It’s Beverly minus the B, which is pretty close to the original. Beverly and Everly are English surnames, both borrowed from place names, so they’re related in that sense, too.

One possible downside to Everly is that the name is rising fast. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan gave the name to their daughter in 2013. Since then, Everly has leapt up the popularity charts to rank Number 178 in the US. Tessa is currently Number 221, but Tessa has held steady over the years, while Everly has caught on quickly.

Still, Everly is fresher than long-time favorites like Emily and Avery. It’s musical, too, thanks to 1960s duo The Everly Brothers. And it’s tough to beat Everly as an update for Beverly.

But maybe Everly isn’t quite your style. Let’s take a look at some other ideas:

Bevan Bevan is a very rare name, a Welsh surname meaning “son of Evan.” Style-wise, if Everly doesn’t appeal, I’m not sure that Bevan will be the name for you, either. Still, it could be great in the middle spot.

Ever – It’s a bold word name choice, but the letters appear in bEVERly. With girls answering to Serenity and Grace, Ever isn’t such a stretch.

Eve – Drop the ‘r’ from Ever, and you’ll have Eve. It’s much more conventional than Ever or Everly, and has a ceratin vintage style that pairs well with Tessa. You might also take inspiration from Eve and use a longer form, like Eva or even Evie.

Evelyn – I think Tessa and Evelyn sound like sisters, even if we weren’t looking for a name that shared sounds with Beverly. But Evelyn shares most of Beverly’s letters, minus the B, add an ‘n’ at the end. It also reminds me of Erin, which you’ve mentioned that you like.

Vera Tessa feels like a gentle, old-fashioned name, and so does Vera. It’s associated with the Russian word for faith, as well as the Latin word for true. While the tie to Beverly is less obvious, the two names share sounds.

If you’re willing to consider another B name, there are plenty in the current Top 1000: Brooke, Blair, Beatrice, Brenna, Bianca, and Bria are some of my favorites. For a rarer name, there’s Blythe, which means happiness, or maybe nature names like Briar and Briony. But it sounds like you’ve probably flipped through all of the B names already, and decided against that approach.

It might be worth considering whether there’s another way to honor your husband’s grandmother. Does her middle or maiden name suggest any possibilities? Or maybe there’s something associated with her – a favorite flower or color, or maybe her hometown – that could inspire a daughter’s name.

My top suggestions for your family are Everly and Evelyn. They stay faithful to the sound of Beverly, while feeling like names that would wear well for a daughter born in 2015.

Readers, what would you suggest as an updated name to honor Beverly?

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Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.
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13 Responses to “Name Sage: Honoring Grandma Beverly”

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Connie25 Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 7:31 am

In terms of scrambling sounds, Rebel and Liva are both options. There are major stumbling blocks for both: Rebel is a lot of name, and I’m not confident at all that it fits with your naming style. Live is a bit repetitive with Tessa in terms of final sounds, but you may or may not find that problematic.

I like Eve best of Abby’s suggestions.

marisarose Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 8:18 am

I think Everly is the right way to go.
Tessa and Everly are a cute sibset with Evie as a sweet nn.

But if Everly is too popular for you, what about Evony? It’s the name of a character on Lost Girl and it’s certainly not something you’ll hear on the playground ofter (or at all).

lesliemarion Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 8:20 am

I love the name Beverly (am teaching a 17 year old with that name, a lovely girl) and cannot abide Everly, etc., so this IS a challenge!

Maybe Grandma Beverly had a middle name that is more attractive to the couple, or more adaptable? Or a maiden name?

I love Evadne, which sounds nice with Tessa, an “e” name with the same “v” sound as Beverly.

Guinevere also has an old-fashioned yet fresh feel to it and has the “v” that is so distinctive in Beverly.

maimouse Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 8:24 am

I love the idea of Tessa and Eve. It’s a biiit of a stretch, but if the grandma in question happened to be religious it might be a nice plus?

I think Evelyn is lovely as well.

Thegratiana Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 10:10 am

For B names, I would suggest Beryl, but if that is not your taste, maybe Bailey, Blaire, Belle.

I think Evelyn is a great suggestion for E names.

The name that I immediately thought of when reading this post was Verity. Other V names, Veronica and Valerie.

Missmolly Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 10:15 am

Like another poster, I’d encourage you to reconsider Beverly. It’s a beautiful name….it tumbles off the tongue like a bubbling stream. I like Everly, but I think it’s popularity will rise and fall quickly, ultimately dating it.

I think, beyond those two, anything is a stretch for Beverly. If these don’t work, I’d advise you, like Abby says, to look to the grandmother’s maiden name, middle name, favorites and interests to find a way to honor her.

ashbee Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 11:08 am

I agree with previous posters that Beverly is lovely. It will be sounding fresh and stylish in 5-10 years so you would be a bit ahead of the curve. If you’re still not sold, why not use it as a middle? Vera Beverly is sweet.

The suggestions of Evelyn and Evie are delightful with Tessa.

Other combos that give a subtle nod to Beverly:
Evie Beryl
Evelyn Beatrice
Alice Beverly

Saracita00 Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I also thought of Everly immediately. Personally, unless you already set out to look for a name with a long history of use, I would not be overly concerned comments about it being “trendy” or “dated.” If you like it, I think it’s a great, thoroughly modern option for updating Beverly.

If it so happens that you don’t fancy Everly, here are some other ideas that occurred to me:

Verity, and Verily – both names meaning “truth” and echoing the ending of Beverly. Verly is also a rare form of Beverly.

Evvy would also be quite nice, if you use the short E as in Evan, rather than the long E of Eve. Evvy to Beverly seems to me quite in the same vein as Tessa to Theresa. Darling sister set, too!

Picking up on the “lee” ending would be another approach the might appeal. Avonlea comes to mind as a modern-but-reminiscent nod to Beverly. Similarly, Valerie mixes up the sounds in Beverly but isn’t quite as dated as a “grandma name.”

Of Abby’s options, I also like Evelyn. Evvy as a nickname would also work with this option.

Best wishes and congratulations on your family addition!

Bobcat108 Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 1:53 pm

To me, Tessa doesn’t work w/many of the previous suggestions…most of the suggestions seem too fancy or just too different in “feel” from Tessa. Beverly means “beaver meadow,” so perhaps a riff on the “meadow” aspect would work… Lea? Tessa & Lea? Of the previous suggestions, Evie (eh-vee) as a nn for Eva or even Evanna goes the best w/Tessa in my mind’s ear.

Good luck! 🙂

4erbear Says:

October 28th, 2015 at 7:43 pm

Nothing wrong with Erin. 😉 I don’t see how it relates to Beverly, though. I love Everly or Everleigh and it pairs well with Tessa. Since it’s a relatively new name, I think you will get a lot of people who mistake it for Beverly – that’s why I like the second spelling. Eve or Evie is adorable as a nickname, too.

Waverly123 Says:

October 29th, 2015 at 10:46 am

I thought of Eve / Evie immediately. I think Tessa & Evie work beautifully for sisters!

Unlike some of the above posters, I really dislike the name Beverly. I think it’s quite dated. I’m not a huge fan of Erin either, and don’t really see how it relates to Beverly. One idea I had though, was Brielle. Look at the letters in Beverly, and they almost match up to those in Brielle. B, r, 2 e’s, l, y/i. Maybe you could then pick a middle name that starts with a V? Like Brielle Victoria or something!

Another idea would be to take Beverly’s MN or her Maiden name’s initials and make those your daughters initials. ie. if her name was Beverly Anna, then you could name your daughter B. A. as well – maybe Brynn Alice. or Alice Brynn!

ARead Says:

October 29th, 2015 at 12:26 pm

I really like Everly, even though it’s “trendy”. It’s just so pretty! On the other hand, I have never liked the name Beverly and I can see why this mom and her husband are not fans. I agree with every one who’s seconded the namesage’s suggestions of Everly!

mill1020 Says:

October 29th, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Beverly is ready to come back! I’d use it. Brings to mind author Cleary and a sunny, ritzy part of Southern Cal.

Also, I find myself agreeing with Lesliemarion once again–I can’t abide Everly, either. Evelyn is lovely, though. And what about Vera?

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