Name Shame

Hate your name?  Feeling less-than-wonderful about your own moniker can inspire a larger love of a different kind of name, says guest blogger Jill Barnett.

I was four years old, and dressed in my best Wonder Woman Underoos, complete with lasso and headband. I had just finished watching my favorite Saturday morning cartoon featuring superheroes known as the Wonder Twins, and I decided to act out their “Wonder Twins, activate! Wonder Twins, deactivate!” super power ritual with my stuffed monkey, Marvin. (Marvin was a passive, but willing, participant.) After a few rounds of this, followed by a first-rate lasso routine, I came to the logical conclusion that I had acquired the ability to fly.

I climbed on top of a tall cabinet, adjusted my cape for optimum glide, waved to Marvin, and launched myself into the air, horizontal to the hardwood flooring below. Suffice it to say, en route to falling victim to gravity, I experienced the first “Holy @#$%&!” moment of my life.

If you could bottle the feeling of sheer panic and doom I experienced as I plummeted to Earth, you’d have a pretty good idea of the terror and dread I feel whenever I’m asked to reveal my full name. Most people love to share their names with others, but the mere thought of discussing my middle moniker reduces me to a trembling, airborne four-year-old.

Granted, Jill, my first name, rhymes with ill, kill, pill, and shrill, and is associated with a little girl who lacks the ability to successfully walk down a hill, but despite these challenges, I actually prefer Jill to my more melodic middle name.

I recall the time in 6th grade when I learned the game in which your middle name followed by your street name becomes your exotic dancer name. (I had quite the well-rounded education.) I knew it wasn’t a good sign when, according to my friends, my middle name alone elevated me to stripper status, and thus began a lifetime of asking my parents what in the world they were thinking when they named me.

Apparently, my mom was watching an amateur roller skater on TV during her pregnancy with me (she’s the Martha Stewart type, so what she was doing watching a roller derby is beyond me), and when she heard the name of the “darling” skater, Kimberly, she knew she had to use it as my middle name. Granted, Kimberly felt like a fresh choice to my parents at the time, but in my humble opinion, it has since purchased a one-way ticket to Hugh Hefner’s Bunny Ranch, thanks to the topless efforts of Kimberly Conrad, one of Hef’s modesty-challenged lady loves during the 80’s. (If not for Ms. Conrad and her, uh, “twins,” chances are that I’d still associate Kimberly with the roller derby girl and the many lovely Kimberlys I’ve been fortunate enough to know.)

In contrast to my middle name’s noble roller skater heritage, my first name was chosen to honor my late grandmother’s first initial (using her actual name, Jeanne, would have been too painful for my still grieving father), but every time I’m reminded that my parents came this close to naming me the lovely Julia instead of Jill, I feel as though I’ve been robbed of a gold medal in the Naming Olympics. Jill instead of Julia? Are you kidding me? That’s like willingly choosing Spam patties over filet mignon!

Perpetually disgruntled by Jill’s processed meat status and Kimberly’s centerfold vibe, I’ve always been attracted to classic, elegant, fairly regal names that age well. Even as a young child, Anne, Genevieve, Eliza, Juliet, Emmeline, Beatrix, Grace, and Louisa were among my favorites, and I named my grateful Cabbage Patch Kids accordingly. My classically-named stuffed animals carried their names with pride (except for Marvin the Monkey, of course, whom I named on a “off” day), and Celia Jane and Cora Josephine, the plastic siblings residing in my Fisher Price dollhouse, never had to worry about their middle names being associated with the Playmate of the Month, or falling victim to “yooneek” spellings. (Yes, Kymberli, Kimberlee, and Kimberleigh: I’m talking to you!)

To this day, I’m repelled by names with even the slightest trendy feel, as well as by names that are too cutesy, like Jill. I still love my favorite childhood names, and can’t wait to name my own children. It means a great deal to me that when my future children think about or are asked to reveal their full names, they feel pride, as opposed to the horrifying sensations associated with nose-diving to the ground in Underoos while a stuffed monkey watches in silence.

How have your feelings, negative or positive, about your own name affected your naming style?

Jill Barnett
, a lifelong name fan, enjoys working with children, painting, drawing, writing, running, cooking, traveling, and following popular culture and politics. Her posts and advice on the nameberry message boards are so popular she has inspired The Jill Fan Club.  Jill‘s favorite color is yellow, she thinks chocolate is the perfect food, and she wonders why the people living across the street still have their Christmas wreath up in summer.

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67 Responses to “Name Shame”

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Elizabeth Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:50 am

Very interesting post! Being the bearer of a very popular, classic name, as a young child I felt a slight twinge of jealousy towards the ‘Jennifer club’, but I named dolls and pretend children Catherine and Victoria. As a teenager, I’ll admit, I coveted names for my future kids that I thought were ‘cuter’ like Savannah and Bridget. I think it was all about wanting my kids to fit in and be more trendy as a teen, but now I love my classic, regal name! I gave my own daughter a classic name, as well.

jennifer Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:56 am

My sister’s name is Kimberly. I feel kind of embarrassed because I was the one who chose her name. I still think Kimberly is a beautiful name. We’ve been Jennifer and Kimberly, Jenny and Kimmy, Jen and Kim, our entire lives and not once have I heard anyone say anything negative about the name Kimberly, whereas, with my name I constantly get “Jennifer, I graduated with 8 Jennifer’s!” It drives me insane!

Lauren Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 1:03 am

First of all, I do NOT think of a stripper or playmate when I think of Kimberly! I even like Kimberly, as well as Jill!

Secondly, I have always loved my name, Lauren. Yes, I’ve met plenty of Lauren’s in my lifetime, but I was never resentful I think it’s a very strong name with a little spunk. I also love my middle name, Cate, and am more grateful by the day that my mom chose such a great name in comparison to her second choice, Lindsey Sue! Thank mom!

Kelley Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 1:03 am

I’ve spent my entire life explaining that it was “K-e-l-l-E-y” and not only that but I was Kelley M. through a good portion of my school career, as there were usually several Kelly’s in my class. So a double whammy with an overly popular name with a kreyative spelling.

I have grown used to my name (and in fact think it does look weird to see the traditional Kelly next to my last name) but I would be careful not to inflict it upon my future children. I prefer names that are unusual but not unheard of.

karen Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 1:35 am

I really like that my name is relatively simple and somewhat popular, plus I like my name. Sometimes I think it’s the ideal name. I did go through stages wishing I had some mysterious or intriguing name. I made lists for babies and all my stuffed animals, for role-playing house (and mansion and island and store, etc.), for story characters – if I was reading a book, I tried to find a name for myself to be in the book. Although I never ran away from home, I thought it would be cool to disappear sometimes and made up aliases. When my mother was pregnant with my sister, she took out the same book she had when she named me, “Name Your Baby” by Lareina Rule, and that became my bible by the age of 5. Sorry, Pam and Linda, your books hadn’t come out yet! I got those too, later.

My middle name is more complicated. I hated it. I still won’t tell it online. It’s old-fashioned. I think it keeps trying to blend in alongside the current old-fashioned names, but nobody seems to find it and try it out on us. It hasn’t become very popular or regularly suggested to people. To me, it was hideous, it’s a beautiful name, but ugh. Old! I think it’s become more acceptable now for children to have strange middle names, and I have grown so much to love that I have it instead of something fashionable or throwaway or easy to think of. It has more meaning than just a name my parents liked, and that feels very individual to me, and I treasure that.

If and when I have children, I really like the simple first name, meaningful middle name pattern. I have developed very “authentic” tastes, no made up names or unique spellings, no more of the whimsy I tried out in my teens and 20s, bearing on my sometimes wish for a more unusual name. If a name is good, I don’t care how popular it is or isn’t, does the name have clarity and sound nice? One’s name is the first thing someone thinks about you if they don’t meet you in person, which happens a lot as an adult. My name has influenced a practicality in tastes, I seek the ideal balance between brief and interesting enough.

Thanks Jill! Great guest blog, very interesting share. I never knew that about the name Kimberly.

susan Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 1:59 am

Hi, Jill, great blog. Love your monkey’s name Marvin! Needs to go on my fave list. Ah, Kimberly. Yeah, you don’t seem like the Kimberly type. More like the Jill type. I love the name Jill so much! Did I ever tell you that? My original first name was Deborah, and I feel about Deborah the way you feel about Kimberly.

Rosamund Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 2:50 am

Thankyou Jill for your very entertaining and witty post! Such a great read!

redriding Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 6:34 am

Love the post, and am going to join your fan club Jill, as soon as possible, as you sound like a girl after my own heart, as they say!

My middle name is JOYCE, and I detest it with a vengeance, and also hate it when I have to disclose it to people or for official purposes on forms etc. (some organisations, driving licences etc., seem to insist on knowing your middle name, and I get very embarrassed about it). The worst thing is that this is my dear 88 year old mother’s name, and was also a family name (there are lots of ancestral Joyce Fairchilds and Joyce Lodwicks in the old family tree) so I also feel faintly disloyal to my mum and all my great-great-great-grandmothers out there.

My first name is Ailsa, which although I have spent a lifetime (fifty five years to be precise) spelling and pronouncing to teachers, new friends and neightbours (even then, my 96 godmother still puts AISLA on my birthday cards, and pronounces it that way too), I am happy with. It is timeless and cannot easily be categorised (apart from being originally Scottish Gaelic – some say it is Gaelic for Elizabeth, some say it means Elf Island, which I must say I like the sound of!), and if someone calls out in a crowded room “Ailsa!”, I know it must be me they are talking to. Also if I tell someone on the phone what my name is (after spelling it obviousy), they cannot know my age.

But back to the dreaded JOYCE. This was Number 1 name for girls in the UK in the 20s and early 30s (probably tying in with all those names ending with “SSSS” – Doris, Iris, Phyllis and so on – my grandmothers were EUNICE and GLADYS, too, so the SSS thing went on for some time it would seem. Therefore all the Joyces I know are old lades in their eighties, and by heck, there are a lot of them! (Maybe the profile of Joyce is slightly different in the US – my mother’s penpal in Ohio named a daughter Joyce in the 1940s).

Anyway, as you can see, I do not know the meaning of a quick message! Sorry, sorry for rambling, but I am new to nameberry, new to the internet even, and my excitement at finding all these name fans is so very thrilling.

KIMBERLEY, I really dont think that is so bad at all – Kim is very pretty – the only drawback with it is maybe that it can be easily dated to the 60s/70s (in the UK at least). I would not be embarrassed to be Kimberley – do you want to swap with Joyce?

While I was Ailsa Joyce, my sister (6 years younger, born 1959) is Alison Mary. MARY is mum’s middle name, and I would give an arm and a leg to have been Ailsa Mary instead. But ho hum, life is never that simple and I am stuck with Joyce. I would have preferred to be Jocelyn even. JILL is pretty too.

KAREN is a name I remember first hearing late 1950s here, and it of course comes from the Scandinavian. It was very unusual at first, and then, as so often happens, it caught the public imagination in a big way, and lots of little Karen babies started to appear. Again, it is only slightly unfortunate in that it can be easily dated to the 1960s and 70s – unless presumably you come from Stockholm or Denmark.

Let’s not blame our parents, though. And as I keep on boring people by saying on this site, remember that the names we choose today – let’s take the name SOPHIE for example (which peaked in Britain about ten years ago so that now there are trillions of Sohies aged 11 – 18, or EMMA (which peaked in Britain in the late 80s, and I see is top of the popularity polls in the USA today) – they may be classic names, but, like SUSAN in the 1950s, there are going to be loads of them! And what we think of as cutting edge or fresh choices now, will probably not seem so to the next generation. This happens all the time.

Once again, you will have all fallen asleep or slit your wrists by now, reading my ramblings. Sorry, sorry sorry!

Arielle Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 6:40 am

I get tons of compliments on my name (usually from cashiers who see it on my credit card, oddly enough) but I’ve always kind of hated it because, ever since ‘The Little Mermaid’ came out, no one can spell or pronounce it correctly. (Are-e-el, not Air-e-ul.) I was Ari for most of my childhood and switched over to Arielle around 9th grade.

I love my middle name, which is Beth. Simple, classic, easy to pronounce. In college I tried to get people to call me Beth, but it didn’t take.

phaedra Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 8:47 am

Jill, you have impeccable taste in names, but (forgive me) you have lost all objectivity when it comes to your own! Jill is not cutesy, nor is it boring — it’s classic, understated, and stylish. (At least to me.)

As for your middle, I’ve heard worse siblings for Kimberly — the absolutely awful Timber and Amberly. Don’t you feel lucky now?

Great post! 😉

ErikaM Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 9:19 am

Fantastic blog post, Jill! I always enjoy reading your responses on this site, and it was a real treat to read about how you first became interested in names. Loved the imagery of your four-year-old self! Hope your guest blogging becomes a recurring thing. -E

Toni Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 9:41 am

When I was a kid, I would have LOVED to have been a Jill or even a Kimberly. My name is Toni (named for my mother’s grandfather Anton). Not Antoinette, Antonia, or the lovely Antonella (which I’ve just recently come across). Just Toni. I’ve hated it since I was old enough to understand that it’s a “boy’s name” and have spent my life correcting the spelling (no Y, thanks) and explaining that, yes, it is my “real” name. The only thing it has going for it is that it’s uncommon (at least on girls) and I’m usually the only one around.

My middle name is Grace (named for my dad’s grandmother), which I love! I made a sad attempt at going by Grace in lieu of Toni around 7th grade. It was an experiment that failed miserably because I was too shy to correct my teachers when they called for Toni on the rosters. I’m a bit sad that Grace has recently become what many consider a “filler” middle name – one that just sounds pretty and gets used over and over – much like the Maries, Lynns, and Anns of my generation.

When it came to naming my daughter, I wanted a classic name that wasn’t common, but wasn’t weird or trendy either. It had to be decidedly feminine and not a nick-name for another name. We eventually landed on Sylvia and so she’s been named. Her middle name is Caron – a combo of my mom’s name Carol and MIL’s name Sharon.

Kelly Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am

I really enjoyed your post Jill! You write very well. I have not had much time to post on the message board lately, but I try to read it whenever I can and as always you always have wonderful suggestions! Thanks for all of you help on this site! Would love to read more blogs from you in the future!

Stella Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 10:26 am

I have always hated my middle name as well. I remember refusing to learn how to spell it until well into elementary school/middle school. The name I found so offensive? Ashley. Or as I would spell it regularly… Ashely. I still don’t identify with it. I think it quite thoroughly dates me to the “Lisa Frank” generation, hem hem the 80s. I thought it was boring and ordinary and didn’t fit with my first name (a Spanish one).

Why my mother chose it? Still no idea really. She definitely didn’t know it was so popular with girls my age.

Brynn Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 10:34 am

Arielle, I went to high school with and Arielle Beth who went by Ari as well! That’s too funny!

My first name is Brynn, which I have a love-hate relationship with. All in all, it’s a nice name. I get really tired of correcting people who insist on calling me Breanne, Brianna, Britain, Brittany, Brenda, Britt, Brenna, Bree, and the absolute worst: BRIAN. I’m not a boy…

I don’t mind my name most of the time, aside from correcting pronounciations, having to repeat it 46 times when I meet somebody, or spelling it constantly. The name is unique and I think it suits me well 🙂

My middle name, however, is Ashley, which I despise. My parents don’t even like the name Ashley; they just said “it’s the only name that goes with Brynn.” I always joke that my middle name is Trashley, because I just hate hate the name and it sounds very trashy to me.

mamapajama Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 11:02 am

I have had name shame my whole life. Michelle always seemed out of step with the other Ambers, Tiffanys, Melissas and Jennifers I grew up with.

I was always naming my dolls trendy names from the 80s, Kimberly included.

I have no qualms about my name now though. I feel it very mature compared to the 80s girls names I envied before.

kelleita Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 11:03 am

I just have to ditto what the other Kelley wrote above. I also am Kelley “with an “E-Y” and have shared her challenge not only with the spelling but also with the plethora of other Kellys I’ve been aruond. In my graduating high school class of 69 people, 5 of us were named Kell(e)y!! So I too grew up as Kelley B. for the majority of my childhood.

To make matters worse, my middle name is Ann. Plain old Ann. Not “Anne with an ‘e'” like Anne of Green Gables. Just Ann.

Where has that led me? To seek out what I hope is a lovely and not-so-popular name for my daughter: Juliette Noelle. We’ll see what challenges she will face, as I’m sure some are bound to come around. 🙂

Kristine Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 11:05 am

My name is Kristine. Why my parents spelled it this way, I have no idea, but now I am forced to the constant spelling errors! Always “Christine”, never “Kristine.” And then I’m not even CALLED Kristine, but Kristin (who has been a fellow student from 6-12 grade in many of the same classes…sitting in close proximity) and Kristina. Really? Can’t you see the “e” at the end? I absolutely hate my name and really want to change it, but can’t really decide on a name that I’ve been called. Except perhaps Emma, after a character for a book I created that I have been called, but how many “Emma’s” are in the world?

A few months ago, I found out the other names I had the chance of being named: Jasmine (went to the cat), Samantha (also to the cat..I envied that cat), Heather, Amber (which became my middle name), and Sydney. Sydney I like, but a Sydne is now one of my best friends so that would be some confusion.

Amanda Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 11:28 am

In the early 90’s, I was one of five Amanda’s in my first grade class. Instead of Amanda C., Amanda M., etc, we all got nicknames. Because my name came first alphabetically, I beat everyone else to the punch and got the nickname Mandie (at age 7, I choose to spell it with an ie for some, unknown reason), and avoided some terrible nicknames inflicted upon the other Amanda’s, such as AJ, Candy (because it rhymed with Mandie), and Moose (no one remembers why we started calling Amanda S. Moose, we just did).
That being said, I actually loved my name and hated Mandie, and was relieved when I could revert back to using Amanda in high school. For my own kids, I plan on avoiding names that have nicknames that are super cutesy, or names that themselves seem sugary or fluffy. I also think I would like more unique, if not totally off the wall, names so that nicknames aren’t a necessity.

robynkit Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 11:39 am

Jill, maybe these posts will help you feel differently. Jill is a classic, girl-next-door, fun friend name. My sister’s name is Jill and she’s all those things! 🙂 Plus, there are not so many that we get tired of hearing it day in and day out.

Kimberly is a modern classic–I went to school with many of them in the 60’s and 70’s but there are MANY WORSE middle names you could end up with! I’ve heard of Kimber several times in the last dozen years–new twist on an old classic?

My name is Robyn (forever saying “with a y”) and it’s ok because there weren’t very many at school. My middle name is the name of a recent hurricane–you get one guess :-). But mom spelled it Kitrina instead of Kat so I’m forever spelling that one as well.

I always wanted my name to be Melanie so that’s what I named one of my daughters 😉

Kim W Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 11:49 am

Well, I’m a Kimberly Suzanne…could it be any more obvious that I was born in the late 70s?!?

I’m also married to a Todd. I’m determined to give our children names that won’t date them as badly as their parents’ names do. 🙂

GilmoreGirl Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Jill, reading your blog, and other readers’ posts is making me rethink my naming strategy for my expected child. It seems a lot of people dislike their middle name. I grew up with a different problem, I didn’t have one. I’ve had to explain this over and over throughout life, and even got assigned an “X” as my middle initial by my university. (It seems the middle initial was important part of a student’s email address).

Maybe my parents were on to something, and a well-chosen first name can be enough on its own.

anne Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I enjoyed your blog very much. I always look forward to reading your responses on the message boards. Hope to see more blogs in the future.

lyndsayjenness Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Great blog, Jill! I wonder why the people across the street have their wreath up… is it fake, or real, with dead pine needles all over the place?

I’ve always liked the name Jill, and Jillian. I’ve never thought of it as a cutesy name, but I can understand your issue with the girl who can’t make it up the hill. I’ve got a vintage Jill paper doll who is extremely adorable… the make Jack, too… but I don’t have him.

I’ve always included Kimberly in the group of names that remind me of mine (Tiffany, Courtney, etc.)… which are the names I hate a lot (I don’t think I would hate them if I weren’t one of them… but I can’t say for sure!). So, I understand your pain! At least it’s your middle name, and not your first. I never understood why my parents named me Lyndsay (spelled wrong, no less!). My dad picked it. Elizabeth is my mom’s favorite name, I don’t understand how you could pick Lyndsay over Elizabeth. Another one they loved was Grace, but my grandma hated it. I love that one, too. I do love my middle name, and thought about going by it lots of times, but didn’t because I thought Jen would be even worse than Lyndsay.

I was a really, really shy kid. More than anything, I dreaded the times in school, when meeting a new group of people, that the teacher made us sit in a circle and introduce ourselves. I was unbelievably embarrassed about saying my name! I honestly could hardly even get it out. I remember almost crying in junior high because I had to say my name!

I hated being Lyndsay T. So I think this has influenced my tastes by making me love unusual names! AND classic names, but hate trendy names that tie you to a certain time period. I hope my kids never have to follow their name with their initial. And I hope they’re not ashamed to tell people their names!

teabee Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Fun blog, Jill! I usually like dramatic girls’ names but Jill has always appealed to me, partly because of Jill Pole in the Chronicles of Narnia, partly because of my aunt, and partly because it isn’t heard all that often. Kimberly does sound dated now, and I sympathize with name shame, but I think Kimberly can be redeemed–there are so many names I would use if I were going to strip before Kimberly, I promise! 😉 Kimberly (especially Kim) is the nice waitress, your best friend’s sister, a power ranger, the city council rep for your district, and an all-around friendly and competent sort of person to me, small comfort though it is when it’s not your style. Our own names definitely set the stage for our name preferences. I like my name but know what it’s like to be shy and have to spell out first, middle, and last constantly, and use fake names when ordering drinks to avoid confusion, so this is what made me a spelling nazi. I care more about a name’s straightforward spelling and pronunciation than about how dated it sounds, for instance. If it’s cute and straightforward and not overly popular, it’s gold! Also, having grown up with a fairly unusual name, it was so exciting to meet someone who shared it! Having to share a name with tons of kids is confusing and irritating but meeting someone with your name every now and then is a fun experience. If I include Rochelle, I’ve still met only about five women with my name, ever (it’s more common as a middle), and usually we met because of the name, when someone said “Hey, did you know there’s another Rachelle over here?”

-sarah- Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Well, let’s just put it this way:

I first discovered Pam & Linda’s genius when I purchased their book in 1991 to pick a new middle name for myself, as my real one is . . . Rainbow!
(as if it required any explanation, my dad is an aging hippie, and added the name to the birth certificate without my mother’s consent)

Talk about middle name shame, I went through the first 2 decades of my life telling people that I had no middle name.

I picked Catherine as my new middle name (after my grandmother), and haven’t looked back since. And when it came time to recently name our own daughter, we picked the ultra conservative Laura Elizabeth. However, given the current trend towards uniqueness, maybe she will grow up hating her own name and someday change her middle name to Rainbow, to honor her grandfather! 🙂

SJ Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I’ll add my voice to those who think Jill Kimberly is not a bad name at all… I think Jill is energetic and friendly, without being patronizing (like Mindy or Bitsy might be), and I think Kimberly has the same kind of feel to it–energetic, but also substantial. I thought for sure the middle name was going to be something like Krystalle or Amberelle or at the very least Tiffany, not the perfectly fine Kimberly.

On the other hand, parents and peers can have a huge influence on how we think about our own names… Parents who are ambiguous about why they chose their children’s names boggle my mind, and I think that can contribute to the children not really liking their names or identifying with them. Also, if in sixth grade some name had been dubbed a “stripper name,” be it Kimberly or Elizabeth or Krystalle, I think that would have had a profound effect on me! 🙂

I was not overly fond of my middle name as a child, either. It was my grandmother’s name and, oddly enough, it’s incredibly popular right now, like Top 5, but not so long ago it was seen as hopelessly old-fashioned and old-lady-like. I have since learned to value it for the family heritage and because it’s somewhat unusual/distinctive in the middle spot for someone my age. Ironically, it is now SO popular that I probably wouldn’t want to use it for my own children.

My first name, though a classic not identified with any particular era, was quite common for girls my age, and there were always multiple other ones in every class in school. If anything I would’ve liked to have something slightly more distinct, but I never really HATED it. Ideally I would give my children names that people were familiar with and knew how to spell, but that weren’t so popular they had to share the name with many others their age. This seems to encompass a lot of the names which are rising in popularity now, like Isabelle, Virginia, Josephine, and Violet. People will always find ways to misspell, mispronounce, misinterpret, or outright sully even the simplest and most pleasant names, so I think the important thing is to give your children names that you love, and to convey that love to them.

JLyn Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

As a fellow Jill, I agree whole-heartedly with your feelings about your first name. I would have loved to have been named Julia. Many of my friends had frilly names that could be shortened and I wished I had the same. To make matters worse, my maiden name is one syllable. My middle name, Lynette, was for some reason frowned upon by all my elementary school age friends. I thought about going by my first and middle names together in college, but I became engaged and so decided I could wait for my new name. My daughters each have a 3-syllable “feminissima” name!

Jill Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I LOVED reading your replies, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that you enjoyed my little blog! 🙂 I’m going to reply to each of you personally, but I have to finish writing an essay first (for an annoying continuing education class) before the deadline. I’ll be back! 🙂

(And thanks again!) 🙂

BostonGirl Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Wow. I just finished reading all the comments and this post…and I’m amazed by all the different views on Kimberly, since this is my first name. My parents thought they were being unique when they named me, and then I wound up in school with a bunch of Kims (and one Kym, who spelled her full name “Kymberlie”) over the years. They did a better job in the originality department with my middle name. Evidently the “default” middle name for Kimberly is Anne. I had to correct my third-grade teacher when she assumed this and explain that it’s Elizabeth.

I didn’t particularly care for my name either; I liked my middle name better and sometimes wished I could go by “Beth”, but never cared quite enough to try changing it. Just as well; my best friend in high school was named Elizabeth and was called by a wide assortment of nicknames, though I preferred the full name or Beth. She answered to pretty much anything. 🙂

I still like many of the 60s, 70s and 80s names. Most of the currently popular stuff looks to me either too old-fashioned or just, well, ugly. But I guess I’m a throwback. At least it would mean my kids wouldn’t be confused with all the Taylors and Madisons and Avas and Logans out there!

Jill Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Elizabeth: I love your name, too, and am glad you found the blog interesting. 🙂

Jennifer: Don’t be ashamed of having chosen your sister’s name. I do think Kimberly has a really pretty sound, and if not for Kimberly Conrad, I think I could have felt differently.

Lauren: Thanks for saying you like my name. I think you and parents are the only ones. 🙂 I think your mom made a wise choice with your name, too!

Kelley: I enjoyed reading about your name woes. I know of a Kelley, and wonder if she shares the spelling issues. Thanks for your comment!

Karen: That was interesting! I bet I’d love your middle name, and I’d be happy to help you take baby steps in working up the courage to reveal it. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words.

Susan: You were a Deborah? I think it’s pretty! You like Jill? For real? Well, thanks. I’ll add you to the short list. 🙂 My mom and dad say I’m a total Jill (with the perkiness and all), but I just don’t see it. Then again, I do see Jill more than Kimberly. I’m really glad you liked it, Susan!

Rosamund: You’re so welcome! Thank YOU for posting. (If my name were the beautiful Rosamund, I wouldn’t have written this blog!) 🙂

Red: I think Ailsa is so pretty, and, as you read, I know what it’s like not to be a fan of your middle name. (At least you got a good first name, though!) I know several Joyces, and they’re all lovely, but I hear what you’re saying. I loved and appreciated your post, and never once fell asleep! 🙂

Arielle: I love your name, too, and for what it’s worth, I pronounced it correctly! 🙂 It must be fun having such a frilly name. Thanks for commenting!

Phaedra: Thanks for sending warm wishes to my name. I know it’s a classic, but it just doesn’t feel like one to me. I’ll have to tell my parents that you like their chosen name. 🙂 And yes, I’ll take Kimberly over Timber or Amberly (that’s just all sorts of wrong) any day. 🙂 Thanks.

Erika: Oh, thank you so much for your sweet words! I’m so glad you read and commented. Yeah, my four-year-old self. I wish I could find Marvin the Monkey. (I punished him by keeping him in the closet for a week after the incident, because I blamed him for having let me do what I did.) 🙂

I still have the scar, so I’ll never forget myself at that age. (On the bright side, the only flying I do these days is in airplanes.) 🙂

Toni: I feel your pain, but you’ve named your daughter very well! 🙂 I love Grace, too, and for what it’s worth, I like your perky first name. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

Kelly: Thank you so much for saying such nice things! You’re so sweet, and I thank you for your comment 🙂

Stella: (I love your name…) Ashley? Yep. I hear you, Stella, loud and clear. Like yours, my middle name was chosen arbitrarily. I wonder what that roller skater is doing today… Thanks for posting!

Brynn: Hi! I think your name is pretty! Ah, you’re Ashley-in-the-middle, too? I extend my condolences to you. Maybe you and Stella could vent together?! 🙂

MamaP: I didn’t realize that you’re a Michelle! I’m glad you appreciate your name now, MamaP. 🙂 (To me, you’re MamaP now.) I wonder if someday I’ll appreciate Kimberly, but I guess it’s a moot point, because when I get married, I’ll be dropping it and moving Barnett to the middle. I’m glad you stopped by!

Kelley #2: I LOVE Juliette Noelle! Love it! Also, I have to give you major points for quoting Anne of Green Gables! It’s one of my favorite series. Thanks for posting, Kelley (with an e). 🙂

Kristine: You wrote a book? Cool! 🙂 I had to laugh at you never being called “Kristine,” because I don’t think I’m ever called Jill. I’m Jillie, Jillybean, and Jillian. Yes, Jillian. I receive invitations addressed to Jillian! For what it’s worth, I like Kristine the best out of the names you’ve listed. Thanks for posting!

Amanda: Way to go with the whole “Mandy-instead of Candy” issue! I like your name, too, and am glad you were given a name you love. (No fair!) 🙂

Robyn: Thanks so much! Does your sister like her name? I’d like to think I have those good “Jill” qualities, and I’ll work on liking my name. Like you said, there aren’t many Jills, and that’s a plus. I know a few Robyn/Robins (I think birdie names are pretty), and they’re all lovely. I think Melanie is really pretty!

Kim: I was so worried about offending you (and all Kimberlys) when I wrote this blog, and hope I didn’t cause any permanent damage. 🙂 If not for being told that I had a centerfold/exotic dancer name, I think I would have been more gentle to my middle name. (Have you chosen a name for your baby yet?) Best wishes to you!

Gilmore: Thanks for commenting. No middle name? Now that I think about it, I do think it’s perfectly fine to have no middle name. (I just love names too much not to use at least two on my future babies!) 🙂

Anne: Thanks so much! I really appreciate it. 🙂 You have one of my favorite name, in case you missed that. 🙂

Lyndsay: Thanks so much! 🙂 It was a real wreath, and it was busy spreading Christmas magic through June. (I checked today, and it’s gone.) I’m wondering if the people live in Florida or somewhere during part of the year. I think your middle name is very cool, too, and while Lyndsay/Lindsay isn’t the style you and I seem to go for, I don’t think it’s awful by any means. Not at all. I hope Dash is doing well!

Teabee: Thanks so much! I know I’m hard on Kimberly, and I’ll try to give her a break. I guess it’s how a Kendra of today would feel with that Kendra (I forget her last name) from the Bunny Ranch being covered in the media so much. I was very innocent, and wouldn’t have known about Kimberly Conrad if I hadn’t been told. (And then, Kimberly Conrad was seemingly everywhere in the media.) I think your name is very pretty, by the way. (Side note: I replied to your fan comment, but just saw that it never appeared. Oops!) 🙂

Sarah: Rainbow? I feel your pain, big time, and think Sarah Catherine is stunning! And as you know, I love Laura Elizabeth, too. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Sarah. 🙂

SJ: Thanks for that post and for the positive Jill feelings! I’m still laughing over Krystalle.
Like you said, I know I’d have felt differently if my middle name had meaning, or if Kimberly Conrad had been a physicist or something involving more brain power than flaunting her fun bags. 🙂

JLyn: I love Lynette, and I’m glad you can feel the Jill pain. I would have loved a feminissima name, and I think your three little girls are very lucky! Were you a Jillie or Jillybean, too? Thanks for posting, Jill!

BostonGirl: I sincerely hope my blog didn’t offend you. Like I said, I do think Kimberly has a pretty sound, and if not for Kimberly Conrad, I would definitely have felt differently about it. I think Elizabeth is gorgeous, and think it’s really pretty with Kimberly. (Another one of my nicknames, from family, is Jill Kimmie, and I do think Kimmie is cute.) 🙂 Thanks for posting!

Thanks to each and every one of you! 🙂

Katie Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Ahhh…. This is actually a subject I feel compelled to post a reply to!

I was named for both of my grandmothers. Katharine after my mother’s mother (my mother also being Katharine “Kathy”) and Elmina for my father’s mother. I didn’t know how to spell my “real” first name correctly until an embarrassingly late age, having always gone by Katie. In school there were, at least 2 other (sometimes 4+ other) Katie(y)s in my class. When I got to high school, I grew quite sick of it and changed the spelling of my nickname to “Kate E. ” so I would at least get my own papers back in class. This spelling lasted through high school and up to my senior year of college when I got married and while changing my last name, reverted back to “Katie”… So, I’ve had a ridiculous record of misspellings, mispronunciations, miscommunications and generally annoying name mishaps throughout the years.

Despite the unusual spelling of Katharine, I like the name. I answer to any number of nicknames, but I see Katie as my name.

I really like my middle name, but I don’t like how it sounds with Katie. It sounds just fine with Katharine, but it was always awkward telling it to my friends because they knew me as Katie.

Mostly due to my own name issues, I have decided on more distinct nickname-free names for my daughters(hopefully someday to come my way).

Ruby Claire and Gladys Anne are my top picks currently. (I hope they like them!!!)

Seriously great post and replies, I laughed out loud.

Jenny Says:

July 31st, 2009 at 12:39 am

Brynn – What is it with the Brian? My middle name is Brynn and people were constantly calling me Jennifer Brian. Even the senior video, which was made from the official graduation list, had me as Jennifer Bryon. Luckily we saw that before the diplomas were printed up and I could get it changed.
I still like Brynn better than Jennifer. But I do like Jenny. It reminds me of Jenny Lind and ‘Whiskey in the Jar’.

Emily Says:

July 31st, 2009 at 1:38 am

I can’t believe no other Emilys have commented on this! My parents chose my name in the early 80’s partially because they had never met anyone with it on the west coast. We moved to massachusetts not long after though, and I ended up one of four in my kindergarten class. I was always jealous of my younger sister, who was named Evan after our uncle.
We did the same thing with my son, though! Named him Kaleb (mostly for family reasons), and it exploded. still have only met one other in our area, though, so i guess it wasn’t too bad.

Kat Says:

July 31st, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I never realized so many people had the same insecurities about their names as I do!

I was named Katheryn, and I don’t need to tell you that no one has ever been able to spell it correctly. I’ve always hated it – I grew up amid Tracys and Amys and Loris and all those other -y names of the 70s. My name felt clunky and masculine, especially because of how it was spelled. Had I been a Katherine or Catherine, perhaps I would have been less distressed about it.

I still dislike the spelling, but now virtually everyone in my life calls me Kat, which I like. So I can deal. My middle name is Elizabeth; I was probably 8 years old before I knew how to spell both long names properly. Katheryn Elizabeth is pretty pretentious, so I’m trying to ensure that my daughter (due in 5 weeks) has a name that doesn’t smack of someone trying to be a British royal. Still haven’t decided on one!

bluebelle Says:

July 31st, 2009 at 4:52 pm

For as long as I can remember I have not been a fan of my first name. My parents were backed into a corner by tradition in that my name must start with the letter M like everyone before me on my fathers side, so since it was the early 80s Melissa it was. I hated being one of many, I hated being Melissa M. (yes, our last name starts with M too, we are a big group of M&Ms) While I hated my first name I loved my middle name because it was unique. It was also tradition to honor family in the middle names, but apparently my parents didnt like anyones first names so my brother and myself got family surnames. I felt like having Colby for my middle name made up for the ordinaryness of Melissa.

I have been obsessed with names for a long time, but I feel like over the past 15 years of my obsession I have gone through every phase. I liked boys names for girls and surnames as both boys and girl names, I had every intention of naming my first baby girl Colby for the longest time. I liked place names and not even normal ones but names like Peobody which is a town in Mass. I even went through the yooneek spelling phase and named my poor puppy Kassidee. (I changed vets a couple of years ago and they typed in Cassidy and I did not correct them)

And while I am still hellbent on my child not being one of many in their class at school I think its more important that you should not be able to pick out which decade they were born in based on their name. And my children’s names will not have to start with the letter M. I do think my parents it right with the middle names, though. I like middle names having some sort meaning to the parents, whether its a place, a relative, a friend, a song or season that matters, I think its nice when there is something that feels like a connection to something.

redriding Says:

July 31st, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Brynn, that is pretty (I presume pronouced Brinn? and I do so understand the Having To Spell Your Name thing; so tiresome. Maybe some people (who have not met you and just see the name in print) might have confused it with the Welsh name, Bryn (meaning hill), which is a male name. I think your spelling makes it feminine, though.

Jill, thanks for your comments – you are so considerate, replying to us all.

Barbara Says:

August 1st, 2009 at 3:25 am

Having a middle-aged name that is particularly awful-sounding in my native accent (which has never met an “r” it doesn’t hammer like a crazed shoe elf), I promptly named all of my dolls Jenny (except for one, which I named Stacy for reasons I no longer remember). I assure you that, though I had the requisite collection of 11.5″ fashion dolls, not a single one was named “Barbie,” despite the word on the packaging. ;p

And yet, I’ve never done more than fantasize about changing it. It’s just… who I am. And it’s a family name, with an attached history.

Other than naming my dolls “Jenny” (and an unfortunate Knots Landing inspired flirtation with “Ciji”), though, I don’t think I developed any real taste for trendy or cute names, either, or a distaste for old fashioned ones per se. Just sort of… euphonious ones. “Janet” may be old fashioned, but I love it. I had a great-great-aunt named “Ora,” which I think would be great for a comeback. But mostly… yeah. Julia, Elizabeth, the classics.

redriding Says:

August 1st, 2009 at 5:55 am

Hello Barbara, it is refreshing to hear from someone who sounds as if they may be nearer my own age than most of these Young Things with new-born babies or babies who are still twinkles in the eye! (I was born 1953 and have been nuts about names since a child). I had about 150 paper cut-out dolls, all with names, – I discarded the clothes as it was really only the dolls themselves I was interested in – and naming was a great joy even then. This was in the early 1960s, so of course my favourite names at the time reflected the era, and also we in Britain were heavily influenced by all things American (I thought living in America would be just like being part of the I LOVE LUCY show, with The Fonz living next door), so I loved names like Judy, Pattie, Kim, and sort of nickname, short names like that.

Here, I would not say Barbara had a middle-aged feel to it, and I would name a child Barbara today with no hesitation as I think it is very pretty and classic.

I do notice, JILL, that while tons of people have logged in to reassure you a bout YOUR middle names, not a soul has commented on my own, so I remain despondant about JOYCE and do not see it ever being resurrected. (I am amazed reading someone’s blog that they loved the name GLADYS, however – my grandmother’s name, born 1898) so maybe sometime? . . . . . . .

I love Janet too. It always reminds me of the housekeeper in the TV series Dr. Finlay’s Casebook, very Scottish, and I love all things Scottish. Except perhaps deep fried Mars bars and haggis. But I am a vegetarian so can be excused the sheep’s innards. Sorry, rambling again. Yes, love Julia and Elisabeth and have used them both as middle names with two of my daughters.

Let’s hear more from you, Barbara!

Tracey Says:

August 1st, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I have a name kind of like Toni’s: used for boys; kind of a sparky 60’s name. At this point it feels to me like the yellowed linoleum floor of an un-airconditioned ranch, with I Dream of Jeannie in reruns. It even kind of felt that way to me 20 years ago.

So I went pretty traditional for my kids, and very gender-specific, as well as upper-class London: Alec (Alexander Jasper–now a teenager);Bella (Arabella Sydonie) and Gemma (Gemelliana Arwen-was going to be Jemma, for Jemima but her dad objected). On the last one I went a little differently.

Jill Says:

August 1st, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Oh, wow! More fantastic comments! 🙂 I don’t know if any of you will be checking back later, but when I get back tonight, I fully plan on replying to each of you. 🙂 It’s great to know I’m not the only one with “Name Shame!”

Take care! 🙂

redriding Says:

August 1st, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Dear Jill, yes, I keep on checking to see if Anyone In This World can cheer me up about Joyce.

I only joined Nameberry at the beginning of July, so I am looking back over past blogs and postings, and adding comments to the bottom which I don’t think anyone is going to read any more because it is months ago! sigh.
Also, I seem to get the daily postings later than you guys in the US, as I think they must be posted in the middle of the night here.

Anyway, how can I get more about the Jill Fan Club and how often do you guest blogs for Nameberry? Pam very graciously offered me to do a guest blog on Welsh naming trends, but I am too scared at the moment. I need to read more on the name sites first.

xxx Ailsa xxxx

Jill Says:

August 2nd, 2009 at 1:31 am

Katie: I’m glad you liked the blog! I love your name (and the spelling, which reminds me of Katharine Hepburn), and really love the names you’ve picked out for your daughters. 🙂

Jenny: I think your name is lovely, and for what it’s worth, I’ve never mistaken it for Brian! I’m so glad Bryon was corrected for you! Phew! 🙂

Emily: I think Emily is pretty, but one of four in your kindergarten class? Yikes! I think you picked out a lovely name for your son!

Kat: I love your name, and I’m glad you don’t have spelling issues. Katherine was one of my favorite names growing up (I still love it), and think it’s so pretty with Elizabeth.

Bluebell: I think you made some great points, and think Colby is a very cool middle name. I know of one little girl named Colby (well, she’s actually not so little anymore), and I think it’s a great name. I know so many sweet Melissas, and I’ve always thought of it as a sweet name.

Barbara: I actually like your name, but as you know, I can relate to the whole “I hate my name” issue. I cracked up when I read your Knot’s Landing comment. 🙂

Tracey: For what it’s worth, your name is all girl to me! I’d never mistake you for a boy. 🙂 I just have to say that I think your kids’ names are AMAZING! Wow! 🙂

Ailsa Joyce: I don’t think Joyce is awful at all, and know many lovely Joyces (in fact, every Joyce I’ve ever met has been lovely). The name feels cheerful to me, and I can see it coming back someday, especially in the middle.

As for the fan club, that was just something sweet that Susan did for me recently, and I owe her, big time. 🙂 I think of it as a fan club for Nameberry, and wish every single person had their own fan thread. Without you and everyone else, Nameberry wouldn’t be such an amazing site! It’s been fun learning about everyone. 🙂

This was my first blog, but I’m happily and gratefully working on some more. 🙂 I think it’s wonderful that Pam asked you to blog about Welsh names, and I hope you do it sooner rather than later. I’d love to learn more about that topic, and I’m sure you’ll do a great job! (And don’t be afraid!) 🙂

redriding Says:

August 2nd, 2009 at 6:01 pm

OK Jill, I will be brave and it will happen soon but I need to read more before I take the plunge. I am still coping with all these sites and different threads from Nameberry (as well as the Jill fan club, I also love the Nephele flower fairy one and youcantcallit site, do you?)

I only ever used to use email, so this is all much more complicated and sometimes I find it tricky accessing all these different message boards. It is a big learning curve for me, but I am pleased with myself. Not so long ago I communicated solely by letter and my fountain pen and ink! (I still write letters, and have kept a journal since my first Brownie Diary in 1963!!)

AND I am a massive Louisa May Alcott fan! SO am SOSO jealous of you visiting her house in Concord!!! Unlike most people, though, I like Amy best! Jo is too “good” for me, I like Amy’s wit and spirit. And loved Kirsten Dunst as her – Elizabeth Taylor never looked right as a blonde.


Yes, I agree, we are all an interesting bunch of gals, and I would love to know HOW to set up a blog in time, so maybe some of you interesting etymologists will help me sometime?

Re the name Katharine. I love this name and have used it twice! My eldest daughter is Laura Katharine Francesca – I liked the Katharine Hepburn spelling, and was under the impression (mistaken it would seem? ) that this was the commoner American spelling while the British way was more usually Catherine?

My third daughter is Catherine Julia Felicity. My Dad had just died (he didn’t even know I was pregnant, I don’t think) and I wanted to honour him in some way, so I used the name of his beloved grandma (one of my great-grandmothers, therefore), Catherine Julia. And I love the name Felicity, and added it, as it means happiness, and I was so so happy to have 3 girls and 3 boys! She was born in July too, so Julia was apt.

I would like everyone who posts to tell me what their children are called, and why they used those names. And what their favourite names are at the moment. Thanks!

Your technophobe-but-eager-to-learn-Welsh-middle-aged-mother-of six AILSA xxxx
PS my next aim is to get to grips with a digital camera and use it with my laptop, so I can post a photo. That will be cool.

Jill Says:

August 2nd, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Hi Ailsa. 🙂 I’ve never been to the other sites you’ve mentioned, but I’ll check them out. 🙂 You love Louisa May Alcott, too? Wow! (I love the movie, too.) Yep, I love going on the tour of her house. If you ever come to the U.S., I think you’d love visiting Boston.

I’m not computer savvy enough to know how to write a blog, but I’m sure people can help you. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great job posting here, and you always make me smile. 🙂

I LOVE your daughters’ names, Ailsa! What style! 🙂 They’ll never have to write a blog about “Name Shame.” (Pam actually came up with that great title.) 🙂

Oh! About people’s names for their children, if you to the “nametalk” section of Nameberry, the bottom forum is called something like “Tell Us What You Named Your Baby.” In that section, you’ll find a long thread devoted to what Nameberry posters have named their children, and why. You’ll love it! 🙂

MissCaron Says:

August 3rd, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I love the blog. I feel compelled to write though I know that it’s probably a mute point. I am Caron Valerie. Now you might be thinking … how pretty … but NO, not really. Yes, I’m named after Leslie Caron … she was a beautiful French actress and that’s great but when your name is pronounced, Karen, the spelling of your actual name becomes more of a nusiance than a fun unique spelling.

When someone asks me my name for them to write down I never respond with my actual name but instead just spell it out … “Oh, my name is C A R O N.” Otherwise I get the K made into a C when they realize it’s not Karen. Now, add that to the fact that my last name is Bayuk and you understand just how awful it has been to be me. Car-on Ba-yuk is what I’ve gotten most my life. It’s Bay-uk (as in ukulele).

I swear when I have children they’re having NORMAL spelling names. I’ve HATED my name my whole life … no, I don’t think it’s pretty. Yes, I hate it when people name their children things like Kymberlie or Krystlle when you know it should be Kimberly or Crystal. It is torture for the child …

I work at a University and right now we have a family with the names Pepci, Taco, and Chili. My mother has a student in her class who has the name Princess Tiara. Really folks? Really? Please can’t we just be nice to our children and name them something that won’t be made fun of or butchered their whole life? Please? 🙂

Jill Says:

August 3rd, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Hi Caron (pronounced correctly)! I have to admit that I think your name is really pretty, but as you read, I can definitely relate to you! 🙂 Pepci, Taco, and Chili? Seriously? (I’m feeling better about Jill Kimberly right now.) 🙂

Thanks for posting, Caron! 🙂

Eliza Says:

August 6th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Maybe I’ve heard it so many times it sounds terrible in my ears or maybe it’s just be one “My Fair Lady” joke too many (If they remake that film my life is over) but I’ve always always hated my name! I’m acctually at a slight disbelief that someone would like “Eliza” 😛
The constant mispronounciations (Eleeeza) and pathetic attempts to spell it (Aliza, Alyza, Iliza, Ellysa, Elisa and my personal favourite Elzath) are the bane of my existance 😛

Jill Says:

August 6th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Eliza: I LOVE your name, and in my book, I think you won the naming jackpot! 🙂

amber94 Says:

August 8th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

My name’s Amber Janis. My mum thought she was being original with it but failed. My sisters are Iona Kai and Sorsha Eva Davina, which sound 10x better and prettier. I often pretend that my middle name is Jane (pride and prejudice character :D) because Janis sounds dated already to me. I’m completely name-obsessed already… hopefully I would pick less ageing names for children :S

redriding Says:

August 13th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Eliza, I have exactly the same problems with mine (Ailsa) – it is either not spelled correctly or else not pronounced right, and I am called Isla, Elsa, Alisa, Alissa, Hazel (!), Aizla. My neighbour calls me Aizla daily, and my godmother (who died last year aged 96) sent me Xmas cards and birthday cards to Aisla every year, and called me Aizla too!!

There is a message here for Mums to be out there – THERE ARE TOO MANY NAMES LIKE ELIZA AND AILSA!!!!

(I actually like my name, it is just other people’s incompetence which infuriates me constantly)

Carter Says:

August 14th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Jill, I am so late to the game! I can’t believe I am just finding your blog. Let me just say that I found your story so entertaining and it was great to get some insight on you and the story of your name. I don’t at all dislike Jill, actually, I think it is understated and pretty! Unfortunately, I have to agree with your thoughts on Kimberly, but it is not nearly as bad as Jennifer or Tiffany. Luckily it is in the middle. =)

My name is Carter Elizabeth. Elizabeth I love because it has so much history within my family (and my husband’s, actually). I know many people think of it as simply a filler, but I find it classic and beautiful. Carter, on the other hand, isn’t particularly my favourite. I, much like you, preferred classic, vintage and feminine names as a child and now as an adult. I appreciate the strength of Carter, but would have been thrilled with Beatrice!

Anyway, it was so great to hear your story and I look forward to more Jill blogs! =)

onaberry Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I , as many other posters too, spent earlier times not liking my name very much at all. I was quite vocal in this matter until my Dad told me how much it upset him. So I kept it to myself for a bit and now find that it is just me, and would feel wrong to be something else! I even actually LIKE my middle name now, and have given it as a middle name to my eldest daughter.
My first name, Fiona, was not exactly common, but there were three of us in my year at school (I grew up in New Zealand – some different influences there, and by the way, I don’t even know who Kimberly Conrad is so no associations there for me!!). My biggest irk these days is that I do have to spell it EVERY time, and that is not easy with a kiwi accent! So, I resort (somewhat sadly) to “you know, like Princess Shrek”, which is a pop culture reference that most seem to get!
My middle name , Mary, comes from my grandmother, and as I said I like it now! Even as a first name, but that may be because i have met a couple of lovely young Mary’s and it is easier to like a name if you meet nice people with it!

Devon Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 12:17 am

Growing up I hated my name, Devon. I didn’t really mind it until I was about 9 or 10 when another girl came to school with the same name. She was a, for lack of a better word, a naughty child and they always confused us and I once got sent to the principal’s office when it should have been the other Devon. Kids thought I was her, teachers thought I was the “bad” Devon. It sucked.

Once I hit middle school (grade 6), I really began to hate my full name. Until that time I had no clue that Devon was mainly a boys name at that time, and I was confused as a boy. It didn’t help that my middle name is Johnston. Devon Johnston. Sounds like a boy now doesn’t it. I was named after my Grandmother, it is her maiden name. My Mum wanted to call me Devon Lilian (my Grandmother’s first name) but my Grandmother refused saying, in her own words, “there is no way you are naming that beautiful child Lilian.”

I was horribly teased in grade 6 and the combination of being an awkward tween, in a new school with all my friends in another class and having a boys name, I had no chance. I begged and pleaded my mother to change my name. It really went south when, trying to make friends since I was teased so horribly, I participated in the school wide Triathlon. Once completed, and really proud of myself, I looked for my time. I scanned the list up and down, left to right. I wasn’t there. I don’t know why I did it, maybe a teacher suggested it, but I looked at the boy’s list. There my name was. I came 37th in the boys division.

After that I was hellbent on changing my name and changing schools. Once at my new school, I met several another girl Devons, but that didn’t help things. I still hated my name. I don’t remember all the names that I wanted to change to but I do remember my parents calling me Hope (I was obsessed with Days of our Lives) and Charity. I think Samantha was in there too. My parents were really good about it, especially my mother. She grew up hating her name, Anne, and told me that if I still wanted to change my name when I was 18 she would pay for it. I never really got use to being called something different and I thought that it would be weird to change names half way through High School, so I left it.

Now that I am 26, I have come to love my name even though I am still thought of as a boy. I can’t tell you how many times I get emails at work referring to me a Mr. Devon… I still hate my middle name though. I can’t tell you how badly I wished my Mother had called me Devon Lilian or Devon Isabella (my Great Aunt’s name). At least if someone saw Devon Lilian or Devon Isabella they would know I was a girl. When they see Devon Johnston, they think boy. Once starting a new job, I was greeted by a new co-worker as “Oh, I thought you were a boy!” Nope, sorry. Hate to disappoint, but you see my breasts? I’m a girl thanks. Ok, maybe I am still a little resentful.

My whole experience growing up with such an androgynous name has really made me conscious about what I am going to name my future children. With me having a not so common name (which was the only thing that I liked about my name growing up), and my husband having the uber common name of Michael, I know that I want my kids to have a different name that’s not TOO uncommon. I do like gender bending names for girls so if I name my daughter Corbin (which I love) she is going to have a uber feminine name, like Isobel or Claire so there is no confusion. Names will NOT be in the Top 100 for the few years prior to the birth and they will have proper spelling. They will have nice meanings. Devon Johnston, I think, means John’s Son from Devon. I like that, even though there is still the reference that I’m a boy. I love the name Penelope, so does my husband, but it means Duck. No thanks.

I want my kids to grow up loving their name and not go through what I went through. I know it’s not a guarntee that they will love or even like their name, but I want my kids to know why and what they were named and to know that I put a lot of time and effort in to it. I wish my Mother had stuck to her guns and named me Devon Lilian but I appreciate the perspective it has given me and lessons she has given me for my future children.

STAGE NAMES: Would You Change Your Name for Fame? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

November 17th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

[…] cooking, traveling, and following popular culture and politics. She wrote previously for us on hating her name, and is famous on the nameberry message boards as just plain Jill, always dispensing excellent […]

Jill Says:

December 1st, 2009 at 9:52 am

I share your name, Jill, but I’ve always loved it! My mother said she named me for a high school friend who she always admired and thought was smart so I guess that influenced my positive feelings about my name. Now that my husband and I are thinking of baby names, I’m finding out that many of my friends hated their names at some point in their lives. Even my sister confided in me that she felt her name never fit her personality. Now I feel nervous about naming our kid because it seems like so many people end up hating the names their parents gave them. The pressure!

Beverly Says:

December 6th, 2009 at 8:04 am

I like the name Jill, its a pretty name, but I hate my own name. I have been name obsessed ever since I can remember. I could never understand why my parents called me Beverly. The mere sound of it makes me cringe! At school I would always be mistaken for a deb or debra. Other name considerations for me were Janette or kimberly. None of those names would suit me. People always mis spell my name as beverley, that really iritates me. It makes me dislike it even more. My friends have always made up a nick name for me .. Tiffany was one name that lasted 5 years, then I moved. Some of my girfriends now call me Scarlett, which I love. I never had a middle name, so I always felt deprived. If I had a middle name I could have had something to revert to. After many years of hating my name I have decided that I am going to change it to a name that I like. The girls want me to keep Scarlett but I don’t think people would take me seriously in work .. So I am going for Amie – Scarlett … I love that name. I think it is more me. Not sure if others will get used to it. Definitely going to have a new name for the new year !! Crazy I know .. But I just don’t feel connected with Beverly or even bev which I also use. Its not a feminine girlie name.. Amie Scarlett is . Do you know any one that changed their first name that is not a celebrity ??

Pamela Redmond Satran Says:

December 6th, 2009 at 9:28 am

We’ve talked to a lot of non-celebrity people who’ve changed their names and most feel much happier after they make the switch. You can read about some of these individuals in the piece we did for Readers’ Digest: And for the record, I agree: Amie Scarlett is much better than Beverly.

Jill Says:

December 6th, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Carter: I’m so glad you found the blog, and I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 While I’m a classic/vintage fan like you, I can definitely see the appeal of Carter on a girl, and I love it with Elizabeth. (I adore Elizabeth, and don’t view it as a filler middle name at all.) 🙂 And I know I’ve said this before, but I love the name you chose for your baby girl, and I think it would be great with Beatrice!

Amber: I feel your pain, and I love your idea of Jane in the middle. I do think that Amber has a pretty sound, and I can understand why your mom chose it. Thank you so much for posting!

Fiona: I love your name (first and middle), and was so surprised to read that people have trouble pronouncing it! I know a darling little Fiona (goes by “Fee”), and think your parents chose a winner. That said, I can completely relate to disliking my given name. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

Devon: I’m so, so sorry that you had such a hard time growing up with your name, and it made me so sad to read that your race time was listed with the boys’. On the flip side, I’m happy to hear that you like your name now, and think it’s interesting that you haven’t turned away from giving your baby girl a unisex name. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Devon!

Jill: Hi, Jill! For what it’s worth, I think I’m the only Jill I know who dislikes her name. (On the bright side, I caught myself feeling slightly positive about my first name the other day, which was new for me.) 🙂 I think it’s wonderful that you love your name, and I’m going to continue working on my feelings toward it. It was good to hear from another Jill! Take care!

Beverly: Hi! I’m going to start a new post to respond to you, so I’ll be right back.

Thank you everyone, and I apologize for not replying sooner!

Jill Says:

December 6th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Devon: I wanted to add that I think your name is really pretty, and grew up with someone who always fantasized about naming her baby girl Devon. Because boys’ names on girls are so common now, I’m sure a female Corbin will fit in with her peers.

I was teased, too, as a teenager (I was a human toothpick), so I can relate to the pain it causes. For what it’s worth, I never would have teased you about your name, or mistaken you for a boy.

Thanks again for posting, Devon!

Jill Says:

December 6th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Devon, I just wrote a post to you, but it never appeared! Hmm…

Jill Says:

December 6th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Hi Beverly! Thanks for liking my name. I like Beverly more than you do, but I think it’s really exciting that you’re going to change your name! I know of two nameberry posters who changed their names, and from what I understand, it worked out well for them. I also know of a Jennifer who changed her name, and as far as I know, she’s very happy with the decision.

I love Scarlett, too, and for what it’s worth, I’d take a Scarlett seriously! It feels elegant to me, as well as intelligent and strong.

More combos you may like:

Amelia Scarlett (nn Amie)
Annabel Scarlett (nn Annie, which is close to Amie)
Camilla Scarlett (nn Milla, Cammie, or even Amie)
Cordelia Scarlett (nn Cora or Delia)
Evelyn Scarlett (in case you want something containing part of Beverly, which I’m guessing isn’t the case) 🙂
Emmeline Scarlett
Genevieve Scarlett (nn Evie)
Helena Scarlett (nn Ellie, Nell, or Lena)
Josephine Scarlett (nn Josie)
Lydia Scarlett
Miranda Scarlett
Vivienne Scarlett

Good luck! 🙂

YOONEEK NAMES: Do Kre8iv Spellings Make Names More Special? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

December 14th, 2009 at 6:30 am

[…] and following popular culture and politics. She wrote previously for us on both name fame and name shame, and is famous on the nameberry message boards as just plain Jill, always dispensing excellent […]

EvanescenceDolly Says:

January 22nd, 2010 at 4:03 pm

My middle name is Eryn. Although I do not like yoonek spellings my middle name has never bothered me. I think my parents did quite well. My first name is Bree which I’ve always loved. I’ve never known another Bree that isn’t short for something.

GOOD NAMES…. with bad, bad associations – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

March 2nd, 2010 at 2:21 am

[…] BARNETT, who dispenses excellent name advice to the denizens of nameberry, has written for us on Name Shame, Name Fame, and, most recently, the Name […]

Sunshinetina Says:

May 20th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I actually have always loved my first name. In my fathers family there are 6 Martina’s counting me. This never bothered. I loved being the only Martina in my school. Especially in a sea of kids named Jessica, Jennifer and Nicole.
As a kid and teen, my guy friends called me Marty, female friends Tina, my siblings, parents and the rest of my family (except my maternal grandmother) called me Martina. My grammy calls me Mamie.

As for a middle name, I think my parents chose well for the first one Jane, and not so well for the second one Nicole.

My hubby and I have spent countless hours chosing names, we want our kids to love their names too.

SummerK Says:

March 31st, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I did have a period in my life where I hated my first name. I was about 12 and I decided it was too ‘unusual’. Yes, yes I can hear people scoffing “Summer? Unusual?” But I was born in 1990 and until I was 14 I never met (or heard) of another girl called Summer. Around that time was when the O.C. started airing and suddenly I was rubbernecking as strangers called to their two-year olds “Summer!” It’s actually strange to go from having an unusual name (until I was about sixteen everyone I met and I mean EVERYone commented on it) to having an, if not wildly popular, at least acceptable name. I had to start training myself not to respond when people said it because suddenly I wasn’t the only Summer around anymore. Which kind of bummed me out because my 12 year old self had made peace with it by thinking ‘Even if I do have a name people comment on and make fun of (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring!) or make rude remarks about my parents being hippies at least it’s unique” until suddenly it wasn’t. But I have to give my parents the thumbs up on the naming front. I was very nearly dubbed Summer Leah but my mum came to her senses and decided she didn’t want her firstborn mistaken for a country retreat and settled on Summer Kathleen (which is a family name) my sister is Jasmine Marie-Claire (have to admit to a bit of middle name envy there) and my brother is Lance Mitchell Stephen (my dad named him but my mum tacked Stephen on the end because she thought a man’s first (and only) son should have his father’s name) I think they are all good names, they go well together and with our last name and Summer, Jasmine and Lance has a pretty good rhythm. So I’m happy with my name and very gald my parents didn’t overthink their choices – it paid off.

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