Picking a Personal Place Name: Somewhere special to you
I have often wondered if parents use place names for their children because of the place itself or for other reasons entirely. If you ever ask me for name advice, I usually send a questionnaire to get some information from you because I like to find names that could have special meaning to you. A few of the questions I ask pertain to locations: where were you engaged, where were you married, and where you honeymooned. In the seven years I’ve used this questionnaire, the answers to these questions never inspired the parent enough to use them, but it has always been a fun thing to research.
You may not think so, but naming a baby based on a place name of significance to you can be a very challenging thing. I love a lot of names that happen to be place names: Jasper, Georgia, and Helena are just a few. But unless you honeymooned in Geneva, were proposed to on the Hudson River, or love the idea of naming your son Boston after the city you were born in, choosing a name for your child inspired by a place you’ve actually been to and that means a lot to you may not be easy. In an attempt to name five babies based on place names that mean something to me, I give you a little piece of me.
1. Berlin – The first foreign city I ever called home is now one of my favorite places in the world. My son was born there, and I have a ton of great memories from the German capital. The only question is, do I prefer it for a girl or boy? I think it could go either way.
In 2013, 74 girls and 5 boys were named Berlin in the US.
2. Kensington – I LOVE England. London is definitely a huge part of that love, but I feel the name London would be too popular a choice for my child. One of my favorite places to visit in London is Kensington Gardens, and while I wouldn’t be drawn to this name otherwise, the place lifts the name up to one I would consider for my child. This is another name that could be used for a boy or a girl, but I prefer it for a daughter. Seeing that Kensington is quite the full name, it would be natural to want a nickname… I’m sure people would most likely use Kenzie, but I would rather use Kenny or maybe even Kenna, just to be different.
In 2013, 223 girls and 11 boys were named Kensington in the US.
3. Pearl – I lived on Oahu, Hawaii for four years when I was a kid. I was also blessed to make a return visit with my husband before we had children. Pearl Harbor has always been a sobering and memorable place and using Pearl for a daughter would be a great way to remember the harbor and the sacrifices made there.
In 2013, 416 girls were named Pearl in the US.
4. Camden – Growing up, I remember hearing of a girl called Shea, who was named after the home stadium of her dad’s favorite baseball team. Ever since then, I have loved the idea of using a stadium name as your child’s name to honor your team. Unfortunately, most stadiums are named after corporate sponsors these days, and it would be hard to explain whether the name is after the stadium or the sponsor. Lucky for me, my team is the Baltimore Orioles, who play at The Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I don’t like the celebrity status this name now has, but to commemorate baseball, I would use it in a heartbeat.
In 2013, 120 girls and 3,868 boys were named Camden in the US.
5. Cashel – One of my favorite countries visited over the past several years has to be Ireland, where we toured several places including the Rock of Cashel. It’s a cool-sounding name and gives a spiffy nickname in Cash, which also happens to be a surname in my family.
In 2013, 13 boys were named Cashel in the US.
What five names could you use based on inspiration from places that mean something to you?
Originally posted at NameFreak! and revised for Nameberry.
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on January 23rd, 2015 at 1:31 am
on January 23rd, 2015 at 9:18 am
Most of the names I’m thinking of are names of counties. My family and I have lived in the same general region since the early 1800s, so the choices are a bit limited.
1. Zebulon – I have six generations of family buried in the cemetery of a Zebulon Baptist Church, so obviously the name is central to my family history. The cemetery has an unrelated name.
2. Able – A branch of my family lived in a town called Elba for some time, so named because it was Able spelled backwards. The neighboring town is Opp, short for Opportunity.
3. Gerard – Another town, although the Gerard where my family lived had a different spelling.
4. Dannelley – A family surname, technically a corruption of Donnelley, that doubled as a place name. That branch of my family founded Dannelley’s Crossroads, an intersection of red clay roads that included an inn, a mill, a church, the family farm, and a cemetery. Today all that’s left is the cemetery and the remainder of a stable. And the name has been simplified to Danley.
5. Covington – The name of a county where parts of my family lived. I just like it.
on January 23rd, 2015 at 2:21 pm
My husband and I spent a fantastic few days on the west coast of Ireland. We loved the beauty of the small towns, friendly people and epic coasts in County Clare. Eight years later our daughter Clare was born.
on January 23rd, 2015 at 6:23 pm
Bennington for a boy, nn Ben. I was born in Bennington.
Cambria/Cambrie for a girl. The part of my family I’ve done the most genealogical research on is Welsh.
Ione for a girl. I’m also part Scottish.
Rohan for a boy. I’ve loved The Lord of the Rings for decades.
Brianna for a girl, nn Bri (pronounced Bree). Another LOTR reference.
Fiona for a girl. There’s a trilogy of books called The Fionavar Tapestry that I love. Fionavar is the name of the world in which the books take place.
on January 24th, 2015 at 9:17 pm
Augustin for my beautiful St. Augustine, Florida.
on January 25th, 2015 at 6:13 am
Some interesting places in my country…
on January 25th, 2015 at 2:42 pm
Marin – as in the county. We honeymooned in San Fran although the county and name are pronouced different. I like both.
Magnolia – it’s a town next to us here in south Texas and both my brothers have Texas place names so if we had a girl, a girl Texas place name would honor them both.
Milam – Same answer as “Magnolia”. It’s a Texas place name…clearly I have a thing for “M” names.
Annnd, that’s all I can think of right now 🙂
on January 30th, 2015 at 6:04 am
Everard – Lake in our state.
Murray – River where I spent a lit of time growing up, also one of my father’s favourite.
Tennyson – A beach my parents spent a lot of time at.
Marien – One of my favourite castles in Germany I ever visited is Marienburg Palace in Hannover.
Mia – My cousin is considering this to honour our cruise holiday, one of the ports being Noumea.
I love to use Avalon a.k.a Catalina Island, It looks like such a beautiful place and hopefully we’ll visit soon.
Clare – Its where my ancestors are from in Ireland.
Yet to make a lot of those memories, but I have a feeling that at least one of my children will have a place middle name.
on October 4th, 2016 at 3:00 pm
Elbe – river that flows through Hamburg, where my boyfriend is from.
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