Category: baby name patterns

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

What do you do when you’ve created a baby name pattern, and now none of the names you love fits? Does your next baby break the mold, or does family unity carry the day?

Katie writes:

My due date is September 30 and we are expecting a girl, our fourth child!

We are feeling a bit stuck trying to find the perfect name to fit with siblings Jamison, Lillian Blake, and Rosewyn Cole, nicknames Jam, Lilly and Wynnie.

Names we’ve considered but still hesitate on are: Magdalen or Madeleine, Noah, Elouise, Lawson, and even Gable. Noah Madeleine is a favorite right now.

I unintentionally started something with the first three children. All three names end in n, are 7 letters long, and the girls both have flower names. The girls also have traditionally male middle names.

I’m finding it hard to pick a name that matches our previous criteria.

The Name Sage replies:

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Baby Name Trends

It all started with Emily, this current passion for names beginning with Em.  When Emily became #1 in 1996, ending the 25-year reign of Jessica and Jennifer and Ashley, it officially inaugurated  the Era of Emily and Emma and offshoots.

EMILY was a perfect name for the 90s—feminine but strong, vintage but not Victorian valentine.  A classic, it has not been off the popularity lists since they began being recorded, and the lowest it ever dipped was to #273 in 1962.

But when Emily became epidemic—with close to three million of them born in the ten year period between 1996 and 2006 (not counting all the Emelys, Emilees, Emillies and Emmalees), parents began visualizing their potential Emily as being one of four in her class, and so starting seeking a substitute.

What could be more perfect than EMMA, especially in the midst of a Jane Austen craze?  A very old royal name (not related to Emily), with several literary namesakes, Emma had substance as well as style and a sweet sound, somewhat softer than Emily.  It too had been a stalwart on the popularity charts, being in the top ten (as high as #3) in the last years of the 19th century.

Many of the Emilys and Emmas were nicknamed EMME/EMMY, which made it not much of a leap for them to start being used on their own.  With award-winning associations, and celebrity links (to the model Emme, the Jennifer-Lopez-Marc Anthony daughter Emme), Emmy-with-a-y  moved onto the list in 2007.

The twin mega-franchises of our time, Harry Potter and Twilight, brought some other Em– names into the spotlight:

EMMELINE, from HP, is a very old name with a history distinct from both Emily and Emma,  introduced to Britain by the Normans in the 11th century.  It can also be spelled Emeline or Emmaline and has a choice of pronunciations, rhyming with keen, kin or fine.  Though it hasn’t reached the list yet, it’s very much a Hot Topic on the nameberry boards, along with cousin Clementine.

Also from HP is the somewhat eccentric EMERIC, in the quirky Cedric, Alaric, Roderic mode.

Despite the fact that EMBRY is a Twilight werewolf character, it has potential via its upbeat, unisex appeal.

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One of our favorite baby name blogs is Nancy‘s Baby Names, written by Nancy C. Man, which is where we found this wonderful piece on baby name patterns and sibling names.

Humans love patterns. Just look last year’s list of popular twin names:

Jacob & Joshua
Daniel & David
Jayden & Jordan
Ethan & Evan
Taylor & Tyler
Gabriella & Isabella
Isaac & Isaiah
Madison & Morgan
Elijah & Isaiah
Ella & Emma

Eight pairs start with the same letter. Seven have the same rhythm. Another seven end with the same letter (and many of these nearly rhyme).

For twins and other multiples, name patterns are easy. You know the number of children and their genders ahead of time. But what if you want a name pattern for an entire sibling set? That can make things tricky. You don’t know how many children you’ll have, or what their genders will be. You also don’t know how your tastes may change over time.

If you’re thinking about a name pattern to cover all of your kids, here are three pieces of advice to consider before you begin:

Don’t lock yourself into something limiting.
Let’s say you like flowers. You have a daughter and you name her Lily. You have another daughter and name her Rose. Then another, Jasmine. And then a fourth, but…you don’t like any other flower names. Iris? Too old. Poppy? Too young. Zinnia? Too weird. Amaryllis will never be spelled correctly. And Daisy is the golden retriever down the street.

Or, let’s say you have a son named Alexander. Then you have another boy, and you decide to name him Xavier so they both have that X in common. Then baby #3–a little girl–comes along. Well, you can’t do Alexis–that’s too close to Alexander. You won’t go near Maxine because you fear maxi pad jokes. Roxanne reminds you too much of that song. Xena reminds you too much of that show. And Beatrix makes you think of rabbits.

When you play chess, you have to think ahead several moves. Look at sibling name patterns the same way. Think ahead as many kids as possible. If you can think of 10 or more usable names that fit the pattern, it’s probably a safe pattern. If you can’t, the pattern may be too limiting to be sustainable.

Consider the pros and cons of visibility.
Have you heard of the Duggars? They have nearly 20 kids, and all of those kids have a J-name. This type of name pattern is one of the easiest to spot. (Especially in large families.)

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