Are all the good names taken?!
After ruling out any name already used for a close family member, their list is down to … zero! Time to dig deep for some appealing names that are traditional but not taken – and not too popular, either.
Don‘t mind me, going crazy over here trying to find a name for my soon-arriving first boy! We’ve been trying desperately to come up with a name that isn’t one of the MANY taken names in my family. There are over 50 names for our cousins, uncles, nephews, and brothers. Argh!
Avoiding popular names is extremely important for me. My husband’s name was in the Top 50 when he was born, and is still in the Top 200. I not only have a common name, but an extremely trendy-for-the-time name. It doesn’t help that our last name is also fairly common.
All of the boys’ names I like are either popular, taken by someone in my family, or both.
We’ve considered William, but it’s so common. Maybe if we paired it with a solid middle?
We don’t want to pick a name that is just not terrible. I know there’s the perfect name out there somewhere!
The Name Sage replies:
It’s tough when you’re determined not to duplicate names in a big family, isn’t it?
And yet, there are thousands and thousands of names in our database – and we add more all the time! There are definitely some more options to consider.
Before we get to new names, let’s talk about popularity for a minute. There are names that allow us to guess the person’s age. Brittany and Ashley are children of the 1990s, as surely as Larry and Joyce are now grandparents’ names.
Other names are consistently popular over generations. It’s impossible to guess if Elizabeth is seven or seventy-three. The same is true for James and Katherine and William. While William might share his name with other boys his age, and will certainly share his name with colleagues or acquaintances over time, it’s not anything like naming your child Miley or Jayden.
It sounds like William would be the name, if only the charts showed it at Number 72 or Number 104. But part of William’s strength is all that history – from the Conqueror to Shakespeare to Billy Idol. It’s a versatile name, and one that can’t be dated.
Thatcher – With surnames like Monroe and Lincoln on your list, Thatcher might be one to consider. It’s similar to the very popular Carter and Hunter, but just barely makes the current Top 1000 in the US. It would be easy to say and spell, but almost never shared.
Bennett – It looks like the traditional Benjamin isn’t taken by any of your family members. But it’s a Top Ten name, so how about Bennett instead? Again, it’s a surname like Thatcher. Bennett currently ranks in the mid-100s, though, so it’s definitely more familiar. Beckett and Emmett are two more options.
Jasper – Eden is a Biblical name, but it’s a nature name, too. Jasper checks the same boxes. It’s traditionally associated with the Three Wise Men (though it doesn’t actually appear in the Bible) and jasper is a type of quartz. It reminds me of James and Jonah from your taken names list.
Gideon – Or maybe Gideon? Gideon is an Old Testament hero’s name. It’s a little longer than the other names on your list. And yet, Gideon is nicely uncommon, ranking Number 328, but everyone recognizes the name.
Silas – At Number 129 in the US, Silas is a New Testament choice that’s grown in popularity in recent years. If Miles is out, Silas feels like a natural replacement. One other note – it actually means forest, from the Latin silva – wood. If Forrest is not quite right, maybe Silas is perfect.
Judah – Jonah reminds me of Judah, another Old Testament name. It’s the given name of Judah Ben-Hur, from the novel and the movie. (The wildly successful 1959 film has been remade and will be released later this summer.) At Number 235, it’s familiar, but not too common, though short form Jude is even more popular.
Theodore – When we talked about William, I mentioned that it’s an evergreen name. Other names can be considered classics, but have come in and out fashion over the years. Theodore – once reserved for talking chipmunks – fits in this category. It can’t be called trendy, but newly returned to the US Top 100 at Number 99, it’s definitely attracting attention from modern parents. Presidential and literary, with a great meaning (gift of God), it’s easy to see why parents have embraced the name.
I do think that William Forrest (or maybe William Silas or William Judah) would be a great name for Eden’s brother. But if avoiding the Top Ten matters more, then I think Silas or Theodore might be great choices. One is Biblical, the other more traditional. But both have ties to faith and a classic feel, without being too popular – or taken by your extended family!
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on June 14th, 2016 at 11:11 pm
I love the name Eden Clara! I like the suggestion Theo for you, but I would go with the short form over Theodore.
A few suggestions of Biblical names that might be less common:
Or what about a word name that has meaning that relates to faith, maybe Ransom or Arrow?
on June 15th, 2016 at 1:30 am
on June 15th, 2016 at 2:28 am
I love (!!!) the suggestion of Jasper. Jasper and Eden are lovely together. Jasper William is a great combo.
My other suggestion would be Shiloh William.
Best of luck!
on June 15th, 2016 at 2:40 am
Jasper is a great suggestion! Casper also works I think.
on June 15th, 2016 at 4:16 am
I think Judah sounds like a great suggestion.
Judah and Eden
Eden and Judah
on June 15th, 2016 at 5:15 am
on June 15th, 2016 at 7:19 am
on June 15th, 2016 at 9:32 am
I think Judah seems like a perfect fit.
“Eden and Judah” both 2 syllables containing a middle “d” Judah also has a similar sound structure to Jonah
Other suggestions of less popular Biblical names that might suit your “J”, “M”, and “A” name preferences:
Justus: “Eden and Justus” (ends in an “S” sound like Miles and Forest, you could also spell it like the virtue “Justice”)
Mathias (A surname like Monroe/ends in an “S” sound again)
“Eden and Mathias”
or Abel (If you can’t use 4 letter Adam, use his Blessed Son)
“Eden and Abel”
on June 15th, 2016 at 10:48 am
I love the Biblical reference names! Have you considered:
Boaz (could have nn Bo)
Camon means “resurrection”
Gideon-I like the name sage’s suggestion
Joab (nn Jo)
Judah-I like the name sage’s suggestion
Theophilus is in Luke, but could go with Theo
on June 15th, 2016 at 10:51 am
I love Eden Clara! I would use Jasper William, Silas William or Jonas William to keep with the theme of your daughters name of uncommon religious first name and more recognizable classic middle.
on June 15th, 2016 at 11:41 am
on June 15th, 2016 at 11:50 am
I just have to pipe in that Jasper is PERFECT with Eden. I love that combo so much. I love the meaningfulness you can attribute to Jasper, as you can with Eden. I adore the way Jasper sounds as well. I do not think William is a style match with Eden (not that this is the most important, even so). Even though William is an awesome name and probably the only “popular” name I’d ever truly consider. (Except I’m with you. No popular names. You can see my name is Nicole. I bet you know EXACTLY how old I am. I digress.) Jasper is totally recognizable yet under the radar. (Could it possibly become popular? Any awesome name could.) Also coincidentally, even though I don’t buy into it, I just happened to read a video the other day about the supposed healing properties of Jasper. Jasper is used for protection, for wholeness. You could easily Google more. I feel like even if you too don’t quite believe in crystals and all that, the wonderful qualities attributed to Jasper stones add to its meaningfulness as a name. Plus, the three wise men are some of the most awesome and holy in the whole story of Jesus.
Good luck! Let us know how it works out.
on June 15th, 2016 at 12:21 pm
Rather than offer more names I offer a strategy: go ahead and choose a classic favorite name even if it’s a repeat in your family. Then choose another name that’s a little more out there. You get the best of all worlds then-a name that won’t sound dated, a unique name for childhood and family gatherings, and flexibility for your son throughout his life to adjust his name to the circumstances. You can also decide which name goes first. This way also, even if you’re “meh” about one of the names, you’ll have another that is hopefully significant and powerful to you.
I love William Jude, Forrest Abraham, Caleb Edward etc.
on June 15th, 2016 at 12:22 pm
I wanted to suggest Arlo, Milo, and Merritt
on June 15th, 2016 at 2:13 pm
From the Name Sage’s suggestions I like Judah the most. Or what about just Jude? Jude William is very handsome. I actually liked Gideon the most until I said it along with Eden. Gideon and Eden. They almost sound a little rhymey.
For biblical names I will suggest Isaac and Ezra although I’m not sure how popular they are in your area. Abraham or Abram nn Bram is pretty smashing. Eden and Bram. Or what about Seth? It’s familiar but not overly popular and it’s also biblical. Paul and Soloman also fit the bill. I also really like Josiah.
For some non biblical names that hit that sweet spot of familiar but not mega popular I will suggest my favorite boy name Nolan. The Baby Name Wizard book (which I highly recommend btw) describes it as a good compromise name when he wants timeless Tom and she wants modern Aidan. It’s also a last name first like Lincoln and Forrest. I wonder if you would also like Everett?
on June 15th, 2016 at 5:17 pm
I really like the name Jasper William! Think it goes really well with Eden Clara. 🙂
However, if you’re going for biblical names, how about the following:
on June 15th, 2016 at 5:26 pm
I teach in a Christian school and have noticed that the name pool there is different. You may find quite a few ‘Edens’ if you mix in religious community. I suggest avoiding a biblical name if uniqueness is important to you.
I know lots of Edens, Theodores, Levis and Isaacs- Williams not so much!
on June 15th, 2016 at 6:57 pm
What about Shepherd? It’s Biblical and uncommon, yet totally familiar. Plus, it’s on trend with the other occupation/surname names. William Shepherd is also very handsome, if you were wanting to use it in the middle instead.
on June 15th, 2016 at 10:13 pm
So many good suggestions here.
William is a family name for us, but we felt that it was too common for our liking, and ended up choosing the Dutch variant “Willem”; our 10-week-old son’s name is Willem Forrest. It is easy to read and pronounce, and has a rich history (the current king of the Netherlands is a Willem … also Van Gogh’s middle name!
Just thought I would add that to the mix. You have some great ideas to choose from. 🙂
on June 15th, 2016 at 11:08 pm
The previous suggestion of the Biblical name Justus seems perfect to me. Another good suggestion was Jonas, which gives you the nn Joe.
on June 15th, 2016 at 11:48 pm
Eden Clara is positively dreamy! I think Gideon is a perfect match, they share that ‘d’ sound and are both biblical.
on June 16th, 2016 at 7:47 am
I love Forrest but I see Eden as a nature name, so Eden and Forrest is a bit too much for siblings.
I also love Lincoln which has the same kind of vintage cool vibe as Clara.
Out of the sage’s suggestions I love Jasper most.
Some names I’ll add into the mix:
Elliot /Eliott/ Eli
Arthur nn Art
on June 16th, 2016 at 9:53 am
I agree with most posting that Jasper is a great name, especially to go with big sis Eden. Here are some other alternatives to your current list in case that one doesn’t quite do it for you…
Instead of William, Walter #308 (nn Walt, perhaps)
Instead of Adam or Andrew, Ash or Asher… A names with a biblical bent… Ash isn’t even in the top 1,000, Asher is #80 something.
Instead of Forrest, Ford #700 something
Instead of James or Jonah, Jude as some have suggested #156
Instead of the soft and sweet Miles, what about an equally soft and sweet Hugh #849
And one last religious suggestion since it’s one of my personal favorites, though I’ll never be able to use it (married name starts with “L”): Pascal… Not in the top 1,000.
on June 16th, 2016 at 10:14 am
I don’t think Gideon sounds right with Eden. What about Gabriel? Gabriel and Eden would be beautiful. I prefer Gabriel to Judah, as well. Eden and Judah both have a ‘D’ in the middle, surrounded by vowels, so I don’t like the sound of them together out loud. Plus, it sounds like you were directly inspired by Jonah (or trying to replace it from your own list of options). Shortened, I also prefer Gabe and Eden to Jude (a unisex name) and Eden (also unisex).
My favourite suggestion is Heath, and I’m surprised it isn’t getting any love. Eden and Heath both have ties to nature. The only thing I don’t love is they both have prominent “eee” sounds. Jasper has this tie, too, but little of the serenity of Eden. Jasper is also a popular resort and national park near Banff in the Rockies of Canada, so I personally wouldn’t do two place names. After Heath I like Beckett, then Thatcher as a distant 3rd. I don’t like Bennett because shortened Ben and Eden don’t look or sound nice together.
I’m not fond of William and Eden together. The staunch and classic William makes Eden look too trendy.
I really love Gabriel and Eden.
on June 19th, 2016 at 1:28 pm
Eden Clara & Frank Forrest
Eden Clara & Cyrus William
Eden Clara & Coby Forrest
Eden Clara & Wiley Forrest
Eden Clara & Hezekiah William
Eden Clara & Ezekiel William “Zeke”
Eden Clara & Elijah Lincoln “Eli”
Eden Clara & Lior Lincoln
Eden Clara & Nico Forrest
on June 28th, 2016 at 4:20 pm
How about Thomas? It’s formal and handsome and timeless, but also approachable, like your other name choices. He can go by Tom or Tommy too.
Instead of William: Willem, or perhaps Warren? Sounds good with his sister’s name, and like an equally timeless revival.
You can also try:
Jacob or Jake (the other version of ‘James’)
Nicholas (‘Nick’ for short)
Efrem (instead of the very formal Ephraim)
Remy (it’s French, but somehow sounds very cute and noble at the same time)
on June 30th, 2016 at 10:06 pm
Jasper is indeed in the Bible! In Revelation, listed as a stone in the walls of heaven.
I love Jasper with Eden.
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.