Chloe Marylin and Wesley Reginald
Kade Dean and Rylan Charles
Mali and Sierra-Leone
Ayla Sulana-Jean (Charlotte, Jack)
Belinda Emily (Jessica)
Henley Jane (Isabella)
Elsie Margaret (Hunter, Milla)
Estelle Francesca (Rylan)
Georgina Rose (Matilda Dolly)
Iona Elizabeth (William)
Katerina (Emmanuel, Angela, Vassiliki)
Madison Jude (Kadence)
Molly Amelia Mae
Wilma Grace (Alice)
Boston Jagger Gordon
Chace Less (Abby, Brodie)
Dexter John (Roxanna)
Eddie Ryder (Jamie, Layla)
Fletcher Marcus (Jameson Ronald)
Franklin Haydn (Max, Eleanor)
George Hindley Francis
Jock William (Isobel)
Roman James (Scarlett)
Sidney Desmond (Angus)
Sonny Abel (Noah)
Taidhg Riley (Naisen, Lewis)
Tate Cullen (Bodie)
Zander Zayne (Amaya)
(Picture shows a young player from the Redfern All Blacks, the oldest Aboriginal Rugby League Football Club in the country, believed to date back to the 1930s; photo from the Sydney Morning Herald)
Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor welcomed their third child on May 27 and named their son Louis Arthur Nicholas Felix. Louis’ older brothers are Albert Louis PhilipEdward, aged nearly seven, and Leopold Ernest Augustus Guelph, aged nearly five. Louis is 37th in line to the throne, and is to be known as Mr Louis Windsor.
Lord Nicholas is the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and a great-grandson of King George V. Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, so Lord Nicholas is a first cousin once removed of the queen. In 2001, Lord Nicholas was received into the Roman Catholic Church, following the lead of his mother Katharine, who converted in 1994. This makes him the first male member of the blood Royal to convert to Catholicism since King Charles II. Because of his conversion, he forfeited the right of succession to the British throne, but is still in the line of succession to the Dukedom of Kent.
Lady Nicholas Windsor was born Paola Doimi de Lupis de Frankopan; her father is a member of the Croatian and Italian nobility, while her mother is a distinguished Professor Emeritus at Stockholm University. Under her maiden name Paola Frankopan, she writes for The Tatler, where she is a contributing editor. She and Lord Nicholas were married on September 4 2006 in Vatican City, making Lord Nicholas the first member of the Royal Family to marry at the Vatican, and the first to marry in a Catholic ceremony since the Reformation. By having Louis shortly before her 45th birthday, Lady Nicholas became the oldest royal to give birth.
Louis is most likely in honour of Lady Nicholas’ father, Louis, Prince de Frankopan, Count Doimi de Lupis, a barrister and businessman. The children’s maternal grandfather was earlier honoured by having Louis as Albert’s middle name. Louis also has a Catholic saint’s name, like his brothers Albert and Leopold.
Arthur has previously been used in the royal family; most recently by Prince Arthur of Connaught, the son of Prince Arthur, son of Queen Victoria. Perhaps coincidentally, Arthington is a name traditionally used in the family of Lord Nicholas’ mother Katharine, whose maiden name was Worseley.
Nicholas is after the baby’s father. It is one of the middle names of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the father of Lord Nicholas, and Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark was Prince Edward’s grandfather, the father of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. Lady Nicholas’ brother is also named Nicholas, so it’s a name from both sides of the family.
Felixmay be in honour of Lord Nicholas’ great-uncle, Sir Felix Brunner, 3rd Baronet, the uncle of his mother Katharine (and her godfather) The meaning of “lucky” seems apt, because the Windsors were not expecting to have any more children, and felt very fortunate to be blessed with a child; indeed Louis has been hailed as a “miracle baby”.
(Photo of Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor with their two eldest sons from Hello!)
Actor Vince Colosimo, and his girlfriend, actress Diana Glenn, welcomed their first child together in April, and have named their son Massimo. Vince is also father to Lucia, his daughter with former partner, actress Jane Hall.
Vince has been a familiar face in Australian film and television since 1983, when he was chosen to star in Moving Out. He won the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in the film Lantana in 2001, and has had roles in The Wog Boy and The Wog Boy 2, Chopper, The Nugget, Take Away, Body of Lies, Daybreakers, and The Great Gatsby, amongst others. A television mainstay, he has been seen in many popular series, including A Country Practice, Something in the Air, The Secret Life ofUs, Kath and Kim, Underbelly, and Janet King. As well as his acting career, Vince owns a Melbourne cafe, and his business partner is also named Vince. Vince was selected for Who’s Who in Australia a few years ago.
Diana has appeared in Neighbours, Home and Away, The Secret Life of Us, TheElephant Princess, Secrets and Lies, Underbelly, and The Slap. She played the title role in crime series Carla Cametti PD, where Vince also had a key role. Her movie roles include Oyster Farmer and Black Water.
Massimo was covered on the blog last year as part of a list of Italian Names for Boys, where I noted that it was one of the most common Italian boys’s names spotted in birth notices – Massimo Colosimo seems to be another good example of this trend in Italian heritage choices. It was also chosen by the public as one of their favourite Italian names for boys.
This month marks 37 years since the soap opera Number 96 left Australian television. It was wildly popular in the 1970s, and one of the country’s most controversial TV shows, featuring nudity and sex scenes, and covering topics such as racism, drug use, rape, adultery, and homosexuality. It was the world’s first TV show to depict a long-term gay male relationship as normal and a “non-issue”.
All the cast of Number 96 became household names, and one of its biggest drawcards was actress Abigail Rogan, who was originally from England, and always known by just her first name. Sultry, blonde, and curvaceous, she was Australia’s #1 sex symbol of the 1970s. She left the show in 1973, and although her acting career lasted another twenty years, she was never again the big star that Number96 made her.
Having recently covered the classic children’s novel Playing Beatie Bow in the Girls Name from Australian Children’s Literature list, you might remember the main character was named Lynette, but chose a new name for herself. Because her grandmother says she looks like “a little witch”, she asks her mother to suggest “an old witch name” for her, and eventually her mum says Abigail, which is accepted. Her mother reacts with horror, saying Abigail is “so plain, so knobbly, so … so awful”.
Playing Beatie Bow was published in 1980, and the story takes place in 1973, so it seems strange Abigail is seen as a plain, knobbly, awful name suitable for an old witch. Presumably the “witch” comment is because of Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, but the actress Abigail, in the top-rating TV show of the day, had given it a sex kitten image by 1973. Even today, I sometimes hear older people say that Abigail is “too sexy” a name for a little girl.
In the Old Testament, Abigail was the beautiful wife of Nabal, a wealthy but surly man who owned land and livestock around the town of Carmel in Judea. At the time, David, who was destined to be king, was living in the wilderness with a band of men. They had all been outlawed by King Saul, and provided protection to the local shepherds.
During the festivities surrounding the sheep shearing season, David sent a small group of men to Nabal to remind him that his profits from the wool trade were so great partly because of the protection they had been giving his shepherds, along with many fine compliments as to Nabal’s nobility and high lineage, and asking for provisions. Nabal didn’t feel like ponying up the protection food to the Outlaw Mafia, and sent back an extremely rude reply.
Uh oh. Nobody insults Don David, the Sheep Father! Seeing things were going to get sticky, one of David’s men privately saw Nabal’s wife Abigail, telling her of the situation, and explaining what a great job they’d been doing protecting the shepherds (for food out of the kindness of their hearts ). Being not only beautiful, but also intelligent, Abigail saw what a stupendous goof Nabal had made.
While David was on the march with 400 armed men, ready to give Nabal what for, Abigail went to meet him with a retinue of servants laden with provisions. She pleaded with David to accept the gifts she had brought with her, asking that there be no bloodshed, offering to take the blame for Nabal’s actions on herself, and telling David that God would make his dynasty long-lasting, and that David was both sinless, and divinely protected.
Because of her intervention, David realised he was about to commit a terrible deed, and sent Abigail home with many blessings for her advice. Abigail did not tell Nabal what she had done until the following day, as Nabal had been carousing a little too heavily at the sheep-shearing festival to be able to listen. When she did tell him the news, the shock (or the carousing) gave him a heart attack or a stroke, and he died ten days later.
When David heard about Nabal’s death, he realised that God had struck him dead in punishment, and asked Abigail to marry him. She replied by bowing to him with her face on the floor and saying, “Let your handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord”. Let’s hope he didn’t take that literally; I feel a simple “Yes please that will be lovely” would have sufficed. Because she called herself a handmaid, abigail became a common term for a waiting woman, in use from around the 17th century to the early 20th century.
The Bible praises Abigail for her beauty and brains, and she is seen as a prophet because she recognised David as a future king. She was certainly very brave in confronting a vengeful man leading his own personal army, and a skilled diplomat who had a way with words (a necessary knack for the wife of a grouch like Nabal). Abigail’s name also has a beautiful meaning: it’s from the Hebrew avi (“father”), and gil (“joy”), and can be translated as “father’s joy”.
Abigail first joined the Australian charts in the 1960s, debuting at #652. It rose in the 1970s (a boost from the actress?), then fell to #686 in the 1980s, its lowest point. It began rising steeply in the 1990s, and joined the Top 100 in 2001 at #88. By 2007 it was in the Top 50 at #48, and peaked in 2010 at #24. Currently it is #28 nationally, #28 in New South Wales, #27 in Victoria, #24 in Queensland, #27 in Western Australia, #74 in Tasmania, and #23 in the Australian Capital Territory.
Gail, a short form of Abigail, was on the charts from the 1930s to the 1980s, peaking in the 1950s at #26. However, it is the Ab- shortenings which have been successful more recently, as Abby, Abbie, and Abbey all began charting in the 1980s. Abbey reached highest, rising steeply to peak in the early 2000s at #39, while Abby peaked at the same time at the more modest #75 (but Abby is now the more popular). Abbie peaked at #144 in 2009, and if all spellings were added together, Abigail short forms would be in the Top 50, so a lot more popular than they might otherwise seem.
A while back, I picked Abigail as having the potential to eventually reach #1 – with the data I now have at hand, I can see that probably isn’t going to happen, as it has already peaked. Just to confuse things though, Abigail was one of the fastest-rising names at Baby Center Australia last year, so if you’re in that demographic, you may indeed feel there are more baby Abigails around lately.
But isn’t it interesting that Abigail is popular at all? So many of the popular girls names now are soft and fluid, and yet Abigail is quite strong-sounding, perhaps even harsh to some ears, while Abigail is few people’s chosen Bible heroine.
Strangely enough, in some ways Roxanne, which was covered last week and doesn’t chart at all, seems more like the currently fashionable girl’s names than Abigail! Although Abigail is a beautiful and sophisticated choice, I suspect it’s mostly because of Abigail’s cute short forms that it’s managed to become such a favourite.
(Picture shows cover of Abigail’s 1973 best-selling “scandalous” autobiography, Call Me Abigail; copies can now sell for hundreds of dollars to collectors)
Kate began her acting career at the age of 7, and joined the cast of soap opera Home and Away just before her ninth birthday, playing the role of Sally Fletcher. She remained with the show for twenty years, becoming a fan favourite and household name in the process; she won the Gold Logie for most popular personality in 2007 and 2008. In 2008 she began her new career as a radio host, and this year joined the Nova FM drive show with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold; you may recall Tim as a celebrity dad on the blog.
Stuart is a former rugby league player for the St George Illawarra Dragons, and is currently coach at the Helensburgh Tigers. He and Kate were married on the Quamby country estate in Tasmania in 2010.
Late in her pregnancy, Kate posted a list of possible baby names on Instagram that were suggested by some young friends of hers, apparently named Cleo and Ivy. The names for girls were Molly, Lilly, Matilda, Madeline, and Georgina, and for boys William,Hugo, Harry, Joshua, and Lucas. They do seem to have been on the money with an M name, anyway.
Molly was actually the first character that Kate ever played, a little girl in the mini-series Cyclone Tracy.
Michael Ennis and his wife Simone recently welcomed their fourth child, and have named their daughter Evelyn Swan. Evelyn joins big brothers Jack and RandyWolfe, and big sister Koby Fox (or Koby-Fox, or Kobyfox – I have all seen all three reported as her name). The animal spirits continue! Evelyn’s birth was reported on Thursday night’s televised NRL game, and the commentators began bickering about whether Swan was a “person’s name” or “just a surname”. Michael’s family has been previously featured on the blog, and he is signed with the Cronulla Sharks for next year.
Heath L’Estrange and his wife Jess welcomed their first child in October last year, and named their daughter Grace. Heath has played professional rugby league since 2004, and spent four years with the Bradford Bulls in the UK. He signed with the Sydney Roosters this season.
(Photo of Michael and Simone with their three eldest children from the Herald Sun)
Jake Stringer and his partner Abby Gilmore welcomed their first child on August 21, and have named their daughter Milla Jane Maree. Jake plays for the Western Bulldogs, and made his debut last year. He is the nephew of Jamie Bond, who played for Hawthorn and Fitzroy.
Daniel Merrett and his wife Sarah welcomed their daughterMatilda Jean on July 2. Daniel has played for the Brisbane Lions since 2005.
Nathan Lovett-Murray, and his partner Janalli Brown, welcomed their daughterHarmony Mary May on June 1. Harmony joined big brothers Nyawi, aged 10, and Mara, aged 5. Nathan played 145 games for Essendon from 2004-13, and comes from a sporting family. He is the grandson of Sir Douglas Nicholls, who played for Fitzroy, and a cousin of former Essendon player, Andrew Lovett. Nathan’s sister Jessica is married to Carlton player Jeff Garlett.
The blog featured the name Harmony for Harmony Day in March this year, and I wonder if Harmony Day also inspired the choice of baby Harmony’s name?
Odo Hirsch’s Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool (2009) tells the story of the Bells, a proud family fallen on hard times; plucky youngest son Darius must save the family’s estate. (Name nerd bonus info: Odo is the older form of the German name Otto). Darius is the Latin form of Dareios, the Greek form of the Persian name Dārayavahush, meaning “holding on to goodness”. This name was traditional amongst the Persian kings, and Darius I was known as Darius the Great, as he ruled over the Achaemenid Empire at the height of its power. Darius III was defeated by Alexander the Great, and there are a number of minor princes with the name. Darius is mentioned several times in the Old Testament, so it is a Biblical name as well (nobody is sure which historical Darius it means). Although rare, this name is known in Australia from NRL star Darius Boyd, while there is also a Darius in The Hunger Games trilogy. Darius is a cool-sounding name that might appeal to a broad range of people.
Terry Denton’s first picture book was Felix and Alexander (1985), about a little boy named Alexander who gets lost, and his toy dog Felix must find him. Felix is a Latin name meaning “fortunate”. It was first given as a nickname to the Roman general and statesman Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a free translation of the Greek nickname he acquired during his military campaigns – Epaphroditos, meaning “beloved of Aphrodite”. The Roman procurator Felix is mentioned in the New Testament, although not in a positive way – he imprisoned St Paul. Felix was a favourite name amongst early Christians, and there are heaps of saints named Felix, including the 7th century Felix of Burgundy, who introduced Christianity to East Anglia, and three popes. Two Australian connections are Felix the Cat, and Australia Felix, the name given to the lush farmland of western Victoria by explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell. Felix was #172 in the 1900s, and left the charts in the 1920s. It returned in the 1980s at #396 and climbed steadily; it’s been on and off the Top 100 since 2011. It’s now #86, and was one of the fastest-rising names last year. A hip retro favourite growing in recognition.
Harley Sleepy Harley (2011), written by Karen Treanor and illustrated by Kelly Iveson, is a picture book about a cat named Harley who tries to find a place to nap in a Perth suburb. Harley is a surname which comes from a place name meaning “hare meadow” in Old English. The de Harley family were nobles whose history can be traced before the Conquest, and Sir Robert Harley, first Earl of Oxford, was from a prominent political family. One of them, William Cavendish-Bentinck, became British Prime Minister in the 18th and 19th centuries; he was the maternal great-great-great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth. The name will remind many of Harley-Davidson motorycles, giving Harley a pretty cool image. Harley was #212 in the 1900s, and went up and down before dropping off the charts in the 1950s. It returned in the 1970s at #462, and rose before peaking at #70 in 1992. It dropped again before starting to rise in the early 2000s, and is not far out of the Top 100. You could see Harley as an underused classic – in use for many years, but never very popular. I have occasionally seen Harley on girls as well.
Jude Me and Jeshua (1984) by award-winning author Eleanor Spence is a historical novel about the childhood of Jesus of Nazareth, as seen through the eyes of his cousin Jude. Jude is a variant of the name Judas, Greek form of the Hebrew name Judah, meaning “praised”. In the New Testament, Jude is used for the Apostle whose name was Judas, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Jude is also listed in the New Testament as one of the brothers of Jesus (Eleanor Spence follows a tradition they were cousins), but it is not clear if Jude the Apostle was Jesus’ brother. The Apostle Jude is usually connected with the Apostle Simon the Zealot, and according to tradition they were both martyred in Beirut. Jude is well known as the patron saint of lost causes, and this has made him one of the most venerated saints. Contemporary associations are the actor Jude Law, and the Beatles song Hey Jude. Jude can also be used as a girl’s name, short for Judith, as in the YA novel by Maureen McCarthy, Queen Kat, Carmel, and St. Jude Get a Life (1995). This attractive name has quietly been gaining in popularity, and last year joined the Top 100 in Victoria.
The Lockie Leonard series by Tim Winton (1990-97) stars a surf rat named Lachlan “Lockie” Leonard who moves to the Western Australian town of Angelus (based on Albany). Leonard is a Germanic name which can be translated as “brave lion” or “brave as a lion”. St Leonard is a legendary 6th century saint, a Frankish nobleman at the court of Clovis I who could liberate prisoners from their chains when invoked. The Normans brought the name to England, although it didn’t become particularly common until the 19th century. Famous Australians with the name include distinguished chemist Leonard Lindoy, and hard-hitting post-war cricketer Leonard “Jock” Livingston, also a talented rugby league footballer. Leonard has been a popular name amongst Jews in the past, including Jock Livingston: other examples are Canadian folk singer Leonard Cohen and actor Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was #39 in the 1900s, and peaked in the 1910s at #35. It didn’t leave the Top 100 until the 1960s, and remained in steady but low use until getting a little boost after The Big Bang Theory, with main character Leonard Hofstadter, began airing in the late 2000s. Clunky cool, this underused classic provides a way to get the popular nickname Lenny.
In Isobelle Carmody’s YA novel The Gathering (1993), Nathaniel Delaney is a teenager who moves to a grim seaside town and finds himself locked in a battle between the forces of Light and Dark. Nathaniel is a variant of Nathanael, the Greek form of Hebrew Netan’el, meaning “God has given”, nearly always understood as “gift of God”. In the Bible, Nathaniel is usually identified with the Apostle Bartholomew; as Bartholomew means “son of Talmai”, it is taken to be Nathaniel’s surname. Nathaniel was in use as an English name by the 16th century, and became more common after the Protestant Reformation. It was used amongst the aristocracy, and also became a favourite in America, with author Nathaniel Hawthorne a notable bearer. Nathaniel was #179 in the 1900s, and left the charts the following decade. It returned in the 1970s at #296, and climbed steadily until it reached the Top 100 last year at #79, making it one of the fastest-rising names of 2013. A handsome retro name that gives the popular nickname Nate, it’s well known from Australian actor Nathaniel Buzolic, from The Vampire Diaries, and Australian singer-songwriter Nathaniel Willemse, who was on The X-Factor.
The Rafferty series by Joan Woodberry (1959-62) are the adventures of an English boy named Rafferty who moves to a fishing village on the Queensland coast. Rafferty is a common Irish surname, an Anglicised form of O’Raithbheartaigh, meaning “son of Rabhartach”. The Old Gaelic personal name Rabhartach means “wielder of prosperity”. The name has a particular Australian resonance, due to iconic Australian actor John “Chips” Rafferty. He was seen as the quintessential Australian, and took part in a marketing campaign convincing British people to migrate to Australia in the 1950s – this might explain the choice of Rafferty’s name in Woodberry’s books. Another Australian reference is the slang term Rafferty’srules, meaning “no rules at all”. It gives the name Rafferty a pleasantly raffish, lawless feel. This name is around the 200s in Australia, and although it is rising in the UK, is more popular here than anywher else. I have also begun to see a few girls named Rafferty.
The Rowan of Rin fantasy series by Emily Rodda (1993-2003) takes place in a fictional world. Rowan is the unlikely hero, considered a bit of a wimpy weakling by the sturdy villagers of Rin, but when danger strikes, his resourcefulness and courage saves the day. Rowan is a Scottish name that’s an Anglicised form of Ruadhán, a pet form of Ruadh, Gaelic for “red”, often given as a nickname to a man with red hair. You may remember that the red-headed Scottish outlaw Raibeart “Ruadh” MacGregor is known as Rob Roy by the English. Rowan can also be unisex when named after the rowan tree; its English name comes from the Germanic for “to redden”, because of the tree’s red berries, so either way the meaning has a connection with the colour. A pleasant association with the tree is that according to folklore it has the power to ward off evil. The name Rowan has charted for boys since the 1940s, debuting at #205, and climbing until it peaked in the 1980s at #164. It’s now around the 300s-400s. Rowan is an underused modern classic which alludes to a vibrant colour, and a magical tree.
Norman Lindsay is famous for writing and illustrating The Magic Pudding (1918), a comic fantasy deservedly recognised as a classic. For some reason, his other children’s book, The Flyaway Highway (1936), is neglected, even though it’s just as funny and fantastical. I loved this story, which relates how Egbert and Muriel Jane meet a “bloke with horns and cows’ hooves” named Silvander Dan, who take them on a journey down the Flyaway Highway. As a child, I thought that the name Silvander was made up for the book (although I’m afraid I was already junior name nerd enough to know what it meant). However, I’ve since found that Silvander was a literary name in the 18th century, and in most of the sources I’ve read, characters named Silvander are untrustworthy bounders! The name is derived from Silvanus, the Roman god of woods and fields, from the Latin silva, meaning “wood, forest”. Although an extremely rare name, it is just enough like Silas and Alexander to not be completely outrageous, and has an agreeably silvery sound. For those who like Leander and Evander, here is another to consider.
I told myself I would not choose more than one book from a single author, but was forced to make an exception for Odo Hirsch, from whose oeuvre I could happily fill two lists. Antonio S and the Mystery of Theodore Guzman (1997) is his first novel, a charming story about a boy who lives in a grand old house, and is fascinated by a reclusive actor. (Name nerd bonus info: Odo Hirsch is the pen name of Dr David Kausman). Theodore is from the Greek name Theodorus, meaning “God’s gift”. Theodorus wasn’t uncommon in ancient times; ironically one of its famous bearers was the 4th century BC philosopher Theodorus the Atheist. Because of its meaning, the name was a popular choice for early Christians, and saints named Theodore are numerous, including a 7th century Archbishop of Canterbury and two popes. Theodore was also traditional mongst the Byzantine Emperors, and the Russian Tsars. Theodore was #116 in the 1900s, and reached its lowest point in the 1970s at #383. It began rising steeply in the 1990s, and last year joined the Queensland Top 100 at #79, making it one of the state’s highest-rising names. A sophisticated classic name which comes with cool short forms Theo and Ted, I’d call this underused except I’m not sure how long it will stay that way.
Rachel and Nathan are expecting their first baby at the end of the year, and are having some difficulties deciding on a baby name. Rachel and Nathan like old-style and vintage names that aren’t too common, but not too strange or made up.
For a girl, they have pretty much decided on Lottie Grace. At first, Rachel was concerned with how it sounded with their surname, which is a long one ending in an -ee sound, such as DuHannitay. However, she feels happy with it now, and Nathan likes it as well. They chose Grace because it sounds nice with Lottie, but would be open to hearing other middle name suggestions.
Rachel’s first choice was Frankie, but Nathan didn’t like it, and then Rachel rather went off it as well. She also likes Audrey, Millie, Poppy, Elsie – but Lottie is definitely the front runner. Names that they like but can’t use for various reasons include Clara, Edie, Lucy, Hattie, and Maisie.
The real problem is boy’s names. Nathan doesn’t seem keen on many of Rachel’s suggestions, and Rachel is starting to feel that the harder she looks for names, the more confused she feels. These are the names they have discussed so far:
Albie: Rachel likes it, Nathan isn’t sure Alfie: Nathan prefers this to Albie, but Rachel thinks it’s getting too popular, and dislikes the short form Alf Arthur: Rachel likes it, but thinks it might be a bit much, and Nathan dislikes it; they don’t like short forms of the name such as Art or Artie Clem: has been vetoed by Nathan Jimmy: Nathan likes it, Rachel doesn’t mind it Max: has been ruled out because it’s too common Rex: it’s okay, but neither of them love it George: Rachel has always really liked it, but feels it might be getting a bit too common
Names they like but can’t use include Charlie, Spencer, Louie, Lenny, and Vincent.
The middle name hasn’t been settled yet. They have a family name Bernie (Bernard) in mind, which could be used, but if it doesn’t fit with the name, would drop it for something else.
* * * * * * * * * *
I’m glad you’ve picked a girl’s name, and Lottie seems just your style. I think Grace is a nice middle name, and very fuss-free. The only other short name that occurred to me is Lou – just because Lottie Lou is so adorable. I also think Lottie Amelia and Lottie Matilda make nice combinations. Middle names I’ve seen for Lottie in real life are: Lottie Violet, Lottie Estelle, Lottie Alice, Lottie Scarlett, LottieElizabeth, Lottie Margaret, Lottie Harriet, Lottie Olive, and Lottie Lux.
For boy’s names, I can see why you’re having problems. First, you haven’t agreed on many names, and even the agreements have been a bit half-hearted. That might be a sign you have to compromise. Sometimes you get to pick a name that you both love, and sometimes just one of of you likes the name, and the other one can live with it. Or maybe both of you are just okay with the name, and that might work too – you can learn to love a name as your son grows into it.
There’s something I notice with people who say they “can’t think of any names”, or “don’t really like any names”. What they tend to have in common is a lot of rules restricting their choices, so that the pool of baby names to consider is more of a teaspoon.
I always give a little inward sigh when someone tells me that what they want is an unpretentious traditional name that isn’t weird or unusual, but not common at all. In fact, it can’t even become common in the future. In other words, they want a nice normal name that’s exactly like everyone else’s baby name, but they don’t want anyone else to have actually chosen the name for their child, or to do so at a later date.
That’s a tall order. And once they find the four or five names that might fit this paradoxical profile, what are the odds that they even like those names, let alone love them?
Looking at some of your comments on the boy’s names you’ve discussed, I see that Alfie, which is around the #200 mark, is already “too popular” for you, while classic and gently rising Arthur might be slightly over the top. The name that you really like, George, is too common, and Rex, which fits every single one of your requirements, just gets a “meh”.
I confess to being stumped, and I’m not surprised that you’re stumped as well. I think something has to give – either you start liking names that are a bit more unusual, or you accept that the names you like are gaining in popularity. It’s very hard to force yourself to be attracted to names that aren’t your style, and it would be much easier to come to terms with name popularity, and maybe even discover it’s not such a spooky bogeyman after all.
Let’s have a look at those names which you might actually use, and see if some of their problems aren’t so bad.
Albie or Alfie
You both seem to like the similar sounds of these two names, with Rachel suggesting Albie, and Nathan preferring Alfie. I’m not sure either of you have convinced the other, although I really don’t think Alfie is too common – I wonder if the idea of someone nicknaming him Alf is the real problem?
Albie made me think of Paddy, Rory and Finley, while cheeky Alfie reminded me of a list Elea has at British Baby Names called Lively Lads. I wonder if any of these names might appeal, such as Freddie or Ollie?
This seems like a genuine possibility, with Nathan liking it and Rachel okay with it. It does seem like a boyish version of Lottie, as both are pet forms of very popular names (James and Charlotte). It fits all of your requirements, and is a real charmer of a name. Other names that seem similar are Johnny, Billy, Sonny, Gus, and Ted.
Poor old Rex – it’s everything you’ve asked for, yet neither of you are that keen on it. That suggests that your feelings for a name are much more important than how many boxes it ticks. Names that remind me of Rex are Roy, Stanley, Victor, Leon, Lawrence, and Theodore.
And then there’s George, which Rachel has always liked. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give your son a name that you’ve always had warm feelings for? And if you’re worried about it becoming too common, here’s something to consider. It already is common. Which sounds like a bad thing, except that here’s something else to consider. It’s always been common. George has never been out of the Top 100, making it one of those sturdy, reliable classics where you don’t have to worry about them becoming popular, because there’s never been a time they weren’t popular. Doesn’t that give you a feeling of security? And it hasn’t been higher than #50 since the 1980s, so it’s popular, but not too popular. Isn’t that a comforting thought?
I think your worries about popularity have made it so hard to think of names that it’s worth starting from scratch, and this time don’t think about how popular a name is at all, or how much more frequently you’ve seen it lately.
I’d like to see the two of you each write down ten boys’ names you really like – names that you can imagine giving your son, names that fit well into your family, names that feel right. Then compare lists, and see if there are any names you’ve both chosen. If so, that’s a great starting point. If not, perhaps there are points of such similarity that you can reach a compromise together.
You’ve got a fair way to go before your due date, so you have time to write in for another blog consultation if you would like one. And take heart – you’ve already chosen a fantastic girl’s name that you both like, and which fits all your needs, so there’s no reason you can’t be just as successful choosing a boy’s name.
Readers, what boys’ names would be perfect for Rachel and Nathan? And are there any other middle names for Lottie you can think of?
Anastasia Ruth (Lilly, Claire)
Aria Halina Autumn (India, Scarlett, Rani, Soraya, Ruby)
Ava Simone Anne
Cecilia Ling Leh (Ku Khee Lar Grace)
Claire Susan (Mark)
Edwina Jane (Alice)
Elspeth Christina (Ada)
Ethel Dorothy (Hector, Isolde, Arthur)
Greta May (Georgina Anne)
Heliena Lorraine Doronio
Hettie Joan (Abbie Rose, Tilly May)
Nellie Kate (Maddi, Jake, Billy)
Maeve Isobel (Eliza, Leo)
Rose Faith (Charlie)
Alastair Christopher (Charlotte)
Axel Jack (Joskun)
Billy Hillas (Brooke, Isabelle)
Cameron David (Chelsea)
Charlie Hamilton (Chloe, Ruby)
Conor Donald (William)
Dominik Alan (Kendra, Seth)
Dustin Stanley (Oscar, Penny)
George Andrew Edward
Henry Patrick Francis
Howie Kenneth Alexander
Jesse Blayze Henry (Seth)
Lucan Will (Rochelle)
Russell Richard (Eric)
Ryder Kade (Zachary)
Sebastian Ashok (Indira, Maja)
Tasman Philip (Bella)
(Photo shows a girl smelling a rose in the National Rose Garden at Old Parliament House in Canberra)