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Interview-PhotoAlexia Mae is the warm and enthusiastic blogger behind Baby Names from the Bible, devoted to all the great names in the Good Book, whether familiar or unusual. I usually allow blog readers to decide which blogger is interviewed, but last month Alexia Mae was kind enough to invite me to be interviewed at Baby Names from the Bible, so this is a return visit – although she would have been chosen next time anyway. Alexia Mae passed her 100th post a month ago, so let’s hope there are many more.

What is your name?

Alexia Mae. I’m the “Dear Abby” of baby names, as Alexia Mae is my pen name.

Have you ever wished you had a different name?

My real one? Oh, yes. It’s not too common a name; it’s only ever made it to #30. But the spelling of it is unique, which catapults it outside the Top 1000 for all time. Add a filler family middle, and the annoyance of people misunderstanding my name, and I begged to be called Alexia as a kid. Fast forward to me needing a pen name … Bob’s your uncle, I had one. Mae is in honour of my grandma. Now that I’m an adult I appreciate my given name more. I was almost a Kasia, which I would have loved, too.

How did you become interested in names?

I blame my name craziness on Shane, my kindergarten crush. He was the ruddy-haired Irish kid with the leather necklace, the dude everyone wanted to be friends with. In a classroom of boring names from the ’80s, Shane stuck out. I suddenly became very aware of people’s names.

When I was thirteen, my mom got pregnant. My brother Aaron and I were close in age, but now I was way older for this new brother, and boy, was I ready to help name the kid! Shot down, but kept on trying. Their choice? Another A name, Andrew. A perfect recipe for my mom to never get our names right. But, after stealing (I mean permanently borrowing) a name book my mom picked up, I came down with full blown name-nuttiness. It’s been downhill ever since.

How did you become interested in biblical names?

That first baby name book I got my hands on happened to be about biblical names. And it was literally four pieces of paper. (Maybe that’s why my parents never got out of the As.) It was small. But it had a big impact. To see the meaning of names, and to be able to go to the Bible and see them used, just blew me away. It was my own “sawdust trail moment” for names. They have proved themselves to be real gems, and have a power in their age and timelessness.

Do you have a favourite baby name book?

The Holy Bible 😉 My email inbox is also swarmed with name people I’m subscribed to, and I rely on Clare’s Scoop for everything else. (That gal needs an award.) [WMTM: She got one! She has a gold ribbon saying her page is one of the most highly-recommended in the Society topic on Scoop].

What inspired you to begin a name blog?

My husband Josiah and I both love the idea of using biblical names for our children. When I was first married I searched for biblical baby name books, and couldn’t find any. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Not even the one that I originally had. Then I began to think about that original name book, and thought it was awfully small compared to the actual Bible. I mean, the Book of Numbers wouldn’t even fit in there, and it’s practically nothing but names.

I kept asking myself, if I can’t find them, who else will? Why is no one celebrating the biblical names I know must exist? So I began logging the names I was coming across for my own use, and I really wanted to share them … and Baby Names from the Bible was born.

Do you have a favourite blog entry on Baby Names from the Bible?

The post that I’m the most proud of is one I wrote a couple of years ago, Why Name Your Baby a Biblical Name? I take a moment to stand on my soap box and talk about why people, even those who aren’t religious, should take another look at baby names from the Bible. Forget about Zerubbabel. How about Junia? Rissah? Ardon? There are names galore for anyone thirsty for a good name.

Are there any other ways to stay in touch with you online?

I’m @NamesDaily on Instagram, and I post names every day, both biblical and not. Instagram has been an amazing experience. I have a growing following of over 2000 people. I’m getting the opportunity first hand to see names that knock your socks off, and some, that well, just don’t. I’m also on YouTube.

Do you have a pet peeve in regard to names?

Yhess. Yoonique namez. If I have to read it more than once to get what name you’re actually trying to say, I’ve got to stand up and get a cup of coffee. It literally makes my skin crawl. Jaycein? I am somebody who has zero adrenaline tolerance for awkwardness in any way, so I have to get up and walk it off. True stuff.

In the name community, I feel sometimes it’s like Eskimos marketing ice to fellow Eskimos who live in the same igloo. I want to find ways to branch out and actually talk to parents who have never even owned a baby name book. I think that’s why I love being on Instagram so much, because it’s exactly that. I enjoy so many people in the baby name community, but I want to find ways to branch out, too. (We need an annual name conference.)

What are some of your favourite names?

Boys: Judah and Josiah, of course. Abel.

Girls: Juniper. Ellowyn. Cassia. Maewyn. I really love Naphtali for a girl, but can’t bring myself to use it because no one would be able to pronounce it or spell it. It’s like Natalie with an F. I’m drawn to biblical names, but I enjoy other names, too.

What names do you dislike?

Delilah. I see the appeal, but I would never use it. The same with Jezebel. That one makes my skin crawl when I hear someone nonchalantly talking about using it. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, the connotation still exists. Jezebel was a murderer, and it would be like naming your child Hitler. I just don’t think you should do it.

What are your favourite names in the US Top 100?

Girls: Biblical – Leah (#33). Other – Harper (#24) and Lillian (#25)

Boys: Biblical – Josiah (#79). Other – Landon (#34)

What are your favourite names in the rest of the US Top 1000?

Margaret (#178) and Judah (#273)

What are your favourite names that don’t currently chart?

Blythe (never charted) and Clive (hasn’t charted since 1935)

What is your son’s name?

Judah David. Our story of Judah’s name is a fun and interesting one, and you can read about it at So There’s This Name ….

If you found out you were pregnant right now, what names would you be considering?

I would be trying to convince Josiah to like Blythe Salomae. We have boys names we like, but like we did with Judah, we’re not telling anyone.

What is something we don’t know about you that you would like to share?

I love the Anne of Green Gables series and have read them probably too much. Tell me Lucy Maud Montgomery wasn’t a name nut. Ludovic Speed? Gilbert ❤ Is this why I love the name Blythe? I will never tell.

What advice would you give someone choosing a baby name?

If you can’t use the one you love, use it anyway. Never, ever settle. Unless it’s Jezebel or Kidneigh Bean, and then I’d say maybe keep looking. Valuable life lessons also apply to names. You are giving your babies the first impression they will have on people. Give them something that makes them proud. Something that makes you proud. And like weak coffee, name regret stinks. I’ll brew down some Starbucks, and you can come over and we can talk more about names!

(Picture shows Alexia Mae with her son Judah; photo supplied by Baby Names from the Bible)