Baby Name Help is a new series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
We have one son, Zachariah Tom. We are expecting a second son in December.
We have decided to name our second son Vincent with Vin as a nickname.
Our struggle is finding a middle name.
Zachariah’s middle name is after my grandfather.
We would like to use a name from my husband’s family this go around but we’ve hit a road block. None of the names work for us.
Do you think that we can just pick a name we like if we say our first daughter (if we have one someday) will have a name from his side of the family?
Colleen also shared their current shortlist of possible middles:
- Ronan (from husband’s dad, Ron)
- Matthew (no family connection. I just like it but I worry it’s too boring)
- Luca (my suggestion if he’s born on St Lucia Day 12/13)
- Nico (if he’s born on St Nicholas Day)
- Ford (because I’m married to a car guy)
She also added that they’re an outdoorsy family and open to nature names.
Read on for my ideas – and please add your suggestions in the comments!
First things first: nope, you don’t need to use a family name for baby #2. Or for any child, ever.
And while you didn’t ask me this specifically, I don’t think you even have to make promises about future children’s names. After all, you like the concept of using family names, but it doesn’t feel like there’s a good fit in this case.
What seems more significant is that baby #2 has a name that you love just as much, and a name that carries some meaning. Someday you can tell Zachariah that his middle name is for his great-grandfather, and tell Vin that his middle name is for …
So we’re trying to fill in the blank, and I think you’re definitely on the right track.
A note on your firstborn’s name – Zachariah Tom isn’t too out there – and yet, together, there’s something slightly edgy about Zachariah Tom. That long, elaborate first name and the short, nickname-y middle. I wouldn’t have thought of it if I thought for a thousand years, and yet I really love it – it feels confident.
Let’s also try to match that vibe – established names that pack a punch when put together.
- Vincent Ronan – A handsome combination, and the only one on your list that honors a loved one – your husband’s father. But since you’re inclined to use family names, and you’re not sold on Ronan, maybe this isn’t the name for you.
- Vincent Matthew, Vincent Francis – They’re nice names. But I feel like they don’t quite satisfy your wishlist.
- Vincent Luca, Vincent Nico – Great names, both, and unconventional enough that they feel like a brother for Zachariah Tom. I’m inclined to root for either of these, or their variants. (Vincent Lucius? Vincent Nicolo?) I think you could certainly Nico – or any Nicolas name – for a baby who arrives anytime during the holiday season.
- Vincent Ford – This seems almost as confident as Zachariah Tom. I think they sound like brothers. And if dad is into cars, then this is a meaningful middle.
Since it seems like you’re attracted to the idea of a seasonal name, I thought I’d check this list for inspiration. How about:
- Vincent Frost – A seasonal name that feels just right for a winter baby.
- Vincent Drummer – Christmas story “The Little Drummer Boy” is mostly a twentieth-century phenomenon. (There’s no drummer boy in the traditional nativity story.) And yet, it feels like a seasonal name. Though maybe this is too offbeat.
- Vincent Fraser – The name of an evergreen – associated with the season, but also with loyalty and steadfastness, good qualities both.
The middle name is a great place for something a little more daring, and since Vincent is such a masculine classic, I think you could really take a chance.
A few non-seasonal suggestions:
- Vincent Cedar – Tree names are a great source of ideas, and Fraser got me thinking … if you’re not sold on a seasonal name, would Cedar appeal?
- Vincent Field, Vincent Fielding – Field is outdoorsy; Fielding is slightly preppier, but still with a nod to the natural world.
- Vincent Rael – The only family name you’re considering is Ronan, for Ronald. Ronald is originally a great Old Norse name – Ragnvaldr, brought to Scotland thanks to the Viking invasions. According to Nordic Names, Rael is another form of Ragnvaldr. Is that too far to feel like it still honors grandpa? Maybe, but it seems like an interesting sound.
Overall, my favorite is still from your list – Vincent Ford. It’s a little different, with a nod to dad’s interests.
Colleen, congratualtions on baby #2 – and please let us know what your family decides.
UPDATE: He’s here! And his name is Vincent Ford. Congratulations to Colleen and her family, and a huge thank you to each and every reader who helped think this one through!