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 are expecting our second (and probably last!) baby in July. It’s a boy!
Our daughter, Eliot Montgomery, was named after author George Eliot. Her middle name is a nod to two things: the city where my mother was born and the last name of my favorite childhood author, LM Montgomery.
To us, it was the perfect name because it was strong while having a feminine sound, classic while being unique to a girl.
For a boy, we are stuck! We like names that are strong and classic, but not overly traditional or masculine. The top contenders right now on the list of names we mostly like are: Oak, Brooks, Rivers, Crosby, Grant, Ezra, Oliver, and Miles.
Our last name is Lirtsman and doesn’t play well with other L names or names that end in -n. We like the idea of the first and middle name being able to stand on their own if the kids ever wanted to drop it professionally.
We like names that have a historical nod or are in reference to a musician/artist/author.
And last, if we had had a girl, we would have tried to use Rose or a variation of as a nod to my husband’s mother who passed away a few years ago. We’ve thought of boy names like Roosevelt or Ambrose to tie it in, but don’t know how to best fit it in. Would be a nice to have, but not required!
Read on for my response – and please share your helpful suggestions in the comments!
Congratulations on your baby-on-the-way!
When the stars align and our first child’s name is exactly right, it can really up the pressure to name future children, right?
And yet, I think you’ve got a great shortlist and some good ideas about what works for your family, so I’m confident we’ll find a name that you’ll love just as much as Eliot Montgomery.
I love the idea of Ambrose or Roosevelt as a nod to your late mother-in-law. Girls are named after male relatives all the time, so why not name a son after his grandmother? It makes all the sense in the world.
But let’s start with the first name.
You’ve mentioned that you’d prefer something less common. That takes Grant, Ezra, Oliver, and Miles out of consideration. They’re all in the US Top 200 and rising. (Oliver ranked #32 in 2014!) There are good reasons to use a popular name, but since none of these is your favorite, let’s move on.
A few new suggestions:
- Guthrie – Inspired by father and son folksingers, Woody and Arlo Guthrie. It’s a Scottish surname, which is very on-trend. It’s an interesting choice – a little gruff, but also vaguely romantic. There’s no L or -n sound, either, so I think it works well with your surname.
- Rigby – Again, a surname that feels masculine, but not macho. It also brings to mind The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” though, of course, that’s a not exactly a happy song. Rigby Lirtsman, Eliot and Rigby. There’s something incredibly happy about Rigby, Beatles song aside.
- Hawthorne – You have some nature(ish) names on your list (Oak, Brooks, Rivers), and like the idea of something literary – so how ’bout Hawthorne? Plus, roses have thorns – is that waaaaay too subtle a link to the family name? (Or there’s this: Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne had a daughter named Rose, who grew up to be a writer, and then became a nurse, caring for cancer patients.)
- Fielding – Inspired by the English novelist, Henry Fielding, but also by the nature name associations. Fielding Lirtsman. It’s a preppy, unconventional first name, but I think it pairs well with Eliot: Eliot and Fielding.
- Devereaux – It’s a great surname name that shortens nicely to Dev. I’ve heard it as a first name more than once, though it’s pretty rare. I’ve added it to the list for two reasons: first, it might be interesting to go with a longer name, like the three-syllable Eliot. And the strong sounds in Devereaux stand up to Lirtsman nicely.
- Rhodes – Now this is a find! All of those ends-in-s names had me wondering if there were any other worth consideration. I’ve recently written about Rhodes, but missed an intriguing part of the name’s story. The island’s name comes from a sea nymph, and may mean “where the roses grow.” There may be a bit of poetry involved there, but even without the meaning, Rhodes has a close-to-Rose sound.
- Evander – I didn’t want this list to be all surname names! One that always strikes me as underused is Evander. It’s very close to popular names like Alexander and Evan – and might be shortened to Evan. Still, Evander Lirtsman, Eliot and Evander. I think the sound is interesting enough that I’ve added it to the list.
- Bram – As in Stoker. Literary, rare, hard to stumble over. Bram Lirtsman. Eliot and Bram.
From your list, my favorites are Brooks and Crosby. From my list, Hawthorne and Rhodes feel like the stand-outs.
I think the potential combinations are great, too: Brooks Roosevelt, Hawthorne Ambrose (with the initials HAL!), Rhodes Hawthorne, Crosby Ambrose, Hawthorne Rhodes.
One other name that’s often suggested as a masculine form of Rose – thought it’s based on shared letters only – is Ross. It’s fallen out of favor in recent years, but I think it could feel very wearable in 2015. Just how out of favor? Ross doesn’t currently rank in the US Top 1000! If you like the idea of Ross, Royce might be another thought along the same lines. Royce ranked #475 in 2014.