Name Help is a 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!
My husband and I are expecting our second baby girl and fourth child in August. We have yet to find a name that really sticks out to us. I’m really looking for a name that best fits with my other children’s names: Giovanna (Gia) Charlotte, Vincent (Vinnie) Christopher, and Dominic (Dom) Patrick.
I would describe their names as American-Italian. Only Giovanna’s name is actually Italian but both Vincent and Dominic are widely used and accepted in the Italian community. All of their middle names are honor names.
For this baby, I’m planning on her middle name being Francesca, after my grandfather (Frank). I’ve considered Francesca as the first name, but we are big nickname people and I don’t like Fran or Frankie.
Our last name sounds like Mend and is a word name.
Some names we have considered/are considering: h
- Simona – not crazy about nickname Mona
- Alessia – don’t want her to be mistaken for Alexia/Alexa/Alexis/Alyssa
- Nina – LOVE it, but it’s my grandmother’s cat’s name
- Giuliana – don’t like the nicknames Jules/Julie
- Adriana – still a contender, but my husbands cousin has two daughters named Gianna and Arianna, nit sure if Giovanna and Adriana is too close?
- Angelina – really on the fence. I like the nickname Lina, and it would honor my mom (Angela), but I feel like Angelina Francesca may be too much?
- Eva – not sure exactly how common it is, but din’t want it to be confused for Ava. I do like Eva Francesca.
- Gemma– I do like the name but don’t like the word first name – word last name combination.
If this baby were a boy, Dean would be the name. If Vincent and Dominic were girls, the name we had chosen was Isabella, but I have since gained a cousin with the name.
Read on for my reply, and please add your helpful suggestions in the comments.
Hi Summer –
Congratulations on baby #4!
My initial reaction to your letter was this: Piece of cake! There are dozens of great Italian names for girls, and even more drawn from romance languages. Since so many are considered stylish right now, they’ll have lots of options!
But then I read your list again, and wow! This is a puzzle, isn’t it?
From your current list, I’m tempted to root for Eva, because Eva Francesca is gorgeous. Eva fits nicely with Gia, Vinnie, and Dom. But I wonder if it’s too short for you? The lack of an obvious nickname feels like a potential drawback.
You might consider Evelina or maybe Evalina. It’s Italian – at least the Evelina spelling is – and also opens the door to nickname Eva.
But, of course, Evelina Francesca isn’t any simpler than Angelina Francesca. There’s no reason you can’t use Evelina Francesca or Angelina Francesca, of course – but if it feels like too much name, I have another thought.
Would you consider shortening Francesca to Frances instead? In that case, Angelina Frances, nickname Lina, feels like the obvious choice.
I do think Adriana is awfully close to your cousins’ daughters names. But is this a cousin you see every few years at big family events, or a cousin who lives a few streets over? If you’re separated by considerable distance, it might be minimally confusing. If you live in the same town? Maybe it’s better avoided.
Some other ideas:
- Antonia or even Antonella – I know, I’m not shortening anything by suggesting Antonella. Still, I think the Anthony names are worth consideration. First, they’re impeccably Italian. Second, Antonia leads to Nina as a nickname, while Antonella reminds me of Isabella, so I think they use sounds that you’ve previously considered.
- Golden Aurelia is rising in the US, and it’s similar to Angelina. Except it doesn’t honor your mom, so I’m not sure it beats out Angelina. The similar Aurora has been big in Italy in recent years, is trending in the US, and comes with the fun nickname Rory.
- Viviana reminds me of Eva, thanks to the ‘v’ sound, and feels nicely Italian. Vivi makes a great nickname, and it’s different from Gia. Though maybe you’d rather not have Vincent and Viviana?
- Could it be that you’re just leaning more towards shorter names these days? Lina or Lena both seem like logical alternatives. It sidesteps the issuing of sharing Nina with an unpleasant cat, and it seems like you like Lina. The ‘e’ spelling – Lena – is much more popular as an independent name, but both work well.
- This might be a longshot, but I’m tempted to recommend Cosima. It shortens to Mimi or Cosi or Coco, and it’s nicely Italian.
Overall, I think the question is whether you’re willing to reevaluate the middle name you’ve chosen. It makes sense to use family names as honor names in the middle spot. And yet, it can make choosing the first name a little more difficult.
If not Frances, other Francis names might work in the middle spot. Francine, maybe? Or even just France?
My favorite is to stick with Angelina, and shorten the middle name to Frances. It’s less distinctively Italian – but then, Charlotte and Patrick aren’t Italian, or even Italian-American.
If not Angelina Frances, I think you should take a good look at Eva Francesca. The lack of nickname feels like a departure from your older kids’ names, but I don’t think it’s impossible.
Readers, what would you suggest? Is Angelina Francesca too much name? Are there other Italian names for girls I’ve overlooked?