Editor’s note: With apologies to Catherine, I was just sorting through my drafts folder and realizing that this has been waiting for weeks! Here’s what I love about her story – it shows that even a familiar name can be rich with meaning. You can purchase Catherine’s poetry anthologies online here.

What is your child’s name?

Stephanie Elizabeth, born 9/18/2001

When did you choose?

When I was pregnant. Her dad was due to be deployed on a submarine (half way through a 6 month deployment) at the time of my due date (and she showed up 3 days before it!). SOMEONE kept her legs crossed during ultrasounds so we had to come up with a full girl’s name and a full boy’s name well in advance.

What were your criteria?

For a girl, it had to have a Stevie Nicks reference in there somewhere. She is one of my all time favourite artists. My initial choice was Stevie Rhiannon but my husband vetoed that one (ix-nay on Rhiannon and no daughter of HIS was going to be named Stevie). So, went back to the drawing board and decided that since we met through a medieval re-enactment society and had a French last name that we wanted our future daughter’s name to be bilingual English/French. At that point, he asked me what Stevie was short for. I answered Stephanie and he said “I can live with Stephanie”. Her middle name, Elizabeth, is a family name. In addition to it being my middle name, it is also my mother’s first name and my great-grandmother’s first name as well (since deceased). It was very important to me that she have a name that was “hers” for a first name. The meaning was also an important factor – “Light, Gift of God”.

Who was involved in the decision?

Just my husband.

What were the other options?

Madeleine was a contender for a girl and Aaron David for a boy.

Did the meaning matter?

The meaning was also an important factor – “Light, Gift of God”. She was born a week after 9/11, with bright orange hair.

Did you second guess yourself?

She came out looking like a Stephanie!

Thanks so much for sharing, Catherine! It’s a sweet story, and a terribly pretty name, too.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I’ve always liked the name Stephanie and have a both an English friend (in her 60s) and a French friend (in her 30s — St

  2. I’m a Stephane named after Stefanie Powers also! I’ve always loved my name and never ran into many (believe it or not). It ages well and has cool nicknames like Stevie, Effie, Steph, etc. I always thought it mean’t crowned one. Anyway, I think it’s a lovely choice and will stand out in the sea of Addisons, Taylors, Haileys, etc.

  3. Nice story and a nice name! (Funnily enough, both names are in my family).

    Look forward to reading more reader stories!

  4. I did a double take when I saw the name…I’m Stephanie Elizabeth, too! (Although I am a child of the mid-80’s) I don’t have as cool a story as the above Stephanie. I was named after my parents favorite actress, Stefanie Powers. They just picked Elizabeth because they liked it. We found out later that a grandma on my dad’s side had a middle name of Elizabeth, so it is technically a family name, even though my parents didn’t know it when I was born!

    And, I have always heard Stephanie meant “crown” or “crowned one”, as well.

  5. I don’t know where she got that Stephanie Elizabeth means light, gift of God, but it doesn’t. It means crown, consecrated to God.

    1. Yeah, Stephanie means “crown.” Though Elizabeth is “oath of God” or “God is my oath” — it’s from Elisheva, and in Hebrew el is “God,” sheva is “oath” and the i is possessive.

  6. I love to hear stories like this. When it comes to naming a child, I feel too many people got distracted by the excitment of choosing a name — like a child in a candy store — and focus on superficials rather than choosing a name with real personal meaning. Doesn’t really matter what it is, whether its a really ancient name, or brand new, top of the baby charts or gathering dust in the attic. What I think really matters is what the name means to the parents; the personal history of that name unique to that particular bearer alone. Wonderful!

  7. I’m always surprised to hear a little one with a name a lot of my or my brother’s friends have. (Heather, Melissa, Jessica, Kelley, Michelle, et al.). And I always wonder what the story is. It is a really lovely story, thanks for sharing! 🙂