Fred C Palmer child with toy Swindon 001So Fergie was on Ellen last week, talking about how her son’s name came to her in a dream, and that’s how she and Josh named Axl Jack.

It’s a level of certainty that many new parents must envy.  Friends of mine are expecting #2, and after making a great choice for their firstborn, the happy couple has compiled a long list of maybes … but no #1 name.  Even when you and your partner generally share the same style, landing on The Name isn’t necessarily a straightforward process.  I’m on my way to an old friend’s baby shower this afternoon – I can’t wait to hear if she’s settled on a choice for her daughter-on-the-way.

Speaking of certainty, I’m the oldest of four – three girls and a baby brother.  (Who will graduate from law school in May, so maybe I ought to stop calling him the baby.)  When we named our daughter, I was sure and certain that one of my other sisters might want to use family name, Claire, as part of their future daughter’s name.  But now it looks unlikely.  One sister seems destined to have a houseful of boys.  A married surname mismatch makes Claire an impossibility if sister #2 should ever have a daughter.  Maybe my brother will pass on the name, but he’s still years away from a family. Funny how these things work themselves out …

Elsewhere in name news:

  • On a similar note about family naming customs, I was fascinated by this question about Indian names at Swistle.  And I love, love, love Swistle’s answer. There are always lots of ways to resolve these conundrums, but it can be tough to unwrap them when you’re in the middle of family tensions.
  • Have you been hearing Lulu everywhere? FritiNancy’s post about Lulu as a popular name for brands and services: three dating sites, a self-publishing company, and the yogawear.  Despite Lulu’s heavy rotation as a brand name, I except to hear more of her – and all of the Lu-/Lou- names in coming years.
  • This must be frustrating when it happens with children!  NameCandy discussed character names from The Best Man and Best Man Holiday.  Back in 1999, Harper seemed like an up-and-coming name, perfectly appropriate for the (male) main character.  Fast forward to 2013, and the handsome Taye Diggs’ character is still called Harper – even though Harper is now more likely to be the flower girl.
  • This post by Angela at Nameberry looks at 1930s favorites ready for a comeback.  I’d say that Arden, Sally, and Gilbert all have potential, but if I had to pick just one?  I’d put my money on Ramona.
  • Speaking of throwbacks, this list from 1880s includes Clyde, Grover, Della, Harriet and oh, look – Lula!
  • Any thoughts on twins with matchy names?  It must be completely tempting to go this route – though I think it is probably not a great idea, for lots and lots of reasons.  Still, while I dislike the idea of, say, Stella and Bella, I do appreciate more subtle connections, like Felix and Asher.
  • Waltzing More than Matilda reported on an Aussie celeb twinset that I found charming:  Harvey and Roxanne.
  • Jessie asks about nicknames versus formal names on the birth certificate.  Her firstborn has such a great name June – and her shortlist has included some great possibilities, like Iris and KateMore thoughts on the topic here.
  • I was just thinking that Quest works in the middle spot, and maybe, possibly as a given name.  ForReal recently spotted a Qwest Randal.  I prefer my noun names spelled as you would find them in the dictionary, but I know some parents feel that respelling it to Saylor or Memorie makes it more like a name.  Thoughts?
  • Some great choices in this round-up from ForReal: Ames, Boone, Esther, Drew Tolliver, Gaia Guinevere, Philomena.
  • The handsome, quirky Ignatius featured at British Baby Names.
  • Delphinia Mary is such a gorgeous name, and I loved Jodi’s honest story of naming an adopted daughter.  They’re calling her Delia, so she’ll fit right in with their delightfully named family when she comes home – oh so very soon!
  • Oh, I didn’t know there were longer names for Kai.  Loving the sound of Kailash.  Well, I suppose there’s Caius, and Malachi.  I wonder if there are other formal names for Kai/Cai?
  • Just for fun: what’s your Hunger Games name?  I’m Iless S. Dancerose.
  • In time for Thanksgiving: Nancy delves into the Pilgrim name Degory.  And don’t forget Cedric Diggory, of Harry Potter fame, the character that launched Robert Pattison’s career before you’d ever heard of Twilight.
  • These names are delicious, but I wonder how the French princesses felt about being referred to by their ordinal number – as in Madame Troisième.

That’s all for this week!  As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week.

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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’m generally not a fan of giving well known nicknames as full names (like Kate or Danny). First, I had a roommate with a well-known nickname as her full name, and she was CONSTANTLY having to correct people that no, that was “just” her name. (On the flip side, my brother Luke had to constantly tell people that no, his name was Luke, like in the Bible, not “Lucas.” So I guess everyone can try to make a nickname out of your name.) Where it gets sticky is there are a lot of names that can still be used as nicknames, like the aforementioned Luke, or even Lucy (Lucia) or Daisy (Margaret). So it’s tough to be safe if you’ve got a short name.

    But also, it gives a kid more of an option NOT to be “Danny” later in life. I was shocked at how many people told me I’d saddled “such a little girl” with “such a long name” after my daughter was born. They do know she’s not going to be an infant forever, right? What, was I supposed to name her Cutesty-Pie?

    1. Not so bad, but I read Sonnet at first … Sonnet J Sitaloe has more appeal … still, yours is the best so far!

  2. Funny to see Ignatius mentioned and it makes me think that maybe my oldest two children (ages 11 and 9) are reading naming blogs in their spare time. They both out of no-where told me this weekend that Ignatius was their top pick if the baby is a boy. Since Andrew is my husband’s and my top pick, I don’t see Ignatius happening.

  3. Ugh, my name was Iless H. Suckwattle. Worst Hunger Games name ever!

    I have to agree with you – I feel that regular names can be spelled any way you want (but to be considerate to others, make sure they can actually be read and understood), but word and place names do have a definite spelling, from the dictionary and the atlas. I guess some people feel they aren’t “namey” enough if you do that though.

    If you interested in Lulu, might want to check the latest Australian celebrity baby name! 😉

  4. I love Gaia Guinevere and Delphinia Mary!

    I wish parents wouldn’t be afraid to use Harper on boys! I feel the same way about Piper. I don’t have a problem with those names on girls, but I like them on boys too! In general I hate the “gone to the girls” idea. I wish parents wouldn’t be so afraid of unisex names.

  5. Wow that Hunger Games name game is kind of complicated! I’m Rimet R. Danceorchid. It doesn’t feel very Hunger Games-y to me.