Do you read the Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear? Maisie visits Lady Petronella Casterman in The Mapping of Love and Death, and this is what Lady Casterman has to say about her given name:
‘Do call me ‘Ella.‘ Petronella is such a mouthful. I rue the day my mother picked up that book she was reading prior to going into labor on the day I was born. The heroine was a Petronella, and I ahve always wished someone had given her a copy of Jane Eyre. It would have made life so much simpler.
It’s no secret that I like elaborate names, unorthodox nicknames, family heirlooms of the clunkier and less expected variety. I’d choose Petronella over Ella any day. That’s a nineteenth century Petronella in the post – doesn’t she look wonderfully disapproving?
And yet, after someone close to me chose to call their son Nate – not Nathan, not Nathaniel – I found myself defending that choice, too. Nate’s the name they loved, the one with meaning and relevance, the one that suits their style. More proof that I’m less and less comfortable with the idea of rules or judgment when it comes to naming children.
- My daughter Clio has a friend called Eloise. I met Eloise’s big sisters this weekend – Matilda and Sophia. Lovely! I also met a pair of sisters called Sylvie and Delphine – so gorgeous – and a baby boy Xen.
- Noun names are great, but I like them best when they’re spelled as they would appear in the dictionary. Willow has been catching on in recent years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wyllow. But Wilho? That seems … weirdly wrong.
- Which reminds me – I take Kara’s point that you really can go too far with changing name spellings. And yet, I don’t think it is apocalyptic. As part of my day job, I interview lots of people for lots of different positions, from interns to executives to contractors. I’m often involved from the resume screening phase – the point where, supposedly, Braedinn or Abbygayle would be immediately rejected. To this I say: one, there aren’t all that many completely wacky spellings out there. Two: I always notice that names. Always. Three: it absolutely doesn’t influence my decision. My colleagues are counting on me to find the best fit for our organization. It would be foolish to overlook good candidates because their parents went on a shopping spree at the vowel store.
- I tend to think names like these are more challenging to wear. Nameisms’ list of Troublemaker names is great fun, and I think some of them can be strangely appealing in the middle spot. But if I were called Rekker or Rebel, I think it might make for some stereo-typing. I imagine my kids coming home with Rekker on a class list, or telling me they’re going to the movies with Rebel. A tortured respelling implies certain things, but a defiant, trouble-making name implies others. I have a harder time with the latter.
- Of course, you’d be surprised which names can be controversial. Did you see this New York Times Motherlode post about a Jewish family considering the name Mary? Never thought of it that way …
- This post at Babble on Duck Dynasty names makes for an interesting list. I haven’t seen the show – really, I need to re-examine my priorities – but there’s one that might inspire even if you’re not a fan of the hit series. Louisiane is the Cajun name for Louisiana. Can’t you imagine a little girl called Louisiane, maybe Lulu for short?
- Another discovery this week, via Jolis Prenoms: Corentine, and masculine form Corentin. Love ’em both.
- For Real spotted some gems in a recent post. I’m loving India Archer, Lilly Bliss, Avery Iris, Mae Rivera, Esther Alana, Alexandria Kai, and Annabella Star for girls, plus Jasper Keating, Isaac Orion, Corbin Lyle, and Briar Benjamin for boys. Seriously, I love, love, love her posts – but this might be my favorite – ever.
- This story is so sad, but I’m charmed by the twins’ names: brother Cedric and sister Cielo.
- There are some incredibly sweet stories in this article. I love the Constance/Agnes one, the three generations of Rhoda Belle, and the Nancy who might have been Trigger.
- Speaking of Agnes, I agree with Nameaholics Anonymous – while I’m still partial to Agatha, Agnes has some serious charm. Blame the unicorn-loving littlest sister from the Despicable Me movies.
- AnastasiaRuby suggests some great ways to honor a grandmother Iva. I love the idea of looking for a name with Iva in it: Aviva or Ivana.
- I’m struggling to translate this Vernoeming post on Dutch celebrity names, but it seems that their celebs are embracing names like Splinter – and if you follow the links to the original article and do some searching, Butterfly and Bloem, the Dutch word for flower. Nice to know that creative naming is global.
Speaking of global, didn’t Jasmin knock it out of the park with her choices this week? Flat-out amazing!
But then, there were oodles of excellent suggestions to sort through from the give-away. So many that I’m picking a few that were repeated, and I’ll write about them in a few weeks.
That’s all for now. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!