Motherhood Mondays: What Baby Names Do You Like?

My darlings, on this Motherhood Monday, I’d love to talk about baby names! Do you have favorites? When Alex and I first found out that we were expecting a child, we were so giddy (and, um, surprised:) that we couldn’t sleep. So we found ourselves in our dark living room at 2 a.m. brainstorming names. Our top boy’s names were Toby, Julian, Charlie, and Elliot (ahh, I still love Elliot). For girl’s names, I liked Sophie, and he liked Samantha, but we couldn’t decide on one that we both loved. (Girls names are surprisingly tough!)

My friend Nora told us a funny way to analyze names: The Blind Date Test. Pretend someone is setting up your college-aged child on a blind date. They’d ask, “Hey, want to meet my friend Toby?” Now think: How would you picture that person, just based on the name? Would you want to meet them? It’s a surprisingly good way to get a feel for the name, don’t you think? :)

There are also such cool unusual names these days. Toby’s friends include Zelda, Quinn, Sailor, Elodie and Meriwether. (Aren’t those all amazing?) The Baby Name Voyager shows you how popular every name has been since the 1880s. (Warning: It’s totally addictive.)

So, I’d love to ask: What baby names do you like? Do you prefer offbeat names, or would you stay more traditional? Would you name your child after a relative? Do you like your own name? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. This baby name book looks great:

(Top photo by Raul Gutierrez)

  1. ooh, i love reading all these comments with fabulous names! our children have all been family names: Celia, Madsen (a boy – alot of people think it’s Madison, but it’s not!) and Cora.

    But I love, LOVE for girls: Eloise, Greta, Nell (not Nellie, just Nell), Vera, Pearl, Stella, Estelle, Mabel, Ruby, Cleo…it was hard for us to decide on Cora for baby #3. :)

    And for boys: Urban, Bowen, Leo, Wiser. (again all family names) I think Monroe would be cool with the just the right last name.

  2. My boyfriend really wants to name his future son after him, to be a JR. Which is so funny to me because that just seems so traditional for such a non traditional person. I’m not into that at all, so I told him that if we ever have a son, we’ll compromise and the kid can have his middle name as his first and his first name as his middle name, so he’d be Charles William, or Charlie for short as I love that name. As for girls? I have no idea, you’re right, girls names are harder!

  3. It’s funny because I had a harder time with boys names when we had our 2nd. I think I was just in such a girl frame of mind having my first be a girl. We went through a ton of books before settling on the name Bentley.

    Someone told me that the name you have in your head when you are 6 months pregnant is almost always the one you go with. It proved to be true with us.

    The Cheeky Cafe

  4. I LOVE the name Voyager!

    Isn’t odd that people look for ‘baby names’ rather than just ‘names’?!
    I like you’re friend’s ‘blind date’ advice.

  5. for girls, i love the names Gracie and Holly. For boys, i once had a kid in my swim lessons named sterling, and i am obsessed!

  6. Fun post!
    I actually have a hard time with boys names…
    My husband and I are going to be adopting and names have been on my mind lately.

    For girls, one of my favorites is Nora. I also like Ainsley, Harper, Hadley… and many others :-)

    Boys – Lachlan and Keiran are both on the list – we obviously like Irish names!

  7. First, I love your blog. I have never commented, but as many of your readers have mentioned…who doesn’t love a good baby name discussion?! I had to share that my two and a half year old daughter is Elliot Elizabeth. I LOVE the name more everyday. We mainly call her Elliot but sometimes use “Ellie” and “Elle Belle”.

  8. i could look at that site voyager FOREVER. i love my own name..but it took until college for me to really love it.

    helen :}

    the daily nook!

  9. Anonymous says...

    My mom named me and my sisters fairly uncommon names, with even more unusual middle names. I didn’t like it when I was younger, but now I appreciate it. Marie Lilian, Jocelyn Etta, and Diana Josephine.
    I feel like deciding what to name my kids will be horribly stressful for me, but Olivia and Seth have stuck in my head lately. I also like Jake. But i’ll probably do what my mom did, and choose really old or out there middle names.

  10. Anonymous says...

    My grown children are Frank James and Mercedes Montana. Frank, because it was the nickname we gave him before a. he was born b. we knew he was a boy. My daughter’s middle name was inspired by fab Vogue photoshoot I saw in 1990 and kept in mind. Still want to go there. If we had any more, I’d have like a Titus John, an Ithaca Rose or a Violet. And Asa – such a cool name, so easy to spell….

  11. I love the name Elodie! So cute

  12. For boys: Jackson, Jasper, Liam, Logan and Atticus

    For girls: Audrey and Scout
    can you tell I want more boys than girls?? haha!!

  13. there are some lovely names on here!

    my husband and i just had a baby girl named norah, but some other top contenders for little girls were ruby, wren, matilda, charlotte, and loren.

    for boys we love henry, joel, and elliot.

    i love thinking of names, even though i don’t plan on giving norah a sibling anytime soon :)

  14. Anna says...

    My name is anna and as a child i hated it until there was this very popular tv show called “anna“ in germany. It’s about a ballerina :-) suddenly every girl wanted to be anna… Our daughters name is klara because one of my favourite books is “the house of the spirits“, only we opted for the german writing with a k. one of our favourite boys names is pepe. thanks for your great blog!

  15. We really really love the names we chose for our now 8 month old little baby girl:

    “Coco Annie Ester Cotter”

    *Ester spelled without the ‘h’ after her father whose name is Chester Cotter.

    We think Coco is such an attractive name – people will want to meet and get to know Coco Cotter

    Love to you Joanna, & your beautiful Toby

  16. Anonymous says...

    hi from argentina!
    i love baby girls names as:
    and for boys:
    juan cruz

    loving your blog from buenos aires! :O)


  17. Anonymous says...

    hi from argentina!
    i love baby girls names as:
    and for boys:
    juan cruz

    loving your blog from buenos aires! :O)


  18. I like my name the best: Everly.

  19. My baby girl’s name is Josephine Augusta Eden; Josephine Augusta is her first name, Eden is her middle name and a family name. I just love old fashioned names for girls: Rose, Edith, Josephine, Anita, Ruby. I also love hippyish names like Cedar Rose.

    For boys I love Palmer, Elliot, and Washington (Wash for short, which is also a family name for us).

    I hate shortening girls names: Rebecca to Becky, Elizabeth to Liz or Beth, Josephine to Josie. . . the full names are so lovely, making them diminutive diminishes them so much; it’s just irritating.

  20. Astrid says...

    One of my sons is called Toby ( Jacob)..he’s almost 14 now and still every bit as nice as his name suggests! My other boy is Sam ( Antony) and our daughter is called Eva ( Isobel)… also ♥♥♥ Elliot and Ethan and Lily for a girl!

  21. I like Paloma. My grandfather used to play a piano piece called “La Paloma” that I like very much; plus, it’s just pretty and soft-sounding, like the dove it is.

  22. I was obsessed with name meanings…also how the name would sound being called out in a high school basketball game (now going into the game _____), how it would look typed on a business card, and if there was any weird (or horrible) nicknames that could result from the name or initials. We didn’t decide on a name until our daughter was in our arms. Avery Jayne…My husband whispered it and that was that.

  23. Fun question. Great names throughout.
    My faves…love…

    for a girl:

    for a boy

  24. Gemma! I love the name Gemma for a girl.

  25. For my own children I prefer older names like Eileen, Evelyn, Red, and Roger. But I surprise myself with how much I dislike super common names like John. For some reason I am more shocked when someone names there child Matthew as opposed to something like Sailor.

    I really like your blind date name game. I’m totally using that.

  26. I love strong, unusual names for both both and girls. For girl names I love ultra fem and then ultra boy names. Girl names are def hard! The fiance and i can’t find one to agree on either! (not that we’re expecting now)

  27. How do you like Elvis? NO, not after THE Elvis! It is a five generation name in my husband’s family so his, our son and his son all have the middle name of Elvis. Yes, it draws many comments :-)

  28. Well, I’m hardly considering babies at the age of 20, but my boyfriend and I both love the name Zooey for a girl (like from Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey,” although he was admittedly a boy in that–also Zooey Deschanel is so adorable). It’s a little different, but not too weird, I think. We both have pretty boring names ourselves (Josh and Kelly). He also suggested Ignatius for a boy, but I had to veto that. He likes Noah; I think I could live with that one.
    Oh, and I also love his middle name, Reddington; it was his mother’s maiden name. I think we’ll keep that in the family as a middle name :)

  29. Pamski says...

    It’s nice to see many who love the name Elliot here. I absolutely adore that name :) Here are my picks.

    For girls: Eliotte, Sophie, Lucia, Georgia, Adrienne, Elise, Eloise

    For boys: Elliot, Israel, Jacob, Julian, Oliver

  30. I prefer names that are a bit offbeat, non traditional, but nothing far out there I haven’t heard before. I would name my child after a relative, as my brothers and I were all named after a family member.

    I was named after my great grandmother, Lena, who immigrated from Switzerland over a hundred years ago. I’ve grown to like my name and wouldn’t change it.

    My favorite baby name I’ve heard recently is Dashel for a little boy. They call him Dash for short.

  31. We called our daughter Imogen Louise (Louise after my Mum). We are English, it is an English name, but we live in South Carolina.

    I LOVE the name; it is well-known and liked in the UK, but has been completely lost in translation in the South.

    Most people haven’t heard of it and if they have, they regard it as an ‘old’ name, unfashionable.

    Hardly anybody can pronounce it properly first time. For those who don’t know it, it’s pronounced Im-oh-jin (soft ‘g’ and the stress on the ‘jin’ not on the ‘oh’).

    Over the last 9 months, I have had moments of huge regret for lumbering my daughter with a name people perceive as odd or ugly but which I think is so beautiful. I had no idea the name was so ‘difficult’ before her birth, I assumed it would be OK, as it is in England.

    I have now begun to accept the obvious culture differences and I understand that what is acceptable in one country is not necessarily the same in another. If we remain in the US long-term, I hope my daughter will also love her name and will be able to stand up and say it with pride. Maybe, over time, those we know will see it like I do, as an elegant, timeless, and classic name.

  32. We just had a baby girl and we named her Elin Lucille. It was a bigger job than I thought to choose a name for a person! We considered Aubrey, Elsie, Liza, and Gemma for a girl. For a boy we liked Jonas, Leo, TOBY :), and Drew.

  33. I really like androgynous names, like Reagan, Parker, Harper (my middle name and grandma’s maiden name!) and Elliott. Non-androgynous favorites include: Luke, Iona, Ciaran, Declan, Elisabeth, Sylvie, and Annika. Place me in Holland or Ireland, apparently, and I’m a happy camper.

  34. I love the name Colby, and I have you to thank for inspiring the name, J! xoxo :)

  35. I don’t have any children-yet-but I spent 10 years babysitting a family who grew to have NINE kids (biological, adopted locally and internationally) and their mother always told me that if you don’t feel comfortable putting “Supreme Court Justice” in front of your child’s name, you should rethink the name. I’ve always thought this was a pretty ambitious and useful gage :)

  36. I would totally name my kid Atticus, though I also like Henry, Charlie, and Jack (not John). For girls I like older names like Alice. Strong names that will hold up well.

  37. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for such a lovely post and fun topic to start the week! I have two little boys, and let me tell you, coming up with names the second time around was the hardest! I do love their slightly unconventional names. Here’s my list (randomly including my boys first and middle names) –

    boys – Lee, Clark, Cohen, Reyn, West, Neil

    girls – Kalina (Karin in Hawaiian, pronounced ka lee na), Maxine, Vivian, Lena

  38. Ve from Ottawa says...

    I also like unusual names, but whatever name you pick, make sure its spelling is obvious, or else your kid will spend a lifetime spelling his/her own name!!! Alternative spellings are also a big no-no in my books, for the same reason.

  39. Gina M says...

    My husband and I have been talking baby names lately, and we both like using family names. We chose Maelyn Elle for a girl. Maelyn being after his great grandfather, Meylin, but I thought it sounded better as a girl’s name, so we chose a feminine spelling. We also chose Archibald (“Archie”) Hoang and/or Walter Bishop for a boy. We just liked the “old man” names and Hoang is my maiden name and Bishop is my mother in law’s maiden name.

  40. My parents named me Maud, which is actually a common name in their native France. Unfortunately, here in the US it conjurs up images of old ladies (thank you Golden Girls).

    I will say that, although I spent most of my life dreaming of a “normal” name, I now appreciate that it is unique and that people never forget it!

  41. I love old fashioned names that remind me of someone I loved or admired. My first son is Walter Huckleberry, we call him Huck. Walter – for my husband’s grandfather who was a Quaker and campaigned for peace his whole life – he was 97 when he died last year; and Huckleberry – for so many reasons: I love Mark Twain; Huckleberries are native to Southern Oregon (where we live); my husband paddled the whole Mississippi before we met; and because Huck was born 2 months prematurely, so small like a Huckleberry.

    Also, because “I’m your Huckleberry” is a great line from a movie we both love.

    Our next kid is due in September and I don’t think we can top Huck’s name. Wish us luck!

  42. i just wanted to say that i have been a Samantha for almost 24 years now and i’ve loved every minute of it! i LOVE being Sam and also having the option of Sami and of course my full name Samantha which makes me feel classic and feminine.

    my sister’s name is Alexandra- my mom purposefully gave us both feminine names with male nick-names (Sam and Alex) because she liked the way it sounded… although my sister goes by Lexi more often.

    i love Sam for a boy’s name but i would never name my own child after me, it’s just not my style, also- it is a jewish custom not to name a baby after someone who is alive.

  43. yay baby names!!
    I love the family names in my family like James, Robert, Peter and Mary. But I also really want to anme my girl Jimmy?

  44. Hi! I’m one of your newest followers – what a great post! I am also expecting (due in 2 weeks actually – our first!) and we had a really hard time with names – esp. boy names (we are expecting a lil boy)!! The names we love are Donovan, Kellen, Grayson, Tristan, Ryler, etc. Girl names we love are Jaide, Chanel, Maliha…oh girl names could go on – there are so many! Good luck with deciding on the name for your little one – it seems to be one of the first tough decisions of being a parent! Lol. Enjoy every moment :)

  45. Anonymous says...

    Oh I love baby names! Some of my favorites for girls are Abigail, Basil, and Sophie and I love a ton of boys names like Wesley, Cooper, and James

  46. We love the Blind Date Test! What a great experiment. We would definitely date a Toby!! ; )

  47. I’ve always had a thing for thinking of my future kids’ names! I’ve had various sets since I was in like middle school. Even though I don’t have kids (yet), it’s nice being married and finally knowing what to pair the name with! In college I really liked the name Rynn for a girl; until I realized the guy I had a HUGE crush on would make my daughter Rynn Rhine…assuming he asked me out (or knew that I was breathing) and we procreated. Now my name is Fox….Fox works really well as a last name with almost anything! I’m currently in love with Milo for a boy and Evelyn for a girl; Elliott and Emerson are also current favorites….and I could see naming either sex one of those. Apparently I have a strong liking for the letter “e.” =)

    This was a fun post! I’ve enjoyed reading other’s responses.

  48. I guess we have similar taste in names, my 10 month old daughter’s name was going to be Toby Elliot had she been a boy.

  49. We named our new son (4mo) Mckinley Joseph. We call him Mack. We named him after my hubby’s grandpa. We love the name, and we also love who he’s named after! However, every time I call to make him a dr appt and I say Mckinley, people assume it’s a girl. :-(

  50. Funny, My partner and I had a hard time coming up with boys names when we found out I was pregnant! We kept the sex of our baby a surprise and decided if it was a girl, we would name her Rosemary Eloise – Rosemary after my grandmother and Eloise after well, Eloise… for a boy we chose Oscar Hume, Oscar for Oscar Wilde and Hume for his grandfather. We had a beautiful baby girl! She is more Eloise then Rosemary.

  51. Anne says...

    I have a Sadie and a Tom (Thomas).

    We had a harder time with boy names. There were so few we liked.

    Other contenders were: Eleanor (Nell) and Juliet for a girl, and Ben for a boy.

    To the anonymous from way up there, I like Noam, for what it’s worth!

    When we thought we weren’t going to have kids we still had names we liked. It’s funny how things change though. I still like the names we’d considered way back when, but none of them were actually used for first or middle names.

  52. i love my kiddos names (& i guess that good, right? :), quinn calvin & merra susan…first names a bit unusual, middle names after relatives…i don’t think we are going to have any more kids but i would love to have a piper or meyer

    my name is emily & i have always liked it…though if i had been born within the last 8 years or so i’m sure i might feel differently…every other 5 year old at the park is emily & it makes it a little awkward when a mom yells ’emily! stop that!’ :)

    fun topic!…i have found out that apparently i love talking about baby names :)

  53. While my husband and I still don’t know if we really want children, I love coming up with names. I’ve had my girl name picked out since I was in 7th grade – Colette (it was my name in french class for 6 years.) and My favorite boy name is from one of my favorite books – Holden.

    I really like my name – Morgan. I was named after my grandfather and at the time it was very unique. The first day of school my teachers would always ask if I went by my middle name for some reason. I thought why would I want to be another Lauren when I’m the only Morgan in the whole school?!

    Now there’s morgan’s all over the place. (even my brother-in-law is named Morgan!)

  54. Anonymous says...

    We couldn’t choose a boy’s name to save our lives but agreed on a girl’s name, Alba, right after we found out I was pregnant. We finally chose a boy’s name, Gianni (pronounced Johnnie), as I was lying on the operating table and the the little guy was crying. I’d secretly been hoping for a boy all along and was thrilled to meet him, but after he was born I also felt like Alba was still waiting in the wings for us to use her name.

  55. Cara says...

    Having a niece named Anais (pronounces ANA – ees) (with umlauts over the second “a”) I agree with going with names that are easy to spell and pronounce.

    She is in kindergarten and struggles with her name and so does everyone else and to make matters worse her last name is hyphenated and totals 14 letters! I asked my brother why did you make it so hard for them? Anais’ older sister is Cosette – Cosi for short. He says he didn’t think about what it would be like for them in school, now I will ALWAYS think what it will be like for them in school. I love my nieces names they are gorgeous names for gorgeous girls but they will always be spelled wrong and mispronounced.

  56. I love Frankie for a boy or a girl, and I love my own name too but I grew up with my Dad & brother having the same names and it can get confusing.

  57. My daughter’s name is Charlie Sophia…no Charlie is not short for anything (we get asked that a LOT). When we were pregnant we were very drawn to boy names and the top 5 on the list were Harrison, Anderson, Parker, Carson and Chandler, for a girl we had one name picked out and that was Lilly (we could not agree on anything else and it took 7 months to agree to Lilly), after labour when the doctor said we had a girl we looked at each other and said she didn’t look like a Lilly and my husband brought up Charlie which he had veto’ed months before and said it would be perfect! We know have a list of girl names we love! Audrey, Lina, Nora, Quinn and Emmerson!

  58. Oh, have to add one of my all time faves: Lucia :) Swoon…

  59. LOVE this topic. One of the most exciting decisions in life! :) My girls are Emma Elisabeth and Lila James. I agree with you on the name Elliot (but we loved it for a boy OR a girl!) I think we’re going to hold tight at a family of four, but still love to think about it….Violet…Charlie…Josephine…Ahhhh…:)

  60. I love Lucia!!!
    and Elias

  61. Maggie says...

    My daughter’s name is Arabella. I haven’t really given much though to other names, I do like Luca (boy) or Chiara (girl)!

  62. My name is Domenica means Sunday in Italian. For the most part I go by Sunday. I love my name!
    My husbands name is Worth, his mom’s maiden name is Hollingsworth. Our 2nd daughter is now named Hollings. Our 1st daughter is BellaRose. Bella because we are Italian and that is what my dad called me, Rose b/c of my grandma. A Worth and Sunday can’t just have children with any ol’ name!
    Atticus is my dogs name! Love Atticus Finch.

  63. I like names that are “traditional” but aren’t too common either, such as Madison, Lily or Amber. I have very few ideas for male names.

    I agree with the idea of thinking to the future because so many names sound cute on babies but are ridiculous on adults.

    I personally have an uncommon name which is rarely heard of outside of Scotland (though some exist in Australia)which I sometimes love and sometimes hate. I like that it’s quirky but I sometimes hate introducing myself to someone who’s first language isn’t English. x

  64. BH says...

    I’m partial to my (four-month-old) daughter’s name: Charlotte Loveday Hungerford. Loveday is a bit odd, but we fell in love with it when we first came across it. It is from the area in Cornwall where my husband’s great grandfather is from.

    Here is a little more info on it:

  65. The blind date test is surprisingly good! Great idea, and so simple! :-D I personally like my name, and I’ve even come to terms with my family name. It is very unique, making me the only person in the world with that name (first + family name together… and I even have a second name ^^). I’m glad that my first name is something short, sweet and normal though :-) My edgy family names makes up for it in corporate surroundings :-) But I think I’d have the hardest time picking baby names… I’m responsible for a name a human being has to walk the earth with all its life! *gasp*

    Relatable Style

  66. My name is Aimee Michele (not a typo, only one “l”). When I was younger I hated it and wanted to change it to Autumn. If I had been a boy my name would have been Billy Dean (after my uncle and my dad – also, can you tell my parents might have liked Michael Jackson? )

    My daughter’s name is Annabelle. We have another on the way but I am so closely guarding her name because I have not seen it anywhere and I just love it. I also like Ivy, Lila, Grace, but those were all vetoed.

    For boys I like Dean (after my dad), Brock, Owen. Doubt I’ll ever get to use those, pretty sure we are done at 2.

    My friend’s son’s name is Cove. There’s a girl in our neighbourhood named Lyric.

  67. I always loved Emily and Jane… They are such beautiful names! For boys I like James and Jack. Of course, since I’m Portuguese I can’t register my hypothetical child with any of this beautiful names…

  68. Just had so much fun reading through all these comments! We just named our baby girl Ruby Mae (Mae being my great grandmas name) and then we found out that Ruby was the number one girls name in Australia in 2010. For boys it was Jack.

    Ruby would have been a Finn if she was a boy.

  69. Loving this topic.

    Just want to add that as someone with an easily mispronounced name I advocate easily spelled names.


  70. Girl: Mariko, Jazzy.
    Boy: Jonny, Elesh.

    My choices are a bit odd but I can’t help what I like. I just don’t want to burden my future child with a name they’ll hate me for…I guess that’s what middle names are for (aside from honoring family names).

  71. I like the granny and granddad-sounding names. And I *love* the name Lila. So glad my husband did, too. Our Lila is seven years old now, and it still surprises me how unfamiliar it is to people. Leonie and Iris are other favorite girls’ names, and my boy list goes on and on…

    Hey, Alpha, you should go with it! I can think of a couple famous fair Lilas… Diane Sawyer to start =)

  72. My name is fairly uncommon and I love it. Really love it. I come from a line of women with unusual names and I really do favor that over the traditional ones. Calling someone by there last name almost seems more personal these days with the amount of people you are likely to know with the same first name as them. Which Sarah? Which David?

    I vote unique names, all the way.

  73. I like my own name, Liv, it means life. The only bad thing is that it’s hard for people to pronounce.

  74. Sally Leigh Cage says...

    Oh and P.S. my girlfriend’s baby girl is named Nina Josephine which I think is just a divine name and suits her to a tee!

  75. Hey Kristina L …

    You said, “I like the name Alyse (pronounced Uh-leese) for a girl, but don’t know how to spell it so people wouldn’t think it was Alice.”

    My girlfriend’s name is pronounced “Uh-Leese” and it is spelt Elise … a beautiful name for a beautiful girl :)

    Back to the post topic, my first & middle names are Sally Leigh (Leigh is my aunty & godmother’s name) and while I love my name now, I hated it as a child, purely because there was a snobby, mean girl at my school with the name Sally! It’s not an unusual name but I still don’t hear it that often. I love it now because I feel that it really does suit me perfectly.

    I think about baby names ALL the time so this is such a fun post!!

    Here are the names I love…

    For girls:
    Sabine (pronounced “Sab-eena”)
    Anja (pronounced “Anya”)
    Nadine (my mum’s name)

    For boys:
    Ross (my dad’s name)
    Sebastian (but this is my nephew’s name)
    Dorian (also my nephew’s name)

    Happy baby naming (or baby name dreaming!) :)

    xo Sal
    P.S. Jo, I LOVE your blog! Thank you for sharing :)

  76. i love rafaela for a girl and julian for a boy! i think about baby names all the time. now that my husband and i are living abroad, i think about how names will sound when my kid is traveling to new countries. my husband’s name is tyler, and a lot of people here have a hard time saying it! so that’s one thing i’ll consider. plus my parents are nicaraguan and my mom has an accent, so i’d want to choose something that’d be easy for her to say!

  77. Anonymous says...

    I’m a Samantha. I didn’t like it so much when I was younger, so everyone called me Sam which I still love. Every now and then, someone calls me Samantha and it always sounds so unexpected. It’s a nice surprise.
    Being Scottish, I like Cameron, Fraser and Gregor for boys, but girls’ names are so much harder.
    Toby really suits your beautiful baby.

  78. Anonymous says...

    I love Archie George for a boy and Lola Joy for a girl. I’m also big on siblings names going well together (very important). We have friends that have 4 children whose names just don’t match
    I think Archie and Lola are cute together.

  79. I have been thinking about Baby names like, since forever! But i always have the misfortune of friends giving birth ahead of me and ‘snatching’ my favourite names.. mostly unintentional but coincidentally. :-(

    I love the name Eli for a boy, but it sounds like ‘dependent’ in Mandarin…

  80. I named my baby girl Imogen Grace (a shakespearean playand a princess ha ha) and if my next was to be a girl she was going to be Lilah Rose (after a lord Byron poem) i guess i go for the historic romantic type names. My next was a boy though so it was my husbands turn to choose, he chose Samuel James (strong i think also old fashined).

  81. I wanted Luella, which is a family name, and we would call her Lulu. But then my husband said, “What if she wants to be a scientist or president? It’s kind of hard to take a Lulu seriously.” I thought he might have a point. I liked Zoe and Chloe but they seemed too popular/trendy. I liked Inez and Helen (both family names) but it was hard to imagine calling a little baby Inez (too old). We ended up with Audrey Eleanor. Audrey is sort of a combo of my original name (Andrea Avery) and Eleanor is another family name. She is such an Audrey too.

    I will confess, it bugs me to no end when people name their pets people names. We eliminated several choices because we knew a cat or dog with the name (Stella, Alice).

    I also wonder when/if some of the names from the 1930s-1960s that are no longer in vogue will ever make a comeback…Barbara, Debbie, Nancy, Joan, Bonnie, Sharon, etc.

  82. It’s so neat to read everyone’s preferences.. so varied!
    *Jane (I LOVE this name… so simple but with such an impact. The two Jane’s I know are a bit older and are both EXTREMELY artistic and witty.)
    * Sarafina (after my mama who passed away when I was a little girl)

    * James (after my Papa who is such a kind and loving man)

    * My friends named their little boy Emmett Arlo which I just adore… very circa 1896!

    This was fun!

  83. Joanna, I came back to read the comments tonight–to add to my future-baby-names list.–and I saw your own mama’s sweet comment. This got me thinking that I’d love to read your thoughts on how motherhood has changed your relationship with your parents. I know it has certainly changed mine–in good ways :).

  84. we named our son Elliot Ray Holloway. it has a beautiful ring. toby is just precious as well, i htink you did good :)

  85. I hated that I could never find my name on pencils or keychains when I was younger (I had to settle for Justin) but I rarely run into a “Justine” and I’ve loved my name for years. Some of my favourites..


    Amy Elizabeth
    Charlotte Jane
    Abrielle (Abrie for short.. “A” as in apple)


    Theodore (Theo or Teddy for short)
    Tobias (Toby for short!)

    Some other great names:


    It’s not like I keep a list or anything… ;)

  86. Our little girl’s name is Julip! We’ve never met another! :)

  87. My given name is Danielle Ashley, but I have always always gone by Dani. And I have always loved Dani. I think Danielle is a nice name, but its doesn’t feel like its my name. I never liked my middle name, I thought it was to popular, and alot of the Ashley’s I knew I didnt really care for.
    But then I grew up and had a daughter and we named her Tatum Ashley. My husband picked the middle and I picked her first name. Found it on a baby website and just fell in love. I had never heard it before.

    I think boy names are alot easier then girl names.

    Future boys of mine:
    Maks- Maksim (I also love Max but like that Maks is a bit different)
    Henry- Hank- Harry- husband would never let me call him Harry :(

  88. Wow………this is your 400th comment or thereabouts!!

    I have three kids: Sophie, Hannah and Elliot and seems we have similar taste!!

    Love my kids names and often get comments (esp for Elliot as it’s a little more uncommon).

  89. The hubs and I are going to start trying for #1 in a couple months! I can’t stop thinking about girl names, which prob means we’ll have a boy :) I love Allie, Reese, and Kenley for a girl!

  90. Anonymous says...

    I find I have a harder time thinking of likable boy names then girls. I guess I’m more drawn to all the old, romantic-sounding girl names, like Josephine, Eliza, and Tess/Tessa. I think all of those would go really well with Pearl as a middle name (which works well since each of us had a grandmother with Pearl as a first or middle name). Boys names of interest are Ben, Elliot/Emmett, and Ethan.

  91. I like names that are slightly traditional, but not very common. I love the names Nora, Ainslie, and Margot for a girl. And I love Holden (a book baby name!), and Kieran for a boy :)

  92. i love my name, it’s uniqueness is always a good conversation starter! my favorite names are the ones i named my children… noah, hayden and eliza. if eliza had been a boy she would have been samuel.
    now i’m so taken with the name elodie!!!…wouldn’t elliott and elodie be darling for twins?!

  93. Carrie says...

    I have always, always loved the name Posy for a girl. It comes from my favorite book – Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. Everyone though, including my mom, sisters, fiance, grandmother…they all hate it!

    And I love Charles, Charlie, for a boy, even though it’s becoming popular.

  94. For girls, I loved Bella until Twilight ruined it. Still love Stella, Harriet, and Aoife (Irish Eva – family name, though I wouldn’t saddle a kid with that spelling in the US).

    I also love the idea of “boy” nicknames for very girly names, like Henry for Henrietta and Charlie for Charlotte, but I feel like those are pretty personality-specific and could end up being a bad fit.

    For boys, Jack, Owen, Henry, and Will.

  95. I think boy names are harder! I already have a girl name picked, but my lips are sealed. I do want to give my little boy the middle name Tate, that was my grandmothers maiden name. But i have no clue of a boys first name.. I do like non traditional names, but nothing that will hinder their future, dating or working.

  96. Anonymous says...

    taking the hint from a long line of family names, for a boy i like the name “harold thomas” or “wade alexander” and for a girl “virginia lea”

  97. Have you seen the Alan Berliner doc called The Sweetest Sound? In it he explores how his name affected his personality. At one point gets all the Alan Berliners in the world into one room, in another he interviews people on the street about their impressions when hearing the name “Alan.” He is one of my fav filmmakers and it’s a fascinating movie.

  98. My last name is Joslin and I’d love to name my daughter that when/ if I have one!

  99. I love my name and get complimented on it weekly. No joke.

    Boy: Cosmo

    Girl: Nova

    Maybe I’m a hippie.

  100. I always loved the biblical name SELAH (pronounced “say – la”), a musical term in Psalms meaning to pause/reflect because something holy and profound has been said.

    I also love family names and using surnames… like HARPER, DAVIS, DOUGLAS, MARCIN, etc

    My middle name is BLYTHE, a maiden name from my Grandparents. Since they passed away, I love it even more and write out my full name every chance I get.

    Finally, I love names from famous people you admire (in literature or otherwise), like DESMOND (for Mr Tutu) or ELLIS (for the pseudonym, Ellis Bell, used by Emily Bronte)

    I recently had a dream I just delivered and my husband and I decided to name the boy after Jay-Z and went with CARTER (as in Sean Carter). In this dream my mom was incredulous and said “I don’t like it! What will his nickname be?” and at the same time I said “jigga” and he said “hova” – which means I should maybe leave my subconscious out of the naming process!

  101. We named our son Jude Shannon. The meaning of a name is as important to us as liking the sound. Other options were:

    And if a girl, my choices:

  102. I definitely didn’t like my name growing up. I was the eldest and my siblings were given more common names. I always wanted to change my name to Linda or Kate and I admired girls with cool sounding names like Nadine. Now, at 35 years of age I wouldn’t change my name for anything although whenever a changeroom attendant asks my name I reply “Donna” because it’s just easier!

  103. I definitely didn’t like my name growing up. I was the eldest and my siblings were given more common names. I always wanted to change my name to Linda or Kate and I admired girls with cool sounding names like Nadine. Now, at 35 years of age I wouldn’t change my name for anything although whenever a changeroom attendant asks my name I reply “Donna” because it’s just easier!

  104. I’ve named our girls Madeline, Elizabeth and Genevieve. never in a million years thought I would like those names (moreover my husband!) I love Oscar for a boy. Again, never ever ever thought I would. I guess I tend toward old fashioned and traditional. I like my name, not so much my husband’s (okay not at all.)

    Elizabeth was after my aunt that I got along swimmingly with, who passed. Other than that, middle names will be it in terms of relatives.

  105. I love my name because of how my parents decided upon it. My mom’s name was Kendra Kay and my dad’s name is George Lee. They combined their middle names to get Kaylee. In the 80’s it wasn’t as common of a name is it is now. And there are about 25 different ways to spell it! As for baby names even though I’m far from having a baby I really like the name Tate for a boy and Emerson for a girl!

  106. Anonymous says...

    I’ve been dreaming of the day when I become a mom.


    Roman or Milo

  107. My name is Sarah Alexandra, and I was always in classrooms with four other Sarah’s. One year, our teacher even numbered us! I was “3”. Not “Sarah 3”, just “3”. Brutal!
    So I’ve always said I’d never give my children common names. Especially because my boyfriend’s last name is Thomas.
    For girls, I love: Vesper, Everly, Georgina, Brooklyn and Francis.
    For boys: Jude, Jameson (my boyfriend’s choice). His name is Edward (Ted) and he’s the fourth man in his family to be Edward. I hate the name. I’m hoping to make it a middle name!

  108. My son’s middle name is Atticus so I’ll have to check out that book! :)

    We liked Esther and Eloise for a girl.

    If we end up with another boy (Aidan is our first) we’ll have to re-group and do some research!

  109. Anonymous says...

    Looks like grandma and grandpa names are still popular.Can’t wait until someone gets really wild and picks Susie, Julie or Lori for a girl and Mike, Jeff or Chris for a boy!

  110. i like both traditional + nonconventional names, although i lean towards the sentimental side.

    we have an ongoing fam tradition to give our kids hawaiian middle names (where my mom’s from), but when my daughter was born i gave her my sister’s middle name: elena. then my sister named her daughter after my hawaiian middle name: malia. my son, forrest, is named after my hub’s great uncle, but we call him fordy- and he’s the only fordy we know:)

    but if i have two more bean sprouts (a boy + girl), i’m smitten with the names kai for a boy + imogene and gemma for girls.

  111. As an Annabelle Bernadette I was surprised to see both of these names appear on people’s lists! Neither were in the top 1000 most common girls names the year I was born (Griselda was!)

    Women, I’m telling you. I love having an unusual name. While I may not have enjoyed it as a kid (and went by Anna) I will live the next 70 years loving my name. Go for unusual :)

    In that vein:

    Guinevere, Fern, Ariadne, Galadrielle, Wren
    Orpheus, Merrick, Forrest

  112. Phoebe says...

    My favorite names for girls are:


  113. We decided on names a few years ago, even though we’re not prego and don’t have any kids. For a girl, we will pick Mayadelle Bryn(my grandmother’s name and part of my husband’s name, Bryan) and call her MayB. For a boy, we like Atticus James (so obviously I love the idea of that book A is for Atticus).

  114. i found boy names harder. my list of beloved girl names was endless (beatrix, margaux, edith, wren, it goes on and on). i ended up with a felix and a milo, though. i wanted names that were fairly uncommon but still familiar. i feel like i succeeded in that.

  115. My husband and I found it hard to decide on a name for our first born son this March.
    I liked Noah and Jack, his brother has a son Noah and his friend a dog named Jack.
    He liked Kaden and Tristan, but these names have become very popular lately.
    We finally agreed on Jasper Gregory, Gregory is my maiden surname and being an only child I wanted to carry the name on.
    It sounds like a name from olden times but still is modern and reasonably unique. *it suits him, he’s like an old spirit himself*

    Our daughter – when we have one will be Lillian-James. I love James as a girls name and Lillies are my fave flowers itjust rings nicely =)

  116. Our baby boy is named Nicholas because he was born around Christmas. But we actually call him “Cole” because we didn’t like the nickname “Nick.”
    I LOVE his name because it’s not too too common but not whacky either ;)

    Sand’l Days

  117. Names are one of my fascinations. I have dozens of lists of hundreds of names. I like seeing large families or lists of potential names, to recognize the uniform of theme in the parents’ tastes.

    I like names that have a certain flavor, though I have yet to find words that describe it. A combination of unusual with old classics. Some of my present favorites are Land, Miles, Shipley, Larner, and Lochlan for boys; Katherine, Beatrice, Kilmeny, Nairn, and Faramond.

    I love my own name, Elizabeth. It’s exactly myself.
    I woke up this morning thinking what a nice name Dexter is. :)

  118. Anonymous says...

    My baby name test is to pretend to be a harried mom calling her child to come inside for dinner. As you can imagine it would be awfully awkward sounding to be saying, “Atticus, honey, get your butt in here lickety split!”

  119. I always love it when my friends are expecting and we get to talk names. It’s fun and interesting to see what people choose. My husband and I always knew our names for boys–William called Will and Benjamin called Ben. That’s the name of our sons. Claire was our girl name (since we are finished having children it’s been retired). I think girl names are hard, too. I found the Baby Name Wizard to be a really helpful book. I agree, the Baby Name Voyager is addictive!

  120. Anonymous says...

    I know my favourite names, but I’m trying to keep them to myself so its a suprise when I can finally introduce my babies…for girls, I like Amelia, Emilee and Poppy; and for boys I like Hamish, Marc, and Charlie. I would like middle names to be my siblings and siblings-in-law’s first names. Which would be Jessica, Richard, Luke and Edie. I’m okay with those :) I love baby names!

  121. Hey, your blog actually helped name my daughter almost a year ago. We had settled on Georgia and could not for the life of us find a suitable middle. We ended up finding Elodie off your blog and I’d never heard it before, fell instantly in love…this Georgia Elodie is sleeping in the next room. Thanks for that ; )

  122. Elly says...

    We named our daughter Mabel, which had been on our list in the early days of my pregnancy, but was then forgotten until we were driving to the hospital. 15 months on I’m so glad that’s what we named her, it suits her perfectly and we’re yet to meet another Mabel!

  123. Anonymous says...

    Fun fact: the name Jo is Scottish for sweetheart! As a fellow Joanna, I just love that.

  124. Funny that you found girl names hard…for us that was easy. A boys name took us forever to come up with. I googled birth announcements for inspiration and that’s how I came up with my sons name, Oliver! Our girl name was and still is for the future, Sofia Rose!

  125. A is For Atticus is my favorite name book! It’s where I first saw my son’s name, Miller. It was the first name we both agreed on. Besides being a name that we loved, it’s also my great-grandmother’s maiden name. The name Miller is perfect for us and we never would have thought of it without this book! Our Miller is pretty perfect too :)

  126. Anonymous says...

    I have two boys. The first one has an unusual name for a middle name and we use it as a nickname.

    When naming our second son, I wanted an Irish name. But we were tired of all the Aidens and Connors. In fact, boys names seemed to have gone off the rails to me. We decided on John (a family name). We planned to call him Jack, but I love the beautiful simplicity of it. (We do call him Johnny). It’s so strong and plain. Ironically, there are so few Johns anymore that it IS an unusual name. I have yet to meet another John his age.He gets a lot of positive attention for his “throwback” name. Especially from friend’s grandparents.

  127. I think boys names are easier than girls. I had a boy Alexander, which both hubby and I liked luckily; but trying to pick a girl’s name was really difficult! I like old names (Athena, Artemis, Christa/ Raphael, Seraphin, Achilleus) or names from stories, he likes old family names (Irene, Isobel, Rose/ George, Jim, Lloyd)… yikes! How ever did we decide?? Its all a blur…

  128. Elizabeth says...

    I’d avoid family names. I was named after my paternal great aunt, Elizabeth Jeanette, and my brother was named after my dad. When my parents divorced, my dad left our family, making by brother’s name a painful reminder for my mom. My great aunt died long before I was born, so the name doesn’t have much influence on me.

  129. Elese says...

    I LOVE this! I have recently gone on a baby name kick, and kids are no where in my future yet. I trick that I learned is to yell the name a few times out the front door and see if you feel stupid…you will probably be calling the kid inside for lunch or something in the future.

    For boys I like:
    James Rhys, Nathan Edward and Jude Robert.

    For girls I like:
    Eloise Brigette, Isla Rose, Rosalie Emme, Lucy Anna and Arden Estelle. All of the names are a mix between family names and names that I just LOVE.

  130. Bookmarking!

    I am 18 weeks and we have not started talking mnames at all yet…. This will be very helpful!

  131. friends of ours just had a boy and named him Asher. I melt. Melt melt melt. And another friend is expecting a girl, Aria Vita (song of life). Isn’t that pretty?

  132. Anne says...

    Baby names are such an emotionally loaded issue. I am the mother of two boys and for my husband and I the boy names were harder to come by than the girl names. when we chose the names for our boys we chose one name that expressed where we were and what we were doing (Carson for the nat’l. forest and Taylor for the canyon we hiked up and skied down on weekends) they also got each got a family name: Patrick and Jacob. it seemed to make everyone happy and the boys don’t seem to mind them either.

  133. You’re so right that boys names are easier than girls. I don’t have a lot of girls names that I have in mind for whatever the next little one will be. In fact I’m set on Lily Beth. But for boys we have so many picked out…. Atticus, Burton, Radley, or Porter. And our son’s name is Kemper. So I guess we have a fondess of the slightly unusual.

  134. My middle name is named for my aunt since we are born on the same day. But flash forward 25 years, she and my mom no longer speak. So I think naming your child for a family member (still alive) is tricky. I also never really liked sharing a name with a living family member, especially one I haven’t seen in 10 years.

  135. Wow out of 300 comments I only read one other teacher comment about spellings of names! As a teacher of seven years, I can say the best thing on WHATEVER YOU decide–a common name or not, would be just to name your son/daughter/child a name they can SPELL and say correctly with the correct sounds in the name!
    I see it all to often with parents trying to be “Creative” by switching letters around in names. This becomes a HUGE problem with pronouncing the name when taking ROLL CALL haha aka attendance! The other thing people don’t realize is it’s grammatically incorrect to name a kid say “Leighton” (Like the actress Leighton Meester) then to say “Oh but by the way please know that it’s pronounced “LAYTON” Ok really? where in the english sounds Does LEE (The “e” sound get said as an “A”? LEE- ton pronounced as LAY? I will never comprehend why parents do this. It’s a huge headache when testing kids how to sound out sounds in first grade!

    I’ve also never understood why people keep their kids name a “secret”. There are over like 15 billion people on the earth. Duplication of names is utterly impossible. And as for friends trying to steal you name, well then they really aren’t your friend if they nab your kids name right?

    Overall, it seems family names definitely play apart in naming a child! :)

  136. Minnie says...

    There are a ton of boys’ name that I love, but when you’re a teacher and you have a troublemaker student that has that same name that you had in mind, it ruins it all. Then, whenever you hear that name, you think of the student.

    I am not near ready for a child, but I love the names Emerson, Amelie, or Penny (Penelope) for a girl. For a boy, I love Elliot or Damien (after Damien Rice).

  137. Hi, Joanna! I am in PA and just read this post. Your dad and I tried out names like Claire (for you) and Rosemary (so many family names in that one with Rose being my grandmother and Daddy’s aunt and Mary being both of our mothers’ names and my middle name). We finally decided on Joanna and Lucy. I still love both names and think they fit perfectly. We named Nick after considering Ethan and Benjamin (which I loved) and James which Daddy liked. When we were in the hospital just after Nick’s birth, Daddy was watching a Grand Prix and Nicki Lauda was racing. “Nicki!” “Nick!” “Nicholas!”…. so my three children were christened.

  138. I like Finley! Wait–that’s why I picked it!

  139. Anonymous says...

    hi joanna,

    it’s samara…this is so fun…i think i always knew i was having a boy and when we officially found out we were, we toyed with : max(an all time fav of mine) zachary, gabriel, alexander and mateo…when we saw his amazing face we knew he was alexander gabriel without question..surprisingly girl names were a lot easier it came down to one, sophia rose :)

  140. PS I forgot to mention that while I hated not being a Brittany or a Brianna or Sarah in elementary school, I love my name now and have never met anyone else who has it! There was a British WWII singer named Vera Lynn who is absolutely wonderful and I find her inspirational but I’m still happy that my name is all one word instead of two. :)


  141. The someday-father has not made his preferences for girls’ names known, but I like Frances Marie and Helena Margaret. For boys we’re in agreement that Emil, Stanley, and Theodore are all contenders.

  142. Anonymous says...

    Atticus Finch!!!!!!!!!!! I love Gregory Peck and the movie (and book) “To Kill a Mockingbird.” If I had it to do over I might name my son Atticus. I also love the name Sophie. remember that book with fold out letters?

  143. I hate my name, Amanda. HATE IT. It was always so popular growing up.

    I once wrote a post about being a creative writer major. I have two lists, one with names for my future children and one for characters. If my futures husband nixes any names they can become names of characters, although I may be heartbroken.


  144. Anonymous says...

    Yesterday my husband and I were crying over our inability to make a baby. We haven’t been talking to each other about it and it has created a little wedge between us where we both don’t know what the other is thinking and we are both feeling like failures.

    Before we sorted this all out, his big point to me was “Well you had your babies named before I even came along!”

    It’s true (embarrassingly). But the funny thing is the names became even more relevant because of who he is.

  145. My five month old son is named Marlowe after Phillip Marlowe, the protagonist of Raymond Chandler’s noirs. My husband and I were reading The Big Sleep when we found out I was expecting. His middle name is Charles after our beloved dog, Charlie. So there you have it…Marlowe Charles. Thanks for the post! I have really enjoyed reading the comments.

  146. As a true southerner, I love double names. For boys I fancy Mark Hampton and John Mark. For girls I like Anna Louise, Flora Kate, and Emmy Jo.

  147. If we have a daughter her name will be Kathryn Ann for my mom and his respectively. For boys we like Irish names Liam, Patrick, Conner.