I’ve enjoyed reading examples of your expertise, and I hope you’ll be able to bestow some on us as well.
We are expecting a baby girl in January… a long pined for baby sister after two older brothers. For as long as we have desired this girl, you would think we would have a name ready to use! But the opposite has proven to be true…finding the “perfect” name has been difficult due to the pressure.
Our two boys both have family maiden names as their first name and family first names as their middle names: Crosby Stephen and Miller James.
My original desire was for our girl name to assuredly sound feminine while also honoring a family member(s). Our original top two contenders were Lula or Evelyn, but do to unsolicited negative feedback from both of our parents, we’ve fallen out of love with those.
Lately, we are liking Lanier. Although not officially a family name, it seems that it could “count” as a spin-off of Lane which is a family name. (Or is this too far of a stretch?). One concern, however, is whether or not it sounds feminine enough. What are your thoughts? I do like that “Lanier” matches our boys in terms of having surnames as first names.
Additionally, I love the name Phoebe as a middle name (after my mom), but my husband does not love the idea of having of using a family name that is THAT close to us (relationally and generationally).
Do you think Lanier Phoebe Thorson is too much of a mouthful? Or could we go the Phoebe Lanier Thorson route and still call her Lanier?
Or do you have any other suggestions to add to the pot??
Thanks so much,
I was not sure how to pronounce the name Lanier, so I looked it up: luh-NEER. It sounds slightly more feminine than masculine to me, and the spelling looks slightly more feminine than masculine to me, but not enough to make me confident. In the U.S. in 2015, there were 9 new baby girls and 5 new baby boys named Lanier.
People are going to be all over the spectrum on this, but for me, if Crosby and Miller are the actual family surnames, I would not feel satisfied with Lanier-which-is-similar-to-Lane for the third child. I would, however, strongly consider the name Lane. The nickname Laney gives you a prettier and more girlish option for everyday use. Lane Evelyn would be pretty, and give you Laney-Lyn as well. I’ve found, too, that I call Elizabeth by a lot of middle names that aren’t hers: for example, Elizabeth Louise, Elizabeth Sue, Elizabeth Marie, Elizabeth Josephine. I can picture you calling her Laney-Lou and getting a little of that Lula sound you liked.
Another option is to use Evelyn Lane and wait for the grandparents to come around. I’m sorry they ruined the name for you. I wish people would not do that, when generational differences in naming styles are so standard: your parents presumably didn’t want to use THEIR parents’ naming style either. I am already practicing keeping my mouth shut about my grandchildren’s names, and trusting that I will come around. (And that even if I never do come around, the name is STILL not my decision.)
I like Phoebe, and it seems very pleasing to honor your mother. Are your first two children’s family names much more distant? Was your husband’s mother’s/father’s/brother’s/sister’s name ruled out at some point, so that he feels it wouldn’t be fair to use a closer name from your side?
I don’t think Lanier Phoebe Thorson is too much of a mouthful, or that you would very often say the whole name aloud like that. I like Lane Phoebe Thorson even better. I see no advantages and several disadvantages to switching to Phoebe Lanier Thorson and calling her Lanier.
For more options, I’d point you back to the family tree. Since both boys have all family names, I would place a high priority on doing the same for this baby. Normally I prefer names of relatives who are known by and special to the parents—but if your husband prefers some distance, that works in your favor by giving you more generations to look through.