Baby Boy or Girl Davis, Sibling to Abigail (Abbie) and William (Park)

Cassie writes:

Hello. My name is Cassie. I’m pregnant with my 3rd child. My husband, Will, and I have Abigail Kelley Davis, 11 and William Parker Davis, Jr. ‘Park’, who is 9. Baby 3 was a surprise.
Both of our other children have full family names. My daughter was named after a great aunt and my grandmothers maiden name, both on my fathers side. Obviously my son is a Jr and my husband was named after his grandfather on his moms side. So now here we are trying to come up with names. Family names. With families with a lot of input. And my mother really wants us to use a name from her side, since we have not. We are not finding out what we are having so we will need to have both names prepared. What I need help with is the girls name. If a boy, we will incorporate the name Harrison, although probably not call him that. That was my maternal grandmothers maiden name. Other boy names we are toying with are Holmes, Bateman (Bates), and Lawson, all from my husbands fathers side and Bonner from my husbands mothers side.
But the girl names in my family are horrendous for the most part. Of course we have plenty of ancestors named Mary, Elizabeth, Susanna, Sarah and the like. But I don’t want something so common. When we named Abigail, we didn’t know anyone named that. Now there are so many ‘Abbie’s’. Of course we could go with my grandmothers names, Thera or Jimmie Lee, but I think not! So for a list of somewhat decent eligible female names, here goes:
Reese (middle name- husbands great grandfather)
Hallie (husbands great aunt)
McConnell ‘Connell’- ( husbands grandmothers maiden name)
Margaret (husbands great great aunt)- could shorten to Maggie, which is my maternal grandmothers sisters name.
Anna Walden (my great great grandmother – on my moms side)
Estella (my maternal great grandmother)- husband hates this.
Mary Lizzie- my maternal grandmothers sister.
Everything I come up with either my husband or my mother hates!
My mom loves AnnaKay – her great grandmother Anna with her middle name Kay. He loves Holmes for a boy, she hates it. I know its our child, but as an only child, I would like to use something from her family. Could Harrison be used in a girls name? Please please help me!
So frustrated!

 

It is outrageous for anyone to insist on being honored by a baby’s name. And in this case, your mother is confused: the two sides of the baby’s family are Yours and Your Husband’s, not Hers and Her Husband’s. One child has been named for Your Side, and one child has been named for Your Husband’s Side; you have covered your family bases.

I agree that it is nice if it works out as fairly as possible. That is, it WOULD be nice to find a name from your husband’s father’s side and/or from your mother’s side, if you’d like to use another honor name. But I find my heart hardens against choosing any name that would result in the honored party feeling it’s only what’s owed to her, rather than reeling back from sentimental shock and surprise.

Speaking of reeling back, the part about which names your mother loves or hates is making me breathe fast. It sounds exactly as if there are three people making this decision: you, your husband, and your mother. I will pause while you write the rest of this paragraph yourself. …No, I want to write it. This is a decision that you and your husband are making. It is very kind and considerate of you both to take your mother’s preferences into account, but right now it sounds as if she’s an equal partner. I think the time has come for something like, “Thanks for all your input, mom; you’ve given Will and me a lot to think about! At this point we’re going to keep the final choice a secret until the baby is here!”

Here’s how I was going to wrap up that paragraph: “And then, frankly, I think I wouldn’t end up using a name from your mother’s family, because it sounds like it’s not going to work out: not only does she want the names to be from her family, she ALSO wants those names to be the ones she likes.” But then I got to this from your letter: “I know its our child, but as an only child, I would like to use something from her family.” All right, fine: if it’s what you want, we can work with that. But remember I’m on your side if you decide it’s impossible. And I definitely don’t think you need to do both the first and middle names from your mom’s family.

The strategy I suggest is this: First use the thanks-now-back-off quote above, or whatever version of it is the way you’d actually talk to your mom (including the “no words, just action” version where you stop talking about names with her but without remarking on it). Second, choose the name YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND like best from your mom’s family, without taking her preferences into consideration, unless they involve negative feelings about the family members themselves. Then use that name as either the first or middle name, wherever it works better.

Another strategy is to lay it out before her. “Here’s the problem, Mom. We’d really like to use a name from your side of the family. But you hate the only names we’re willing to use. This means the choices are: (1) Use a name from your side of the family, but a name you don’t like; or (2) Not use a name from your side of the family.” It does sound as if she needs it clarified for her that there is no (3) Use a name from your side of the family that you love and we hate.

If you want to cover your husband’s father’s side and your mother’s side all at once, that might make it easier too: you could use the name from your mother’s side as the middle name. Kay seems perfect to me: it’s a great middle name anyway.

Hallie Kay Davis; Abbie, Park, and Hallie
Margaret Kay Davis; Abbie, Park, and Maggie

Thera would also make a perfectly nice middle name.

You asked if Harrison could be used in a girl’s name, and I think it could certainly go in the middle, especially since Abigail’s middle name is also a family surname. Margaret Harrison Davis, Hallie Harrison Davis—sure.

I notice you’ve got Susanna in your “way too common” list, but that one’s pretty unusual for today’s babies: it’s just barely in the Top 1000. Mary, too, is downright distinctive: there was a Mary in my son’s kindergarten class and it was actually startling. It can feel common because it used to be common—and the Social Security rankings are confusing for this name in particular, because of how often it’s given as a first name for religious reasons but then not used in daily life.

I’d lean heavily toward using Susanna. It’s lovely and distinctive and unusual, while sounding familiar enough that it isn’t a problem with Abigail. Then I’d use a middle name from your husband’s father’s side: Reese or Margaret or Hallie or McConnell or whatever you like best.

Actually, I think I’d lean even more heavily toward using Mary. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised by how unusual people would find it, and the traditional nickname Molly would be so sweet with Abbie. Mary McConnell Davis, nickname Molly. I love that so much, I almost feel queasy.

For a boy, I think Harrison is great: Abbie, Park, and Harris. It’s too bad Lawson and Harrison both end in -son, because it you’d rather not call him Harrison, I think Lawson is a great first name. But I think in this case I’d be inclined to shrug and say “We’re not going to call him by first and middle anyway,” and use Lawson Harrison Davis, since as soon as the birth announcements have gone out he’ll just be Lawson Davis.

I would avoid Bateman/Bates. Partly it’s because Bateman makes me think immediately of Batman. But also, I had a male co-worker with the surname Bates, and “Master Bates” came up…a lot. Perhaps it would not be so bad as a first name—or perhaps it would be worse. Maybe it would work as a middle name: Harrison Bateman Davis is nice.

I think I might consider Holmes as a middle name, too, because the thought of all those Sherlock and homeboy/homes jokes and references make me feel weary to even think about. Harrison Holmes is pretty adorable.

39 thoughts on “Baby Boy or Girl Davis, Sibling to Abigail (Abbie) and William (Park)

  1. TheFirstA

    As usual, I think Swistle’s advice is spot on. It’s your (and your husband’s) baby to name, not your mothers. She needs to back off and let you make the decision. She already named her baby, now you get to name yours.

    I really like the idea of Margaret for you. It is a lovely name (my top pick had youngest son been a girl). And it’s a twofer, taking care of both sides of the family at once. I also think Maggie & Abbie are adorable together.

    Harrison could work as a girl’s name I think. Is using Harriet as a girlified version an option for you? Some families are good with slight alternations for namesakes, while others are not. Even if you go with Harrison, the traditional nicknames for Harriet would all still be in play-Hattie & Abbie are pretty sweet as sister names.

    Is Thera said with the “th” or does it sound like Tara? behindthename.com says it is a short form of the dutch Theresia. If your family is up for slight alterations, maybe something like Theresa with the nickname Thera or Tessa could work. Or, you could just use Tess/Tessa as the given name, since Thera is also a “short form.”

    Instead of Anna, I actually quite like Walden. I don’t think it would work for a girl as a first name, but it would make a nice middle.

    In addition to the Holmes problems Swistle mentioned, the name also made me think of John Holmes, the adult film actor. Perhaps it is an age think, but I just can’t get past all the crude jokes I heard in high school about him.

    Bateman does make me think of Batman, though I suspect most young boys would be OK with that. It also makes me think of actor Jason Bateman, which seems pretty neutral. However, “Bates” makes me think of The Bates Motel. I believe there is currently a TV show about Norman Bates pre-psycho, so this association could be something the younger crowd is aware of. I’d honestly pass on it for that reason and not because of Batman.

    My last thought is about the name Kay. Kay is often used as a nickname for names starting with the letter K. You could just pick a K name you like, and use Kay as the nickname. I think that would really open up a lot of possibilities for you.

    Reply
  2. newmom

    I go by my middle name and let me tell you going by your middle name is annoying and confusing at all and every stage of of life. So you mentioned using Harrison but not calling a son that…. please use it as a middle name! I don’t go by my middle name by choice, it was my parents choice when I was a baby.

    Kay is a great middle name, I would use that for a girl and pair with whatever first name you and your hubby like regardless of if its a family name. Laura Kay is pretty.

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  3. Anonymous

    I really like the sound of Margaret Kay or Margaret Reese…I think Maggie fits perfectly with your other children. As far as boys go, I think Harrison is a great first name and think it pairs nicely with Bates/Bateman as a middle name, as Swistle suggested.

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  4. Kaela

    Bateman right away makes me think of Patrick Bateman, the serial killer from American Psycho. He’s referred to as Bateman throughout the book/movie. Bad association. Bates makes me think of the Bates Motel from Psycho and the unfortunate “Master…” joke Swistle mentioned. Before anything else, my advise would be to nix Bateman/Bates from the list as having too many unpleasant associations.

    I agree with Swistle wholeheartedly– neither Susanna nor Mary are at all common right now. It would be stunning if either name even appeared on another student in your child’s school. Unless you live in certain parts of the Deep South where it seems Mary still has some staying power– if I remember correctly, the only state in the whole country where it ranked in the top 100 last year on the SSA baby name lists was Mississippi. Even there, it was barely hanging on the 90s. Susanna/Susannah don’t rank at all. And it is such a beautiful name! Cute nicknames too– Susie, Zuzu, Sanna, Annie, Anna. Excellent choice.

    I would go with anything Swistle suggested, or maybe Mary Walden Davis, or Susannah Walden Davis.

    I was sad to notice in your letter that you didn’t mention even one name that you yourself just…liked. As a name. Is there anything? What is your personal style? Maybe thinking about names you just like as names (no family obligation or burdens involved) will help you pick one you love, whether family-related or not.

    And please, please update us! When are you due?

    Reply
    1. Kaela

      I mean that in the sense that you should give yourself permission to just think about the baby’s name in terms of ones you like and not in terms of family obligation. Baby naming should be more fun than stressful, and right now it sounds like you are dealing with tons of family-induced stress and little fun.

      Reply
  5. Rachel

    Swistle for President! I couldn’t agree with her more, both on how to handle the decision making and with her name suggestions. Brilliant advice, and you have great choices for your lucky little surprise!

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    1. Elizabeth

      Yes – Swistle for President!

      Such sound advice – as always.

      Would love to hear from the original poster….what are your thoughts after reading Swistle’s reply?

      Reply
  6. LyLy

    I totally get this because I would want to avoid conflict. If you feel strongly against all names I would do what your heart says is best for you and your family.

    If you feel in your heart you want to use an honor name, I think I would go for something on your moms side and your husbands mom side. For either a girl or a boy.

    I really love the name Kay as a first name. It is unusual and pretty all in one letter.

    Kay Lawson Davis (Love) Abbie, Park, and Kay

    For a Boy I would do the same thing.

    I love Swistle’s Harrison Holmes Davis — Abbie, Park, and Harrison

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  7. Laura

    Oh I just love Susanna! I don’t think it’s common at all, just familiar from when it used to be much more common. Mary is also sweet and uncommon, but to me it just sounds so much more plain and I can understand if you don’t want to use it. My top votes are Susanna or Margaret nn Maggie. Abbie, Park and either Susie or Maggie… what a great combination. My favourite middles with either Susanna or Margaret are Reese or Walden.

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  8. Rita

    I think you already have a very defined style: A classic first name paired with a family surname middle. Very Presidential!

    My vote goes to:
    girl: Mary (Molly), Margaret (Maggie), Estella, Katherine (Kay), Theodora (for Thera)
    boy: Harrison, Reese, Holmes, Lawson, McConnell — though a traditional name like Abigail and William would be lovely, too. Have you considered Henry, Harry, Lawrence, Theodore (for Thera) or James (for Jimmie)??.
    middle: any family surname

    An idea: Harriet, nickname Hallie (to honour Harrison). In theory you could use Harrison “Hallie” as a first name but I don’t think it works with a sister named somethying hyperfeminine like Abigail.

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  9. Kanah

    I have to say that I was friends with a teacher who had a little girl student named Harris, and it was adorable. If there is a name you just love, I wouldn’t see anything wrong with using that name as the first and then your favorite family name from either side for the middle. Good luck!

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  10. EP

    Swistle’s response is excellent. I am irritated that your mother is voicing her opinion so strongly. It sounds like somewhere along the line she got the idea that she not only gets to request a family name from her side but that she gets to pick that name as well? Like another commenter pointed out, you talk about what your husband thinks, and what your mother thinks, but you don’t say which names are your favorites.
    I don’t care for AnnaKay. I’m with many of the other commenters that Susanna and Margaret are excellent, and somewhat uncommon, choices. I think that both Susanna Kay and Margaret Kay are lovely.
    Regarding the name Bonner, I think that I know how it is supposed to be pronounced, but upon my first read, I did not pronounce it that way. I read it as if that extra N was not there. I suspect this would happen frequently, and because of that I would not want this name for myself.
    Please think carefully about Swistle’s advice to lessen your mother’s involvement from here on out! It’s great that you want to include a name from her family, but this is ultimately a choice for you and your husband, not all three of you!

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  11. phancymama

    I think Swistle’s advice is amazing, and urge you to read and reread it. Especially the part about your mom getting an opinion. I do sympathize though. We just named our second daughter and having used name from my mom’s family for the first, I felt like we should do it for the second from my dad’s (thankfully husband didn’t want to use a family name of his for first or middle, but then I felt guilty on behalf of the in-laws) and on and on and on. So, basically I’m trying to say I kinda know how you feel. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is that people will be disappointed in life, and it is not your job to manage their feelings.
    I too felt like your wants and likes were conspicuously absent from this letter.
    Do you want this baby to have a family name because the siblings do? Do you want this baby to carry a name from your mom’s side of the family? WHich names do you like? Are any of the people mentioned people you want to honor with a namesake? Or are you reaching for a name just to have one from your mom’s side? If you settle, will you regret it?
    Plus, if you just stop discussing names with your mom and getting her opinion on them, you can focus on your and your husband’s opinion and possibly convince him to like some of your top choices.
    I love Maggie, and Anna, and Mary, Hallie, and Sarah (Sadie!). Thera is a great middle option too. Harrison is wonderful for a boy, either first or middle. James for Jimmie?

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  12. phancymama

    Also, are your older kiddos involved in the name choosing? To me, that is a fun thing to do, to get the older kids’ opinions on their younger sibling.

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    1. Susie

      I was thinking the same thing. It would be special to have the older kids come up with a first name and use a family name that you loved as a middle name.

      Reply
  13. Reagan

    Harrison, Walden, Reese, and Hallie are all great middle name options. Kay Ali wor

    For a girls name, I would pick a first name you love and select Kay as a middle name. Honor problem solved. I am not sure what names you like other than you want something less common than Abigail and you don’t seem excited by any of the names listed. So I would consider variations of them.

    Instead of Margaret, what about Margot?
    Margot Kay is lovely.

    Instead of Anna, what about Anabel, Annette, ,or Hannah? I really like Anabel Kay.

    Instead of Estelle, what about Stella or Elle? Stella Kay works. Elle Harrison is very nice.

    I am not a fan of Mary Lizzie but what about Maribeth Kay? Marianna Kay is lovely too.

    For a boy, I like Holmes Harrison.

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  14. Manday

    Swistle is spot on! I love Susannah as well for you, its not at all common!! Even other derivations are not popular right now. Susie is adorable. Susie and Abbie. Perfect sister set!

    Susanna Reese to keep things even :)

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  15. StephLove

    If you decide to use names from your mother’s family (and of course you don’t have to for the reasons Swistle so aptly outlined), here are some combos I like:

    Anna Kay
    Margaret Kay (nn Maggie, or Maggie Kay)
    Margaret Susanna
    Mary Elizabeth
    Sarah Elizabeth
    Susanna Elizabeth

    And I might not usually consider Harriet an honor name for Harrison, but in this case I think a stretch is warranted.

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  16. Maryanne

    Amen to Swistle’s very tactful suggestions on handling your mom. Yes, yes, yes.
    I loved her suggestion of Mary McConnell nn Molly but that’s because I have a Molly. Double love on the Susanna. Nn Sukie? I think it is a great sister sibset.

    Also, I second phancynancy’s suggestion to let your children and husband decide on the name. Your kids are a little older and this could be a very special way to welcome their new sibling. My sister is 7 years younger than me and my parents let me pick her middle name.

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  17. Kelsey D

    What if we really switched things up and used Walden as your boys first name? You could have several variations… Walden Bates or Walden Holmes are very distinguished looking, all very uncommon names and combinations? I personally LOVE using Walden as the first name. I agree with placing Bates or Holmes as the middle names.

    Someone else had a great idea of using Harriet as a on-off of Harrison for a little girl, nn Hattie. Abby and Hattie. SOO CUTE. LOVE IT. You could also get the nn Hallie out of Harrison as well… this would kill two birds with one stone, get both sides of the family doing it this way. If you were to use Harrison as a first name for a girl, you would really need to ensure that you use a middle name that screams girl so for her future when someone looks at her official name on paper (such as school list or job application) they will know that it is a female such as Harrison Margaret or Harrison Mary, etc…. you get the point.

    I also love using Margaret nn Maggie, you could maybe stretch nn to Molly as well if you preferred Margaret to Mary. I love the shortened version Margo. You could also do Margo Kay or Margo McConnell… once again, pick or choose your middle name. If you would preferred Margaret to Margo as official name, you could use Margo as a nickname as well. I personally prefer Margaret/Margo to Mary but that is just me.

    Lastly…. DO WHAT SWISTLE SAID! You have to separate your mother from this. It is not fair to you or your husband if you choose a name for, presumably, your last child that you dislike but your mother does. So many ways you could have the conversation with your mom. My approach would be, “As you know, Will and I are struggling with choosing a name for this babe as we have so many options that we could pick from. We are finding it difficult to figure out exactly what WE LIKE as we have been getting so many opinions from everyone else around us, not just you but as from (other friends or family). Will and I have decided that we are going to take time to figure out what we like on our own. Also, we were thinking that since this is likely our last child, it would be fun to surprise everyone with the name on the day he/she is born.” Would that work???

    Good luck and keep us posted. I do think you have many potential great name options. But you and your husband have to pick what you like for yourselves. And worst case scenario… if you don’t like any of the family honour names listed above, do what we did. Pick a non-family name name for the first and give the child two middle names, one to honour each side of the family. Or choose one of the two-for-ones like Harriet or Margaret.

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  18. kim

    AnnaKay sounds like anarchy. Your mum has named one baby, now its your turn! Choose something you both love and perhaps it may get used as a family name by your great grand children :)

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  19. Gail

    Aren’t there as many girls named Maggie floating around as there are named Abbie? Given this, I’m not sure why so many commenters are so enthusiastic about adding a Maggie to the family, given that the poster asked for less common name suggestions. I’d even go out on a limb and suggest that Peggy may be on the verge of sounding hip and courageous……..

    Swistle’s advice is pitch perfect, once again. I’d suggest telling family members wanting input that you’re done collecting ideas for now, and are going to let them “percolate”, surprising everyone after the birth. Take back the night!

    Random observations: I love the suggestion of using Walden as a first name for a boy, or as a middle for either. I think McConnell, nn’d Connie, for a girl would be bold and adorable, but maybe too unisex paired with Abigail. I find Holmes really tricky to pronounce, but maybe that’s just me. Annie/Anna are much too close in sound to Abbie, but love the idea of Sukie as a nn for Susanna, or Sadie, for Sarah. (Isn’t Sarah another of those names that hardly anyone is using these days?)

    (Swistle, I used to really like the option on your previous blog host that let us click directly to the comment box, rather than scrolling through. Any way to resurrect?)

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    1. Kaela

      Or Maisie or Daisy, both very cute nicknames that can stem from Margaret. My great-aunt was a Marguerite called Rita (which has a kind of retro flair), and and I’ve also heard of Marie as a nickname for Margaret. Greta could also work. Peggy is also cute.

      Out of the whole bunch of possible Margaret nicknames, Maggie is my least favorite, though it is sweet and cozy, maybe because it is so familiar. Maisie and Greta sound fresher and more distinctive. Daisy would be adorable but clashes with Davis.

      Margaret Harrison Davis or Margaret Walden Davis or Margaret Kay Davis, nickname Maisie or Greta, would be my top pick I think, followed by Susanna (wonderful name) in any of those combinations.

      For a boy, I like Walden as a first name a lot, or maybe Harrison or Lawson.

      Reply
    2. Swistle Post author

      About Maggie, I don’t know. My impression is certainly that there are far more Abbies than Maggies, but the Social Security database can’t show us who’s going by what nicknames, so that’s just a subjective feeling.

      If we look at how often those nicknames are given as first names, we can see that in 2012 there were 1028 new baby girls named Abby, 340 girls named Abbie, 250 named Abbey, 44 named Abbi, and I didn’t look at names given fewer times than that. That’s 1,662 total. We can compare that to 1,296 girls named Maggie (there don’t seem to be any other spellings being used at a noticeable level).

      Comparing full names is more difficult because there are a surprising number of ways to spell Abigail, but here’s a list of the ones given to at least 100 new baby girls in 2012:

      Abigail: 12,583
      Abbigail: 456
      Abagail: 222
      Abbygail: 208
      Abigale: 199
      Abigayle: 162
      Abygail: 156

      That’s just under 14,000 Abigails in 2012, not counting the spellings given to fewer than 100 baby girls that year. We can compare that to Margaret, which was given to 1,758 new baby girls in 2012. Another 218 girls named Magnolia might also be using the nickname Maggie.

      Also, notice that it was the mother herself who suggested Margaret/Maggie, as both Margaret and Maggie would be honor names.

      ********

      The commenting system is set up by the blog platform (Blogger before, WordPress now).

      Reply
      1. sarabean

        I know a Magdalena going by Maggie too.
        OP, I know an adult Holmes who wears the name very well.
        I also know a little girl Reese Mary. I think it is technically first and middle, but everyone uses it as a double first name.
        I think Susanna is a lovely choice and I love the names involving Harrison and Walden. You have some great options there. You seem to be reaching very far back on these names…not that that is bad, but are there still people who feel honored by using these names, especially if you don’t love them?

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      2. Kaela

        I knew two girls called Maggie growing up who were actually Megan/Maeghan. I don’t know if that was a fluke or part of a larger trend.

        But the numbers definitely indicate that there are currently many more girls called Abbie than Maggie. Abigail didn’t even hit the top 100 until 1989, so when current adults were growing up there were probably as many Maggie’s as Abbie’s, if not more, and maybe that is where the perception that the names are more or less equal in their ranks comes from.

        1988 was actually the year where the trajectories for Abigail and Margaret crossed paths. Abigail was #118 in ’88 and #94 in ’89. Margaret was #93 in ’88 and #97 in ’89. After that point, Margaret continued to decline and Abigail began its meteoric rise. Maggie has lingered in the 200-300 range since the early 80s, except for a brief period in the early 2000s when it broke the top 200. Abby is similar.

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  20. Emily

    Really like Walden for a boy. For a girl, love Sarah and Elizabeth. Sarah went through its heyday, but I never hear babes being named it anymore. It’s a great name that sounds good with your names. And Elizabeth just has so many nickname options!

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  21. caro

    I like Meggie as a fresh take on the Maggie/Peggy nickname with Meg as a grown-up nn.

    If Bonner is one of the family names, what about Bonnie? I think of Bonnie Blue from Gone With the Wind and of course the fact that it’s the Scottish term for pretty.

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    1. Bonnie

      Please do not name your child Bonner…they will never survive the middle-school Boner references. Bonnie is a nice alternative (seeing as how it’s my name, I am rather partial).

      Also, I totally understand the family connection/honor name, but when you are getting so desperate that you are selecting names based on great grand uncles cousins next-door neighbor…is it really an “honor name”. IMHO, if you have no direct connection to the person, then you are just selecting a name you like, just like flipping through a baby name book (except with a family tree). An honor name should honor someone you know/love/respect even if they are not related to you. Maybe you are trying too hard to make it work…maybe you should just try to find a name you love and if it has a connection, consider it a bonus.

      Furthermore, your mother will love her grandchild regardless of their name. Go with your own choice or you will regret it.

      Reply
  22. Jenny Grace

    I have a niece Susannah and I’m sort of in the thick of babies/children, and in California at least, the name strikes people as both classic and unusual.
    Plus it means ‘Lily’ which is nice.
    As an aside that only relates to Susannah and not your particular problem, my sister loves girl names that aren’t repurposed boy names, and Susannah is one of them (lots of biblical ones are). It’s just sort of an interesting category to think about. I’ll stop rambling.

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  23. bff

    I think your sense of what’s common/ordinary is skewed — the names you listed are classic and, to be sure, were very common 100 years ago… but 100 years ago, people didn’t name their daughters Addyson or Nevaeh or even Kathleen. There was, as Swistle has often remarked, considerably less variety and “common”names were borne by a larger number of actual children. Now, as many have said, those ‘vintage’ names sound so fresh and sweet and uncommon in a typical preschool classroom. I do hope you seriously look at those names on your family tree and find a name that is just perfect for your little one.

    Best of luck with your mom!

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  24. hystcklght

    Everyone above me said everything I would have said (from mother-involvement-responses to name suggestions) .. so I’ll just say this: I agree! And, will add my support for Harrison being a lovely boys’ or girls’ name: so many nickname options, easy to say yet unique .. I’m not sure it’s the best stylistic fit for a first name in this family, but the age spread definitely helps. And the (girl) nicknames that would all match with Abbie. I also think Lawson could work for a girl (nns Lottie, Laurie?).

    That being said, in this context, I totally vote for Susanna(h) (with pretty much any middle name ..) or Mary McConnell :)

    Also, “I love that so much, I almost feel queasy.” …..oh my, Swistle is the best.

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  25. Sarah in Ottawa

    Another reader chiming in with love for Susannah/Susanna. We love the name so much that it’s the front-runner for the little girl I am currently carrying (34 weeks today). I have been monitoring recent usage rates and it is not wildly popular by any stretch. We have an Edward (whom we call Teddy) and a Veronica, and the name usage for Susannah is lower than for either of those.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  26. waltzingmorethanmatilda

    You’ve already named one child from one side of the family, and another child from the other side – can’t this one just have a name that you love?

    This is coming from someone who has a HUGE love of using family names, but I love them in their place. I feel as if you have too much family, not enough name!

    One day you will have to tell your child how they received their name – do you really want that name story to be, “It was the best we could manage with grandma’s interference”.

    Reply
  27. nicki

    I like Eliza Kay Davis or Sarah Kay Davis (maybe nicknamed Sadie?). or what about your moms name in the middle name spot and your favourite name in the first name spot? then she wont ever complain about the honor name chosen! I hope you dont feel stuck naming this child because of the naming pattern you chose for the other two. Im sure you will feel good as long as there is an honor in there somewhere! Try to think of some other favourites too and mix and match until it feels right to you.

    Reply
  28. erin m.

    Swistle wrote everything I wanted to write but with much more eloquence. It sounds like there need to be better boundaries in your relationship with your mom. That I wouldn’t use Bateman/Bates because of Master Bates (thought of it immediately). I want to add that I wouldn’t use Bonner either, because the kid is bound to be called Boner.

    Reply
  29. Annabel Vita

    On the Jimmie grandma – On of my best friends is a Jemima that often goes by Jimmy, I think the fact Jemima is SO feminine counteracts the masculine nickname quite nicely (she also goes by Jemima, Mims, Mima and Jem). Just putting it out there as an option for a first or middle name honouring Jimmie Lee.

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