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!
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.