Category Archives: Uncategorized

Baby Girl or Boy H@rtley, Sibling to Forre$t

Hi Swistle,

I wrote to you in 2015 when we were expecting our first baby! You featured our question and we had a wonderful little boy and called him Forre$t James thanks to you and your readers help and advice 😊

We are expecting our second baby and due in January 2018, we are really really struggling with names this time. Not even having a favourite and I am beginning to worry it will be a baby with no name once he/ she is born.

We haven’t found out the sex and are excited to have either a boy or a girl.

We sadly had a miscarriage in March and feel this has clouded our decision on names this time as associated Thelma with a baby girl. We didn’t find out the sex of the baby we lost but if it was a girl it would have been named Thelma.

We don’t want a name beginning with H for our baby as don’t want the same initial as our surname.

Our boy name would have been Marty but we have a close friend with a boy called this so can’t use it.

The names we like this time (but don’t seem to love) are:

Thelma (not sure if I associated this with a baby girl and after miscarriage feel differently about it now)

Daia or Darla (but a close friend has said she is going to call her baby Dana and we feel this is too similar)

Sylvie (don’t seem to mind the ie ey rhyming like I did last time!)

For boys:
Lynwood (we sometimes call Forre$t woody as a nickname, not out loud just in messages to family and friends so this might be too confusing!)

Kepler (like the unusual name but think this may be too extreme)


And that’s it for boys… 🤔😖

Please help!!

From Jo$eph, K@yley & Forre$t H@rtley

Baby Girl or Boy Kelly, Sibling to Piper and Felicity

Hi Swistle,

Husband and I are expecting baby #3, gender unknown. We already have two girls Piper and Felicity (last name is Kelly). Piper was named as soon as we found out she was girl at the ultrasound appointment. Felicity was named after she was born and from a list we went to the hospital prepared with. We originally thought we were going to call her Ivy but someone in town used the name 3 weeks before her birth date and I didn’t want two Ivy’s attending the same school with each other.

My family and friends think I’m a little crazy with my rules when naming baby #3. I don’t want another ‘P’ or ‘F’ name, I don’t want a name ending in ‘er’ or ‘y’. I prefer to stay away from names that have potential nicknames. I’m not a fan of common names and overused names.
My husband rather not talk about names a million times a week.
Names that are on my list that he hasn’t directly said no, or made a weird remark about are:

Girls: Cordelia, Violet, Sage, Raven, Scout, Esme, Rose and Arya
Middle name will either be in preferred order: Mary, Lynn or Suzanne (so right off the bat Rose Mary is not possible)

Boys: Ace, Dawson, Clarke, Lane, Holden and Theo
Middle name with either be in preferred order: Ross, Bud, Christopher (Husband loves that Bud is my grand-father’s nickname and for the longest time growing up I thought that was his real name)

Names that have been on the list but have been removed are: Rhys, Forrest, Gideon, Delta, Matilda, Whitney. My husband all-time favorite boys name is Cole… I can’t do do it, way to popular…. but I also don’t mind the idea of using Cole for a girls middle name….

Feedback on what you think of the potential list of names and any new suggestions are welcome. I just want that one name that stops me in my thoughts and makes me say… That is it!

Thank you,


Baby Naming Issue: Is it Okay To Use a Difficult Maiden Name as the Baby’s Middle Name?

Hi Swistle,

Sorry, there is no real baby in question here. But I have a dilemma in future baby naming that I think might interest you, regarding family surnames as middle names.

Typically, I am all for this tradition. In fact, my middle name is my mother’s maiden name – although her maiden name also happens to be a fairly common unisex first name. I love it and will definitely be passing it on to a future child – boy or girl – as a middle name.

But what about my own maiden name? When I married, I changed my last name to my husband’s name and actually dropped my maiden name completely, rather than moving it to the middle name slot as seems to be traditional in the American South. I did this for two reasons: first, my maiden name is extremely unusual and hard to spell and pronounce and I was tired 20+ years of dealing with it, and second, as I said above, my middle name is my mother’s maiden name. She has only sisters so the family name stopped in their generation, whereas I have a brother to carry on my father’s name.

That being said, I still love my maiden name and identify with it. Because it is so unusual, and my first name is common, I was always known as Firstnamelastname growing up, even by friends. My brother went by a nickname of our last name. My friends had contests to see who could learn how to spell it correctly. Having such a complicated name was a big part of my childhood and young adult identity, and I’d love to honor my family history by passing on this name as well.

Given that I didn’t even want to inflict my maiden name as a middle name on MYSELF, is this cruel to do to a child? I don’t want to share the actual name due to its uniqueness, but it is Slavic and along the lines of Tsyplakov in that it contains a letter combination that don’t occur in English. Additionally, my family pronounces the name with emphasis on the first syllable, which is traditional in the name’s country of origin but not how most Americans pronounce the name based on English phonetics.

My married name is a common, easy to pronounce German-derived surname… think Wagner.

My husband and I like extremely traditional, fairly common first names. To give you an idea our lists look like:

boys – Alan, David, Charles, Nathan, Walter, Henry, Joseph, Adam, George, William, John/Jack, Robert

girls – June, Anne, Claire, Margaret, Caroline, Julia, Ruth

We plan on using several family surnames as middle names for either gender – my middle name/mother’s maiden name, which is a unisex first name like Avery; my mother in law’s maiden name which is an animal name like Fox; my grandmother’s maiden name which is a familiar surname but not really first-namey… think Thompson. But I feel strange leaving out my own maiden name! These sound so dignified –

Anne Thompson Wagner
David Fox Wagner
June Avery Wagner

But then what about

John Tsyplakov Wagner

??? Can I do this? Do people do this? People in the South are all about surnames-as-first-names in the vein of Hudson, Hunter, Taylor, or even Smith or Anderson. And I know tons of people with western-European surnames as middle names (like Pace, Whitmore, Watson, Newman, and many of our past presidents). But what about when the maiden name is a hard-to-spell, hard-to-pronounce, clunky sounding Eastern European (or otherwise) name?

I would love to hear from you and readers. Apologies for my verbosity.



Okay! I think I am following this! Your parents gave you your father’s surname, and used your mother’s maiden name as your middle name. You would like to do the same for your child, because you still love your maiden name and have strong feelings about it. This sounds great to me! I say do it!

Your concern is that you dropped that surname when you got married, because it was too much trouble, so you wonder if maybe it’s cruel to give it to a child. But that was as a surname that it gave you so much trouble; as a middle name, it will hardly ever come up. And you dropped it in the extremely normal and typical way many women do when they get married. You kept your own mother’s maiden name as your middle name, rather than bumping it for your father’s surname as if your mom’s family name is less important, and I for one am glad you did. But I don’t think this AT ALL means that you can’t now pass down your maiden name.

My own maiden name is a hard-to-spell, hard-to-pronounce name including a letter combination not used in American English. I gave it to all the kids as their second middle name. That would be another option here:

Anne Thompson Tsyplakov Wagner
David Fox Tsyplakov Wagner
June Avery Tsyplakov Wagner
John Avery Tsyplakov Wagner

I know those seem like a lot of name written out—but my daughter has a name that is 30 letters long, which is longer than any of those names I just typed, and in her daily life she’s just Elizabeth Thistle and it doesn’t seem like too much name at all. The middle names all but vanish, brought out for special occasions such as new-patient paperwork.

I’ll add this: when my eldest graduated high school this past summer, and the man calling out names called out my son’s name, and one of those names was my maiden name (AND HE PRONOUNCED IT CORRECTLY), I felt so happy we’d used it, and I immediately started looking forward to that happening at all the other kids’ graduation ceremonies. If anything, I wished we’d given the kids a double surname instead of letting my family name drift into second-middle-name position.

I seem to have lost track of answering the question here. In short, I don’t see the situation AT ALL as you not wanting to take the name upon yourself and now inflicting it on a child. You just kept your own middle name, that’s all, which was your mom’s maiden name. Now you want to do the same naming pattern your parents used for you: your maiden name as the child’s middle name, your husband’s surname as the child’s surname. Your maiden name was difficult as a surname, but wouldn’t be in daily use as a middle name. There is no problem here. Do it. In fact, maybe do MORE of it. MAIDEN-NAME MIDDLE NAMES FOR EVERYONE!

Baby Boy C________, Brother to Tobias

Hello Swistle!

I’m hoping you’ll be able to help us make some progress on a name. We’ve come up with some options but haven’t made any progress and the baby is due in two months.

Our last name starts with C and is a male character from Friends…not Ross or Joey. We have a one year old son named Tobias Milo (we call him Toby a lot of the time). We’re expecting a second boy on December 24.

We’re both data geeks at heart so we have an elaborate spreadsheet with weighted ratings for each parent on a variety of factors – sound, meaning, popularity, etc. It worked well for Tobias but for this baby, we have quite a few top contenders and no clear winner.

Our ideal name is one that people recognize as a name, but don’t know many people with that name. I’m Dutch and gravitate to more northern European names.

Here are the ones we came up with:
Leo (doesn’t lend well to any nicknames, but one of our favourites)
Schuyler (is it too hard to spell?)
Willem (William is a family name, but feels too popular to us. We’d more likely use it as a middle name.)
Julian (maybe the most trendy on our list?)
Justus (is it too odd?)
Orson (again…a bit odd)

Names my husband likes but I don’t: Micah, Malachi, Edmund, Hudson
Names I like but my husband doesn’t: Hugo, Soren, Nico, Silas (too similar to Tobias, maybe)

We haven’t even begun to think about middle names…but with our first son, it worked well to just pick something else from our list with a complementary meaning that sounded good.

If we had a girl, the only name we’ve ever thrown around and both liked is Charis/Karis.

We would love to have your help! We’re at a standstill and would like to pick a name before the baby arrives.


Baby Boy or Girl Rough, Sibling to Felix and Sage

Hi Swistle,

I am currently pregnant with our third (and most likely last) child who is due in March. We don’t know (and not going to find out) the sex of this baby.

We have 2 sons – Felix George and Sage William. Our last name is short, and sounds like rough.

One thing that we really like about their names are the meanings – Felix (happy), Sage (wise). Having a great positive meaning wasn’t a priority for us when we named Felix and Sage, but now that we have two children with good meanings, we want it to continue for our third.

We also like names that aren’t overly popular, if you see it written, you know how to pronounce, if you hear it, you know how to basically spell it.

Names we have contemplated in the past include the following



Any suggestions you have for names with strong, positive meanings would be appreciated!!

Thank you

Baby Boy Trude11e, Brother to Miles and Claire

Hi Swistle!

You helped us name our son and daughter, Miles Joseph and Claire Marie, and now I would love your advice one more time! We are expecting our third (and last) baby, a boy, this February. I like to talk about names all of the time, but my husband prefers that we have more “productive” conversations about them (meaning, he would rather we look at our list and actually narrow them down vs. talk about new ones “just for fun”). So, we have a list of names, and are pretty certain about a middle, but are struggling with the “being productive” part (don’t worry, I have friends who will talk names with me, and your blog fills this need too).

I had two favorite girl names that I was really excited about: Rose and Lucy. I was also excited to use my grandmother’s middle name, Maxine, as a middle name. Rose Maxine or Lucy Maxine (perfect!). But, now that I need to let those girl names go, I am focusing on the joy I will feel by honoring my dad (who died when I was a teenager) and somehow using his name for this boy.

His name was Eric, and we considered using it as a middle with our first son, Miles. However, we ended up following a long tradition of using my husband’s middle name, instead. Although I like the idea of honoring my dad by using Eric as a first name, I think I would rather keep it in the middle name spot. I also don’t love it as a first name with Miles and Claire.

Here is our list of names:


I like Benjamin, and would want to use a nickname like Benny or Benji. Sometimes I wonder if those are too “cutesy” but I like them. Benjamin Eric Trude11e flows well I think. Benjamin does seem much more common than Miles and Claire, though.

I like Thomas and the nickname Tom, but don’t prefer Tommy (which is funny because I just said I like Benny). Thomas Trude11e has alliteration, which I can’t decide on either.

We both like Felix (it was one of our favorites with Miles) but our families have made it clear that they hate it. We could probably push through that though.

I like Max (similar to Maxine!), but wonder if we would want a longer name like Maxwell. I think that gets tricky visually when looking at the full name with our last name: Maxwell Trude11e. Just Max, with Eric as a middle, seems a bit choppy to me. I also can’t decide if I like Miles and Max for brother names, or if they are too close.

Eli, James and August aren’t top contenders for me (though my husband really likes Eli) but they are still on our list.

Do any of these stand out for you? Are there any names that I’m missing that work well with the middle and last name? (I know we’re trying to narrow down, but…) Or sound especially good with Miles and Claire? I would love your advice! Thank you!!


None of the names on the list stand out to me particularly. I first thought James and August did, and they still do somewhat—but James seems a little too common with Miles and Claire, and I feel reluctant to push August when it’s not a top contender. My own favorite is Felix, but I feel reluctant to push a name your family doesn’t like.

With middle initial E and surname initial T, many first name initials will end up spelling a word: BET, GET, HET, JET, LET, MET, NET, PET, SET, VET, WET, YET. Of those, the only one that makes me uncertain is the W. I do prefer for initials not to spell things, but words like GET and SET are pretty innocuous.

I like Simon. Simon Trude11e (SET); Miles, Claire, and Simon.

Or Elliot. Elliot Trude11e (EET); Miles, Claire, and Elliot.

Or Everett. Everett Trude11e (EET); Miles, Claire, and Everett.

Or Emmett. Emmett Trude11e (EET); Miles, Claire, and Emmett.

Or Oliver. Oliver Trude11e (OET); Miles, Claire, and Oliver.

Or Louis. Louis Trude11e (LET); Miles, Claire, and Louis.

Or Edmund. Edmund Trude11e (EET); Miles, Claire, and Edmund.

Or Ian. Ian Trude11e (IET); Miles, Claire, and Ian.

Or Malcolm. Malcolm Trude11e (MET); Miles, Claire, and Malcolm.

Or Wesley. Wesley Trude11e (WET); Miles, Claire, and Wesley.

Or Reid. Reid Trude11e (RET); Miles, Claire, and Reid.

Or Nolan. Nolan Trude11e (NET); Miles, Claire, and Nolan.

And actually I am still very inclined toward James. It IS more common, but I still like it, and I like the overall look and feel of the sibling group. James Trude11e (JET); Miles, Claire, and James.

Baby Boy Sepas, Brother to Evelyn

Hey Swistle!

I’m a long time reader, and I love, love, love baby names. So I can’t believe I’m writing to you for advice. I’m 30 weeks pregnant with our second – a boy – and I just can’t commit to a name. My name is Bridgett, my husband is Evan, and our last name is Sepas, but with a silent T in the front, and pronounced See-pahs.

We have a two year old daughter named Evelyn Claire, and her name is perfect. I told my husband while we were dating that I was having a daughter named Evelyn one day, so the day we found out she was a girl she was named. We gave her the middle name Claire because it means “light” and after years of infertility and miscarriage, she was definitely a light at the end of a dark time in our lives. Her name fits her perfectly, and hearing her say “Yevelyn” just melts my heart.

We’re due with a boy in mid January and I thought we had found the perfect name, but something won’t let me commit. The two names on our list right now are:

-Rowan Lawrence (Rowan is my favorite boy name, and Lawrence, after my beloved Grandpa that passed away)

-Luke Thomas

On paper, Luke Thomas is the perfect name for us. Why?

-My dad’s name is Luke.
-My father in law was Thomas.
-This is the first grandson born since my father-in-law passed away. (We won’t use Thomas as a first name because we already have a nephew named Thomas.)
-Luke also means “light”, just like his sister.
-Thomas is my husband’s middle name.

I think the reason I can’t get completely on board is because it’s a one syllable name. I’m so used to saying “Evelyn” 1000 times a day, and saying Luke just doesn’t have the same flow. It almost feels “blah” to me. But am I crazy? Am I not committing to the perfect name for us because of something as silly as the syllables?

I know I’m probably a little extra anxious, because our daughter was named at 18 weeks, and also because our daughter was born at 31 weeks, so if that happened with this pregnancy, I have approximately 5 days to name this baby boy!

Other names we have had on our list:


I would love to hear what you and your readers think. And to get an unbiased opinion. I don’t feel like I can ask any family members because they both include family names, and that’s awkward when you go with something different.

Thanks for considering helping me!



Luke Thomas is the perfect name, but I can see how it could feel too short, especially with “Yevelyn” ringing adorably in your ears. Would it help to have the option of calling him “Luke Thomas,” so you’d have three syllables like you do with Evelyn? I do love a good double name. You wouldn’t have to call him that every time, but it gives you something longer for when you want it. There’s also the nickname L.T. And there are endearments such as Baby Luke, Lukey-Pie, Lukey-Lu, Lukey-my-Lovey, and so forth.

I don’t know if it is true for you as it is for me, but I do find boy names more blah. All of my boys have names I really, really like, but it is only my daughter’s name that DELIGHTS me. There just WEREN’T any boy names that gave me that same feeling. I had to change my goals: for girls I looked for names that delighted me, and for boys I looked for names that gave me a strong warm feeling of happy satisfaction.

I also do love Nolan from your list, but I find I feel sad to lose the Dad Namesake. One of my kids is named after my dad, and it has given me more long-term happy satisfaction than I expected—and I expected quite a bit of long-term happy satisfaction. On the other hand, another of my kids is named after a character on a TV show, and that too has given me quite a bit of long-term happy satisfaction, so I don’t feel inclined to put too much pressure on you.