What’s in a Name…One Couple’s Saga In Choosing Names for their Kids

My husband and I are pretty boring people, and when we found out I was pregnant, naming children became quite the enjoyable pastime for Jeff and me.  Having 5 children gave us plenty of times to get out the baby name book and experiment with different names we could use. To make name choosing easier, we came up with some categories of our own.

1. Themes

Jeff and I joked about naming our kids after outlaws, like Jesse James or Billy the Kid. But after we thought up those two outlaws, we were kind of at a loss, since we weren’t familiar with any other outlaws.

We also thought the planets might be an interesting way to name kids…Saturn, Venus, Mars…but Uranus might be in bad taste, and Pluto kind of implies being stupid.

I heard of one family naming their kids after the month they conceived…my thought in all that was that they might have to explain sex way too early.

But we got a good chuckle out of thinking of naming our kids after civil rights leaders just to tick my mother off…Martin, Malcolm, Mandela, Mahatma…

We ended up naming all of our kids some kind of Bible name, even Julia. Her name is found in the last chapter of Romans as someone Paul greets…yeah, I know, that was a stretch, but it still counts.

2. Alliterated names (all beginning with the same letter)

We didn’t intend to alliterate our children’s names really…I always thought it was kind of dorky especially after the children became adults. We originally had our first three sons’ names picked out before they were even born (I guess I had some inkling that I was going to have mostly boys and that they were going to come in fast succession). We liked Jesse (the outlaw in me kind of stuck), and Jonah came from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle.” Jake, we thought, was suitable for a third boy because it was tough sounding, and we figured our 3rd son would have to be tough.

But, when we had our 4th child, we had the opportunity to veer away from the alliteration because she was a girl, and so it would have been completely appropriate to not name her a “J” name, but we were like moths to the light…we couldn’t help but go there. I really considered naming her Journey…I’m not so sure that Jeff was sold on it, and my mom was horrified, and even the baby books make fun of this name.  But we went with the name Julia, which happens to be a Beatles song, and that was what finally sold it for me.

We had a fifth child, and even though there are an abundance of names that begin with “J,” we were beginning to run out of options we liked. And you can’t have Jesse, Jonah, Jake, Julia, and Fred…it just doesn’t quite gel with the rest…so we were stuck with “J” names unless we planned on having a 6th child, which we weren’t and aren’t. So our last and final name was Jeremiah…how we ended up naming our last born with such a long name, I’ll never know. All the other kids will be out at recess while he’ll still be writing his name on his paper…

3. Popular names

When naming children from the popular name list, know that popular named children will always know their last name exceptionally well (which can be a good thing if lost in a store) or will need to attend a very small school. The names Jeff and Kim were both extremely popular back in the 60’s and 70’s, so Jeff grew up being Jeff D. while I was one of the three Kim’s in my graduating class of 37. Jeff and I didn’t intentionally name our third son from the popular name list, but it seems Jacob has been the most popular boys’ name for 9 years running, and our son turned 9 in January, but we call him Jake…so maybe that will help.

I taught fourth grade several years ago. Out of a class of 18, I had three Hannah’s. And remember all the Kaitlyn’s spelled any way you could possibly imagine or come up with yourself…

4. Family names

We always wanted the middle name to be a family name. Jeff’s family had many names to choose from, but my family ended up with the short end of the stick simply because I have a very small family; I only have one cousin. There are only a handful of people in my family, and three of these people have the name Thomas in all its various forms of Tom, Tommy, Thomas. We didn’t want to overdo an already overdone thing.

My mother was convinced we needed to name a girl Gillette after my grandmother’s maiden name…and for obvious reasons we didn’t want our daughter to be known as ”the best a man can get..” Earl is also a family name on my side, and I really tried hard to make it work, but Jeff was pretty adamant that Earl was just not meant to be. Ronald is yet another name, but we just couldn’t do that either…sorry, Dad. My mom also had some relative that was named Wilhemina…yeah…,no. Consequently, all the middle names came from Jeff’s side.

So there you have it. This is what two married English majors sit around and do for fun, and this actually makes us laugh out loud. So what’s in a name…more than you can possibly imagine.


6 Responses to “What’s in a Name…One Couple’s Saga In Choosing Names for their Kids”

  1. 1 Hannah Montgomery
    June 3, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    That is funny that you mentioned the three Hannah’s in our class. To excentuate the idea, I had to write Hannah L. on all my papers because there was already a Hannah M. I always hated the fact that I have such a popular name.

  2. June 4, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Me too, Hannah. I was always Kim Wilkins growing up. I still am running into quite a few Kims. In our small group of only 3 couples, there’s another Kim, so I am now known as Kim Darnell. And then whenever anyone calls the name Kim we both answer…very confusing…I feel your pain! 🙂 I remember you writing Hannah L. on your papers! 🙂 I miss you guys!

  3. 3 Hannah Montgomery
    June 4, 2008 at 10:35 am

    aww I miss you too!!Nobody says my last name because it is so long.

  4. 4 Mary Hankins
    June 5, 2008 at 8:06 am

    You forgot at one time all the boys were going to be J after Jeff and all the girls K after you!

  5. June 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    This is true. Funny how it didn’t quite work out that way! 🙂

  6. 6 Tessa
    August 4, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Haha. I mentioned to Julia that her name was the title of my “very favorite song ever.” She was pumped beyond belief. Ah, John, Paul, George, Ringo, you made a child happy.

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