Friday, December 6, 2013

What's in a Name?

 Plenty, it turns out! 

Studies show that our names can play a part in the adults we grow to be.  I, for one, am not sure whether the actual name itself matters as much as the parents who choose the names and how they end up raising the kids, but it is fascinating to me nonetheless.  Although I was excited by the opportunity to name each of our children, I also felt a great responsibility to try to do it "right".  Right, of course, being different for each set of parents.  Some people value originality, some people value having an "in" name, and everyone, no matter their preferences, ends up balancing many factors of what sounds good, with what they like, and what fits with their family. 

Sometime between Cami's and Emma's births, I feel like Glen and I experienced a shift in the kinds of names we preferred.  Even with that shift though, we realized that were a few factors that ended up being most important to us while we decided on their names. 

Here are a few of the most important criteria that ended up playing the biggest role in the names we chose: 

1we like the name--of course this was the most important factor of all, but  having said that, there were definitely some names we crossed off our lists because they didn't fit our other criteria.  For example I absolutely love the name Katelyn, but could never bring myself to even seriously consider it because there are so many different ways to spell it. 

2. the name be classic--as in not off-the-wall or super trendy.  Even Emma's name which is very trendy right now, was popular 100+ years ago, which still makes it a classic in our book. 

3 the name be easy to spell--with a hard-to-spell last name and both Glen and I having constantly misspelled first names, this is something we were very sensitive to and I still always cringe when I hear of someone purposely tweaking a name to make it have a funky spelling

4two or more syllables--si
nce we have a one syllable, short last name, we just thought it would sound better with a name with more than one syllable

5.  some family connection--Emma's and Ellie's names are the only first names with a family connection, but we wanted all of their middle names to be after family members

Our Names and Why They Were Chosen:

Spencer David--Not only did the name Spencer fit all of the above criteria, but we loved that he had a modern day prophet as a namesake.  His name was decided very early in my pregnancy with him and we never really seriously considered any other name.  His middle name, David, was after Glen's dad. 

other names we considered
:  Benjamin

Camille "Cami" Rose--We liked the name Camille very early on in my pregnancy with her, but it wasn't until we decided to call her "Cami Rose" that we completely fell in love with the name.  We never even seriously considered any other names.  While we still love her name, Cami's is the only name where I feel like we dropped the ball on the easy-to-spell mantra that we had adopted.  While it seemed easy enough to us that Cami was just the first four letters of Camille, she gets her name misspelled a lot.   Her middle name, Rose, is after my mother Rosanna.

other names we considered:  Savannah--this was never really a strong consideration, just the one that stuck around the longest besides Camille

Emma Kristine--  This name took a little longer to decide than the first two, but we still settled into it well before she was born.  We have an ancestor on Glen's side of the family called Emma Zina Player, which is how we first started thinking of the name.  At the time her name was about #17 on the popularity lists, so it didn't seem overly common.  In the next couple of years after she was born was when it skyrocketed in popularity.  Now that it's been in the top 5 on the popularity lists for over a decade, there are definitely a lot of Emmas around, however she's never had another one in any of her classes.  Her middle name, Kristine, is after my sister Kristina. 

other names we considered: Amanda, Rebecca--we couldn't decide whether to spell Rebekah the biblical way or Rebecca the more traditional way and in the end decided that if we couldn't decide, then it probably would get butchered a lot by others.  We still love that name.

Adam Stephen--This is one that took us a bit longer to decide on than the older kids' names, but once again we had settled on it a couple of months before he was born.   We love his name and think that out of everyone's, that his is probably the one that best fit all of our criteria.   Everyone knows the name, knows how to spell it, but it's not super common (usually in the 60's on the popularity lists).  His middle name, Stephen, is after my dad. 

other names we considered
:  Nathan, Isaac--Nathan was one of the few names that we didn't use that ever went forward on our list and was the top choice if Ellie had been a boy. 

Eliza "Ellie" Sandra --this was by far our hardest name to choose.  She was the only one of our kids where we had no idea what her name would be until after she was born and she was very nearly Abigail Anne instead!   In the end, we love our name choice and love that Eliza is a beautifully classic name, which isn't too common and that Ellie is an equally lovely nickname that suits Ellie's personality just perfectly.  I also like that we have an ancestor, Eliza Ann Perkins, on my side of the family that makes her name all the more meaningful.  Her middle name, Sandra, is after Glen's mom. 

other names we considered
:  Abigail--this was Glen's favorite.  I like Abby as a nickname, but didn't love Abigail as the full name.  After Ellie was born, we finally decided to go with my choice, but Glen has often commented on how well Ellie's name suits her and how he has no regrets about our choice.

Lara Anne--It used to bother me that my name was mispronounced and misspelled, even by my good friends, but now I like that it's different, yet simple.    Everyone thinks that my parents just decided to spell Laura without the "u", but I am proud to say that Lara has it's own derivation and meaning unrelated to Laura.  My dad was studying Russian when I was born and both girls' names they were considering were Russian names.  I am glad they chose the one they did. 

other names my parents considered:  Larissa and Eric (if I was a boy)

Glen Edward--Glen's parents had a very strict criteria for her kids' names that they had to have only four letters.  I'm not sure how this stipulation began, but all five of his siblings and him have four letter names (Alex, Kurt, Ryan, Eric, Lara).   Since Glen's mom is very musical, she decided to name Glen after the famous pianist, Glenn Gould

other names Glen's parents considered:  Seth


Katie said...

I loved reading every word of this! What a great addition to your family history.

JP said...

This is a very neat post! I am always interested in how names are chosen.

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