The Names We Didn’t Use

I have this theory I was telling my BFF yesterday that most people have names we think we will give our future children, and then those people divide into two basic categories once they actually have children: the people who use those names, and the people who use different names. (The latter group of course divides up into many other, smaller groups, depending on the reasons for not using those original names.)

For instance, I assumed for years that if Will and I had a boy and a girl their names would be Morgan and Katie. Obviously that is not the case (though if Sam had been a girl, her middle name would probably have been Katherine).

This is separate from the names we considered for each of them but didn’t end up using. At no time in either pregnancy was Morgan or Katherine a first name contender, and I don’t remember Morgan ever coming up at ALL!

So. Before you had kids (or, er, now if you don’t have kids), did you have names you thought you’d use? Did you use them?

16 thoughts on “The Names We Didn’t Use

  1. Sonja

    November 14, 2011 at 8:43pm

    When I was five (oh, yes), there was a little French girl who lived in my apartment building. She was so fascinating to me, I decided to name my daughter after her. Her name was Astrid, and that’s definitely not happening, even if this baby is a girl. :)
    I remember a conversation I had with my husband before we even got married about possible baby names. Noah was one of our favorites. Seven years later, when we had to decide what to name our child, he didn’t remember that conversation at all, but we still liked Noah, and after some back and forth with other possibilities, Noah ended up being named, well, Noah.
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  2. B @ myotherblog

    November 14, 2011 at 9:11pm

    Katherine is a name I have loved for as long as I remember. And when our daughter arrived, it fit her well so there you go: child one was a name I pretty well knew from forever would be a name I wanted to use

    Claire came up after we were pregnant with her and my husband vetoed all names that also are words, thus eliminating many of my other favorite girl names. (Lily comes to mind…). I wanted a girl name that had a strong meaning behind it and was also classic, did some research into names that met that criteria and were as strong a feeling as Katie’s name (which means “pure”), and Claire just felt right, especially after we finally met her.

  3. Jilliana

    November 14, 2011 at 11:06pm

    Being without kids, I only have the current names to go on, so we’ll have to see in a few years if/when I have children whether or not they stick.

    I’m relatively open on names, though I want a girl to have Stella as either a first or middle name for a girl, and the middle name Mason for a boy. Although both sort of come from my grandmother, it’s also based a bit on family tradition. My mom’s side of the family is almost exclusively female and the Mason surname has pretty much stopped with my generation, so I’d like to keep the name in the family. Our family’s done similar names in the past– it’s why my aunt’s middle name is Howard.

  4. Katie Lynn

    November 14, 2011 at 11:19pm

    My mother (whose name is Kathy, short for Kathleen) always wanted to be called Katie when she was growing up. So she decided that if she had a daughter she would be Katie instead. Plus my dad’s great grandmother was named Katie. So my name, Katherine, was one that was picked out ahead of time and stuck to. (I always wanted to be a Kate. Much more sophisticated. But apparently I am the quintissential Katie, and people who I met and introduced myself to in college as Kate ended up calling me Katie anyway because ‘it fits’.)

    Personally, I feel no need to have a daughter named Kate. I am partial to Moira, as a first or middle, and would love Magnolia (nickname: Maggie). Boys names would be Quinn or Connor (though my best friend stole that one. I will forgive her because her son is darling.)

    On a completely whimsical note, my cousin likes to remind me that she wants a daughter name Siobhan. I tell her that while the name is fantastic, Americans won’t be able to spell OR say it properly.

  5. Orli

    November 14, 2011 at 11:20pm

    I used to think about it a lot, but then I realized I really didn’t want to have kids. So now I just use all the names I ever wanted as characters in my stories :)

    And the really ridiculous names get given to my pets.

  6. Swistle

    November 15, 2011 at 4:39am

    Oh, yes! The “before I realized a second party would likely be involved in the naming process” names! I had a lot of names from the books I liked: Margaret and Charles, Jo and Meg, Anastasia. But I’m not sure I was old enough to REALLY think of them as names for REAL children.

    When I was old enough, I thought Libby and Noah, but that was because of the guy I was dating at the time so I’m not sure that counts either.

    I remember seeing an actress who had a name like Brittany Morgan and thinking those would make excellent twin names.

    I also remember thinking I’d name a girl one of those “long feminine names with a short boyish nickname.” I remember liking Theodora.

    But mostly I don’t have any that perfectly answer the question, because by the time I got more serious about actual names for actual babies, I was already living with Paul and we were thinking ahead to actual babies.

  7. Nana

    November 15, 2011 at 6:29am

    Fanchon was a definite contender, still wonder if we should have gone with it. When I was younger I loved the names Peter and Michael. Still like Peter, it was always on my list but didn’t have any boys. and Simon.

  8. Amanda

    November 15, 2011 at 7:45am

    I’ve already had to give up on some; gaining a last name like Chrystal, some combinations end up sounding like strippers. I still have my heart set on Moira, though, and I hope I have a child whom it fits. I’m not particularly set on any boy names. I haven’t found any that I like so far that are also sufficiently uncommon.

  9. uccellina

    November 15, 2011 at 10:43am

    The names we wound up with were not anything I had ever had on a list when I was younger. But I love them, and they are perfect for my kids.

  10. Stephanie

    November 15, 2011 at 10:45am

    When I was younger I always wanted to have a girl and name her Savannah because I was in love with the movie Savannah Smiles. I thought I would have a Savannah well into my teens, but when the time came for naming I don’t know if Savannah even entered the conversation. Interestingly, Harper recently had a friend named Savannah, but she was called Vanna for the most part.
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  11. bonnie

    November 15, 2011 at 7:27pm

    Lucerne Elise. Did not use it b/c Margie wound up being named after two of her great grandmothers. Also b/c I got scared that “Lucerne” (Lucy for a nick name) was too strange. I still love it, though, and it’s in the cards for a future daughter. Although I’m done with kids, I assume.

  12. Katherine

    November 15, 2011 at 7:45pm

    For a boy, Simon Peter or Wilson Charles. For a girl, Anne, Isolde, Lydia, or Grace.

    So, “Simon Peter” is because I love the name Simon and the middle name would have been for my dad, no religious reasons AT ALL. For Wilson, that’s my middle name and I’ve ALWAYS thought it would be a good name for a boy, before any of the more recent pop culture references. Charles for Charlie Brown. Not kidding.

    The girl names are names that I read or heard in songs and I just loved them. Anne, for crying out loud!

    But the point is moo, since I’m not having any children.

  13. georgia

    November 16, 2011 at 11:36pm

    when i was a teenager i had a little list of names i liked. my kids aren’t named anything close to those names. when i started dating my husband i always thought we would have two girls named sophie and isobel. i think i liked the name caleb for a boy, but i was so convinced we would have two girls i didn’t put much thought into boys names.

    right before i got pregnant i decided that henry was a great boys name. my husband didn’t like it because he thought people would call him hank. and my MIL loved the name because then she could call the baby “hanky panky”. and then our baby was born and the name henry fit him so perfectly. he just looked like a henry. and no one ever calls him hank. OR, i am relieved to say, hanky panky.

    when i got pregnant again i was sure it was another boy, and i wanted to name him jasper. if it was a girl, i wanted to call her iris, or maybe alice. right before my due date my husband told me he loved the name agatha, which he read in one of those baby name books while sitting on the toilet. i kind of liked it too. i was still rooting for iris though. and then she was born, and she was definitely an agatha. sometimes people call her aggie, but i really hate that.

  14. Crystal

    November 17, 2011 at 7:01am

    When I was a kid, I always wanted to use Kat or Katrina, Ian, Ethan and Jason. I thought a lot more about boys names when I was younger.

    When I was a teen/early 20s, Annabel and Isabella became favories, but Twilight killed Isabella. I think I had a brief love of Aiden, before Sex and the City killed that one.

    I told Chris a while ago that our first boy would be John Adam (John in honor of Chris’ dad and Adam because he was the first one who thought of setting us up). And his nickname would be Jac (his initials). I love Cecelia, but Chris doesn’t and The Office just used it. Beatrice and Olivia were strong contenders, but they’ve both been taken in our circles (although Olivia is only a middle name, so it might still be in the mix). Portia and Lily are current potentials for girls and Penti is a possible for boys. I think a lot more about girl names now.

    I highly doubt any of these will be used. One certainty: no Chris- names. Not being those people.

  15. allison

    November 17, 2011 at 8:20am

    When I was a teenager, my family and I paid a visit to a overgrown cemetery just at the West Virginia/Pennsylvania border. It was a very old cemetery filled with ancestors from my mother’s side of the family. I adored poking around the tipped stones and reading the names and inscriptions. One of them was for Jennet Gibson and I was utterly charmed by that name. Jennet has always been my first choice for a girl, most likely with a middle name Kathleen for my sister. Oddly enough, I ended up marrying a Gibson, but alas, we are not having children together! Perhaps a granddaughter…

    Boys’ names have always been harder for me, although both Raymond and Charles were favourites. David would be a middle name, again for a sibling. When I was much younger, I was a big fan of Balthasar, but even then, I saw the difficulty.

  16. Phoebe

    November 20, 2011 at 11:44pm

    I’ve always wanted to do ethnic names (as over-general as that sounds). I like that they are less common in the US but that they are also “normal,” i.e. the kid could go to Europe and be perceived to have a totally normal name. If I had had a sister she would have been named Saskia and I’ve always wanted to name a kid that. I like the also-Dutch name Nienke more now, though. I’m very mercurial so I don’t have a real expectation that I would carry this naming plan through.

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