Pleasing Baby Name Combinations-Fitting the First to the Surname

Not for the faint of heart

As the mother of 12 children, I have found it difficult to name my children in such a way that pleases both my husband and me. Even when I manage to find a happy compromise, I still need to satisfy family expectations, avoid choosing names that will make my children laughingstocks, and find names that go well with our surname. This is a daunting task that is not for the faint of heart. Applying some rules across the board can help eliminate some candidates, place others in the 'maybe' category, and help place still other names on the 'strong definite' list.

You might have to compromise

Here's how to go about choosing a name:

  • Draw up a list of names you like, names your husband likes, and names your family expects you to use.
  • Next, each of you gets to veto names you don't like. If you love the name Edna, and he can't stand that name, give in with good grace and cross it off the list. As long as you both end up with names you can live with, you're in good stead. In terms of family expectations, you might have to compromise. My husband's paternal grandmother was named Goldie. We ended up using the name as my daughter's middle name. None of us, including my daughter, were thrilled with that name, but for the sake of family peace, we used the name in as subtle a manner as possible.
  • Once you've narrowed your choices, say them aloud in combination with your surname. Let's say your surname is Domen. You and your husband might like the name Abraham, but consider that one nickname for Abraham is 'Ab'. Ab and Domen may sound okay to you as separate entities, but Ab Domen is a different story, altogether! Other examples to rule out: Candy Barr, Anne Teak, and the infamous Holly Wood.
  • Avoid rhyming names. Sandra Tandy is okay, but think of Sandy Tandy and you have another name to cross off your list. Barnaby Somersby, while not a true rhyme, sounds just as silly.
  • Think of all possible nicknames. If there are nicknames you'd rather avoid, think about eliminating the full name from your list.
  • It's best to avoid matching the number of syllables of the first name to the last name.
  • If you have names that end in 'S', say them aloud with the surname. Sometimes the combinations are confusing or less than pleasing. Think Alice Sears, which is a bit hard to say. Think about Jonah Sanderson. Might someone err and end up spelling his name as Jonas Anderson?
  • You don't want the first name to end with the first sound of the surname. For example:  Jerry Yeager or Stanley Leason are hard to say and awkward sounding.

Choosing a name from those that made the final cut can be a nail-biting moment, but after so much consideration, whatever name you end up choosing will be guaranteed to please.

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