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Baby enjoying dad's support

Baby enjoying dad’s support

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Expecting a new baby? What do you plan to name it?  We all have reasons for naming a child and those range from; ethnics, family names, favorite people, move stars, famous historical figures, etc. If you’re looking to find a name that resonates with you for your new baby, here are some things you might want to consider, and some help in finding the “perfect” name for your little one.

Many Factors Influence Naming A Child

One of the first things to concern a couple when they learn they are to be parents is what to name their child. They have time to decide, but lots of things influence their choices; family names, sex of the child, and finding a name that is acceptable to both parents. Your doctor with the help of ultra sound technology can usually tell you the sex of your child after a certain point in your pregnancy. Factors that may influence the name we give our children may include family ethnics, culture, and family tradition and history. Another thing that may affect the naming of a child is how long ago the names were used as children’s names. For instance, girls’ names Mabel, Agnes and Thelma were popular in the 1930s and 1940s, but not so much today. Sometimes that very rare usage appeals to some folks, so their children stand out from the crowd. Others wouldn’t dream of using names they consider outdated.


Our Life’s Treasure, Our Children

A child by any other name is still a precious child.

A child by any other name is still a precious child.

Source: Photo By Vera Kratochvil [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Both Parents Should Contribute

Certainly, both parents should have equal input into this significant “naming the child” event. If there is no agreement between the two about a name, perhaps a neutral ground of possible names unconnected to any person or event should be considered. Look through a book of names and try them out with both parents participating. Or try reaching a compromise that will satisfy both parents. For example, if you want Thomas, and your husband wants William, perhaps a compromise could be found that would satisfy both parents, such as Thomas William, or William Thomas.

For all of us, our name becomes a very important part of our life and of our own self-image. However, there are many people who grow up to dislike their name. Of course, there are ways to legally change your name through the court system, but most of us continue to use the name we’ve been given at birth.

There are also times when a parent has vented an unfortunate sense of humor on their child’s name: the Hogg sisters, Ima and Ura, for instance. These were actual sisters and their real names. What a burden that would be to go through life carrying those names. Say the first names with the last name and you’ll see what I mean.

How I got my name

And how my children were named

When I was born, my Mom had promised my sister Becky, who was 11-years older than me, that she could name me. I was born in 1939 and in those days there were no scientific ways of determining the sex of the child before birth. My sister had only picked a name for a girl…fortunately, that worked out fine. I would have hated to have been a boy going through life with the name Nancy Carol, somewhat like Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue.”

When I had my children, I named my eldest daughter for a movie star I liked, the middle daughter carries my sister’s first name and my middle name, the youngest daughter was given her name because I thought it was beautiful, and my only son was named for my oldest deceased brother, except that I switched the first and middle names around.

What are the reasons for the names in your family?

 You’re going to call me WHAT?!

People should be aware that their children DO grow up.

Penn Gillette, half of the illusionist team of Penn & Teller, named his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter. It would be interesting if she grew up to be a lawyer or prosecutor for the state. Imagine you’re the defendant appearing in court, and you hear the judge address your lawyer, Howard R. Smith and the States Attorney, Moxie CrimeFighter Gillette. Wouldn’t you be inclined to just give up right then? Put the cuffs on your honor, I’m done!

If babies could talk as soon as they are born, I have an idea many would say “You’re going to call me WHAT?!!” Odd names for children pop up all over the place. Carrie Oakey, Robyn Banks, Stan Still, Justin Case, Seymour Legg and Doug Graves are just a few examples of how hilarious a name can be when said aloud.

There are also the unusual names that celebrities sometimes give their kids: Actor Nicholas Cage’s son is named Kal-El (Comic book hero Superman’s birth name), Actor Bruce Willis and Actress Demi Moore named three of their daughters unusual names: Rumer Glenn, Scout Larue and Tallulah Belle, and Frank Zappa has long been known for naming one of his sons Dweezil, and his daughters Moon Unit and Diva Muffin.

The Christening and Naming Ceremony


Ways and ceremonies for naming a child.

Christening and naming are often done through religious ceremonies.

There are naming ceremonies in many cultures and religions.

Native Americans have always held naming ceremonies for their babies, welcoming the soul to the physical world. The name the child is given at birth may change many times, depending on the events in the child’s life.

In Africa, the Zulu name their children before they are born, choosing from events that are occurring at the time. There is no actual naming ceremony, but an event called imbeleko, in which the child is introduced to the ancestors, to thank them and ask for their protection.

Babies born into the Wiccan religion are officially named in a ceremony called a “saining” or “Wiccaning,” where the baby is introduced to the extended network of friends and family.

In the Catholic faith, christening by sprinkling water on the baby’s head is performed by the Priest. There are usually family and friends present, including the chosen godmother and godfather to the child. The name given to the child is usually a Saint’s name, but the young Catholic community is moving away from this tradition to using the name given at birth.

The Jewish naming ceremony is considered to be one of the most important Jewish rituals. It’s not only an opportunity to celebrate the birth and introduce the child to the community, but it’s also a chance for the community to show their support and commitment to the physical and spiritual well-being of the child.

Baptists believe in baptizing the child with immersion rather than sprinkling. However they do not necessarily give the child a new name, instead concentrating on the spiritual well-being that baptism confers.

Here’s the history on one friend’s family names.

Thanks to AJ Tyne for allowing me to use this as part of my story.

This illustrates the point very clearly.

“Interesting, Nancy. I was named after my great, great grandmother, on my mother’s side. Story goes that my father heard someone in the family mention that name and fell in love with it — it’s a two part name, like Mary Ann, but not. Mine is pretty unusual. My daughter was named after my own grandmother, who had always wanted someone named after her, but she was given both a first and middle name that were dreadfully out of fashion — if they ever were in! But I planned, as a child, to name a child (middle name only) after her. Well, as the years passed, it didn’t seem likely. By the time my daughter was born I had given up the idea, because I couldn’t think of a good first name to go with it. There we were, my husband and I, at the hospital with the nurse waiting to fill out the birth certificate, and no name! I said I always planned to name my daughter after my grandmother, told him the very old-fashioned name, and he loved it. So that actually became her first name and that is what we call her — no nickname or shortening, and we both LOVE the name. Additionally, she has another family name that has been in every generation of my mom’s family, she has a name that describes how beautiful she looked when she was born, like a certain flower, and she has two African names. The one on her birth certificate was our attempt (incorrectly) to give her an African name — it is his mom’s name. But his mom gave her a traditional Nigerian name, after circumstances around her birth — Nene. (nay nay), which means, loosely, when one door closes another opens, or my mother come back to me — because his mom’s mother died just 2 months before our daughter was born.”

More unusual names for children

Some of these names you almost have to speak aloud to understand why they are unusual or odd. Try a few of these….

Ima Kettle; Pearl E. Whites; Shanda Lear; Lowden Clear; Dwayne Pipe; Phil Hole; Doug Graves; Artie Choke; Ted E. Baer; Terri Bull; Rusty Nails; Rose Bush; Daisy Picking; Anna Sasin; Honey Pye; Rosemary Plant; Neil Down and Cammie Sole

It never seems to end, the imaginative names people can give their children.

Are there unusual names in your family?


Need a Little More Help? Here are some books you may find helpful for naming your child.