A few days ago, Katie contacted me asking for name advice. She already has a son named Ralph Noah Daniel and is looking for the perfect name for his sister.
Katie and her partner are struggling to agree on girls' names. They have definitely settled on May as a middle name but are open to having two middle names.
Martha - This is Katie's favourite and one that she has loved for a daughter for many years.She would want another middle name in this case, as she doesn't want MM intials.
Her partner's list:
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The good news, Katie, is that, looking at both your lists, you have a lot to work with.
On first glance, your tastes in names in quite similar -- you both seem drawn to up-and-coming vintage choices -- but the rub is always in the subjective nature of our feelings for individual names, regardless of whether they fit our style.
I get the feeling that your differences boil down to the individual names themselves, rather than a disparity in taste. You seem more drawn to names with gentle refinery; your partner likes sprightly bell-tones.
A name for both:
Some of your choices, while distinct, are so similar in sound, that they lend themselves nicely to using nicknames. If choosing one name that you both agree on is difficult, having the option of using both a formal and informal name has a lot of advantages.
Martha -- I get the impression that this is the name that you have set your heart on but your partner isn't as enamoured as you are. Sitting on his list however is Marlow, which, with a bit of clever middle name use, could be daddy's nickname for Martha:
Martha Lois May "Marlo"
Martha Louisa May "Marlo"
Martha Louise May "Marlo"
Martha Lottie May "Marlo"
Martha Loretta May "Marlo"
Martha Lola May "Marlo"
Martha Lorelei May "Marlo"
Martha Loredana May "Marlo"
The combo Martha Clemence May could also lend itself to the sprightly nickname Marcie.
Alternatively, Martha Nora May could give you perky Marnie.
Beatrice -- You like Beatrice, he likes Betsy. Why not combine the two and use Beatrice "Betsy"? I've long felt that Betsy makes a perfect nickname for Beatrice (there are some examples of it being used as such in the 19th century) and this seems like a perfect opportunity.
Primrose -- Sweet, vintage and homely. Primrose strikes me as a name that would fit perfectly alongside Martha, Beatrice, Mabel and Flora. Rosie and Prim make great nicknames, as does my favourite, Posy.
If Posy tickles your fancy, it can also be used as a nickname for Josephine.
Clementine -- You love Emmeline, he loves Clemence. Pronounced klem-en-teen (like Clementine Churchill), sweet Clementine bridges the gap nicely between the two.
Genevieve -- A delicate antique with a bit of backbone, Genevieve is an uncommon medieval gem with a modern sound.
Violet -- Violet holds the middle ground between popular Olivia, spunky Betsy and genteel Audrey. Iris is an equally lovely floral option.
Iona -- If Scottish island-ispired Isla doesn't strike your fancy, perhaps the beautiful island of Iona might. It fits in with his list for syllable sounds but also strike a gentle vintage chord.
Nancy -- Spunky and sprightly, Nancy is a vintage choice that is really going places.
Willa -- Flora, Isla, Nora, Martha...Willa. Willa makes for a chic, hip but (bonus!) underused flapper choice.
Elodie -- Melodic bell-tones, with as much history and medieval-glamour as Beatrice, Mabel and Audrey
Theodora -- This name is on the rise, but it is still very uncommon. However, what stately Theodora also offers is hip nickname Thea or equally rising vintage petnames Dottie and Dolly.
Penelope -- Penelope has been gaining attention recently as more people are drawn to its lyrical syllables, multitude of nickname opportunities (Penny, Poppy, Polly, Nell) and delicate sophistication.
Clara -- If it were possible for a name to have a twin, then for me, Clara would be Martha's. Vintage, homely and dignified in one.
Edith -- Edith is perhaps the clunkiest of these suggestions but -- now in the top 200 -- it has serious hipster appeal. It also has much the same quirky-chirpy-cosy-knitted-jumper style as Ralph.
Verity -- A sweet, uncommon virtue (much like Clemence) with a vintage vibe.
Sylvie -- As gentle as Fleur, elegant as Audrey and similar in sound to Betsy. Sylvia is another great one to consider.
Anneliese -- Strictly this exotic choice is pronounced Ann-uh-lees-uh, but I doubt many Brits would quibble. Annalise is the more common spelling (currently #363) but both make for a striking and uncommon, pretty antique. Equally exotic-antique Anais is also worth considering.
Audra -- If you can't convince your partner on Audrey, perhaps Audra is more his style. Same route and origins, but a sleeker, less conventional choice.
Vivienne -- Between Evangeline and Clemence lies sleek and sophisticated continental choice Vivienne.
Tabitha -- A gentle biblical choice that became a sweet Victorian valentine. Tabitha has serious vintage appeal.
Hopefully some of these ideas will help, Katie. I'm sure the fabulous readers here will have more ideas for you.