Canadians Lauren and James are expecting baby #2, a brother or sister for their son Malcolm James, and are looking for name inspiration.
Lauren writes: "Malcolm is from the Scottish king and the James is my husband's first name. For our next child, I'm pretty set on the girl's first name of Eleanor (from Eleanor of Aquitaine who was a total bad ass) that I picked out when I was pregnant the first time. I wouldn't mind some guidance on a middle name option and would prefer a one-syllable Rose? Mae?
Of more concern though is a suggestion for a complimentary boys name. My husband and I have thought about Patrick but I'm still not sold on it. The runner-up right now is Alistair but my husband's not a fan.
I really like historical names. When we were pregnant the first time I looked for baby names by searching through lists of UK monarchs. It doesn’t have to be a royal name, but I do like names that have been around 800+ years. For middle names, the history factor is not as important but rather something that works. Ideally, I would like a name that everyone is familiar with (not explaining how to spell it every time) but still not super popular.
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Patrick and Alistair are both fantastic names – especially with Malcolm. But, sometimes, however perfectly a name fits, it just doesn't sit right. The good news is that there are plenty of other fantastic options which work equally well.
I must confess that I have limited knowledge of popularity of names in Canada, so have used the 2015 data from British Columbia as a general guide.
And, Eleanor! Well, what can I say really? I'm totally biased, but I really do think its a fabulous name and has always served me very well.
Alick – Alexander is a family name; Alistair is a Scottish form. If Alistair doesn't quite cut the mustard, how about the short form Alick? Alec is the more common spelling, but Alick feels a little bit more substantial as a standalone name, which has been used on its own since at least the 19th century.
Dominic – The sounds of Patrick combined with the debonair smoothness of Alistair. Dominic is a stately, historic name which has been born by popes and saints (balancing Malcolm's saintly and kingly heritage) that also feels down-to-earth and friendly.
Lachlan – A fabulous Scottish name with bags of modern appeal but with an ancient heritage. It started life as a Scottish name for a Scandinavian -- literally a "loch lander" -- and quickly established itself as a given name. It was particularly notable in Clan MacLean and Clan Mackintosh in the Middle Ages. In BC in 2015, it shared a ranked with Patrick at #194.
Arthur – Also sharing the same rank as Lachlan and Patrick is kingly Arthur -- a name of myth, legend, and chivalry. As well as heroic, Arthur also feels quaint and homely. Henry VIII's elder brother was Arthur, Prince of Wales, and so was the reigning King Arthur England almost had.
Angus – A distinguished yet friendly name borne by Pictish and Irish kings. In Irish myth, Aengus was the ancient god of youth and poetic inspiration.
Fergus– A stylish Gaelic name meaning "man of courage" which was popular in medieval Scotland and Ireland.
Russell – Both a medieval nickname meaning "little red one" and the once common name for a fox. There is evidence that Russell was once used as a given name in the Middle Ages, and it was famously the surname of the aristocratic Russell family, Dukes of Bedford.
Harvey – An Old Breton name meaning "battle worthy." It was brought to Britain by the Normans and was popular in the Middle Ages. As knightly as Richard but with a vintage twist.
Magnus – A Late Latin name meaning "great" which has been borne by Scandinavian kings and long popular in Scotland alongside Malcolm. If you don’t mind that shares initial with Malcolm, the two make a very handsome pair, or you can shorten it to adorable Gus.
Rhys – Malcolm is to Scottish royalty what Rhys is to Welsh royalty. A strong, brisk name (meaning "ardent, enthusiastic") which has a modern sound but thousands of years of history and heritage. Rhys ap Gruffudd (Lord Rhys) is a national hero in Wales and he is just one of the many many medieval princes to bear the name.
Griffin – Gruffudd (Griffith) is another great princely name in Wales which has been borne by many a hero. Griffin was an anglicised form and was actually pretty popular in its own right in Tudor England.
Douglas – A sturdy-reliable with a sweet charm, Douglas is a Scottish clan name which has been used as a given name since at least the 16th century. Clan Douglas was one of the most powerful families of the Kingdom of Scotland and eventually became the Earls of Douglas.
Hector – A fantastically heroic name thanks to the hero of Troy who was known for his virtue and bravery. So heroic was Hector that he became one of the Nine Worthies in the Middle Ages, and his name was also given to an Arthurian knight. Hector has had long use in Scotland as an Anglicised form of the Gaelic name Eachann. Hector Boece (c. 465–536) was a notable Scottish historian, famous for writing the Historia Gentis Scotorum (History of the Scottish People).
Hamish – A handsome and kingly Scottish form of James which would mean both boys would share a name linked to their father's.
Gavin – The medieval form of Gawain – the gallant and loyal Arthurian knight – which has long been used in Scotland. It ranked at #66 in BC in 2015 making it not too popular, but definitely stylish.
Cormac – Dashing and bold, Cormac is an ancient kingly name from Ireland. Heritage and style wrapped in one.
Eleanor Jane – A simple and sweet name with plenty of strength and backbone. So many notable women (real and in fiction) have borne the name from including royalty and saints.
Eleanor Alice – Like Jane, Alice also marries charm and gentility with determination and strength. In the Middle Ages, troubadours often sang of the beautiful "Fair Aelis" and it has been borne by several princesses.
Eleanor Lucy – A sweet and saintly name with a hint of sass. Lucy has been a staple since the Middle Ages.
Eleanor Gwen – A charming Welsh name which has ancient roots and a hint of magic. Gwen alone means "white, fair, blessed" and has a heritage so ancient that it was attached to several Celtic deities. From Gwen came the lyrical Gwenhwyfar (the fair queen Guinevere of Arthurian legend) and the medieval Welsh name Gwenllian which was popular among Welsh royalty.
Eleanor Grace – Rose, May/e and Grace may be the standard go-to middle name for girls, but that doesn't make them any less lovely. Grace has a long history of use (it was popular in Tudor England)
Eleanor Mary – A name of queens and saints and many a literary heroine. Mary is a sweet staple which no longer feels overused.
Eleanor Ivy – A short and sweet floral which packs a punch. Ivy has a lovely Victorian heritage and vintage charm.
Eleanor Maeve – If Mae takes your fancy, how about Maeve, a great warrior queen from Irish legend much akin to Boudicca, as well as real early Irish princesses.
Eleanor Tess – A pocket-sized literary gem with packs a punch. Tess has a plenty of substance, strength and style.
I hope this has been of use. Good luck with the name choosing!