This is a post years and years and years in the making.
It will likely come as no surprise that names are one of my favorite topics to think and talk and write about, but though I’ve devoted many words to discussing the names we actually chose for our three children (June, John Shepherd, and Susanna), I’ve never talked about the runners-up. Like, not ever. We hold our names close to the vest – even speculatively, and even in casual conversation, I’ve kept pretty tight lips when discussing future children’s names… forever.
But now that we have closed this chapter and all our names have been given out, discuss this topic we shall! I’m excited to talk about some of the other names we considered for our kiddos, and other names I love.
A few days before Annie was born, I clicked over to Nameberry to pull a few details for her name post. While there, I got sucked into their Baby Name DNA quiz, which labels your naming personality. (Take it here, if you’d like!) I was labeled a Charmer-Romantic, and I found it to be quite accurate:
This description reflects a lot of what we valued when choosing our kids’ names: that they are easy to spell and pronounce, that they’re not too “out there,” that they are “slightly rarer with a touch of whimsy,” and – ding ding ding! – that they are “personally significant to you in some way.” Here are the names Nameberry suggested a Charmer-Romantic might like:
I do, in fact, like most of these names in a general sense, and as you’ll see below, a few of them were even on my short list! Interestingly, I wouldn’t have chosen most of the names on Nameberry’s list of “names similar to Annie” (though I am, of course, partial to my own :))
With that background, what names were on our short list? Boys first, since, as you know, that was a much shorter short list!
William | This one was on my radar since high school. It’s classic, friendly, simple, sharp. I like the nickname Will. However, we had little personal connection to it, and it is a bit more common than I’d like.
Robert | My beloved Dad’s name! We would have gone with his nickname (Rob) over all the other options. However, it can sound a little harsh (you know, bank robbing and stuff), and is one of those names that sounds kind of funny on a baby :)
Hugh, Tate, and August | I’m lumping these together because they all fall into the same category for me: friendly-sounding, simple, classic names that I liked and jotted down over the years. I have no negative connotations with them, but also no personal connection to them. And August was pretty much out since we knew we’d have a June.
Washington | Before we knew Annie was a girl and we were kicking around potential names for a second boy, this was our top pick. It’s pretty bold, and we couldn’t really figure out a good nickname (Ash? Asher? Neither are really our style), but we loved its unabashed patriotic flair. (Of course everyone knows about George Washington, but I gained even more appreciation for him after I read His Excellency. Highly recommend!)
Aaaaaaand… that was it! Onto the gals!
Here are a few other names we considered for our daughters:
Mae | I absolutely love this name – sweet, simple, classic, lovely – and it would have been my top pick for a second girl if our first had not been named June. Without going full-on calendar theme for our kids, though, this one was unfortunately out.
Glory | We didn’t seriously consider this as a first name (a little too out there for our taste) but it was down to the wire as a middle name for Annie – we even had a pros and cons list debating our final two options. We loved the resonance for our faith, similar to Liberty, and just thought it was such a bold, confident, elegant choice that could guide our girl as she grew into her calling.
Sadie, Sally, and Scout | These three ring similar bells for me! Throwback in feel, sweet, fun, confident, simple, cheerful. Scout, of course, is plucked from my favorite book of all time, which makes me adore it, but in the end it was a little too off the beaten path for us. I think Susanna definitely fits in with this crew!
Claire | Another favorite! Lovely, simple, and strong, this is “one of those special names that is familiar yet distinctive, feminine but not frilly, combining historical depth with a modern edge,” as Nameberry puts it. I couldn’t agree more! Happily, my sister- and brother-in-law chose this for their daughter, so I still get to enjoy it in our family.
Eliza and Liza | To me, these could be described the same way as Claire – familiar yet distinctive, feminine but not frilly, historical depth, etc. Both get bonus points for nodding to my beloved Mom (though she spells her Elisabeth with an s). Since being added to my list Eliza has inched ever closer to the top – in an alternative universe, if we were to somehow have another child in a few years, I might put my money on this one.
Louisa | This one has such strong literary associations, which endears it to me. It feels elegant and strong but also lends itself to bubbly nicknames.
Swannanoa | A total wildcard to round this list out! We never seriously considered naming a child this, but bantered it around as a whimsical option :) It’s inspired by the Swannanoa River that runs through Asheville, a place that holds so many memories for us, and the poet in me loves its lyrical sound. Just try saying it out loud! So lovely. Annie could have been a nickname here, too.
And there you have it! This feels a little like baring my soul, ha. If you’d like to bare yours, please comment with some of your top name contenders for future children, your name runners-up if you already have children, or just plain names that you love. (Of course, from personal experience, I’d also understand if even typing them in the comments of a random blog post feels too revealing! :)) Let’s have at it!!