What's In A Name?

Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Social Security Administration just released the top 100 baby names of 2009 (here). I just love playing the name game and dreaming up names for my future kiddos. Even more so, I like learning about the meaning behind certain names and am a fairly frequent visitor of this website. Don’t judge me, it’s fun.

Surprisingly, Hannah is #23 on the SSA list, which is pretty high on the popularity index. When brainstorming names for our child, we were very deliberate in giving our her/him a name that would have a certain significance. We chose Hannah, which means “God’s grace or favor or blessing,” for several reasons. One reason being that I had been hoping and praying for a child for a little while and when we found out we were expecting, I felt incredibly blessed and favored. Plus, the Hannah of the Old Testament was an incredibly strong woman, the mother of the prophet Samuel, and a woman who kept her promise to God. A woman I hope my own child will emulate. My Hannah’s middle name, Claire, is after St. Clare of Assisi. A beautiful and devout woman, and I like to think, a tomboy too since she kept up with St. Francis and his gang. We love Hannah Claire’s name and even more, I love the deep meaning associated with it.

As for future children (which I pray God blesses us with), I have so many names that I like. Boys names are easy since we’re uber-traditional when it comes to names of the male variety. We like John (Jack maybe?), Andrew, Matthew, James, Peter, etc.

However, I feel we can be a little more creative with girls names. We both like Isabella for our next girl’s name. Isabella is Spanish for Elizabeth and it also means “God’s gift." How cute would it be to have both our girls’ names mean relatively the same thing? (Can you tell I’m already planning that our next baby will be a girl?) However, and this is a big however, Isabella is currently number 1 on the Social Security names index and I’m not a fan of giving my children super popular names. That being said, we’d probably call her Bella, which means “beautiful,” so maybe we could get away with having an Isabella. I also like the name Ella, which is similar to Bella, but Matthew says no. And Madalena, which is a variation on Magdalene (for St. Mary Magdalene), is a favorite of mine, but again, Matthew says no go (but I‘m hoping I can convince him otherwise on this one).

Then I started thinking since Hannah is a palindrome, wouldn't it be cute if all our girls' names were palindromes? We could give our girls names like Elle and Ava. I like both those names too. Don’t worry, I’m not really serious about that, but it would be clever.

What are your favorite names and why? Please share.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, I am totally weird about popular baby names- I tend to dislike them. I love the Baby Name Wizard book which gives popular name graphs from 1900-2010.

    Do you know why Isabella is so popular? I think it's that Twilight series. Blec, in my opinion. I haven't read them or watched the movies, but that's just me.

    Anyway, it does pain me that Isabel has a variation of the most popular name. We call her "Belle" a lot, which is somewhat less popular.

    I love your boys names, and have the same on my list. Girls names are difficult for me. Isabel was Ryan's grandmother, and I have thought of a grandmother theme- here are the choices there: Dorothy (ok, but I don't like Dora as a nickname), JoAnn (pretty ok with that), or Elenor (hmmm).

    Always great to dream!! wow this was a long comment from your most dedicated blog reader :)

    I like the palindrome thing, it's original in my opinion.....

    let's home you have many more names to choose for all your Richer babies!!

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  2. I meant "hope" in the last sentence. :)

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  3. I love Isabel's name and love Belle for a nickname. So cute.

    I remember that Isabel is named after Ryan's grandmother, but a grandmother theme? It would be sweet. My grandmother's name is Eleanor too, which is why I thought of naming a daughter Ella or Elle, which I think are really cute names. What do you think of those? And Dorothy? Hmm. Joanne is cute though. Do you think your next child will be a girl? I feel like since we have a girl, we're just in girl mode and subsequently all are children will be girls. Probably dumb, I know. But do you feel that way?

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  4. I love reading this now that you have Abby - you didn't even mention her name as a possible name when you named Hannah! I'm fascinated by how people pick names for their children - there are so many ways to go about it!

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