Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baby Namin': Part 2

There are so many ways to generate baby names, and so many things to consider.

GENERATING BABY NAMES
When it comes to the generating part, I've tried a few things; I consider names in our family history, read books, trawl sites, free associate, welcome dear friends' ideas, and making lists.  Here are some of my favourite GENERATING process:

Playing on Nymbler
Of the things I've come across while brainstorming, one of my favourite finds is Nymbler. 
It looks like this:
You can type in up to 6 names you like, then hit "Find Names," and the site generates lists of names with similar sounds / origins / popularity.  Then you can one-click add names from here to "blocked" and "like" lists -- then those names stop popping up.  Then you hit "Find Names" again.  I like it because I tire of alphabetical lists.  And I also feel like there's a smidgen of science to what's being spat at me here...less needle in a haystack and more needle in a pile of pins.

Using "Advanced Search"
Rather than clicking through names sorted alphabetically alone, (or another alternative list of someone else's design), I enjoy producing my own lists sorted by what I've entered into an advanced search.  BabyNames.com offers fields that look like this:
I instead mouse my way through "Two-syllable names ending in O," or some other sound combination I'm interested to explore alongside the existing names in our family.

Finding at least one baby name book to have around the house
I checked out about ten baby name books and flicked through each before settling on the book that would serve as my baby name bible.  I returned the rest promptly.  I like to have something with weight, something I can lay back with on the couch...something I can flick through when there's a minute here or there.  This time around, the book I found easiest on my eye and brain (surprisingly), was this one:
(The Brilliant Book of Baby Names, Pamela Redmon Satran & Linda Rosenkrantz)
I say "surprisingly," because that cover and those sub-title lines do nothing for me.  But the book's layout, humour and name selection is more colourful and entertaining than many other guides I've read (which have very similar content).

CONSIDERATIONS WHEN CHOOSING A NAME
Questions baby-namers everywhere most likely all know well:
Have I volunteered my child to be a victim?  How common is this name?  Do I remember something or someone to do with this name that I can't shake the associate with (and I'd rather not have that association)?  How hard is it to spell?  To pronounce?  What initials does it produce with the other names?  Does it work with our family name?

The list goes on and on.

Two things I do...

Checking Public Records
For Haki, popularity isn't an issue.

For me, (an ex-teacher...and a fan of less common names), it is certainly a consideration.

I like to check what has been popular in New Zealand for the past few years, as well in the States
I can handle a name being in the top 250.  I become less enthused when a name is in the top 10.
I would consider names that have never ranked.  Haki has an aversion to anything unusual.  Most non-ranking names qualify.

This from a man called "Haki," right?  And the open-mindedness from an "Angela."
Figures.


Having Weird "Rules"
When I come across a name, I screen it against a series of rules I've invented to see how it fares.  Some rules can be broken or overturned for a great name, but if a name doesn't meet all of my hoped-for criteria, I usually don't write it down anywhere.  So I guess they're preferences, really.

Some preferences this time around (they have changed as our existing name pool has taken on its own identity):
  1. The name should be spelled either how it sounds or how you would think it should be spelled.   
  2. Two syllables.
  3. No repeat of start sound or end sound of my other girls' names.  For example, our third's name will not start with E for Esky or I for Ivy, nor would it end the same way (my girls' names have different ends sounds in real life).
Do you have any weird rules?  
Does popularity matter in your household?
And do you turn to any tools to help you in your quest, or do you have some other organic / beautiful / unusual / alternative method? 

If you missed it = Baby Namin': Part 1
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