Did you know there's a word for that?
Nomatophilia: an unusual affection for, or obsession with names
When we've searched for names for our children, we wanted to find names that held meaning, sounded nice, could be shortened to a nickname, and that they wouldn't be sharing with too many other people their age. Call me a snob, but I've pretty much ruled out any name that's appeared in the top 100 for the few years before their births. Even if I liked it.
I was once in a Spanish class in high school that had 20 students. Of those 20, there were 3 Erins (myself included) and 1 Aaron. That's 1/5 of the class who shared a name. I didn't really like it. Additionally, my middle name is Marie. My parents chose it after a close friend of theirs, but still... it really seemed like everyone's middle name was Marie. I didn't really like that, either. I also couldn't shorten my common name to be called something different.
When I moved out west, I hardly met any women named Erin. Plenty of men named Aaron, and a whole civilization of people who can't spell my name for the life of them. I guess it's a regional or cultural thing. There are just lots of women named Erin in New England. So being away from home my name is a little more... exotic. No?
I like the idea of passing down family names, but none of our female family names met the other requirements. I really love what we chose instead: Puritan virtue names.
Now, when I googled this earlier I got some pretty wacky stuff. Like this. We're not that crazy. We didn't want names that weren't names at all, or anything that stimulated a gag reflex. You know, out of kindness for our children and the entire human race.
As I've done more family history research lately, I am thrilled by all of the virtue names I'm seeing! My family has lived in New England for nearly 400 years now- have I mentioned how much I love being a New Englander? The pride runs deep. 400 years deep, in fact. In any case, it's been pretty awesome to find all of these Puritans living all over New England for centuries, and to see names like Patience, Thankful, Silence, Mercy, and Prudence all over my family tree.
I can't pinpoint it exactly, but there's something about it that I love. Maybe it's because, in a less direct way, I am passing down my heritage.
For our girls we chose lighter, prettier sounding names, which could then be shortened (to something a little less direct in meaning) if they reach adolescence and decide they need to be cool or something.
Verity is another word for "truth," stemming from the Latin "veritas," it's more of a poetic word now. Most people have never heard it before, and most people tell me they think it's so pretty and ask how I came up up with it. We shorten it to Vera, which is a Slavic name meaning "faith."
Her middle name is Moriah, after the mount on which Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac, and on which Solomon's temple is also thought to have been built. And it's pretty, right? I love it.
Liberty is more common, I think in particular after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 this name became more popular. Its meaning is more obvious. We often call her Libby (no, I'm still not set on a spelling for this... HELP!?!), or Libs.
Her middle name is Madison, after the 4th president of the United States and "Father of the Constitution." I let the popularity ranking slide on this one because it's her middle name. And Husband was pretty thrilled that I consented to naming at least one of our children after a founding father. (If it were up to him, all boys who join our family would be called as follows: Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Washington.. etc.) This one I could run with.
It just happened to work out that the syllables match in each of their names. We didn't plan it. Not to downplay the importance of syllables, because... just say the whole name together and it should come out of your mouth like a song! Am I right?
This is where I hear my sister laughing and saying, "We think about these things way too much!"
And she may be right. I may be a hopeless nomatophile for the rest of my life. But I'm kind of okay with that.
It will sort of pose a problem though, should we ever have a third little girl. Do we keep up the pattern? Is that fun and meaningful? Or just plain cheesy and annoying? I mean, we all know a family whose names all match in some way... does everyone roll their eyes at that? Or is it fun to be part of?
I dunno.. I'm on the fence. While I would never use virtue names from my ancestors (Prudence?! Oh heck no!), there are a few others that I think are positively adorable for little girls: Amity, Felicity, Melody. We'll see.
What about you? How did you choose the names for your children? And what do you think of sibling names following a pattern? Cute or obnoxious?