A Rose by any Name…

Mostly, this post is an excuse for a gratuitous link to the Utah Baby Namer, which still can make me howl with laughter, even after a dozen visits.

A few weeks ago, I was in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office with my three children, sitting across from a woman who was dressed the way I always think I’d dress if I were a little braver (and thinner and prettier)–kinda funky, bright-colored shirt, jeans that weren’t from the Gap, excellent hot pink shoes. After we had been there a few minutes, she said “Excuse me, I think I just overheard you calling your children Peter and Louisa–are those their names?”

I said yes, and she continued, “that’s amazing–my two oldest children are named Peter and Louisa, too. This is Cleo,” she said, introducing the one child she had with her. “Wow,” I said, “I have a niece named Cleo–what are the odds?” We talked for a couple of minutes about how we had chosen the names (nice missionary opportunity for me, since my Louisa’s named after Louisa Greene Richards, the founding editor of the Woman’s Exponent), and then the nurse called Cleo in, and I’ve never seen this woman again. But I’ve thought about her several times–it seems like surely we should be best friends. I’ve attached such deep significance to the process of choosing a name, that I can’t help imagining that someone who chose the same names for her children must be like me in some profound way. Of course that’s silly–probably most of us end up picking names that are in the most common hundred or two hundred names in any given year. Still, almost everyone spends a lot of time and care choosing names for their offspring. Are Mormons just like everyone else in this way, or do we Mormons, with our acute consciousness of the links between generations, bring something unique to the process?

[Here’s something that seems very Mormon to me, but I kinda hope I’m the only Mormon girl who has done this: when I was 11-15ish, I used to have very elaborate fantasies about my future family. I dreamed of having *lots* of kids, at least 10, and I loved to pick out their names (as well as what instrument they would play). You can guess what I was interested in, what books I was reading, etc., by comparing the names from year to year. Here are a couple of lists from my journals:

Mary Catherine (violin)
Laura (writer, violin)
Carrie (viola)
Grace (violin)
Sarah (piano)
Elizabeth (flute)
Michael (trumpet)
John (trombone)
Richard (cello)
James (clarinet)
Thomas (timpani)
Amy (ballet)

Megan (oboe)
Kristyn (flute)
Robyn (piano)
Justin (clarinet)
Corbin (bassoon)
Stefan (French horn)
Tallyn (violin)
Karin (viola)
Maren (violin)
Gavin (cello)

There are lots more, but I imagine this should provide sufficient material for mockery!]


  1. We’re expecting a son in May, so we’ve been thinking some about names. Problem is, our first son is named for his father and both his grandfathers — His name is Ronald Stanley (we call him Stanley). I’m Ronald Bryce, my dad is Ronald Noriyuki, and Kristen’s dad is Stanley.

    I like names that I’m pretty sure will be around for decades. Kristen’s a bit more trendy.

    As for instruments, Kristen likes to plan those out a bit too, although I’m pretty much set on piano or guitar for everyone. After that, I don’t care much. I’m hoping for SATB, though (right now, it looks like AABX, unfortunately).

  2. Oh, the problem is that we’ve run out of family names — Kristen’s grandfathers are Melvin and Fred, and mine are Shake (Shigeki) and Yukus (Yukiyoshi). Didn’t make that clear.

  3. DKL's Wife says:

    The fact that you’re amused by the Utah Baby Namer reminds me of the first time that I saw “Singles Ward.” I was skeptical—come on, a Mormon comedy? But when I read on the box that it contained roomates named Dallen, Eldon, and Hyrum, I new it was going to be really good. There is something very funny about this not just because the names sometimes seem odd, cliche, or typical. It’s also funny that naming is a Mormon cultural differentiator.

    Then, of course, there are three of Fletch’s favorite names—Marvin, Velma, and Provo. (Fletch: Provo, Spain? Pan Am Clerk: Utah.)

    Thankfully, my non-Utah Mormon family went after very basic names, after my oldest brother George (named for our father) it was all biblical: Peter, David, Mary, Rebecca (aka Becky).

  4. DK Landrith says:

    Oops. That previous post was me, DKL. My wife does not have any siblings or parents named George, Peter, David, Mary, or Becky. And she never, ever quotes Fletch. I’m on my wife’s laptop, and I forgot to change the pre-filled name and email address.

  5. Rosalynde says:

    Kris, perhaps you will not be surprised to learn that I, exactly like you, planned out the names, personalities and instruments of my numerous future children… For a long time I was enamored with the name “Vienna,” which appears in the D&C; I wrote a *very* extensive diary in fifth and sixth grades addressed to “Dear Vienna.” Then I went through a phase where I wanted to have all girls, but give them (slightly altered) boys’ names: Ryanne, Kevanne, Mikal, Dylanne, you get the idea. And I was sure I was going to marry somebody with the last name “Armstrong.”

    I’ve had to assert the will to subdue my prideful distress at having a son named “Jack,” which is presently so trendy. His actual name is John–the seventh in a line of John Welch patronyms–and the tradition has been alternating generations of “Jack” and “John.” I feel like I have to apologize every time someone comments how popular his name is, “I’m really not that kind of person, I would never dream of giving my child a trendy name, but it’s a family thing…”

  6. My wife and I spent a significant amount of time discussing and debating names before the arrival of our first baby. We had not reached a decision when the baby came 2 weeks early. When we were getting ready to take her home from the hospital we realized that she needed a name, so my wife suggested one that neither of us had mentioned in our months of deliberation. I said “Sounds good to me” and we never looked back. So we abandoned months of work for a name we discussed for all of 10 seconds.

    And we couldn’t be happier with little Dorcas.

  7. My girls LOVE the name Dorcas.

    Too much Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

  8. I refer everyone to this excellent thread on names over at Kulturblog.

  9. Just kidding. Actually it’s Erin. Didn’t mean to make fun of anyone actually named Dorcas, be they Biblical, musical, or otherwise.

  10. gst —

    I won’t tell my girls.

  11. DK Landrith says:

    Interesting post at Kulturblog. It lists Madison as the number 2 girl name. When my wife and I named our oldest daughter Madison it was an unusual name for a girl (7 years ago). In fact, we don’t know of any girl named Madison that is older than her outside of “Splash.” Now we look really trendy and we don’t even have Rosalynde’s excuse that it’s a family name. At any rate, Madison’s nickname is Publius. Our other girl’s names are Jordan, Alex, and Hanna. Jordan and Hanna are family names. We chose Alex just because it fits.

    What’s amazing is how the a kid’s name becomes him and vice versa. Masidon is the perfect Madison, and no other name could ever do. Some for my other daughters. How does this happen?

  12. My wife and I sometimes toss around possible names for future kids and we’ve found it much easier to come up with girl names that we both really like than to think of satisfactory boy names. Anyone else have the same bias (or its inverse)?

  13. Kristine,

    Is Louisa Greene Richards an ancestor of yours? If so, then *gasp* you might be related to John and I, albeit distantly. She married my great great great grandfather’s cousin, Levi Willard Richards.

    Interestingly, though completely irrelevant, Levi Willard was Willard Richards’ nephew. Levi’s cousin, Franklin D. Richards (my great great great grandfather), who of course was also Willard Richards’ nephew from another brother (Phineas) ended up marrying Willard’s widow (his AUNT!!). So my great great great grandmother is also my great great great great aunt (or something like that…)

    Of course, that has absolutely nothing to do with your post whatsoever. So are you related to Louisa Greene Richards? :)

  14. I sometimes will show the Utah Baby namer to people who have names that should be on the list or who have kids with names that should be on the list. Its obnoxious yet necessary.

    The trend that is most difficult for me to take are the combinations of parents names that are sometimes used. Regardless of a child’s gender, a child’s name that is based on a combined male and female first name will usually turn out really strange.

  15. Dorcas is a good Greek name. It’s unfortunate that it sounds a lot like “Dork”.

    I think that a psychiatrist could make some hay out of KHH’s second list of names. Why is it that they all end in the same sound? Must be some kind of pathology at work.

  16. Kristine, I once filled pages and pages with lists of names, usually with middle names also because my 13 future children were not sufficient to accomodate all the good ones. Occasionally I got completely carried away in the tradition of my great uncle Adam Methuselah Lafayette Washington Jefferson Ator. When it came to naming actual babies (and after one I was sure for a while that one was enough) Heber and I made lists, traded them, and crossed off anything which did not bear discussing. I think he was enjoying too much toying with my hormonal pregnant self as he regularly included the likes of Hardeknut Aldebaron and Mohandes Xiao Ping. I would not rise to the bait and refused to cross them off. We then chose from among those which remained on both lists. Justin, the boys took more work than the girls. And DKL, they really do grow into their names. It is difficult to imagine them as anyone else.

    So, they are named:

    Clarence (for the grandfather whose birthday he shares and Heber’s and my paternal grandfathers) William (for another great grandfather and so we could have a name we were willing to call him. None of those other Clarences were called Clarence either.)

    Ansel (for Ansel Adams) Joseph (Heber’s middle name – he is now Joe after growing tired of being called both Hansel and Gretel in elementary school and a***ole in middle school)

    Amy (my best friend in highschool – it was on both of our lists, and a good thing because while I was sleeping after she was born Heber brought the boys to the hospital to see her and they said, “where’s Amy?”) Madeline (which I got to choose as they had chosen the first name without consulting me. And I was very happy with the name they had chosen because Will had wanted to name her Yellow Melisande and Ansel had chosen Blue Navy Car.)

    Lucy (Heber’s mother) Linnea (my mother)

    and Felix (Mendelsohn) Grant (because Heber wouldn’t let me use Heber and we had already given Joseph to Ansel – and Heber was named after H.J.Grant)

    So they sort of have Utah Mormon names, but not ones which would fit on that website, maybe. None of these names were on any of my childhood lists, either.

    Rosalynde, was there a particular Armstrong you intended to marry? My nephew is named Jack. His father is John. He was three months old and not yet listed on the health insurance for lack of a name. His parents had discussed any number of names for which he would have been beaten up daily in Jr. High One day my sister said to her husband, “We are naming him today. It will be Adjuwan Djibouti (you have to make the wan last a dotted whole note) or Jack Logan. You decide.” Yes, the Logan is for Wolverine.

  17. Danithew,
    I disagree. Wife-Kami, me-Nate, daughter-Kate.

  18. Ah, Baby names. I’m currently pregnant with a girl (as far as they can tell) and she’s due in May. I stopped thinking about baby names when I was twelve. If I told my husband that I wanted to name a little girl, Gjen, (pronounced “Gin,” and I got the inspiration for it from a fancy gin bottle I saw at a garage sale) he’d laugh. But, I want to name our baby girl, Minnie, after my grandmother. She was born in Hyde Park Utah almost 100 years ago and moved to Minidoka County Idaho when she was a young teenager.

    When people ask what I want to name her I kind of blush when I say Minnie because it seems so cutesy. But it is a family history name I say. It could be worse, that same Grandma named my Dad, Norvel.

    Or what do you think about Sally Idaho? ;->

  19. I wasn’t raised as a Mormon and have no memories of doodling children’s names until I was pregnant with our first child. However, the one that stuck with me from my childhood was Gareth, from the Arthurian legends and that is the name of our second oldest. The other three of our children all have names from the scriptures — a trend that was never planned but somehow just evolved.

  20. John Mansfield says:

    We named my oldest son Anson, after an uncle and several ancestors on my mother’s side. It was a bit disorienting for my uncle when we visited to hear his name being called, and for the first time in twenty-five years, it was being used to call someone else. For us Johns, our name is completely contextual.

    My wife is Elizabeth. I sometimes wonder how differently John and Elizabeth would be perceived if we went by Betty and Jack, or Jay and Liz.

  21. Jordan Fowles, Franklin D. Richards is Hebers great-great-grandfather, so you are, what?, fifth cousin to my kids.

  22. Mary, I love Sally. Would it be Sally? Or Sarah? Jack Logan’s little sister is Sally Linnea. My brother has a Rachel Linnea, and my other sister has a Linnea Jane (both of her grandmothers).

  23. About the time our fourth child was born, we discovered that their first initials, rearranged, spelled my first name: Maryanne, Andrew, Rachel, Kathryn.

    Our fifth child, David, shares his first initial with his mother. I used to tell people that we were going to name our next five children so their initials would complete their mother’s name.

    Hasn’t happened. Ain’t gonna.

    I did know a family (you may know of some of them too, so they’ll go unnamed) where the parents’ first names shared the same first letter. So, all the children–six or seven, I could never keep track–also got stuck with the same letter.

    Would have been easier if it had been a C or R or even W, but it was V. Good luck!

  24. John, Louisa Greene Richards is not an ancestor of mine. But I think Adam’s bio mentions that his wife is a Richards, so maybe there’s a link there.

  25. Rosalynde, my kids go to school in Beverly, MA, where the D&C Vienna was from. Is that enough of an excuse to get you to come visit sometime? :)

  26. Boy names are harder than girl names if you’re picky. There are fewer of them.

    Actually, for me, that makes it easier. Fewer choices = easier choice.

    I have a list of the most common boys and girls names from the 1990 Census. There are 1219 boys names and 4275 girls names (note: this actually doesn’t include all names, just the names that appear in the top 90% of the population as ranked by name popularity).

  27. I wonder how much the prevalence of girl’s names has to do with the slow creep from boy to girl (not much the other way). Example: Shannon, Jordan, once strong boys names are almost exclusively female now. Its like the ocean wearing away the island.

    On unique naming trends – On my mission I knew a family that named their kids in alphabetical order. They had 9 kids & The ones still at home were:

    F(Can’t remember), Gens, Hans, & Issac

  28. Forget the names, let’s talk instruments!

    My vote is for guitar. While piano is more useful, it might be TOO useful. You could end up playing the hymns for sacrament meeting for years at a time. The guitar is fun, portable, and allows you to play Led Zeppelin.

  29. Lamonte John says:

    For my wife and I it was all about family and rythem. I have a Welsh name that usually fools people. My LAST name is John. After you gat past that problem then it seemed like it was important to have at least 2 syllables to go with the short last name. Bill John is just too short and insignificant. Then we chose family names but tried to make them contemporary. Jeremiah (a great grandfather) is called Jeremy. Christian, our second son, has always been Christian (his preference) and never Chris. Andrew was supposed to be called Drew (we don’t like Andy) but he has remained Andrew. Our last attempt to have a girl was unsuccessful and we named him Jordan. Now we know at least 2 other couples who have daughters named Jordan (oops!) Middle names are also from the family tree. Jermiah Williams (the same Great Grandpa) Christian Thomas (my wife’s grandfather’s first name and her grandmother’s maiden name – more of those funny Welsh names), Andrew Lewis (my wife’s maiden name) and Jordan Llewellyn (my Welsh grandfather’s name and the last King of Wales – not the same person!). It was important to us and we had some fun as well. The youngest is 20 years old.

  30. Lamonte:

    Is that Christian John the one living in Brooklyn? Your note about your children’s ages woke me up to that possibility.

    If so, I had a nice chat Sunday with him and Amy, but their daughter slept through it all.

  31. Interesting thread, Kris.

    As for Mardell and I, we discussed names ad nauseum. We both have unusual names, and we both like that. So we wanted our kids to have unusual names as well, but not too crazy. That’s been an underlying theme, and I think we’ve pulled it off.

    Sullivan was a family name, and we gave him my middle name / grandather’s name David as a middle name. I’ve always thought that Sullivan David is a pretty nice combination.

    As for Kace (pronunce like “Casey” — yes, we’re weird), his was just a spur-of-the-moment thing. We were kicking names around (I liked “Tennyson” but Mardell wasn’t too sure) when someone said Kace, and it immediately stuck. So he’s Kace Solomon.

    (Solomon is another family name. By coincidence, that also created the middle name sequence of David and Solomon).

    Finally, Indigo is our little girl. We were kicking around other names — Anise was a possibility, Charisma was a possibility; I kind of liked Chrysanthemum, but Mardell wouldn’t hear of that. When she was born, with the biggest, darkest blue eyes, it was settled. She became Indigo Rose. (Rose is also a family name).

    Of course, since I’m an inveterate nicknamer (and since the kids inherited that trait), they each have half-a-dozen or more working nicknames.

  32. Kaimi —

    You should have had Mardell read this book.

  33. Lamonte John says:


    Yes, Christian is my son. Isn’t their daughter a beautiful baby? (Proud grandpa talking!)

  34. My good friend and Samba Canasta nemisis Joseph Ponczoch met his future wife while we were studying abroad in Austria. They named their first child Vienna.

  35. Julie in Austin says:

    Here are the rules for naming a baby in this house:

    (1) must end with ‘n’
    (2) must have two syllables
    (3) must be uncommon but not ‘invented’
    (4) middle name number of syllables must indicate birth order in reverse
    (5) middle name must lend easily to nicknames and be ‘solid’

    Simon Alexander
    Nathan Christopher
    Truman Michael

    final child will be Jason or Helen, with one syllable middle name.

    (Yes, I am this uptight.)

  36. My brother-in-law just had a baby, they named him Seamus.

    Thus, seafaring pirate culture is preserved through the generations…. and if you guys ever read this, I’m totally just kidding.

  37. DKL,

    FYI, Madison was the 15th most popular name for the girl in the U.S. in 1996, the 10th most popular in 1997, the 9th most popular in 1998, and the 7th most popular in 1999:


    There was a good article in the NYTimes awhile back about baby name memes, including the Madison meme, reprinted here:


  38. I was going to post the same link, but wendy beat me to it.

    Here it is in click-through form: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

  39. Lamont-

    So your son was named Jordan John? Sounds like my mom calling my brother and I when she was angry! ;)

    Seriously thought, I knew several girls with the name Jordan, and I always thought it was kind of cool that my name was sort of unisex. I was trying to convince my wife to name our daughter Jordan because it seemed one opportunity to actually have a daughter named after daddy, but she thought it would be too weird.

    Naming in our family has been strictly biblical- with small asides for middle names:

    Peter Jordan
    Leah Elizabeth
    Hannah Mae

    And it will continue to be so, should we have any more children. Biblical names are just so solid. I love them! We would love to have a little Elijah…

  40. Kristine, two of my brothers are named Peter and Samuel. Does this mean *I* have a shot at being your friend too? Or just that my parents do? My great-grandmother was a Haglund, if that helps my case any.

    I have some pretty strong opinions about names, and I have to restrain myself from being too officious with other people about their name choices. Let me just say that I’m immensely grateful my parents gave me a name that is

    1) Not overly common,
    2) Straightforward to spell and pronounce,
    3) Timeless (i.e., not trendy),
    4) A good match for my middle and last names, and
    5) A palindrome.

    I am bent on sticking to these criteria when I have children of my own, except for the palindrome part. There just aren’t enough options, and besides it would be gimmicky.

    I’m perversely grateful for people who give their children strange invented or trendy names, because they make the good classic names stand out all the more.

  41. Ah, come on Anna:


    That’s enough for two boys and two girls.

  42. Lamonte,

    Yeah. But my granddaughter is cuter! :-)

  43. Kaimi,

    By that progression, your daugter’s middle name should have been Bathsheba.

  44. Anna,

    I look forward to meeting your child, “racecar.”

  45. Your daughter would have killed you when she reached 6th grade if you had named her Anise.

    And I’m not sure I would have blamed her.

  46. Jordan, we like Biblical names too. Louisa is also named after Lois from 2 Timothy:5.

    Samuel’s name is a weak Biblical joke, because the timing of his arrival was such a surprise. Like Eli, when we first heard the pitter patter of little feet, our response was “we didn’t call you!!”

    If we had another boy, he’d be Thomas, and if we had another girl, we’d cheat with the apocryphal Susanna(h).

  47. My wife and I had a hard time agreeing on names. We came up with a long list of possibilities, and then scratched them out one by one — too common; too weird; not pronounceable in German; not pronounceable in English (she liked Sanseirei, or something); doesn’t go with the the last name; etc. For our son, the only name left standing at the end of this process was Soren, a name I had suggested as a possibility while looking at my bookshelf and spotting my philosophy books. We’re not Danish and it wasn’t in the top 1000 names on the SS site at that time (though in 2003 it came in at #969), but we love it. I sometimes worry that when a philosopher-type learns that my son is named Soren, he or she will expect me to have a deep understanding of Kierkegaard, and I certainly do not.

  48. Lamonte John says:

    One final comment before I head for home. My great great grandfather (another Welshman) had parents that were not too creative in naming him. His name was William Williams Williams. I’ve tried to do better than that in naming my children.

  49. We have an Eli, but we chose the Greek form Elias. His best friend from church is Samuel and our youngest is Hannah … this makes for lots jokes as well. Hannah is a good palindrome as well.

  50. It is easy to tell when I am trying to post with kids around … very repetitive and can’t get my name right:)

  51. Greg, I’m just relieved that you didn’t name your kid after the Dark Lord of Mordor. Do you get that sometimes? ‘Cause you should TOTALLY milk it if so.

  52. Rosalynde says:

    Well, now that we’re talking about coming attractions….

    A girl could be Cristiana, or Mara. (Want to stick with the latin-derivate to match “Elena.”)

    A boy could be Soren, or Miles. (Need something Anglo-Nordic to go with “John/Jack.”)

  53. As I understand it, Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to have Biblical names for their children. In Japan, this is a problem, as most Biblical names are very difficult to pronounce. So almost every JW girl in Japan is named Naomi.

  54. I enjoyed the palindromic name suggestions, guys–I especially got a kick out of “Racecar,” Kaimi. Instead of giving my kids all palindromic names, I think I will just found the National Partnership for Individuals with Palindromic Names (NPIPN), marry the writer Mark Kram, and drive my Civic off to Glenelg (Maryland).

  55. Steve,

    I remember you asked about “Sauron” when our little guy was an infant. I must say that in the three years since then, no one else has ever asked me that.

    People DO ask if the “o” in his name has the little slash through it.

  56. Very good, Anna.

    You know, you can also name a son Adam. Yes, it’s not a palindrome itself. But it allows your sone to employ the most famous palindrome of all, in his greetings.

  57. Bob Caswell says:

    My name is Bob and my wife’s name is Eve… So I think we’re done with the palindromes in my family…

  58. Anna Kram,

    Good choice. Glenelg has great schools.

  59. john fowles says:

    If we ever had a boy, I would want to name him Phineas Phelix Phrederick [Ph]owles. But my wife doesn’t like the idea.

  60. DK Landrith says:

    Thanks for the link, Wendy. Interesting read.

  61. It’s not Utah-specific, but there’s a hilarious collection of bad baby names at http://www.notwithoutmyhandbag.com/babynames/index.html for your perusal. It’s information culled from years of this author trolling the baby-naming bulletin boards. Leave yourself plenty of time if you go there, it’s strangely addicting once you get started and there are a lot of posts to go through. The catty comments from the webmaster are priceless!

    My personal favorite was teh woman who wanted to name her daughter Catatonia Calliope. Rich.

  62. Greg,

    You’ll doubtless start getting more questions when your later children — Saruman, Mithrandir, and Tom Bombadil — start getting older.

  63. LOL!

  64. Apparently, Jonathan Green and his wife Rose have decided upon Clara Rose for their new daughter born this morning. Congratulations!

  65. Floyd the Wonder Dog says:

    Where are the uniquely Mormon names for girls? Why don’t you hear of girls being named Shelaman or Shephi?

    When our fifth was born, we couldn’t come to an agreement. When she was three days old someone asked what her name was. I answered that she was Generica, the no-name baby. They responded, *What a cute name.* That day my wife refused to allow me to go to sleep until we had named the baby.

  66. john fowles says:

    Dogs name their babies?

  67. Jonathan Green says:

    John, you inconsiderate clod! On the Internet, no one has known that we’re really dogs. Until now.

  68. john fowles says:

    Oops, sorry! I was just referring to Floyd the Wonder Dog and not to the lot of you. . . .

  69. Congrats. I approve of the name.

  70. Matt Jacobsen says:

    Cool site for visualizing trends in baby names!


    It only includes about 5000, but it’s still fun.

  71. Kristine,

    I knew you had already staked your claim on Susanna, so I found it quite fascinating when we had dinner with a family a few weeks ago in which the mother’s name was Susanna with a daughter named Louisa! Both mother and daughter were excited to hear of another precocious blonde named Louisa of about the same age!

  72. This whole thread reminds me of a chapter of Jhumpa Lahiri’s book “The Namesake”. Everyone has strong opinions about baby names. Personally, some of the names here I could never consider because I would either yawn with boredom every time I called my kids to dinner, or I would blush with shame that I had saddled them with a lifetime of explaining. One thing I have noticed is that, even when people we know choose names we would never have considered, whatever name that is chosen seems to fit well with the family, so if they’re happy with it, then it works.

    We don’t feel comfortable publishing our children’s names on the internet, but I will reveal the names we almost chose:

    Elliot Carter Grimshaw (abandoned because it was so nerdy for two music majors to name a child after a composer).
    Duncan and Emmett were also choices for boys #1 and #3, and I won’t reveal the one girl name we have held on to for years, because, even though I can’t imagine being able to handle having another child, I still can’t give up on the small chance of ever having a girl.

    One dumb thing we did (although I wouldn’t change our choices for the world) – we found out after we named our third child that there’s a famous jazz musician with the same first name. The jazz guy’s last name? Our first child’s name. Kind of embarrassing for Jeremy, who, nine months later, was hired to teach a university-level jazz history course. :)

    (and no, our kids are not named Davis and Miles — we’re not that clueless)