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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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From Time to Time
,

Hi Jennifer!

I’m a fellow name enthusiast. I recently watched From Time to Time (2009). It’s based on a children’s book series from the 1950s.
It was a charming little movie. I recommend it! Great cast. Two characters had names that sent me straight to your site for answers, but none were to be found! Have you ever heard of these boys names–Toseland (Tolly for short) and Sefton? Do they have any meaning or historical significance, or do you think they were made up by the author?
Thanks!
Laura J.
Dear Laura,

Toseland and Sefton are both classic British surnames used for these characters. Both the -land and -ton suffix were used to indicate locations, meaning “land” and “town” accordingly.  Families with those surnames came from those places.  Toseland was recorded as Touleslund in 1220, literally translating to “Toli’s Grove.” Toli being a personal name or family name. Sefton is comprised of the Old Norse “sef” which means rush and translates to “the settlement where rushes grew.”

I have added both names to the BabyNames.com database!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Too many -sons?

Hi Jennifer-

We’re expecting our third child this fall. We already have 2 girls and this will be our first boy. And “boy” are we having a hard time….see what I did there? Anyway, our last name ends in “son” and it seems most of the names we like also end in “son”. We like Harrison and Hudson. Do you think it would sound silly to have the first and last name ending with the same sound? I think yes and my husband thinks no. I’m leaning towards Mitchell or Patrick at this point.

Thank you much,
Meredith

Dear Meredith,

No, I don’t think it sounds silly, as long as it doesn’t rhyme. For example, using the two names you mentioned–Harrison Hudson–that doesn’t sound bad at all. But if you were to name your son Harrison Garrison, well, that would sound like a children’s book character.

If you would like to send me your last name privately, I can review it just to make sure!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

About Bethel
,

Hi Jennifer,

First of all, thanks for all the questions you answer! I really appreciate them!

I was looking for the name Bethel and didn’t see it in your database. Some websites seem to say it’s for a girl, and some for a boy. I have found out it’s Hebrew and means “House of God”, but I was wondering if you had any more information on it? Specifically, is this name more common in other cultures or languages, and is it more popular for a certain gender over the other? Thanks so much for your help.

Shelley C.

Hi Shelley,

You’re very welcome!  Thanks for being a loyal reader.  Bethel is historically a female name and does, indeed, mean “House of God.” It’s originally a place name from the Old Testament of the Bible, a town north of Jerusalem.  It is often used as a name for temples or churches.

It is not very common as a given name.  

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Crossed Swords

Dear Jennifer,

We are expecting our third child next month. We have two boys, Paxton and Zephan. We love unique names and it’s important that they end in “n.” For a boy we love Quillan, which means cub. But the spelling Quillon (not listed on your site) can mean crossing swords or strong. I prefer the latter definition but am unsure of which spelling would be the more common for our newest addition when he gets older.

I’ve also read that the name was originally pronounced “kill-on” but we want it to be “quill-an” – not sure if the spelling would affect the pronunciation upon seeing the name.

Thank you so much for any direction!

Sincerely,

Randi

 

Dear Randi,

As for your first question, the name is so unique, I don’t believe either spelling will be common by any means! 

A “quillon” is originally a French word meaning one of two crossed swords. It is a derivative of the word “quille” which means club or pin. In French, the word is pronounced “kee-yawn.”  I’ve never heard of the “kill-on” pronunciation and don’t think you have to worry much about it.  Most Americans will say “KWIL-on.”

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

 

Created name: Nicora

Dear Jennifer,

I just came across the baby name Nicora, and thought it was very unique but not too outlandish for a baby girl (albeit a bit more exotic than other daughters names’, Claire and Morgan). The name is not in your database.  Is Nicora a known first name for a girl or is this a made up name?

Thank you!

Natalie

 

Dear Natalie,

Sounds to me like this is a created name, combining the two names Nicole and Nora (or Cora). I’d be wary, since I first associate the name with Nicorette, the anti-smoking gum.  Not sure how others feel about that. 

I’d get some other choices onto your list…

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Initials may be teasable?

Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I are trying to agree on a girl name. I like the name Leah, but my husband pointed out that with our last name her initials would be L.D. (without her middle initial). He thinks that she’ll get teased because LD is also short for learning disability.

What do you think? Is it really that noticeable or do you think initials are really that important?

Please help!

Thanks,
Raelyn

Dear Raelyn,

Maybe I’m out of it, but I really didn’t associate the initials with the acronym.  Is this common in schools? If so, perhaps it would be teasable, but very remotely. 

Here’s some homework: do some “field research” and ask some kids what they think of the initials LD. See if they make the association.  Always go to the source!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

For the love of Beatrice

Jennifer,

My fiancee and I are already considering names for when we decide to start a family. We both love Beatrice (especially me due to the name’s wonderful association with Dante’s poetry), however, my last name starts with an S and our fear is that Beatrice S**** will be too cumbersome to pronounce because the two S-sounds will run together. We’ve already looked at alternative forms such as Beatrix, Beatricia, Beatriz, etc., but we prefer Beatrice. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Cole

Dear Cole,

Having a first name that ends with the same sound as the beginning of the last name does put a little burden on the child. For example, if you were considering Taran Nagel – people wouldn’t know if you were saying “Tara Nagel” “Taran Egel” or “Taran Nagel.”  The child would be doomed to spell it his/her entire life.

However seeing that Beatrice and your last name (which I saw on your email) are both common and cannot be confused with other names, I don’t see it being a problem with spelling or pronunciation.  I’ve said the name several times out loud and it’s not a tongue twister.

I say if you love Beatrice, go for it!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Hail to the Elf Armies!
Hi Jennifer,
I was wondering what the name Alpherie meant. It was my grandfather’s name, and it’s not on your site. Do you know anything about it?
 
Sincerely,
Jean
Dear Jean,
As far as I can tell from my research, Alpherie is a French derivative of the German name ALFHER or more modern name OLIVER. It literally translates to “elf army” with alf meaning “elf” and “hari” meaning “army.”
Contrary to what most people believe–and other sites misstate–the names Oliver and Olivia do not mean “from the olive tree/branch.” They are both derivatives of this same name and meaning!
Hail to the Elf Armies!

Jennifer

Nadia+Aria = Nadaria

Hi Jennifer,
I was messing around with names recently and came up with Nadaria, a mix of Nadia and Aria.

I was thinking it could mean hopeful melody and am now thinking about using it for my first daughter.

What do you think?

Thanks, Anna

Dear Anna,

I think Nadaria is a great name.  I really like when people create names, especially when they are easy to spell and easy to pronounce. If you think about it, all names were “created” names at one point, right?

If you love it, use it!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

VIDEO: Name Sniping

Hello!  I’ve decided to answer some of our reader questions on video! Today’s topic is baby name sniping: when you’ve planned to use a baby name and someone close to you decides to use it first! This is particularly frustrating if you’ve chosen a unique name.  Have you experienced name sniping?  What do you think about the subject? Comment me on YouTube or drop me a line. ~ Jennifer.