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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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Middle Names
Isla and the name Peniel
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Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I will be having our first child in November. He wants to give her the middle name Peniel, a place in the bible. We both agreed on Isla being her first name but, I don’t know how to feel about Peniel as her middle name. Isla Peniel. Please let me know what you think. It has a great meaning but i’m afraid ppl won’t be able to pronounce it right.

Thank you!
Stephanie

Hi Stephanie,

One thing I always remind parents about middle names is that they are rarely used. Your daughter is not going to walk down the street introducing herself as Isla Peniel. What’s most important is that the first and last name gel and are coherent together. From the last name on the email (I will not disclose for your privacy) I believe Isla [Lastname] would be a spectacular name and very musical with the two LAs in it!
peniel
Peniel is an interesting Biblical name, a variation of Penuel, which means “Face of God.” I found we did not have it in our database and have added it. Although it’s historically a masculine name, it could be used for either gender. It is currently used as a name for churches, ministries and Bible camps.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Middle names for the twins
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Dear Jennifer,

After a long and painful decision-making process, I think we’ve settled on Lydia and Quentin for our g/b twins.  Since the kids will get my husband’s last name, I’d like to honor my family in middle names.  My maiden name won’t work, and my parents don’t like their own first names.  I’m thinking of using my parents’ middle names as middle names for the twins.  Those names are Kay and Wayne.

Lydia Kay I like a lot.  Quentin Wayne, I don’t like at all.  I’m thinking maybe of altering them to Lydia Kaye and Quentin Wayde.  I’m getting lots of negative feedback on Wayde, though, as everyone suggests spelling it Wade.  I feel like that is getting too far away from their actual names.
I’m torn between whether honoring my parents means I should just stick with the originals, despite not being fond of Wayne, or if I’m worrying too much about it and Wade/Wayne are close enough…any advice?
Amy B.

Dear Amy,

Historically, “honoring” someone in the naming biz does not necessarily mean using their exact name.  In the Jewish culture, for example, you may not name a child after a living person.  So to honor a loved one who is still living, we use a similar name or name that starts with the same letter.

You have more leeway with middle names, also, since the child will not readily be identified with it and it will be rarely used.

So in conclusion, do what you want, and spell it the way you want to spell it. Beware of too much input.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Honoring Grandfathers – Two Middle Names?
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Hi Jennifer,

My wife and I reached an impasse on the middle name for our boy.  We like Micah for a first name, and my last name sounds like Micelli.

I would like to honor my late grandfather, Casper as the mn.  She wants to honor her late grandfather, Allen as the mn.  She recommended using both as middle names as long as Allen comes first.  My fear is that the second middle name will often be neglected for its inconvenience and feel it would be a slight towards my grandfather, whom she never knew.  Seeing as there’s no guarantee that we may have another boy, we’ve both stood firm on our positions and cannot seem to resolve our differences on this. 
 

Is there a solution that we haven’t thought of?  I’m looking for any kind of new idea to throw into the discussion!

Thanks,

Craig

Hi Craig,

First of all,  a middle name is rarely used throughout one’s life. Usually only on two occasions: when you’re in trouble with your parents, and when you’re getting married. So it should not really be a huge point of contention. You mentioned that you “fear” the second name will be neglected and it would be a slight to your grandfather. Honestly, he can’t be slighted if he’s gone.  That’s only how you would feel.

I, myself, am not a big fan of two (or more) middle names.  It almost always comes out of a name conflict, like your predicament. Here is a new idea: combine both grandfathers’ names. How about Callen or Callan?  

If you don’t like Callan, come up with some other names that would combine elements of Casper and Allen.  To honor them, it does not have to be literal.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

 

Glenn for a Girl
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Hi Jennifer!

My husband wants to honor his father (Edward) and uncle (Glen) by naming our first boy Edward Glen. I have suggested using each as a middle name as my uncle and cousin are both named Edward. I have also suggested using Glenn as a middle name for a girl (Emily Glenn being my top choice) but would this be strange if we are trying to honor a man?

Any help is appreciated!
Sam

Hi Sam,

No, it is not strange to have a unisex name as a middle name. Look at Glenn Close! She never had a problem, even using it as a first name. Also, the middle name is rarely used in school, so you don’t have to worry about her being teased.

Do what you want, honor who you want and go for it!

Jennifer