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Uncommon names- finding right balance???

(44 Posts)
ACM88 Sun 24-Aug-14 13:37:26

Just looking to start a discussion really. I've always loved my name, I don't think it's ever entered top 100, and I've never met someone else with same name in RL, although I know they exist, but it's not too unusual that I've had problems with pronunciation/spelling.

When it came to naming DC1 my OH said to me, you don't know how lucky you are to have been one in your class, even one in your school. He has a very common name, always in top 10, and was one of four in his group of friends alone. They began being referred to be surname or colour of their hair, or size. So we activitely looked for a name that wasn't in top 100. Even discounting names we previously liked because of their popularity, names like George, Harry, Amelia and Evelyn, which we now really dislike.

How important is it do you think that we chose names that could potentially mean our child is the only one with that name? Or is it important to have a popular name? Or do you chose what you like and these names just happen to fall either way?

Until falling pregnant I had no idea how important a name is, would be interested to hear if others activitely seek out unusual name, but not too uncommon that it can't be spelt, or pronounced, or grow with child into a suitable adult name. I found it an incredibly hard balance!

OpiesOldLady Sun 24-Aug-14 13:42:05

I just went with what we liked. Which turned out to be unusual - for all four of my children. They are/will be the only ones in school with their names. All but one easy to say/spell and the one that isn't, isn't all that difficult - it's a Welsh name.

Montsti Sun 24-Aug-14 13:45:59

I have chosen the names I like best for my 2 kids (DS has a top 10 name and dd1 top 25) and am doing the same for no.3 (slightly less popular but still top 100). Tbh I don't get the huge desire to find a unique name - for me this would be compromising as I just happen to like classic/traditional/popular names. I'm not into faddy/modern names but that's just my taste.

Fwiw I have a very popular name that would be considered a classic but certainly peaked in the 70s/80s when I was born. I have a few acquaintances with the same name now, but for one year I was one of 4 in my class. Thereafter I have never had another in my class/workplace so you never know...

It wouldn't upset me if there were another child in my childrens classes with the same name as them as I know they have popular names. This hasn't happened so far though but ironically there have been duplicates of much less popular names and the mothers have been mightily irritated as this was one of the reasons that they chose a slightly more unusual name!

HygieneFreak Sun 24-Aug-14 13:48:13

I gave my dd an unusual name. I wanted her to be the only one in her school with the name.

I ve had a mixture of people hating it and people liking it.

My mother has never got over the name i chose as she despises it. She told dd whos 2 years that when shes older she could change her name if she wanted!!

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 24-Aug-14 13:52:13

I gave dd a name I loved, which whilst a shortening of a couple of more common names, is rare. She was one of only 13 named it in the year she was born. She got the name due to my love of it and nothing else.

Now I am pg with dc2 (a son) I am discounting popular names as it is impossible to get dds name on anything unless especially ordered and I dont want to be on a daytrip or similar and Son able to get pens/cups etc with his name on and her not. Kids can be funny about that sort of stuff! So dd1s name has influenced ds' name in that I now feel obligated to go for something less common.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 24-Aug-14 13:59:45

If you set your heart on a unique name (as in only one child called that per class / school) you need to really go for the Fifi-Tigerlilly or Moonunit style names, as fashions can come and go quite quickly. Eg there will be loads of Georges after Prince George; Ruby apparently spiked when there was a character in Eastenders with that name; Noah has shot up the charts after celebs like Chris Evans gave that name to their DS etc etc.

exexpat Sun 24-Aug-14 14:00:04

DD has a name which is traditional in our family but is extremely rare - google brings up a handful of people, but most years there would not be baby born in the UK with that name. She seems to like her name, and everyone we meet says how pretty it is, but of course we do quite often have to spell it or explain it, or she gets called things that are vaguely similar.

DS has a classic boy's name, with a regional spelling variation - I don't think it's in the top 100 names (maybe top 500?) but everyone knows it, and again he seems happy with that. We had been thinking of calling him James but changed our minds when we discovered that it was in the top-10 for the year before DS's birth. Oddly enough DS doesn't have any friends with that name, but are lots of them around. I wouldn't have wanted to be one of the many Susans/Catherines/Alisons in every class at school.

ACM88 Sun 24-Aug-14 14:01:54

thinkivebeenhacked that's really interesting!! I've not thought past DC1 name yet, but I can imagine it's ever harder to replicate same unusual feel second time around, and third, fourth so on.

We definitely limited ourselves in one sense, but our genuine desire for DC not to be one of many, meant that we so began liking more and more uncommon names naturally. I'm talking about Wilfred, Thian, Wilbur, Hazel, Joy, April.

ACM88 Sun 24-Aug-14 14:04:37

families I think that's where finding the right balance comes in. I love uncommon names, but never considered Fifi. At the risk of outing myself, my name is Adele, and that's the kind of feel we wanted. Not made up, but not top 100 either.

VelvetEmbers Sun 24-Aug-14 14:35:46

It's actually quite difficult to find an unusual name now. When DC1 arrived 28 years ago we gave her a classic but underused name. Did the same with the next 3.

DD2 is 7 and by the time she was born all the beautiful unusual names I liked first time around are now really popular. We picked a name that seemed relatively unusual but we've met at least 6 little girls out and about with the same name.

There isn't another one at her school, but there's one locally at the other primary who turned up at Rainbows.

We've also deliberately avoided any names that you can get personalised stuff for. Tends to be a sign of how popular the name is. Having said that, 2 of the most popular girls names are Evie and Isabel. Our school has 200 kids and not one Evie or Isabel, so I think it's the luck of the draw where you live.

Lottiedoubtie Sun 24-Aug-14 14:36:02

I don't think having a popular name is the problem some people make it out to be. I've chosen names I like and been quite pleased that they are also in the top 100. By chance more than anything else they aren't in the top 10 though.

Sophronia Sun 24-Aug-14 14:43:40

I don't dislike popular names, but I wouldn't use a trendy name that has only recently become popular as I think they will eventually become dated. I prefer classic names that have always been popular.

RainbowB7 Sun 24-Aug-14 14:55:32

I agree with you that classic but not overdone is the ideal but you can never guarantee a name won't suddenly take off or there might be another one in the class by chance even if the name is not popular. For example your own name could have easily boosted up the charts because of the singer (surprised it didn't seem to at all tbh!)

If you want ideas I would see if you can get the name lists from ONS and look at the names from 100 downwards, and also check their trajectory up or down the charts in previous years to make sure they are not clearly on the rise.

You are definitely right to avoid the likes of Harry and Amelia if popularity is a concern. From the names you mention I have never heard of Thian but quite like the look of it - what is its background?

burgatroyd Sun 24-Aug-14 14:57:01

Dd1's name chose by my mum which is around 500 rank. We didn't know that at the time and its rarity never was a factor.

Naming Dd2 was hard as I felt I couldn't give her a too 10 name when her sister had an unusual one. I named her a variation of Ellen but due to people constantly mispronouncing had to change it.

Therefore you need to make sure when choosing an unusual name that it doesn't sound very close to a popular name.

ACM88 Sun 24-Aug-14 15:06:14

rainbow my OH found it in a book. I've never heard it before, sounded very Shakespearean to me. But then a friend of ours chose something similar in the end, she was inspired by that programme Game of thrones?! I've never watched it, but there is a Thean in that apparently.

thoughtsescapeme Sun 24-Aug-14 15:35:19

My dc have names like Adele - not common but recognisably names! I discounted anything in the top 50 at least.

The first baby I met when I went out with newborn dd1 had the same name as her - and I went on a picnic with a young dd2 to find two other babies with the same name (out of six babies in total).

They are both the only one in their school though.

BikeRunSki Sun 24-Aug-14 15:45:09

My name was unusual (although not unheard of; I am named after the heroine of a very famous book) when I was a child. Easily spelt and pronounced but I hated being the only one, never finding souvenir tat with my name on etc.... It's top 20 now though.

Naming my dc I wanted something
mainstream. DS was in 14 the place for the year he was born, dd 32nd. I love their names and rarely meet any other children with them.

GlaceDragonflies Sun 24-Aug-14 15:49:45

We picked names we liked and then looked where they were - neither were in the top 500 names. Now one is in the top 200 but only about 40 children had that name who were born last year so it's not that popular.
One name I used is v. popular, the other two I used are quite rare - they are the only ones in their school.

babyblabber Sun 24-Aug-14 21:04:37

I am one of 2/3 everywhere I go, all of my life. When pregnant with DS I was obsessed with finding an unusual name and I did and adored it. My parents thought I was trying to be a footballers wife or something but we got loads of surprised but complementary comments from people in our generation.

The year after he was born it was the highest riser in the baby name list and is now considered hugely popular, almost common.

Hence for DD and no.3 who is on the way we are avoiding top 10 but beyond that ignoring the stats and choosing names we love.

TessOfTheFurbyvilles Sun 24-Aug-14 21:26:45

Well as someone who used Jack, when Jack was at the height of its popularity, I don't give diddly squat about popularity.

He might be one of thousands of Jacks born that year, but he's MY Jack, that's all that matters to me.

Having a popular name isn't going to define him, or affect his future, of that I'm sure. He owns the name, the name doesn't own him.

People looking out for an uncommon (or even unique) name, need to realize nothing in life comes with a guarantee.

I went to school with a girl who had a name that really stood out in a sea of girls names Emma, Claire, Sarah, Rachel and Elizabeth. Even girls like me, who were the only girls in the school with their name (I'm 'just' a Tess), our names were still quite 'normal', this girl's name really stood out. It didn't stop another girl starting the school with that name though, which as you can imagine, shocked "the original" somewhat.

By all means people can look for names that are "different", but you need to prepare yourself for the fact that maybe just maybe someone else had the same idea!

Mutteroo Sun 24-Aug-14 21:31:09

I have an unusual name. I've never met another with my name (I own it, I'm very precious about it!) But my children have top 100 names with my son having an uber popular name. Don't think I've made his life difficult because there's plenty with the same name. His mates know him by his nickname anyway & this bares no resemblence to his real name.

Think its the person who makes who they are not their name. I just happen to be unique in every way! (Said tongue firmly in cheek)

myotherusernameisbetter Sun 24-Aug-14 22:27:30

No1 son has a name that is not unusual but not particularly common (around 60 in the country named in his year of birth) - there are 2 or 3 in his school of 800+ No2 son has a more unusual name (around 40 this year- can't find that particular stat for his year of birth) however when he was a toddler we moved and there is a lot because of specific geographical reasons and apart from the fact his is an unusual spelling, there are 4 in his year alone and loads more in the school. We almost went with an even more unusual name (around 10 in the country) and there was another of that name in his class in primary!

DessieLou Mon 25-Aug-14 00:36:15

ACM88 I'm an Adele too! In the village I'm from (and surrounding area) there are 7 of us of varying ages. Seven! All older than me though so I wasn't aware of this until adulthood and I liked that I was the only one at school. I want something along the same vein for my DC. The elusive 'well known but not overused' name. I think we achieved this with dd (Madeleine) but to be honest it was the only name that suited her so she could well have ended up an Ava/Amelia etc if it had turned out to be 'her' name.
I do think geographical location makes a difference. Certain names are very trendy in certain parts of the UK. For example, I love the name Oliver but am point off by the fact it is #1 in the stats. That said, there are none that I know of in our area (quite rural so you know everyone!) so if we had an Oliver he may well be the only one in his school.

SunsetoverEasterIsland Mon 25-Aug-14 00:51:19

Our DS is, and has always been, the only one in his school with his name. It is not a 'British' name but one that most people would have heard. We still love his name and he thinks it's great. I had always liked the name and thankfully DH liked it too!! His middle name is a fairly popular name which has great meaning for us.

NinjaLeprechaun Mon 25-Aug-14 04:45:20

My name was unusual (although not unheard of; I am named after the heroine of a very famous book) when I was a child. Easily spelt and pronounced but I hated being the only one, never finding souvenir tat with my name on etc.... It's top 20 now though.
Yes. This. I have an uncommon name and I always hated it for making me stand out.
On the other hand, my daughter has a very common name and hates it because it's boring.
You can't win. grin

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