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Classic names, less familiar spellings

(36 Posts)
Bearlet Tue 25-Nov-14 16:55:13

Don’t worry, this isn't about "creative" spellings like Emylee or Jesyka. smile

I am wondering about names that have more than one established spelling (Marc/Mark; Katherine/Catherine/Katharine; Ann/Anne; Susanna/Susannah; Alistair/Alasdair), and more specifically about names where one spelling is less common than the other (Martin/Martyn; Rebecca/Rebekah; Eleanor/Elinor; Philip/Phillip) or is not the usual English spelling of the name (Elizabeth/Elisabeth; Leah/Lea).

If you or your child has a name with a less familiar spelling, do you find it annoying to have to spell it out or correct people all the time? My surname is not spelt the way most people assume it should be, and to be honest I do find it irritating. And I once knew a Rachael who hated constantly having to say "Rachael with a second A".

I am considering a less familiar spelling of a name (for compelling reasons), but I'm not sure I want to set my child up for a lifetime of correcting people. On the other hand, there are plenty of names with several established spellings - surely nobody rules them out purely because they are worried about their daughter having to say "Isobel with an O". Am I overthinking this?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 25-Nov-14 16:58:42

Alice / Alys

I always loved the Kathryn spelling

Mind I have a name with a G but sometimes people have it with a J, so im forever saying "Hacked with a G"

Id just go for it.

Legionofboom Tue 25-Nov-14 17:11:17

I think it depends a bit on the name.

If there is more than one spelling in popular use like say Claire/Clare, Anne/Ann or Katherine/Katharine/Catherine/Kathryn then I think probably ask how to spell it anyway (or guess wrong 50% of the time).

Names like Susannah/Susanna people seem to get confused and often guess at Suzanna or other variations and however you spell it there is a lifetime of 'no with two s's and an h' or whatever it may be.

Rachel is far more widely used than Rachael so people are more likely to assume the spelling without asking and perhaps some have not come across the extra a before. This would be more troublesome than a name like Isobel/Isabelle etc which is known to have variants.

My name has 3 spelling variants. I am normally asked which one I use, very few people assume. It doesn't bother me to confirm the spelling. I also have to confirm the spelling of my surname.

weebarra Tue 25-Nov-14 17:13:49

DS2 has one of the names on your list. It is a name where people know there are variants, so they often ask, but it annoys me when staff at his nursery get it wrong.

Legionofboom Tue 25-Nov-14 17:18:21

I would also add that name spelling variations and international variations of names are getting more and more commonplace so I would think it's easier than it was as a child 30 years ago with a variant spelling.

I would go with the spelling you love.

My SIL has a classic name that is officially spelt wrong. PIL weren't sure of the correct spelling and went with what they thought would be simplest to remember. She never has a problem with it.

MistAndAWeepingRain Tue 25-Nov-14 17:18:37

I have a name like Anne. I do have to say 'Anne with an e' quite a lot but I've never thought it was any kind of problem.

wigglesrock Tue 25-Nov-14 17:19:31

I have a 9 year old Sofia and we haven't run into any problems, although to be fair she's not dealing with different people every day. She hasn't had any problems with teachers/ nursery / friends automatically spelling the ph way. On occasions she's had to wear a name badge or had to give her name & it's been spelt differently but she just asks them to fix it. It's not irritated her as yet.

tallulah Tue 25-Nov-14 17:33:18

I have a name with several variants and people consistently get it wrong, even when they are replying to an email with it written in front of them. It drives me mad.

BackforGood Tue 25-Nov-14 17:56:15

I think when its something with 2 or morre commonly accepted spellings...... Jane / Jayne for example...... its not so irritating as neither is the correct or 'wrong' way and its not too muchhassleto say 'Jayne with a y'. I'd certainly try and avoid anything morre complex or unusual than that though as is is a pain to have to spell your name everywhere you go.

moxon Tue 25-Nov-14 18:24:37

Mind I have a name with a G but sometimes people have it with a J, so im forever saying "Hacked with a G"

But Ghacked is such a classic spelling! grin

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 25-Nov-14 18:31:55


spiderlight Tue 25-Nov-14 18:40:50

My DS has an older-but-less-common spelling of a slightly unusual Welsh name. It is mildly irritating having to say 'with-an-i-not-a-y' occasionally but it doesn't really bother him, or me. The issue doesn't really arise often enough to be a pain, tbh - he's had to point it out to one teacher and one of my friends gets it spectacularly wrong in myriad ways every time she attempts it, despite being more Welsh than me, but other than that it's never been an issue.

TimeForAnotherNameChange Tue 25-Nov-14 18:41:14

But Rachael aith the second A is the correct spelling Legion, it's Rachel without it that is the (perfectly valid) alternative, surely?!

englishmummyinwales Tue 25-Nov-14 18:42:41

In my experience, people do not presume Rachel rather than Rachael, which I have always found odd as I've only ever met one Rachael while us Rachels are ten a penny!

But as it's never been a source of irritation, I gave both of my children names with a less common spelling - one is the Welsh variation of a fairly well known name. The other a more international spelling.

I find that I can never take in these posts without a specific example so I will tell you that the latter is Lukas rather than Lucas. My childrens' irritation is that they never find anything with their names on in shops, but you can get things easily online nowadays so I don't think they suffer!

TimeForAnotherNameChange Tue 25-Nov-14 18:43:55

*with not aith, those a's get everywhere don't they?!

skylark2 Tue 25-Nov-14 20:53:03

As someone who has one of the names you've listed, let me tell you that it is a complete and utter PITA. I have spent my entire LIFE correcting people, sending documents back, having to help people find me on lists (I know all the places to look given the different spellings).

Both my kids have a name with ONE completely fixed spelling. It was top of my list of requirements. That should tell you something.

"surely nobody rules them out purely because they are worried about their daughter having to say "Isobel with an O"."

Yes, I ruled Isabelle out as a name for my daughter purely for this reason. Been there, lived it.

Honsandrevels Tue 25-Nov-14 21:09:09

My name is in your op and it just doesn't bother me! I also use a shortening with many, many variations in spelling. Yes I usually have to spell it out but it just isn't a problem. I enjoy seeing the creative spellings on Christmas cards each year.

manicinsomniac Tue 25-Nov-14 23:32:03

I think the more unusual spelling is often the preferable option, especially with a common name.

I'm a Rebecca from a birth year when it was in the top 5. Consequently, although I actually love the name, I have always wished I was Rebekah.

JakeyBurd Wed 26-Nov-14 00:07:24

My forename has three spellings and my surname five, so it's second-nature to be spelling out the whole thing for people But it's no big deal.

My stepmother has known me for over 40 years and still adds an "e" to the end of my name. I've let it go though, as it's a minor skirmish compared to life's more important battles.

Choose the spelling you like, OP, as there is so much variation around that people are used to asking or being asked.

Flywheel Wed 26-Nov-14 00:25:57

It's interesting to hear how this really bothers some people and others not at all.
I have a name with a number of spellings, so when I give my name somewhere I automatically spell it out. It takes about 2 seconds and I don't have to do it all that often. Never bothered me.
My dd has a very unusual (and old) spelling of her name. I hope it doesn't bother her as she gets older. I must admit, I do get anxious when I read threads like this and realise how much it bothers some people.

octopal Wed 26-Nov-14 00:48:11

I have one of the names in Legions list. It doesn't annoy me much if strangers misspell it or ask me to spell it but it really grates on me when people i know for years get it wrong.

Bearlet Wed 26-Nov-14 09:59:17

Thanks, everyone, especially those of you who have pointed out that, with some names, people will presume a certain spelling without asking, whereas with other names, most people are aware that there are variants. That’s a useful way of thinking about it. Unfortunately, the name I’m considering is in the former category.

Yes, it’s interesting to hear how different people’s reactions are. It's impossible to know how my daughter will feel about seeing her name misspelt. But as I myself am… erm, shall we say, a bit uptight… about spelling, I may as well make life easy for myself by choosing a different name altogether.

NinjaLeprechaun Wed 26-Nov-14 12:12:16

I have the much more common correct version of two spellings - and it's a good bet that people are still going to get the wrong one.
Which didn't stop me from giving my daughter not only a name with several common spellings but two different pronunciations.

Showy Wed 26-Nov-14 12:18:19

I have a Mathilda and it causes no problems. All nurseries, schools etc have got it right consistently and spelling it takes seconds if she meets somebody new. I have a name with one spelling and rarely do people get it right.

AlmaMartyr Wed 26-Nov-14 12:21:15

I'm a Rebecca and constantly have to spell it out/see it misspelled. Hardly ever as Rebekah though. I hate it, there are so many of us, people always shorten automatically. I don't really mind the spelling it out though. My DD has a very unusual name and I've never had to spell it out (she's 6 now), everyone just seems to know how to spell it.

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