If a child has a name that is the same as a place, do you assume that it held some significance to the parents or do you think it is ok to call the child it regardless? I am considering names for my baby (like Sofia) but I don’t want people to assume there is a geographical reason behind it when neither DH nor I have ever been there.
Well Florence is a name that's become very popular lately, and I can't imagine that every parent who has named their daughter that, named them after the significance of Florence, Italy (I could be wrong, who knows!)
I think there are loads of place names you can get away with for using on a child and people tend not to think of the place name when they here it, i.e. Vienna, Sienna, Savannah, Georgia, etc.
There are other names that the association to the place is so strong though, that that's all you can think about, i.e. London, Paris, etc.
I think you can get away with using a place name though for your daughter without having an association to the place.
My eldest has the same name that you used as an example - no one has ever asked me if I’ve any connection to the city (she’s 12). We have none. I know I wouldn’t automatically assume a geographical connection.
Well if it was an ordinary run of the mill name like Sofia Georgia or Florence. I wouldn't give it a fraction of a seconds thought. However if someone introduced their new born baby "Madrid" to me. I'd be quietly thinking, ."I know what you did in Madrid 9 months ago. . Although my nephew is Derry, not after the place in Ireland. Its after The boxer Derry Matthews.
When I was in Cornwall as a child, I looked on a map and decided that my future children would be called Veryan and Gwithian...I never did, though! I don’t assume that people have been to the places, but just like the names.
The name we are considering is Sofia (although Florence is also on the short list) but our elder daughter is called Charlotte and although it didn’t occur to me at all at the time, that is also a place name.
My son is named after a Scottish county because my DH's family are from there and we have strong family links to the area, however it's a Scottish name in its own right so people don't automatically make the connection. I think you are overthinking this.
I also think it depends on whether the name is a 'normal' name which also happens to be the name of a place, or whether it's a name which is really only known as a place name. I don't think anyone would assume a Geographical connection with Sofia (named after a saint anyway), just as they wouldn't with Charlotte (named after a person anyway) whereas they would think 'Skegness' was rather odd.
As pps have said, I wouldn’t necessarily associate Sofia with the place. It’s a lovely, quite popular name. I think of the name before the place iyswim. Same with Georgia, Sienna and Florence.
Paris, London, Brooklyn I think of the place first and if I met a child with that name I’d think that either the place must hold some significance for the parents or that the parents liked celebrities of that name, (eg Paris Hilton, Brooklyn Beckham).