My first child, a boy, is due August 14, and I am in desperate need of your expertise and ideas.
My last name is pronounced "ING-grum."
We are going to be a Mom-Kid family, so using a name that connects to the males in my family tree holds great appeal but there are only two under serious consideration. The first of these is William - my grandfather. I like the name, but I don't LOVE it, and I despair that it's so common. The second name is Edgar, and the history there is pretty deep: my dad, great-uncle (who died in WWII shortly before my father was born) and great-grandfather. I don't have any siblings, so the name stopped with my dad. My dad uses the nn Ted, and it's perfect on him, but I can’t quite wrap my brain around it for my son. Ed/Eddie are not options as a nickname.
If nothing else, I'll probably use either William or Edgar as a mn.
I should also note that my dad's middle name is Grey (it was his mother's maiden name). It's on my list of possibilities, and I'd love it if there weren't the rather gloomy, grey-day association.
I'd prefer to give my son a formal name that has a nickname, but I tend to only like the nickname for many of the options I’m considering. Also, a lot of sounds either clash with ING-grum, or blur into it – for example Chris sounds like Chri-sing-grum, but paired with Alec, the "Ing" tends to sound like "Ink" - at least when I say it!
I’m athletic and outdoorsy. My personal style tends to be eclectic, classic or comfortable, versus trendy, hip or artsy. My family genealogy can best be described as western European mutt -- not much to draw on there, and I find myself shying away from names that have especially strong ethnic associations because they feel "phony" when applied to me.
Some of the names I like, with caveats:
Leo – very appealing to me, but might be too much of a hipster name. Also, I don’t like Leonard as a formal name. AND, he’s probably going to be a Leo (astrologically speaking), so maybe this is too much? I know you just addressed Leo in a recent post, and based on that, I'm giving "Leo as a complete name" more consideration.
Theo – an homage to my dad's nn of Ted - I like Theo, but the "dore" in Theodore bugs me
Alexander – LOVE but too popular?
Max – have loved this name forever, not crazy about Maximilian, Maximus, etc.
Graham – appeals to me, but friends have vetoed it because the spelling (but not pronunciation) is identical to the second syllable of my ln
Patrick – but not with nn Pat
Quinn – kind of blurs with "ING-grum"
Grey – cute, but gloomy
Names that are ‘taken’ by friends/family, or that I’ve otherwise ruled out:
I feel like I'm all over the map! Can you please give me some direction??
Thank you so much!
Edgar seems like a great option for you: unusual, with huge family ties. But it sounds like you definitely want a nickname but you don't want any of the nicknames for Edgar. So let's rule Edgar out as a first name.
Well, wait. Wait wait wait. What about naming him Edgar Grey Ingrum, and using Grey as the nickname? It's a little bit of a reach, but I like so much your idea of using family names here. He'd be Edgar Grey Ingrum II, I think---since he's not a Jr. and yet he'd have the same name as your father---but you wouldn't HAVE to use the II. It seems like a pretty excellent way to give your son strong male family ties and carry on an important family name that might otherwise be lost---plus you could use a name you love but might feel uncertain about using in the first-name slot because of the gloominess associations you mention. (I myself associate grey with grey flannel pants and with dreamy grey eyes.)
Name update! Tricia writes:
It has been more than a year(!!) since you helped me with my naming dilemma. I'm ashamed to be this late in saying thank you to you and your readers, but Thank You.
You wrote: "What about naming him Edgar Grey Ingrum, and using Grey as the nickname?"
I read that, and burst into tears. Yes, I was 8.5 months pregnant and a touch weepy, but even then, the crying caught me off guard. Each time I checked comments or reread your advice, I had the same teary response.
Edgar still seemed like a big, clunky name for my wee baby, so I wasn't completely sold until my son arrived. From the first moment, he looked exactly like my dad. I was flush with emotion and love for my family. And so he is Edgar - the FIFTH in our family line. (if you're wondering how that works, we're a mom-kid family - hence my son has the same last name as me and my dad)
His middle name is Graysen, and that's what everyone calls him. Fits him beautifully, and my dad, Edgar Gray (not Grey, as I wrote earlier), is so tickled with his little namesake.