We're having a girl, due mid August. Our last name sounds like Ball and starts with an H. Our first daughter is Mara Kathryn (4) and our second daughter is Audra Neel (2). Both middle names are family names. Mara's name was found on a biblical name list by my husband and it took me a day or so to warm up to it but then I quickly fell for it. Audra's name was a challenge. My husband wanted Lucy, I was stuck on a friends name, Audra, not necessarily after her I just liked the name. After trying out Lucy for a few weeks and even telling friends that would be her name we decided it didn't feel right and went with Audra. We've had a boy name picked out since Mara, Henry James, both family names that we would still likely use when/if we have a boy. We don't have a final number of children decided upon.
We would like to use the middle name Marguerite after a dear family friend.
My husband suggested the family name Irene as a first name, which prompted me to find Irena. I think it sounds fresher than Irene, beautiful, feminine, flows well with our daughters' names and the middle name. I am head over heels over this name but I don't think I am going to be able to sell him on this unless he decides to let me use it as a gift. He thinks it sounds made up, isn't wild about another 'a' ending name especially ones he thinks of as a name that you tag an 'a' onto.
I also love that our daughters names are pretty unusual. I love that people ask where/how we came up with them and am struggling with our current list not really fitting that.
Names I threw out but wasn't sold on that he has nixed: Carys, Thea, Selah, Sadie, Louisa. Names he threw out that I nixed: Veronica, Louise. And I'm sure there were more in each direction those were just the most significant.
Elizabeth (nickname Eliza or Liza), how popular is Eliza getting?
Jane (seems plain especially with our common last name)
Brigid (front runner right now)
And open to more suggestions, we tend to like older, uncommon names. Biblical, saint, or family names a plus. I don't like anything I associate as being common in my generation.
One more issue with our current front runner Brigid, how terrible are the initials BMH. We think it's okay since you never really use your first and middle initials alone, but would like to sanity check that.
It's interesting how you and your husband are so close on some names (Irene/Irena, Louise/Louisa) but still disagree. Paul and I found that same thing, when we were naming our babies. An example: I liked Elliot and he liked Eliot, and we couldn't use the name because neither of us was willing to consider any other spelling.
With sisters Mara (#758 in 2009) and Audra (#984 in 2009), I think I'd go straight to the stand-alone name Eliza (#278 in 2009), rather than trying to get it from the significantly more common name Elizabeth (#11 in 2009). Here's what the popularity of the name Eliza has been doing:
(screenshot from The Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)
(click it to see it larger)
Rising, as you can see, but not fast---especially not in the last seven years or so, when it doesn't even seem sure it IS rising.
I do like to avoid the initials such as B.M. or I.P. at all costs, but I am further along the spectrum for that than most (I even like to avoid non-negative ones such as I.Q.). I agree that when it's a first and middle it's not as big a deal as first and last (though I would still avoid it: I'm picturing it on a form as "B.M. H___"). How would you be pronouncing Brigid? To rhyme with rigid, or like the Irish pronunciation (more like "breed"), or a mixture such as brih-ZHEED? (Boy, that last one is hard to type out what I mean. By "zh" I mean the sound like in the middle of the word "measure.") I wonder if you'd like Bridget instead: still uncommon (#424 in 2009), but significantly easier for others to spell and pronounce.
From your list, my favorite is Simone. I like how well it goes with Mara and Audra, but changes the end sound. Mara, Audra, and Simone. Simone was #620 in 2009, and its popularity is falling.
If Lucy was very close but not quite, I wonder if you would like the saint name Lucia. It can be pronounced several ways, but the one I'm picturing here is loo-SEE-ah. Mara, Audra, and Lucia: still the -a ending, but with a new sound and a new number of syllables. I am slightly worried about Lucia H___ being too similar to Lucille Ball, but since you considered Lucy I'm assuming you've thought of that and dismissed it---and I think I would dismiss it, too. I'm not sure it would even have come to my mind if "Ball" wasn't the stand-in name we were using.
I just heard a name recently I wonder if you might like: Vayla. Vayla Marguerite H__; Mara, Audra, and Vayla.
But your husband would rather not add another -a ending. Your idea of Carys makes me think of Iris. Iris Marguerite H___; Mara, Audra, and Iris.
If you like Jane but it feels too plain (or you want to avoid the associations with either the actress or the journalist), perhaps June? June Marguerite H____; Mara, Audra, and June.
Oh, or Imogen? Imogen Marguerite H___; Mara, Audra, and Imogen.
Esmé Marguerite H___; Mara, Audra, and Esmé.
Some unusual biblical options: Zorah, Zilla, Shiloh, Bethel, Dinah, Tabitha, Cana. My top biblical choice for you is Junia: it does add another -a ending (so many girl names end in A!), but it's two degrees of plainness away from Jane. Junia Marguerite H____; Mara, Audra, and Junia.
A saint name similar to Simone is Colette: Colette Marguerite H___; Mara, Audra, and Colette.
Another saint name that seems like a good fit (except for the -a ending) is Gemma: Gemma Marguerite H____; Mara, Audra, and Gemma.
Or Elodie, which I hadn't realized was a saint name until this very moment: Elodie Marguerite H____; Mara, Audra, and Elodie.
Name update! Kylie writes:
Thanks so much for addressing our baby name issues. Your analysis and similar story really helped me move on from MY perfect name. In the end we couldn't resist the classic, timeless Elizabeth that has always been my husband's favorite. So Elizabeth Marguerite arrived August 15th. We call her Eliza.