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8 Great Places to Find a Name for your Baby

8 Great Places to Find a Name for your Baby
Rachel Humphrey

I'm having my second baby this Spring, and we've been trying to find the perfect name for him. We want something that will go with his brother's name, our last name, and is recognizable, yet not too popular. Naming your baby can be a big challenge! You're naming a person, and you're naming them forever. You want something unique enough, so he won't have to be one of four Jacobs in his class, but you also don't want to give him a lifetime of seeing a confused face every time he introduces himself.

You want something that will suit your cute little baby, but that will also suit an adult. Trying to find something you like, you think your kid will like, and that will be recognizable and relatively easy to spell for future teachers and employers can be daunting. Here are some good places to start!

Consult Your Family Tree—Get Creative!

Naming your child after someone in the family is special, and you can make it work even if you don’t think there are any usable names. Get creative! First, go beyond first names and check out the last names dangling from your family tree. My son’s name is Saul, which is my Grandmother’s maiden name. This works best for boys, but it can also work if you like masculine names for girls. Surnames like Porter, Smith and Harrison can all make great names and honor multiple family members.

Can’t find anything there? Get creative with first names. Maybe you love your Grandmother Edna, but you’re not crazy about her name. Try honoring her by naming your baby girl something similar that you do like! Edina, Eva and Enid all sound similar, but a bit more modern. You could also honor her by naming your son Edward. Grandpa Vernon can become Veronica for a girl, Aunt Agnes can become Angus for a boy, and your Great Grandma Bertha could become Beatrice for a girl or Bertram for boy.

Favorite TV Shows, Movies, and Music Provide Inspiration

Are you and your husband big movie buffs? Is there a TV Show that brought you together when you talked about it on your first date? Do the two of you have an actor or actress you really admire? Try plumbing the depths of your cinematic knowledge for a name for your little one. Nicole Ritchie and Joel Madden named their daughter Harlow after movie actress Jean Harlow. If you’re a music buff, do the same here. If you love Eric Clapton, go with Layla, and if you love The Beatles, try Michelle. Your little baby will have a built in theme song!

Favorite Books and Authors Can Provide Good Names

If literature excites you more than anything on a screen can, scan your favorite novels for compelling names. Jane Austen fans might like having a baby Emma, and F. Scott Fitzgerald fans might choose Daisy for their little girl or Nick or Jay for their boy. You can also name your baby after a favorite author. My nephew is Henry David after Thoreau.

Naming Your Baby after Vacation Spots

It’s pretty tacky to name your baby after the place where he or she was conceived, but if you have a favorite town or country that you just love, try finding a name for your beloved baby there! It doesn’t have to be a place name, either. If you love camping, you could name your baby Sierra or Lake, and if you love going to tropical locales, you could name your baby after a favorite flower or fruit that grows there.

If you like the idea of a flower or fruit name, try looking to nature to find a moniker for your mini-human.  Take hike and consider names like Willow, Lily and River.

Let the Internet Name Your Baby

If you’re really stumped, try using the internet to seek out a name for your baby. Try Wikipedia’s Random Article Function. I just clicked it and got an article on the Mohan Veena, which is a musical instrument with an interesting name. I’m not going to use it, but maybe you would! Another great tool is Google Translate. Let’s say you love the way the smooth stones look in the creek near your childhood home, but you don’t want to name your baby Stone. Type the word into Google translate, and you’ll find the French name Pierre means “stone”, the Finnish word is Kivi, and the Germans say “Stein”.

Try an "Old Name" Revival

If you love “old people names” like I do, then find an old yearbook from the 50s or earlier and dig up gems like Agatha, Irving, Sadie, and Walter. If you’re making a face right now, remember that we only think of these names as sounding “old” because everyone with those names is old! Everyone was young once, and one day, your baby will be old too.

Consult Baby Name Websites

There are tons of baby name sites out there, and some of them, like Baby Name Wizard, will actually help you find a baby name based on names you already like. If you love the name Emily but you’d like to find something less popular (it’s been the #1 name in this country for years!), use a baby name site to find less popular alternatives like Emilia, Emmeline and Amelie.

Remember, your baby is a person who will grow up to be an adult. Don't give them an undignified name. Make sure it sounds good after "CEO" and "President". Picture it on a resume or business card. “Creative” spellings don’t make a name more interesting, they just make it harder to spell and pronounce.  Very cutesy names on boys and girls are only cute when they are babies. When a child with a cutesy name grows up and becomes an adult, it can be hard to take them seriously. If you really want a cute name for your cute little baby, give them an adult name that has a cute nickname, e.g. Elizabeth can be Baby Betsy, but she can grow up and put Elizabeth on her business card.


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