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Joy & Austin 31: Adding Evelyn Mae


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Cora Persephona

I think choosing names with no more thought into it than liking how they sound is just a valid an option as choosing ones with deep meaning (as long as there's nothing humiliating or offensive). And, as mentioned before, naming traditions are different around the globe. 

In my country, it used to be tradition that the child gets named after the godparents. For example, my mother was named for her godfather and my aunt after their godmother.  My godparents have decidedly old-fashioned names (that haven't come around to being popular even now, 30 years later), so my godmother told my mom that she shouldn't saddle me with any of them and to just pick a name she likes. Which she did with no more thought than liking the name. The other tradition (which sometimes overlaps) is that the (Christian Orthodox) child has to have a saint's name, but because parents had started wanting to have more naming options it became more and more popular to give children two names (which by law had/(have?) to be hyphenated).

So, given all the reasons above, my full name, let's say Ana-Madalina*, is the name of one of her students (not necessarily a student that she liked more than most). She saw the name on the attendance sheet and she just loved it. She gave my godmother the justification that the Ana* part is after her daughter Aneta*, but it really wasn't. I also had a great-grandmother called Ana*, but I wasn't named after her and I am glad.  While I admire her for being  a strong woman who lived in very hard times, she was very cold and and had an obvious favourite among her children and showed it to a ridiculous level.

My mom did have a name picked out with more meaning to it, the saint's name part was after the same saint both my mom and dad are named after, think John, Jean and Jeanette*. However, I am glad she didn't pick the meaningful name because I really did not like the name combination. I LOVE my meaningless name and if it wasn't already my name I would definitely use it for a child!

To bring this thread full circle, my dad has a second cousin with my exact same name. No, he didn't mention this to my mother when they discussed names. Yes, my mother did know the second cousin. I found out we shared an exact name when I was in my teens despite our families being reasonably close throughout my childhood. That is because she socially goes exclusively by the Lina* part if the name and has done so all her life. I have never gone by Lina*, my nick names were always based on the Mada* part of the name. Neither of us go by Ana socially, officially of course we both have to use our full name because that is the law where we are. 

*Not actual name, but similar in length and style. 

TL/DR : Naming traditions vary, diversity in opinions is wonderful, I love my meaningless, chosen-on-a-whim name!

Edited by Cora Persephona
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constantgardener
7 hours ago, Vivi_music said:

To answer you, I did a bit of amateur genealogy too (mainly looking up some stuff that are available online. Sadly I don't have the time right now in my life, maybe one day I will go more in depth). Anywho.

You are right, ''dit'' literally means ''said'' but it on a more figurative way, reaserchers aren't all in agreement with its meaning. Some historians translated it to ''a.k.a'' (also known as); sometimes they said it was a nickname; while others consider it more as a ''distinguisher''. Personally, from my humble understanding - as a French canadian myself (lol) - I considered it mainly as either the ''a.k.a'' theory or the idea of it being a distinguisher.

The most popular explanation is that the French in New France took or were given a ''dit'' name as a way to distinguish themselves from one another. For example if in a same small town, there were two guys called Joseph Clément, well one might add a ''dit'' name to distinguish himself from the other. The ''dit'' name could be related to one's occupation or location. I think with time, some individuals dropped the ''dit'' name, or to the contrary, decided to only go by the ''dit'' name. Naming conventions were not necessarily ruled by any civil law so a family tree could easily change.

For example: I did a bit of research for a cousin of mine and his family name is Brunet. Turns out that there were several Brunet family in the area. One was Brunet dit Belhumeur and the other was Brunet dit Létang (maybe there were others but I didn't search EVERY Brunet root). At the same time in my life, I was compleating my master's, and doing T.A. work for a professor. It mainly consisted of going through some 19th century notary acts. Totally by accident, I stumbled upon an act mentionning a ''Brunet dit Létang'' (meaning it was still used in the 1830's). It would make sense that at one point one son decided to chose one name or the other because now all these names (Brunet, Létang, Belhumeur) are common names in Québec.

A popular example is the NHL Penguin Pittsbrugh player Kristopher Letang. Letang was born in Montréal. ;)

 

 

Thanks for that very comprehensive explanation! Kind of what I assumed. It must make researching your family tree that extra bit more difficult! I do not have any French DNA but the British side of my tree has a random diversion into Quebec - I think as a result of a British Army posting in the 1800s - so I do come across Canadian DNA matches quite often on Ancestry.

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Melissa1977
58 minutes ago, Cora Persephona said:

I think choosing names with no more thought into it than liking how they sound is just a valid an option as choosing ones with deep meaning

I think most people choose names because they like it. At least in my circle, (almost) nobody is honouring godparents or grandparents using their names anymore, neither are they looking for profound meanings of the names. 

My grandma chase a beautiful name for my mom, but her godmother wanted the baby to be named after her, so my mom got a fine name, but not the beautiful one her mother wanted! It infuriates me a mom can't name her child because tradition or family pressure. Others had it worst and received awful names, to honour a relative.

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wendy-sparkles
10 hours ago, princessmahina said:

The thing with over the top names as a first is that there’s a very strong potential for bullying or, later on down the road, judgment in job applications. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s right to judge people’s names because we don’t really have a choice in that. I think they nailed it with Henry by putting the big, unusual name in the middle and giving a more common name for a first that doesn’t attract stares, snickers, or outright judgment. 

I have an unusual first name and I've never been bullied for it, and I was a nerdy kid who got bullied a fair amount. I get honestly so many compliments (which is both nice and slightly annoying, because they're really compliments for my mum 😉) and the worst I face is people getting it slightly wrong - there is a similar more common name I sometimes get confused for. When I was 11 some friends called me another similar but different name to mess with me but I would consider it more a light hearted jape. I have to spell it out, but I have to spell my last name already, and lots of more common names often have variations that mean people have to spell them anyway.

I think the influence of names on job applications is often about the race and class implications of a name, which I a. don't think Spurgeon has and b. absolutely do not think we should name to appease people's prejudices. If we named to look good on job applications we'd be calling all our daughters John (because women do better with masculine names). And like, he can just go by S. Elliott Seewald if he hates it, or legally change it, which I understand isn't as difficult in the USA as it might be in some other countries. I do think if you give an out-there first name you should give a more common middle name as back up, and I personally like it when a more common first name has an unusual middle name like Henry's - my brother is named like this and he uses his full three names on eg. facebook, because it's a cool name.

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nausicaa
On 8/28/2020 at 3:46 PM, viii said:

Oh, you're one of THOSE writers. That explains a lot. 

Also want to point out, part of writing is considering your characters' world. Characters don't name themselves, their fictional parents do and so their names should reflect that. And many types of parents prefer simple or popular names and plenty of people have "filler" middle names. 

Every character in a non-fantasy work having some super elaborate, weighted name would pull me right out of the story, to be honest.

 

Edited by nausicaa
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nausicaa
6 hours ago, wendy-sparkles said:

 If we named to look good on job applications we'd be calling all our daughters John (because women do better with masculine names). 

To bring this whole thing full circle, my female "filler" middle name allowed me to go by a very unique, masculine nickname.

And yes it does help at work. Though there was "Boy Named Sue" style teasing in school. 

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SassyPants
12 minutes ago, nausicaa said:

To bring this whole thing full circle, my female "filler" middle name allowed me to go by a very unique, masculine nickname.

And yes it does help at work. Though there was "Boy Named Sue" style teasing in school. 

I have a traditionally male middle name, the shortened version of a long female name which was my grandmother’s name. I did not particularly care for that name in my youth. 

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Melissa1977
47 minutes ago, nausicaa said:

Also want to point out, part of writing is considering your characters' world. Characters don't name themselves, their fictional parents do and so their names should reflect that. And many types of parents prefer simple or popular names and plenty of people have "filler" middle names. 

Every character in a non-fantasy work having some super elaborate, weighted name would pull me right out of the story, to be honest.

 

Absolutely agree. Not only the parents "style" but also their social circle, religion, year and place of birth etc. For example, I was born in 1977 near Barcelona, when a lot of girls were named Raquel, but none of their grandmas had  that name. 1977 Eugenia would probably have been a high-class girl, while Vanessa would be a "chav". Anyway, Raquel could be rich, middle class or poor, but it would sound very strange a 1977 Vanessa as a rich girl.

Of course, fiction is free, but names help to create a sensation of reality when reading the story.

Edited by Melissa1977
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just_ordinary

What I find most interesting about her name choices is that I would consider both names (Annabelle & Evelyn) out of date but nowhere near the trendy old-fashioned group that had a huge comeback (examples: Clara/Klara, Marie-Louise, Theresa/e, Frederike, Ida, Inga, Frieda, Lotta/e) or the classics (Hannah, Johanna, Anna, Emma, Emilia, Alexandra, Sarah, Eva). I would have thought it might take another 30-50 years for them to be fashionable again. But Joy is ten years younger than me, so I cannot rule out that the next generation has already new naming patterns. And she is from a different country. That probably plays into it the most.

Edited by just_ordinary
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BernRul

To jump into this discussion, I'm currently pregnant and if the baby is a girl her middle name will be Mai.

I have put a lot of thought into this. It is pronounced "My" like the  English word and is Vietnamese (husband's side of the family is Vietnamese). It means cherry blossom. Flower/nature names are very important in Vietnamese culture.  I've loved the name Mai since I was 7 and heard it on the incredibly emotional Hey Arnold  Christmas special.

I just want to say that I'd be incredibly offended if someone heard my potential daughter's middle name and judged it as a "filler name." It is in fact a beautiful name that connects her to her paternal culture and history. 

Also, I guess by @SorenaJ standards another middle name girl's choice, Linh, would also fit these "filler" qualities. Linh is a girl's name meaning intelligent in Vietnamese, and I would consider using it because it is so rare to find a girl's name that means intelligent. 

Edited by BernRul
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SassyPants
2 hours ago, BernRul said:

To jump into this discussion, I'm currently pregnant and if the baby is a girl her middle name will be Mai.

I have put a lot of thought into this. It is pronounced "My" like the  English word and is Vietnamese (husband's side of the family is Vietnamese). It means cherry blossom. Flower/nature names are very important in Vietnamese culture.  I've loved the name Mai since I was 7 and heard it on the incredibly emotional Hey Arnold  Christmas special.

I just want to say that I'd be incredibly offended if someone heard my potential daughter's middle name and judged it as a "filler name." It is in fact a beautiful name that connects her to her paternal culture and history. 

Also, I guess by @SorenaJ standards another middle name girl's choice, Linh, would also fit these "filler" qualities. Linh is a girl's name meaning intelligent in Vietnamese, and I would consider using it because it is so rare to find a girl's name that means intelligent. 

But her father is Vietnamese, and she will probably have his last name in some form of her name, right? If this is the case, I can’t see how anyone would assume this name is a place holder. Beyond older folks or perhaps religious folks, I don’t think many people in this era use or have a place holder name. I doubt Joy used Mae as a place holder. I have a place holder part to my name. The priest added it at my baptism because my given name did not contain a Saint’s name. I was baptized in the 50s, so I guess a Saint’s name was essential.

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BernRul
8 minutes ago, SassyPants said:

But her father is Vietnamese, and she will probably have his last name in some form of her name, right? If this is the case, I can’t see how anyone would assume this name is a place holder. Beyond older folks or perhaps religious folks, I don’t think many people in this era use or have a place holder name. I doubt Joy used Mae as a place holder. I have a place holder part to my name. The priest added it at my baptism because my given name did not contain a Saint’s name. I was baptized in the 50s, so I guess a Saint’s name was essential.

Actually, we haven't decided on last names yet.

And if I were to just say/write my child's first and middle name, or if I said shared it with a pic of the baby (who might look racially ambiguous or not obviously Asian) than it's not obvious the name comes from a different culture.

That's my point. @SorenaJ is making an assumption that the name is a placeholder because it's the name Mae and it has three letters. She has no way of knowing that, nor knowing the name's meaning to the baby's parents because they have not shared it. The same could be done in my case if I simply wrote down my baby's first and middle name without providing context. It's ignorant to make the assumption, period. 

 

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AprilQuilt

I'm kind of surprised about the judgement on here re 'filler' middle names. I agree with @BernRul, you don't know the story behind a name, and just because it seems pedestrian to you doesn't mean it isn't still important. Florid or unique names are not the only meaningful sort.

I actually think Mae is really pretty and vintage. I had a wonderful great-great aunt whose name was Maria-Clara but who went by May, and I would be quite tempted to use it as a middle name if we have another daughter (our first does actually use an element of her name, plus my grandmother's first name) - that would be very special to me. But I also think it's totally fair enough for a middle name NOT to have a deep personal meaning, but to just sound/look pretty. Those one-syllable MNs like Mae, Rae, Jo, Rose etc do bring a little bit of pep and syncopation to the proceedings.

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AprilQuilt

oh, and PS - I am a writer by profession and for the most part pull names out of my bum. Or to put it more loftily, the names just COME to me 😇

I did just name a contemporary child character Evelyn Grace, because it conveyed some idea of era and social class without having to labour the point. It's pretty but it's the sort of name that child's parents WOULD choose. She started out as a Chloe but it didn't feel quite right. If I find things aren't quite flowing, I usually change a character's name or give them a haircut or something.

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Satan'sFortress

Evelyn Forsyth sounds quite elegant indeed. I hope she'll get a chance at a bigger life than her mom had. 

Edited by Satan'sFortress
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Slowhitt

My grandma’s name was Evelyn June.  She eventually dropped Evelyn and went by June, but her mom called her Evy June.  When my kids were born I never would have considered the name Evelyn but now I think it’s lovely.  Same with my grandpa Oliver.  

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PlentyOfJesusFishInTheSea
8 hours ago, just_ordinary said:

What I find most interesting about her name choices is that I would consider both names (Annabelle & Evelyn) out of date but nowhere near the trendy old-fashioned group that had a huge comeback (examples: Clara/Klara, Marie-Louise, Theresa/e, Frederike, Ida, Inga, Frieda, Lotta/e) or the classics (Hannah, Johanna, Anna, Emma, Emilia, Alexandra, Sarah, Eva). I would have thought it might take another 30-50 years for them to be fashionable again. But Joy is ten years younger than me, so I cannot rule out that the next generation has already new naming patterns. And she is from a different country. That probably plays into it the most.

I'm guessing you don't live in North America. I know 2 little Evelyns, 1 little Alice and more Olivias than necessary here in Ontario, Canada. Not an Inga or Frederike (!!) to be found. So Joy's taste seems typical to me.

Can't say I've met a little Gideon though. Yet?

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Pecansforeveryone

Now that I think about it, I have never met a Gideon in real life. I wonder why, it's one of those bible names that I don't think ever had a streak of popularity the way Noah did. No snark on the name itself just my two cents on it not being a common name. 

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Bassett Lady

My grandparents had a loving and affectionate relationship. They were never bawdy or lewd in our presence, but there was a twinkle in their eyes and a certain sparkle when they were together. 
 

Her middle name was Mae. When my grandfather was in especially high spirits he would whistle “The Lusty Month of May” while she cooked. Those were nights that they would hold hands during dinner. 
 

So, not only do I think of Mae as far more than a filler name, I hope young Evelyn Mae has a life as long, eventful, happy, and lusty as my dear Oma.

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mango_fandango

Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was named Gideon at birth, he added the George later as he didn’t like the name Gideon. 

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VeryNikeSeamstress

For anybody knocking  'filler' names, remember... That shit's expensive! The Kardashian women spend a fortune on it.

At least there's no J'20 named Juvaderm Duggar.

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baldricks_turnip
17 hours ago, just_ordinary said:

What I find most interesting about her name choices is that I would consider both names (Annabelle & Evelyn) out of date but nowhere near the trendy old-fashioned group that had a huge comeback (examples: Clara/Klara, Marie-Louise, Theresa/e, Frederike, Ida, Inga, Frieda, Lotta/e) or the classics (Hannah, Johanna, Anna, Emma, Emilia, Alexandra, Sarah, Eva). I would have thought it might take another 30-50 years for them to be fashionable again. But Joy is ten years younger than me, so I cannot rule out that the next generation has already new naming patterns. And she is from a different country. That probably plays into it the most.

That's interesting! Where are you from? Many of the names you have described as making a huge comeback haven't really hit the charts here (Australia). The trendy old fashioned girls names here are Amelia, Ruby, Olive, Mabel, Evelyn, Lydia, Violet, Rose/Rosie. For boys its Oliver, Arthur, Archie, Leo, Theo, Henry, Edward, George.
I hear from many Americans about Clara being very trendy but I don't know of any Australian babies with that name.

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HereticHick
19 hours ago, BernRul said:

I just want to say that I'd be incredibly offended if someone heard my potential daughter's middle name and judged it as a "filler name." It is in fact a beautiful name that connects her to her paternal culture and history. 

 

Thank you so much for weighing in on this. Many of my Asian relatives have extremely meaningful one syllable names, and I've been annoyed at the posters on this thread who just want to doubledown on their Whiteness and assert that only their Anglo views of naming traditions are valid.

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Bassett Lady

I do not think it is a doubling down on whiteness or Anglo traditions as much as a class/money issue in the US.

There are many poor white southerners who use one syllable middle names.  Bobbie Jo, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Sue, and so forth.  It is an economic marker more than a race marker in many parts of the US.

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