Only little babies do that…

a blog by Emily\’s mother

What’s In A Name?

Posted by DINRIL on October 15, 2006

Emily, Mummy and Daddy on a family outingOne of the questions we’re most inevitably (and obviously) asked is how we came to choose our daughter’s name. Emily is a very popular moniker in the UK, regularly featuring in the top ten of baby name polls – and in 2003 and 2004 it was the most popular, according to the Government’s national statistics (last year it came second only to Jessica, which is no bad thing).

That’s not why we chose it, mind you. In Judaism it’s traditional to name a new baby after a deceased relative – certainly the Hebrew name should correspond even if the English one doesn’t – so naturally when I found out I was pregnant I began trawling the family tree looking for ancestors whose names hadn’t yet been snapped up by other family members.

It wasn’t easy though. While a boy’s name would have presented less problems, both of my brothers already had girls – which meant that certain names I might have had my eye on had already been taken. At first there appeared to be slim pickings indeed for my own impending offspring if it turned out to be a girl – until a chat with my mother revealed that my great-grandmother on my father’s side had in fact been called Emily.

Now while it’s not obligatory to use the exact same English name (had this been the case my niece would be called Yetta, which isn’t exactly in common usage these days), in this case it worked rather well, since Emily was high on the list of names I would have considered if I weren’t naming after a dead relative. Naturally, I was delighted, and my husband gave the name the thumbs-up too.

As for her middle names, Rebecca and Lena, they were the names of my husband’s grandmothers. Or at least we thought they were. Rebecca was correct, but we discovered a few weeks after Emily was born – and after we had registered her birth – that his other grandmother was in fact called Lea, and not Lena at all. Her Hebrew name corresponds, but of course it’s a bit late to start changing her English name now – so it’s just as well we like it.

It actually came as something of a relief also that the name Emily goes so well with our surname, since Bunder is potentially a difficult surname to match first names to.

Anything which ends in ‘der’ or ‘da’ was of course out due to the rhyming potential – so this excluded the likes of Belinda, Melinda, Amanda and Miranda – while even names like Milly, Molly and Polly would have sounded a little odd. Still, at least I chose to ignore the friend who suggested that regardless of gender our child should have the first name of Thunder. Because frankly Thunder Bunder would have been just silly.

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6 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. tater03 said

    I love the name Emily. When I had my oldest son I wanted to name him Hunter but my brother’s wife found out she was expecting right around the time I was and that was the name the decided to go with. So I choose Brandon.
    And you’re right “Thunder” would have been just silly.

  2. katharina said

    …But on the other hand, every other kid in class surely won’t be named Thunder Bunder. 🙂 Emily was one of my choices for my daughter, too. I chose another one, but my brother used Emily a little later.

  3. Eldragon said

    So Emily might name her daughter Caroline? I guess this is a fortunate reason to have big families!

  4. katharina said

    I think your naming custom is a lovely one, by the way. Some ancestors have names that are virtually obsolete now, but many other older names are still in use and very nice even for babies.

  5. Melanie said

    I am rather glad it was not our custom to name the kids after older relatives. They would’ve ended up Klaus and Marlin – yikes! If they had been girls, they would have been Virginia and Annie – which is equally as bad in my eyes.

  6. tater03 said

    We touched on using a family name but the ones we had to choose from were Myrtal and Lorraine. Did not really care for either one.

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