My Daughters’ Names

What’s in a name?

Choosing my daughters’ names was not a task that I took lightly. We made many lists, and considered ancestry, word origins & the meanings of different names.ย First names have to flow properly and sound right with the middle and last names. There’s so much to consider, because you are not really naming a baby, you are naming an adult. I feel that any name must work for whatever profession my child chooses to pursue , whether that be writer, teacher, lawyer or President of the United States.

My oldest daughter is Lakin Leigh. Lakin is my middle name, and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Leigh is the more feminine spelling of her father’s middle name, Lee. It flows beautifully with our last name. Her name was decided before we knew she was a girl, before we were even pregnant. Her name suits her perfectly.

Lakin Leigh

If she had been a boy, the name we had chosen was Andrew Patrick. I loved this name at the time, so much so that we considered it again when pregnant with our second child. Ultimately, I can’t picture myself as the mother of an Andrew or a Patrick, though I’m sure I would still be in love with the name if my oldest had been a boy child. Funny how that works, eh?

My second daughter is Addah Shannon. I had loved the name Addah since high school, when I had a brief friendship with a beautiful blond girl by that name. Her middle name is from the River Shannon in Ireland, and goes well with our very Irish last name. As it turns out, “Ada” is a family name, though I did not know that when we chose the name. I realized pretty quickly after Addah was born that we would forever be correcting the spelling and pronunciation of her name, but it never seems to bother her. The English meaning of Addah/Ada is “happy” and the Irish meaning of Shannon is “little old wise one”. My Addah is indeed a very happy and wise child, just as her name suggests.

Addah Shannon

Unlike our first pregnancy, on the second time around, we did not find out whether we were having a boy or girl via ultrasound. If Addah had been a boy, which I was absolutely convinced of until she was born, the name we had chosen was Rory Patrick. I still love this name, though it didn’t feel right anymore by the time we were pregnant with our last baby. Different husband, different place in my life, but still, a lovely boy’s name.

David and I considered hundreds of names for our third baby before we settled on Clara Edith. Clara means “clear, bright, famous” and Edith means “prosperous in war”. We had five early miscarriages before we conceived Clara, and we were in a very dark time financially when we became pregnant with her. She was the symbol of our clear and bright future, and we felt very prosperous in love, even during the war we were waging on our financial circumstances. Clara is a lovely old-fashioned name, and not one that you hear very often, which is exactly what we were looking for. Edith was my paternal grandmother’s first name, which makes the name even more special to us. It is the perfect name for this beautiful child.

Clara Edith (photo by Carly Marie Project Heal)

We had a perfect boy name picked out as well, in case Clara had been a boy. It is still our favorite boy name, and we hope that we will one day be able to bestow it on a son, so it shall remain private for now.

I adore all of my daughters’ names, and wouldn’t change them for the world. I think their names suit them perfectly, and I can’t imagine them being called by any other name.

How did you decide on your children’s names?ย Are they named after family members, friends, or famous people?ย Do you prefer classic or unusual names?
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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet and wild preschool girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

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  • Nat

    I am so sorry that you had to suffer 5 miscarriages (we have lost one and it has to be the hardest thing we have faced as a couple I cannot imagine the grief you have both endured) and of course the death of your beautiful daughter Clara. It’s funny that last night I wrote a post about the same thing (the process of choosing our children’s names and their meanings) only to save it in my drafts. One day I will share it…

  • Nat

    I am so sorry that you had to suffer 5 miscarriages (we have lost one and it has to be the hardest thing we have faced as a couple I cannot imagine the grief you have both endured) and of course the death of your beautiful daughter Clara. It’s funny that last night I wrote a post about the same thing (the process of choosing our children’s names and their meanings) only to save it in my drafts. One day I will share it…

    • Thank you, Nat. I am so sorry for you and your husband’s loss. It is such a hard thing to go through and it does take an incredible toll on a marriage. I hope you do share your post about choosing your children’s names. I would love to read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kristin Stultz

    Robert is my husband’s middle name. In fact, with our son, it’s now been used by five straight generations of Pressley men! Jones was my great grandfather’s middle name, and I’ve always loved it. When I presented the idea of “Robert Jones” to my husband, he was instantly on board. An avid golfer, Jeremy’s favorite historical golfer is Bobby Jones, the founder of both the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Golf Tournament. The fact that our baby’s name connected him to his family heritage was of utmost importance to me, and I’m so glad we were able to agree on a name so easily;)

    Had Jones been a girl, he’d have been Mary Alice, after my beloved grandmother. If our second child is a girl, she’ll be Mary, too – Mary Stultz, which is my maiden name.

    Thanks for a great post:) I always enjoy your blog and hope you’re doing well!

    • I wondered about the story behind Jones’ name! I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times… but I assumed he was named after Bob Jones (of the University)! ๐Ÿ˜›

  • I loved how you picked your girls names out and will say that Emma Grace was my pick. I just loved how pretty how sounded and Grace my was great aunt (my grandfather’s sister). I prayed to him when I first got pregnant and thought if I had a girl it would be a lovely way to honor him with using his sister’s name as the middle name. Lily was Kevin’s choice and he first wanted to name her Ellie Mae (all I could think of was the Clampett’s and vetoed that!). He liked Lily then and Ann was his grandmother’s name that just past away. So that is how she got her name! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I love your girls’ names, Janine… but I have to say, I’m glad that Ellie Mae was vetoed! I was going to make Addah’s middle name be “Belle”, but my dad said “she’ll sound like Clarabel Cow”, which basically ruined that for me! Funny how we ended up with a Clara though, 10 years later!

  • I love how much thought you both put into each name! My second one was more of an off-the-cuff decision!

    • Siri

      Roshni is a nice name – there was a Roshni in my children’s nursery in Doha, Qatar in 1994!

  • The Sadder But Wiser Girl

    We had a simple formula for naming our children: It had to be a normal enough name that people wouldn’t go “HUH?” upon hearing it but not so common that the music teacher could remember their names. This was because when I was a music teacher one particular year I had nine Hayleys in the third grade. All blonde. I tore my hair out trying to do all of those grade reports!

    My son is named Ezra Leighton-Ezra simply because we liked the name and Leighton is a family name. My husband swears up and down he never chose the name, but felt sorry for me all drugged up and just having given birth.

    My daughter’s name is Brynn Levi. My husband picked the name, Levi is a family name on his side of the family. It never fails that almost every time we go to the doctor, they call for Bryan. I understand that Brynn is a popular name in the United Kingdom, but I had never heard it before we named her.

    • I like the formula… and absolutely agree with it! Your kids have great names – normal but not too common!

  • Oh I love talking names! My daughter is Violet Jane. Violet we had picked out since we had been married, it took us three years to conceive. Jane was my grandmother’s name and I always wanted to honor her when she passed away when I was 13

    Thanks for sharing your favorite post at Raising Imperfection! We feature our favorites on Friday, make sure to come back and check.
    Leslie

    • Violet is a beautiful name, and I love the simplicity of Jane!

  • I saw you featured at Violet Imperfection and came to take a look. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was always glad my second child was a boy because if he’d have been a girl dad had his heart set on a name I really, really didn’t like. ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoyed your post!

    • In your situation (if your son had been a girl), I would be the argumentative one who refused to let my partner name the kid something I hated! I’m glad it didn’t come to that for you guys!

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  • Nicole

    I’m a new reader here and wanted to comment saying that I love your girls names!. I have Eve Loretta and Lilah May. I prefer classic names. I also love the name Violet and Lucy.

    • Your daughters have lovely names! ๐Ÿ™‚