Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our "If It's a Girl" Name Pick...

I've already mentioned before that Brett and I aren't finding out the gender. Because Brett is a 4th (Maxcy Pearle N. IV, in case you didn't know), and because his great-grandpa is still with us, we're planning on having V if it's a boy. "Max" will be the nickname we'll use. I actually liked the name Max a lot even before I knew Brett- it reminds me of "Where the Wild Things Are." 

So on to girl names. Right away I eliminated any name that's been in the top 50 for the past 5 years- I don't do trendy in this respect. Brett really likes Lucy, as do I, but I've felt it a little nick-namey. Not to offend anyone legally-named Lucy, but I just feel that it needs a solid, formal name to go with it. Then, one day while I was reading one of my fave books ever, I stumbled upon it....LOUISA. Funny enough, "Mae" was our choice for a middle name anyway- it's very feminine, classic, and a family name on my side. Therefore, if we have a little girl, she'll be "Louisa Mae." Just a shade different than Alcott... and "Lucy Mae" for short sounds adorable, I think. Louisa fits my criteria for being rare- it's never been popular in the US- although it's pretty popular in the fiction world. Jane Austen's work features several Louisas, and Louisa von Trapp is the third oldest child in The Sound Of Music. 

I stumbled upon this website, Much Ado About Naming, which has a very flattering review about the name. How strange is it that this post came out only a few weeks after we "discovered" Louisa? The author (Emmy Jo) writes:

"Looking for a name that is supremely familiar, fits in with current naming trends, and isn’t in the top 1000?  Consider the literary Louisa.

Louisa, of course, is a Latinate feminine version of the royal French Louis, which originally comes from the German Ludwig and thus mean “famous warrior.”  Louisa (usually pronounced loo-EE-zuh)  is the spelling most common in English.  In Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese, the name is spelled Luisa and pronounced with an S sound (loo-EE-suh).

Some feminizations of male names seem rather hard for a girl to wear — take Jamesina, Thomasina, or Henrietta for example.  They’re either too frilly or downright silly.  But Louisa has more in common with effortless Josephine, Georgia, Charlotte, or Daniela.  It’s a pretty girls’ name in its own right.

Surprisingly enough, the name has never been extremely popular in the U.S.  Name data is only available since 1880, but the highest it ever charted was #119 in 1881.  It hasn’t been in the top 200 any time this century, and it hasn’t even been in the top 1000 since 1969.  The French Louise fared much better.  As a first name, it was in the top 50 from 1880 until 1937, and it didn’t exit the charts entirely until 1991.  According to a survey done by Name Nerds, Louise is the 7th most popular girls’ middle name in the U.S.  In fact, chances are good that you have a mother, aunt, grandmother, or friend with that middle name.  If you’re looking for a way to honor her, and if Louise sounds rather old-ladyish to you, then Louisa might be a good way to update it.

Louisa fits in well with several current naming trends.  Nineteenth-century literary names are in.  Current chart-toppers or chart-climbers include Emily, Emma, Isabella, Charlotte, Amelia, Caroline, Lydia, Clara, Alice, Eleanor, Eliza, and Josephine.  Spanish and Italian names are also fashionable.  Spell the name Luisa, and she seems like a fitting sister for Sofia, Gianna, or Gabriella.  Additionally, it is remarkably similar to Lucy and Lucia, respectively ranked #135 and #311, and both on the rise.

Louisa has a host of literary and historical namesakes, including too many princesses and duchesses to list."

Let's just keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't gain popularity anytime soon! I always hated being one of at least 3-4 Emilys in all my classes in school.....


Bridget said...

I love the new name! When we have kids, I want to keep their names unique and original myself...I'm thinking really irish since that's both of our backgrounds.

Jenny said...

I love The Sound of Music and the names from it! Although I'm not sure I'd name one of my kids Liesl. Other than that they are great and Louisa is pretty. I was in the same boat with having the same name as a bunch of other girls. "Jennifer" was #1 in '84 and that's what my dear father wanted to call me. And then all those girls went by Jenny. Now I like it but it sucked back then!

Denise said...

Like I told you when you were over here, I think that is SUCH a beautiful name!!! Louisa Mae... And Lucy is such a cute nickname!