Hi Duana,

I am due with my second child, a baby boy, the end of June. We have a little girl and her name is Grace. My husband and I immediately loved her name so we never had any issues or debates over choosing a name. This time around it has been much different.

This will be the first boy in 4 generations of women on my side, so needless to say our families are pretty excited to welcome a baby boy. We both like names that are pretty traditional. Our favorites right now are Adam, Lucas and Michael.

My top name would be Adam - and my husband likes it too! The only thing that is making me hesitate, is the fact that Adam ends in an 'm' and our last name starts with an 'm'. I am worries that it flows "too much", if that is even possible.

We also, both really like Michael, it is just its popularity that is pushing me away from it. Although not as popular as it was in the 80s and 90s, I feel like it is still very common.

Lastly, Lucas is a name that I have always loved, and my husband is not crazy about it, but is OK with that being his name.

So I guess overall I am looking for a name that goes well with our daughter Grace, and our last name.

Please help!


You know that I think you may be the very first person to ask me whether you should use the name Michael? I’m not sure whether I’ve ever addressed Adam, either. So you may be a double-first.

Part of the reason for this, of course, is that these names aren’t in use for little boys right now. I’m not sure if you know this and are delighted that you’re sort of off the beaten path but people who say they like ‘traditional names’ – even though Michael and Adam both qualify – have been lately using William and George and Henry and so on, because Michael and Adam tend to be their dads. So if you choose either just know that the kid will be the one who’s always invited to chat with the dads. “Hey man, all the Mikes are over here!” Having said that, classics are classics for a reason – Michael is now and has been a beautiful name. Adam too – it’s literally the name of the first man, so there’s an established classicism there.

I’ve intentionally left out Lucas for two reasons.  One, you say you love it. I love a name that you love, and two, I feel like it’s in much more regular use for kids. Maybe not babies, per se, but there are a lot of Lukes who are eight or nine years old, and I think it still totally plays. Grace and Luke really add up for me. Why doesn’t your husband like it, do you know?

Other options that feel classical and won’t turn any heads for being new or unusual, but feel strong and charming no matter what are Thomas, Edward – can you see a little Eddie in your future? – or, a little more off the beaten path, Seth or Nathan or even Vincent. I would love to hear of a little Vinnie running around.

But I think you should go with what you love, and I think you should love anything you choose, not just something that doesn’t offend. Do any of these feel really, really right? Like you love them and can’t wait to have this person arrive? The first boy in four generations. (Lainey: which makes Adam kinda perfect, non?) So the name should be special too. I feel as though sometimes Gabriel fits this bill, although you already have a Grace. But if little Mikey is the one, then love it, own it, and be delighted that he’s the only Michael of his generation! Let me know!

A note to name-nerd letter writers,

I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!