Duana, please help! I'm expecting my second in early May. We don't know if it will be a boy or girl. We have one daughter named Eliza, which is a pretty special name in my family. I thought it was unusual when we picked it almost 5 years ago, but now I realize it's getting a bit trendy. Still, we like it and I especially like using a family name. I do prefer somewhat unusual names (does everyone tell you that?), but I am also realizing I am somewhat conservative. Which is funny, because my husband and I are not at all conservative and our kid will be raised in a pretty non-traditional household. My husband is a musician, for instance, and the names he loves are names of some of his favorite musicians. He likes Emmylou, and I.... do NOT.  He also liked Luella and Loralei. I think he's drawn to sort of unusual, somewhat country-sounding names.

My top choices for girls are Margo and Greta, both of which would be in tribute to my grandmother, Margaret. Do you think they're too trendy or about to become trendy? I also like Hazel, and I have a distant relative with that name, but I worry it's too matchy with the "z" in Eliza.

We both liked Rhett for a boy, but I realized it sounds too much like Rhett Butler with our last name. Our last name is not Butler, but it's very similar. Our top boy names now are Graham or Grant. I like Graham a lot and it has a nice sound with our last name, but I'm worried it will be too popular too? I don't know of any Grahams, but what do you think? I have also considered Arlo. We live in a city with fairly funky names, so all of these choices are actually somewhat traditional compared to my kids' classmates; they could be a mix of Axels, Gus, Adelaides, Agnes, etc as well as the usual Ellas and Liams. One last factor: I am Welsh and I would pick a Welsh name, but haven't found one I love. We previously both liked the Welsh name Owen before it took off in popularity. There is a good chance we will pick the name you suggest because I love your style! Thanks so much!  


I don’t think Eliza is that trendy, I think it’s stylish, which is a distinction that Nameberry often makes, and that I think is an important one, as is your point about being ‘conservative’. I think there’s a difference between traditional and conservative, too. Conservative is Charlotte, Traditional is Francesca. That is, I think that you can choose a name that is traditionally acceptable without being well-used and veering into ‘popular’.

So, of your choices, Emmylou is definitely not traditional or conservative. That is, it’s a nickname. Similarly Luella. But if he loves that sound, what about Lucia? Eliza and Lucia is nice, not too similar, and feels like it’s within your pattern. Hazel is more offbeat, and I think it can seem like one of your daughters is academic and the other is a free-spirited hippie. Whereas I do not feel that way about Margo and Greta, and though I have tried and tried, I cannot make them ‘about to become trendy’. I think they are simmering well below the surface, I change my mind on which of the two is my favourite weekly, and I will be jealous if you use either, or both.

Usually, people say that naming boys is harder, but the good news is that your parameters of ‘somewhere between Conservative, Traditional, and Unusual’ lends itself to a very specific place. The bad news is that you’ve kind of hit most of them.  Graham (or Graeme, as 50% of people will spell it) is great, and Grant has a very similar feel – I’m compelled to remind you of Brent as a result, and of Brendan from there. Levi, Micah, Reese. None of these ring a bell for me in terms of popularity.  Sacha, Gideon, Marcel. Does this fit in the right pocket for you?

I love that you might choose the name I suggested – and that I’ve given you enough that I can’t be pinned to just one, so it’s a surprise for me too!

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