The Lost Names

graveyardEvery once in a while I think about my lost names. You know, those names you thought or hoped you would use on your own children one day, but for one reason or another never could.

A few of my lost names I’m relieved I never used.

For example, Max was the name I picked for my future son in high school or college. I still like Max, but now the name is a lot less surprising than it was 20 years ago, and after a generation of Max, Maxwell, Maximilian, Maximus, et al., the name has lost its “fresh” factor.

Then there are other lost names that I still mourn. Those of you who have followed UBN for a while may already know that I still wish I could use Cecily. And despite its growing popularity, Owen really feels like a son of mine.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel fortunate to have my two wonderful kids, and I can’t imagine them with any other names. And I know I can’t have 10 kids just to name them. And when I think of that craziness, I can accept these names were never meant for my kids and I get satisfaction suggesting them to certain readers.

After hearing many baby name stories from parents, I suspect most parents, especially Moms, have a baby name graveyard in their minds.

Readers: Do you have lost names? Why didn’t you use your lost names? Do you still mourn your lost names or are you glad you didn’t use them?

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  1. Oh, do I have lost names! The only one that feels truly lost is Rosemary, nn Romy. It was my second girl name for *so* long. I can still picture Clio and her little sister Romy.

    We don’t really have lost boy names, mostly because we’ve never really agreed on a second boy name.

    I’m not 100% certain that the names are completely lost yet. My sister used one of my all-time favorites for her second son’s middle name, and that makes it feel like it is a little bit mine …

    • If one of my brothers used one of my lost names for one of their kids then it wouldn’t be lost either. My one brother just got married in September and I think the plan is to have kids soon. We shall see. : )

  2. I suspect most name nerds have an extensive graveyard of names they thought about using at one time or another.

    Your comment about Max reminded me it was one of my very earliest name loves – when I was about 7, my goal was to have two children named Maximilian “Max” and Minerva “Min”, so they could see their names on the weather report every night. Why I thought this would be such a lifelong thrill for them escapes me now. But it was a very firmly held dream for me.

    • Max and Min – funny! Maybe a strange thing for an adult to do to their kids (although I have seen stranger sibsets), but creative for a kid and hilarious!

      • What strikes me now is that I never considered Max as a full name – I must have been an early proponent of the “long forms of full names only” theory.

        It was also typical of me is that even though my mum and sister explained to me, in their wisdom, that Max and Minnie were “old people” names, and Maximilian and Minerva were “too fancy” or “pretentious”, I paid absolutely no attention. I KNEW Max and Minnie weren’t just for old people, and I KNEW “too fancy” just meant “nicer than anything we can think up”.

        Future name blogger for sure! đŸ˜‰

        • And now we all know about the gazillion Max’s running around. I’m reminded of people back in the 80’s who said, “Oh, high-end coffee will NEVER take off. Who wants to spend their money on fancy coffee when you can get it for 25 cents?” And we all know how that turned out. What surprises me is that Minerva hasn’t taken off in the U.S. But maybe the nickname Minnie is still too strongly tied to the mouse.

  3. I have an extensive name graveyard, mostly names I know we’ll never get to unless we want a baker’s dozen for a family. But the one that hurts the most is Lorelei. It was poached by close family at zero hour…since we weren’t pregnant we couldn’t really put up a fuss, and their little girl makes a cute Lorelei. BUT I always feel weird calling her by it. It was my favourite name for over a decade, a heroine in a book I loved since middle school. My husband and I had a nerdy eighties music connection to it…it really felt like “ours”.
    I console myself with the fact that no one can spell it, and that it’s rapidly climbing the charts. Buaha. Yet, if it had been my child’s name I don’t think any of that would have mattered to me.

  4. Mine is Sylvia, after my sweet grandmother. Just had my second boy and I am Done! But I’m a little sad I’ll never get to use it.

  5. Oh, I have quite a few lost names, and I am not even sure I’m done having kids! But my husband’s (and kids’) last name begins with “St-” and is quite long, which has killed some of my favorite names. Celeste is the biggest one I regret not getting to use, but it just didn’t work.
    For other various reasons, I also lost Maggie, and Emma, and Betsy.

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