Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Good Name

Ever since we were looking for a name for Zahana, I've become a bit obsessed with names. Well, now it's just more of an enjoyable interest, but it used to be an obsession. I read through thousands of names in books and on baby name websites. The main reason was that Jeremiah and I have different tastes. I could easily give him 20 names I really liked, and he would just as easily nix them all. Plus, for me to like the name, it not only had to sound good, it had to have a good meaning and not be very popular (ok maybe "rare" would be more truthful.) So I would search through the lists and write down anything that interested me in hopes we could find a name agreeable to both of us.
When we named Miah, it wasn't that hard. I knew long before she was born that Miah (named after Jeremiah) would be a perfect girl name. I had to convince Jeremiah, and since he let me have the first name I wanted, I didn't argue when he picked Melea for her middle name (although I would've chosen Rose.) For Larkin, we looked through a baby name book and made some short lists, compared them, made one list of ten and ranked them. Well, his number 1 was my number 9 (just above Thad), but since I picked Miah's first name, we went with Jeremiah's preference for a first name this time. So that's how we got Larkin, which I really like now. His middle name, Paul, was easy; it's a family name on both sides.
When it came to Zahana, we went through so many names with no agreement, until I finally asked him what he wanted in a name. He wanted a name that ended in -ana. That made things a lot easier. Since I wanted a Z name, I just made one up to fit both our preferences. It was actually a combination between the names Zaina (beauty) and Hanna (grace). Now I know (because I used to be on those baby name forums) that making up a name is almost a sin and "smooshes" are considered atrocious (by some). But that has never made any sense to me, because all names were made up by someone at some point. I seriously doubt Adam and Eve were handed a list of acceptable baby names by God. In fact, naming was Adam's first job - a creative God-given job. Not only that, but let's say someone thinks a name is legitimate because it has a history of thousands of years and is attributed to a specific language or culture. What happens a thousand years from now when people are studying the culture of "ancient United States". Should we have no names of our own that can be attributed to our language and culture? All our names don't have to be taken from history; we can make history. So there - my defense of making up names! (If some of you wonder what in the world I'm ranting about, please excuse me - it's just my obsession!) Helen was the name Zahana was given in Ethiopia. Apparently they thought of it as a Christian name, but it's Greek. We wanted to name her after her Grandma, whose middle name is Marie, which is how we came up with Mireia (to admire).
OK, on to Rohan. Normally, I'm not a fan of Hollywood-style names, but I'm also largely innocent of Hollywood. Jeremiah was looking through the top 100 list of names for 2006 and found Rohan somewhere in the middle and asked if I liked it. Since it was very close to another name I had on my list (Ronen, Ronan), had a good meaning, and I didn't know of anyone by that name, I said, "Sure." Plus, we really needed a name we could agree on. He told me it was from Lord of the Rings, so I watched the movie and since the riders of Rohan were good and had to do with horses ( I love horses.) I thought it would be OK. So we didn't really name him for the movie. Elias was pretty simple - we just both liked it.
So anyway, I still have lists of names that I like and would like to post some here. Any comments on whether you like them or not and why would be fun for me.

Random girls:
Zahra (Arabic - brilliant, bright)
Tovah (Hebrew - good)

Random boys:
Zevi (from Zebulun; Hebrew - exaltation)
Asa (Hebrew - physician; Japanese - born at dawn)
Ishvi (Hebrew - he resembles me)


  1. Thad seems like a nice name.

  2. Yes, that's why it was on the list. :)

  3. I love all your names and I love that you think so much about names. I love Asa and Ishvi especially. Have you met the "Z" family at AHG? Their kids' names all start with Z. Zephanie (the oldest) is a Pathfinder. I think they might have a Zevi but I'm not sure at all....

  4. I haven't met them, but I did notice Zephanie at the awards ceremony. Interesting and beautiful name (beautiful girl too.)

  5. I really enjoy all of the names you and Jeremiah picked. One of the things I have always thought and appreciated was that the general theme and tone for all of your kids' names seem so creative and almost daring (to me anyway - although, I am very conservative). You have me convinced about the making up of names. I had never thought about it that way. Excellent points. There is just something about the act of choosing a name for a person that seems very lofty and admirable – a high privilege maybe? Elsa said I needed to read this post and I am glad I did. Enjoy those kids…