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Choosing a unique baby name can be one of the most important, yet stressful decisions for nine months! Here are a few ideas to consider…..

I hate my name! I wish I was named something else! Everyone makes fun of my name! Ever heard these in your head? I have, so it got me to thinking back when trying to decide on names for my kids. I wanted unique baby names from both sides of the family. With this, though, I also had to consider every possible nickname that may arise from this one decision.

I, of course, was the mom that always swore I would NEVER call my child by their middle name. After all, I heard my dad complain of this my whole life. He hated his first name Waymon, even more having to use it in places such as school. Instead, he wanted them to call him what he thought of as his first name, Terry. To prevent further confusion, my friends decided to just call him T.A. And yes, many jokes came up for the meaning of that if one can imagine. That’s all I ever knew.

But what did I do? You’ve got it. Both children are now called by their middle name. I say this with eyes rolling in the back of my head and I am sure they will hate it one day as well.

So, how easy is it to think of that perfect name?

You may consider a unique last name from your ancestry or something you always thought you wanted. Truth is, it can be quite stressful for some.

I recently visited with a friend that was trying to decide on a baby name for her baby to be. She could not decide if she should use a family name or not. However, there was nothing on both sides of the family that she liked. Two examples were Opal and Abner. I, personally, think these are super cool names and they are actually family names of mine. She thought they were too old sounding. How about some creativity I thought, but what do I know! We went on and on, and oh my gosh, I was even getting stressed!

I began listing all sorts of options. And coming from someone that had baby names picked out before even engaged, I was clearly no help. Some are like me in trying to find super cool family names from both sides of the family. Then there are others who have no idea, even at the time of delivery.

I, personally, love a name that has meaning, honors a loved one, is unique, and joins two families together.

Our 8 year old daughter, Cathryne Carlyle, is one example. Cathryne comes from the Berry nanny who took care and raised them for 40 years, starting with pop pop. She was full of energy and loved her some Bill Berry! Remember when you could play in the streets until the lights came on? And then you would hear your name yelled so loudly to come home and wash up. That was Cathryne yelling at Bill every single night.  

When Cathryne passed away, she left Bill her dining room furniture, which we have in our house today. She also gave him her station wagon. Needless to say, the station wagon burned some rubber and didn’t last very long. Cathryne was Bill’s everything! While she now rests in peace, Bill sees her everyday, as there is a framed photo hanging in his closet.  And so, when we heard ‘it’s a girl’, we could not think of a better person to honor. That is how we have Cathryne Carlyle.

the beloved cathryne

The story of our children’s name comes from both sides of our family.

Carlyle comes from my side of the family. My great grandmother was named Jessie Carlyle Myer, of which Jessica Myer is me. I always loved how unique this name was. You don’t hear it that often, other than there being a town named Carlisle, Arkansas. Oh, and let’s not forget Carlisle from Twighlight. And no, I did not name my child after a vampire.

This name was special to me because it is in memory of the same great grandmother as me. I’ve never really wondered much past this on the meaning of ‘Carlyle’ until now. I recently looked it up on thinkbabynames.com, which is pretty cool. As it turns out, Carlyle is actually a boys’ name of the Old English origin. It also derives from a very old city in northwest English, Carlisle. The name was commonly used between 1890-1899, ranking as #643 in the U.S. from 1910-1919. It is not currently ranked anything nor heard of much today. Hence, another reason why I love it! It’s unique and different!

My son, Campbell, comes from his great great grandfather, William Campbell, and kind of his great great grandmother. Just look at it as a two for one special!

You can learn some really cool things about your family while researching past names. We never realized that William Campbell Berry was in the very first student body at the University of Arkansas. This is also my alma mater, as well our niece and nephew. Bell of CampBELL also has meaning as it represents my great grandmother, Bell Appleberry.

I always wanted to name a little girl, Bell. Unfortunately, I decided that it would be weird to have a Bill Berry and a Bell Berry. Same goes with wanting to name a son after my grandfather, Harry. Can you even imagine Harry Berry? I’m still waiting on the jokes to come from Campbell soup. Funny story though. We announced our pregnancy to my parents by gifting a can of Campbell soup as their anniversary gift. My dad thought we were donating to the food bank in their honor. WHAT?!

What are some helpful ideas for choosing a unique baby name?

Make a list of names from both sides of the family. Whether you want a ‘Jr.’ or something else, it’s pretty fun researching the names in a family lineage. Some can be crazy and can even cool when joined together. One way to do this is to create a family tree from both sides as well.

Ask in-laws and grandparents as they most likely can remember further back than you. A lot of the older generation is really big into family ancestors and family trees. Sadly, this is not something that the younger generation often takes the time to do, including myself. This can be very helpful and interesting in learning past names, as well as seeing where ‘who comes from who’. My grandmother was really big into genealogy and our family tree. In return, this allowed me to later discover that George Washington was my fifth cousin. Carlyle thinks this is pretty cool, especially when she has to do a school report on a president one day.

Walk around the cemetery for names used in the ‘old days’. Does this sound super creepy? Yes, but have you ever noticed how cool (and funny) some of the older names are? It’s pretty fun, or I may just have a dark sense of humor which is possible.

Choose a city that has special meaning. I’ve heard kids named after their parents’ hometown which can be both unique and weird. My husband, for instance, grew up in a small town named Augusta. One of our friends has Augusta as her middle name.  You could also consider a place with special meaning, such as where you got engaged. For us, it would be Branson which is a great name! I remember in grade school there was a girl named Asia. So, I guess countries are good too.

Religious meaning. Names can be based on the spiritual meaning or a biblical character. Oddly enough, my brother, Jacob, ended up marrying Rebekah, which in the bible Rebecca is the mother of Jacob. He also had a daughter named Dinah, which is our moms name. Small world!

Ideas from music. For example, your favorite song may be ‘Jessie’s Girl’, by Rick Springfield. Or, your first dance at your wedding was a song by Brad Paisley…..which Paisley is a great girls name of which I’m a little partial to.

Maiden names. This is super popular right now. Brown, Kemp, and Berry are a few examples of people I know named after their mom’s maiden name and work great. I, however, did not have this option as my maiden name is “Ayecock”. With all the jokes I had growing up, that would just be mean! Could you imagine ‘Ayecock Berry’ (dirty sense of humor now, Ha)!

What are some unique ideas for baby boy names?

Choosing a unique family name can have sentimental value. But, there are also those that want a more popular name instead. Out of curiosity, I did a little research to discover some of the popular boy names for 2020. And some of them are actually quite cool!

According to Parade Entertainment, listed are 10 of the popular baby boy names for 2020 and its meaning:

  • Ledger – people and spear
  • Colson – people of victory
  • Axel – ‘father of peace
  • Declan – man of prayer; full of goodness
  • Kai – Hawaiian origin, meaning ‘sea’
  • Bishop – guardian
  • Shepherd – guardian of sheep
  • Landry – ruler
  • Flynn – son of the red-haired one
  • Abbott – father

Are there any unique ideas for baby girl names?

Now, let’s not forget our sweet baby girls. I love a name that is gentle and sweet. But, I also love a unique girl name that sounds strong and independent. Parade Entertainment, again, has some really cool names that are popular for 2020. Listed are 5 names from various inspirations:

  • Nature Inspired: Luna, Juniper, Sage, Meadow, Nova
  • Pop-culture: Rey, Primrose, Kira, Ruth, Phoebe
  • Favorite celebrities of 2020: Paisley, Camila, Reese, Maren, Rhett
  • Gender neutral: River, Sam, Tatum, Freddie (or Freddy), Skylar (or Skyler)

There are so many different directions you can go in when choosing the perfect name for your baby. And while this is one of the most important decisions, whatever name you may choose will be the perfect one. Their sense of humor, charisma, determination, and so much more come to play to make them who they are.

What is cool, is seeing how their name grows to define who they are. As well as seeing the history of two different families joined into one.

So, what about you and where your name comes from? Got any funny family names or wished you chose something else for your child? If you are unfamiliar with unique names from your ancestry, get to digging because it can be quite entertaining!

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