20 Surnames for Girls

November 16th, 2011

Today’s post is in response to my previous one, Boys’ Names On Girls.  You had a lot of great insights, (72 comments worth, thank you!) One question that popped up on Facebook, however, I would like to address today.

Stacy writes that she plans on naming her new baby girl Anastyn, but is wondering, “what else is out there” in the boy/surnames-on-girls category.

I understand the appeal of Anastyn, I do.  It’s an interesting departure point for this subject because Anastyn, in particular, actually sounds like a girl’s name.  The first three letters, A-N-A, are a classic in the cannon of female names.  The last four, S-T-Y-N, are familiar in names such as Kristin or Kristyn.  It’s also the surname of an extremely successful female celebrity, Jennifer Anniston, again, with a different spelling of course.

I would like to mine the fields for what else is out there, for Stacy’s baby or for anyone else drawn to this modern category.  Time to play a bit of devil’s advocate today:

Annesley- Surname similar to the relatively well known Ainsley, but with the option of “Anne” or “Annie.”

Barnes- American museum pedigree.

Bellamy- Means “good friend”, and is almost a smoosh of Bella + Amy.

Bexley- X still marks the spot, and the -ley ending helps it to feel feminine.

Carlyle- If Tiffany and Madison can make the big leagues, why not Carlyle?

Carnegie- More American history here, with the “ie” ending and the option of Carrie. 

Carrigan- More Carrie, this time with the popular N ending and three syllable rhythm, again like Madison.

Farrow- Mia‘s first name may have caught on first, but it won’t be long before people recognize the cache and its chic final sound.  Fits well with Harlow and Sparrow– Nicole Richie’s third child?

Fonteyn- The balletic surname.

Isley- The surnamey version of the popular Isla.

Livesey- Same nickname as Olivia, without all the confusion.

Marlowe- Marlowe has caught like wildfire, from the daughter of mega blogger as Marlo, to the inimitable tastemaking J. Crew catalog.  As long as you know that, we cool.

Mead- Like Maud, but with the fashionable long E sound.

Murray- Seems ripe for the picking for the Scotch-American crowd.

Palmer- Soft in sound, like Harper, this name has a nice meaning as well: “peace.”

Reeve- Reese Witherspoon put her name on the map for girls, so why not this rhymes-with-Eve version?

Rowley- Associated with designer Cynthia Rowley, with the adorable nickname Ro.

Saville- Don’t look up artist Jenny Saville if you want to hold onto this as a possibility.

Shaw- Blair, Sloan, and now Shaw? 

Vaughn- Or maybe Vaughn?  My friend with a male Vaughn is going to get me for this one. . .

 

Feel free to chime in.  What are your favorite masculine or surnamey first names for girls?  Any that you hope would be avoided?  Do tell us why! 

Image: Carnegie Hall

He gazed up to the sky, a long penetrating gaze, just after the ball grazed England goalkeeper Green’s fingers.

Hailing from Nacogdoches, Texas, Clint Dempsey (born Clinton) is our man.

Think more little Clints are in the works?  What about Dempsey?  It could go to a boy or a girl?

Landon Donovan is another from team U.S. who packs a double punch for potential namesakes.  Both Landon and Donovan have been on the rise for a while, but this may just be the boost the name needs to catapult him to stardom, especially if Donovan rises to the occasion during the games.

Beasley, Clark, Findley, Holden, Howard, and Spector all have potential to win over the hearts of American soccer fans with their surnames and make it to the birth certificate.  Bocanegra, after the captain Carlos Bocanegra, is a most adventurous option.

Men need an entry point.  It’s worth watching the world cup with them to see if you derive any inspiration together.  I myself tried to get to Josephine nn Josie via the Jozy Altidore angle (born Josmer), but it was a no go.  Perhaps you’ll have better luck than I had.

 

With the surname-as-first-name trend catching like wildfire, I’d like to take a moment to focus on surnames of which I’ve always been a bit envious: those that sound bright, happy, and upbeat.  Why not co-opt these as firsts?  Ladies and gentlemen, scour your family trees, perhaps something intrinsically spunky will turn up.  In the middle spot, these would lend a classic quality to a modern name, say something like Kyla Bloom, or even liven up an old musty family name like Arthur Albright for example. Likewise, if you are the forunate possessor of one of these family names, you might want to, on balance, think about choosing a weightier name for your son or daughter.  That said, Holly Golightly and Mary Poppins’ parents thought differently. 

Intriuguing in the same vein as a virtue name, many of these have potential to be descriptive of what qualities a parent would wish for their child.   These kinds of names have a literary quailty, might vivify life, and might inspire a joy of language, or, most importantly, a joy in names themselves!  Loveday Ophelia, a baby I came across in a birth announcement not too long ago, is a person I would be curious to meet, any day.  Even if they may not be part of your ancestry, I say why not?  With the plethora of word names on the horizon, at the very least these have a long history of being names, and I say go for it, just because we like the way they sound.  8)

 

Albright

Appel

Bell

Bellamy

Berry

Bliss

Bloom, Blume

Blythe

Bourne

Brightman

Cassel

Cheer

Cruise, Cruz

Day

De los Angeles

De la Sol

Dove, Dovey

Fairchild

Freeman

Friend

Gardner

Golden

Golightly

Good, Goodman, Goodwin, Goody

Grace

Hart

Holiday

Joyce

Lilly

Love, Loveday, Lovejoy, Lovelace

Miranda

Pallas

Poppins

Smiley

Sparrow

Rose, Rosen 

Winsome

 

I’m sure to be missing boatloads!

 

Image Above by Yoshimoto Nara.