Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's in a name?

Jonathan and I have waited until after the birth of each of our children before naming them. Of course we think about names for months and months. Jonathan likes to spend that time tormenting me with ludicrous concoctions. Before Matthew was born he proclaimed that Escher Euclid Ellis would be a fine name for a lad; Escher after the artist, and Euclid of course for the mathematician. "Then he could be triple E!" Ha ha very funny. Prior to Isaac's arrival Jonathan was digging through family names for girls on his side. "What about Octavia? The baby is due in August after all. If it's a boy he can be Octavian." Turns out Octavia died a gruesome death as a young child. Doubly no thanks! I think he was joking with that one too....

Matthew Browning:
Hebrew meaning "gift of God"

When Matthew was born his name was not on the list that we'd brought to the hospital. Right after his birth, the nurses wanted a name pronto, but I'd just barely had a chance to look at him. Jonathan took matters into his own hands. "I think he looks like a Matthew." I was still in "happy new baby lala-land," and quite frankly, sooo relieved to be done, that I readily agreed. He was named after Matthew Browning, the son of the great-great-grandfather that Jonathan was named after, Jonathan Browning the gunsmith.

Melissa Fay:
Greek meaning "honeybee"

Melissa is named for my great grandmother, Fay Melissa. We were thinking of using the name Audrey for a girl prior to Melissa's arrival, but the name didn't suit her. Instead we named her after my great grandmother who had red hair, aubourn eyes, and a "determined" personality. My great grandmother often claimed that she wasn't stubborn, just determined. By all accounts she was quite a strong-willed, incredible woman. Melissa didn't get the hair or eyes, but boy oh boy did she get the personality. In a three year old I call it stubborn though. May it serve her well when she is older! Fay is also my middle name, and a popular name in my family, all after my much loved great grandmother.

Isaac Rygg:
Hebrew meaning "he who laughs" or "laughing one"

Those who've read back in August already know about his name's history, but I'll recap in brief. Jonathan wanted to name Isaac after his best friend Ellis Rygg, using Ellis's last name of course. Ellis Ellis would be a little silly after all. :) "He can be a little Rygg now and a big Rygg when he grows up!" I wasn't so sure about Rygg as a first name, but certainly as a middle name. We tossed some names around the night he was born, but didn't reach a consensus. The next day we tried out Thomas Winward, a family name on my side. We do like to use family names for the history and stories that go along with them. Jonathan even announced that as the name to his family. I just couldn't bring myself to call him Thomas though. He wasn't a Thomas! So I asked Jonathan what he thought about Isaiah Rygg. Rygg yes, Isaiah no. Well then how about Isaac, I suggested? We tried it on for size, and Isaac just seemed to fit. Little did we know his personality would be such a sunny, happy one. "He who laughs" indeed!

A funny coincidence to our children's names is they all contained double letters. Matthew, Melissa, and Isaac. Isaac actually has double letters for all three of his names. If we have more will we continue that unintended tradition? Who knows?

Jonathan adds: Matthew wasn't on the list Rachel took to the hospital because it was too popular. (Top 3 baby name in the last 15 years.) Rachel is a bit of a name snob. :)


Suzanne said...

My sister-in-law's name is Octavia. She goes by Tav (pronounced "tave"). And Miriam's middle name is Faye (I know, spelled a little differently), named after Kendall's grandmother. We like family names, too (Adriana is named after my sister, Marie, for her middle name). :)

abby said...

I like family names too. It was interesting to learn about Jonathan Browning. I knew you were related to him and about the Browning rifle, but I had no idea there was a full wikipedia entry. I think Melissa is a beautiful name. One of my best friends has that name and she is the opposite of stubborn. However, the name fits both of them. Isaac is a popular name in my ward.

I'm with Rachel. Names shouldn't be too Top 10. My name is suffering from that right now and I hate it. A beautiful name shouldn't be beaten to death.