Read an Excerpt
Birth of a Baby Name Book
When I was in elementary school, my mom gave me the baby name book she got while in the hospital having my older brother. I've been hooked ever since. Over the years, my fascination with names has grown as I've collected baby name books and spent hours reading them, making lists of names I liked and their meanings. Eventually the lists graduated into notebooks and, finally, a baby name book of my very own.
If you're a name junkie like me, you will immediately see that this book is an interesting and fun spin on the traditional baby name book. If you are a soon-to-be parent picking up a baby name book for the first time, you might find yourself a little overwhelmed with the options out there. There are dictionaries that give a list of names organized alphabetically. There are books that give opinions and statistics about names. Then there are the specialty books that include only certain types of names Irish baby names, Jewish baby names, even sci-fi baby names. Depending on what you're looking for, all these books can be helpful. However, my book combines the best of all these books for parents who want to decide for themselves which names are cool, strange, or too trendy.
The organization of this book is fairly self-explanatory. Naturally, the names themselves determined the chapters. My job was to group the names into categories according to their meanings. The result is an easy-to-use guide that will help parents in their search for the perfect baby name. Baby Names Made Easy has over forty chapters covering a wide variety of categories everything from Love & Affection to Nature to Religion & Faith to Intelligence & Wisdom and more.
My research showed me that some names have multiple definitions or interpretations. In instances where a name fits into more than one category, it is listed in all relevant chapters. For example, Violet is in the Flowers, Trees, & Things That Grow chapter as well as the Colors chapter.
One of the most useful and time-saving features of Baby Names Made Easy is that the definitions are listed after each name, not just under the root name. This might sound like common sense, but many baby name dictionaries refer readers to other entries in order to find the definitions of some names. This happens when one name is derived from another. It is especially common for feminine names that have their roots in masculine names. For example, in other books, the entry for Georgia might only tell you that it is the feminine form of George, forcing you to then look up George to find out what Georgia means. That's too much work! No more flipping back and forth to find definitions Baby Names Made Easy saves you time and frustration by simply telling you that Georgia is the feminine form of George and that it means "farmer." That was easy!
As you read through the book, you'll see that some chapters have more names than others and some chapters have more girls' names than boys' names and vice versa. There just aren't a lot of boys' names that mean "innocence" or that are derived from jewels. Likewise, there are fewer military-related names for girls than there are for boys. My research also uncovered names that refused to be categorized. To accommodate these names I created a Miscellaneous chapter where you'll find everything that didn't fit elsewhere.
Throughout the chapters you will find boxes that feature groups of names. Some boxes highlight a specific subcategory within a chapter. For example, the Physical Characteristics & Personality Traits chapter has a box full of names that describe hair blond hair, curly hair, red hair, and so on. Other boxes feature interesting names worth a second look. I had a good time putting these together and I hope you enjoy reading through them and maybe even get an idea or two.
Instinctively, we all know that meanings matter. This is why parents-to-be usually factor in a name's definition when selecting a name for their baby. While writing this book, I discovered that most people know what their names mean and the people who didn't were really curious to find out. I also discovered that this conversation is a little awkward when you are talking to someone whose name has a questionable meaning. For example, people named Portia usually do not like to find out that their name means "pig." Other examples are Regan ("impulsive, angry"), Mallory ("unhappy, unlucky"), Kennedy ("oddshaped head"), and Trista ("sorrowful, sad"). That said, whether a definition is good or bad is very subjective. Other than the examples I gave here, I try not to make that judgment. I leave it up to you to decide for yourself whether the meaning works for you and your new baby.
I have a question for you. Which comes first, the baby name or the meaning? Different parents have different naming strategies. Some parents have meanings that are important to them and want to find names that fit into their preferred category. For example, you might have your heart set on a naturerelated name and prefer to see all your options before making a final decision.
Other parents already know what names they like and simply want to make sure the name they choose has an acceptable meaning. For example, maybe you have always loved the name Zachary and are pleased to find out it means "remember God." Maybe you have a list of family names you're considering. You can narrow the list by choosing the names with the definitions you like best. No matter what your naming style, this user-friendly book will make it easier for you to find the perfect name for your baby.
A Twist on Naming Trends
I have a few ideas for how you can use this book to update some current naming trends and create new family traditions. Let's consider sound-alike names and "Juniors."
We have all heard about siblings with sound-alike names Braden, Jaden, and Caden or Kolby, Kaleb, and Karter. You might like the idea of names that bond siblings and families together, but be worried about anything that is too cutesy or too trendy. As an alternative, you can choose names with similar meanings instead of similar sounds. Consider these options:
Animals: Philip, Jonah, and Penelope
Beautiful: Bella, Jolie, and Neve
Happiness & Joy: Felicity, Isaac, and Allegra
Flowers, Trees, & Things That Grow: Violet, Geneva, and Oliver
Protector: Alexander, William, and Gregory
There are endless combinations you can put together for your own family if you want a meaning connection. This book makes it easy to have fun coming up with your own group of names.
Juniors and Namesakes
Some people have mixed feelings about naming a child "Junior." On one hand, it's a nice way to connect a parent and child. On the other hand, the child might feel like he or she never had the chance to create an individual identity. An alternative you might consider is choosing a name from the Heritage & Family chapter. This chapter is full of names that describe family relationships. Instead of William, Jr., consider Wilson, which means "Will's son." Instead of Adam, Jr., consider Addison and because Addison has become a unisex name, this could work for a son or a daughter. You can also choose a name with a similar meaning to the namesake you want to honor. Flip to the relevant chapter and you'll find a wide range of possibilities.
In the end, I hope you have as much fun reading Baby Names Made Easy as I had writing it. With the wide selection of names ranging from classic favorites to current trendy names to international names and beyond, I know you will find the perfect name for your baby within these pages. And if I've done my job, my book will make your search easier.
Please visit me at my website (www.amandabarden.com) and send me a "birth announcement" letting me know what name you chose and why the meaning was important to you.
Good luck & happy naming,
Amanda Elizabeth Barden
Copyright © 2009 by Amanda Barden