My Surname Doesn't Go With the Names I Like

Filed under: Baby Names

Someone once told me that I need to keep my new last name in mind when picking baby names -- I shouldn't pick a name that ends with the same sound as my last name. Problem is, my last name is now Urban -- and there are so many names that I love that end in -an or -en. Would it really be so wrong to use one of those names?

-New Mrs. U


My sympathies, Mrs. U. You've run into one of the stumbling blocks of modern style. As our first names start to sound more and more like last names, matching them with our actual last names gets harder and harder. You don't want a little Brayden Hayden, Bailey Dailey, or Paxton Saxton.

Surnames ending in -n like yours have it the toughest. Over a third of boys now get an -n name, making for a lot of iffy matches. I'm afraid I can't give you permission to ignore your surname altogether, though. You wouldn't be pleased to be called, say, Corbin Urban yourself, would you? And no, a middle name can't "fix" a problem full name.

The good news is that all -n names aren't created equal. Anything with three or more syllables (Donovan, Evelyn, Maximilian) should fit Urban fine. For two syllables, aim smooth -- Kaylin works better than Kaydin.

If you do decide to cross -n names off your list, don't despair. Write down a list of your favorites and think about what attracts you to them. Then look for non-n alternatives that fit your style: surnames (Walker), Irish names (Shane), elegant traditionals (Dominic), contemporary creations (Kyler). The other 25 letters will stand you in good stead if you give them a chance...and your child will be less likely to rhyme with the rest of the class.

Has your surname caused you baby-naming trouble? Share your experiences! And if you have a question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.