The name game

I love the annual baby name lists from National Statistics. They bring out the anorak in me as I download the spreadsheets and browse the thousands of names on the boys and girls lists.

First of all I check the popularity of the girls’ names. Grace was number 9 in 2010. I find the popularity of G’s name upsetting. I have liked the name for years and there’s a bit of a story behind my choosing it.

I started doing our family history years ago and my Mum took it over when I did my A-Levels and went off to university. My fifth great-grandmother was called Grace Harriet Harridance and I thought this was a wonderful name. Ok, so I couldn’t choose the surname but Grace Harriet felt like a lovely combination of names. I’m also rather fond of Alfred Hitchcock films and Grace Kelly (one of the infamous ‘Hitchcock blondes’) always struck me as being rather fabulous. If you’re going to have a daughter, why not name her after someone fabulously elegant? I really liked Harriet (no. 86) as a first name but dh didn’t, so it’s G’s middle name.

We haven’t encountered too many Grace’s in ‘real life’ yet, although one of G’s best friends at nursery is called (and was christened Gracie) and I hear the name shouted in shopping centres and soft play places (Grace is clearly a ‘mischievous’ name) so I suspect we’ll encounter a few more when the girls go to school. G suits her name and I’m happy for her to use her middle name if she ends up being called Grace W at school.

Ruth is 419th on the list, which fits with her personality. I think she’ll like being a bit unusual. It’s even lower on the list than my name (385th). Dh chose the name and was pretty adamant about it. I was quite resistant at first – I had visions of people bellowing RUUUUUUFFFFFFF at her – but I think it’s a lovely name now. Dh was inspired by the character from one of our favourite TV shows, Spooks and he chose well.

We have only met one other little girl called Ruth. She happened to be in the park on the swing next to R and dh and her father did double takes as they called out to their respective daughters. Coincidence of coincidences, her middle name was Grace. Now, I don’t think Ruth Grace ‘flows’ properly but I’ll concede that it is a difficult name to pair up.

I chose Elizabeth (49th) as R’s middle name because a. It worked with her first name and b. It was supposed to be my middle name. Story: my Mum wanted me to be called Joanna Elizabeth. My Dad wanted me to be called Donna. I am so not a Donna. Perfectly fine name, not right for me. Dad went off to register me and I was duly called Joanna but he decided not to give me a middle name because he didn’t like having one. I have spent the last 31 years of my life explaining that I really, really don’t have a middle name and that I’m not lying about having an utterly dreadful one like Vera or Fanny.

Nearly four years(!) I’m pretty happy with the names we chose. I just wish Grace wasn’t quite so popular with everyone else.


4 thoughts on “The name game

    • Yes. I don’t know what other name would work with it really.
      I get called Joanne all the time and I get very pedantic about correcting people because it’s *not* my name! Most people call me Jo because it’s just easier. I guess you’re the same.

      Did people call you Josephine when you were at school?

  1. The girls have proper names? For the last 4 years I really thought they were Ruth ‘less’ and Grace ‘full’… A.

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