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The right first name for your baby's last name

I've wanted to write some more advice posts, and lately I've been thinking about how first and last names are paired together. I know that sometimes absolutely no thought whatsoever is put into choosing the right first name for your baby that pairs well with your surname, (and these names tend to be comical, whether intended or not), but I dare say most parents, even if subconsciously, choose a given name that doesn't seem insanely out of place with their surname. There will always be John Wu, Angel Black, Kimantha Stanislav, and the like, where the two really don't seem to fit, but there are ever more names that just seem right together, such as Bill Clinton, Colin Firth, January Jones or Jennifer Anniston, as far as celebrity examples go.

My advice is to take your surname into heavy consideration before choosing a given name. Think about what it means, what the name conveys, what culture it honors, what kind of image it brings to mind.

However, my question, as I've seen asked dozens of times, is can you pair a given name that is obviously from a particular culture or country, with a surname that is obviously from a very different culture or country? I imagine something like Siobhan Smith or James Takeuchi. It might be easier to say "Of course you can" when the names sound excellent together, as Siobhan Smith does, or if you have a connection to both cultures/countries (for example, your surname is French, you come from France, but your significant other is from Japan, and you'd like to honor both). And of course, just because a name originated in Greece or Italy or wherever, doesn't mean it's destined to only be thought of as Greek, Italian or whatever. A lot of those names are now simply thought of as "American." Jessica comes to mind.

In my personal opinion, I think it is a lovely idea, and no one ever said you can't do it, as long as you consider everything seriously. No matter what your surname, no matter what given name you're thinking about using, it's always a good idea to ask yourself (and others) whether the names sound good together, what impression the child's name might make, if the meanings or assumed cultures conflict, etc. It might just be a little bit weird to be named Parvati Jameson or Guadalupe Chan, but a little Fionnuala Fischer or Anastasia Sanderson might be cute.


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Witchy Baby Girl Names!

Circe Invidiosa by John William Waterhouse
Have a little girl due in October? Looking to name a character? Here's my [seemingly endless] list of witchy-sounding baby names. Most of them also fit in the "clunky but cool" category, or "vintage." Most plants, trees, herbs, spices, flowers, gems, space and nature names fit the bill, because in stories and current practice these things are useful to witches. I've put any actual witch names from legend, myth, literature, movies, etc in bold and up front. I have not considered the names of actual, living people or their Pagan names, and I've left out any characters that only have a surname, or truly ridiculous given names. In the second half you'll see a list of names that, to my knowledge, have not been used for witch characters. Please know that this is not a complete list. Wikipedia has an almost complete list you can view here.
Tabitha, Samantha, Endora, Clara, Serena (Bewitched)
Katrina(Katrina Crane, …

Norway's Top 10 Baby Names

Taken from Statistics Norway. I have no clue how/why there are multiple spellings, but I'm assuming they group spellings for each name and then rank them, unlike the U.S. that goes by individual spelling.

2015 Stats
1. Emma
2. Nora/Norah
3. Sara/Sahra/Sarah
4. Sophie/Sofie
5. Olivia
6. Sophia/Sofia
7. Emilie
8. Ella
9. Lea/Leah
10. Maja/Maia/Maya

1. William
2. Mathias/Matias
3. Oliver
4. Jakob/Jacob
5. Lukas/Lucas
6. Filip/Fillip, Philip/Phillip
7. Liam
8. Axel/Aksel
9. Emil
10. Oskar/Oscar


1. Emma
2. Nora/Norah
3. Sara/Sarah/Sahra
4. Sofie/Sophie
5. Linnea/Linea
6. Thea/Tea
7. Maya/Maia/Maja
8. Emilie
9. Ingrid/Ingri
10. Julie

1. Emil
2. Lucas/Lukas
3. Mathias/Matias
4. William
5. Magnus
6. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip
7. Oliver
8. Markus/Marcus
9. Noa/Noah
10. Tobias


Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

Forest doesn't have an obvious nickname, but it's one of those names you enjoy saying without having to shorten it. Forest is Old French, meaning "woods." A famous namesake is St. John Forest of the 16th century…