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Meaningful Strategies to Name Your Baby

Is your list of potential baby names pages long? Or maybe you’ve had your children’s names picked out since high school, safeguarding them in fear that someone else will use them first? Does your partner love your name suggestions? Or reject them all without any suggestions of his own? Wherever you are in the exciting (yet daunting!) baby-naming-process, we’ve been there too! Here are some of the strategies that we’ve used to name our babies.

We hope this list of strategies inspires you!

Mom and grandmother admire their baby
Mom and grandmother admire their baby

The Family Tree Deep Dive

While brainstorming some name options, go beyond the names of your grandparents and research the names of your ancestors. This is also a great opportunity to take a trip down memory lane with your parents or aunts and uncles about family members they remember. Many families have a record keeping enthusiast, someone who stores all the old documents in buried files somewhere that will shed more light on your history and all the fascinating names of your beloved relatives. You could learn so much more about your family, where they come from, their careers, and their lifestyle while you search for a special name for your little girl or boy.


Speaking of family trees, if you don’t have a relative who knows everyone’s name from previous generations, start doing some research. (The record keeping enthusiast of the family could be you! ) You would be amazed at how much information there is about your family just from a quick google search. There are several websites that specialize in this endeavor and make it easy to trace your family tree for many generations. The perfect name for your little boy could be your great grandfather’s middle name, and in the process of discovering his full name, you also discovered that he was an artist and has your smile!

Consider Last Names

While you're scouring old family records and ancestry websites, take a look at last names as well. Could your great grandmother's maiden name be a unique and cool first name? We also love the trend of using mom’s maiden name as a first or middle name.

Special Places

If there aren’t any family names that are just right, broaden your search for places that are special to you. Did you grow up in Phoenix, Arizona? Or meet your spouse in Lincoln, Nebraska? Names of cities, resorts, parks, or even street names could offer a great selection of meaningful baby names to add to your list.

Initials of Family Members

Do you love the idea of naming your son or daughter after their grandparents, but the names aren’t exactly right? Consider using initials (or maybe a combination of initials from multiple people) to create a name that is still connected with that special person, but also new and unique. For example, if your father’s name is Andrew Christopher Edwards, you could name your son ACE in his honor.

Combine Names

Can’t decide between two names? Combine them! Either in their entirety or shorten the names and then combine them. For example, maybe you want to name your daughter after her aunts: Susan and Josephine. Susie Jo! Or, Harry Lee inspired from your uncles names: Harold and Billy. I bet you’re really thinking now!

Add an I or Y

If there is a name you’ve always envisioned using for a boy, but you’re having a girl, you could try adding a “y” or “I” to make the name more feminine. Andi instead of Andy, or Frankie instead of Frank. You can also make a masculine name feminine, such as Francine to Franklin. Gender neutral names are also very popular and a great option. The creative possibilities are endless!

Name Meaning or Variations

Is there something or someone who is particularly important to you? Let’s say the ocean is your favorite place and you want to name your child an ocean-inspired name. After searching “names that mean ocean”, we found out that “Cordelia” means “daughter of the ocean.” Search for name connections that are meaningful to you. You can also look up variations of one of your favorite names. For example, Jack comes from the names John or Jackson, and the French versions are James or Jacob. Or maybe you want to honor your Irish heritage and use Seán, the Gaelic version of Jack. So many options!

Check Name Popularity

If you’re looking for a name that’s unique, an easy way to check the current popularity is to google the name + popularity. For example, if you Google “Emily name popularity” you’ll quickly learn that Emily was the 17th most popular name in 2022. You can also learn the meaning of the name and how it has trended in popularity over the last few generations.

Whether the name you choose is unique, traditional, after someone you love, or completely new, no other name will ever be as meaningful to you and your family!

Tag us on Instagram @bonsiebaby and share the inspiration behind your baby’s name.


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