A rose by any other name

I am frequently asked about the meanings of our children’s names, and how and why we chose them.

The generalization that can be used when describing the choice of our children’s names is that we wanted unique names.

Sarra was also very concerned with the flow of their names. I spent hours during each pregnancy saying names (and combinations of names) out loud. If I liked the name, but didn’t like the way it sounded with a certain middle name, it was moved to a special list to be reconsidered when with a different middle name. I also thought long and hard about pleasant sounding nicknames, because I love nicknames and pet names. I even contemplated names that could be used to bully or tease the child. Many names, and name combinations, were rejected on this basis alone.

Geneva Paris

Geneva was chosen from a baby name book because I thought it was a lovely sounding name. The second definition given in the plug was the one in the book I used (old French: juniper tree.) I was taken by the thought of naming her after a hardy evergreen that weathers rough times (winter) while still looking nice and produces lovely, dark, edible berries. We use the first pronunciation given.

Geneva - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Geneva – Origin and Meaning of the name

Paris was Sarra’s maternal grandfather’s first name. This would have been her middle name, regardless of her sex. We don’t use either of the pronunciations given in this plug. We use a long /a/ and a short /i/, the same way I have always pronounced the city.

Paris - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Paris – Origin and Meaning of the name

She refused to show us her girly bits during her ultrasound, so a male name was also chosen. If she had been male, she would have been named Wiltfang, after Sarra’s godfather. I planned on calling her (him?) Wilt or Will.

I was a single, teenaged parent, and I gave no consideration to what her father thought of my name choices.

Phoenix Elisabeth

Phoenix was named after the mythical bird that rises from the ashes. She, also, refused to tell us what sex she was until she was born, so her father and I chose a name that we felt was unisex in nature.

Phoenix - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Phoenix – Origin and Meaning of the name

Elisabeth is Sarra’s middle name. Elisabeth was a friend of Sarra’s parents when they were stationed in Germany, where Sarra was born. The English pronunciation (first in this plug) has always been tolerated by our family, because it is easier than correcting everyone who tries to say the name. The German pronunciation (second) was used by Frau Perry, Sarra’s German teacher in high school. However, the friend Sarra was named after pronounced it with using a Bavarian variant (eh.LIH.sah.Beht).

Elisabeth - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Elisabeth – Origin and Meaning of the name

Arawn Shae

Arawn was chosen because it was the only male name we could agree on. It took us forever to agree on a name. We weren’t even close to a consensus for months, and I don’t think we agreed on his middle name until we were actually in the hospital!

(n) Arawn (Celtic deity who was the lord of Annwfn (the other world or the land of fairies))

Shae was chosen because we thought it flowed well with Arawn. We use the pronunciation given in the plug. We chose the atypical spelling (vs. Shea), because we thought it was the more masculine and we didn’t like any of the other variants. The meaning (admirable) is not given in this plug.

Shae - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Shae – Origin and Meaning of the name

He showed us his boy bits quite clearly in his first ultrasound (think the kilt lifting scene in the movie Braveheart.) It’s a good thing the ultrasound was correct though, because we never did agree on a female name!

Gwyddeon Ronain

Gwyddeon was initially rejected. Primarily because it started with a G, so it completely ruined our previous method of labeling many personal belongings with a first initial only. Also, Sarra wasn’t sure she wanted to deal with the possible karmic repercussions of the historical/mythical struggle between Arawn and Gwyddeon. I’m still not sure if we picked the perfect name for him, or created him with his name! We pronounce it

The meaning is difficult to explain. The word “gwyddion” means “trees” or “forest” {a more common word is goddeu, which is related}, but can also mean “weaver” and “loom.” A related word, “gwyddonydd,” means “scientist.” Now, taking into consideration that the word Druid–magician, priest, and judge of Celtic society–is thought to derive from “drus” meaning oak, it is likely that the word for scientist is derived from forest–the man of learning gained his learning from nature. Hense, the name implies one who is learned, steeped in knowledge both esoteric and scientific, and weaves his way in spells and science, rather like an alchemist.

-taken from Jones’ Celtic Encyclopedia

Ronain is a name that m’duine always liked (and had actually suggested when we were pregnant with Arawn). Sarra didn’t veto it this time, because she liked the flow with Gwyddeon. Ronan, of which Ronain is a variant, is a prince in Irish mythology, but I haven’t been able to find an actual definition or meaning for the name.

Again, it’s a good thing he was a boy (again, we were quite sure he would be), because (again) we couldn’t agree on a female name!

Anna Maureen

Anna was named after her paternal grandmother. It is also a derivative of Sarra’s mother’s name, so Party Bonus!

Sarra initially vetoed “Anna,” but later said it was acceptable if a middle name could be found that flowed nicely. Sarra lobbied hard for Moira, or some derivation there of, as her first name. Maureen was “middle ground” (pun intended) that we found. We do not use the pronunciations given in these plugs. We pronounce Anna it like “Hannah,” if the initial H was silent (AEN.nah), and Maureen with a short /a/, rather than an /ou/ (mah.RIYN).

Anna - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Anna – Origin and Meaning of the name

Maureen - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Maureen – Origin and Meaning of the name

Anna Maureen is the only one of our children who is referred to by her whole name, even when she’s not in trouble. This started as a way to differentiate her from Grandma Anna, but has become her preference. M’duine is the ONLY person allowed to call her “Anna Banana,” and if she’s in a persnickety mood he gets the Evil Eye for it, just like the rest of the world.

In Anna Maureen’s case, we were almost positive she was a girl, but it’s a good thing she was, because we couldn’t agree on a male name! (I think I see a pattern developing here.)

Braeden Darius

Braeden was chosen because we liked the name and the non-standard spelling.

Braeden - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Braeden – Origin and Meaning of the name

Darius was Sarra’s paternal grandfather’s middle name.

Darius - Origin and Meaning of the name @ Baby Names Pedia
Darius – Origin and Meaning of the name

We were, again, quite sure Braeden was a boy, and we went to the hospital without a back-up female name!

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