–Naming a New Generation
It’s funny to think of a Victorian favorite as a "mom name," in the same vein as Ashley or Krista, rather than a great-grandmother name! Grace was at its most popular in the 1880s, alongside antiques like Minnie, Martha, and Florence.
–Psyched for Our New Son
This question is more nuanced than it might seem at first glance. It should be a pretty straightforward question, and answer: What's the best spelling for this baby name? But when we look at it, things get interesting.
–Not Wild About Harry
No nickname is truly unavoidable, especially these days when plenty of boys are named Thomas and Michael—but never go by Tom and Mike. We're quite used to hearing full names instead of nicknames, and both parents and children are comfortable saying "It's Daniel, not Danny" until they get their point across.
But some nicknames are more likely than others. There are a few risk factors that come into play. One is when a name has a single, obvious nickname, like Chris for Christopher, or Beth for Bethany. Another is a formal name of three or more syllables.
–Been Thinking 'Bout Benton
I love this question because there are so many ways to look at it. And no matter how you define "names like Benton," there are plenty of choices that fit the bill. Benton's brother could be a new invention like Daxton, an old surname like Wickham, or a new take on a chart-topper, like Jules or Harris.
–Am I Crazy?
Alas, you're right: Other people will indeed find this name impossible. And it's not just Fudd that makes this name a dud for a contemporary baby. Elmer is at the extreme end of style, and while some people will appreciate how it bucks the trends, many more will still think of it as something of a joke.
When you start the process, it helps to have some baby-naming rules for yourself (like, "no surname names," or "no sharing names with a first cousin," or "no matching initials," just for example; every set of parents will have different preferences). Sans rules, it's very difficult to narrow down the huge universe of potential names to the ones that you like.
–Due in May
A meaningful word or place name can often be an inspired and inspiring choice for a baby name. Nature words, in particular, often make for popular and well-received names. Autumn, Lily, Savannah, and Jasmine were among the top 100 names for baby girls in 2014 (along with other word names such as Aria, Serenity, Genesis, Piper, Faith, and Ruby). Hazel, Willow, and Juniper are all up-and-comers from the natural world.
Grandma, you may not like what I'm going to say, because I'm going to side firmly with your daughter-in-law (and your son, right? Where's he in all this?). Here's why.
–Never Met a Darby
Welcome to a classic baby namer's struggle: Is this name undiscovered, or just … odd? You're right that it's not commonly used. It was given to just over 100 baby girls (and 30 or so boys) in each of the last three years. Even at its peak, in 1995, there were just under 500 new baby girls named Darby, while the top names of that year, Jessica and Ashley, went to over 25,000 babies each.
–Engaged to Change
The occasion of marriage is a perfect time to really think through what you both want your surnames to be. It sounds like you are doing just that. I'm all for it! As you've noted, though, it brings up at least two tricky situations.