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Can I Name a Baby Charlotte in Charlotte?

I'm a first time mom pregnant with a daughter. Our absolute favorite name is Charlotte. It's just so beautiful! Here's the catch. We live in North Carolina. Charlotte is the largest and most well-known city in our state. Is it out for us? - NC Mom

There's no simple rule for how a place name plays to people from that place. Some city names sound silly on babies to the locals, while others sound extra-appealing. And still others just sound like, well, names.

For one end of the spectrum, take Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the 37th most popular girl's name in the U.S. The closer you get to Brooklyn, New York, though, the less popular it gets. In New York State and New Jersey, the name has never cracked the top 100. Brooklyn-the-borough has such a powerful image there that namers stay away from it. But far from the Big Apple, where Brooklyn has less daily reality, the pretty sound and vaguely big city edge make the name extremely  popular -- it's top-10 in Utah and South Dakota.

At the other extreme, Savannah is more popular in Georgia than in the US overall. Virginia the name was for several years most popular in the state of Virginia, and Caroline remains especially hot in the Carolinas. (Want to explore this on your own? Try the NameMapper tool.)

Part of the calculation is whether the image of the place fits the name's style. Brooklyn, New York is many fine things, but sweet and girlish don't top the list. Savannah, in contrast, is just right for Savannah, Georgia's southern charm. In fact, the portrait of the city of Savannah in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil helped make the baby name popular.

Another factor is the name's associations beyond the place. This is where Charlotte really shines. It's a classic girl's name, linked to centuries of culture from Charlotte Brontë to Charlotte's Web to the Charlotte of Sex and the City. Even a city as strong as Charlotte, NC can't dominate the name. As a result, Charlotte remains quite popular in your state. So go ahead and give your child the beautiful gift of your "absolute favorite name." Your fellow North Carolinians should welcome her with open arms.


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August 17, 2010 8:58 AM
By PuppyDogsTails (not verified)

This is something that crossed my mind too, when we were naming our son. We had decided on and loved the name Jasper for years, but we live only a couple hours from the resort town of the same name. We decided to use it and have no regrets. We've only had a few comments, people asking if he was conceived there or if we were going to name the next one Banff. But I did check out the name data for our province and use of the name has been steadily increasing, so it seems that other parents agree that the name is totally useable. So I say go for it, Charlotte is a beautiful name with a long history to back it up!

August 17, 2010 1:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The reason that New Yorkers don't name their kids Brooklyn is the same reason they don't wear 'I [heart] NY' t-shirts: in a city that is perpetually flooded with transplants and wanna-bes, giving such a public or otherwise obvious endorsement of the city is considered a dead giveaway that you're a tourist and, if there's one thing New Yorkers hate, it's tourists.

August 17, 2010 1:05 PM
By Faye (not verified)

Charlotte is such a classic name I don't think anyone could fault you for loving it - even living near a city of the same name! If you were naming your child "Birmingham" or "Atlanta" (actually, Atlanta is quite a pretty girl's name...) then it'd be more transparent that it was a place name, but since you liked the name FIRST there's really not an issue.

I run into this same problem, sort of, with street names near me. Ada is one I've loved for years but I pass the street every day on the way to work - conversely, I never realized how much I loved the name Augusta until I lived near it!

Tangentially, this makes me think about towns or cities with bad associations. A street near me is Laramie, which is also one I've thought was beautiful for a long time. However, many people associate that name with Laramie WY and most people know the city for Matthew Shepard's death - which makes it a difficult name to choose. Similarly, the name "Columbine" is very pretty, the state flower of CO, and falls straight into that plant name category ...but I somehow doubt there are a lot of them recently.

August 17, 2010 1:55 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Would it be OK for a Wake Forest alumni to name their kid, Winston-Salem? NO. But how about Winston? I think it'd be cool and an ode back to simpler times. So, why not Charlotte?

My grandmother was name Charlotte and born in Charlottesville, VA. Nothing weird there, as far as I'm concerned.

August 17, 2010 2:07 PM
By Jennifer (not verified)

I live in Charlotte, NC and know quite a few friends who live here in the city and have named their babies Charlotte. It's actually a pretty popular name here. I don't think people are going to think you named your daughter after the city even if you do live in NC. The city of Charlotte was named for Queen Charlotte after all and it is a truly beautiful, elegant name. I say go for it!

August 17, 2010 4:11 PM
By 4boymomma (not verified)

There are lots of Austins in Texas. Same problem if you like Katy ...

August 17, 2010 6:22 PM
By Top 10 Name of the 70s (not verified)

You're over-thinking it. There were lots of "Sydney" babies born here in Australia when the name was briefly popular (such an un-feminine name!!)- although it never reached the heights of popularity that it has in the US. "Melbourne" - where I live - not so much! Rachel Griffiths has an "Adelaide" and that is a God-awful town, but a classic old name.

Charlotte has been in the Top 10 names in Australia for years now. As I have said before, we follow more British "classic" naming trends. My sons have lots of girl "Charli" and "Lottie" friends. (Although my DH always says "Charlotte the harlot..." - roll eyes now!)

I love it - and surely you cannot imagine your daughter is going to live in her hometown all her life???? It is so much nicer than those made-up names or freaky spellings.

August 17, 2010 10:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

We live in Charleston and there are so many Savannahs here. It seems very Southern to affirm one's allegiance to the South. I would think it's the same in NC. For you it's just a coincidence because you simply love the name Charlotte but I don't think you should be embarrassed about choosing a name which happens to hold great significance to your state. Show your NC spirit and be proud of it in addition to loving the name. I say paint her nursery Carolina blue if you so desire!

August 18, 2010 8:40 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

We named our child Diego, while living in San Diego and nobody batted an eye.

August 18, 2010 9:08 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm from Charlotte and wouldn't think it odd at all to hear of a baby named Charlotte here. I don't know any babies with that name, but do know an older girl with it and she was born here. It's a beautiful name, very classic. I doubt anyone would think you are naming your daughter after the city. And the city of Charlotte is a great place, I'd be proud to name a baby after it, although I know that isn't what you're doing.

August 18, 2010 12:33 PM
By Lisa in TX (not verified)

We've got Austins, Dallases and Antonios, here in Texas. Charlotte is such a lovely name it would be a shame to let geography get in the way. You love it, so you should use it.

August 19, 2010 7:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Me and my husband named are son phoenix an guess were we live you got it Phx,AZ some people look at us like what were you thinking but for the most part everyone loves it an are decision for his name was the meaning of phoenix like the phoenix bird who rose from the ashes so i say you go girl.

August 24, 2010 3:42 PM
By Darian (not verified)

I live in Seattle where the main dive-y drag is known by two names: Hwy 99 or Aurora. I've always loved the name Aurora but when I mentioned it to my husband he thought I was insane. To him it was the equivalent of naming our daughter "lady-of-the-night".

August 25, 2010 8:39 PM
By Mau (not verified)

I would not name my child Aurora in Seattle either.
I knew a kid named Everett where I grew up in Everett, WA, and he got teased A LOT.

August 26, 2010 10:16 AM
By Joanne Justis (not verified)

If the truth were known about the naming process, parents would want to test the names they selected prior to assigning them. The name reveals the personal characteristics/traits of the baby while the birthdate reveals the development areas.

The naming convention therefore determines the child’s Blueprint in this lifetime and what the child will experience–-and parents can influence their child’s outcome by the very name they pick and don’t even know this.

Parents actually assign part of their child’s DNA code.

The Blueprint or character analysis will give parents more insight into their child’s behavioral patterns so parents can influence their child in a more positive way during the most important stages of their child’s life. Every child is born with a Spiritual Master Plan—their Blueprint.

Once the name is assigned on the Birth Certificate, the name takes on a whole new meaning. The information on naming can only be accurately decoded by using Chaldean Numerology to reveal the secrets that lie hidden within a name which is a magical process and the best kept secret through time. If only expectant parents knew the real truth behind the naming process that is not publicly known, I’m sure they would want to invest more time into choosing the name for their children and testing it before it is assigned.

Joanne Justis
Numbers R U
Worldwide Authority on Chaldean Numerology and Baby Naming Expert

August 27, 2010 6:20 AM
By Julie (not verified)

I'm not a fan of the name, myself (all I can think is that it rhymes w/ "harlot"). But w/ that being said, I live in Orlando, and there are plenty of Orlandos here. If you were living in, say, Tampa, and wanted to name your baby the same name, I can see where it would be a little dicey. But Charlotte is popular as a name in its own right, and most people's first thought will not be "Wow, they named her after the city."

August 27, 2010 2:30 PM
By Zoe (not verified)

For me the general rule of thumb is how dominated the name is with the place. When you mention it is the first association that pops into people's head the place? Paris, Brooklyn and London are always going to be people's first association when hearing those words out of context. But when people hear Charlotte, Madison or Caroline they generally think name before place.

September 3, 2010 9:03 PM
By Crystal (not verified)

I'm having the same problem. Charlotte is my favorite name and my husband is relocating us to North Carolina. My second favorite name is Caroline! My issue now with using those name is that growing up (12 to now) I have had to put up with being a Crystal near a town called Crystal Lake. People never get sick of mentioning it and I wasn't even born here. I don't want to do that to my child.

It's a dilemma because they're SUCH good names!

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