Baby Name Questions
January 8, 2004 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Invasion of the Baby Name questions, part 3...
Mr. Shoeburyness and I are having a boy in early April. We've settled on Nathaniel for the first name, but he wants Thomas for the middle name. I'm somewhat opposed, because it reminds me of... "John Thomas". But I haven't been able to come up with anything better. Is my objection silly? Should he get his choice by default since I can't come up with a better alternative? Anyone care to suggest an alternative?
posted by Shoeburyness to Human Relations (19 answers total)
We let our first son choose the middle name for his little brother. He chose Timothy, which I think is great as a middle name and seems to go well with Nathaniel. Nathaniel Timothy.
Ringo (i keed!)

Also, I would consider any of the other surnames from your family. Our cousins have used Logan and McKay as middle names after poking around on the family tree.
posted by whatnot at 10:44 PM on January 8, 2004

I second whatnot's last name idea. Nathaniel is a regal name, and needs something that will hold up next to it.
I suggested Xavier in the other thread, and will do so again here. Also Charles, Franklin, Tobias, Elijah, Magnus (sorry, but I love it!), and a seconding of Theodore from the other thread.
Also, I have a friend who intends to give his children the names of US presidents. I would imagine this will move into middle names, should he get a wife/girlfriend not keen on having a little Fillmore running about.
Something to think about.
posted by oflinkey at 11:28 PM on January 8, 2004

Why not go for the ethnic varieties? I bet little Nathaniel Moishe Schmuley Mordechai Eliazer Chaim Ben-Shoeburyness will thank you for it...some day. (...says the gal whose parents gave her and her siblings ultra-WASPy names and who, in retaliation, gave her cats ultra-Jewishy names and will give her future kids at least vaguely-Jewishy names)

Seriously, though, using family names is a great idea, anything from your maiden name on up the family tree. If you have any branches where a family name died out because there were only daughters and no sons, that might be a nice one to revive.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:25 AM on January 9, 2004

My surname is Thomas, and my father was absolutely dead-set on calling me John. Thankfully sanity prevailed.


Ozymandius Thomas
posted by bifter at 3:29 AM on January 9, 2004 [1 favorite]

PS my wife and I both really like "Patrick" and "Max"
posted by bifter at 3:30 AM on January 9, 2004

Thomas is an *excellent* name, and only silly if it follows John. My advice would be to get past it.
posted by nthdegx at 4:48 AM on January 9, 2004

Gotta go with nthdegx on this one. Thomas is my name and my father's name, and several cousins and 2 grandfathers also share it.

Outside of our family, it's not that common. It's dropped from being the 11th most popular name in the 1910's to 27th in the 1990's.

Until I moved to northern Virginia, I had only ever met 3 other Thomases, and we all used Tom.
posted by Irontom at 5:32 AM on January 9, 2004

do you really need a middle name? if you can't agree then maybe go without.
but then I don't have one and don't understand why people have them in general.

Thomas sounds just fine, though.
posted by evening at 5:43 AM on January 9, 2004

Thomas is a great name. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, etc.
posted by oissubke at 6:06 AM on January 9, 2004

Thomas is my middle name, and no one's ever made fun of it. Plus, when I interviewed for my current job, I was able to say, with absolute sincerity, "Thomas is my middle name."
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:16 AM on January 9, 2004

My brother's name is Nathaniel, and we went with Harrison for the middle name (it was decided by an executive committee of his then eight and ten year old sisters). I think it has a nice ring to it when slung together with our Irish surname, but perhaps that's just my own sense of mellifluousness.

A note on nicknames: we never shortened his name, and once he was five or six he (on his own) started to correct people outside the family who did so. So, if you like Nate and Nathan go for it, but there is hope if you don't :)
posted by nelleish at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2004

You could always just go with "Nathomas."
posted by rushmc at 9:32 AM on January 9, 2004

Is Thomas a Virginia thing? Mr. Shoeburyness is from Staunton. He's also a born-and-raised Unitarian, so that's double the Thomas Jefferson reverence.

We have a very Dutch last name, so we have to be careful of ethnic clash. I'm mostly Irish and Mr. Shoe has a lot of Scottish, but as much as we like Celtic names, they sound silly with our last name. Plus with Celtic names, they are trendy, and you have often to pick either the traditional spelling that Americans can't pronounce, or the Americanized spellings which I often find ugly (Shavaun, for example). We looked into Dutch names and thought they were fairly awful. So we stuck to the Biblical/WASPy route.
posted by Shoeburyness at 10:35 AM on January 9, 2004

I think Thomas is a Virginia thing. Both of my parents grew up there, both went to UVa, and I'm named after a Virginian uncle.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:18 AM on January 9, 2004

I've got a nephew Thomas, and there's no Virginia connection as far as I know... anyway, I think Nathaniel Thomas sounds lovely together and would never in a million years make me think of "John Thomas." I'd go with it.

We let our first son choose the middle name for his little brother.

When my sister was pregnant with her second boy, she asked Thomas if he had any ideas for the baby's name. His suggestion? Name the baby Carrot.
posted by scody at 12:00 PM on January 9, 2004

Nathaniel Thomas seems unwieldy to me. Either name by itself is fine; putting them together takes too much energy to say (and that's not counting whatever your family name adds to the mix). You have all those syllables in Nathaniel and just when you've gotten up to speed on that name, you have to stop and start over with Thomas.

Something that's a little more flowing (and just as endearing to the heart of any real Virginian) is Nathaniel Lee. Try saying both combinations (N.T. and N.L.) out loud to see what I mean.
posted by joaquim at 12:17 PM on January 9, 2004

I think we've decided on Nathaniel Thomas. It's what he really wanted, and since I'm apparently the only one who thinks "John Thomas", we're going to go with that. Plus, he might come up with something weirder, like "Nathaniel Malachi" or "Nathaniel Ezekiel". The name Nathaniel was actually suggested by my 3 year old stepdaughter-- we asked all the kids (my 14 year old boy and his 9 year old girl) and the others just said "I dunno.". We asked her "What if it's a girl?" She said "No, it's a boy." That was about 10 weeks before we actually found out we were having a boy.
posted by Shoeburyness at 12:53 PM on January 9, 2004

it's meant to be then : >
posted by amberglow at 3:14 PM on January 9, 2004

If you don't like Nathaniel Thomas for any reason at all, then use something else!

What about Nathaniel Jefferson?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 PM on January 10, 2004

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