Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?
So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).
Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.
A reader named Jamie isn’t expecting twin girls. If she were expecting twin girls, though, she and her husband wonder, “Would it be fair, suitable, weird, to name the girls Ivy and Lily?” Jamie says:
I’m not a fan of the matchy twin names – Kara and Kerri, John and Jack, but my husband and I both really like Ivy and Lily. Ivy is just a beautiful name that we love, but Lily pays tribute to his mother whose name is Lilian. Honestly we were thinking about using Liliana and shortening it to Lily. So – do Ivy and Lily qualify as matchy twin names since they are both flowers, and would it be weird for one of the girls to have a “longer more involved name” like Liliana (but shortened to Lily), and the other one just be Ivy (since I can’t think of anything Ivy would be short for).
I do think Ivy and Lily are too matchy, but it’s not because they’re both botanical. It’s because they’re both botanical, they both end with the same sound, they both have the same rhythm, they both feature the same vowels (in the same order), they both have very few letters…they’re similar in many ways. For me, that’s too close.
I think Ivy and Lily could work if they were both nicknames. Ivy could be derived from I-V names like Ivana, Ivette and Ivonne. Maybe even Olivia, Livia or Vivian. Another option would be first-middle combinations like Irene Veronica or Isabella Virginia for the initials I. V.
A reader named Ashley is searching for a middle name:
I love the first name Melody for a girl, however, I’m extremely picky and can’t find a middle name! Last name starts with N and is one syllable, and I don’t want to give her a middle name that starts with A or E and have her initials be MAN or MEN. I also do not want a name that could be abbreviated as Katie.
Ashley didn’t mention that she was going for any specific style of name, so I tried for a broad range:
Do you like any of these with Melody? What other middle names would you suggest?