Has a Baby Name Ever Come to You in a Dream?

has a baby name ever come to you in a dreamTo find baby names, most of us turn to the same few sources: name books, name websites, family trees, life experiences, pop culture…

And then there are those lucky people who have gotten baby names straight from their dreams. Not daydreams — literal overnight dreams.

If you’re one of these people, please take a minute to fill out a short survey, 6 questions total. Why? Because I’d like to know more about this phenomenon. (Eventually I’d like to see if they can be reverse-engineered, perhaps using dream incubation techniques, but for now I’d just like to collect and analyze some data.)

So what do you think we should call a baby name that comes from a dream? An oneironym (“dream” + “name”)? How about a somnonym (“sleep” + “name”)? Something else?


3 More Baby Names from Dreams

So far we’ve talked about three baby names discovered through dreams: Easton, West, and Axl. Today we’ve got another three — two more from celebrities, one from a non-celeb.

Let’s start with the non-celeb: Selena Smith, career development coach at Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina. In an interview published about a month ago, she mentioned that the name of her 12-year-old son named Kyler “came to me in a dream while I was pregnant.”

Next we have actress/WWE wrestler Stacy Keibler, who said the name of her daughter Ava Grace (b. 2014) “came to me in a dream,” without elaborating. When asked about potential baby names a few weeks before the baby was born, Keibler said: “We just talked about one name and that was it–easy peasy. Everything with us has been easy and effortless, including the name.”

Finally there’s Pat Monahan, vocalist for the band Train. He said the name of his son Rock (b. 2012) came from a dream, but the person who had the dream wasn’t one of the parents:

“My sister-in-law was having these very intuitive, very intense dreams that [my unborn son] was visiting her and insisting that his name was Rock,” the singer, 43, tells PEOPLE.

After several episodes of baby boy revealing his name choice, Monahan admits they began to “take it real seriously” — especially when the expectant parents weren’t getting the message.

“She said that my son was coming to her and grabbing her face and saying, ‘Aunt Summer, my mom and dad won’t listen to me in their dreams. You need to tell them my name is Rock,'” he recalls.

“Then she had another one where he was wearing a [Colorado] Rockies uniform playing baseball. He was like, ‘Aunt Summer, look, my name’s on [my shirt].'”

Pat didn’t say how many name-related dreams Summer had in total.

Do you know of any other stories like these? Or, have you ever dreamed a baby name?

(Incidentally, a Kardashian baby born in late 2016 was named Dream, so “Dream” itself may see a boost in usage in 2016 or 2017.)

Sources: 20 Questions: Stacy Keibler Fills Us In, Stacy Keibler Says Picking Daughter’s Name Was ‘Easy Peasy’, Pat Monahan: How We Chose Our Son’s Name

The “Elda Rema” Baby Name Formula

baby name formula, elda rema

In his book The American Language, H. L. Mencken mentioned a “woman professor in the Middle West [with] the given name of Eldarema, coined from those of her grandparents, Elkanah, Daniel, Rebecca and Mary.”

The woman he’s talking about did exist, but Mencken didn’t get her name quite right.

Elda Rema Walker was botany professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. And so was her sister — here they are, listed one after the other, in the University of Nebraska General Catalog for 1916-1917:

elda rema walker, leva belle walker

(Leva Belle’s names were also inspired by family — parents Levi and Isabel.)

So here’s the Elda Rema baby name formula:

  • First name =
    • First 2 letters of one grandfather’s name +
    • First 2 letters of the other grandfather’s name
  • Middle name =
    • First 2 letters of one grandmother’s name +
    • First 2 letters of the other grandmother’s name

Using the names of your parents and your partner’s parents, can you come up with any usable first + middle combos?

The best I can do is “Aujo Elhe.” Hopefully you can do better…

Source: H. L. Mencken. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921.

Free Download: Weighted Decision Matrix for Baby Names

Free Download, Weighted Decision Matrix for Baby Names, from Nancy’s Baby Names

Need to narrow down your list of favorite baby names? See how they really stack up with a weighted decision matrix!

There are several ways to access this free spreadsheet:

Instructions are included in the file, but here’s a summary: you write in the traits you’re looking for in a baby name and “weight” each of those traits by importance. Then, you write in the baby names you’re considering and give each one some ratings. The spreadsheet will do the math and reveal which name best fits your criteria.

The file has two sheets — the first is blank, the second is filled out, as an example. (I randomly used the names Alexander, Zachary, Bartholomew, Heath, John, Ian, Xavier, Lucky, Walter and Maxwell on the example sheet.)

Let me know if you experience any problems with the spreadsheet and I’ll do my best to help you out.

If you find this spreadsheet helpful, please share it on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Thanks!

(This is an updated version of one of the baby name spreadsheets I posted years ago. Last week I posted the new version of the paired comparison analysis.)

Free Download: Paired Comparison Analysis for Baby Names

Free Download, Paired Comparison Analysis for Baby Names, from Nancy's Baby Names

Need to narrow down your list of favorite baby names? Make your names go mano a mano in a paired comparison analysis!

Here’s a free spreadsheet that will make it easy for you to do just that. There are several ways to access it:

Instructions are included in the file, but here’s the gist of it: write in the baby names you’re considering, look at each possible one-to-one match-up, determine a winner, and rate each winner. The spreadsheet will then tally everything up and reveal which name is the most dominant winner.

The file has two sheets — the first is blank, the second is filled out, as an example. (I randomly used the names Chet, Robert, Anthony, Geronimo, Chase and Jayden on the example sheet. Feel free to play around with the numbers on that sheet to see how they affect the percentages below.)

Let me know if you experience any problems with the spreadsheet and I’ll do my best to help you out.

If you find this spreadsheet helpful, please share it on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Thanks!

(This is an updated version of one of the baby name spreadsheets I posted years ago. Next week I’ll post the new version of the weighted decision matrix.)

Want the Dalai Lama to Name Your Baby?

dalai lamaBecause he’ll do it. You just have to call.

I learned this fact in an article about the New York City’s first babies of 2014.

One of the babies was Tenzin Choetso, a baby girl born to Tibetan Buddhist couple Metok Dolma (mom) and Dorjee Choetso (dad). She was born one second after midnight at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

Tibetan Buddhists often ask lamas to suggest personal names, both for babies and for older people who simply want a name change. So the couple called the 14th Dalai Lama and put in a request (via one of his secretaries).

He chose Tenzin, which happens to be his own name. (Not his original name, though. He was born Lhamo Thondup in 1935, but renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso upon being formally recognized as the reincarnated Dalai Lama in 1950.)

Tenzin was also the name he chose for he couple’s first daughter, 2-year-old Tenzin Choezey.

Turns out the the Dalai Lama really likes to suggest the first name Tenzin (along with various second names). Tenzin is a unisex Tibetan name that has been variously defined as “upholder of teachings,” “holder of Buddhist doctrine,” and “to conquer the wisdom of Buddha.”

So if you want the Dalai Lama to name your baby, here’s how to contact him. Expectant parents of any faith can call. Just don’t be surprised if he picks the name Tenzin for you.

Sources: Dalai Lama names one of New York City’s first babies of 2014, 14th Dalai Lama – Wikipedia, Names in Tibetan Culture – Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies
Image © The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

No Name, Colorado

My husband and I have driven past the I-70 exit for No Name, Colorado, many a time. Finally, a few weeks ago, we stopped to take a photo:

No Name, Colorado

So where does the name “No Name” come from? Did some cowboy or prospector or railroad employee come up with it?

Nope, nope and nope.

It was a Colorado Department of Transportation official.

Back when I-70 was being built, the exit intended for a tiny, unnamed community in Glenwood Canyon was dubbed “No Name” by this anonymous official. But “No Name,” which was only meant to be a placeholder, began to grow on the locals. They liked it so much, in fact, that when the state asked the community to replace “No Name” with something more appropriate, the community refused.

The baby name lesson here?

Be wary of placeholder baby names — especially comical ones! Because, sometimes, they end up sticking. Cole Sellar and Press come to mind…

Source: Parker, Quentin. Welcome to Horneytown, North Carolina, Population: 15. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2010.