Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baby Name Stealing

Such a random topic, but a good one. I think everyone's seen or heard of this before: You come up with the perfect baby name and tell a pregnant friend, and they "steal" your name for their baby and act like it's no big deal or they had no idea you liked it.

Something similar happened to me about a year ago. We had the name Evangeline planned for a LONG time and kept it TOP SECRET because we didn't want anyone to use it, and no one did. Then I had her and was so proud of the name! Shortly after, not even a month later, a pregnant "acquaintance" on Facebook who I was friends with announces that they came up with the perfect name for their baby girl: Evangeline! Now of course I knew they did not come up with this name on their own. It's much too rare a name, plus the baby wasn't even born yet. It was partially my fault for plastering Evangeline's name all over facebook. But what I was most mad about, was that the acquaintance pretended she had come up with it all on her own. Not that it was "inspired" only a few weeks after my daughter's birth.

I could see if someone used one of my boy names, they are so common. Evangeline is rare. Rare in a good way that most people don't feel comfortable using it if they know us, but also rare enough that if they do I know where it came from.

Am I crazy for getting mad? Has anyone "stolen" a name from someone they know or had someone "steal" their name? Is there such a thing as "stealing" a baby name? How close do you have to be to someone to not use the same name (cousins, siblings, etc)? Do you keep baby names secret? I want to hear stories and opinions, even from anonymous :)  

20 comments:

  1. I don't think you're crazy for getting mad! In fact, I'm worried about offending someone with my name choice. My hubby and I are having trouble agreeing on a girl's name (even though we are still months away from TTC, we both have baby fever) and we finally found one we both like- Renata! I didn't come up with it on my own. An acquaintance from church chose the name for one of her twins. J and I will probably be out of the area due to job stuff by the time we actually get pregnant so I think it will be okay. I'm going to ask her though, just in case she would get offended!

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  2. YES.
    But I also hate when you've had a secret name for a long time and then someone you don't like gets to it first, cause then you know when you name your child that, they will be all like, "copycats!"
    This is why I have a TOP SECRET master list with all our names (and its dated lol)
    So I have PROOF. Lolol
    But man, I would've been P.O.ed had I been in your shoes with Evangeline. So obnoxious.

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  3. I go back and forth on this. Like you said I think it depends on how common the name is. For the record, I have always liked Andrew, but Wesley is our boy name ;) We've had our names picked out for a long time, but it took us a long time to get pregnant, so inevitably some of our picks have gotten used. I used to feel bummed about it, but realized it was one more thing I had to surrender with infertility.

    Our girl name is an interesting situation. My BF from high school had the name Lillian on her list to be named after her grandmother. When Chris and I were discussing girl names he was adamant about having a flower name. Lily was the only one we could agree on. I didn't want just Lily, so we settled on Lillian. We decided to spell it Lillienne to match the middle name Therese. Then I remembered my friend. She happens to be pregnant too, so we'll see what happens. We didn't copy or steal and we are too in love with the name to change it. Luckily I don't think my friend will be bothered by it. Chris had no idea about her list and I forgot all about it.

    Chris' family is really large and Catholic too. We have a few repeats with James, Max and John Paul. It's bound to happen when there's saints names involved. I think I'd have been irked by the thing with E's name though. I think because our names are more common I've accepted that our child won't be the only one with that name.

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    1. Yes, of course Christopher and Andrew are so common. It doesn't bother me at all. I remember you liked Andrew. I love Wesley and Lillian! We strongly considered Lily for Evie, but thought it might be too short.

      My dad's family is HUGE. He is one of 12. There are so many Mary's, Theresa's, Rita's and Joseph's that there's a joke if you don't know who someone is just call them by one of those names and it will most likely be right;) For that reason, it was really important for us to find saint names that weren't already used in my family. We loved Joseph, but there were just too many.

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  4. Yeah, that would annoy me too. I had someone tell me once that they liked their sister's son's name so much they used it for their own son. I thought that was really weird. I'm pretty sure it was something pretty common, like David, but still. I don't get it.

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    1. That's a little too close for me. Even though I have 10 sisters, I could never use one of their names.

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  5. I don't think you are crazy at all!!! I hate when I tel people names I want to use with future kids and they "steal" it!!! It's one thing if you had the name before she was born and the person told you they were naming their kid that too before you said anything, but if you tell them and they didn't have it before, I say they are stealing it! I feel like it's very rude for them to do that in my opinion and I wouldn't be happy with a friend if they did that!

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  6. i personally would never use a name that I knew somebody was gonna use. For example, there were many times i wanted to name my kitty a particular name, but i know a girl who might want to use it for her baby one day, so out of respect i don't use it. if however, someone took my baby name, i'm sure i would be a little stressed by it...especially if they beat me to it and named their baby first! then i would feel like a copy catter! if they named it after my baby was born, i would just let it go. i don't want to idolize names and put the name of my child above loving other people. i think we can all share and there are enough names and people in this world for us all to go around. just my opinion and i realize it's not gonna fly with everyone.

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  7. Yeah, it's a bit strange! But a tough call, names are so hard and when you find one you find one - but then again stealing? Is just so wrong! GAH.

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  8. I think it depends on how close you are to the person. I am terrified that someone will take our girl name (if we ever get to use one!) so I'm not shy about telling anyone that we love the name Anna. My all time favorite boys name was Benjamin. I had decided when I was about 18 years old and I made the mistake of telling my sister-in-law. Guess what my first nephew's name is??? When he was about 6 months old she actually said to me, "didn't you say you really liked the name Benjamin? It won't bother me if you want to use it too."

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    1. Unbelievable! I would have been so angry.

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  9. I can understand you being angry, but recently, in the movie Princess and the Frog, one of the fireflies is named Evangeline. And we all know how Disney movies can shape/inspire us. I'd still be pretty angry though if it were me. Fortunately, the girl name that I love is a family name and also pretty common in Irish folk, so I can't claim that someone stole it... Sorry that she did this to you guys!

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  10. As a non-mom, maybe I shouldn't weigh in. But I don't really see a huge problem with using the same names. I know several little girls right now with Eve, Eva, & Evie as a name. They all sound pretty and I'm glad the name's had a comeback. And I have to think, if it's just an acquaintance, I don't think that should affect what you name your child. If you fall in love with the sound and meaning of a name, I think you should be able to use it, and give it to your child for their whole life. I don't think when they're 10, 18, or 50, for that matter, they're not going to be wishing they didn't have the same name as an acquaintance of their mom's, long ago.

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    1. no, love to hear everyone's opinion! that puts it in perspective though. i'm not really that upset about it, i just wanted to get conversation going and see what others think. am kinda bummed it's getting popular. when i picked it, it was 1 in 1,000 on the SS list. i loved a lot of names that were in the top 10 (olivia, etc), but wanted different.

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  11. I don't think I'd worry about it. If it was your sister, then maybe, but an acquaintance? We are Catholic as well and at our parish we are all close friends and have LOTS of repeat names. Usually someone will space them out a few years. No body is offended. We named our second little girlie Catherine, knowing fully well that after Prince William married a Katherine that the name would rise in popularity, but it was still the name we knew was right for our baby.

    Also, what if you had had Evangeline after your acquaintance, and kept her name secret until she was born... but then just weeks before her arrival your acquaintance posted her big news and same name. Wouldn't you just want to know that you felt secure enough in your own love of the name that you could happily make your announcement just weeks later, without worrying about someone on facebook land considering you a copy cat? It is possible she had the name picked out, or was wavering on it for a while. Or maybe she heard your great news and immediately also fell in love with such a beautiful name. Isn't her daughter just as precious as yours? I wouldn't worry about it at all! If this person is truly a 'copy cat' and wants to copy every last thing someone else does then pray for them, bake her some cookies, plan a play date. Her self esteem may be low. That's ok. We've all been there, or are there in some areas of our lives.
    I hope this helps :)

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    1. Actually, someone else using it would effect my using it. Originally I planned to name her Evangeline Mae, but one week before she was born a cousin used Mae as the middle name for her daughter. Even though we had that middle name picked for two years, I couldn't do that to her on the heel of her news. We choose Marie instead.

      I'm just extremely sensitive to repeat names I think because I come from a large Catholic family and the Joseph's, Mary's and Therese's are overwhelming. To me they seem less special with such heavy use. I know that's just me though.

      All this being said, I'm no longer upset about it. I haven't been for a long time. I just wanted to share the story and see what everyone thinks/generate conversation. It's definitely interesting reading so many varying responses to the topic :)

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  12. I am super sensitive to this. It's one thing to name a child after someone (father, grandfather, grandmother, etc.) or to share middle names. All my brothers have either a their first or middle name shared with another brother or my father. I like that idea because it binds them all together and one leads to another (Joseph Michael, Matthew Joseph, Thomas Michael, Michael Jasper).

    AS for "stealing" baby names...that is exactly what it is...STEALING. I have names I absolutely love and my family knows about them. If one of my siblings took one of those names, I would be devestated. My sister actually took my husband's (fiance at the time) name for one of her kids...it was a last minute change after we got engaged and I am still pissed about that. What if I wanted to use that name? It's rude. There are plenty of names out there that are beautiful. Do the research yourself and pick a name that is truly meaningful to you and your husband. I have strong feelings about this.

    MJ - I am sorry about Evie's name. I don't know a single Evie besides your little one and I remember thinking "WOW, what a perfect name! Good job selecting that name!!" but never did I think, I'm going to name my baby that.

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  13. Oh my gosh, I would have killed my sister (figuratively of course). Oh man, that's definitely harder than an acquaintance. Name selecting is so much work: what goes good with your last name, has a good meaning, sounds nice, doesn't have a bad association with someone you know, etc.

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