Maybe you’ve had your baby’s name cross-stitched on a special pillow since you were a little girl.
Or perhaps you’re fully committed to your child carrying your maiden name as his or her first name.
Or maybe you’ve just discovered you’re carrying twins (!!) and now have not one but two (!!) babies who need to leave the hospital with first and middle names.
There are plenty of guides and baby name generators that you and your partner have no doubt already found and mined for suggestions.
Wherever you are in your baby naming mission, I want to offer some sources of inspiration.
Here are some rich wells of names, particularly for my Boston-based families who are looking for a little geographical connection for their baby who will call BOS their birthplace.
Your Hobbies + Passions
As a family photographer for the last 18 years, one of my favorite parts of this gig is getting to know what families do together. From baking to building snowmen, to reading or hitting Cape Cod every summer, I love to learn how they make memories.
I can only imagine how fantastic it would be for expectant parents to embed their own passions into the names of their children--especially if there’s a nod to New England in there.
How cool if your child's name is an homage to authors like Henry James, Phillis Wheatley, Robert McCloskey, Louisa May Alcott or any others you may have read or found through Boston Literary District.
Where would our Boston epicure be without Todd English and Julia Child, or our politics without the Kennedys, Senator Warren, Congresswoman Pressley, and so many others?
Not to mention the endless names of Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and New England Patriots that have made this the city of Champions. The weight of glory will be heavy, but your kid can handle it (wink).
Boston Public Library
If you’re lucky enough to have a family tree documented, you probably have access to some great names of your forebearers. A subscription to Ancestry.com can connect you to the names of many who came before you. But with just a Boston Public Library card, you can also access a vast catalogue of databases and genealogical records for free. It’s amazing how much is available for library patrons, much of it already online.
At bpl.org/resources/genealogy, you can find immigration and naturalization records, including fully indexed U.S. Census records from 1790 to 1940, and Massachusetts vital records from the colonial era to the early 20th century.
If adoption is part of your or your baby’s story, you may already be acquainted with Boston Post Adoption Resources as an organization that supports adoptive families and adoptees throughout their lives. BPAR has helped to guide clients through the process of tracing ancestry and reuniting with birth parents, etc.
Greater Boston’s Cemeteries
Morbid, I know, but cemeteries are nothing if not full of names.
Headstones, grave markers, and sepulchres--oh my.
Cemeteries are often peaceful places to walk, take in the flora and fauna, and gather ye rosebuds and baby names. Greater Boston boasts a remarkable lot of gorgeous burial grounds with graves dating back to Native Americans. One of the oldest among them is the King’s Chapel Burying Ground right along the Freedom Trail.
Among the most beautiful are Forest Hills Cemetery (where Christian Scientist Mary Baker Eddy and poet e.e. cummings and his wife are buried), Milton Cemetery in Milton, and Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge -- wonderful for walking and brainstorming.
Naming a babe is such an exciting, emotional adventure. I hope these resources give you a few more places to be inspired.
As always, I’d love to hear the name you chose for this person I can’t wait to meet!
And if you're here in the Boston area navigating pregnancy, adoption or that first year with a new baby, I just launched a new VIP Facebook Group for local families who are expecting a baby and who have a baby under a year at home and I would just ADORE it if you'd come hang out with me in there!
My new group is called Year One Together.
It's for new parents who are getting excited about or already navigating their baby's first year here in the Boston area. I interview local experts in all things baby every other Wednesday, and then those interviews are saved in the group archive so you can watch them anytime. Topics the experts are covering in their interviews with me will include: "Dressing your Baby in Boston Weather", "Do I want a Doula? A Midwife?", "Postpartum: The Emotional Side", "Year One With Twins", "Sensory Play Ideas for Babies"... and so much more. We also have giveaways and fun contests in there all the time.
Don't have a baby in your house right now, but you live in the Boston area and want a fun online community of families to connect with? Come join my group for families with older children - it's called Boston Families Together and you can join that group here.
Hope to see you in there! I can’t wait to meet you.
I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2021 will mark my 18th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.
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