Raising Richmond: Favorite boy names

11 names I’d consider giving to my hypothetical/imaginary/currently non-existent second son.

About a year ago I devoted an entire article to names I would potentially give my hypothetical/imaginary/then-and-also-currently-non-existent daughter. Believe it or not, in the almost four-and-a-half years I’ve been at this gig, putting together that list (and then getting to read about your favorites in the comments) was some of the most fun I’ve had yet. I figured we’re due to give it another go–this time focusing our attention on the boys.

Back when I wrote my list of girl names, I shared that I’d already decided should we ever welcome another little boy into our family (to join our son Jackson Ross or “JR”), we’d named him Benjamin (because of Captain Benjamin Sisko, The Greatest Of All Star Trek Captains, and don’t you try to tell my husband any different). I still love it, but since that article went up, approximately 17,000 of my friends welcomed adorable, wonderfully-named baby boys into their lives, and I couldn’t help but reconsider at least a little. Take a look at some of my favorite boy names–and my reasons for choosing them–below. And for what it’s worth, just because I’m publicly declaring my love for these names does not mean I’m “calling” them. Anyone expecting a real, live boy totally gets dibsies.

— ∮∮∮ —


I’ll go ahead and get what will probably be my most controversial choice out of the way. This is a family name on my side; in most cases it was used as a middle name, but if it were my kid, I’d just go for it. It’s solid, strong, and unique without being too weird. Now, of course, I realize the poor boy could pretty much count on getting called “wart” at some point in his life, but such struggles surely build character.


Another family name (my grandmother’s maiden name) that would initially raise a few eyebrows, but I think people would grow to love it. And if not, I wouldn’t care because I’d still have one son named Jackson and one son named Montgomery, and if those aren’t the cutest, most Southern-y names ever, well I just don’t know what.


It means “laughter”, and we’d call him Ike. What’s not to love about that?


This one has all sorts of great connotations for me: Peter the Apostle, Peter Parker, Peter Pan, Peter from Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. I also like the idea of being able to say “Oh THERE you are, Peter!” over and over again. I’m sure my hypothetical son would never get tired of that.


This name has made it on the short list for several of my friends over the last couple years, but so far no one’s gone with it–and I don’t understand why! It’s one of those rarer boy names that manages to be equal parts masculine and beautiful. I mean, sure, people might associate your child with jeans, but who doesn’t like jeans?! People you shouldn’t let around your kid, that’s who.


Unless it’s too much pressure to be named after perhaps the most noble character ever.


I’ve never met a Miles (or Myles) I didn’t like. They’ve all been fun, easy going, kind, and typically a little on the kooky side–all qualities I value greatly and wouldn’t mind seeing in a child of my own.


Yes, it’s super common among adults, but the fact that I’m not meeting many kids named John these days tells me it’s time we bring it back. Think about it: it’s short, easy to spell, and easy to pronounce. And as an added bonus, you have the option of calling your son Johnny which will automatically make him cooler and more attractive than everyone who has ever lived.


Because of this. I thought about trying to expand on my thoughts here, maybe offer up additional reasons, but I don’t have any. That clip is all I need.


It’s probably obvious from some of my other selections that I enjoy a Biblical name as much as the next person. This choice falls in line with that preference, but it isn’t as common or expected. Plus, it means “happy and blessed.” I like the idea of setting that kind of tone for a little guy as he’s just starting out.


Would I name a child after a character from The West Wing? Yes. Yes I would.

— ∮∮∮ —

OK, I know people love to talk about names, so let’s get to it. What do you think of my choices? What did you name your son(s) and why? Which names make your short list for your potential little dudes-to-be?

  • error

    Report an error

Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Julie Blansett on said:

    i like most of those on your list, too. but 41 years ago last week, we went with Jason Murray…it was family tradition to have the middle name, be the father’s first name. 2nd choice at that time was Jeremiah. there turned out to be several other Jasons in my son’s grade school class. it was pretty popular i guess back in the day. good luck with your hypothetical heir to the throne. so glad they went with George for the new royal prince. it’s my dad’s and grandpa’s first name. Albert is their middle name, probably it’s a good thing they didn’t go that far with it. ;-)

  2. john m on said:


  3. Stephanie on said:

    Love Peter!!

  4. Gianna on said:

    I got the idea for my second from the Princess Bride..Westley.

  5. Our oldest is named after Evan Dando and a character named Tucker Case from a book called Island of the Sequined Love Nun. We then gave him the opportunity to name our next two. Only one stuck. Yes to Luke Skywalker and a big ol’ NO to Macaroni and Cheese. How about Ezekiel? He gets the awesome nickname Zeke!?

  6. Gloria on said:

    I like Matthew still, Zachary & Jacob

  7. Jacob K on said:

    no, no Jacob…..we’re everywhere!!!!

  8. John is a favorite of mine. Doug vetoed it though.

  9. Hayley on said:

    I named my two-month old Russell, after my grandfather. Nice strong man’s name (I think, at least) that you don’t hear often but is not weird. A second boy will be Mitchell, a family name on my husband’s side. Third boy would be Griffin, but we are hoping to use that for a girl!

  10. LOVE Montgomery! Growing up, my future son’s name was going to be Chase Montgomery, well, it got vetoed:( along with other favorites like Noah and Wesley (which is my dad and brother’s middle name). Asher was actually on my short list of favorites during all pregnancies, but Ian never liked it. He’s so traditional. Anyway, the latest to join our family of boys is Callum Del and I love sharing his name. The first time we ventured off of the too five list:)

  11. Valerie Catrow on said:

    @Gloria, Matthew has always been a favorite of mine and Zachary almost made this list–love the name Zach! @Hayley, I think Russell is such a great name–not crazy but not common. And @Jo, I adore the name Callum! I’d never heard it until a friend gave that name to her son and then I saw your Callum on Facebook.

    I love talking about this! Keep the faves coming!

  12. Arthur

    Soren as a middle name.

  13. JRsgrma on said:

    All I ask is that you not name him “Montgomery Ward”. He would forever be associated with being named after an appliance store catalog! I like Linus Montgomery. Or, Atticus Ward. Or any other combination. Great selection of names. They are all great. Just remember….they have to roll off the tongue so that when you call him, it flows musically through the air. Like a song. That is how yours and your siblings names came about.

  14. i love your reasoning for choosing “Peter” … because i never thought of it before, but having an excuse to say, “Oh THERE you are, Peter!” on a regular basis is the most wonderful thing ever. and, yes, i knew where it was from even without clicking on the link…but of course i clicked on the link because “Oh THERE you are, Peter!”

  15. Susan Howson on said:



    @hayley – Arthur is my cat’s name and I am so mad I used it up for a pet. Ditto with Polly for my dog. I should have named them names I’d never want to use for my children, like Dick and Hepzibah

  16. Becky on said:

    Named my 4 m/o Edwin after his grandfather (my husband’s dad) and his great-grandfather (my grandpa). I love that Edwin sounds sort of old-fashioned, but we call him Eddie :) His middle name is Joseph after my dad.

  17. Lindsey on said:

    If I ever have a boy, like years and years and years from now, we will name him Joseph Christopher after a mutual friend who passed away. I love that the classic names are back! My cat is named Amos and I think it’s a great Biblical name. I also like Joel, Jonah, and Malachi (in keeping with my theme of minor prophets).

  18. mike on said:

    Montgomery Ward? http://www.wards.com/ ? Really?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Or report an error instead