Raising Richmond: Favorite girl names

My husband and I had no trouble picking our son’s name. I’ve even got one picked out should another baby boy come into the picture. But if we ever have a girl? We’re screwed. I love girls’ names. I love lots and lots of girls’ names. Come check out my favorites (and share yours, too)…

(I’m not pregnant. Just wanted to get that out of the way before we get to the subject at hand.)

As I’ve shared before, my husband and I aren’t sure if we’re going to have any more children. While I do experience the occasional soul-crushing urge to be pregnant again and to have constant access to a teeny baby head to smell whenever I want, I’m not completely sold on having another newborn/infant/toddler/child in our house—and neither is my husband.

But I still entertain the thought from time to time, especially when it comes to the fun stuff: how we’d decorate the room, who the new baby might look like, and–most of all–what name we would choose.

I’ve always found boys names to be much easier. Picking our son JR’s name was easy—no fights, no hesitation, we just knew. I also informed my husband a couple years ago that if we ever had another boy, we’d name him Benjamin. This is the obvious choice for us because 1) it goes well with our last name, 2) the nicknames of “Benny” and “Ben” are both fantastic, and 3) Benjamin Sisko.

But if we were ever to have a girl? We’re screwed. I love girls’ names. I love lots and lots of girls’ names—so much so that part of me hopes I never have to choose one. Picking one over the others would be so hard, and I would surely be one of those mothers getting calls from the hospital’s birth registrar demanding, “Hey, crazy lady! Did you name that girl yet?”

My full list of top girl names is QUITE extensive, but I wanted to give you a sampling of my absolute favorites and explain why I love them so. Feel free to steal one if you’ve got a baby girl on the way—and make sure to share your top picks in the comments while you’re at it.


Eliza is the middle name of my paternal grandmother who, at 101, is still going pretty strong; I’d hope some of her chutzpah would get passed down with the name. Bonus: Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice (AKA The Greatest Story Ever Told…at least in our house) is sometimes referred to as “Eliza” throughout the book. Any opportunity to pay homage to Ms. Jane Austen must be taken.


I love one-syllable names. No fuss, just…boom, there they are. Anne is one of my favorites in that category. It’s simple, strong, and a bit soft–a little name that conveys a lot.


In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful names ever. It pops up frequently in groups of people that are my age, but you don’t meet a lot of little Sarahs these days; I like the idea of giving a child a name most people know but isn’t super common for her generation. I’ve also never met a Sarah I didn’t totally adore.


If we ever do have a daughter, I hope she’ll be like Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird: smart, funny, and a fighter. And this was actually our final pick for a girl’s name when I was pregnant with JR—which is why I feel like we can’t toss it in the ring should we ever give it another go. It’d be like the poor kid was getting JR’s leftovers.


This was a close second to Scout for our girl’s name. I just think it’s so lovely and dignified. Also this.


Say it out loud right now. It’s adorable, no? But! It’s not cutesy. Imogene is a name that will carry your daughter from childhood to adulthood beautifully.


One of my friends from college goes by Day (it’s her middle name), and I’ve always loved how it’s pretty much impossible to say her name and stay grumpy. It’s simple, bright, and a teeny bit unexpected. You know, not common but not so weird that you’ll have to encounter eye rolls upon introducing your daughter to people.


Traditionally a boy’s name (my brother’s middle name, in fact), but I think it works really well for a girl. I like the combination of the harder v and t sounds, but you could always girl it up a bit by calling her “Evie” for short. The more I say it out loud, the more I love it. Someone please give birth a little girl right this minute and gift her with this name.


I’m not usually a huge fan of alliteration-y names (other than Sam Seaborn, obviously), but for some reason I love how “Quinn Catrow” just sort of pops. Pair it with a softer, maybe more traditional middle name (like Elizabeth or Marie) and you’ve got a winner in my book.


As much as I like the crisper consonants of Everett and Quinn, I also love how Shannon just sort of gently flows. Plus it means “small wise one”–perfect for a little girl with an old soul.


Friends of ours welcomed their own little Vivian this summer, and I actually gasped with joy when they announced her name on Facebook. It’s a total throwback, which I love, and while the full version sounds elegant and serious, the shorter “Viv” option adds a heaping helping of sass. Also, as I told baby Vivian when we first met, there aren’t a lot of V girls out there. We need to stick to together.

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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. Boy names are hard, you’ve got it all wrong!

    Fav girl names:
    Winnifred (this is the final someday-pick; it’s got Freddie or Winnie as nicknames, both of which are great)
    Prudence (except I would never be able to use Winnie and Pru in the same family. At all. Obviously.)
    Juno (I know, I know, haters gonna hate)

    (As for boys, I like Rowan, hubs like Soren, so someday there will be a battle to the death…yanno, someday.)

  2. (Hubs like the girl name Ermengarde, except thanks internet, now it looks like ehrmahgerd/berks.)

  3. Jennifer C. on said:

    I like Annabel(le) and Madeline, and Jane, which is a family name hereabouts.

  4. I gave both of my children the middle name Lane, a combination of their dad’s middle name, Lee, and mine, Jane. I can’t have more children, but I always wanted an Eva, which was my great grandmother’s name.

  5. You’ve all listed some great names!
    I love Emmeline and Evangeline and Adalaide and Eloise and I could go on and on :)

  6. I busted out laughing at work just now at Hayley’s post because yep, totally read that name as —>ehrmahgerd—<. Hope she convinces husband NOT to name her kid that. Also laughing at Winnie and Pru. Winnie the Pru…Winnie the Pru….lalalallalaa

  7. I’ve been obsessed with names since my parents had more kids when I was old & thought I should definitely be the one to name them. Even before that, actually, because I already had a list ready to present to them when they told me I’d (at long last) have a sibling. Scout is definitely on my top 20 for girls, along with some other literary favs like Antigone, Juliet(te), Beatrix, and Eloise. I’ve always said I’d name a boy Dinosaur Jr., which will likely be a tough sell if I have a spouse haha.

  8. Gloria on said:

    I have to add Hannah and Savannah but needless to say, I will not have anymore babies and not sure I will even have grandbabies. However, I have two beautiful adopted grandkids, Vincent & Juliana who have beautiful names and are beautiful kids.

  9. Rob Forrest on said:

    We named our daughter, Adelai.

  10. kalita on said:

    My name is Kalita, and not to be arrogant or anything, I love it! My nieces actually have two of my favorite names, Ulli and Cypress. Just to throw some more ideas in your head, my 3 sisters are named Ritchenya, Birgitte, and Nerisha. Get creative people!

  11. Nicole on said:

    Should Weather Dan and I ever have kids I think we both agree on Milo or Otis for a boy. Middle name Bryce, like Dan. Not sure Dan’s thoughts on girl names, but I’ve always loved the name Shelby. Her middle name would be Leigh, like me. Shelby Leigh Goff kind of just rolls off the tongue. And if she’s anything like her furry brother Doppler, it’s a name I would say a lot.

  12. My 22-year-old daughter’s name is Everett…and there’s NOTHING boyish about her!

  13. We had our girls name picked out before I was pregnant: Marion Rae (my grandmothers name were Mary and Rae) Boys we couldn’t make up our minds until after they were born!

  14. Julie on said:

    I named the 2 boys I’ve got: Eric Alexander and Stephen Wolfgang.

    My chosen girl name, had either of them been female, was Rosa Leigh. My childhood best friend’s Mom was called Rosalee, and I may have loved her more than I loved my friend. Also I have a very dear and much admired older female friend/former coworker…one of those bright souls you feel priviledged to have known, and her name is Rose. So it would be in tribute to both of those people, but different.

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