Round 2: Vote on our Final Eight Baby Names

Yesterday I polled Thinga-readers about our top 20 prospective names for our baby boy. Due to the limitations of the free service I chose, voting was cut off that morning after the first 101 respondents. D’oh!

Please now weigh in on our final seven names (via a better service this time):

Vote for as many names as you favor:

Free polls from

Here is some background about the names. The statistics displayed are from the first round of voting. I welcome your further comments via the comment form below. We really haven’t settled on a final name yet.

AJ’s picks:

Flynn 67% good 09% bad 24% n/a
I lifted Flynn from the cool main character in the movie Tron. Here’s the problem. Flynn sounds similar to Flint. Our last name rhymes with stones. (AJ’s last name starts with J.) Get it yet? I think it’s an unlikely source of schoolyard teasing, and actually kind of cool. Every kid should have his own theme song. My wife disagrees. Also, because it’s an Irish name, she thinks the boy needs red hair. I told her we’ll dye it.
Hollis 30% good 29% bad 41% n/a
Hollis is close to my one true favorite name, Holling, but my wife thinks “hauling” when she hears it. Only 19% of Thinga-readers backed me up on Holling. I needed a landslide from you guys! *shaking fist in air*
Sefton 15% good 42% bad 43% n/a
Ouch, Sefton is heavily disliked, but it’s one of the few names that didn’t cause my wife to grimace. Sefton is William Holden’s character in the film Stalag 17. He’s intelligent and resourceful and achieves justice after everyone in his world wrongly turns against him.

One survey respondent did write, “I’ve never heard of Sefton before, but I really like it. Unique, but it rings true when you say it.” Actually, Sefton is a last name and a place name (a city, mountain, etc. are named Sefton).

Someone else wrote: “Sefton sounds like a kitchen appliance.”

My own mother adds (via her own googling) that Sefton is a band with some mellow, peaceful acoustic guitar songs.

The Wife’s Picks:

Howard 15% good 37% bad 48% n/a
Wow, only 15% think this common name is good? Why? It’s her dad’s middle name, so it’s still in the running.

A survey respondent wrote: Howard is that rich guy on Gilligan’s Island. BZZT! That’s Thurston Howell the Third.

Orson 43% good 24% bad 33% n/a
My wife combined two family names, Orrie and Judson. She thinks the name sounds like “Our Son.” It’s better than Judd, which some respondents thought sounded hillbillyish or southern (only if being born in California from parents also born in California counts as the hillbilly south).

A survey respondent said, “I like (scifi author) Orson Scott Card, but the name itself does nothing for me… reminds me of stars somehow.

And: “I liked Orson, reminded me of Orson Welles.”

Walter* 35% good 29% bad 36% n/a
My wife has held onto this name since our first pregnancy. No one in her circle of friends liked it then or now.

*The voting statistics are faulty because, after 67 votes, I realized a typo incorrectly listed the name as Walker. Sorry Texas Ranger fans.

One respondent wrote, “Howard, Walter, Lionel and Wilbur? Were you PLANNING on birthing an eighty-four-year-old?

Wilson 48% good 13% bad 39% n/a
This is our aunt’s idea, again combining two family names that are less savory on their own (Wilbur and Judson).

A survey respondent said: “Reminds me of President Woodrow Wilson.

Also, “I definitely prefer names that are first names. Wilson is a last name.” (That’s actually an issue that appealed to us.)

And: “Usual surnames like Flynn, Hollis and Wilson work if they reflect your family heritage, or I guess if there’s another connection that’s meaningful to you.  I strongly dislike this type of name when chosen primarily for look/sound.  Hard to say why… maybe because it’s become so trendy (e.g. Madison, Taylor, Forrest).” Wow, you got us. I didn’t even realize Hollis was a surname.

And: “My son has a Wilson and a Walker in his kindergarten class and we live in a town of 3,000 people, so they are probably pretty popular names.” True, the Social Security Administration ranked Wilson 512 out of its top 1000 names in 2006, although it’s been steadily losing popularity, peaking on the chart at 131 in 1912.

Thank you to everyone who wrote comments in yesterday’s survey; we read them all. Due to the iffy nature of how the data was made available to me, it was too taxing to match up your comments to your names for attribution.

Please share your thoughts on our final eight below (after voting above).  Thanks!


39 Responses to “Round 2: Vote on our Final Eight Baby Names”

  1. Fran says:

    I voted for Flynn and Wilson. I just like the way Flynn sounds, but then I read the last name rhyming with Stones thing and maybe it wouldn’t be a great idea. I voted for Wilson just because it’s my maiden name and I like it as a first name also. Interestingly, my dad’s first name was Walter, so you had two-thirds of his name in your final list. I didn’t vote for Walter because my dad didn’t like that name and everyone called him Scott.

    March 6th, 2008 at 2:14 am

  2. Inki says:

    Interestingly enough, I like Orson better now that I know your last name – I think they would work well together.

    March 6th, 2008 at 2:49 am

  3. thordora says:

    I just like Flynn. The others just didn’t grab me.

    March 6th, 2008 at 3:59 am

  4. Julian says:

    With your last name, I have to say maybe Hollis. With a one syllable last name I think you need more than one syllable for the first name, so Flynn doesn’t seem ideal regardless of Flintstones.

    It’s never too late to add a name, right? For something very unusual, how about Chauncey ? I love that name. My wife, not so much.

    March 6th, 2008 at 6:07 am

  5. Nancy says:

    Like the first commenter, I voted for Flynn and Wilson. I think Flynn sounds fine with your last name; now if it actually were Stones, well, then I’d have an issue with it. I went to high school with a Wilson, he was a good guy.

    March 6th, 2008 at 6:46 am

  6. Barbara says:

    This time I took your last name into account when voting. I like Flynn, but it does sound funny with your last name.

    March 6th, 2008 at 6:58 am

  7. Amanda says:

    Yeah, I’m kind of jumping on the name-offer bandwagon late, but if you like Sefton as a tribute to William Holden’s character, then how about Holden?

    Also, I don’t know your daughter’s name, and it’s tough to pick a sibling name without knowing the context. I mean, if her name is something simple like Mary or June or something and you have a boy named Sefton, it’s a little weird. Walter, Howard, or Wilson are better compliments. We picked sort of old fashioned names for our three and they seem to match up with one another pretty well (Josie, Jasper, and Adelaide). If I threw a “Makenzie” or “Jordyn” in there it would be odd, though…

    Good luck!

    March 6th, 2008 at 7:01 am

  8. Barbara says:

    Also, did you forget to include a name for us to vote on? There are only 7 names, 3 for you, 4 for her.

    March 6th, 2008 at 7:05 am

  9. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I would agree that with your last name, Orson is looking more appealing.

    but I REALLY like Walter too.

    March 6th, 2008 at 7:20 am

  10. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Orson must be another form of the name “Arthur” because it means “Bear”

    March 6th, 2008 at 7:23 am

  11. addy says:

    not sure if you should name him howard…it makes me think howard the duck…and if your last name starts with J and rhymes with stones…(like a riddle right?) then would he be called HO JO like a howard johnson on the playground….? I like wilson…but isn’t that the name of the ball on castaway? I hated that movie…now I am rambling again…goodluck with your search

    March 6th, 2008 at 7:57 am

  12. Erica says:

    Of those names, Flynn and Hollis are the best. As for the Flynn “Stones” thing, I don’t think it’s too bad. It could even make for a cool nickname if he gets into sports. We had the same type of dilemma; we liked the name Sierra Noelle, but our last name starts with an M. That makes her initials SNM, which sounds a little randy for an infant if you say it quickly. We decided that it was obscure enough (and unlikely for grade-schoolers to recognize is iffy), though, and went with it. Go for what you like. :o)

    March 6th, 2008 at 8:03 am

  13. Cindi Hoppes says:

    Isn’t it peculiar as each person associates a name with something?! I like “Hollis” from your choices. I am sticking with it. Cindi

    March 6th, 2008 at 8:26 am

  14. Patti says:

    I picked Flynn. Our top pick for our son-to-be is very similar… just substitute a vowel for the Y and remove the l and you’ve got it. So, my vote is probably quite biased. If it helps, my kid-to-be is also biracial, so won’t seem particularly Irish either (although my husband is of Irish descent it isn’t obvious or anything). However, I did say uh-uh to Seamus because I felt that name was just TOO Irish… unless our son comes out bright pink, with a brogue and carrying a shalale. I can just hear the future conversation now, “Dude you’re black, man. What’s up with the name?” Flynn simply doesn’t carry that level of Irish weight with me.

    March 6th, 2008 at 8:28 am

  15. addy says:

    orson reminds me of that pig from garfield and friends…not sure that anyone else remebers him…if you name him orson then with last name he can be called OJ right? I am again rambling

    March 6th, 2008 at 9:05 am

  16. nrbp says:

    I don’t think the “Flynn (St)ones” thing will be too much of an issue on the playground–I doubt most kids these days have much awareness of who the Flintstones are. I kind of like it, but I do know of several in our area (as well as a whole lot of Finns) if you are trying to avoid that.

    I’m with your wife on Holling. And Holly for short is just not doing it for me.

    You could go for Ourson (OOr-son)–the French for bear cub–instead of Orson.

    I don’t see why you don’t just name him Sue. Or Jones.

    March 6th, 2008 at 9:59 am

  17. Diana (Holes In My Shiny Veneer) says:

    Knowing the stories behind them and how they sound with your last name, I’d have to go with Flynn or Orson, with a slight nod to Orson since I prefer the two-syllable first name with the one-syllable last name…

    March 6th, 2008 at 10:08 am

  18. JMo says:

    I agree w/ pp – do kids even watch the Flintstones anymore? Our LO doesn’t watch TV, so maybe I’m not the best judge. Personally I think the name is too popular/trendy now.

    I don’t like Orson – I just can’t get past the creepy dentist on Desperate Housewives.

    I *love* last names as first names. And middle names – we jokingly call our son “the firm” b/c he has 3 last names. Wilson is my fav. I think Sefton and Hollis are strong contenders.

    March 6th, 2008 at 10:14 am

  19. JMo says:

    HO JO – rofl

    March 6th, 2008 at 10:16 am

  20. AJ says:

    Thinga-dad here…

    Julian… uhhh, Chauncey? To me, he sounds like a butler. My wife says, “Chauncey is a guy who wears a ruffled shirt and a smoking jacket.”

    Amanda… our daughter’s name was arrived at by my wife giving me a list of 50 names. The only one that jumped out at me was an unusual name I knew from TV’s Northern Exposure. So, regarding naming the boy in the context of our daughter’s name, Holling is the way to go (he’s in the TV show, too.). *whimper*

    Barbara… yes, it’s intentional that there are only 7 names, four of them my wife’s picks. I whittled down the list to names we could each accept if forced to. That’s why this second vote is going on and we’re still taking peoples’ input.

    March 6th, 2008 at 10:37 am

  21. K G S says:

    Howard Jones was a 2-hit-wonder pop singer in the 80s, but I’m assuming you know this and are okay with it. Kids today won’t care of course, but I’ve got the “What is love… anyway?” chorus stuck in my head now.

    I don’t think any of these are going to doom him to a life of crime, stripping, or smoking jackets.

    March 6th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

  22. Paul says:

    I think you should use Walker. It’s a great name, stands out well, and now you have a great story behind it in terms of the happenstance of the Walter/Walker typo! Synchronicity!

    March 6th, 2008 at 1:38 pm

  23. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    I really like Flynn but I also like Orson.

    My vote is also fairly bias because DH and I had almost exclusively Irish names on the list for our son.

    Patti…My son is also multiracial and we went with an Irish name to represent my heritage. (I’m of Irish decent and it is obvious!) We figured our son would look more like his Dad. (Brown skin, brown eyes, black hair) We knew that melanin production is somewhat linked with sun exposer and skin, eye and hair gets darker over time but it was still a bit of a shock when our Son was born looking my shade of bright pink, with blue eyes and straight redish-brown hair just the same shade as mine! My Son is now 15 months and his eyes are mostly brown and his skin is more tan but not anywhere near as dark as his father. His hair is lighter and more red then when he was born.

    March 6th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

  24. sunny says:

    i think my last comments got lost in the early poll-closing :) wilson is my fave and it’s my son’s name. it was his great-granddad’s middle name and not terribly common, so that worked for me! i think it’s funny that there is a link to castaway. anyway, i like almost all of your final choices. i think you should take the list to the hospital and figure it out when you meet the little guy! best wishes!!!

    March 6th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

  25. Bill says:

    I’d start by weeding-out all the non-names on your list, and proceed accordingly. If it’s not a Saint’s name, it’s not a name appropriate for a human born in western society.

    March 6th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

  26. Donna says:

    I voted for Wilson, although I wasn’t sure on the middle or last name, so it was just based on which one I liked alone the best. I always thought boy’s names were so hard to pick out!

    March 6th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

  27. Erica says:

    Dang, Bill! A little harsh, eh? Oh, who am I to talk… I’m the one who said they were possibly birthing an eighty-four year old child. (Sorry, AJ.) But I do disagree with Bill.

    March 6th, 2008 at 8:53 pm

  28. Colette says:

    I voted for Wilson — can’t help thinking (fondly)of Tom Hanks’ companion in Castaway.

    But, I have to say that, I agree with Paul — I really like Walker even if it was a typo… especially with your last name! :)

    I like Flynn too. I say, with obvious blatant exceptions, you shouldn’t worry about school yard teasing. My husband rejected something even more obscure than a Flintsones reference with my favorite name, Greyson. Something about Batman’s Robin…???

    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear the final result!

    March 6th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

  29. Ellen says:

    I liked Flynn best forget that it ryhmes with stone, that could be fun. I would assure your wife that she probably doesn’t have to worry about too many Walkers or Wilsons – even though the Social Security Administration lists these as a top name, that’s a national look, not a local or state look. If you look on on the babynamescape function and click onto California, these two names don’t pop up at all as one of the top 10 in your state. The top 10 names change a little depending on which city you live in — you have to click onto the city – but I think you would be okay with any of your choices if originality is a goal. good luck AJ

    March 7th, 2008 at 7:51 am

  30. Carrie says:

    Sefton sound a lot like the antibiotic Ceftin. I would’ve thought your wife would veto that choice.

    March 7th, 2008 at 9:37 am

  31. Lydia says:

    Bring out the red hair dye!

    March 7th, 2008 at 10:26 am

  32. Marketing Mommy says:

    I’m still voting for Hollis. I like Flynn until the “Stones” issue came up. I just don’t think if flows, regardless of the animated show. I had a Grandpa Hollis, so I’m biased. But the guy was a saint. And I don’t think he’ll ever meet another Hollis, so that’s kinda cool.

    March 7th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  33. Molly Kiely says:

    If we had a boy, we were going to call him Howard. It’s soft and lovely sounding. I would likely call him Howard as I don’t tend to shorten names, but Howe Gelb is a musician I like, so if it was shortened, he’d be Howe — pronounced How, as opposed to Howie.

    (And would kids even know the other Howard Jones…??)

    March 7th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

  34. Nancy R. Callahan says:

    I love Walter. Old-fashioned, perhaps, but still a great name.

    I also voted for Orson and Howard.

    Wilson would have been my fourth choice. I didn’t want to vote for more than half of the names, though, so I stuck to my top 3.

    Hollis reminds me of libraries. It’s the catolog system used at all Harvard University Libraries. Hollis is a really useful system, but it makes me think of books, not babies. Just a personal bias.

    Sefton doesn’t sound quite right to me. When I say it, I feel like I’m lisping and saying “Seth” incorrectly.

    I don’t really care for Flynn. It’s my last choice out of the 7, actually. I worry that it might be very trendy one day. “Finn,” “Finley,” “Quinn” and “Brynn” are becoming trendy, for instance, and Flynn isn’t too different from these. (Also, you’ve got that issue with your surname…)

    March 8th, 2008 at 12:46 am

  35. baby boy says:

    My favorite name is Wilson, Its a name that goes in our family.

    March 8th, 2008 at 3:54 am

  36. Jill says:

    sorry, but these names are really bad overall. Like someone else said – using these “last name” type of names just seems so pretentious unless it’s actually a family name or something. And these are really old-man names in general. Walter?? come on. You’re worried about kids somehow getting to “flintstones” but you’re not worried about being teased for a candy-ass name like WALTER???

    March 9th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

  37. Marianne O. says:

    My husband commented yesterday that “Wilson J” sounds like an investment firm. So I googled. Actually it’s an office products company that takes credit for inventing the three-ring binder.

    But the name would be kick-ass for an investment broker.

    March 10th, 2008 at 6:27 am

  38. Melissa T. says:

    I voted for Hollis.

    You could even go with Hollis Walter… Those two names work well together.

    Ultimately, you may just want to take a good, long look at your boy and decide which name best suits him.

    We’re eagerly awaiting the new arrival!

    March 11th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

  39. Allison says:

    orson is my son’s name and it’s awesome!!!

    Just be prepared for stupid people who think you’re naming your son “orphan” as well as A LOT of: “I’ve never heard that name before”….like, really? What planet are these people on!!!!!!!

    P.S. I’m sure you decided a looooong time ago, I just saw Orson on there and had to post!

    July 22nd, 2008 at 10:17 am