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No, My Baby Is Not Named After An Atlanta Suburb

By Katie Allison Granju |

Although I generally refer to her as “Baby G” when blogging, my baby girl’s actual first name is “Georgia,” a venerable, time-tested name. It’s the feminine form of the name “George.” While the name remains relatively uncommon in the U.S., it’s a top 50 classic in England, Australia and Canada. It’s also a beloved name for Greek baby girls.

When choosing Georgia’s name, we thought about the name’s history, and also about other Georgias, like Georgia O’Keefe. As far as real-life popularity of the name, we only know one other little Georgia in person – she’s in elementary school and lives in our neighborhood – although I suspect that the name has gained some traction lately in hipper locales than ours, since it occasionally makes lists of hipster baby names.

The one thing we never thought about when deciding to name the baby Georgia was the possibility that people would immediately assume that we had named her as part of a trend I didn’t know existed on such a wide scale, which is to give babies names related to geographic locations that are in some way special or meaningful to the parents. Apparently, celeb parents like Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz (baby boy Bronx), Posh and Becks (baby boy Brooklyn) and Garth Brooks (Taylor Maine) have been choosing their kids’ names to honor some meaningful element of the parental love affair that took place in a specific locale. In some cases, parents come right out and say they chose the city, state or other geographic moniker because that’s the spot where their baby was conceived.

Now I know that as a blogger, I talk about some pretty personal things. Perhaps I reveal more about my life than you would be comfortable revealing about your own. But I can assure you that one thing you will never read about when I blog are the intimate details of my marital relationship. I am pretty private about sex stuff, except with my close friends. So the idea of publicly naming my child as an homage to the spot where he or she was conceived is really distasteful to me. Or, if I did do that, I certainly wouldn’t ever tell anyone what the deal is with the name. It would be something private between my husband and me.

But apparently this trend of naming babies after the spot where their parents did the wild thing is now totally mainstream and acceptable to discuss in polite company. How do I know this? Well, I know it because at last a couple times a month, someone who hears that my baby’s name is Georgia gets a sly look in his or her eye before asking me outright whether we named her that because we conceived her somewhere in the southern state of the same name. (Interestingly, no one has ever asked me whether we conceived her in the former Soviet republic of Georgia…)

The exchanges generally go something like this:

Stranger at mall: “Oh! Your baby is soooo cute! What’s his name?”

Me (confused as to how the pinky pink outfit in which I dressed the baby doesn’t override the apparently male-looking baldness of her noggin): She’s a girl. Her name is Georgia.

Stranger (getting sly, disturbingly lascivious look in eye that immediately creeps me out): Ohhhhhhh, did you and her daddy conceive her in Marietta maybe? Or Dahlonega?

Me: Ummmmm….no……..

This continues to happen far more often than I would like. I keep wondering if it will stop, and then someone else asks me while I am grocery shopping with baby in tow. It really does irritate me – despite my best efforts to shrug it off – because A: I hate that it never occurred to me that people would put the gorgeous, classic name “Georgia” in the same naming category as “Bronx” or “Tunisia.” And B: it grosses me out when complete strangers ask such a personal question with a wink and a grin.

So how about you? Do people ever ask you weird things about your baby’s name? Would you consider naming your baby for where he or she was conceived, and if so, would you tell people how you picked the name? And as for Baby G’s name, when you hear it, do you automatically think “motel bed in an Atlanta suburb?” Talk about place names for babies in the comments below.

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About Katie Allison Granju

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Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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46 thoughts on “No, My Baby Is Not Named After An Atlanta Suburb

  1. Clare says:

    I swore I would never give my kids “place name” names, but it turns out I kind of did. His name is Lucas, nn Luca. And my favorite town in Italy is Lucca, just outside Florence. My visit to the town has absolutely no significance for my son (ahem); he was born nearly 10 years after I was there. It was more a happy coincidence than careful planning that his name is so similar to the town’s.

    If it makes you feel any better, I would not even think that Baby G is named after the state (and I even lived in GA for 2 years). It’s a beautiful, classic name.

  2. vicki says:

    My son’s name is Phoenix….I’ve never even been to Phoenix. My daughter’s name is Paris….and I’ve never been there either. (She goes by her middle name, “Skye” though, which i like MUCH MUCH MUCH better than Paris). BUT, my best friend’s daughter’s middle name is Daytona because the parents MET (not conceived) in Daytona.

    Oddly, I’ve never had anyone ask if my kids were conceived in their namesakes.

  3. vicki says:

    Now that I think about it, my middle child’s name is Zane Ford….but he wasn’t conceived in a car either!!! Ha. (Ford is actually derived from the shorted form of my dad’s odd name of Dalford, who passed away when I was younger.)

  4. Rosstwinmom says:

    If I did that, my twins’ would be named Doctor’s Office A and B. Crass as that may be, it would at least give overly nosey people an answer to one of their questions about whether my kids are ‘natural’.

  5. Mary says:

    Your baby’s name makes me think of the Ray Charles song “Georgia… on My Mind”

  6. Jenny says:

    You could always pat your baby bump and say, yep, we are already planning to add Dakota, Arizona and Carolina, too. ;)

    I love G’s name. I never made the association with the state. It is a really classic name.

  7. kgranju says:

    RossTwinMom – Your response just made me laugh so hard I spewed diet pepsi out my nose ;-)

  8. Susan Aderholdt says:

    My daughter’s name is Savannah,no relationship to the city or state. I just thought it was a pretty southern name. No one has ever asked me anything about her name other than to say it is a pretty name. That is extremely rude for anyone to ask about your child’s conception. I think a good answer would be none of your business.

  9. Jul says:

    My daughter’s birth name is Chelsea, although Roo has been her nickname since she was an infant (it’s started out Lou because she resembled Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch That Stole Christmas with her unusually lengthy mop of pixie-ish hair, big blue eyes and sleeping gowns, but when she started to speak she would pronounce it with an R and it just stuck). When she was a baby people would often ask a series of what I thought were somewhat inappropriate questions ranging from the origin of her name, where she got her red hair to wondering if we named her after President Clinton’s daughter. A few assumptions were based on location, which in part is true. Although I have always liked the name Chelsea, I liked the connection to my maternal grandmother who was a pediatric nurse in Chelsea, MA. The other reason was Chelsea was the name of a character in my Mother’s favorite movie, On Golden Pond. A few people asked if her name was chosen based upon where she was conceived and given my unfiltered sense of humor I would typically reply “Well, no. If we wanted to name her where she was conceived her name would have been Camaro.” Which was a bold-faced lie, but I did enjoy the look on the faces after dropping that fictitious bomb. Most of the annoying questions were about her hair color. My hair is light brown and my husband’s hair is blonde. At first I would explain there are lots of redheads on both sides of the family. Had I spent more time in the sun during the summer after Roo was born, the red highlights that develop in my hair might have put a halt to those questions. Again, though, my unfiltered sense of humor fueled by annoyance led me to subsequently answer that question with “I didn’t specify a hair color when I went to the sperm bank, so the donor must have been a redhead.” And then I would just smirk and be on my way.

    Personally, when I hear a baby name that happens to be a city name I just assume there is a personal connection to a special family member or a dear friend. I think it’s kind of crude to name a child where he was conceived.

  10. mandy says:

    Just wait until you meet babies Subaru, Audi and Camry. The issue of people seeing a baby and thinking it’s an invite to talk about private lives isn’t new, they are just finding trendy ways to do it. I think it starts with,”Congrats on the wedding when and how many kids are you going to have?” My frined Sandi is mom of triplets, they can’t even go into public without people asking about how they were concieved. If they only knew the chain of events that ended with triplets, would they dare ask?
    People say dumb things.

  11. Anna says:

    Do people ask you that about Charlotte? People are so nosy. I have 2 adopted daughters and it never ceases to amaze me the inappropriate questions they will ask me in front of them. And my youngest daughter (3.5 mon) has a sort of made up name that is very personal because (like your Jane) I had cmv and everyone told me to end the pregnancy. We named her Solie (from Sol) because she was such a light during that dark time and I wanted to remember that. I need to learn a version for the public tho bc it’s not something i want to explain a lot.

  12. Rosstwinmom says:

    Glad to provide some comedy. :-)

  13. marie says:

    Seems to me that I recall that Ron Howard, (Opie) says his kids are named after where they were conceived. I always felt sorry for the kid who he says was conceived in a car!

  14. Adina says:

    My daughter is Nola, after, in part, New Orleans. This place has meaning to us as the birthplace of jazz, creole culture, etc. But people maybe don’t make the geographic connection right away, so I’ve never been asked that. I agree, it’s gross. Maybe, just ‘does x place have special meaning?’ but not ‘is that where you did the deed?’

  15. Kata says:

    My son’s name is Thomas. Question: “Like Thomas the Tank?” – Yes, of course! Sure I named him after a rather dull baby-cartoon and a blue talking train. And it’s not toddlers who ask this…

  16. Zoë says:

    If I followed that trend, I would have kids called Knoxville, Oak Ridge and Tullahoma and those don’t exactly roll off the tongue! I have noticed that in this part of Tennessee, the names Dakota and Brooklyn are wildly popular for both boys and girls, and I’m pretty sure all those parents did not conceive those babies in those locations – an invasion of middle Tennesseans would have been reported.

  17. Katy E says:

    Oh, the rudeness that complete strangers feel is perfectly acceptable towards pregnant women and mothers of babies is dumbfounding. Really, there is only one appropriate thing to say to a pregnant woman and it’s ,”You are absolutely glowing/Look beautiful”. Personal questions that you morph into a joke at the gestating woman’s expense, verbally accosting them for wanting to keep the sex of the baby private and anything that involves the classic “I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies” line should be punishable by a large fine and stern talking-to/the offended gravid female being allowed to unleash major fury built up from not sleeping more than 45 minute stretches at a time.

    Can you make up a canned response as you tell them her name like,”Georgia, It’s a family name” (Which is technically true since she’s in your family) to beat the nosy nellies to the punch? I would have never thought a classic name like Georgia or Virginia would be based on something private. It just goes to show what level the nosy inquirer thinks on.

  18. Another Claire says:

    I think of Georgia as her name and only associate it with the state when you refer to her as a Georgia Peach or my little peach (but I understand that to be sort of a nickname type thing).

    Charlotte was on my short list for girls names but I only had boys…but I doubt strange people would have asked it that is where she was conceived. It is one thing to be having a silly conversation with your best girl friends and another thing to ask a stranger in the grocery store.

    I am wondering what a good line to shut that conversation down would be…I think Miss Manners would say something like “I can’t believe you just asked me, a complete stranger, that question.”

  19. SarahB says:

    That is really tacky of people to ask. I noticed you had a theme going with Southern place names for your younger two daughters, but also think both names are very classic and pretty.

  20. Leslie says:

    Some things really are meant to be private. But I am not surprised people ask you this, since I have been asked more times than I can count “Was that planned?” followed up by the clever “Don’t you know what causes that yet?”

  21. Jen says:

    My son is Ryder and my husband likes to joke that he was conceived in a moving van, so not the case!

  22. vicki says:

    Haha….I have been asked if Skye was named after the vodka. Short answer: uh no.

  23. Dayna says:

    I don’t have any place names but I’ve been subject to really rude comments from strangers and I never seem to stop being shocked by some people’s complete lack of decorum. If someone introduced their child to me as Backseat in Albuquerque, I would still refrain from asking exactly where they had sex. I mean. I used to babysit for my brother’s three children during the summers and when I would go to the grocery store/park/snowball stand.. etc., inevitably I would be questioned as to whether they were all mine… these 6 children all fairly close in age. The question was off-putting sometimes but even worse were comments that didn’t come with the question… “Boy, your husband is a happy man!” and “Wow, he never lets you rest, does he?” My favorite ever though… “Do they all have the same daddy?”

  24. Desiree O'Clair says:

    My son’s nickname is Baby Lahaina. It was our anniversary, and we were in Hawaii on a photo shoot. My firstborn daughter was conceived after many years of infertility, and I was told throughout the entire pregnancy that there were things wrong with her – her middle name is Faith, because it took a lot of faith just to get through the pregnancy and I had faith that she was absolutely fine. On naming baby for the place of conception, I don’t know if I would have nerve enough to name one Mustang Backseat or Hallway Quicky, but my father had nicknames for me and my siblings that I didn’t understand until long after I was married. He called us “Pop Out”, “Blow Out” and “The Two Rhythm Kids”. Mom was Catholic.

  25. Dustin says:

    I can kind of relate. We gave our son a number for a name. I hope it doesn’t become a trend! Don’t get me wrong. I love his name. Part of the reason we chose it was that we felt like it would never be a trend, another reason we chose it was that we love the uniqueness of it and if it trends then it undermines that aspect of the intent behind it.

    On the other hand, he has a somewhat geographic first name: Atlas. I guess it is sort of geographically trendy. :)

  26. K. C. says:

    My kids are Charlotte and Dallas. They’re both named after their great-grandparents, not the cities. It actually never occurred to me until someone asked if we would have another and name it “Las Vegas.” Ummm, no and no. And, by the way, when I read about Georgia, I think ripe, sweet, juicy, fuzzy, round, and delicious: just like your girl. :)

  27. Kathleen says:

    My son’s name is Reef and I get asked if we secretly wanted to name him Reefer . . um, really? We named him for our love of the ocean. I really get angry when people say that in front of him. I mean, what can they be thinking? I like when he comes back and tells them (at age 7), no, i am named after the reefs in the oceans! that a boy!

  28. Clisby says:

    Why on earth are you talking to strangers who accost you with personal questions? A better response is to look at them like they’re crazy, and walk on by.

  29. Matilda says:

    I don’t know…is this really a problem? Georgia seems like a fairly standard name to me. I’m surprised that people would make that leap and I’ve actually never heard of this phenomenon. If people are asking this, it’s pretty tacky.

  30. Lucky says:

    Stranger: Aww what’s her name?
    Me: Luna
    Her: Was she born under a full moon?
    Me: How the hell should I know? I was busy that day.
    At least I didn’t name either of our kids Albuquerque…

  31. Joni says:

    When I was pregnant with my daughter we were thinking of two (well, four) names.

    Charles/Charlotte
    George/Georgia

    It seems we have baby names in common.

    The third choice of Graham was nixed thanks to my husband’s last name of Crocker. Graham Crocker, I don’t think so.

  32. Jena Healy says:

    My sons’ initials are BAR and CAR and I used to joke about the fact that it stood for where they were conceived until my oldest son had a lightbulb moment one day at the age or 8 or 9 and said “You know Mom that really is not that funny”. I was done then. He is now 23 and he makes jokes about it. Can you say THERAPY???

  33. Betsy2 says:

    Georgia is very much a family name in my family (older, middle-age, and young, and it’s a good name at every age!). So is George–which is maybe why I’ve never heard this particular “guess,” ever. My family also lives nowhere near the state. I’ve run across several young Georgias in these parts and afaik the name just doesn’t conjure up said images. It’s classic and pretty and used around the world. So, yikes for you but shame on them.

  34. Kate says:

    The tryndees have made such inroads in naming that many people are fairly distant from the roots of classic choices such as Georgia. Really sad state of affairs. Even the pope agrees–anyone read the recent articles on that?

    With celebrities such as Jamie Oliver setting an example, I guess we can hardly be surprised. His kids are named Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear Maurice. Apparently no one has clued him into the fact that his children will not be perpetually three years old and are not, like, characters in a Disney movie.

    Fight the good fight, Katie. Don’t let the tryndees get to you. If you ever get, “That’s a lot of name for a baby,” just tell them you expect that she won’t always be one.

  35. Agnes says:

    Sheesh that’s so tacky that strangers inquire about your sex life! Maybe you should think of a witty comeback so it won’t bother you so much like this . . .
    “Did you conceive in Savannah”
    “No, it was Cleveland”.
    That’s my twisted sense of humor any way. Leave them a bit perplexed and have the last laugh as you walk away.

    And not that it matters one iota but as a pop culture junkie I must add that I saw Posh on Larry King Live and she said they just liked the name Brooklyn, it had nothing to do with the place. So maybe the others are urban myths too.

  36. Agnes says:

    Here’s one more comeback. This is probably what I would say since I am a smartass.

    “Do I know you?” or “Have we met?”

    And if they were confused I’d throw in ‘That’s such a personal question.”

  37. Stephanie says:

    Move to Australia. Here we think Georgia is just a lovely name!

  38. Globe trottin' mama says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I will be in the naming business soon and there are couple location names I love. In fact, I love the name Paris and have been trying to deal with whether or not I can handle naming my child the same thing as the saucy little Hilton heiress. But if I have to deal with Paris HIlton AND Paris, France references for the child’s name, I ‘d rather just pick something else. While I’m at it, I’m just going to cross Sienna and Savannah off the list too!

  39. d says:

    “Aruba”
    Good thing I was not silly enough to name a the kid that!

  40. a reader says:

    Oh, I associate your sweet Georgia with one of the dearest people in my life — my 84 yr old Mother’s first cousin. “Our” Georgia is 83 and is frail and fragile health — very, very fragile. What a blessing she has been throughout her life to so many — and she lost a beloved son to cancer. And through it all, she continued to give of herself following the Lord’s teachings. So I love seeing and reading “your” Georgia’s name…love it! (And I can promise you this — I cannot begin to fathom anyone — and I mean anyone — every questioning my great-aunt as to where any of her children were conceived! Mercy no!) And congratulatons again for the new baby!

  41. Elissa says:

    I’m pretty over being considered public property. When I was still pregnant my friend (who was also pregnant) and I were once stunned by the fact that a woman on the bus thought it was ok to tell me that the name we’d decided on was a dog’s name, and ask us if our babe’s dads were still in the picture! The name, by the way, is Archer, and I’ve had nothing but compliments on it since. As for places, my mum reminded me that I spent my early years living on Archer St, but that’s certainly not what he was named for.

  42. Ann says:

    I just watched a movie called “Carolina” and the three girls were named after where they were born (Maine and another I forget). The dad was pretty hopeless, sending newborns to his mother (Shirley MacClain) to raise. But it was a good movie!

  43. Lindsay says:

    My children have names all over the board. Robert Anthony (14) was named after many friends I had known as a teen that were friendly, compassionate and well liked. Mason Riley (10) was a total compromise. I was talked into keeping him by my husband, so he named him. My only part of the naming process was shooting down completely useless names for a less useless one. Samara Victoria was named after her great grandmother and a video game. The short list was Samara, Eleanor, Evelyn or Isis. In the end Samara was the least pretentious paired up with Victoria but had a shady little history because it’s the name of a character in Mass Effect 2. Thankfully it also means “protected by God” (which our mothers love) and it’s those twirly seeds that come off of Maple trees. With my name being Star, I can appreciate the connection she’ll feel to those fun little maple samara’s.

  44. Poppy says:

    Having a name like Poppy, which nineteen years later I still get asked if I was conceived in a poppy field (what?) Or if my Mum was into heroin (WHAT?!?!) People are actually shocked I chose a classic name like William for my sweet boy. Why? I didn’t choose my own name, it doesn’t reflect on my personality or choices. It was just a beautiful name!
    As a matter of fact my Mum subconsciously chose the name when she was about fifteen watching neighbours … But she only realised that very recently!

  45. Reese says:

    Opium is made from poppies, not heroin.

  46. Mariah says:

    Reese, heroin is also made from poppies. What did you think it was made out of?

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