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21 April, 2014

Her Name - Margaret Clare

If you know Eric and I at all -- you know that we arrive at big decisions with lots of thought and significance, and take naming a child very seriously.   And many of you have already asked when we'll tell the story of how we arrived at our new baby's name,

Margaret "Maggie" Clare

First, we had both assumed we were having a boy.  Not anything to place money on, but enough that we'd started talking boy names first.  We'd even picked one out before the twenty week ultrasound that revealed we were having a girl.  Back to the drawing bored.  We were really stuck.  It took us 36 weeks to come up with Evie's name .

Once we found out we were having a girl I had to dig out the baby name books and iPad apps all over again.  I cleared them of our favorites from last time. Our top 5-10 names weren't really striking a chord with us again.

Here are some important points to us in choosing a name, keeping in mind our last name reads like "burglar" as in a thief -

  • No names that are nouns, because they become an adjective-subject:  Rose Buergler
  • Nothing that sounds funny with Buergler:  Ima Buergler, Cat Buergler
  • Nothing on the top ten list.  Eric and Elizabeth are both top tenners. (Yes I know Swistle explains that it's not a big deal any more to be a top-tenner)
  • But nothing too weird, either
  • Something timeless, classic
  • Something religious
  • Bonus: Does not have to be an "E" name (we named Evie Genevieve so we would have freedom either way)

Eric and I made a list of names we liked that we couldn't necessarily use:
  • Catherine - my sister's name, see also "Cat Buergler"
  • Emma - Emma Buergler sounds awesome at first, but then it sounds like "I'm a burglar"
  • Evelyn and Everly - Too similar to Evie (these were runners up for Genevieve as a real name)
  • Meredith - Eric has a baby cousin with this name
  • Sophia/Sophie - Top Ten
And then we started poking around the books and apps.  One of the books I have lists sibling sets of boys and girl names.  (We love the book and web versions of Baby Name Wizard)

Popular with Catherine and Elizabeth was Margaret and Josephine.  Eric wasn't crazy about Josephine.

At first glance I wasn't crazy about Margaret so as a variation we talked about Magdalene, with the nickname Maggie (shout out to our friend Cassi's daughter for this name/nickname)

We started typing or texting Magdalene but it was too tricky to spell (I still triple guess Genevieve. We learned our lesson).

Margaret seemed to keep popping up.  And it was everywhere.  The name kept smacking us in the face.

Most significantly - when Jennifer Fulwiler did her Patron Saint of the Year generator  mine landed on St. Margaret of Clitherow.  A sign?  I think so!

After I read St. Margaret's story, the name became really special to me.  St. Margaret was charming and witty. She was a convert.  She hid priests and seminarians in her home during the political unrest following King Henry VIII.  Her son became a priest.  She was publicly tortured to death for her faith and work on Good Friday (her due date was Holy Week). She was later recognized for her bravery as a woman by Queen Elizabeth.

And if that wasn't enough, Huffington Post wrote a piece in January on Old-Fashioned Names that Need to Make a Come Back.  Number One?  Margaret.

After some prayer and trying it out around the house, it was decided. Her first name would be Margaret.

Next was the middle name. We toyed with Mary Margaret Buergler or Margaret _____ Buergler.  I've had two girls come through my Confirmation program with the name Mary Margaret and it's always resonated with me.  But the more we talked about it, it's hard enough having a nickname based on just your first name, but trying to explain to the teacher on the first day of school "No, my name is Mary Margaret but I go by Maggie" just seemed to be too much work.

On to a middle name.

We had considered Clare back when we were working on Evie's name and middle name.  Clare has become very popular in our area, especially among Catholic friends.  But it didn't stop us. Saint Clare of Assisi was one of my patronesses back in college.   She too is a woman who fought for priests, and started her own order of women religious based on simplicity.  We (okay, I) debated on how to spell it. With or without an "I" -  Clare without an "i" is the traditional European way to spell it, and is how Clare of Assisi is spelled.  Claire with an 'i" is a more American way to spell it.

The two saints Margaret and Clare seemed to compliment each other nicely.  Strong women who prayed for priests and protected the Church.

It took us almost 36 weeks to decided on Evie's name, but we nailed Maggie's in about two weeks after we learned she was a girl. The hardest part was keeping it a secret.  And even harder was keeping Evie from spilling the beans to our family!  We made it to week 36 before she told my mom, but she's the only one who ever found out!

Most popular guesses for baby girl were Emma, Magdalene (good guess, Susan!), Lucille and Catherine.  I think now that our family has figured out our style the next one will be harder to stump the family!

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