Ethnic Baby Name Considerations
The pains of naming a quarter-black Germanic Latino.
I've got an interesting task to tackle: Coming up with some name options for my soon-to-be born son, to be presented to the mother-to-be.
I'm a Caucasian from the United States, with a Germanic heritage (and equally long last name). Tatiana is an Afro-Peruvian—a half-black Chilean/Peruvian mix (her mother is a Caucasian from Chile and her father is a black Peruvian).
We've each got our own stipulations, and it's a good thing that I love to research. I want to see the little nomad with an uncommon name (not in the U.S. Top 1,000 of registered baby names), but have zero desire to select something that requires my son to S-P-E-L-L out his name every time he tells someone over the phone—the trendy habit of transposing i's and e's with y's isn't particularly appealing. Tatiana associates most every male Spanish and Portuguese name with someone she knows, which pretty much negates those as well. And to top it all off, the Spanish pronunciation of the names should be kept in mind—such as double-l's turning into y's and that h's are silent.
I always liked the name Gustav, and Tatiana didn't mind making it his middle name, but I just don't think it's going to work with his looks. I've also become fond of the name Henrik (I like the sound of Henrik Heimburger), but it falls apart when said in Spanish. My other picks of Diego and Donovan as first or middle names were also crossed out. Likewise, I won't be calling him Tatiana's suggestion of Santiago—it's too popular and I don't believe in naming children after cities.
The challenges of finding an unique, appropriate ethnic baby name that fits a quarter-black male, born to a German/American father and a African/Latin mother. Yeesh.
Update, November 15—We Have a Winner
Tatiana and I are both in agreement—we've got a first name nailed down, 100%. I stumbled across an obscure German Catholic Saint from the middle-ages whose name doesn't even register in most baby name databases. There is no specified origin or ethnicity—simply a strong, unique, intriguing name that's practically been abandoned. It sounds great when pronounced in English, German, and Spanish. …And will remain unknown to friends and family until he's born (her mom is pissed at this).
We're both quite happy.