German Names

I am midway through my 19th week!DSC_0561

Last week I started to feel the little kicks and punches of our little alien.  We though it might take a bit longer before PC could feel the bebe, but then last night he felt his first kick!  Also of note, PC’s season kicked off on Sunday with a victory so woohoo for that.  At the game, I noticed several people greeted me while staring directly at my stomach area, so that was a new one.

We saw our doctor yesterday, and went in hoping that we’d be able to get a definitive answer on the boy/girl question.  Neither of us have a preference either way, we just wanted to know.  At my nuchal translucency scan in the US, the ultrasound technician took a guess.  Then, when I went to see the doctor here at 15 weeks, she also took a quick look, and a very tentative guess.

The vast majority of our friends and family guessed that we’d have a girl.  I think this is partially due to the fact that PC is awfully sweet with little girls, and everyone wanted to see him with one of his own.

But it turns out that we are having a lil baby boy!  Patrick Shea will have a lil boy cousin in a few months!  We are excited, but mostly just happy to see that baby looks healthy.


Now, that we know it’s a boy, we can start getting down to ol’ naming business. Lord knows I’ll need a lot of time to make a decision on naming a human.  Turns out, we’ll have to be extra thoughtful because, perhaps unsurprisingly, naming kids in Germany comes with a few rules.  Once you get your baby and a name you like, you go to your local Standesamt.  There, some government official takes a look, and makes a ruling on the name.  If they don’t like it? Too bad so sad. You can appeal, but it’ll cost you.  So, here are some of the rules…

Under German law:

  • The name must clearly indicate the sex of your child.  Unisex names like Taylor are apparently no bueno.   However, you can get away with one IF the second/middle name for the child clearly defines the sex.  Taylor Madison = no good but Taylor Emma= ok
  • The name must not cause psychological harm to your child.  Sooooo you can’t name it Satansbunghole or Couture, I guess.  I get the sentiment behind this rule.  And, to be sure there’s some wretched names that people have dreamed up to torture their children, but I’m not sure whether some schmo in the government should decide on this.
  • It cannot be a surname.  This has been a popular trend in the US with names like Anderson or Carter becoming pretty mainstream.  Not so in Deutschland!
  • You cannot name a child after a brand name, objects, or products.  Sadly, little Kleenex Carroll is not to be!
  • Finally, you can’t just make a name up, it needs to be an approved and known first name.  You can’t come up with some wack spelling either.  The caveat is that as a foreigners, we have a bit more leeway when it comes to unusual names.  But, the standesamt can and might call up your foreign embassy to make sure that whatever you picked is a real name in that country.

Here’s a few examples from Germany.  The top grouping were allowed, but the bottom grouping were nixed.


Of note: Schokominza (chocolate mint with a feminine ‘a’ on the end) allowed, but Pfefferminze (peppermint) not allowed???  You’ll also see Schröder got the thumbs down.


No Schröders allowed in Germany!

After reading about all these rules, we immediately felt the urge to rebel , and test out the system.  I felt extra American.  Because Freedom.  Now, I’m not saying I like the names “Satan” or “Abcde”, but I believe in having a fair amount of freedom in naming your alien progeny.  What do you think?


6 thoughts on “German Names

  1. So Smuda and GodPower are OK, but CrazyHorse gets the thumbs down?! Wtf?! And a beloved character that worships Beethoven is verboten?! Now I do like nixing the invented “Billtishias” that are popular here – Key & Peele would approve. You look amazing by the way – and how wonderful to feel him squirming around in there 😊

  2. Umm my favorite on the approved list of names is “Popo” (LOL). CONGRATS on having a BOY!! such exciting news. And you look incredible (but that’s nothing new 😉 Sending you love!

  3. Erin, you are GORGEOUS and yes, the FREEDOM we have in the USA is HUGE sadly, we don’t fully appreciate it as most of us have not lived anywhere else. . . wondering if Australia has any RULES happy about another grandson for your dad 4 sure!!!!!!

  4. So exciting it’s a boy!! This has been my guess from the beginning 🙂 I had absolutely no idea naming a human in Germany was so complex though! Wowsers. Lucky he isn’t a girl, I highly doubt Shaniqua would’ve passed the test haha.

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