When Becky and I first went through the baby-naming process a few years ago, we came up with two candidates:
So we've got the name. The problem is, when I checked the Social Security website to check on popular spellings of Braden, I was surprised to see that Brayden was actually a much more popular spelling last year (Braden ranked 156, Brayden ranked 64). A number of other spellings were also quite popular.
So now I'm wondering, how should we spell our son's name?
Here's a few thoughts I've had on the matter:
- The name should obviously imply the child's gender. I get a little annoyed when I read a name and can't tell if it's referring to a male or female. (Apologies to Carey, Ashley, Jamie, and all others I've offended.) What if our son wins an award, and the presenter doesn't know who our son is? "I now present this award to Mr.... or Mrs.... ah... sorry I can't tell because this is a gender-neutral name." I've never heard of a female named Braden or any of its derivatives, so we're OK.
- The name should be obvious to spell. No child should have to explain how to spell their name every time someone else needs to write it. That rules out Braedon and Braeden. But is the spelling for Braden or Brayden more obvious?
- The name should sound phonetically different enough from their siblings' names that they cannot be easily confused. If I yell out, "Braden, come clean up this mess!" I don't want Braden thinking I am calling Ethan. In some ways these names are phonetically similar, but I think there's just enough difference, especially with the initial consonant, that we're OK.
Now we just need to settle on one of these spellings. I can't guarantee we'll go with the outcome of this survey, but I am very curious which spelling you all think is the best.