I Chose a Unique Name For My Son and People Have Opinions

My son’s name is Rhys (pronounced Reese). I got the name while I was reading Sharon Kay Penman’s “Welsh Princes” series. Those books are fantastic historical fiction but absolutely devastating. My mother’s grandmother was named Gladys and my Mom’s family is very English/Welsh/Cornish. Many people think it’s a “new” name like something a celebrity would choose, it’s a really old name.


Now for the fun part, it’s a Celtic spelling. Lots and lots of people in America have Celtic ancestry and there are lots of Celtic names out there. But his name is going to be mispronounced a lot. Lots of people were like “where did you get that name?”, I explained it was from a book. My husband made the comment “are they allergic to vowels in Wales?” True story this is an actual place in Wales- Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. No, my cat did not step on my keyboard. Thanks, maternal ancestors! Rhys is called “Rice” a lot. Or Rise. Or “R…how do you pronounce this?” I realized, much like when you decide where you want to go college, everyone has an opinion about names. Is it an unfair burden to put on my son to have to constantly tell people who to pronounce his name? Some would say yes. But I love his name. It’s perfect for him. It’s one syllable. It is easy to say, lots of kids in his daycare who are just learning to speak point him out and say “Rhys!” So in no particular order here are a few reasons why having a unique name rocks.


  1. It’s old and new again.

Like I said, I picked up the name while reading a book about the 12th century. It’s a classic-like red lipstick and good denim. It’s not trendy and it’s not going to go out of style.


  1. It means something.

It honors my mother and in Welsh it means “enthusiasm.” It fits his personality perfectly! It’s not a name that I feel there are odd connotations with. Not many famous people have that name and it’s not a name that people hear and make assumptions about. I don’t feel it’s pretentious.


  1. It’s a conversation starter.

Lots of people are curious about the name. I explain the story of how I found it, how it was a Tudor ancestor, and how it fits my little boy. I always wanted my kids to have literary names or names from books.  


  1. It’s memorable.

When we found out we were pregnant we realized that boys names were easier than girl’s names but there are so many little boys with the same name. My sister is a Katy who was born in the eighties. Let that sink in. So many Kat(ies/ys/eys)! Little boys get names that have these long odd histories. Rhys, like Daenarys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, is the first of his name. His middle name is my father’s name so he’s carrying that on.


  1. I like it.

If he wants to change it or go by a nickname that isn’t Rhysie Cup or Rhysie Piecey, he can. However, at the end of the day, he is my son and I got to choose his name.


Do you have a unique name or did you chose an unusual name for your child? Is there a really cool story behind it? Let me know in the comments!


32 Responses to I Chose a Unique Name For My Son and People Have Opinions

  1. Rachel May 8, 2018 at 7:38 am #

    I named my son Reichen (pronounced Ry-ken) and people have a lot of questions and opinions! I heard it, I liked it, we named him!

    • Alison
      Alison May 9, 2018 at 10:08 am #

      I love that name and I have never heard it before!

  2. Heather May 8, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    We named our son Saber. All the boys on my husband’s side have the same initials, so they all have first names with S. I still have the baby name book my mother used to pick my name, and Saber was the first S name in it. It means sword, and I wanted him to be a strong person, so it seemed fitting. I love it and never regret it.

    • Alison
      Alison May 9, 2018 at 10:11 am #

      I love it! What baby name book was it? Also, Saber is a name that most people have heard in other contexts and it is great. That is great that you are carrying on the “S” tradition.

  3. Kellie May 11, 2018 at 3:25 pm #

    I have a Kyler. “Is it Tyler?” “How do you spell that?” “Kyle?” No, y’all. No. It is Kyler, Kyle with a R or Tyler with a K. I just came across the name in a baby name book and fell in love with it. It’s unique, just like my Kyler.

    • Alison
      Alison May 12, 2018 at 6:26 am #

      What a gorgeous name! I love variations on Kyle!

  4. Anju Wilson May 11, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

    Mine son’s name is Rhys too and he gets called Rice a lot. I loved the traditional spelling and it went well with the name of my other kids Tristan and Fiona.

    • Alison
      Alison May 12, 2018 at 6:29 am #

      We have the same reasoning for choosing a traditional spelling! I love the names Tristan and Fiona as well. In fact, if I have another boy I was considering Tristan! Great minds think alike!

  5. Mellissa May 11, 2018 at 6:01 pm #

    My sons name is Dalton. I’m not from Chattanooga so I’ve never been this close to Dalton GA. Most people think it’s because of the city. We actually named him after my old neighbors sir name but they were more like grandparents to me growing up. I wanted his name to mean something. I named him after 2 people that had a lot of love for their neighbors and for their family. I know he will live up to his name and love those around him.

    • Alison
      Alison May 12, 2018 at 6:32 am #

      That is so beautiful! What a wonderful reason to choose a name! My son’s middle name is after my father who was the kindest man I have ever known. I think names honoring that quality are so important!

  6. Kara May 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    I named my baby girl Maeve, pronounced May + v, rhymes with Wave. It means the one who brings great joy and we felt like that was perfect since she’s our second daughter after a ton of struggles with fertility.
    It’s also a Celtic name that has been around a long time, but people think it’s new. No one even attempts to say it! If they do we get Mauve or Meeve. I was really bothered at first, but now I love it even more that it’s unique. My three year old says it perfectly. So go figure!

  7. Alison
    Alison May 12, 2018 at 6:37 am #

    Love it! I have a really unique last name that is constantly mispronounced. When I was little, I actually told my parents that they were mispronouncing our name because my teacher said it wrong. Good for your little one! I think it is a gorgeous name and I love the meaning behind it!

  8. Kayla May 12, 2018 at 8:58 am #

    My son’s name is Kepler. Most of the time I have to repeat it at least once. He is named after the astronomer Johannes Kepler. My husband is a scientist and I just like science. After looking for what seems like forever in baby books I came across Kepler on an online baby name page tada …. Kepler was named. My daughter’s name is Tesla. Also named after the scientist, Nikkola Tesla, not the car or the band. Ha.

    • Alison
      Alison May 12, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

      Those are great! My late father was an astrophysicist and would have loved the Kepler and Tesla references. Amazing!

  9. Debbie May 12, 2018 at 11:09 am #

    My husband’s name is Rhys, my son’s name is Mielo ( pronounced my-low, it was my maiden name) and my daughter’s name is Eluned (also Welsh for her great grandmother.) But living in Northern Virginia they are all very obscure. I’m not sure my grandmother will ever get my daughter’s name right. But that’s okay, we call her Elle. ^_^

    • Alison
      Alison May 13, 2018 at 12:07 am #

      I love those names! I heard the name Eluned in the Welsh Princes Trilogy! Welsh names are so lovely.

  10. V May 15, 2018 at 9:43 pm #

    My son is Rhys, too! We chose it due to Welsh heritage, its uniqueness, and meaning. People often say,”oh that’s a unique way to spell it.” And I reply,”no, it’s the correct way to spell it.” And then explain…

    • Alison
      Alison May 16, 2018 at 8:50 am #

      I love it! I love studying where words come from and it’s just an old spelling that was created before Romantic languages came to the UK. I think it looks beautiful too. One of my friends named her son a Welsh name as well and I shared a video of someone speaking Welsh and she was fascinated. I had read it but I had never heard it spoken and it’s a really beautiful language.

  11. Heather May 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

    We named my son Bennett. Just unique enough but not outlandish so that he doesn’t like it as he gets older. (I also get irritated if someone calls him Ben.) Lol

    • Alison Gehred
      Alison Gehred May 17, 2018 at 11:05 am #

      I love that name! I always think of Pride and Prejudice because of the main character being Elizabeth Bennett!

  12. Maegan May 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    Our second son’s name is Niels (pronounced like Neil/Neal with an added ‘s’). I’m half German and my husband has Swedish ancestry, so we liked that the name went back to our roots. After we had chosen the name, my husband’s grandfather looked back in their genealogy and found other another Nils 9 and 11 generations back! It was a family name without us even knowing.

    • Alison
      Alison May 18, 2018 at 9:28 am #

      I love that! Family histories are so fascinating!

  13. Stacie May 17, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    My daughter’s name is Sevin, the biblical number of perfection and completion, and she’s my only one. The spelling is different than the number because my MIL cried when I told her what we were naming the baby and begged me to make it “look like a name”! Oh the things we do for peace!

    • Alison
      Alison May 18, 2018 at 9:29 am #

      I love the name and it’s so perfect!

  14. Alison Gehred
    Alison Gehred May 17, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    What a great story! How absolutely fascinating!

  15. Tanya Musick May 17, 2018 at 3:19 pm #

    We just named our new daughter Ellorie Sloane. People think it’s very unusual but I love it and love that she will be an original.

  16. Alison
    Alison May 18, 2018 at 9:31 am #

    I have never met an Ellorie but I am sure your little girl will love it!

  17. Meg May 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    My son is also named Rhys! I have always loved this strong named; rooted deeply in Welsh history. We hear “Rice” and “Rizz” a lot and just continue to explain that I was not being creative and that it’s Welsh. It’s also my brother’s middle name. All the clever kids in his K garten class have started in with the “Reeses pieces” nonsense. I’ve talked with him about our family history and hope that as he grows he can take pride in his awesome name.

  18. Meg May 18, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

    Also, a tidbit I learned awhile ago is that the Welsh pronounce this name not with a strong R sound, but more of a “H’rees”… 🙂

    • Alison
      Alison May 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm #

      I didn’t know the Welsh tidbit! I just think it’s a beautiful name! As an Alison, I was definitely Alison in Wonderland in kindergarten and when I volunteered in kindergartens! He’ll love his name!

  19. Alessandra May 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

    We have twins – Reese (girl) and Rowan (boy). We also really liked unique names. My name is Alessandra and people get it wrong all the time and still to this day ask if I have a nickname they can call me by. I think people just need to listen better and be more open to a wide variety of cultures and names that go with them.

    • Alison
      Alison May 21, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

      I think that’s the beauty of language right? I love the twins names and the more unique names the better!

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