Naming Our Dolls


After my recent post about forgetting Shannon’s name it appears that quite a lot of us name their dolls. I am so glad it’s not just me.

Mum was a great one for naming dolls, a lot of my childhood dolls names were suggested by mum. I think that it was mum who suggested Theresa as the name for my first big baby doll. I’m not sure if there was a reason for that. I just remember her saying “Theresa Green”. She had to explain that to me but in my defence I was very young. I don’t think she knew anyone called Theresa, I’m guessing she got it from a book she’d been reading. That’s how she picked my name. Christopher, my big Kader baby got his name because I got him for Christmas.

Theresa in a vintage dress.
Christopher II

Well, with that start it was no wonder that Naomi and I named pretty much everything we had as children. We named our dolls and teddies of course but we also named the little people in our farm and zoo sets, the animals, Matchbox cars and even marbles.

Anyway I wondered how all of you choose names for your dolls? Mine come from a variety of places. Sometimes I name them for characters on TV or in books or for people that I know, sometimes it can just be a name that I like that I feel suits the face. The porcelain doll on the right was given to me by my friend Gillian, so that is her name. The boy is Jack, he looks like a Jack. Marilyn, my Pedigree Walker is named after her late owner. I bought Marilyn from eBay and the seller told me that she was selling the collection of a deceased friend named Marilyn. I decided that it would be nice to give her that name. I told the seller and she was pleased because she said that the doll had the same colour hair as her friend.

Jack and Gillian, modern dolls.
Marilyn, my Pedigree Walker
Stevie in his safari suit.

Some of my Netta dolls are named after indigenous sportswomen like Yvonne Cawley and Cathy Freeman, a baby doll I bought arrived wearing a safari suit so I named him Stevie, after Steve Irwin.

Of course naming the Barbies that appear in these posts is the hardest job of all.There are so many of them and they need surnames which I often forget unless I write them down. I do occasionally give two dolls the same name but that happens in real life all the time, except to me. I never meet people with the same name as me. When I do reuse a name I’ll sometimes spell or pronounce it differently. I have Sarah and Sara, Julia and Juliet and two Rebecca’s although one may get renamed. They are all very different to each other.

I would love to hear some stories about how your dolls got their names. Thanks to Lauren for giving me the idea for this post.

21 comments

  1. I’ve named a lot of my dolls after family members including my husband, sons, parents and in-laws, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Others I have given names that I like such as Lauren (that’s what I would have called a girl) Kathryn, Kyle and Brendan to name a few. Others are named when I think a name suits them, my AA curvy girl is called Nisha, my disabled AA Barbie is called Natasha, my Indian Barbie in a sari is called Sunita. Some dolls keep the name they already have such as Kelly, Mark, Steven, Skipper, Jennie etc. I’ve never liked my own name, although I do have a genuine Angie doll, she’s one of Dawn’s friends (the American equivalent to Pippa)

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  2. So many lovely dolls in this post, and what a fun topic! Christopher in his handknit outfit is adorable. I named the first baby doll I had as a child “Susie Doll”. No idea where that name came from. I don’t name my dolls after people, although I do avoid the names of people whom I’ve known and didn’t like. I choose my dolls’ names by studying the doll’s face and trying different names until I find one that suits their personality. She/he “tells” me her name. Hope that doesn’t sound too “woo-woo”.

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    • Hello,
      with my childhood baby dolls i think my mum sometimes suggested names for them too, but when my Sindy and Barbie’s came along I named them, I think. my first sindy doll i had in 1979 became Katie and then Sindy for the next doll, I know the next Sindy to come along I called Selina after Selina Scott for some reason. My lovely red haired Beach Party Sindy became Nancy after Nancy Drew from the books, I also had a Kay,Sylvia, Vicky, Sonia, Linda, Sally and Anna, I think the names just came to me, rather than naming them after anyone. My Barbie and Skipper doll had those names but Barbie’s sister became Pastiche. I still have them all.

      Now like Elizabeth, i just wait untill the dolls just seem to name themselves, it’s strange how that happens.

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      • Pastiche is so unusual but I like it. I always wondered why the little sister dolls were given such odd names, Skipper, Patch, Pepper. I wondered what their real names were.

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  3. I can employ all the ideas I’ve heard but some just are who they are. Some of my collection are Celebrities and musical artist or athletes or super-hero’s. I do name dolls after characters from books and if a doll from a movie I like doesn’t have a doll I customize one and use the characters name. Some dolls just get called by what their series is or what they are wearing. I do have two baby dolls I named after my kids but as My boy is Mark and the doll is a girl I call it “Markie”, (IT does look like a boy/to me). I have some home-made dolls made for me from my sister I name after them, there again one is a boy so I named it Lyn instead of Linda. I have renamed a few character dolls like the princess and the pauper dolls I call Jane and Elizabeth Bennett, can anyone guess why?

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  4. My answer is the same as what most folks have said already. I name my dolls after ancestors. If I hear an interesting name on TV or in the movies, I will remember it and it will go to a doll someday.

    I echo Elizabeth also in that sometimes my dolls just tell me their names. If I try a name and the doll doesn’t like it, she won’t respond.

    I named all of my dolls and stuffed animals when I was growing up. Many of the dolls kept their original names. Chatty Cathy’s name stayed the same. I only have one Barbie (a Number 3) and she stayed Barbie.

    I have a collection of 8 inch Madame Alexander dolls. Those are the ones whose names I am always forgetting.

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  5. This is a fun topic! I decide what country or ethnicity my doll is first then I go online and look for common names – both given and surnames – and decide on one that way. Sometimes if the doll looks like someone I know, or reminds me of someone, I give them that person’s first name and a different surname. Many of my former PhD students have dolls named for them! I’m not sure it they would find it flattering or not. They probably didn’t feel comfortable telling their supervisor if they didn’t! If a doll resembles others in my collection, I make them all part of the same family, and that helps with the surnames. Then I just look for popular first names.

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  6. Hello, Yes Pastiche,is a lovely name. I named my second Barbie, who wasn’t really a Barbie at all, but was infact a Pastiche doll by Hunter Toys uk.( sought of a Barbie clone ) I fell in love with her in the toy shop so mum bought me that one. I also had the boyfriend to her, Pascal and little sister, Darcy, too. I think this would been about 1984 or there abouts.
    It is funny why kid sisters have strange names though.

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  7. I came back to reread the comments … This has been such an interesting discussion and I’ve enjoyed everyone’s contribution. I just realized people have mentioned surnames, but my dolls never get surnames. It’s enough work to figure out (and remember!) first names for them. 🙂

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    • That’s why I don’t mention surnames very often in Vivienne’s fashion shoot posts or Fashion Doll Friday. A few have the girls have surnames that I never ever forget but a lot of the less often used ones I need to consult my list for and if the list isn’t handy they get a new name. So we just keep it informal.

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  8. True enough! I love that the Littlechaps and Turners came with their surnames! I love celeb dolls that come w/ theirs. That being said I mostly keep it simple. I have a terrible memory or at least a selective one. However I adore finding dolls that look something like people I know.I remember my daughter and cousin play w/ their dolls and the conversations very closely followed our at home true life. I was always very curious who the mother(s) were in the little dramas.

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  9. I named all my dolls when I was a kid. They were such long, weird names though,because I made most of them up, that I forgot a lot of them! I still remember the names of my favourites though,as well as most of the names of my children’s dolls. My mom never even knew any of my dolls names.These days I don’t name any of my dolls except the ones I used to play with my kids and their dolls when they were little,and a couple of baby dolls i got at yard sales. One was my daughter’s for a while until she rejected her. When I bought her at the yard sale, she had a tag on her with the name of the lady selling her,(Joint yard sales often tag things with the name of the person who is to get the money from that sale, to keep things straight.) So I called her ‘Karen’ after the name on the tag.It stuck, and that’s what we always called her. When I bought a chubby baby that looked like a boy,I automatically referred to him as ‘Ceddy’,after a doll on a now defunct blog I used to follow.Other than that, the hapless dolls are nameless!

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    • I have a lot of dolls that don’t have names too. My Sindy dollls are all just Sindy, Tressy’s are Tressy etc. I try to name the larger dolls s I get them but sometimes I forget those.

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  10. I do not recall that I’ve ever named a doll of mine. If they came with a name, that was it. I don’t think I ever called them anything when I was playing with them.
    I would have renamed myself, probably, had I been asked, as there were always a dozen Linda’s around when I was growing up.

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