Hmm...I'm trying to think of all of our rules. No F names because our last name starts with that. Not William, because it would then be a very famous author's name, and that's not nice to do to someone. Nothing in the top 50 (and I would prefer not in the top 200, but I think I'll lose that battle) of the SSN name index. Nothing that is already attached to someone we know well--my family doesn't name after living relatives, so that knocks out a bunch, plus friends and their kids' names. I prefer names that have a good nickname possibility, but can also be used on their own (so our daughter, Edith, goes by Edie most of the time, but we can break out the formality if we need to). At some point I heard a rule of thumb that a name should be cute for a baby, good on a resume, and not too cute for an elderly person. And I tend to like names with two or more syllables, but that's not a hard and fast rule. We lean towards more E names, but I don't think we're stuck with them.