Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

Ever know a family that just seems to fit with yours? The kind where your daughters are best friends with their daughters, and the adults are even more excited for playdates than the kids? We're lucky enough to have a family like that right around the corner from our house—and last week, we were lucky enough to spend a few of those last precious days of summer on vacation with them.

Just like our family, they chose to name their daughters after beloved family members, Winona, after a great-grandmother, and Sophia, after an aunt. Obviously, we all know about the name Sophia, considering it's topping the U.S. baby name charts currently, but Winona's a more unique choice, one that hasn't hit the top 1000 names in the U.S. in the last 50 years.

Winona's great-grandmother was a groundbreaking woman who helped found the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at Howard University, and became the first African-American person accepted into graduate studies at the New York School of Philanthropy (which later became the Columbia University School of Social Work). And she was the first African-American social worker in New York City. Pretty amazing stuff, don't you think?

But I'm guessing the younger Winona's going to do some pretty amazing things in her own right—once she gets out of elementary school. She's a bright and ultra-curious little girl, who's already reading third-grade books in kindergarten.

Winona is a Sioux name that means first-born daughter—perfect for this family's eldest. She used the nickname Winnie when she was younger, but now that she's a more sophisticated first grader, she prefers to go by her full name.

As for namesakes (beyond my friend's grandmother) you have actress Winona Ryder, activist Winona LaDuke, and singer Wynnona Judd. Not bad company, I think.

What do you think of the name Winona? Is it one you'd consider for your daughter?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/